The end and the means

Source : http://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/the-end-and-the-means/article18490302.ece

Bhakti in its highest form is itself a Purushartha, a fifth one added on to the four usually accepted values of Dharma, righteousness, Artha, wealth, Kama, pleasure and Moksha, liberation.

This is the crux of the teaching in the Bhagavata Purana and it is shown how a devotee’s entire being is filled with intense love for God and with a desire to serve Him at all times. This in itself becomes the highest delight for him, and is extolled as Prema Bhakti, pointed out Sri B. Damodhara Dikshitar in a discourse.

Prema bhakti is often compared to a mother’s selfless love for a child when her entire concentration governs the way she takes care of the child at all times.

Great devotees such as Narada and Uddhava see the Gopis’ love for Krishna as an expression of the highest form of devotion. It is a state of mind that even yogis and sages steeped in meditation find it hard to attain. Each one has to work his way in this effort. Devotional practices such as offering worship in temples, or engaging in prayer in one’s home, or singing the names of the Lord, individually or in a group, are means towards cultivating intense and selfless love for God. There is no room for ostentation or outward show in this path where bhakti is an end in itself and is also the means. The only criterion is sincerity and genuine love to the Lord.

None can know the mind of a devotee better than the Lord for He is the in-dweller in each and every aspect of creation. Unique are the ways in which He responds to each one of them.

Is not Vidhura overwhelmed when Krishna chooses to have food in his humble abode in preference to the hospitality of Duryodhana and others? What a divine vision is granted to the devout Akrura?

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