We need to make a deeper study of the devotion that we have to practise, because supreme bhakti will automatically be attained through God’s grace afterwards. Besides, we cannot comprehend the bhakti that is attained through God’s grace because it is divine, and therefore, inconceivable. First, we will analyse the word bhakti. One derivation is from bhajanam bhakti which refers to perfect devotion; and the other derivation is from bhajayate bhaktih, which is preparatory devotion. Let us now understand the characteristics of preparatory devotion . . .
There are three main points to be understood from these verses. Firstly, one should be devoid of all desires. Secondly, bhakti should not be assisted by karma, jnana, tapashcharya or other means. Thirdly, one should actively serve Lord Krishna by favourable feelings of devotion through the relationships of shanta bhava, reverence, dasya bhava, servitude, sakhya bhava, friendship, vatsalya bhava, parenthood and madhurya bhava, amorous love.
The first point requires serious study and reflection, because in my opinion, it is the reason for our failure to practise devotion, and is the greatest impediment that blocks our progress. Once this is understood, the path of bhakti we be smooth and we will speedily progress towards our goal. Devotion is possible only when all kinds of desires are abandoned. In reality, it is the mind that has to practise devotion because the mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation. If the mind is preoccupied with desires for worldly or celestial attainments, how can you possibly engage it in devotion?
An extract from:
Prema Rasa Siddhanta – Philosophy of Divine Love (New Edition)
Chapter Twelve – Bhaktiyoga, p. 338-40
Originally written in Hindi by Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj