Devotion for God is definitely superior to the dry-as-dust, infertile, pedantic knowledge of God acquired through book-study; for devotion means love of the highest, purest order. Devotion, indeed, is the end, while Karma, Jnyana, and Yoga are the three different approaches. In the Karma approach, the mind pays attention to meticulous performance of procedures, and the sadhaka becomes rigidly orthodox, with scant regard to the essence, namely, God. The advocate of Yoga has to try to control the mind and its tendencies. This produces a vacancy of mind which may be devoid of love for God.
In the approach through knowledge, the emphasis is on the consideration of the subtle distinction between the spiritual and the non-spiritual. Such consideration calls for a keenly intellectual approach which may be beyond the scope of many persons. Besides, maya, the enveloping ignorance, is so potent a force that there is no knowing when a person may unwarily be misled, and become a prey to pride, because he is most likely to be entrenched in his set of opinions and convictions. The person versed in the shastras conceives creation as the activity of maya; that is, as unsubstantial. Since the Elemental Reality is all-pervading, and since creation is part of that Reality, argues the devotee, creation is but the sportive activity of the Elemental Reality. Therefore, he sees it as an expression of its prowess, Its personality, Its irrepressible, ebullient bliss. Creation is basically identical with what it is created from. All the various forms that we see in nature are made of what we may term the Original Element or Reality, just as different earthen pots are made by a potter from the same original clay. We identify them by different names according to their sizes and shapes, such as cups, saucers, jugs and pitchers. Similarly, the same God can be given different appellations according to the forms and deeds viewed by different persons. These eventually become traditional. Whatever the names used the qualities, the forms and the deeds ascribed are the manifestations of the same God. It is the name, that raises the idea of form. The forms may eventually cease to be visible, but the name, that remains for ever. Nama thus transcends space and time. It is therefore truer than apparent forms. To recognize this Ultimate Truth is the purpose of spiritual quest.
* * * * *