Srimad Bhagvata Mahapurana: Book 3: Chapter 25: Verses 17-33
With a mind equipped with true knowledge and dispassion as well as with Devotion, the Jiva (individual soul) then perceives the Self as one (without a second), undifferentiated, self-effulgent, subtle, indivisible, unattached and beyond Prakrti (Matter), and Prakrti as reduced in strength. For striving souls there is no blissful road to God-Realization like Devotion directed towards the Lord, who is the Soul of the universe. The wise consider attachment as an unyielding fetter for the soul. The same, however, serves as an open door to liberation, when it is directed towards saints. Saints are forbearing, compassionate and composed; they are friendly to all living beings and inimical to none and follow the injunctions of the Sastras. Their good disposition itself serves as an ornament to them. With an undivided heart they practise unflinching devotion to Me; and for My sake they abandon even their obligatory duties and forsake their kinsmen and relatives. Nay, they listen to and narrate delightful stories relating to Me, their mind ever set on Me. Afflictions of various kinds, therefore, never torment such people. Such are holy men, free from all attachment, O virtuous lady. Attachment to such holy men must be sought for by you; for they counteract the pernicious effects of attachment. Through the fellowship of saints one gets to hear My stories, leading to a correct and full knowledge of My glory and pleasing to the heart as well as to the ear. By hearing such stories one is sure to develop one after another reverence and fondness for and Devotion to the Lord, whose realization is preceded by the cessation of ignorance. Developing distaste for the pleasures of sense, belonging to this world as well as to the next, through Devotion engendered by contemplation on My pastimes connected with the creation, 'preservation and dissolution of the universe, the man who enjoys the fellowship of saints will diligently and devoutly strive to subdue his mind through easy processes of Yoga (Devotion). Through renunciation of the material objects of sense, through wisdom supplemented by dispassion, through Yoga (concentration of mind) and through Devotion directed towards Me, man attains to Me, the Self of all embodied souls, in that very life. Devahuti said : What kind of Devotion is worth developing towards You, and what is the type fit to be practised by me, through which I may easily and immediately attain to Your Being, a synonym for Liberation? (28) What is the character of the Yoga (discipline) referred to by You, 0 Embodiment of supreme bliss, as a direct means to God-Perception (like an arrow which goes straight to its target) as well as to the realization of Truth; and how many are the processes supplementary to the same? Kindly explain all this to me in such a way that I, a dull-witted woman, O Hari, may understand the difficult process with ease by Your grace. Maitreya resumed : Having thus learnt the object of His mother (Devahuti) through whom He had appeared in a human semblance, Lord Kapila was filled with affection for her and expounded the system of philosophy which teaches the fundamental principles (such as Prakrti, Purusa and so on) and which they call Sankhya, as well as the elaborate course of Devotion and Yoga (the process of meditation and the other methods of mind-control). The Lord said : Motiveless devotion to the Lord may be defined as the natural inclination-towards the Lord, who is an embodiment of Sattva (goodness)-of the senses of a man of undivided mind, which are the only means of perceiving the objects, as well as of his organs of action, which are engaged in activities enjoined by the Vedas. Devotion (as defined above) is superior to final beatitude itself in that it speedily dissolves the subtle body even as the gastric fire digests the food that is devoured.