The generation of the twenty-first century will belong to the bhakti yoga culture. Bhakti is your inner relationship with God, directing your mind and emotions to God. The twentieth century was a culture of indulgence, a utilitarian consumer culture. The inner values of a civilization are responsible for its prosperity or downfall. In the twentieth century, the inner values of our culture have been destroyed. Now people realize that politics and materialism are not the way to individual or world peace.
Yoga was responsible for weaning people away from the material to the transcendental world, for ushering in a spiritual awakening. Now people will be more and more inspired to adopt the path of bhakti. Throughout history, whenever instability, political injustice and disharmony have increased, bhakti has been revived. During any transition period, society experiences a social vacuum, and people begin to reject it. This is happening in the West where people are turning towards spirituality.
Bhakti will be the science of the twenty-first century. Scientists will change their focus from research into matter to investigating feelings, emotions, devotion and bhakti, and their effects on the chemistry, behaviour and experience of the human body and mind. Emotions are far more powerful and meaningful than matter. Faith and trust are the basis of bhakti. You cannot see them, but their effects can be felt on the body, because they are emotional qualities. You can know the cause through the effect.
Scientists say there is energy within matter. We say that beyond energy is consciousness, beyond consciousness is the soul and beyond the soul is divinity. The ultimate essence of matter is God, and matter is the manifestation of divinity. We are all manifestations of divinity. Scientists will not investigate the soul, the spirit, atma, because they say it does not exist, but they can certainly research the influence of bhakti on the human personality. Only in bhakti yoga can the human mind stabilize itself easily. Once scientists begin to reflect on this, spiritual science will be reborn.
Bhakti brings about a transformation in awareness, like a chemical change. It causes a metamorphosis in one’s thoughts, actions and mind as well as in reactions and lifestyle. These changes can be seen and experienced. Those who reached the ultimate stage of bhakti, like Mirabai, Kabir and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, have told us that bhakti is divine energy, transcendental love. It is not the ordinary emotion of love. When your mind is fully submerged in something, it becomes one with that object. When you turn your love towards God, the mind begins to lose itself in God, and the chasm between the devotee and God begins to narrow.
The industrial revolution was a gift from the scientists and the bhakti revolution will also be their gift. The time will come for redefining bhakti as a part of our personal lives and as a means of redemption from pain. If you were to search for an individual cure for all the problems in the human mind, consciousness and psyche, it would take a lifetime. However, bhakti is a common cure for them all. Just as we have been successful in establishing contact with outer space, in the same way we will work to discover the many facets that comprise man’s complex and extraordinary mind and behaviour patterns.
The subject of God has to be brought forth very systematically and scientifically, not as someone mysterious. Realized saints and scientists will have to join hands to do this work. The preliminary groundwork for these enquiries and discussions on God and bhakti will be done by people who have realized divinity in their own lives. The twentieth century did not have many people with the capacity to inspire others to lead a divine life. Many preachers spoke about God, but unless God is in you and works through you that is not enough. God-realized saints and scientists will have to work together. Only saints and scientists or rishis can propagate bhakti and dharma. They alone can see beyond matter and dissect it to its smallest principle.
Whether you are on the Jewish, Christian, Muslim or Hindu path, you will have to direct your mind to matters beyond this world. Try to inspire your children to take a new direction. In Kali Yuga, the present age, there are two main sadhanas – singing God’s name and helping others. Sing kirtans and bhajans, associate with sadhus and saints, read the lives of great saints. Try to draw their inspiration into your life. Give some time to serving God. You have served your children and parents, but you have not served your soul, which has always been your protector and your witness.
Bhakti is the path, God is the destiny and you and I are the travelers. I spent years believing that God was without name or form, but my views changed because I have been convinced by my personal experience, aparokshanubhuti. Something transcendental has to come as a focus for the mind. People have developed their emotions during the present era and now these feelings have to be redirected or streamlined. Bhakti is not just a philosophy, or a religion, but a science which can transform your very roots, your thinking pattern and basic tendencies. It is a force which will influence our civilization, culture and relationships in the new millennium.