What we call love in the material world is all too temporary, but in the kingdom of God the profound loving exchanges Lord Krishna enjoys with His dearest devotees are eternal. Bhakti-yoga teaches us how to enter into that realm of eternal love.
The basic principles of Bhakti-yoga are presented in this introductory book.
Love is one of the words we use most and understandleast. The problem is that there are many kinds of love.One of the distinctions we can make between differentkinds of love has to do with time, duration—how longlove lasts. Some love lasts a few days, some lasts alifetime, and some lasts forever. Most lovers aspire forthe latter, but in vain.
Love between bodies is bound to be temporary,because the lovers’ bodies are temporary. Ah, but whatabout the soul? Will the lovers not meet in the eternalspiritual world, and there enjoy deathless love?
Perhaps. But the question is, ''How do we get to thespiritual world?'' That requires a special kind of love, thelove between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul,God. Actually, we are caught in a web of temporary,unsatisfying loving relationships because we haveforgotten how to love God. So the spiritual love betweenthe individual soul and the Supreme Soul is the mostimportant kind of love. It is the only love that is trulyeternal. Actually, every other kind of love we experienceis just a reflection of the original loving exchangebetween the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. Thisspecial love is called, in Sanskrit, bhakti. And theprocess for awakening that love is called bhakti-yoga,the art of eternal love.
Bhakti involves three things: the lover, the beloved,and the loving relationship. In bhakti, all three areeternal. The lover, the individual soul, is eternal; thebeloved, the Supreme Soul, is eternal; and the lovingrelationship, bhakti, is also eternal.
In the sixteenth century, an extremely advancedexpert in bhakti-yoga named Srila Rupa Gosvami wrotea handbook on its theory and practice. He called hisbook Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, ''The Ocean of the Nectarof Divine Love.'' For a long time its secrets remainedlocked in the ancient Sanskrit language. Fortunately forus, a modern master of the knowledge and techniquesof bhakti-yoga, His Divine Grace Srila A. C.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, translated the bookinto English and began training his students in itsmysteries. Srila Prabhupada titled his translation TheNectar of Devotion.
Love, in its material manifestation, is usuallyassociated with places—a city like Paris in thespringtime, or a beach where one walked with one’sbeloved. In the same way, spiritual love is alsoassociated with places. The highest such place isVrndavana, an earthly manifestation of the eternalSpiritual place where God enjoys loving pastimes withHis eternal associates in the spiritual sky. In Vrndavanathere are many temples, and one of them, theRadha-Damodara temple, is forever associated withRupa Gosvami because his physical form is interredthere. A small memorial to him (called a samadhi) risesin one of the temple courtyards.
Before he came to America in 1965, SrilaPrabhupada lived in a quiet room in_ theRadha-Damodara temple, and through his window hecould see and draw inspiration from the samadhi ofRipa Gosvami. Seven years later, Srila Prabhupadareturned to the Radha-Damodara temple. And in thecourtyard, near Rupa Gosvami’s samadhi, he gave forhis disciples a series of lectures on The Nectar ofDevotion. Selections from those lectures, full of deepSpiritual insight into bhakti, have been interwoven withexcerpts from The Nectar of Devotion to form thesubstance of this book.
We invite you to share in Rupa Gosvami's teachingson bhakti-yoga, the art of eternal love, as they havecome down to us from his foremost modern follower indisciple succession. If we can learn to love God throughbhakti-yoga, then we can learn to love everything andeveryone else in the proper way, in the way that willbring us the most happiness, the best happiness, thehappiness of eternal love.
**Contents and Sample Pages**