What Is Bhakti?

Updated: Jun 4

"There is only one happiness in this life, to love and to be loved."

Love is one of the words we use most and understand least. The problem is that there are many kinds of love. Some love lasts a few days, some lasts a lifetime, and some lasts forever. Most lovers aspire for the latter, but in vain.


Love between bodies is bound to be temporary because the lovers’ bodies are temporary. Ah, but what about the soul? Will the lovers not meet in the eternal spiritual world and there enjoy deathless love?


Bhakti involves three things: the lover (the individual soul), the beloved (the Supreme Soul), and the loving relationship (bhakti). In bhakti, all three are eternal.


Bhakti means “devotional service.” Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it. Driven by affection for his wife and children, a family man works day and night. A philanthropist works in the same way for love of the greater family, and a nationalist for the cause of his country and countrymen. That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder, and the nationalist is called rasa, or a kind of mellow (relationship) whose taste is very sweet.


The basic principle of the living condition is that we have a general propensity to love someone. No one can live without loving someone else. This propensity is present in every living being. Even an animal like a tiger has this loving propensity at least in a dormant stage, and it is certainly present in human beings. The missing point, however, is where to repose our love so that everyone can become happy. At the present moment the human society teaches one to love his country or family or his personal self, but there is no information where to repose the loving propensity so that everyone can become happy. That missing point is Krishna.


~ Excerpts from Bhakti: The Art of Eternal Love by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada


Yours in seva,

RD


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