Honesty is a quality in a person’s nature.
If a person is honest, they are honest at home, and honest at work as well. Whether as a husband or a wife, they are honest towards their spouse.
Wherever they go, honesty just shines through their character naturally.
The same goes for Bhakti (devotion) as well. A devotee of God is also devoted to the nation, and to the creation. Their love and devotion is reflected in every sphere of life.
If one is devoted to their nation that does not mean that they are enemies of another nation. We have understood patriotism from a very narrow perspective. Nowadays, you will be considered a patriot if you speak against Pakistan. This is not right. Your feelings of patriotism need not oppose or put down any other country.
Often people question that how can a devotee of God be a devotee of the nation, or be patriotic as well. I tell you, for sure one can be.
If one is devoted to their nation that does not mean that they are enemies of another nation or other nations. We have understood patriotism from a very narrow perspective.
Generally, how do we express our patriotism? By opposing or having enmity with another country we express our patriotism towards our own country.
During the days of the British rule in India, you were considered patriotic if you stood up against the British. Nowadays, you will be considered a patriot if you speak against Pakistan. This is not right.
Your feelings of patriotism need not oppose or put down any other country.
If you see in America, those who call themselves patriots are simply patriots devoted towards their country alone. They are not opposed to any other country.
So, a patriot, or one who is devoted to his own country, is also devoted to the entire world; to the entire creation.
Those who are devoted to the Vishwatma (Universal soul), feel no conflict between their devotion for God, and their devotion towards their country.
See, when you look after, and nurture your own family, that does not mean that you are an enemy to the other people around. You care for others around you as well, and love them as you love your own family, is it not?
If a mother loves her own children very much, she can also have love for the other children in the neighborhood. It is not that if she has affection for her own children, she cannot have affection for the other children as well. Then that is not love; that is not devotion.
Devotion is such that no matter where it is, it spreads its fragrance all around; like a flower.
See, if you take this flower, no matter where you keep it, it spreads its fragrance everywhere. Whether you keep a Jasmine flower in the kitchen, or in your bathroom, it will give out its fragrance.
A flower will not discriminate saying that I shall spread fragrance here, but not there.
In the same way, wherever you place or direct your devotion, it will spread there; it will bear fruits and blossom more and more.
So you can have devotion and dedication towards your job as well.
A renowned Kannada saint once said, ‘Kayakave Kailasa’, which means that, one who does his karma (action) well, finds Kailasa (the abode of bliss).
This has also been said in Sanskrit in many scriptures.
So, true Pooja (worship) is the Service of the masses. There is no distinction between Pooja and Seva. Why? Because the basis or source of both is devotion, and the end result is also devotion.
The same goes for the Ahankaara (Ego) as well. Wherever you direct your ego it gets attached to that very thing. It acquires the form of that very object.
If you direct your ego towards the Brahman, then you will attain the state of Aham Brahmasmi (‘Aham’ means ‘I’, personifying the small limited ego here, and ‘Brahmasmi’ means ‘am the Brahman’. Hence identifying one Self with the Brahman that pervades all of Creation, dissolves the Ego).
A patriot, or one who is devoted to his country, and is also devoted to the entire world; to the entire creation. Devotion is such that no matter where it is, it spreads its fragrance all around; like a flower.
When you attach your ego to small and trivial things, then it identifies itself to these small things and becomes narrow and limited like the objects themselves. It gives you a feeling of ‘I am something’; ‘I am a minister’; or ‘I am a sinner’; or ‘I am a very holy soul’; ‘I am intelligent’; ‘I am foolish’, etc. Wherever you direct or attach your ego that is what will grow in abundance and bear fruit.
So, just as ego is capable of growing in abundance, devotion is also capable of growing in abundance.
This has also been said in the Yoga Vidhya (principles of Yoga).
It is said, ’Tasya bhumishu viniyogah’ – (Vibhuti Pada #6, Patanjali Yoga Sutras)
The Yoga-siddhis (extraordinary miraculous abilities gained as a result of Yoga), and the heightened awareness or consciousness that one acquires through regular practice of Yoga should be channeled towards different activities that are beneficial to the Earth and society.