Devotion expands meditation to include emotion and action


Many people think that meditation is primarily a way to still the agitated mind. So, they think that any object such as a candle or a spot on the wall can serve as a focus for meditation.

For beginners, the Bhagavad-gita sanctions the use of such points, specifying the space between the eyebrows (05.27) and the tip of the nose (06.13). But as yogis go beyond external postures, the next verse (06.14) urges them to cultivate inner qualities such as freedom from fear and sexual desire, and commensurately endorses a more exalted focus for meditation: Krishna.

And the chapter concludes by declaring (06.47) that Krishna is the object of meditation for the topmost yogis. Significantly, these yogis meditate on him not just by passive contemplation, but by active reciprocation that includes emotion and action.

This verse points to the inclusion of emotion by using the word shraddhavan (faithful). This faith refers to the conviction that Krishna is the supreme spiritual reality – not just a tool for meditation, but also its supreme goal. Such conviction grows from the Gita revelation that he is an all-attractive, all-loving person, the fulfiller of our heart’s deepest longings for love. As emotions are an integral part of our being, devotional meditation by integrating emotion not only pacifies us but also electrifies us with transcendental emotions centered on spiritual love.

Further, the verse points to the inclusion of action by using the word bhajate (worships).

Krishna mercifully accepts worship not only through the conventional objects of worship, but also through our work (18.46). As physical activity is natural for us in our embodied state and is necessary for our bodily sustenance, devotional meditation by incorporating action makes meditation easier and more practical.

Overall, devotion by expanding meditation to include emotion and action enhances its attractiveness and effectiveness.