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[Tum Mere The-4] Advancing towards Bhav and Prem Bhakti

Feb 20th, 2024 | 2 Min Read
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Category: Philosophy of Divine Love


Language: English

"Tum mere the mere ho mere rahoge" (You were mine, You are mine and will always be mine) is a divine kirtan by Shree Kripaluji Maharajji, in which he illuminates the science of bhakti for ignorant souls. The kirtan reiterates that not only does the soul belong to God, but God also belongs to the soul. When a devotee plunges into the ocean of devotion, he goes through nine stages: shraddha (श्रद्धा/śraddhā), sādhu-sang (साधुसंग/sādhu-saṅga), bhajan-kriya (भजनक्रिया/bhajan-kriyā), anarth-nivritti (अनर्थनिवृत्ति/anartha-nivṛtti), nistha (निष्ठा/niṣṭhā), ruchi (रुचि/ruchi), asakti (आसक्ति/āsakti), bhav (भाव/bhāv) and prem (प्रेम/prema)

The final stage of realising God is the stage of prem, which is attained only after complete surrender(शरणागति/śaraṇāgati). The first three parts of this series elucidated the initiation of a soul into the path of selfless love. The devotee entreats the Lord to give him viraha (विरह) so that he's purified in the fire of separation. To transcend the intellect and ego, the devotee asks for more separation. The more he is tormented by separation, the greater will be his love, and the lesser affinities of the world will burn away. 

In the present issue, we shall delve deeper into the nature of bhakti by moving forward to the fourth stanza: 
पिय तुम से ही प्रीति लगाई,
पर झोली भी संग नहिं लाई ।
इक बार लगा लो सीने से बलिहार जाउँ अपनाने से ।।
piya tum se hī prīti lagāī,
par jholī bhī saṅg nahīṃ lāī ।
ika bār lagā lō sīnē sē bali-hār jā'uṁ apanānē sē
These lines translate as: "O my Beloved! I seek only your love, but I have not even brought a vessel that can contain your love. Embrace me just once, and I will sacrifice my all for you."

Shree Maharajji indicates that a devotee has appeared before God with a receptacle that is not yet ready to receive divine love. Divine love is so intense that it encompasses infinite longing in separation from Shree Krishna and infinite bliss in union with Him. When the "jholi" (literally means a bag) or vessel is not ready, it cannot sustain such powerful emotions that have the power even to enslave God. Hence, the first type of bhakti is Sādhan Bhakti (साधन भक्ति), which is the preparatory stage where the devotee prepares his vessel by involving himself in sādhanā. He engages in bhajan-kriyā, decreases unwanted worldly attachments (anartha-nivṛtti), becomes steady in his practice (nisthā), develops a taste (niṣṭhā) for the divine and gets attached(āsakti) to the attributes of God. In this verse, the devotee surrenders to God, saying that he desires divine love but doesn't even have a vessel. He pleads with God to prepare it for him with His causeless grace so that when the time comes, he becomes eligible to receive the ultimate stage of Siddha Bhakti (सिद्ध भक्ति), which can enslave God.

In the above verse, the devotee experiences an intense desire to be embraced by God. This is the stage of asakti. The devotee's senses long for God's embracing arms; hence, his mind is attached to the divine. This stage will lead him to bhav, the penultimate stage of acquiring prem bhakti. In these lines, Shree Kripaluji Maharaj relates how the soul is crying out to God for mercy, which would push him on his way forward to acquire divine love.