Devotion is not Business Proposition:
The dominating theme in all holy books is cultivation of devotion. These books spell out the details of generating it through different methods. At the same time, they also indicate that devotion is not a business proposition, telling God that we must be given plenty in return. What is necessary in approaching God is that the body, the soul and all that we enjoy are His gifts and hence be used for His service. Devotion is indeed a birthright.
The Bhagavatham says that devotion should be characterised by a constant remembrance of God coupled with deep faith in His dispensation. The outstanding example was that if a child called Prahlada who remained undaunted even when tortured as he had total confidence in God’s mercy. Devotion cannot coexist with devotee and the same have been presented in an epitomised form in the Narayaneeyam.
In a discourse, Sri, R. Kothandaraman expatiating on the glory of devotion mentioned the characteristics of a devotee listed in Sivanadalahari. He should be like the seed of the rare tree (Ankola) which when bursting out of the fruit, automatically attaches itself to the root. A devotee, like a piece of iron which clings to a magnet, should never get himself separated from God. Even as a woman of chastity attends on her husband, irrespective of his idiosyncracies, whether he praises or scolds, her affection should remain the same. The next example given about the true nature of a devotee is of that of a creeper trying to climb to a nearby pole for support. His anxiety to hold on to God’s feet should be like that of the water gushing out of a reservoir when the sluices are opened.
Devotion can be cultivated by listening to the exposition of God’s pastimes and His episodes which describe how He rescued those who have taken refuge in him, by visiting temples and by chanting aloud with Divine-intoxication, discarding Shyness. God makes His presence felt where he is remembered and adored. The unfathomable love shown by the cowherd maiden towards the Divine personality – Krishna – is always cited as the acme of devotion. This made Uddhava, sent to the village to fetch Krishna to the city, feel that he should be born as a shrub in the village where Krishna lived.