“A wise man wanting nirvana without worship of Ramachandra is like an animal missing a horn or a tail.” (Dohavali, 138)
रामचंद्र के भजन बिनु जो चह पद निर्बान।
ग्यानवंत अपि सो नर पसु बिनु पूँछ बिषान।।
rāmacandra kē bhajana binu jō caha pada nirbāna.
gyānavanta api sō nara pasu binu pūm̐cha biṣāna..
1. It is interesting
“The entire presentation. The core philosophy. The appeal towards intellect instead of emotion. Any person can say anything. Any person can assign savior status to a particular figure and then insist that others worship. Anyone who disagrees, who declines the polite invitation, would fall into the category of sinner. They are condemned forever, you see. No chance at redemption, once this life completes.
“The bhagavata presentation makes more sense; at least to me. I admit that it is a little difficult to follow. So many terms. So many concepts; some of them contradictory. Still, I look forward to experiencing more. I feel like I am always learning, in attempting the recommendation of devotional service, bhakti-yoga.”
2. It keeps me off the streets
“What else would I be doing? I mean that. You see these elderly people sitting at home, playing board games. They really are ‘bored’ games, if you know what I mean. Nothing else to do. The life of work and responsibility is over.
“Is that the best they can do, though? Is that the reward for working hard? At least bhakti-yoga keeps me engaged. I think I would otherwise get into trouble. I would fall in with the wrong crowd. I don’t want to go the way of addiction and intoxication. At least I am safe within the devotional space, for as long as I keep a healthy distance from these fraudulent spiritual leaders.”
3. It appears to be the proper punishment
“I have done so many bad things in my life. You would cringe at the mere thought. I am just lucky that most people seem to have forgotten. There isn’t a digital record, to be permanently plastered across the ether, for others to consult at any moment.
“We have moved on, except I still remember. I think following the four regulative principles of spiritual life, rising early in the morning, chanting prayers, offering prasadam, reading books, and the like is proper punishment for the horrible things I have done. Let me continue in this way until I feel sufficiently restored.”
येषां त्व् अन्त-गतं पापं
भजन्ते मां दृढ-व्रताः
yeṣāṁ tv anta-gataṁ pāpaṁ
bhajante māṁ dṛḍha-vratāḥ
“Persons who have acted piously in previous lives and in this life, whose sinful actions are completely eradicated and who are freed from the duality of delusion, engage themselves in My service with determination.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 7.28)
4. It is the way towards liberation
“I follow bhakti-yoga because it is the way towards liberation. Goswami Tulsidas explains that the jnanavanta looks for the final end, nirvana, but without devotion to the lotus feet of Shri Hari, it is like an animal missing a tail or a horn.
“I am not saying liberation will be easy. I am not saying that I am necessarily advanced. I just know that there is no other way. I don’t want to suffer rebirth again. I would hate to have to go to school, to deal with the influence of maya, to be tossed around here and there. At least with bhakti-yoga there is a chance at escape.”
5. It is the only way to repay the kindness shown to me
“I feel that I am the most blessed. I don’t just think; I know that the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the goddess of fortune have favored me the most. Perhaps they know how fallen I am. They are well aware of my ineptitude in areas of material advancement. They know that I have nothing else to give.
“Whatever the case, I will never stop in bhakti-yoga. I don’t even look at it as a separate endeavor. It is the only way of life for me. Nothing else has taste. There is nothing else to be gained. If Bhagavan Himself asked me to stop, I wouldn’t. I will glorify Him to the best of my ability, for as long as I possibly can.”
So low sky only to see,
But most merciful to me.
That into bhakti process tumbled,
And this opportunity not fumbled.
Considering now the only way,
For immense favor to repay.
That Sita-Rama the beginning and end,
In worship forever to extend.