Normally people are driven by instincts, habits and conditioning. Instincts represent the millions of lifetimes man has taken in the form of the eight point six million species. The urge to react, the impulse; everything represents the instinctive nature of man. Habits represent our repetitive nature, what we have picked up from our environment, our own fascination with things and the world and our compulsive nature. Conditioning represents the enveloping of the soul with the smut of material nature. Given these forces operating within the human regiment, there is no question of sensitivity towards the highest force that is the spirit and the source of the spirit which is God.
Unless one arrives on a platform of acceptance of these features existing within one and identifies them as an element which is an impediment towards the highest purpose of Self-realization, the journey simply cannot start. The Shastras delineate many moralistic codes for proper living and they offer a formula towards the highest attainment. Yet all this will make sense only after basically arriving on a platform of understanding that where we stand today is not on proper ground. One needs to first come to the understanding that one’s current thinking is fundamentally based on illusion that will simply continue to convolute and confound. Unless one is established on this ground, there is no question of gravitating towards “Reality” per se.
The process of awakening will only begin after we realize the fact that our current position, whatever it may be, is malicious, leading nowhere. Once this platform is reached, one will do well to set things right within, knowing well that there is nothing to be set right outside but by simply finding oneself as the root of all the confusion that surrounds us, one has arrived at the possibility of a solution. If one takes this position, it is an intelligent way to start. The internal regime is fundamentally controlled by our hard nature traditionally called as the “ego” which is a sum total of our instincts, habits and conditioning. Thus in this mood of self-acceptance when one fits into oneself an attitude of humility and takes up devotional service , with a view to correct oneself , not the world , one will slowly inch towards a worthwhile goal. Self-handling, Self-rectification and self-correction is the only way to meaningful living. Our malicious tendencies, our poisonous approach towards people outside has only caused us harm. Our sensitivity has ebbed away and our concern for others is all made up. The head has taken over the heart and this is the reason why one has deviated from the words of the scriptures.
The purpose of Bhakti is to serve the Lord. This service is the act of offering ourselves at the feet of the Lord. Only when our false self, our material ego is offered, can an act of Bhakti will be on the pure platform. We do not take to Bhakti to suit our convenience but on the other hand Bhakti requires our entire self to be offered as service to the Divine. This is an internal phenomenon and it is a 24-hour service. Bhakti cannot be performed as a part-time activity. Bhakti is no activity; it is a transmutation of our consciousness into the act and “emotion” of service. This has to be properly grasped. Often times our dress may resemble that of a devotee but our thoughts, words and deeds represent that of an outright materialist. When the focus of our mind is directed from self-gratification to gratification of the devotees of the Lord, to satisfy them, offering them our own selves in seva, that is service proper. Many people bother about serving the Lord. This is easy because nobody has seen the Lord and one who is not visible and one, who is stationary in His Vigraha, is easy to please. This is the attitude of devotees. One does not realize that unless one gives up one’s compulsion of satiating one’s senses for the sake of the Lord, for the sake of others who are in the same mood (Sajatiya), our devotional actions are not justified. As devotees we should seek to satisfy other devotees. This also does not mean that one’s does not use one’s pure intelligence. One should only involve oneself with “devotees” who are not a threat to one’s mood of service. Relationships should be maintained and proffered to “Sajatiyas” (Devotees in the same mood of devotional service). Only then will our devotional practice will progress towards success. Our activities should be centred on our Sadhguru and all those devotees who are in the same mood of service as us. This will enrich our experience and lead us towards our goal. Serving devotees and taking up devotional service unblocks our emotional channels and slowly control is transferred from the head to the heart. When the heart takes over, sensitivity towards situations, things and people is re-established. The cleansing of the heart is enabled through service. Service rendered with a clean heart reinforces the power of the divine on the heart. The heart melts and becomes mellifluous. It is on the mirror of such a heart that the image of the divine is reflected. The vision of the Lord is directly perceivable by a devotee whose very breath has become a synonym for service. When such a practice matures, from that reflection, the divine manifests in “flesh and blood” in front of the devotee. This is God-realization.