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vivek answers!

How can one avoid the arrogance of Bhakti?

Question by:Gunjan Patel, manager, Surat
Gunjan, this is a very important question, as the answer will bust many myths we carry about bhakti. 
First, we need to understand that bhakti isn’t just a few tears, some divine experience and sentimental outpourings. The sense of closeness giving you ego of being a bhakta! Ha-ha-ha-ha, if God grants me my boon then I will love Him more…. All these things are the beginning of bhakti. But, they don’t ensure you a firm way ahead. Narada Bhakti sutra gives a clear definition of what bhakti is. In a nutshell, it is pure love for God…Oh! God you are near or away, you are mine…this is not bhakti. But, when you realise deep within that “I am yours” then starts bhakti. In chapter 12, Krishna details who real bhakta is—the one who Krishna loves is real bhakta, not the one who says I love God. Because, the latter is just a claim of bhakti— not bhakti. Remember! When you develop real love for God, all arrogance, ego and knowledge dissolve into that love. Therefore, as long as, you have arrogance, you don’t have bhakti. 
To my mind, shloka 15 of chapter 12 of the Bhagwad Gita essentially tells us what bhakti is.  “From whom, none is upset and none upsets him, such a person, free from excitement, jealousy and fear, is dear to Me.” The one who is dear to Krishna is a real bhakta, not otherwise. But, the conditions are clear—your actions, speech and gestures shouldn’t upset  others and others shouldn’t upset you—-if others get upset without your upsetting them is none of your problems. So don’t worry there! You only upset others when you are excited, jealous or have a feeling of insecurity. A bhakta doesn’t have time for all these emotions. He/she is always in love with God, because God loves him/her and he/she is dear to God. Therefore, develop pure love for God and let Him say He loves you. Wait till then! Kabir Das jee once said, “The day I will be loved by Hari, I will climb up the tree and announce the world that I am the blessed one.” What a beautiful explanation. Meera Bai drank a cup of poison, believing it is a prasad from Krishna. Krishna loves Meera and turns poison into prasad. This is love. When God loves you, you are bhakt (bhaven yukta sah bhaktah). Till then practise. --VS

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