One must believe in the power of devotion - The New Indian Express

One must believe in the power of devotion

Published: 26th November 2012 11:05 AM

Last Updated: 26th November 2012 11:05 AM

Devotion can be described as the spiritual power that can keep away the trauma, the bad complexes and evil in us. But devotion should not be conventional or ostentatious nor should it be stagnant. It is not the mere external exuberance that matters. Many may be found to shed tears out of devotional fervor but the same attitude should be shown in wiping out the distress of others. What then is the test of true devotion.

Hinduism has developed into three basic paths: Classical (Karma Marga); Way of Knowlegde (Gnana Marga); and Way of Devotion (Bhakti Marga). These paths generally derive from a triad belief about the nature of Brahman that Lord Brahma creates, Lord Vishnu preserves through the ordering principle of dharma, and Lord Shiva personifies creativity and destruction.

Followers of the Lord Vishnu see as incarnate in ten instances, the most popular of which is Lord Krishna.

Depending upon which form of Hinduism one participates in, the paths of overcoming the illusion of maya and the determinism of karma is to begin to fulfill one’s responsibilities in this life by cooperating in the dance of God that makes up the universe. They see their God through loving and serving others, which is an act of worship that brings freedom and salvation.

The Bhagavatham says that devotion should be characterized by a constant remembrance of God coupled with deep faith in His dispensation. The outstanding example was that of a child called Prahlada who remained undaunted even when tortured as he had total confidence in God’s mercy. Devotion cannot coexist with desire of any kind. The method varies depending upon the path, but basically involves performing one’s duty in life, following public rituals and daily devotions, meditating and praying in order to unite with the divine by seeing it within one’s deepest state.

The Bhagavad Gita, the greatest and holiest of Hindu scriptures, emphasizes the importance of ‘Bhakti’ or loving devotion to God. Bhakti, says the Gita, is the only way to realize God. According to Gita, Bhakti is the love for God and love reinforced by a true knowledge of the glory of God. It surpasses the love for all things worldly. This love is constant and is centered in God and God alone, and cannot be shaken under any circumstances whether in prosperity or in adversity.

Lord Krishna says, “Bhagavad Gita is not to be communicated to one who is not disciplined, or who is not a devotee, or who has not served the learned or to one who hates me”. He also says that “The lowest among men, those of wicked deeds, and the foolish ones, do not resort to me; for their mind is overcome by Maya (illusion) and their nature is ‘Asuri’ (demonic), inclined to worldly pleasures. Four kinds of people of good deeds turn to me - those who are in distress; or who search for knowledge; or who desire worldly goods; or the truly wise”. The Lord further elaborates it is only those of good deeds whose sins are ended, and who are freed from the spell of opposites that run to Me with firm determination.

Devotion can be cultivated by listening to the exposition of God’s pastimes and His episodes which describe how He rescued those who have taken refuge in Him, by visiting temples and by chanting aloud with Divine - intoxication, discarding shyness. God makes His presence felt where He is remembered and adored. The unfathomable love shown by the cowherd maiden towards the Divine personality - Lord Krishna - is always cited as the acme of devotion.

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