“As watering the root of a tree immediately distributes water to every part of the tree, so an offering made to Krishna, or any action done for Krishna, is to be considered the highest welfare work for everyone, because the benefit of such an offering is distributed throughout the creation. Love for Krishna becomes distributed to all living entities.” (Krishna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Vol 2, Ch 26)
Friend1: Would you say there are pure devotees in this world?
Friend2: What is your definition? Someone may have no idea to what you are referring.
Friend1: Well, there are devotees. Specifically, followers of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Believers in God, but extending beyond the general parameter of fear and respect.
Friend1: Going above neutrality. People who want to remember the Supreme Lord. They want to serve Him.
Friend1: The “pure” qualifier gets appropriately applied when there is a complete lack of outside motivation. No desire for material gain.
Friend2: Such as, “God, please help me out this one time. I will never ask for anything again.”
Friend1: They are not asking for anything. They don’t want money or the lack of it. They don’t want good health or bad. They are fine in whatever condition the higher forces place them in.
Friend2: Then what is their relationship like? Do they not offer prayers?
Friend1: They surely do, but the objective is to be able to continue in service. Essentially, they are not asking for themselves.
Friend2: I see.
Friend1: What is your opinion, then? Would you say there are pure devotees in this world?
Friend2: I hope you realize that a paramahamsa, the supreme swan in terms of spiritual practice, views every person but themselves as a pure devotee.
Friend1: You are certainly in that category.
Friend2: I am not, but the mindset is out there. To answer your question, of course there are pure devotees in this world. They may not be prominent. They may not be known by everyone. They could be confined to a room in the home for years, never visiting a temple or making a public display of their devotion. Yet in consciousness they are fixed in a connection, yoga.
Friend1: Now that we have established the fact, I thought of a possible contradiction in the teachings of bhakti-yoga.
Friend1: One of the justifications given for bypassing worship of the devas, the gods in the heavenly region, is that the process is unnecessary. Simply by worshiping the top person, Bhagavan, everything else is satisfied.
Friend2: Absolutely. Look at Prahlada Maharaja. He worshiped Vishnu since birth. He was a devotee of the pure variety you describe. The father, on the other hand, had worshiped the deva named Brahma, who happens to be the creator. There were significant boons resulting from that worship. The relationship ceased once the exchange in goods and services took place.
Friend1: And in the end it was Prahlada who had the more valuable link. Prahlada survived and thrived, while Hiranyakashipu eventually came crashing down to earth.
Friend2: Precisely. The inaugural Govardhana Puja is another case. If you trust in the personal side of God, who is also known as Krishna, then you have nothing to worry about.
Friend1: Okay, I’ve heard the comparison to watering the root of the tree. You can try to take care of the individual branches and leaves, but through the root you automatically satisfy the entire tree.
Friend2: Yes. That is a befitting analogy.
Friend1: Couldn’t someone use that as justification for bypassing worshiping of Krishna, then?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: If there are pure devotees in this world, as you acknowledged, then why do I need to do anything? Krishna is obviously satisfied by their work. That means everything else is accounted for. Nothing needed from me.
Friend2: There is some truth to that.
Friend1: Really? You’re saying that none of us need to connect in yoga?
Friend2: I am not saying that.
Friend2: The Supreme Lord is atmarama. This means “satisfied in the self.” He does not rely on anyone’s prayers or well-wishes. At the same time, He is so benevolent that He gives so many opportunities to connect with Him, which will do so much good for a person.
Friend1: Okay, but if just one pure devotee is satisfying Him, why is additional worship necessary?
Friend2: The world will go on without you or me. That is already known. The animals don’t know about God or religion. They cannot offer prayers, and yet they get enough food to eat. The idea is that watering the root will satisfy every necessity at the personal level. You don’t need to endeavor specifically for this requirement and that. Go straight to the source and see how happy you will be. Everything in your world, which can be simple and small or complicated and extended, will be taken care of. The right result will take place, especially at the time of death.
Even in my limited sight,
Every outcome made right.
Better watering when,
Root of tree branches than.
So straight to Krishna to go,
Who best interests to know.
Otherwise time only wasting,
In illusory happiness chasing.