How do we understand true
bhakthi ? How can we cultivate this true bhakthi for the lord?

The Narada Bhakti Sutra, a discourse on the nature of bhakthi based on the experiences of Sage Narada vividly describes bhakti as:

Sa tvasmin parampremarupa” –bhakthi is of the nature of perfect love for the lord devoid of any personal desires or external motives and conditions.

Amrita swarupa cha” – bhakthi is like nectar, which when one drinks, leads to the experience of ultimate bliss, which is not subject to change (Sat Chit Ananda).

Yallabdhva puman sidhho bhavati amrito bhavati tripto bhavati” – having achieved bhakthi one reaches the state of perfection, attains a God like immortality and all his desires are completely fulfilled.

Yat praapta na kinchit vanchhati, na shochati na dveshti, narmate, notsahi bhavati”- Once bhakti is attained, one has no other desires in life as he is freed from the pairs of opposites like pleasure and pain, likes and dislikes, hence he craves for nothing else and has no other purpose to fulfill other than serving the lord and His devotees.

Through devotion a devotee transcends the worldly desires and bondage. He remains a mere instrument in the hands of God. He becomes freed from the cycle of birth and death.

How can we cultivate this true bhakthi for the lord?

Bhakthi is not a conditional state of mind. Bhakthi has no pre-conditions or pre-qualifications. There is no prescribed method or formula in bhakthi. On the contrary a devotee surrenders everything unto the lord and becomes free of ego.

Though bhakthi is endowed as a result of God’s grace, yet it can be cultivated by us through constant practice of engaging ourselves in meaningful devotional activities that can bring us closer to the lord for His grace to flow through us.

Ramakrishna Paramahansa did not serve for long as head priest of the Kali temple at Dakshineshwar.

From the first days of his service in the shrine of the goddess Kali, he was filled with a rare form of the love of God known in Hinduism as maha-bhava.

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Worshiping in front of the statue of Mother Kali, Ramakrishna would be overwhelmed with such ecstatic love for the deity that he would fall to the ground and immersed in spiritual trance, lose all consciousness of the external world.

These experiences of God-intoxication became so frequent that he was relieved of his duties as temple priest but allowed to continue living within the temple compound. During the next twelve years Ramakrishna journeyed even deeper into this passionate and absolute love for the divine. His practice was to express such intense devotion to particular deities that they would physically manifest to him and then merge into his being.

Ramakrishna attained samadhi in 1886 at the age of fifty but his life, his intense spiritual practices, and the temple of Kali where many of his ecstatic trances occurred continue to attract pilgrims from all over. Ramakrishna fully realized the infinite and all-inclusive nature of the divine. He was a conduit for divinity and the presence of that divinity can still be clearly experienced at the Kali temple of Dakshineswar.

It is said that knowledge without bhakthi is useless tinsel

Source: divyapracharam.wordpress.

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