Bhava in Bhakti
God has manifested his gunas (Qualities) in innumerable ways. And it is said that the human being is his most incredible creation. So, all of us have these miraculous bodies.
To enliven ourselves to the presence of God in all things, we need to keep on decorating and enhancing our Bhava.
Bhava is the sentiment. The richness of the feelings we possess.
Devotion is the quality of the Bhava that we possess.
Nobody can say that he already has the highest Bhava. Because in Bhava, there is no limit.
There is the Bhava of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. The Jagannath Puri Temple in Odisha. There is a big temple with Jagannath, Baladeva and, Subhadra.
About 40 meters away there ia a Garuda stambha. And by the side Garuda stambha, a sone door entrance. There are the marks of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s fingers.
His authorized biographies mentioned that when he would have darshan of Jagannath. He would stand from a distance and see him. Why?
Because his sentiment was that if he goes too close, he may see a defect in the deity.
And that may affect his Bhava. So he wanted to retain his Bhava. He wanted to see them as entirely divine. So, to be on the safe side, it is better to stand from far and see. That was his Bhava towards the deities.
The story goes- One village lady came one day because it is such a famous temple. The lady came with such excitement that day the temple was crowded.
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To look at Jagannath, she came to the Garuda Stambha.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was there; she climbs on top of him. Holding his shoulders, she started looking at Jagannath.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s associates. They were very indignant. They said, “We will beat this lady and punish her.”
Prabhu Ji said, “No, no, no, observe her Bhava, observe her sentiment. She has such eagerness for darshan which even I don’t have. Observe it and derive inspiration from it.”
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So, you can derive inspiration from everything that exists. You can see the glory of God manifesting in everything that exists. That is why devotion is such an incredible journey.
Manusmriti is saying that God is neither in stone nor in wood. He is in a loving heart.
And hence worship him with that loving sentiment. The loving feeling, the Bhava can be crippled in hundreds of ways. There is no shortage of manners in which we can fall.
How do we fall? Every time we bring a Negative Bhava. Every time we see something less than we have mentally lost.
Devotion aims to change the way we see things and the way we look at things. It is Like careful gardeners; we need to cultivate the garden of devotion within slowly. We need to note the weeds and take them out. We need to register the things that cripple our Bhavas.
And under no circumstances should we ever hold anybody else responsible for our Ku-Bhava.
There was the Bhava of Namdev. Most amazing! Namdev was a saint from Maharashtra.
There is a famous story that he was sitting and eating from a plate when one dog came and took the roti (chapati) and started running away.
Namdev also absorbed in his holy samadhi that he was only thinking of his lord Krishna. So everything that is happening, he is connecting with Krishna.
He was eating Krishna Prasad, and suddenly, some entity comes.
Namdev thought that Krishna has come in the form of the dog. Now he is taking the dry roti. He ran behind with some butter.
“O Krishna in the form of this Shwan- in the form of the dog who has come. If you eat this roti, your throat will get hurt. So please wait, let me apply some butter on it.” That is the Bhava of the saints.
We must derive inspiration from that Bhava and yarn for the day when we too will have such a fantastic Bhava, and we will be absorbed in that loving remembrance of God.
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