The Bhagavata on faith and devotion

The Bhagavata on faith and devotion

The objective is to engender in the reader a sense of awe and devotion and  the omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of the Lord . The very philosophy of the
Bhagavata rests on the pillar of pure, unstinted, unswerving devotion. Taking the commonly accepted meaning of the word devotion as ‘ adoration and loving service of the supreme being’, the Bhagavata highlights the importance of holy company as the single most influential factor in developing and sustaining the spirit of devotion in man.

Such exalted company generates faith, a necessary precursor to developing devotion.
Together, faith and devotion create a sense of bliss in the practitioner and the mind slowly reduces its dependence on external stimulations for spiritual engagements.

‘When all the energies of man, including the brain and other sense organs are concentrated and are directed towards the supreme being, are spontaneous and without any extraneous motives, the resulting mental state is called Bhakti (devotion)’.

Thus says the Bhagavata, even as it says that devotion is like a fire that burns up the soul’s sheath of ignorance. Devotion is a deep inward passion which purifies and uplifts the aspirant. It takes on the form of a personal relationship where all other considerations like social status, learning, austerities etc  become nonexistent.

The Bhagavata even goes so far as to say that even those with hatred and anger towards the Lord attain to him in the end, by virtue of their minds being concentrated on him, albeit in a negative way and to which the Lord responds appropriately. It succinctly says ‘ just as a medicine taken has its effect, irrespective of the knowledge of its efficacy and potency, so does the Lord spiritually uplift the mind that is concentrated on him, howsoever unwittingly’.

What else does devotion confer on man? Says the Bhagavata ‘ just as fire melts gold to remove its impurities, so does devotion remove all evil and base  tendencies in the hearts of  the devoted’. Such intense devotion , in the words of the Lord in the  Bhagavata “ makes me a prisoner of the devotees. How can I abandon these souls who have forsaken everything else to take refuge at my feet”? 

A fitting phrase of advice says “ whatever a devotee does with body, mind, spirit, senses and intellect, including those ordained by the scriptures as well as those natural to him, let it be consecrated as an offering to the Lord’.

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