One has to become a devotee in the true sense of term. A true devotee is sincere to the core. Of course, one can pretend to be a devotee, putting marks on one’s body such as tilakam, chandanam, and vibhuti. But these do not matter to the Lord; a true devotee of God is one who is selfless and self sacrificing.
Bhakti is a relationship formed in the mind between oneself and God. Through Bhakti our mind learns to become subordinate to the object of devotion. In worldly life, our ego does not want to submit to anyone. Rather, it wants to take the driver’s seat. It wants to dominate, manipulate and exploit others. On other hand, in bhakti our ego learns to humble itself, by taking the back seat and submitting to God. It learns to keep its likes (raga) and dislikes (dvesha) aside, and fill the mind with holy thoughts.
We all have emotions. If we do not direct these emotions towards God, we will direct them towards the family and friends. Bhakti is directing our emotions towards God. It is depending on God instead of others.
Swami Visharadananda is a monk of the dashanami tradition. He lives and teaches at Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Mahavidyapith, Prashanti Kutiram, near Jigani Industrial Area,
Source – Vedanta Kesari, August 2010