Published on October 24th, 2021 | by HDG A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada | Full size image1
Spontaneous Love of Godhead [1944 BTG Article]
Bhakti means spontaneous loving service. When a servant renders service to his master in consideration of monetary exchange, it is no loving service neither this hired service can come within the category of Bhakti.
When a friend renders service to a fellow friend in consideration of obligation or in expectation of reward or as a matter of gratitude, it is no longer spontaneous loving service and therefore cannot be called “Bhakti”. When a father loves his son in expectation of future reward or self satisfaction or a son loves his father in consideration of gain or gratitude, it is no longer a spontaneous loving service and it is out of the operation of “Bhakti“. Similarly when a wife loves her husband with a view to the inflated pocket of the husband or a husband loves the skin and complexion of his wife or in consideration of duty towards each other, it is no longer a spontaneous loving service. During our stay in the material world we have to maintain a relation between a material thing and its owner; between a master and a servant; between a friend and a friend between a father or a mother and a child or between a husband and a wife or such similar extended relation between man to man, man to beast or man to nature and none of these categories of different relations can be termed as “Bhakti“. No relation within this mundane affair is possible without a motive behind it and even though apparently we may meet some relativities without any motive behind them, by deep analysis it will be possible to see behind them some sort of motive, may be in a lower or higher degree. As such “Bhakti” or spontaneous loving service cannot be applied to any object within the world of three dimension but it is a thing which is absolute monopoly of the Personality of Godhead.
When there is a question of service, there is automatically the acceptance of one who is served and also a servant. The Master or the Almighty Godhead being omnipresent, His service or His servants are also omnipresent and as such “Bhakti” is also omnipresent. Omnipresent as the Personality of Godhead is “Bhakti” is a term which is transcendental to all mundane ideas of service with its ineffectiveness or inebrieties. The service of the mundane world has its selfishness, insufficiency, and ineffectiveness but “Bhakti” is completely different from all such mundane ideas. “Bhakti” is self-sufficient eternal and independent. Nothing is helpful for attainment of “Bhakti” and nothing is determinative for discharge of “Bhakti“. She is herself the means and herself the end, in her pure state.
This “Bhakti” which is applicable to Godhead only is unalloyed devotion without any desire for reward. Service of Godhead with a view to gain something is not unalloyed “Bhakti“. It is quite possible that the devotee while within the modes of material nature, will as a matter of course, perform his services to Godhead with some form or other desire. These desires are divided into the modes of darkness, passion and goodness. Service of Godhead, with a desire of envy, pride, enmity, anger etc. which are the products of differentiation, is alloyed “Bhakti” in the mode of darkness. The example of such mixture of “Bhakti” in the mode of darkness, is set by those who offer prayers to Godhead for the annihilation of their enemies. Godhead need not be prayed specifically for the annihilation of one’s enemies, for even though there is no prayer for such specific purpose, Godhead is always with his pure devotee to protect him from the hands of the enemies. The Personality of Godhead declares most emphatically in the Bhagwat Geeta that His devotee is never vanquished in all circumstances. Admixture of “Bhakti” in the modes of passion is evident when one renders service to Godhead with a view to accumulate wealth, fame and name which are the products of the modes of passion. And an admixture of “Bhakti” in the modes of goodness is found when one renders service to Godhead as a matter of duty towards the Supreme. But pure “Bhakti” is transcendental to all such material modes of goodness, passion or darkness. This “Bhakti” is a spontaneous response to a call of transcendental service. A tinged apparent spontaneous love is visible amongst the younger section of man and woman. A young man as soon as meets a young woman, spontaneously desires from his heart to associate with the young woman and in the same way the young woman’s heart also desires the association of the young man with equal promptness and inclination. Apart from the genuineness of this lusty desires of the young man and the young woman, as set forth above, the promptness, natural inclination and the mode of spontaneity when awakened for the transcendental service of Godhead without personal gain whatsoever–are but genuine signs of love of Godhead, which springs up from pure spiritual plane as opposed to mental or physical actions. “Bhakti” when devoid of all mental and physical actions, is called unalloyed. She is unalloyed in the sense that she has not the slightest tinge of the modes of goodness, passion or darkness as these modes are limited within the spheres of mental and physical plane. Such unalloyed devotion free from the tinges of all designations of mental and physical plane, when engaged in the transcendental service of Sree Krishna the Personality of Godhead with a view to satisfy His senses only, is called pure “Bhakti“. According to Kaviraj Goswami, the author of Chaitanya Charitamrita, the symptoms of unalloyed devotion are as follows. There can be no desire except a determination to make progress in (transcendental realisation of) the devotion of Godhead. There is no other worship than that of the Personality of Godhead neither there is any desire to worship the Impersonal feature of Godhead such as “Brahman” or “Paramatma”. There can be no tendency for knowing for the sake of knowledge nor for working for the sake of fruitive results. Freed from all these, when one tries to take no more than what he requires for the sake of livelihood and for the culture of transcendental service of Godhead with heart and soul–it is called pure unalloyed devotion “Bhakti“.
Such pure “Bhakti” is undying and ever increasing as opposed to material dying lust. Material lust which wrongly passes as love is satiable and dying.
We have examples of thousand and one cases of divorce of so called love affairs after the satiation of physical lust, but spiritual love of Godhead is never satiated. On the contrary, such unalloyed love of Godhead increases the spiritual propensity without a pause for a moment. These are some of the acid tests of spiritual love of Godhead and a devotee must be always on his guard against an undue analogy of material lust and spiritual love. There is a gulf of difference between the two.
By attainment of this transcendental love of Godhead, one becomes perfect immortal and satisfied of all material hankerings. Perfection, satisfaction or immortality are never achieved by a method which is itself imperfect, mortal and insufficient. There can not be any experiment with the Absolute Truth. The Absolute Truth has to be attained first by the Absolute method and then only absolute perfection immortality and satisfaction are attained. Vivid example of such completeness is Dhruba Moharaj. He began his penance with the purpose of material gain but at the end of penance and meditation when he met the Absolute Personality of Godhead, he saw himself completely satisfied of all his material hankerings. When the Personality of Godhead wanted to reward him with whatever he might desire, he declined to have anything as he thought that there was nothing valuable than the Personality of Godhead’s presence before him which was never to be attained even by severest penances of many many ages. He felt himself to have got the most valuable jewel while he was searching after an insignificant stone. So by the attainment of the Absolute Truth, no one desires for anything but the Absolute only. The Absolute method for attaining such stage is to rouse the latent spontaneous love of Godhead, known as loving service “Bhakti” which is also Absolute.
By attainment of “Bhakti” or loving service of Godhead, the devotee–
- Does not wish for any other engagement.
- Does not fear from anything.
- Does not envy any object.
- Does not enjoy sensually.
- Does not endeavour for anything mundane.
A pure devotee or transcendental servitor of the Personality of Godhead having rejected himself completely under the direction of Godhead, has no other engagement whatsoever. Therefore his attainments, gain or loss are never to be considered as the results of his own works but they are all the awards of the Personality of Godhead. It is not to be considered that only he who works most diligently for his own benefit enjoys all pleasures in this world and the devotee as he simply engages himself in the transcendental service of Godhead–suffers from all sorts of material wants. The devotee having fully engaged himself in the service of Godhead, naturally thinks of Him in every moment of his life and whatever he does for the maintenance of the body and soul together are always done with a view to the transcendental service. Godhead rewards such sincere devotees sufficiently even materially and protects His devotee from all encounters. Such is the mission of the Personality of Godhead in the Bhagbat Gita (9-22).
Ananya chintayanto mam jo jana paryupasate.
Tesam nityavijuktanam jogakshemam bahami aham.
The Personality of Godhead takes pleasure in maintaining and subsidizing His devotees as an ordinary man takes pleasure in maintaining his family even at a personal sacrifice. It is not that the pure devotee wants anything from the Personality of Godhead but the Personality of Godhead Himself out of His own accord looks after the necessities of His pure devotee and protects everything belonging to such devotee. Outwardly it may seem that the activities of a pure devotee is similar to the activities of an ordinary man but there is a gulf of difference between the two class of activities. The devotee’s activities are performed automatically being inspired by the Personality of Godhead while the activities of an ordinary man is done dictated by centralised or extended personal aims. The special benefit of the devotee is that his gains for such inspired activities are all but the Grace of the Almighty Godhead but the gains of an ordinary worker, however great, are the results of his own activities. Grace of Godhead is a source of permanent and transcendental pleasure and gains by personal endeavours are temporary transient and reactionary in the modes of nature. The former is liberation while the later is bondage. The devotee by the Grace of Godhead approaches nearer to the kingdom of Godhead and ordinary worker in due course glides down again in the field of material activities bound up by the modes of nature. The Personality of Godhead although remains neutral and silent in respect of all activities of conditioned soul, he derives pleasure in rewarding His devotees in these activities of unalloyed transcendental service for the Personality of Godhead. In this respect there is no offense on the part of the devotee because he does not want anything for his own benefit but it is the Personality of Godhead who takes pleasure in rewarding the devotee.
A pure devotee is not afraid of anything. In all circumstances he keeps himself fit and steady. According to Sreemad Bhagbat fear of a conditioned soul is due to his intimate association with the material nature the external separated energy of the Personality of Godhead. The conditioned soul thinks always perversely due to his forgetfulness of Godhead, and therefore there is always an anxiety as to what is going to happen next moment. But the devotee is always fearless because he knows well that nothing can happen without the sanction of Godhead directly or indirectly and as such everything that comes from Him is considered by the devotee as His grace. Even in the most reverse position he (the devotee) stands without any fear and accepts all odds as His blessings in different forms. Pralhad Moharaj was put to many such odds even by his father Hiranya Kasipu but Pralhadmoharaj stood all such tests with firmness and without fear. The devotees who are always absorbed in the service of Narayana the Lord is never afraid of anything whatsoever. He looks equally on both the hell and the heaven.
A pure devotee has no object to envy. In the Bhagwat Gita it is stated that prior to ones attaining the plane of devotional service, one has to make himself identified with the quality of Brahman the Supreme, when such liberated soul becomes ever cheerful. He has at that time nothing to lament for neither anything to envy.
Brahmabhuta Prasanna atma na sochati na kankshati:
Sama Sarbesu bhutesu mad bhakti lavate param.
Na prahinshyat priyam prapya nodbijet prapya chapriayam.
Sthirabuddhi assammodha Brahmabid Brahmani sthitha.
Jam hi na byathaeneta purusham Purusarsava
Samadukham sukham dheera sa amritatataya Kalpate.
(To be continued).
BTG Vol 1 Part 2 Oct 1944
His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada