Question: Can you explain to us what pure Bhakti is? Class by Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj from Dijon, France.

Extract from class at Shanti, in Dijon in August 2017, France

Guest: Can you explain to us what pure Bhakti is?

Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj: Your question seems very brief and very short but the nature of the answer is so vast. The definition of true Bhakti or pure Bhakti is already there in the form of very, very big books like the Hari-Bhakti Sindhu, Hari-Bhakti Vilasa, Ujjvala-Nilamani, Lalita-Madhava, Vidagdha-Madhava, Gopal-Campu, Sat-Sandarbha, your question is answered in many books, it is a very large subject. Pure devotional love is pure bhakti. Spontaneous ecstatic love imbued with devotion is what is called pure bhakti. Spontaneous ecstatic love. Why do I say devotional love, because we tend to use the word ‘love’ in this world, there are several types, two main ones:

      1. The one that we find in this world, if I derive pleasure from it then I love, if there is no more pleasure then I no longer love.

      2. Spiritual love is stable, and eternal, it is a dharma, a principle of devotional love.

There is a selfish, conditioned type love and a purely spiritual one that is not conditioned by matter and it is this type of love that is spoken of in the spiritual world. The love we see in this world is very selfish on this worldly level, in our life on this worldly plane, this kind of love is very ordinary, cheap, temporary, selfish, calculating things, if my ego is frustrated i don’t love anymore and the love is gone. The nature of divine spiritual love is opposed to that, and is never conditioned by selfish interest or by certain things I like and dislike, it never depends on some selfish calculations. Such qualities of love are called divine love, this type of love combined with devotion becomes bhakti, this type of completely stable and firm, autonomous, independent love is established in dharma, unconditional which does not not dependent on material conditions, love combined with commitment to devotion becomes bhakti. Because the nature of divine love, the essence of love is maintained and is effluent and self-evident, it is never dependent on futiles calculations or external conditions of the ego. This commitment is full of wishes but this does not limit the freedom of people, the lover can have full of love in freedom. In no case does the fact of engaging in devotion take it away because within this devotional love there is a whole free world, the nature of this commitment is full of joy, taste, pleasure, that’s calls bhakti.

Rasalila Devi Dasi: What does your name “Bhakti Nandan Swami” mean?
Bhakti Nandan Swami Maharaj:: There are many different aspects, different layers of meanings in the name, my name is Bhakti Nandan Swami DAS, the loving servant of Bhakti Nandan Swami. The whole name Bhakti Nandan Swami is related to the Supreme Truth, to the Supreme Lord, this name speaks of God and ecstatic devotional love for God. ”The one whose heart has been blessed with ecstatic love for God” is called Bhakti Nandana, in fact no, it is Bhakti Nandan Swami, I repeat “One whose mind, heart, existence is filled with ecstatic love for Swami” the Supreme Lord is called Bhakti Nandan Swami.
Bhakti means ”ecstatic love”
Nandana means ”beeing blessed”
Swami means Supreme Lord
”The heart in which ecstatic love manifests beautiful divine pastimes” is called Bhakti Nandan Swami, I think these two explanations are sufficient, and I am the loving servant (Das) of all these meanings.