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 Nine; Section 1 - Fruits of Love Divine; Greatness of Supreme Love. If we surrender well and seek appropriately, what is it that we can expect in return?
s kITyRman> zIºmevaiv_aRvit Anu_aavyit c _a´an!.80.
Sa kiirtyamaanaH shiighram-eva-avirbhavati anubhaavayati cha bhaktan ||80||
When invoked, He indeed reveals Himself and makes the devotee realise His absolute nature Divine.
Something all who love the Lord would desire, surely, is 'darshanam'; a visitation; a vision. This is what is hinted at here. Saints and sages throughout history - in all faith structures - have spoken of experiencing such phenomena. The modern mind is inclined to brush such experience aside now; seeking rational explanation such as 'over emotionalism' of the subject or a set of environmental circumstances which resulted in a play of light to trick the eye and so on.
Even if such explanations could be applied, does this make less the experience to the experiencer? Of course not. However, we are not talking imaginations, insanities, or mysterious anomalies here. There is sufficient documented evidence, certainly in Sanskrit history, to support the significance and proper presence of darshan. Until one has experienced for oneself, however, it can admittedly seem rather fanciful.
What we have been learning in these suutras though, is that the desire must be genuine, it must be fervent and regular, and there must be an full surrender of our ego. Dropping the little self, the Big Self grants us grace of vision.
When we worship with our sincere prayers and open heart, our mind focused, there is an opening within us which becomes filled. It is not that we were ever without that presence, but now we release it from the bondage we hold it in with our daily life and misperception of the world as being other than ourselves. The Aatman is ever with us, hidden by our ego and other physical equipments with which that ego identifies. The Aatman is only waiting for us to drop our individuality and release it. It is this Truth which manifests as the image we most desire to see. This is again where bhakti comes very close to jnaana. In fact, those on jnaana-marg can benefit greatly from leaving the intellectualism of that path for a while and sitting only in devotion. It is often said that these are the two wings which fly us to the Ultimate. In trusting that our teachers, the lineage of teaching, holds validity, we must throw ourselves upon that thread of history and call sincerely to that Divinity to reveal itself to us.
The greatest bhaktas who have been prepared to put in the hard work and let go of a much to surrender and reach this experience will have their reward. For the majority, though, there remains the attachments of the external world; this is why it is rare for such experiences to occur. This does not mean that one ought not to practice the stated saadhanas. They too will provide a level of peace and self-control which can only be beneficial in life… and there is always that glimmer of a possibility that darshan will be ours.