Absolute and unconditional love of the Supreme Person
One is often devoted to one’s family, country, occupation, charity or a social justice, yet hardly any relationship in the material world is free from some degree of selfishness. Our loyalty and fidelity remain intact as long as we receive something in return, be it attention, adulation, care, physical closeness, or financial and moral support. As soon as these wane, then the relationship wanes too. Srila Prabhupada explained that the so-called affection for family, society, country, or even approaching God for the fulfilment of one’s material desires, consists of different phases of sense gratification. Desire and action cannot be negated but when this desire is changed for the satisfaction and selfless service of the Lord, it is called devotional service. The devotee (one who is devoted) serves God as God desires.
The life of Srila Prabhupada epitomises pure devotion to the Supreme Lord. The process that he taught and exemplified is known as bhakti yoga − the science of pure love of God. To understand what pure devotion is, let us examine the life of Srila Prabhupada in the following examples:
Srila Prabhupada understood the urgency of spreading the message of devotion all over the world. Thus in the later stages of his life he accepted sannyasa, the renounced order. As a sannyasi he gave up his household life to accept the life of a travelling mendicant whose affection and compassion now extended to the whole of society, rather than being limited just to his own immediate family. He circled the globe twelve times, spreading the message of pure devotion everywhere. Despite the challenges of age, health as well as the difficulties of administrating an international society, he remained steadfast, enthused simply by a selfless love of God.
He had no desire for material profit or fruitive results − he did not pray to God for some mundane wealth, health, position or prestige.
He did not engage in philosophical or impersonal speculation. Whatever he did, or discussed was based on deep scriptural understanding and evidence. He strongly opposed the impersonalist ideas of God, arguing that it negated a relationship with God, and hence there could be no love and devotion in impersonalism.
His life and emotions revealed that he was deeply in love with the Supreme Lord. His entire body, mind, words and actions were dedicated to the service of the Supreme Lord. He saw every living being as part and parcel of the Supreme Lord. He liked only to hear and speak about topics relating to Krishna; he did not eat anything which was not offered to God; he did not wish to travel anywhere if was not for the message of God. The numerous buildings, institutes, farms, schools, temples of ISKCON were established only for the glory of God. Indeed through his words, thoughts and deeds Srila Prabhupada was the embodiment of one deeply in love with the supreme object of love, God. Such a devotee could not live for a second without being in touch or serving the Supreme Lord.
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What is my real identity? Who is Krishna? What is bhakti yoga?
Read the books of Srila Prabhupada, one of the most prolific authors of commentaries on and translations of Vedic texts.