shastra veda shabda jnana, govinda radhe,
krishna bhakti heen abhiman badha de
Bhakti or devotion cannot be practiced without theoretical scriptural knowledge. It is impossible. How would we otherwise know, who am I? What do I have to attain? How will I attain it? Who is Shri Krishna? What is special about Shri Krishna? What are His unique qualities? What is the happiness of the world? Why am I caught up in this? What is the mind? What are the senses? What is the intellect? Why don’t I experience God through these?
As long as we do not deeply understand the scriptural answers to these questions, we will not be able to practice bhakti. If we do it anyway, then we will go some distance, and return. We will remain doubtful and anyone’s simple argument or challenge to our practice will cause us to stop. The other difficulty is that if we merely acquire theoretical scriptural knowledge without engaging in practical bhakti, our pride will increase.
If we leave the topic of God, who is imperceptible and come to the world which is perceived and tangible, even here practical results are not achieved without theoretical knowledge. First understand the theory of cooking, and then cook. How much salt should you put in a certain quantity of dhal? How much milk and sugar should be used in something else? How do you make the syrup for a sweet like rasagulla? There is a very subtle technique for preparing food. To do this properly there are so many cookbooks and courses. If you don’t understand this technique, you cannot prepare food nicely. However, if you just memorise the information, it will not fill your stomach.
Similarly, you could memorise all the arrival and departure timetables for trains and planes. If someone asked you for this information, you could quickly answer him. But if you never leave your home, how will arrive in Vrindavan?
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
6 October 2010,
Bhakti Dham, Mangarh
©Radha Govind Samiti