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!
Chapter Five, Section One. This part of the text seeks to describe the Love Divine. That about which much can be said - yet none of it reach the whole.
Anirvachaniiyam premasvaruupam ||51||
The nature of Devotion is indescribable, undefinable;
Like the taste enjoyed by the dumb.
Once a seeker has embarked upon the path of Devotion, there is the inevitable question which arises after some practice, 'how to measure the progress of my Love?'
Who can answer this adequately? Surely this is down to the Guru… yet even the most advanced Masters find that language fails as tool to offer what is to be looked for as the rising of Bhakti in the bosom. The fact is that Bhakti (Brahman, Aatman, Om) cannot be defined or explained. It is beyond expression - yet the Masters all have experienced it, for we see them shine in its glory. They, in their turn - and now Sri Narada here - do their utmost to encourage their devotees and students by making the attempt upon the impossible.
It is like describing a tree to one who cannot see - or, as has been given here in the text, like a dumb person attempting to describe the taste of sugar. If one is unable to give voice to the sweetness and joy it brings, one can only make an approximation through visual expression. Indeed, the fellow might dance a jig in the ecstasy of tasting the sugar cane or mango nectar, with sparkling eyes and waving arms; all of which displays joy that we can take as being present. Yet if we ask to be told the sensation, the fellow falls still. It is beyond him to give us that essence through words. Instead, he hands to us the cane or the glass of nectar. We understand that we must experience the taste for ourselves.
Then it becomes our turn to make an attempt at explaining the experience. For some, the taste fails to excite. For others there is a pleasing experience, but nothing to throw ecstasies over. For others, there may be that same connection with the sweetness which the dumb man had. Not everyone can experience the sheer essence of the sweetness, as is now addressed;
àkazte Kvaip paÇe.53.
Prakaashate kvaapi paatre ||53||
In some rare ones who are fit recipients, this (Bhakti) is found to manifest.
By telling us that Bhakti is indescribable, it ought not to be thought as a consequence that it is also inexperienceable. Many Masters have proven otherwise. It is that the experience is beyond all description, this is the point. However, it takes a special someone to reach the magnitude of spiritual luminescence which can be said to be That Love Divine manifest. Many will set off in anticipation of attaining, but few will truly complete the process.
Till the moment of fulfillment, a devotee seeks, strives and learns to surrender totally to the Infinite, releasing all egocentric appetites. Only then does the singular soul merge with the Love Centre and melt away in total bliss.
That it is a difficult thing to attain is without question; but even if it takes several lifetimes, we must never stop trying for this soul completion! This life itself may be our last, if we apply ourselves well. We don't know when it is coming - it may be in the next meditation, during the next bhajan, or whilst we bend to wave the lamps this evening. We must put forth all sincere and genuine efforts in bhakti and meditation; this improves our shraddha, strengthens our sama, dama and titiksha. Thus we find that daily life brightens and eases its strains. This itself is a boon. We are encouraged and seek more connection with the Divine, and thus we set up a spiritual cycle of uplift for ourselves.
There is no excuse for not reaching the Love Divine except that we failed at some point in our efforts. This is the message of the Rsis. All habits are formed by repetition. Set up the Divine habit! The more one puts forward and practices faith, the stronger that faith becomes.