“When Krishna, the supreme joker, planted the parijata tree in the courtyard of Satyabhama, Rukmini, the daughter of King Vidarbha, became very angry, but due to her natural gentle behavior, she did not express anything. No one could understand Rukmini’s real mental condition.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 30)
Friend1: Bhakti-yoga is love and devotion, the pure kind. It is not tainted with personal desires.
Friend2: That is why you often see the qualification of “pure” devotee. There are people devoted to God. One of four categories approaches Him at first, and in every case there is some personal interest.
“O best among the Bharatas [Arjuna], four kinds of pious men render devotional service unto Me—the distressed, the desirer of wealth, the inquisitive, and he who is searching for knowledge of the Absolute.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.16)
Friend1: Among the groups, the jnanis are the best, right?
Friend1: And that is because they know things as they are. They understand the difference between matter and spirit. They know the futility of chasing after sense gratification. They acknowledge the benefits of austerity and renunciation, but they know there is something more.
Friend2: And when they find out about God the person, when they approach Shri Krishna or one of His personal expansions, if they continue to serve then it is without motive. The jnani has to stay with bhakti.
Friend1: There is the chance they won’t serve?
Friend2: Surrendering is the most difficult part. If it were so easy, the material world would not be populated to the level that it is.
Friend1: Since there is love and devotion, and the “pure devotee” aspect, it is only natural to make comparisons to amorous dealings, or at least cases where there is affection.
Friend2: Comparisons for help in understanding?
Friend1: Yes. Juxtaposing. Studying both similarities and differences.
Friend1: Here is an angle from loving affairs. You let me know if the principle carries over to bhakti.
Friend1: There is this idea that if you love someone you should let others know. Let me be more specific. You should give voice to your sentiments. Only then will it become real.
Friend2: Now, are you telling the person you love how you feel about them or is this in general, just revealing your mind to your friends and well-wishers?
Friend1: I would think the first is already a given. How can there be a subsequent relationship unless the corresponding person knows how you feel? I’m more interested in letting others know about it.
Friend2: What purpose would that serve?
Friend1: I’m not sure, exactly. Maybe it’s liberating. Maybe it helps to gain confidence in the path.
Friend2: If I am devoted to Shri Krishna, chanting the holy names on a daily basis, having abandoned material life for good, I should proclaim it to everyone?
Friend1: I’m asking you. Is that a good thing? Is concealment an option? I thought brahmanas, those practicing spiritual life as their primary occupation, are supposed to be truthful?
Friend2: They are, but it is not a requirement that a person be a brahmana in order to fully get God’s mercy. There is the example of Rukmini Devi.
Friend1: The goddess of fortune, the queen of Dvaraka?
Friend2: Yes. Here we’ll take the interaction for instruction. She wanted to marry Krishna, without ever having seen Him. Just hearing about God is enough for a pious-souled person to want to be dedicated to Him. And so her marriage was already arranged to another prince, but she did not give up hope. At the same time, she did not reveal her mind to everyone. She concealed her real feelings, sharing them only confidentially to Krishna in a letter.
Friend1: Where she also gave Him a hint as to how He could marry her.
Friend2: Exactly. What a level-head. No need to panic. No need to blow the cover, either. Everything worked out, and even later on she sometimes concealed her true feelings. Krishna subsequently married other queens, as for God there is no limit to the number of dependents He can support. One time Krishna fought and got the coveted parijata plant from the heavenly realm. He did this for queen Satyabhama, and the tree got planted in the courtyard of that palace.
Friend1: Was Rukmini jealous?
Friend2: She was, but she didn’t show it. Again, there was no purpose to be served by allowing the feelings to be known. Not sure if this answers your original question, but see how in bhakti-yoga there is variety and nuance. Concealing is a kind of dishonesty, but that is fine when there is pure love for God.
Friend1: I guess the answer would be to see how revealing or concealing would affect your bhakti. If it has a positive impact then go for it; if not then hold off.
Friend2: Sure. Be smart about things. Don’t give advantages to your enemies for no reason. And in this world enemies to sanatana-dharma there are many.
Sometimes by sentiments to sound,
To enemies ceding ground.
Pious in cases to conceal,
Only to trusted to reveal.
Like letter from Rukmini Devi to get,
Whose heart on marriage to Him set.
Devotion not necessary for all to know,
Right time and place Krishna to go.