Saturday, February 24, 2007

how to develop and nurture love for God

To begin with just like you cannot find love, love finds you -

similairly you cannot find bhakti or love for the Lord -
finds you.

There is a beautiful verse in the Narada Bhakti Sutra

"mukhyatas tu mahat-kròpayaiva bhagavat-kròpa-lesat vaa"

Primarily, however, one develops bhakti by the mercy of great souls,
or by a small ounce of the Lord's mercy. And it goes on to say that
even the association of great souls is through the Lords mercy alone.

What will make me the recipient of the Lords mercy or Grace? My own
prior actions and deeds both in this janma as well as in prior.

What kind of deeds will help this happen?
Basic common sense ethical conduct. For the record the following are
Abhyasa or practice of continuous thinking of God;
Viveka or discrimination;
Vimoka or freedom from everything else and longing for God;
Satyam or truthfulness;
Arjavam or straightforwardness;
Kriya or doing good to others;
Kalyana or wishing well-being to all;
Daya or compassion;
Ahimsa or non-injury;
Dana or charity; and
Anavasada or cheerfulness and optimism.

Now, with what thought process can I solidify my faith...

When you cognize the world what you see around you is pure intelligence. In and through everything, there is perfection. There is a perfect order to everything in this universe. This is what makes it possible for mathematicians and physicists and other scientists to function because nothing is by chance. Every phenomenon is reproducibly precise and can me made use of to make things like rockets which fly us to the moon, electron microscopes and even atom bombs.

When everything you see is in order, you recognize that there has to

be an anuthorship to this order. There has to be a superintelligence
which is able to create this whole show - of galaxies, planets, and
on earth all the interdependent flora and fauna, animals, fishes etc
No bonds between inert elements like hydrogen and nitrogen could have written up a genetic code that is faithfully reproduced for
billions of years. Your own human body manifests infinite examples of sheer intelligence.
Once you recognize that this order has to have a creator, that recogntion is faith.
Recognizing the infallibility of the order, how it never goes wrong,
how everything is right where it should be, how our eyes are so
beautifully constructed right in the mothers womb to see things, our
ears to hear, etc then leads to a recognition of our own selves as
an intrinsic part of that order. And that recognition leads to an attitude of surrender anything and everything that happens to me
now, in the past or future is always going to be in strict accordance with that order.
This is what builds faith.
This is what builds surrender.

There are different attitudes you can use to relate to the Lord
depending on your temperament
These attitudes are of
Shanti - the lord as an abode of peace,

Dasya - an attitude of servitude,
Sakhya - Lord is my friend, and
Madhurya - Lord as a lover - in the sense of wanting to

belong him, wanting to be one with him
- there is a Lata song along
these lines -

"Agar tum ho saagar mein pyaasi nadi hoon
agar tum ho sawan main jalti kali hoon
muraliya samajhke mujhe tum utha lo
bas ek baar hothon se apni lago na
koi sur to jaage meri dhadkanon mein
ke mein apne sargam se roothi hui hoon"

This form of bhakti is
heralded as of the highest form where the only longing one has in
life is to be one with the Lord.

Bhakti can be sakaama or devotion in order to obtain things for
yourself and nishkaama which is devotion to the Lord for the sake of
devotion alone.

As Gibran puts it beautifully

"For love is sufficient unto love.
When you love you should not say, "God is in my heart,"
but rather, "I am in the heart of God."

And think not you can direct the course of love,
for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course.

Love has no other desire but to fulfill itself."

Writings or poems such as these are very inspiring and serve as
pointers to what bhakti or love for the Lord is all about.
Another favorite of mine is the genius kavi Bharat Vyas's song again
sung my Lata - I am translating for the benefit of nonHindi readers

Tum gagan ke Chandra ma ho
Mein dharaa ki dhul houn
Tum Mahasaagar ki seema
mein kinaare ki lahar
Tum Mahasangeet ke svar
mein adhoori saans hoon

Tum ho kaya mein houn saaya
Tum shhama mein bhul hoon

You are the resplendent Moon in the sky,
I am the dust on the earth

(as in awaiting your cool rays to save me from the scorching heat)
You are the limit of the Boundless ocean,
i am a small wave on the
You are the notes of the Divine Song,
I am an incomplete breath

You are the substratum
I am the shadow (!)
You are Forgiveness
"I" am the error (!)

Hope i was able to express to you some idea of what love for God is,
what faith is, and what a truly great wonder it is to have that in
ones heart!