THE LOVER'S LIFE

FROM SHRIMAD VALLABHACHARYA'S

WISDOM, PERSEVERANCE AND REFUGE

(Vivek-Dhairaya-Ashraya)

 

REFLECTIONS:

The lover's life arises from teachings originally present by Shrimad Vallabhacharya in his Sanskrit text, "Wisdom, Perseverance and Refuge". It speaks to the lovers of Hari on several levels. It is a practical guide, filled with wise advice on how to live in the world, deal with obstructions and maintain a rich devotional life. It also speaks of, in a discreet ways, of the higher devotional states that flourish between the Beloved and His loved ones. Unity between the non-material perfect lila-realm and this world of changes, is skillfully navigated by the bhakta who is wise enough to fathom her life as part of the Beloved's love games, strong enough to weather all karmic affliction and by standing firmly situated in His sanctuary. This is Shri Vallabhacharya's essential message.

The blessed soul becomes engaged to the Beloved when there is a heart-felt acceptance of Bhakti, an entrance into the path of love. Then, she will do anything for Him. She becomes the Beloved's divine lover and is committed to His seva, to His service and pleasure, a selfless spiritual art. When the Beloved's delights are sought, there is a victory over the small self, a transformation. Then love, the yogic one, can be reciprocated. This is devotion. It is known to the bhakta, the lover of God.

Shri Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya has mentioned in his Nine Jewels that the bhakta must leave all forms of anxiety before the Beloved can be pleased. When the mind and heart are infested with worldly woes, His delights can not be appropriately considered. Wisdom arises when hindering concerns are dropped and dedication to His seva, to His pleasing service.

For this, three bhakti ingredients are essential. The lover of Hari must possess not only wisdom, the ability to set her priorities correctly, but she must also stand strong in her world, unmoved by negative forces.

Finally her refuge in the Beloved, in her Blessed Hari must be willful and firm.

Shri Mahaprabhuji begins his teaching with a devotional definition of wisdom.

ONE

Always protect
Your discrimination and perseverance.
Carefully nourish divine refuge
True wisdom is seeing that Beloved Hari
will accomplish everything
according to His own will.

Reflections:

The key to wisdom and fortitude is refuge in the Beloved. When she remains in His haven, knowledge and strength flourish under His loving protection. The bhakta's Beloved Hari, the Perfect One, is also the purifier and eradicates the sins and sorrows of His lovers. To grasp this is knowledge.

To rely merely on the merit of one's own strength brings forth a pride, a false sense of accomplishment which is not pleasing to the Beloved. Wisdom is knowing without a question of a doubt that, "My Beloved will take care of me."

Anxiety plagues the bhakti-lover when she temporarily forgets His loving embrace. Then, when her wisdom returns, she knows she is protected; all is seen as perfect and part of the Beloved's process, a portion of His perfect lila. When the lover rests in His glow, His sweet will is seen. Then, without asking, everything is accomplished.

The lover first identifies His lila, His perfect play and then finds His company and finally embraces the Beloved's delectable resolve. She feels it in every circumstance and while surrendering to His notions, she is purified. Her desires touch Him and when Hari recognizes her intention, the Beloved falls for her.

In that loving congregation, what need could there be to pray for anything besides His association? Why trouble the Beloved when He is going to give more than what can be asked for? This is the bhakta-lover's vista, her subtle law of insight. Wisdom is knowing His perfect power, to see that His decisions are lila-precise; Hari's will. Call it His sweet whim or desire, it is what makes it happen, not happened as well as what is beyond the two. 

With insight, the lover rests firmly in His haven, she never wanders from His embrace. Whatever is essential for the lover, for her development, is always given, unasked for. In the Hari romance, the Beloved practice, even the attainment of liberation appears pale when compared to what is freely given.

 

TWO

What is the use of prayer?
Why request something from Him?
It arises from a doubt
In His intention
Within the perfect plan of Hari-
Who is everywhere
Who is everything
Who is compelling and potent.

 

Reflections:

Why ask when it is already given? Why hanker, when the greatest riches are at hand. A prayer for something arises from a doubt that something will not arise. Prayer for this or for that is created from a forgetfulness; when the lover overlooks the fact that everything has already been taken care of.

What is given is good, what is not is also perfect. Although it is sometimes hard to discern at the time of encounter, life for the lover is always perfect. For her, gain and loss are always absolutely accurate.

What is truly needed is given, directly or indirectly. The lover never thinks, "I can get it myself." Such a one is like a dwarf in a ditch who reaches for the a lofty fruit. He tires from the stretch and then does not even know that the reward will cascade down to him, at just the right time.

The Beloved will never supply what is detrimental to His lover, to His bhakta. He knows for He is in all places, there at all times, the Beloved manifests everywhere, and even becomes all things. Even knowing some of this removes all doubts regarding His intentions. She sees the Beloved's accomplishments everywhere. This is not a passive acceptance of life. To know the Beloved's will is dynamic, it is transforming and compelling. It is her perfect part in the play of total love, the Beloved Practice.

To turn from the love-games to the small self, to try to manipulate situations with exertion and pride filled-practices is a fall from love, a slip from His embrace. The small self view is always narrow and ineffective.

Moreover, it is plagued with the fear and false expectations of agreeable results. It lacks His essential refuge and clings to the impermanent nature of things.

Wisdom is to accept graciously whatever the Beloved gives, to feel Hari's acceptance in every situation. Wisdom is to avoid all forms of spiritual arrogance.

These are some of her views of seva, the pleasing worship of the Beloved with one's mind, body and wealth. It arises naturally with unconditional refuge. It connects at the source and illuminates all portions of life. Like dirty waters that enter Ganga become Ganga and are worshiped as such, in the state of refuge, false identification is sundered, it is merged into the Higher Self and then everything becomes Ganga perfect. Everything is the Beloved's, she is the Beloved's and then the Beloved becomes hers. When Hari envelopes everything, there is a transformation. To that lover, (the bhakta of Hari), Shri Mahaprabhuji speaks...

 

Slokas 3 - 4.5

From the bhava:
from the realization of
being under Hari's control
The lover becomes cleansed of false pride.
Then, when there is a special command-
the Beloved enters the heart.
In that extraordinary circumstance,
the bhava that is contemplated
is never worldly;
it is separate from the
concerns of the physical body.

Reflections:

How pleasant to be under Hari's total control. In that blessed situation, you can never be taken advantage of. In illumination, the lover becomes spiritually adorned. The beauty of any physical body could never compare to hers. The lover of Hari, in this world or anywhere, skillfully and with grace, maintains her unique grace-filled style. In her continual remembrance, she remains identified with the lila form. Each sense is connected, enveloped in the samadhi of her Beloved. She is under Hari's sway and then Hari falls under hers. The romance is unending. The Beloved is her lila-master and His response is forever appropriate and exact.

In the romance, the Hari one, the mayic world is forgotten. The force of Hari's love purifies the lover until everything else is simply forgotten. This love affair is not made, it emerges. When a worldly romance cannot be forced to arise, then what to say of the Hari one! You can only avail yourself, ready yourself to be enveloped by Him. You can only prepare yourself by giving everything else up. Divine romance is not attained with a meditative effort, it is spontaneous. It is not prolonged by any practice, but by intention. In that blessed Hari romance, the focus falls effortlessly upon the beautiful Brahman. What follows is a total forgetfulness of samsara. For the true lover, renunciation never arises out of hatred, but from an appreciation of a higher taste. When priorities become refined, defined, and directed to the Beloved, other unrelated flavors appear spiritless. What is not connected with her Beloved no longer holds any interest. She wants to follow Him everywhere. Her dharma, the devotional one, is to be constantly by His side.

This is wisdom. This is also insight.

She enters the haven of the Beloved with the help of the satsang, by keeping the association of His other lovers. There is no jealousy amongst them. In the bhakti arena, the spirit of dedication is heightened with the mutual reflection.

Whatever situation Hari puts His bhatki-lover into or through, whether it has to do with the connected or unconnected family, with friends or with other associates, every world situation occurs because of the Beloved's lila. It is seen as arising because of His sporting nature.

Everything else is unreal.

The lover who understands this, has an unconditional acceptance of every situation. She knows and sees that Hari has created everything. Then, there is freedom, a release from all false expectations and useless concerns for the inevitable. It is seen before it happens, in all circumstances, whether worldly or divine. What does not vanish becomes consecrated.

The lover, she lives in her world with comprehension. Behind the worldly existence wells her ocean of devotion. Her service, and loyalty are all governed with the perspective of increasing His dalliance. Now, she alone can remove His anguish. This is insight, this is also wisdom.

Sometimes, there is a special command, a wish that comes directly from the Beloved to His bhakta. It can arrive through the guru, it can arise in a dream, or from a celestial song. It can flow from another lover or can be seen in the heart. At times, even the Beloved can even appear directly before His lover and hand it to her. This is darshan.

Until the lover does not receive His directions, she continues her practice and waits, all according to the revealed teachings. Refinement is knowing how to decipher the Beloved's special wishes from mundane ones.

Insight is knowing how much to practice and how much to wait. When the remarkable request arises, the lover follows the divine design and employs the communication to deepen her lila entrance. She will adorn Hari accordingly as she penetrates His special communication. The distinguished command should never be confused with anything worldly, which would pay disrespect to the Beloved. The special command, in all cases is distinct from the bodily situation, yet it comes through it. The special command never has anything to do with any worldly gain. It is not for the sake of marriage or money. The special command will never instruct the lover on how to increase worldly wealth, prestige or desire. The special command is showered to enhance the lover's lila entrance. Knowing this important distinction between the divine and worldly order makes the lover insightful.

Devotional direction is laid out by the guru, outer and inner and only shifted with the direct endorsement of Hari. The Beloved's direct directions over-ride all other instructions. They spring from the source and are undiluted truths.

For the calling to arise and become firm, the root practice is to cultivate the ability to rest in the Beloved's refuge. Then the lover, in her quest of His shelter, takes the company of other spiritually afflicted lovers who also know His union. They keep the Beloved and His ways within their devotional heart. Only to His other lovers will she share her secrets. Hari works through their assembly.

The lover is content when she receives prasada, the Beloved's grace. She lives on His leftovers and engages in only as many worldly activities as necessary to maintain a worldly balance. Poise in all spheres is essential for the growth of devotion. For devotional stability in her romance, she renounces all sense of obstinacy in regards to anything worldly. The lover can do this for she knows that the Beloved gives everything that is necessary. To maintain and live in this gentle harmony between all activities, worldly and divine is a matter of wisdom, it is also insightful.

Although it is necessary to obtain wealth for one's offerings and general living, the bhakta never sets up false standards; she knows Hari provides. She follows the Beloved's will and is never inflexible.

 

This was kindly translated by Shyamdas. His numerous books (in English) on Pushti Marg are well worth reading.

IAMSHYAM@aol.com

 

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