The feeling of love is the most fundamental feeling of all living beings, especially the human being. This feeling is always hankering for perfection, and if that hankering for perfection remains unsatisfied it leads to an underlying frustration in live. Love approaches the level of completeness only if applied to the source of all existence, to God. And one who is really in love with God must spontaneously love everyone and everything, because all is part of Him. The process of developing this genuine love of God is generally known as bhakti-yoga, the yoga of devotion or devotional service.
Genuine love involves complete dedication to the happiness of object of love. A mother is prepared to sacrifice everything for the safety and satisfaction of her child and she serves her child with complete devotion. Great lovers like Romeo and Julia loved each other to the point of sacrificing their lives for each other, and great statesmen like Nelson Mandela or Mahatma Gandhi sacrificed everything for their kinsmen. Now, if this kind of intensive love is directed to God, it is able to transcend all barriers and come to the level of complete purity and selflessness. In this state love cannot exclude anyone or anything.
How to come to this state of pure love is vividly described in Srila Rupa Gosvami’s book Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu. Rupa Gosvami describes 64 principles of activities, attitudes and cultivations of feelings in relation to God. These are all things everyone can do in his or her daily life. They are practices that release our cravings for reciprocation of unconditional love.
The second part of the book describes the experiences and the inner life of someone who has actually entered into a loving relationship with God. A variety of its stunning features are mentioned in the book. These descriptions are sure to awaken the dormant love for God in the reader, who will then be able to relish his own, individual loving relationship with God. A summary study of Rupa Gosvami’s book is available under the title “Nectar of Devotion” by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.
Artwork courtesy of The Bhaktivedanta Book Trust International, Inc.
www.krishna.com. Used with permission.
After this, King Rahugana, ruler of the states known as Sindhu and Sauvira, was going to Kapilasrama. When the King’s chief palanquin carriers reached the banks of the River Iksumati, they needed another carrier. Therefore they began searching for someone, and by chance they came upon Jada Bharata. They considered the fact that Jada Bharata was very young and strong and had firm limbs. Like cows and asses, he was quite fit to carry loads. Thinking in this way, although the great soul Jada Bharata was unfit for such work, they nonetheless unhesitatingly forced him to carry the palanquin.
The palanquin, however, was very erratically carried by Jada Bharata due to his sense of nonviolence. Continue reading →
The essence of all spiritual teaching is to learn how to love. The Bhagavad Gita may be considered the love song of God, because it is his call for us to take the journey to him and to be blissfully united with him in love.
Learning how to love essentially involves becoming free from all selfishness. The Bhagavad Gita gradually introduces and develops the secret of love by guiding the reader through a broad range of yoga practices and visions culminating in the ultimate state of yoga, in which the souls unite with the heart of God.
The Bhagavad Gita is often regarded as the Bible of India. With a gripping story and deeply compelling message, Continue reading →
Within this extraordinary memoir, Radhanath Swami weaves a colorful tapestry of adventure, mysticism and love. Readers follow Richard Slavin from the suburbs of Chicago to the caves of the Himalayas as he transforms from young seeker to renowned spiritual guide. The Journey Home is an intimate account of the steps to self-awareness and also a penetrating glimpse into the heart of mystic traditions and the challenges that all souls must face on the road to inner harmony and a union with the Divine. Through near-death encounters, apprenticeships with advanced yogis, and years of travel along the pilgrim’s path, Radhanath Swami eventually reaches the inner sanctum of India’s mystic culture and finds the love he has been seeking. It is a tale told with rare candor, immersing the reader in a journey that is at once engaging, humorous and heartwarming.
“In the next century Yoga will be relegated to the background and the role of Bhakti will be foremost. Bhakti is faith and pure love.” In his book “The Bhakti Age” Swami Satyananda speaks about his insights regarding a revolution in the hearts of people that will be coming soon.
“Whether you are on the path of Jews, Christians, Muslims or Hindus, you will have to direct your mind to matters beyond this world. In this century God was such a subject that you could not discuss Him, but now you can. However, the subject of God should come forth in an organized manner, as a scientific principle.”
“Just as we have known about modern medicine through research, in the same way psychiatrists have conducted research on the mind and obtained knowledge of the mental waves. In that very manner, by conducting research on a devotee or bhakta of the calibre of Meera Bai, they will try to know what changes take place on the physical dimension in a person saturated with Bhakti.“ Continue reading →
Jada Bharata was a fully self-realized soul who as a child decided to keep himself aloof of society. He did not talk to anyone and remained like a deaf and dumb person. The people in the neighborhood thought of him as a crazy, dull fellow, but within he was always chanting and remembering Vasudeva, the Supreme Lord. His father’s mind was always filled with affection for him, so he tried to give him an education and purify him as a brahmana by offering him the sacred thread. Although Jada Bharata was unwilling to accept his father’s instructions, the father nonetheless instructed him in how to keep clean and how to wash, thinking that the son should be taught by the father. Continue reading →
When the Yamadutas, the order carriers of Yamaraja, the Lord of death, attempted to arrest Ajamila’s soul at the point of his death, they were forbidden to do so by four men, the Visnudutas. Perplexed, the Yamadutas inquired from the Visnudutas why they obstructed them from doing their duty.
Being thus addressed by the messengers of Yamaraja, the servants of Visnu smiled and spoke the following words in voices as deep as the sound of rumbling clouds: “If you are actually servants of Yamaraja, you must be able to explain the meaning of religious principles and the symptoms of irreligion. According to your judgement, who are the actual candidates for punishment? Are all people engaged in selfish activities punishable, or only some of them?” Continue reading →
Bhakti includes offering everything enjoyable to the Supreme. In the Bhagavad-gita the Lord says that he does eat. Because the Lord is the origin of everything that exists, eating is also present in Him:
“If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it. Whatever you do, whatever you eat, whatever you offer or give away, and whatever austerities you perform – do that, O son of Kunti, as an offering to Me.” (Bhagavad-Gita 9.26+27)
Bhakti-yoga is the art of connecting all aspects of life, important or small, with the Supreme, and thus convert material energy into spiritual energy. Through a spiritual vision the Lord can be seen directly. There is no other method to see God than through loving devotional service.