What exactly is devotion? When three types of thoughts – Love (prema), respect (aadhara), and faith (shraddha) combine, it results in bhakti – devotion. When true abiding and unconditional bhakti arises in a person, he or she attains true peace and contentment – the goal of life. Even in ordinary love, when we think about or meet the person we love, we experience some peace and happiness. Then what about supreme love for the Supreme Lord through which man attains lasting peace and bliss! Hence bhakti is the goal.
Now, let us see how devotion is the means. Pure love for the Lord can only arise in a pure mind. Presently our love for the Lord is polluted with many attachments, likes and dislikes. Love is the best means to purify the mind. It is said that karma yoga purifies the mind. Karma yoga is the dedication of all actions done as selfless service at the altar of the Lord; it is the attitude of love and dedication, which purifies. Therefore, bhakti(love) alone purifies. Hence it is a means.
Also, the pursuit of Self-Knowledge is only possible when we have love(bhakti) for it. On Self–realization, we experience our oneness with all beings, which results in love for all. Hence the path of Knowledge too has love as its means and goal.
The Tulsi Ramayana says saadhana saadhaya raama paga nehe. Both the means and the goal are love for the Lord on the path of bhakti. Chanting His name with devotion is one of the easiest methods of achieving this. In fact, the devotee immersed in bhakti gets much more than liberation. The Lord Himself becomes his servant. Instances from the life of Sri Krishna when He willingly drove Arjuna’s chariot, and allowed Himself to be tied up by Yashoda’s love, are undeniable proof of the Lord’s love for his devotee!