Higher Teachings of Sri Swamiji

Bhakti Bhava

Bhakti is faith and pure love, it is an expression of bhavana, deep inner feeling from the heart towards God. The basis of bhakti is the heart, emotion. To experience bhakti, however, you must redirect your emotions from the inauspicious to the auspicious. Bhakti in its full form is present within each one of us, but it is turned towards worldly affairs. It is directed towards attachment and material love, enmity, jealousy and desire. This feeling is the same bhavana a child has for his mother, or a husband for his wife, or one friend for another. Bhavana is an energy flow. You do not have to be taught how to develop your feelings because they already exist. You only have to learn how to channel them.

Bhakti is an all pervading essence in all beings. The feeling for God is bhakti, the feeling for one’s enemy is revenge, for one’s beloved it is passion, for one’s child affection, for one’s friend friendship, and for money it is greed. Just as you have a deep feeling of terror, passion or enmity, in the same way, there is a deep feeling of true love for God. Instead of directing your emotions towards fear, anger and hatred, you have to direct them towards God.

Bhakti is the ultimate point of fusion, when you split the atom and explode the nucleus. Bhakti is not external worship where you go to a temple or a church, say prayers, offer flowers and do pooja. In bhakti you have to develop the feelings, not the intellect or reason. A time comes when your life must be steered by positive feelings. When these feelings come into play, God takes a form. He is seen, He begins to speak. Whether it is Ganesha, Rama, Krishna, Kali or Shiva, no deity can be understood through the head. This is my experience. Once my heart took over, even a stone turned into a talking god engulfed in light. Love and bhakti can move mountains. Love is very powerful. Therefore, rely on your heart, on your bhakti, not on your brain. Focus all your feelings and attachments now flowing in different directions towards God. Gather your emotions together from all other relationships and direct them to God.

God is the centre of the universe. He can only be seen through the eyes of the heart. The heart is free from selfishness; it is the source of sacrifice and selflessness. You express your feelings through the heart. Love, devotion, hatred, jealousy, fear, passion, sacrifice and anger are feelings. You feel them; you do not see them. Similarly you cannot see God. God has to be felt. Feeling makes you like a child, it is always pure. Childlike devotion is necessary for bhakti.

What is feeling? When you feel anxious and worried, you think about the same difficulty all the time. There is constant awareness. This awareness is in everyone. Bhavana is fully developed in every being. That is why you hate and why you love. The intellect is discerning, but bhavana is blind. A girl and boy fall in love. Each thinks the other is the only one in the world. Bhavana here is a limited concept. The flow of thoughts and feelings is limited to the object of emotion.

Bhavana is inward, not outward. You have to streamline your bhavana. Instead of directing it towards fear, anger and hatred, direct it towards God. When you can love Him as you would love your boyfriend or girlfriend, then God will be there. He will come immediately. Once you have begun to feel God in your heart, you will be the happiest person in the world. The only person who is happy in this life is the one who thinks of God, who lives in God, for whom the subject matter of life is God. In front is light, behind is light, to the right is light, to the left is light, everywhere is light.