Krishna.com needs your help. This project is maintained by donations, which have been reduced during the pandemic. Kindly consider supporting this very important service project. Click here to contribute.

Don’t all paths ultimately lead to the same destination, so it doesn't matter which one you choose?

The Vedas explain that all human endeavor, material or spiritual, falls within four categories:

  • work for personal gain in this world or the next (karma)
  • the pursuit of knowledge about ultimate reality—especially with the desire to lose one’s identity by merging into an imagined spiritual oneness (jnana)
  • attempts at spiritual awakening through physical yoga and meditation (yoga)
  • devotion to God (Bhakti)

The benefits obtained by other endeavors are inferior to love of God, because (1) the happiness we pursue in this world always eludes us, (2) unguided or misguided inquiry into the meaning or life turns out to be futile and frustrating, (3) and even mastery in yoga cannot bring us to God. He’s a person, and He responds to pure love, no other approach.

We find encouragement for each of these types of endeavor in all the religions and scriptures of the world, including the Vedas. But the highest teaching of any scripture is Bhakti, or love of God. The other paths can help elevate us, but ultimately we must attain pure love of God. Only that will fully satisfy us. And nowhere is the science of Bhakti more clearly and elaborately explained than in the scriptures of the Vedic tradition, especially Srimad-Bhagavatam.