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Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI – Verse 54

But by single-hearted devotion alone I can be known in this manner, O Arjuna; and perceived in reality and also entered into, O scourge of foes. (Bhagavad Gita Chapter XI –Verse 54).

Great is the reward of bhakti. But it must be single-hearted. The devotee must always seek Bhagavan, must always be filled with love and devotion for Him and for none else. To the bhakta there is but one reality, one love, one aspiration, and that is to love Bhagavan and to be with Him. He sees naught else, hears naught else. He is intoxicated with the love of God. Wherever he looks, wherever he goes, he recognizes Krishna.

Should we really hate those who are so near to us, with whom we are so closely united, to whom we owe so much? That cannot be. No. It means a transformation of our love, an ennobling of our love. Attachment is not the highest love. It binds. And that kind of love we must replace by true love, the love that makes us free. We must give up binding attachment, but we must cultivate the love of the Spirit, the love of the God in our father and mother and children. He who loves God, loves all. Where is there room for hatred when the heart is filled with love? That is bhakti, to love with a deeper love. Not to love because you are father or mother of the child, but because God dwells in the child. Not to love father or mother because there is that blood relation, but because God dwells in the father and the mother. That is the grand vision of spiritual equality that embraces all. That is the brotherhood that raises everything.

And remember, this does not mean hating everyone else and being in love with ourselves. No, we must hate ourselves as well. Can anyone hate himself? No, but we must hate or be unattached to our little egotistical self, and then we must love our divine Self. We must gradually draw away from the manifestation, the unreal, and approach the Real, the Spirit in man. That is genuine love. That is unchangeable, undying love. Then the universal vision becomes possible. Then God will be seen as He is, the soul of all things. With that vision the bhakta enters, as it were, into Him who is the Spirit. He obtains union with the Spirit; his spirit mingles with the universal Spirit – and that is liberation.

Freedom is the goal; freedom from bondage, from ignorance, from delusion, from attachment, from desires. God is the fulfillment of all desire.

And now comes the final question. How should that bhakti, that devotion, be directed? How should it be applied? How should it express itself? The next and last verse of this chapter is an answer to these questions.