A child does not know what is respect and how to pay respect. His parents and other superiors in the family teach him about good manners etc. Slowly the child learns and as he grows up he starts paying respect to the superiors. In other words, as he acquires more and more knowledge, he corrects himself and becomes more and more refined. Similarly true devotion does not come unless one acquires knowledge about God. The more a man realizes the greatness of God, the more he gets convinced about his own limitations. He gets devoted and starts surrendering himself to God, which culminates in love and the final union with God. It is Jnana that leads us to Bhava. At that stage, devotion becomes firm. The stage of Mahabhava comes thereafter.
Mahabhava is a stage of pure love and bliss. The devotee loves God or Atman (self) which culminates in unconditional self-surrender or identity with God. That is a state of immergence with the Supreme Reality. Without knowledge, how can such firmness in devotion and love be possible? Many people assert themselves to be devotees without knowing what Bhakti is.
Desireless devotion is the true devotion. This is what Bhagavad Gita teaches. He who cannot beg any thing of Him reaches Him. He, who begs, gets only the desired objects, instead of getting Him." (Amrit Bindu-54)
When Bhakti becomes conditional, that is, only to get something in a barter, that cannot be called true Bhakti. In order to have desireless devotion, one should be blessed with true knowledge. Without desireless devotion and service, divine ecstasy and love will remain unattained. Desireless action will remain only in words. It is evident therefore that knowledge is the basis on which Karma, Bhakti and Love rest. Knowledge also forms the essence of Karma, Bhakti and Love.
The children say that there is God. The matured men say that there is God. The sages also say that there is God. But their depth of knowledge is different. There is gradation of knowledge. A realized soul certainly knows much more about the existence of God than an ordinary man knows. Some people turn out to be disbelievers because they do not possess adequate knowledge about God. How can one believe something, which he does not know? The disbelievers will automatically turn to be believers if they come to a particular level of knowledge about God.
Most of the people only know how to survive. By this level of knowledge, they are even unable to maintain their gross bodies properly. Those, who possess still higher knowledge, know how to get peace and happiness in the society they live in. This level of knowledge is also not very common which is evident from the fact that there are frequent occurrences of lawlessness, indiscipline, groupism and narrowness which are opposite to peace and happiness. War, terrorism, racialism, communalism, parochialism and deceitful diplomacies that threaten the annihilation of mankind and multiply the miseries of the people rend this world where we live in. It is essential that the knowledge or awareness that can bring us peace and happiness should be acquired. Our intellect yearns for peace, happiness and bliss. Our conscience craves for freedom but we never try to acquire that knowledge which can bring us freedom.
Our mind oscillates. So do we. We are swayed away by our soaring and swinging mind. We find ourselves in wavering mental states or mercurial moods but casually cherish for freedom. In such stirred states, woven by lust, greed and desires, how can steadiness, tranquility and equanimity prevail!
Mind has therefore to be elevated to the state of buddhi or intellect. Buddhi has to be elevated to the state of vivek (conscience) and vivek to the highest plane of consciousness, where there is only pure bliss.
We normally conceive God as some one with a conch and lotus etc in His hands. Such a personal Godhead being a product of our imagination is not Brahman. He, who is the cause of our speech, is Brahman. Brahman is not He whom the mind contemplates as such. He, who energizes or makes our mind function, is Brahmaa, the personal Godhead. We, out of our imagination, give some shape and treat the same as God. But it is nothing but the effects of our ignorance.
Brahman is all-pervasive. He is in all of us. He is there even in particles and pebbles. The Upanishads say that the visible universe is only His one step. There are three other steps that are invisible. We do not know even the first step. But still we imagine something as God. It is nothing but the play of our mind. When we do not know the other three steps, which are invisible, how can we have full and comprehensive knowledge about Brahman? In order to know the true nature of Brahman, all the four steps must be realized. Then only we can know something about Brahman. There are so called devotees who waste their time and energy in internal wrangling among themselves caused by their varying imagination about God. Some assert that Lord Vishnu is great. Some others assert that Lord Shiva is great. But all these constitute first step only. During deluge, say upanishadic texts, Brahmaa, Vishnu, Maheswar and all other deities will disappear. All of them will be merged with the Supreme Self. Supreme Self is a subject of fourth state (it is not any particular state but an all-comprehensive and all-embracing state) which is transcendental existence.
Whatever is discussed above is not related to the religious faith of any particular sect or community. It is the subject matter of Sanatan Dharma. It is universally and eternally applicable to all human beings as well as to the total existence. It is immaterial to which sect one belongs. It is immaterial what religion one professes. It is immaterial what belief or disbelief one harbours in one’s mind.
Some worship idols in their conventional manners and remain complacent with it. Some others observe rituals occasionally and that too, in a mechanical way without trying to reason out the same. Some pay their obeisance to the formless God. All these practicants are incomplete in their approach. While one group restricts itself to worshipping forms, the other despises idol worship and tries to assert its superiority by worshipping the formless. They are ignorant of the True self of God. He, who knows His forms as well as His formlessness, knows something about God. Without proper knowledge and divine vision, it is impossible to have a total knowledge about God. It is knowledge only, which has got the potency of unraveling the truth.
Lord Jesus preached about Love. But people do not yet properly comprehend the true concept of love. If people could understand what true love is, then the world would have been on its way to peace and happiness. Where is the possibility of war or wrangling among various divisive forces if love is properly understood, appreciated and upheld? How can there be terrorist attacks and savage killings if people know what is love? How can there be perpetration of atrocities or violent massacres if true love reigns and binds us all into unity?
Dibya Darshan says that mere infatuation is, more often than not, misconstrued as love. Many get emotionally attracted towards particular doctrines, outward appearances and a few get attracted towards inner qualities. Sometimes lust is mistaken for love. True love lies in the union of Atman where there is neither the question of outward appearance or quality. True love is unconditional self-surrender. Lust, on the other hand, is momentary and conditional. When conditions change lust gets converted into hatred. True love comes only on the advent of true knowledge. True knowledge enables one to envision the homogeneous essence that forms the background of all the apparent heterogeneous objects in the forms of minerals, flora and fauna.
It is ignorance and consequently narrow vision that create all differences or heterogeneity. Love becomes fragmented, partitioned or self-centred as a result of which, it loses its essential quality of broadness. In the process hatred raises its ugly hood.
Love is in fact the highest grace of God towards which all spiritual practices are directed. It is on the advent of true knowledge that the equal vision comes. Apparent inequalities and diversities, which are only the mental concepts, disappear. Mind itself is apparent, not real. God endows this equal vision to man as the best and the most sought after reward for all his tapas. That vision is the true vision. That knowledge is the true and pure knowledge never contaminated by the sense of multiplicity. That love is the highest and purest experience without any parallel. It is without any contradiction or clash. Dibya Darshan teaches, "Know yourself. Know all. Know the one i.e. Supreme. Without this end in view, karma is not true karma, Bhakti is not true Bhakti and jnana is not true jnana."