Life springs from love - the origin is love and life seeks love. The goal of life is also love and, in between, life is sustained by love. There is not a single creature or living entity on this planet that has not known love or is devoid of love. Yet, love in its many distortions has brought so much misery in life.
Love is known as three different flavours
love towards companion and
respect - appreciation
If we are made up of a substance called love, then why don’t we experience it? Why is there so much misery? If love is everywhere in creation, why is there a seeking for love? Why do we seek love? When these questions start bothering the human mind, then one’s spiritual journey has begun. What is love? The Rishi Narada brought out these Bhakti Sutras - aphorisms on love.
In the first Sutra he says : Athato - Now, let me enunciate what is ‘Bhakti’, what is devotion.
Athato bhaktim vyakhyasyamah : What is that love which is devoid of imperfection? What is that love which crowns all other love? What is that love which contains all other love? Such love, such a pinnacle of love, is called devotion and I will enunciate it. What is that love? The most difficult thing to do is to describe feelings - any feeling for that matter. It is not easy to put feelings into words or to make someone understand intellectually what the feeling is. It is a humongous task.
Narada ventured - as only Narada can venture. One who has lived that devotion alone can venture into describing it. In the first Sutra Narada says, Athato - “Now let me enunciate what is love.” One who has not been a seeker, one who has not understood life in its various facets, cannot grasp what Narada is saying. First that urge has to come - “I want to know a love that is free from misery, free from attachment, free from entanglement, free from all sorts of hooks.”
When that deep urge has begun, then the Master, the Rishi, the Muni can speak - can say words, which go directly into the heart of the person. For such a seeker, Narada says, “Now let me enunciate Bhakti, devotion.”
The word, ‘Narada’ itself is so beautiful. It is the spoke that joins the circumference to the centre. One who holds you towards the centre is Narada. Often love makes you uncentred, it throws you off-balance, it makes you emotionally and physically weak. Though love is the greatest strength on this planet, without wisdom, the same love makes you weak, absolutely weak, isn’t it so? Narada - one who holds you to the centre, yet makes your life rise to the pinnacle of love. He says :
Satvasmin param prem rupa : Devotion is ultimate love, the pinnacle of love in Him, in That. Often love turns into hatred, anger, sour feelings. But the love to the Divinity does not. The next Sutra goes : Amrit swarupa cha
It is immortal, undying, because it is unconditional - it is not attached to some strings. When you love somebody, you don’t care what they do with you, how they behave with you. You simply love them. Even in the case of the child and the mother, you have had many such examples where the children are not so kind, but the mother is always kind.
You know, I heard about an instance in a train at a railway station, where a son had an argument with the mother, an elderly lady, and he really beat her up. She was all bruised, but when the police came to catch the son, she said, “No no, don’t do anything to my son.” She prevents the police from taking action on her son, who has been very brutal. Getting angry she says, “Never mind, he’s my son.” The police is trying to discipline her son, but she doesn’t want that to happen.
Love is unconditional. Such unconditional love is amrit swarupa - undying, immortal, it makes you immortal. It is not that one day you fall in love and the next day you fall out of love.
Devotion is not that. It stays deep inside, even if you don’t feel it everyday on a day-to-day basis.
Often people feel devotion one day and they start repeating all those exercises so that they can feel it again, but it doesn’t happen. But it remains, it is undying. Once someone tastes the pinnacle of love, they can never forget it, they can never leave it. So that love is undying.
This commentary is from the book Narada Bhakti Sutras by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar www.artoflivingshop.com