Our first duty is to satisfy the spiritual master, who can arrange for the Lord's mercy. A common man must first begin to serve the spiritual master or the devotee. Then, through the mercy of the devotee, the Lord will be satisfied. Unless one receives the dust of a devotee's lotus feet on one's head, there is no possibility of advancement. Unless one approaches a pure devotee, he cannot understand the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
In India they tell a fable about this: There was once a great devotee of Vishnu who prayed night and day to see his God. One night his wish was granted and Vishnu appeared to him. Falling on his knees, the devotee cried out, "I will do anything for you, my Lord, just ask." "How about a drink of water?" Vishnu replied. Although surprised by the request, the devotee immediately ran to the river as fast as his legs could carry him. When he got there and knelt to dip up some water, he saw a beautiful woman standing on an island in the middle of the river. The devotee fell madly in love on the spot. He grabbed a boat and rowed over to her. She responded to him, and the two were married. They had children in a house on the island; the devotee grew rich and old plying his trade as a merchant. Many years later, a typhoon came along and devastated the island. The merchant was swept away in the storm. He nearly drowned but regained consciousness on the very spot where he had once begged to see God. His whole life, including his house, wife, and children, seemed never to have happened. Suddenly he looked over his shoulder, only to see Vishnu standing there in all his radiance. "Well, " Vishnu said, "did you find me a glass of water?
Devotion has its own strange ways. It is not something rational, logical, something that can be explained to you. But it is something, if you go on growing from a student into a disciple, from a disciple into a devotee, and you come so close to the master that there is no distinction at all.
Even the most impassioned devotee of the ghost story would admit that the taste for it is slightly abnormal, a survival, perhaps, from adolescence, a disease of deficiency suffered by those whose lives and imaginations do not react satisfactorily to normal experience and require an extra thrill
How would it feel if for an instance we stop being someone's son/daughter, someone's father/mother, someone's husband/wife, someone's lover, somebody's employee, a countryman of some nation, a faithful devotee of some religion or a follower of some ideal and live only being a part of this wonderful, incredible and mysterious creation, wouldn't it would be something worth living for?
The observations and encounters of a devotee of solitude and silence are at once less distinct and more penetrating than those of the sociable man; his thoughts are weightier, stranger, and never without a tinge of sadness. Images and perceptions which might otherwise be easily dispelled by a glance, a laugh, an exchange of comments, concern him unduly, they sink into mute depths, take on significance, become experiences, adventures, emotions.
A devotee who can call on God while living a householder's life is a hero indeed. God thinks: 'He is blessed indeed who prays to me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find me, overcoming a great obstacle -- pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighing a ton. Such a man is a real hero.
A devotee who can call on God while living a householder's life is a hero indeed. God thinks: 'He is blessed indeed who prays to me in the midst of his worldly duties. He is trying to find me, overcoming a great obstacle -- pushing away, as it were, a huge block of stone weighing a ton. Such a man is a real hero.'
Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa
The wonderful structure of the animal system will probably never permit us to look upon it as a merely physical apparatus, yet the demands of science require that the evidently magnified principles of vitality should be reduced to their natural spheres, or if truth requires, wholly subverted in favor of those more cognizable by the human understanding. The spirit of the age will not tolerate in the devotee of science a quiet indifference. ...
I am the love. I am the slave of love. I worship love. I adore unconditional love. I am the pure devotee of love. My heart and eyes are the symbols of love. Love has the inconceivable innumerable attribute. Love is the indivisible, infinite, and limitless truth. Love is the supreme with most dazzling splendor. Love is eternal, blissful, spiritual, and tender.
My doctrine means that I must identify myself with life, with everything that lives, that I must share the majesty of life in the presence of God. The sum-total of this life is God. .. Man is not at peace with himself until he has become like unto God. The endeavor to reach this state is the supreme, the only ambition worth having. And this is self-realisation. This self-realisation is the subject of the Gita, as it is of all scriptures... to be a real devotee is to realise oneself. Self-realisation is not something apart.
Vaire¢gya or renunciation is the turning point in all the various Yogas. The Karmi (worker) renounces the fruits of his work. The Bhakta (devotee) renounces all little loves for the almighty and omnipresent love. The Yogi renounces his experiences, because his philosophy is that the whole Nature, although it is for the experience of the soul, at last brings him to know that he is not in Nature, but eternally separate from Nature. The Jne¢ni (philosopher) renounces everything, because his philosophy is that Nature never existed, neither in the past, nor present, nor will It in the future.
Satan, on the contrary, is thin, ascetic and a fanatical devotee of logic. He reads Machiavelli, Ignatius of Loyola, Marx and Hegel; he is cold and unmerciful to mankind, out of a kind of mathematical mercifulness. He is damned always to do that which is most repugnant to him: to become a slaughterer, in order to abolish slaughtering, to sacrifice lambs so that no more lambs may be slaughtered, to whip people with knouts so that they may learn not to let themselves be whipped, to strip himself of every scruple in the name of a higher scrupulousness, and to challenge the hatred of mankind because of his love for it-an abstract and geometric love.
God reveals Himself to a devotee who feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions: the attraction of worldly possessions for the worldly man, the child's attraction for its mother, and the husband's attraction for the chaste wife. If one feels drawn to Him by the combined force of these three attractions, then through it one can attain Him.
Devotion means for the total; it is never for Rama, never for Krishna. Of course, Rama and Krishna are implied in the total, but it is never for a chosen one. Love is always for the chosen one, devotion is for the whole. So you cannot be a devotee of Rama. If you are for Rama, you are only a lover; and when you are a lover, then competition is bound to be there. Then Krishna will be a competitor, and Christ will be a competitor, and the same jealousies, the same conflicts, and all the same nonsense will follow. It has followed.
There is no part of one's beliefs about oneself which cannot be modified by sufficiently powerful psychological techniques. There is nothing about oneself which cannot be taken away or changed. The proper stimuli can, if correctly applied, turn communists into fascists, saints into devils, the meek into heroes, and vice-versa. There is no sovereign sanctuary within ourseles which represents our real nature. There is nobody at home in the internal fortress. Everything we cherish as our ego, everything we believe in, is just what we have cobbled together out of the accident of our birth and subsequent experiences. With drugs, brainwashing, and other techniques of extreme persuasion, we can quite readily make a man a devotee of a different ideology, the patriot of a different country, or the follower of a different religion.
Peter J. Carroll