True faith or bhakti, devotion or all an encompassing love of God is very difficult to achieve in real life. We generally assume that the simple act of praying, chanting bhajans will take us closer to God. But mindless or even mindful saying of prayers will take us no closer to the divine. Bhakti or devotion is something that has to be grasped by us both in body and spirit in our journey in life.
However all the really enlightened souls have clearly indicated that bhakti, faith and love are the real method to achieve liberation.
According to Christ it is an all encompassing love. Love that is beyond simple definitions. We are to love everybody else as we love ourselves and also love our enemies. To do this requires us to really rise above pettiness in life and is really an impossible task to accomplish. However we should follow this path if we want to get closer to God.
The Buddhist philosophy advocates moderation not just in action but also in thought. We cannot harm anyone even in thought. The Buddhism method of liberation is based on kindness and compassion. As human beings we are so prone to anger, hatred and envy that being tolerant and compassionate always in clearly difficult.
According to Hindu philosophy bhakti or devotion is the path to liberation. Even Sri Sankara states that the path of bhakti is superior to even the path of knowledge. However bhkati in the sense implied is a complete internalization of true values. Our love for God should be based in true principles of kindness, truth and tolerance and we should live these principles in our daily life.
The basis of bhakti or faith is that we recognise God’s signature in all things in this universe of ours and perform service to humanity as our devotion to God.
Bhakti is not just unconditional love. Any mother will have unconditional lover for her child. It is not just mere surrender to a divine power. Surrender without the accompanying right living is useless. It is all that and much more.
What is required for true bhakti or devotion is a real internalization of values of integrity, compassion, kindness and humility. Our devotion to the Supreme must be accompanied by a virtuous way of life.
Bhakti or faith in reality requires us to adopt good principles as a way of life. It is a continuous process and cannot be substituted by occasional thoughts of a divine power.