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In India, there is a common notion amongst the intellectuals that…………

  • Bhakti yoga is meant for sentimentalists, children, women who cannot think, but who are only fit for clapping hands and doing some bhajans.
  • Jnana yoga is meant for intellectuals, thinkers and those who have reasoning power. Jnana yoga is superior to Bhakti yoga.
  • Impersonal understanding of God is all-inclusive because one may accept any form of god like Ganesh, Siva, Durga, Rama, Visnu etc ultimately all paths lead to same goal.
  • Murti puja, Deity worship is idol worship; there is no need to go to Temple of god. God is everywhere and in everything.  We can see god in the smile of a poor man; we can see god in social service; we can see god in our Work. There is no need to go to Temple to see god.
  • Ashtanga yogis who get Ashta-siddhis, eight mystic perfections are great heroes. Compared to them, the bhaktas who have no such mystic powers are simply singers and chanters of some mantra.

Srimad Bhagavatam nullifies all such bogus arguments as above by presenting pastimes such as these –

  • Kumaras, who were impersonalists before, smelling Tulsi fragrance from Lord Visnu’s lotus feet, became personalist devotees of Lord Visnu and gave up their impersonal conceptions
  • Shukadeva Goswami, who was a brahma jnani at birth, became a great pure devotee of Krishna hearing the verses of SB from woodcutters, who were disciples of Srila Vyasadeva
  • Mystic yogi Durvasa had to flee for life from Sudarshan chakra, after offending King Ambarisha and at last had to fall flat at the feet of King Ambarish to save his life

In our preaching, we could quote these instances to prove the following :

Personalist devotees never turn into impersonalists; on the other hand, impersonalists become personalists when they get association of Lord or His devotees.  Thus Personal understanding of God is the ultimate understanding that surpasses all other realisations of God.

Paths of Jnana, Yoga, Karma – are not independent; they depend on Bhakti yoga, for achieving their results such as Liberation, Mystic powers or fruitive results etc.

Although one who has experienced Brahmananda may shun material enjoyment, still Brahmananda is nothing more than a drop in the ocean of Bhaktyananda, the spiritual bliss arising from devotional service to Lord.

The following article is an answer to the Open Book Exam (Canto 3.15-33), by Radheyshyam Dasa, to the question: “The 4 Kumäras transformed from impersonal to personal conception. How does this incident help you in preaching?”

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