12.20 – Devotion is the switch that activates our dormant virtues
Just by turning on a small switch we can activate a big car. If a small manmade switch can have so much power, then how much more power might a God-made switch have?
We ourselves are probably the toughest thing to activate. All of us can think of several virtues that we can and should develop. Sadly though, an inner inertia seems to stop us.
Is there any switch by which we can activate ourselves?
Gita wisdom explains that there is indeed: the God-made switch of devotion.
The Bhagavad-gita (12.20) states that one who has faith in the process of devotion is extremely dear to Krishna. The commentators explain that this faith fosters all the other virtues that characterize a devotee, as enlisted in the preceding verses of the same chapter (12.13-12.19). Let’s understand how this happens.
Krishna is the reservoir of all virtues. As we all are his parts, his virtues are present in us. But they are now dormant, being buried under lifetimes of material conditionings. Contact with Krishna through devotion is the switch that activates them. Devotion gives us access to Krishna’s supreme power, which enables us to overcome all our conditionings and unearths our virtues.
Doesn’t our internal inertia obstruct us in cultivating devotion too? Yes it definitely does. But the energy needed to overcome that inertia is far lesser than that required to independently cultivate all other qualities, just as the energy needed to press the ignition switch is far lesser than that needed to push the whole car.
Moreover, when we cultivate remembrance of Krishna, we get an extraordinary inner happiness that makes us long for more and thereby gives us a powerful inner boost.
By thus focusing our self-improvement efforts on increasing our devotion to Krishna, we can usher all-round self-improvement.
Those who follow this imperishable path of devotional service and who completely engage themselves with faith, making Me the supreme goal, are very, very dear to Me.