Self-Realization Fellowship Blog

Bhagavan Krishna Answers the Question, “What Is True Devotion?”

February 05, 2024


The following is a story that was told by SRF monk Brother Kamalananda in the talk “How Devotion Reveals the Invisible God,” which was part of the weekly SRF online inspirational services series. The full talk can be viewed on the SRF Teachings Library, and excerpts from the talk were published in the 2023 issue of Self-Realization magazine.

One day Bhagavan Krishna was sitting with some of his disciples next to a river, enjoying the peace of nature. After some time one of the disciples ventured a question: “Lord Krishna, can you explain to us what true devotion is? How does a true devotee really practice devotion?”

Krishna was always interested in helping his disciples understand spiritual concepts, so he told the disciple: “Why don’t you go to the river and pick up a pebble from the riverbed and bring it to me.” The disciple obeyed, and brought a little pebble and gave it to Krishna.

“See how this pebble is wet on the outside,” Krishna said. “Now break this pebble in two.” The disciple got a big stone and broke the pebble in half.

Krishna said: “See how the pebble is bone dry on the inside even though it was wet on the outside. This is like those devotees who are coated with devotion and love for God only on the outside, and only so long as they are in a spiritual environment, in ideal conditions. Their inside has been unaffected, dry the whole time. And the moment they are removed from that spiritual environment, their devotion evaporates.”

The disciples were listening intently. Then Krishna got up and went to the river and dipped the hem of his silk shawl into the water.

He brought it back to the disciples and said: “See how these threads are completely soaked even to the point of dripping? This is how most devotees are. They are saturated with devotion, dripping with love for God. But the moment I take my shawl out of the water the wind will dry it and in some time there will be no sign of any water.

“So similarly, when these devotees are surrounded by godly activities and are in spiritual company, and meditating, praying, and worshipping, they are saturated with devotion. But the moment they are sent back into the world, their devotion evaporates.”

The disciples were trying to fathom what their guru was going to do next. A moment later, Krishna gave a lump of sugar to one of the disciples and said, “Go and throw this in the water,” which the disciple did.

Then after a minute, Krishna said, “Go and fetch it.” The disciple went and looked but the sugar had dissolved in the water and was nowhere to be found. Krishna said: “That is how a real devotee is. He or she dissolves their ego in the Lord. There is no more separation. They are one.”

Leave a comment
Irma Boyle

I love this explanation It is really difficult to do ,problems slip in.. Thank God for our beloved guru, teaching, Jai guru


Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare!
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare!🙏


Jai Guru! One of the most sublimely beautiful teaching lessons on devotion---complete and total surrender of one's little self to
the divine will of God. Take away point for me: To know God you must welcome everything. To perceive God in everything and
to behold God in all things means to treat everything as a sacrament. To attain, maintain and sustain that immutable serenity, indestructible, inexhaustible Bliss Consciousness, pure love, peace, wisdom, joy, oneness with Spirit, is the Goal of life. Jai Guru! Jai Guru! Jai Guru!

amit jaiswal

God not only explained but helped us to introspect ourselves to put into a category of devottee and to focus ourselves to be a real devottee of God.

RAM it jo Shisyamitraputra

Only Love, GOD Alone books of Di Daya Ma and Di Gyan Ma and Retreatannts Booklet GOD First is a great message of SRF YSS
Jai Guru


I love this story! It is so true, and brings joy to my heart.

T n verma

May Bhagwan Krishan eliminate my ignorance to be one with Him. Jai GURU.

Vishwajeet Jharia

May God and Guru help us achieve this state of submission and oneness , Om Amin.


beautifully explained by Lord Krishna. No other question comes to my mind after this.

Vikram Chauhan

Bhagwan Krishna very well exemplifies true love for God. A true devotee is always merged in Him (Brahman - Spirit). Since the true devotee knows that he is infact Brahman (Spirit) cloaked in the three bodies - causal, and then astral and finally physical. And when the three bodies are shed off, there is no separation between the Spirit (Brahman) and the true devotee.

Om Guru 🙏

Vladimir Koutitonsky

And yet, it is so simple, and enlightening, thank you, Master.

Maria celia Teixeira

We need to hear more frequently all these explanation about DEVOTION to be closer to GOD! To bring Krishna near us all the time!

Kamal R. Rupakheti

Krishna and Devotion !! Interesting . Thank You
My Krishna is Blue.

jayagopi jagaadeesan

The best analogy, I've ever heard of, explaining what true devotion to God is. Hare Krishna ! I prostrate at your feet.

Mercedes Perrotta

It touch my heart. I was wondering what Devotion is and now I received Lord Khrisna explanation in this story.
I realize but I am not prepare to feel it yet, I will work with supreme effort to reach it. Many thanks, Jai Guru


Deborah Faria

JAI KRISHNADEV!! Such beautiful wisdom... Reading Bhagavad Gita will change your whole life. So will studying Paramagansa Yogananda. The wisdom of India is incredible, and brings us bliss. JAI GURIJI 🕉🌹

Theodora Dare

I really love these illustrations of being devoted completely to God by Bhagavad Krishna. I pray to be completely soaked with devotion to my Heavenly Father 🙏🏾

Benares Sacred

My devotion is to surrender 100% to Divine Mother no matter her will. Her will is my will no matter outer suffering.


True devotion. Surrender yourself! I and my Father are One!!
Jai Guru! Jai Guru! Jai Guru!

RAM itSathya

Yes , Jesus said I and my FATHER are one but He also said I know not what my FATHER knows or FATHER forgive them for they know not what they do.
KRISN says I am the FATHER The MOTHER ...BG 9- 17 also Abondoning all dharmas come to ME alone I will free you from all sins do not grieve BG 18- 66.
Jai Guru.

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