Love doesn’t have to come in the way – love can be the way
Some people conceive of spirituality as fundamentally centered on world rejection. Love is the strongest among all the emotions that we experience and usually our love for others binds us, and binds us tightly, to the world. So, it’s understandable to consider love as a stumbling block on the path of spiritual growth.
But love doesn’t have to be a stumbling block. The Bhagavad-gita recommends the path of bhakti-yoga which integrates and harmonizes the world in an all-encompassing vision of the absolute, a vision that centers not so much on rejecting the world, as do that paths of jnana and yoga, but on connecting the world with its source.
This project of connection extends to include our emotions. We can approach the Absolute Truth through our emotion, specifically through our strongest emotion of love. The Gita reveals the Absolute Truth to be the all-attractive supreme person, who is supremely loving and supremely lovable. Thus, approaching him through love is not an exercise in improvisation or adaptation of something material for a spiritual purpose; it is a realization of the true source of our emotions. Our faculty for love, our capacity to love and serve, stems from Krishna, for we are at our core souls who are his eternal precious parts, meant to delight eternally in a life of love with him. To the extent we strive to love him, to that extent we find ourselves relishing a happiness that extends far, far beyond whatever we might experience in this world in even the closest of relationships.
Of course, we need to regulate the force of love so that it doesn’t become misdirected and make us act in spiritually destructive ways. And such protection happens naturally when we see our loved ones in connection with Krishna as his parts, not just as our loved ones.
When we strive to move closer to Krishna by cultivating a mood of devotion, our devotional disposition pleases him and he reciprocates by giving us the intelligence to attain him, as the Bhagavad-gita (10.10) states.
Thus, bhakti-yoga reveals love to be not an obstacle on the way to spiritual success, but as the way to spiritual success.
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