Scriptures and sacred texts speak of four kinds of mukti/liberation — salokya, living in the same world as God, sarupya, having a form similar to that of God, samipya, living near God and sayujya attaining union with Him. Apart from the last one which implies oneness with God, the others indicate the willingness and joy of the individual soul to remain engaged in devotional service to the Lord at all times, even after getting liberated.

In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna tells Arjuna that four kinds of people, who, because of their past virtuous deeds, worship Him. In a lecture, Srimati Rukmini Ramamurthy drew attention to the Lord’s predilection for the pure devotee who is constantly in communion with Him and has single-minded devotion to Him over the other seekers — the ones who are in sorrow and facing problems in life, the seekers of knowledge, those desirous of wealth and prosperity. Though all these seekers are noble and praiseworthy, the Jnani or the realised soul who understands the eternal Truth of the Almighty and seeks refuge in this highest goal is rare for this realisation is not easily attained.

The Bhakti described in the Bhagavata Purana celebrates this devotional service to the Lord. The devotee does not wish to gain anything from God. All material desires — wealth, family, status, popularity, etc., are renounced for the highest goal of being able to serve the Lord at all times.

When Prahlada was offered material benefits, he declined them saying that all material prosperity is doomed to come to naught at some point of time. They are insignificant in comparison with the aspiration to serve God.

Hanuman is a devotee par excellence. He is a realised soul and takes the opportunity to serve the divine couple. He is truly humble and understands that he owes his remarkable abilities to the Lord’s grace. When Rama offered him any boon that he cared for, he asked to live in this world for as long as the world spoke of Rama’s greatness. A pure devotee does not desire any material or spiritual prosperity.

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