Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!
The Narada Bhakti Sutra is our guide for a while… the nature of Love (with the capital 'ell') and a full exploration of it. As always, you are encouraged to seek out the full text from Chinmaya Publications (links in side-bar); but for those who prefer e-readers, this version is recommended. Whilst awareness and interest can be raised by these posts on AV-blog, they cannot substitute for a thorough reading and contemplation...and practice!
Sri Narada continues;
(this Supreme Love called Devotion is) of the nature of immortality also.
It was important for the teacher to add this line, so that seekers of moksha understood that bhakti is one of the paths to the ultimate goal. We currently live in a life where ever-changing circumstances are considered 'the norm'. The equipment of experience (our indriyas) and the objects which constitute the field of experience are both finite and, in their constant flux, the individuality in us - as the experiencer - is consequently also in a perpetual state of change. These disturbances constitute the pain of mortality, the source of sorrow in life.
By giving this extra line of description, the seeker is encouraged at the possibility of something truly worth the working for. The next sutra makes the promise personal to the seeker.
यल्ल्ब्ध्वा पुमान् सिद्धो भवति
अमृतो भवति तृप्तो भवति
Yallabdhvaa pumaan siddho bhavati, amRto bhavati tRpto bhavati.
Having gained this Supreme Devotion, the devotee attains perfection and immortality and becomes extremely satisfied.
In utter devotion, when an individual lifts all his or her identification from the realm of change into the contemplation of the Changeless, the constant agitations cease - and, therefore, the sense of mortality also. This constant experience of the Changeless Infinitude brings equipoise to life and, for the true devotee, the 'state of immortality'. Through the divinely passionate love for the Lord, when the devotee turns their entire attention towards the Supreme, the realm of finite changes is felt no more and there is only the Immortal Nature of the Infinite Bliss.
Here, Narada-ji says that such a fortunate one who attains this perfection is to be considered 'siddha'. This is not to be confused with having magic powers (as can often be misconstrued in Indian culture). Certainly there are powers which might come along as one progresses through the higher stages of saadhana (as described in the Yogashaastra); but that is not what is being referred here. In fact, the eight great powers are considered to be 'hounds at the heels' of the true devotee and whilst they may be present, the seeker of worth will make little or no use of them. Love is its own fulfilment. Gaining this, the devotee requires nothing else. Life may continue, but now it is one of contentment, peace, and without the bondage to the world of objects which existed before. Even if living in starvation and penury; the true devotee of the Lord lives inwardly a rich, happy and joyous life.
यत्प्राप्य न किञ-चिद्वाञ-छति न शोचति
न द्वेष्टि न रमते नोत्साही भवति
Yatpraapya na kinchit vanchati na shochati, na dveshti na ramate notsaahii bhavati.
Having attained which, he cares for nothing, never grieves, never hates, never delights and he finds no urge or enthusiasm for sense-enjoyment.
Thus the teacher confirms that the successful bhakta truly frees themselves from the shackles of mundane living. The world of sensuality holds no attraction that is greater than that of Pure Devotion in The Lord. When attaining this, the bhakta has no fear of losing anything, nor desire to obtain what is not already held. Everything that happens in life now is surrendered to the Lord, accepted as prasaadam from the Lord, understood as the will of the Lord.
Grief is the feeling that comes when the already held perishes or is lost from possession. With a bhakta, such attachment has been dropped willingly and no new attachments which can cause this form of sorrow are created.
There is no hatred or hardness in the core of the bhakta's being, for s/he is lost in the softeness of the Divine and nothing can replace that.
Neither is the bhakta inclined to excessive expressions of delight in the field of objects. If at all there is joy expressed, it is only for the Love Divine.
To a true bhakta, all happenings are unimportant and of little significance compared to the Love in which the bhakta resides. Things will come, things will go; joys arrive, sorrow also, that is the way of life. They may prick, but very little, in the heart of the Joy-Filled bhakta. Now, the mind so fully focused, it has no place else to go but to Love. It finds Love in everything. It is for the reason that the Lord is sometimes referred to as चित्त चोर /chitta chor - the thief of hearts!