concepts

Why understanding is important in bhakti

One-pointed focus is required for success in any sphere of life – whether it is business, academia, politics, law or medicine. Generally it is difficult to focus the mind on something that we do not consider important, or something that we do not like.

Therefore it is necessary to understand bhakti. If we dont understand it, we will not consider it important and then it is difficult to focus the mind on bhakti. Without focus, it is not possible to succeed. We can only understand bhakti by systematically learning about it from a genuine guru.

Impurity on the bhakti path is to harbor desires independent of the primary goal in bhakti. This is because other desires reduce our focus on bhakti. A mind that is not focused is not happy (अशांतस्य कुतः सुखम्?). To focus, our mind has to be peaceful. That can be achieved in two ways- one way is by meditation – yoga – and the other is through the path of love. Love is natural and therefore bhakti is powerful.

The inclination to perform bhakti, if it is due to liking, is most powerful. Because then the mind is focused on bhakti because it is happy with it. If we do something we like, or read something that we like, we will not be irritated.

The thread in all the Vedic literature is this one thread – the only thing to be learned – to make the mind peaceful. If we are not peaceful, what’s the use? People are not peaceful because the mind is running in different directions and they are never trained to focus the mind.

The ultimate purpose of scripture is to bring us to bhakti. To love. That is why it is called vidyā-vadhu jīvanam. Knowledge in this phrase is compared to a bride. And what is the life of that? Bhakti. If no bhakti, no vidyā. That is the essence.

You have to have a clear definition of your goal – what do I want? What am I heading for? You have to have a very clear definition of what is Bhakti. If you are not clear, then you can remain in a hazy field for a long time. That is the significance of Nyaya. It gives clear definitions, which is very important. Otherwise you may think that this is the definition of Bhakti and I am doing Bhakti, but what you may be doing may not fit the definition.

— Babaji Satyanarayana Dasa

  • Adapted from a Vrindavan lecture by Shri Satyanarayana Dasa Babaji

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