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 Ten; Section 1 - The Teachers; Aachaaryas of Bhakti
Narada-ji again utilises a single suutra to name the masters of devotion.
Ityevam madanti janajaLpanirmahaaH ekaamataaH
Shesh-Odva-Aaruni-Bali-HanumadVi-bhiishan-adyo bhaktyaavaachaaryaaH ||83||
Thus declare they, who are fear not others' prattling, in their unanimous opinion;
(Sanat) Kumaara, Vyaasa, Shuka, Shandilya, Garga, Vishnu, Kaundinya,
Shesha, Uddhava, Aaruni, Bali, Hanuman, Vibishana, etc., those teachers of Devotion.
Heedless of criticism, truly wise men stand up for Truth; filled with conviction, they cannot and will not mince matters, or 'polish' Truth just to make others feel comfortable. Truth, in fact, is often something perceived as 'inconvenient'! The great teachers will not succumb to peer pressure and will hold to their theories… and how often they are proved correct, sometimes well after their death. Society is not very good at accepting wisdom if it tells it what has always been told, or posits new theories which still points to the Old Truth, which requires some effort in making adjustments in order to best survive.
Common sense surely dictates that, if we can read the ancient writings of such teachers as these, some from untold centuries ago, and find their revelations and instructions to be as pertinent and fresh as if they were written yesterday, then we ought to be paying attention… does it not?
Truth is Eternal, it fades not, neither does it perish. The reason we can be faced with ourselves, as if in a mirror, through these writings, demonstrates the Truth of the philosophy and methodology offered there for making the efforts of improvement. What is more, due to the scientific nature of Sanskrit culture, many teachers over the years have taken up 'the experiment of life and worship' and have all, as one voice, come to the same conclusion. Love is All.
They didn't just theorise, they lived and breathed and were examples of that Truth. Who were they? Twin sons of Brahma-ji, the Kumaaras constantly chanted 'Hari sharanam', Vyaasa the great poet and author, Shuka who wrote the Srimad-Bhagavatam, Shandilya and Garga who wrote many suutras on Bhakti, Vishnu-rishi the historian, Kaundinya the ruler who came to understand the path and benefit of deep meditation and the role bhakti plays in this. Then Shesha the serpent upon who Lord Vishnu reclines, Uddhava who was friend and devotee of Sri Krishna; Aaruni who revealed the joy of 'the secret lover', Bali who was the epitome of surrender and ritual, Hanuman the great soldier-servant of Sri Rama, Vibhishana who remained righteous and loyal to Rama (Truth) throughout his brother Ravana's terrible reign.
Today is Sri Ramnavaami - may the blessing of the Lord be with you all!