Datta maata 8: What is pure, selfless devotion?

There are few people who renovate dilapidated temples. They feel proud that they could bring life to the ruined and neglected temples. They think that they have satiated the hunger of hundreds of people by feeding them. Even those who do great charities, think in this manner. They say that they have brought back life to that temple, this temple, so on and so forth. Such people always want others to know that the credit of doing such noble tasks goes to them. You can tell about the meritorious deeds undertaken but being freed of the doer-ship is most important. Getting the feeling that “I have not done anything” is very rare. If that kind of feeling is absent, then all the noble tasks and charities will only become pompous shows. All these people compete with others regarding the charities and renovation of temples they undertake. Though this kind of competition is a bad trait, it will benefit the world to some extent but utilising the thing at hand fruitfully is the real talent. Our elders have advised us to use such competitive spirit for the benefit of the self. In this context, we have to remember an incident from Sri Krishna’s life history.

One day, Sree Krishna was suffering from severe stomach ache. There was no relief from the pain at all. He himself told a remedy that by drinking the pāda-thērtha (water obtained by washing the feet) of his devotees will reduce the pain. But, no one turned up because by giving their pāda-thērtha, they will become sinful and will have to go to hell. Radha got to know the news of Sree Krishna’s suffering. Without a second thought, she gave her pāda-thērtha dismissing the thought that she would have to go to hell for doing so. Even without drinking the thērtha, Sree Krishna’s pain vanished. Everybody understood the value of Radha’s devotion and expressed great joy.

To understand this secret, one must know the definition of Bhakti (devotion). Devotion is not a plan meant for one’s own selfish motives like self-satisfaction, self-development and reaching heaven or attaining liberation. Devotion is a flow of love for Paramatma (God) which is devoid of any traces of selfishness. Radha Devi is an embodiment of such devotion. Hence, we must compete ourselves with her in devotion. Here, competition is not possible but we must develop selflessness like her. We must give up the feeling of doer-ship by cultivating the feeling of complete self surrender coupled with devotion. Nobody gave their pāda-thērtha because they thought they will accrue sin but Radha did only because she wanted Sree Krishna to be relieved of the ache. Similarly, when renovation of temples are taken up with a feeling that it would be useful to the society, then alone it would be really beneficial. Everything will go in vain if the same noble activity is done with a sense of “I” ness. This is the key to develop immense devotion in us.

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