bhakti karo koyi bhi govinda radhe
rupadhyana mana se pratham karva de
No matter what type of devotion you perform, rupadhyana must be first and foremost.
You possess sense organs, a mind, an intellect and the body. But what is the most important thing you possess? It is the soul. Once the soul departs, everything else becomes lifeless. In the very same way, your devotional practice is useless in the absence of meditation on God. Of course, something is better than nothing. Instead of chanting donkey donkey it is better to chant Radhe Radhe, however, mere mechanical chanting is of no use. True devotion is performed with the mind. Practice whatever type of devotion you wish, according to your preferences that are linked to your past lives. You may recite it using beads or you may do something else. However, you must do it along with loving meditation on God.
The Yoga Darshana says, "Are you chanting?" Yes. "Go ahead and chant, but do it along with meditation. Are you reciting the Gita or the Bhagavatam?" Yes. "Go right ahead, but do not forget to think about God." In the time of Gauranga Mahaprabhu there was a sadhaka who would recite the Gita despite being completely unfamiliar with Sanskrit. Just as the non-Hindi speakers speak faulty Hindi here in Trinidad, this sadhaka would would speak faulty Sanskrit while reciting. A scholar complained to Gauranga Mahaprabhu about the man, "He has no knowledge of the Gita but he keeps reciting it anyhow." Summoning the man, Mahaprabhu Ji asked, "Do you understand what you are reading from the Gita?" He answered, "No Maharaj Ji, I do not understand. I just close my eyes and think about Shri Krishna, who is sitting down, and about Arjuna who is sitting at a higher level in the chariot. I visualise Shri Krishna saying something to Arjuna and then I think that I am reading what Shri Krishna told him." Mahaprabhu Ji said to the scholar, "This is exactly what is written in the Gita. What else is there? This man is reciting the Gita properly; the way it should be done. You people merely recite fancy words in Sanskrit which has no value whatsoever."
Shvetashvatara Upanishad 5.14 says that God takes note of loving sentiments. God values love, not words. Thus, real devotion is to meditate on God. Reflect on this again and again. Make sure you are meditating on God even before you start chanting the holy name.
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
18 June 2007
© Radha Govinda Samiti