Govindan Narayanan swamy, Namaskaram.
our starting point can be any stage – aarti, jignasu, arthaarthi or jnani. We may be one who is going to God because of some suffering, or because we want some material benediction, or out of curiosity, or because we have already understood the greatness of God to some extent. Whatever stage we are, whatever our approach is, as long as we approach Him He takes charge and makes appropriate arrangement for us to progress in devotion from that stage to teh stage of exclusive devotion (eka-bhakthi) to Him.
Of the 4 categories mentioned above, the 4th category is considered to be most dear.
In the exclusive-devotion stage, we don’t go to Perumal because we want some blessings. We go to Perumal because He is Perumal and I am His devotee. There is no expectation of receiving something from Him.
Please hear and study Bhagavad Gita chapter 7 for further understanding.
as a side point I would like to add that this section and chapter 12 clearly shows that there are different stages in the development of devotion. Perumal is equal to everyone (samoham sarva bhutesu; na dveshyoasti na priyah). So He reciprocates in proportion to our commitment to devotion. Therefore it is NOT correct to argue “devotion is devotion, how can there be something called pure devotion. Alwaar’s bhakthi and my bhakthi are the same. You accept alwaar-acharya’s commentry why don’t you accept my interpretation of sastra” Such thinking will be an hindrance to our progress.