Part 3 – Develop Hunger for Divine Love
The power of Divine Love enslaves the Lord of the universe Himself and therefore it should be the most desirable thing for any human being. There is unquestionably no pleasure in this world that can be even vaguely compared to the bliss that Divine Love of God has to offer. And since it is the highest bliss, it is also the last thing that God grants to His devotees. Divine Love may me the most desired, yet it is bestowed the least by God.
Sage Narad says in His Narad Bhakti Darshan:
prakāshate kvāpi pātre (Narad Bhakti Darshan, Sutra 53)
“Very rarely does some fortunate soul receive Divine Love”.
Saint Tulsidas says:
kahuṁ kahuṁ vrishti shāradi tori,
kou eka pāva bhagati jimi mori
Just the way it is an extremely rare occasion to witness rains in the month of Kartik, it is also an exception for God to bestow His Divine Love power. Kartik is the month following the monsoon season in India and as a general observation it never rains in that month. So Tulsidas Ji says, “This Divine Love is received by one out of millions.”
That is why when Lord Ram asked Kakbushundi:
kākbushundi māngu vara, ati prasanna mohim jāna,
animādik siddhi, apara niddhi, moksha, sakala sukha khāna
O Kakbushundi! I am most pleased with you. Ask for any boon. Mystic powers, great opulence, or even liberation, which is mine of all joys.
Kakbushundi replied, “Please, my Lord – if you wish to make a fool of anyone, don’t pick on me. I don’t want any of these things”.
Lord Ram further said to him “but Kakbushundi, I am giving you such fascinating things! Riddhi (great opulence), Siddhi (mystic abilities), and Moksh (liberation)”.
To which Kakbushundi responded:
avirala bhakti, vishuddha tava, shruti purāna jehi gāva,
jehi khojata yogīsha muni, prabhu prasād kou pāva
My Lord, I want that Divine Love, which is glorified in all the Scriptures. It is that which big Yogis and Munis search for, but one out of millions gets.
And it is this Divine Love that we are making the goal of our life. We will have to resolve that there is nothing less that we will settle for. The fact that Prema Ras is rarely achieved by a soul should not leave us discouraged because eternally we are the children of God and He is the most merciful. Just the way there is always a suitable approach to do things in the material realm; there are guidelines and procedures in the spiritual realm as well that need to be understood.
But let us first try to understand the foremost condition of proceeding on this fulfilling spiritual journey. The first condition is to have an intense aspiration to achieve the goal of Divine Love. This is important because when we walk this path as spiritual aspirants, we will experience a number of difficulties, challenges and obstacles that will have to be overcome. And our only guarantee is to keep an intense aspiration. Somebody who has that deep aspiration – “Divine Love and nothing else” – will keep going on, even if the whole world turns against him or her.
The spiritual journey often begins with the curiosity to learn about nature of self, world and God. And so out of curiosity people read spiritual literature and attend public lectures. Such people are called Jigyasus and few of them progress to become Pipasus. Jigyasus are curious to know whereas Pipasus have a hunger and thirst for God. This hunger has awoken in Pipasus out of their past Sanskars, as a result of their present effort, and as a result of the Grace of the Guru. They say, “Just to hear is not enough. I want the experience!”
Imagine explaining the recipes of delicious dishes to a hungry person but not offering him anything to eat. Likewise Pipasus have heard and read the recipes enough, now they wish to satiate their hunger by consuming them. Therefore we first need to be hungry enough for the love of God, because only when we are exceedingly hungry we will not bargain the price for spiritual food.