We discussed how, for a beginner who does not yet really know God or is not following the instructions of God, Fear of God is a powerful motivator.
On one beautiful afternoon, during a long walk with one of my brothers in Christ, Steve, we discussed both Fear of God, and Love. He is very much in the stage of feeling Fear of God, but I urged him to go deeper into Love instead of staying on in fear. He then said that in the Bible, these types of love are described…
- Eros – sensual, or romantic love
- Storge – familial love, parents and children, brothers and sister…
- Philia – brotherly love – usually between those of faith
- Agape (prounounced uh-gaap-eh) – God’s love, or Love of God – immeasurable and incomparable to other types of love
I brought up how our spiritual masters teach us that everything that exists in the material world is a perverted reflection of everything pure that exists in the spiritual world.
So every relationship in the material world, which is, more often than not, selfish and in fact, more lust than love, is simply a perverted reflection of the original relationships that exist in the spiritual realm.
When “Agape” that pure love of God is fully and perfectly reciprocated back towards God by the living entities, then it manifests as the following five types of mellows (called “rasas”) of relationship with God.
- Shanta – the mood of neutrality
- I know you’re God, but I’m over here, not actively interacting or serving You, even though I’m in the spiritual world
- Dasya – the mood of servitude
- actively serving, often in the mood of great awe and reverence
- Sakhya – the mood of friendship
- see God as a Friend, no awe and reverence
- Vatsalya – the mood of parental love
- see God as a Son, actually subordinate to yourself, feel protective, and feel that God is your dependent
- Madhurya – the mood of conjugal love
- this is the most nuanced and complex of them all, but basically seeing God as your husband or lover
In addition to these, there are the following seven secondary rasas, or mellows…
When these five primary mellows combine with each other and with the seven secondary mellows, an unlimited variety of mellows is generated, and these wonderful mellows are relished by those who are purely reflecting the Pure Love of God back to God.
Some combinations of mellows are incompatible of course, whereas others are perfectly compatible. This is an intricate science, this knowledge of rasa (mellow) and rasabhaas (the pretense of a mellow).
These mellows of loving devotional service cannot be imitated. They are manifested by perfectly pure devotees only, those who have not the slightest tinge of material attachment or material inebriety. Not to be imitated or artificially put on. If a soul who is not fully and completely in perfect spiritual consciousness tries to artificially force themselves into an advanced mellow of personal relationship, such as person is known as an offender against God.
One great saint, Srila Rupa Goswami, in the 16th Century AD, combed through vast volumes of Vedic Literature and extracted the essence of all Vedic Literature, among his incredible contributions, left behind for us a delightful text called the Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu (The Ocean of the Unending and Unlimited Nectar of Pure Devotion to God).
Another great modern-day saint, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, wrote a summary study of Rupa Goswami’s Bhakti Rasamrita Sindhu, calling it the Nectar of Devotion.
This subject matter is very vast, and very deep. And to be honest, I am not qualified to delve into most aspects of this subject.
However, I’d like to bring out a few of my appreciations for how the theology from different traditions connects and expands our understanding of God The Supremely All-Attractive One. Even though one scripture, say from the Abrahamic traditions may not contain all this detail that is mentioned in another scripture, say, from the Vedic tradition, it must be understood that all genuine scriptures talk about the same One Supreme Absolute Truth. And genuine saintly souls, advanced in their understanding of their own scripture, will understand, accept, and relish this.
As for the others, the analogy is “stay on the tree”, which refers to how a sour mango on a branch of a mango tree reputed for giving sweet mangoes, just by staying on the branch, becomes sweet. In other words, someone who cannot appreciate higher aspects of our tradition or other traditions should, instead of blaspheming other traditions, seek inward purification and consequent broader and deeper understanding from God about His Glories.
More on purely spiritual relationships in future posts, but the important takeway is that spiritual life doesn’t mean negation of relationships, it means harmonizing all relationships through perfecting that one very special relationship each of us has, with our eternal emanator. In fact, the very raison-de’etre for our existence is so that the Supreme can enjoy these relationships with us.
Yes, the taste of an individual soul’s relationship is absolutely unique, no two souls can give the exact same taste to God. Even though there are unlimited millions, billions, trillions of us in this Universe and in other Universes.
Not just those in “human” forms, but every single living entity has a unique irreplaceable relationship with Krishna.
Would you not like to awaken your personal relationship with your best well-wisher and friend? Try this mantra, if you really want to get in…
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare HareThe Hare Krishna Mahamantra
If you want to go deeper, then best to cultivate being a servant of the servant of the servant of the servant…. (ad inifinitum) God – easier said than done! Leave a comment or contact me.