What is bhakti?

Bhakti is love. Love is of two types: when you love the transitory things of life it is mundane love, and when your mind goes after the things which are permanent that is called divine love. When your mind runs after the transitory things it is called desire and passion and when the mind is searching for something very permanent, something of an abiding nature, then it is known as divine love. Divine love is bhakti.

How to become one with God?

I have said in my life, “God’s Will will be done.” Anyone can become an instrument, so I prefer to become an instrument. If you are to become God’s instrument, then you have to make yourself empty, just like the flute. Only if you make yourself empty, you can play. Otherwise it is not possible.

If I have to become an instrument, then I have to be completely different. Whatever happens to me, let it happen. Even if I had cancer I would not fight, I would accept it. If I get diabetes I would not fight, I would accept it. For me, the choice is grace. I have to make a choice between grace and health. Therefore I have always kept very good health.

It is difficult to surrender to God, very difficult. It is a technique, it is a very difficult technique and it is always in my mind. The more I can illuminate myself, the more the grace will flow and the little ‘I’ must go. Then the big ‘I’ will dwell in me. For many years, I am aware of it all the time. Many times I am not able to see the way. I understand it, on the mental plane I am very clear, but it is not a mental business, it is experience. You understand? It is not to imagine that I am a lotus; I have to become a lotus. It is not to imagine I surrender, but to know how to surrender.

Even if you prostrate, it is not surrender. You have to say, ‘His Will be done.’ Well, today God has put me in the best position. Supposing everything goes away, how will I feel then? I will be very happy and ask God, ‘Please do not take away many disciples’. You see, how does a person who has surrendered to God feel and experience? Today the disciples love me, devotees like me, I get respect, honour. Supposing everybody despises me and says ‘Oh this Swami is a bad man, kick him! Kick him!’ What will I feel then?

When good times are with you, then you think it is God’s grace. When bad days are there, then we say ‘This is my destiny.’ Why is that not also the grace of God? You see, ananda, bliss, dukkha, grief, both must be viewed equally by one who has become one with God. Therefore we must say, “God be with us, take away every fear, take away my children, take away my wife and husband, take away my property, take away all that is with me, my choice is You.” That has to come as the last point in life.

How can I channel my love day by day towards you in daily life?

You can’t force love. Love is a spontaneous manifestation of mental purity. The better you clean the mirror the better your face will reflect in it. You don’t have to polish your face, you have to polish the mirror. In the same way, bhakti is a quality of the inner man. Passion is a quality of the outer man and attachment is a quality of the lower man. Attachment to passion and devotion are made of the same stuff. If bhakti or love has to be expressed then the easiest way is to look within yourself.

You water the plant and the flowers bloom. When the flowers bloom then they waft fragrance. Bhakti is the fragrance, and your inner spirit is the flower, and mind is the plant. Spiritual practices and satsang are like watering the plant. Just as you protect the plant from the moths and pests, in the same way the mind should be protected from the negative influences of life and mind. Maya is very powerful, it lives with man all the time and eats away his plant very, very slowly, so a man does not realize it until the plant is completely eaten away. In my opinion the greatest achievement of a man in his life is bhakti.

19 May 1980, Barcelona, Spain