If yes, how to quantify it? Is there any real devotion without sacrifice?

Suppose someone says he is really devoted, but doesnt sacrifice anything (time, money, thoughts etc) is he really devoted?

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    Bhakti is sacrifice of our identity to God. Highest form of sacrifice is that! Also what is in the world call ""Ours"" to sacrifice to God? There;s nothing we own to sacrifice to God. Commented Feb 21, 2020 at 3:40

1 Answer 1


There can be various types of Bhakti (devotion). The Gunas are three in number so Bhakti can be Tamasik, Rajasik and Sattvik to start with. And, higher than those there is Para Bhakti (supreme devotion).

Importantly, in all of these kinds, the Bhakta (devotee) is sacrificing something or the other.

See the following verses from Devi Bhagavatam, Book 7, Chapter 37:

2-10. The Devî said:--"O Chief of Mountains! There are three paths, widely known, leading to the final liberation (Moksa). These are Karma Yoga, Jñâna Yoga and Bhakti Yoga. Of these three, Bhakti Yoga is the easiest in all respects; people can do it very well without incurring any suffering to the body, and bringing the mind to a perfect concentration. This Bhakti (devotion) again is of three kinds as the Gunas are three. His Bhakti is Tâmasî who worships Me, to pain others, being filled with vanity and jealousy and anger. That Bhakti is Râjâsic, when one worships Me for one's own welfare and does not intend to do harm to others. He has got some desire or end in view, some fame or to attain some objects of enjoyments and ignorantly, and thinking himself different from Me, worships Me with greatest devotion. Again that Bhakti is Sâttvikî when anybody worships Me to purify his sins, and offers to Me the result of all his Karmas, thinking that Jîva and Îs'vara are separate and knowing that this action of his is authorized in the Vedas and therefore must be observed. This Sâttvikî Bhakti is different from the Supreme Bhakti as the worshippers think Me separate; but it leads to the Supreme Bhakti. The other two Bhaktis do not lead to Parâ Bhakti (the Supreme Bhakti or the Highest unselfish Love.)

11-20. Now hear attentively about the Parâ Bhakti that I am now describing to you. He who hears always My Glories and recites My Name and whose mind dwells always, like the incessant flow of oil, in Me Who is the receptacle of all auspicious qualities and Gunas. But he has not the least trace of any desire to get the fruits of his Karma; yea he does not want Sâmîpya, Sârsti, Sâyujya, and Sâlokya and other forms of liberations! He becomes filled with devotion for Me alone, worships Me only; knows nothing higher than to serve Me and he does not want final liberation even. He does not like to forsake this idea of Sevya (to he served) and Sevaka (servant who serves). He always meditates on Me with constant vigilance and actuated by a feeling of Supreme Devotion; he does not think himself separate from Me but rather thinks himself "that I am the Bhagavatî." He considers all the Jîvas as Myself and loves Me as he loves himself. He does not make any difference between the Jîvas and myself as he finds the same Chaitanya everywhere and mainfested in all. He does not quarrel with anybody as he has abandoned all ideas about separateness; he bows down, and worships the Chândâlas and all the Jîvas.

You can see, whether it's Tamasik or Sattvik devotion, the devotee is always worshipping, and by worshipping they are sacrificing their time (which they were free to utilize doing something else) and resources (which they were free to expend on different pleasures).

Even in the highest form of devotion, the Para Bhakti, the devotee is always thinking about Devi (which is an Upalakshana here - it can be replaced by the Ista Devata). And this is a great sacrifice of thoughts because he could have thought about so many other things.

He is also always hearing Devi's names and reciting those. Here, the organ of hearing (the ears) and that of the speech (tongue) are making great sacrifices. By doing those acts, the devotee is also sacrificing his valuable time.

So, where there is true devotion there is always sacrifice in some form or the other.

Suppose, you ask a person, who proclaims himself to be a devotee of Lord Shiva, " Will you fast and keep vigil throughout the night of Mahashivaratri?" and he replies " No, I can't do that, I can't go without food the whole day and I can not sacrifice my sleep at night" then it can be said that he is just faking devotion. A true devotee is prepared to suffer to any extent in their path of devotion.

A good example clarifying my point will that of Kannappa, a great devotee of Lord Shiva, who had gone to an extent of sacrificing his eyes in devotion.

Kannappa was a staunch devotee of Shiva and is closely associated with Srikalahasteeswara Temple.1[2] He was a hunter and is believed to had plucked his eyes to offer to Srikalahasteeswara linga, the presiding deity of Srikalahasti Temple. He is also considered one of the 63 Nayanars or holy Saivite saints, the staunch devotees of Shiva.

Therefore, the amount of sacrifice one is making can be considered as a true measure of how much devotion one has.

  • But note also that often we will find people, just to show off their wealth, organizing grand religious ceremonies. Although, here too sacrifice of wealth was involved, it may not be held as an act of true devotion.
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 23, 2020 at 10:39

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