Devotion leads to enlightenment

Devotion leads to enlightenment

By SWAMI SHANTATMANANDA | 28 November, 2015
Sri Ramakrishna would explain beautifully about the different types of devotees. He would say that according to the Vaishnava Shastras there are four types of devotees.  To explain this classification he would use a beautiful analogy. 
The first or initial level of devotees are called Pravartakas or new entrants. They have made a definite and unmistakable turn towards spiritual life breaking away from mundane or worldly life. Sri Ramakrishna would compare them to someone who is searching for the owner of the house in a dark room. The person who is searching knows that the owner is inside the particular room, but he is groping in the dark because there is no light. He would call the next grade or level of devotees as Sadhakas i.e. those who have taken to spiritual practices in an earnest manner. Again this type of devotees are compared to a person who is searching very earnestly in the dark room but has not got any clue as to where the owner was in the room. He touches the window or the door or some other object to know that it is not the owner. The third stage of devotees according to Sri Ramakrishna are called Siddhas or those who have had some spiritual experience. He compares them to the condition of the person who after groping in the dark for quite some time suddenly stumbles upon the owner. He touches him and exclaims, “Here is the owner”. The last or the highest class of devotees are called the Siddha of Siddhas by Sri Ramakrishna.  By this expression he means that the Sadhaka has had continuous and enduring spiritual experience. This class of devotees are compared to the person who had not only touched once the owner, but has had intimate talks with him. Thus Sri Ramakrishna would say that there are gradations in the path of devotion and one should take to a life of intense Sadhana and aspire for lasting spiritual enlightenment. 
 

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