Article by Kundali Dasa
Is Bhakti a Science?
How Does Bhakti Propose to do What Conventional Science Can Only Infer?
The texts on bhakti say,
“Just as by repeated applications of a medical ointment a condition affecting the eye can be cleared away, so by repeated practice of the bhakti principles, the heart or the consciousness, can be cleansed.”
In effect, bhakti purifies the senses, and the reasoning faculty, and makes them fit to penetrate the construct reality. To cast that another way, bhakti dismantles our construct reality, and allows us to perceive the truth by direct perception.
Thus, a devotee may see God, while an ordinary person may see the same figure, but the devotee sees God as God, and the ordinary person sees a figure, which he does not recognize, as God. To see God, having eyes is not enough; bhakti is required. An owl has eyes, yet it cannot see the sun, but others can. In the same way, one devoid of bhakti cannot see God. Therefore, one who has duly cultivated bhakti eventually arrives at the mature stage wherein his senses are purified, his reason and his entire consciousness become wholly transformed, and he comes face to face with the truth, with pure reality.
This reality is no longer a construct. Rather, that truth which always eludes the grasp of conventional science, comes within the grasp of the devotee, the practitioner of bhakti.
The procedure bhakti requires is unique, but it is no less reasonable than the process whereby one gets a master’s degree in engineering. In the university, one has a course of study, and practical application, and when one proves oneself competent in the required curriculum, one gets the degree, which is the confirmation of one’s mature accomplishment in the field.
Therefore, while bhakti is a subjective experience, it is still a science in the conventional sense, for it gives a systematic set of laws, and a fixed technique, whereby the predicted outcome can be achieved. It meets the criteria of conventional science, yielding true and evident cognition, as distinct from opinion and probable belief. Therefore, the first of the two questions posed earlier has been answered.