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Varied Expressions of Bhakti: Diverse Paths Rooted in Love

Updated: 6 days ago

Bhakti, the profound and heartfelt connection to the Divine, is like an emotive appeal, an intuitive bond with the sacred. It beckons us to explore the very nature of our love. Think of it as being in love, where thoughts of your beloved occupy your mind incessantly. In Bhakti, we immerse ourselves in devotion to Ishvara, finding reassurance, comfort, and sheer delight in these thoughts.

Love for Benefits 

This is the most rudimentary form of love, where one's affection is primarily driven by the utility or benefit love provides (loving the means). For instance, loving someone because they are the gateway to a comfortable life. In this scenario, the affection stems from their wealth and status, which serve as the "means" to a luxurious existence.

Love as Purpose

In this expression of love, one adores something or someone for their intrinsic qualities, irrespective of any utility they might offer (loving the goal). It's about loving a person for who they are and appreciating their character and essence, regardless of their wealth or social standing. Here, the focus is purely on the goal, not the means.

Love for Self

This represents the zenith of love (loving the Self). It transcends the boundaries between loving others and loving oneself. When your affection for someone equals the love you hold for your own Self, it signifies the purest form of love. This love is characterized by its profound depth, unwavering consistency, and selflessness. In essence, these three forms of love exist along a spectrum of intensity, with love of means being the least profound, love of goals occupying a middle ground, and self-love emerging as the most profound and unifying form of love.

So, as we explore the multifaceted realm of love in our quest for the Divine, let us recognize that the love we offer to the sacred is a journey through these distinct forms, ultimately leading us to the pinnacle of selfless and transcendental devotion. It is through these diverse expressions of love that we embark on our path to the Divine, nurturing our inner growth, purity of emotions, and profound connection with the eternal source of love.

Explore more of Acharya Shunya's teachings on Bhakti Yoga inside of her global wisdom membership platform, The Vedic Way. You are invited to join us as a guest for a month and experience live wisdom transmissions, community sharing circles and recordings of past teachings. More information can be found here.

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