bhakti karo koyi bhi govinda radhe
rupadhyana mana se pratham karva de
No matter what type of devotion you perform, rupadhyana must be first and foremost.
Veda Vyasa concludes (Bhagavatam 2.2.34) that amongst all, smaran bhakti is the foremost kind of all devotional processes, bhagavan brahm kartsnyenatriranvikshya . . . "Brahma, the creator of the universe, himself impartially scrutinized the Vedas thrice with deep concentration. He arrived at the conclusion that the most efficient means of spiritual evolution is loving meditation on God."
Meditation means absorption of the mind. Therefore, it is the mind that should engage in devotional practice. When you engage your hands in performing ritualistic worship to God or saintly souls, God does not take note. You look at the Deities of God with your eyes, or use your legs to carry you to holy places and Saints, or listen to scriptural discourses with your ears. None of this is classified as devotion. It is only when you attach your mind to God or you love Him wholeheartedly with your mind focused on Him alone that it is called devotion. You don't have to say Rama or Shyam even once. If you fully engage your mind lovingly in God, He will appear before you. But chanting the names of God mechanically with your tongue will bear no fruit.
Most of the time I engage you in sankirtan bhakti. You chant the sweet names of God and sing the glories of His forms, pastimes, abodes and devotees [Saints]. Along with sankirtan, rupadhyana (smaran bhakti) is a must. Rupadhyana means visualisation of God's divine form. bahu janma kare yadi . . . (Sri Chaitanya-charitamrita: Adi-lila, 8.16) Gauranga Mahaprabhu says that merely chanting the names of God is not enough. You may chant for countless lifetimes, but that chanting is ineffective unless it is done along with loving meditation on God. First begin meditating on God, then start chanting the holy name or reciting it using beads or doing something else. Meditation on God is first and foremost.
To be continued . . .
An English translation of a discourse delivered in Hindi by:
Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj
18 June 2007
© Radha Govinda Samiti