Cultivate devotion not for its survival value but for the value it brings to survival(Gita Daily)

Published on Mar 29, 2014

Based on Bhagavad Gita Chapter 07, Text 18
By Chaitanya Charan Das

The struggle for survival characterizes the existence of all living beings — nonhuman and human. So, while evaluating whether a particular thing is worth doing, we often focus on its survival value: will it help me in my struggle for survival?

This survival-centered criterion frequently determines whether we take up the practice of devotional service. The Bhagavad-gita (07.16) acknowledges that people usually worship Krishna expecting the removal of the miseries they feel are threatening their survival (arto) or the bestowal of the wants they feel are necessary for their survival (artharthi).

Such considerations are largely self-centered and are spiritually under-informed. Still, the Gita (07.18) indicates that Krishna appreciates even this preliminary devotion. Simultaneously, he gently encourages us to rise to a higher level of devotion, as is evident in his special appreciation of those who worship him selflessly. If we reciprocate with his compassionate overtures and strive for selfless devotional service purely for his pleasure, then gradually we open ourselves to receive a much greater gift: eternal spiritual love for him.
As he encompasses and embodies everything that our heart desires (Gita 07.19: vasudevah sarvam iti), loving him satisfies our heart fully and forever.

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