I really enjoyed the video of Mataji. She had many insightful things to say. One of them that really resonated with me was about 3/4 through the video. She was talking about the devotee feeling God's love for them. She didn't spend much time on this, but she indicated that it was essential. For me, that is all that bhakti is. I find I don't have much love for Ma. I am easily distracted and my heart is often closed off to Her. This lack of affection use to concern me. It didn't bode well for the future of a wann-be-bhakta. Then i realized something. My love for Ma is of little importance. Ma doesn't expect much from such a small thing as my heart. What is important is Ma's love for me and having a firm faith and trust in that love. Dryness comes to me when I depend on me loving Ma. Sweetness comes when I just know she loves me. When I stand in that simple conviction that she is loving me this very moment, my heart melts with affection and gratitude for Her. Devotion dawns in that conviction. I experience Her as a gentle sun of affection towards me. She shines her love upon me whether I am worthy or not, open to it or not, loving or not, pure or not. However I am, she shines Her love on me. That is all I need to know. In that experience of loving presence I also glow with love for Her. Her love for me or my love for Her is the same. There are no two loves. The path of bhakti for me, is the journey of awakening to the love that Ma has for me. Ma is the first bhakta and the only bhakta. She adores herself in all her forms and permutations. I don't have to concern myself whether I am growing in love or devotion. Ma loves me completely and this is all I need to be concern with. All else seems to unfold of its own accord.
Dandavat Pranams Everyone and Happy Phalaharini Kali Puja day! Have a question regarding Ramprasad's poem in Usha Ma's book reading for this week and how it relates to Revered Pravrajika Divyanandaprana Bhakti lecture. The part of the poem which says " Of what use is nirvana?Water mingles in water.O mind! becoming sugar is not desirable;I am fond of eating sugar." This stimulated contemplation on the types of Samadhi, and how it relates to Bhakti (and found the Lecture to be wonderfully sweet and enlightening). Though personally it feels like a very long journey be granted any type Samadhi, would like to refine the understanding and properly calibrate which spiritual realization to strive for. The Bhakti Lecture mentions how the Gopis of Vraja (specifically mentions Vishaka Devi) were great Rishis that appeared in bodies to experience an intense Bhakti Samadhi when having Sri Krishna's direct darshan. Also that Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu appeared with similar reasons. However, Nirvakalpa Samadhi seems to be the ultimate perfection of the Atma ( in the readings from last week) as these epitomized Sri Ramakrishna's and Swamiji's realizations. Albeit they are both Avataras and experienced intense devotion for Kali Ma as well. The question: In light of Sri Ramakrishna's teachings, is it possible for a jivatma to come in union with Brahman in Nirvakalpa Samadhi, and to be able to experience the type of Bhakti Samadhi that the Gopis experienced (tasting the sugar vs. becoming the sugar as Ramprasad says) without taking on a material body on this Earthly realm (to instead exist in a "Spiritual body"*)? *from hearing lectures in the past from the Gaudiya Vaisnava tradition its been said that jivatma's may be granted a "Spiritual body" free of false ego (existing in ones eternal Swarupa) to serve Bhagavan in the Spiritual realm - Vaikuntha. An example of a Divine Being with a "Spirit Body" is Narada Muni who is said in the Bhagavatam can travel from Spiritual Vaikuntha lokas, to Brhama Loka to the Earthly realms without incarnating in a material body. There are a couple references in the Srimad Bhagavatam regarding the "Spiritual body", but the clearest found was in Ninth Skanda, 13 chapter, text 11: "The demigods said: Let Mahārāja Nimi live without a material body. Let him live in a spiritual body as a personal associate of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and, according to his desire, let him be manifest or unmanifest to common materially embodied people." The purport goes on to explain the "Spiritual body" that may be granted by Bhagavan. As this is a specific interpretation and translation from a Vaisnava sampradaya, it would be wonderful to get the translation/interpretation in light of Sri Ramakrishna's teachings for understanding this concept as it relates to Samadhi. Last weeks readings from Swamiji Vivekananda truly inspired to strive for "Realization", and not only belief. Therefore hoping to practically implement all of the wisdom we are learning to someday imbibe Prema Bhakti, have Kali Ma's uninterupted darshan, and become realized. Thank you for your time and patience! Jai Ma!