Practice of Bhava
When the devotee grows in devotion, there is absolute self-forgetfulness. This is called Bhava. Bhava establishes a true relationship between the devotee and the Lord. Bhava then grows into Maha-Bhava wherein the devotee lives, moves and has his being in the Lord. This is Parama-Prema, the consummation of love or Supreme Love.
There are five kinds of Bhava in Bhakti. They are Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhurya Bhavas. These Bhavas, or feelings, are natural to human beings and, as such, are easy to practice. Practice whichever Bhava suits your temperament.
In Shanta Bhava, the devotee is Shanta or peaceful. He does not jump and dance. He is not highly emotional. His heart is filled with love and joy.
In Dasya Bhava, one serves Lord Rama whole-heartedly. He pleases his Master in all possible ways. He finds joy and bliss in the service of his Master.
In Sakhya Bhava, God is a friend of the devotee. Arjuna had this Bhava towards Lord Krishna. The devotee moves with the Lord on equal terms. Arjuna and Krishna used to sit, eat, talk and walk together as intimate friends.
In Vatsalya Bhava, the devotee looks upon God as his child. Yasoda had this Bhava with Lord Krishna. There is no fear in this Bhava because God is your pet child. The devotee serves, feeds, and looks upon God as a mother does her child.
Madhurya Bhava or Kanta Bhava. This is the highest form of Bhakti. The devotee regards the Lord as his Lover. This was the relation between Radha and Krishna. This is Atma-Samarpana. The lover and the beloved become one. The devotee and God feel one with each other and still maintain separateness in order to enjoy the bliss of the play of love between them. This is oneness in separation and separation in oneness. Lord Gauranga, Jayadeva, Mira and Andal had this Bhava.
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