Bhakti means `Devotional service`. Every service has some attractive feature which drives the servitor progressively on and on. Every one of us within this world is perpetually engaged in some sort of service, and the impetus for such service is the pleasure we derive from it.
Driven by affection for his wife and children, a family man works day and night. A philanthropist works in the same way for love of the greater family, and a nationalist for the cause of his country and countrymen. That force which drives the philanthropist, the householder and the nationalist is called rasa, or a kind of mellow (relationship), whose taste is very sweet.
Bhakti-rasa is a mellow different from the ordinary rasa enjoyed by mundane workers. Mundane workers labor very hard day and night in order to relish a certain kind of rasa which is understood as sense gratification. The relish or taste of mundane rasa does not endure very long and therefore mundane workers are always apt to change their position of enjoyment.
A businessman is not satisfied by working the whole week – therefore, wanting a change for the weekend, he goes to a place where he tries to forget his business activities. Then, after the weekend is spent in forgetfulness, he again changes his position and resumes his actual business activities.
Material engagement means accepting a particular status for some time and then changing it. This position of changing back and forth is technically known as `Bhoga-tyaga`, which means a position of alternating sense enjoyment. Change is going on perpetually, and we cannot be happy in either state, because of our eternal constitutional position.
Sense gratification does not endure for long, and it is therefore called `chapala-sukha`, or flickering happiness. For example, an ordinary family man who works very hard day and night and is successful in giving comforts to the members of his family thereby relishes a kind of mellow, but his whole advancement of material happiness immediately terminates along with his body as soon as his life is over. Death is therefore taken as the representative of God for the atheistic class of men.
The devotee realizes the presence of God by devotional service, whereas the atheist releases the presence of God in the shape of death. At death everything is finished, and one has to begin a new chapter of life in a new situation, perhaps higher or lower than the last one. In any field of activity – political, social, national or international – the results of our actions will be finished with the end of life. That is for sure.
Bhakti rasa, however, the mellow relished in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, does not finish with the end of life. It continues perpetually and is therefore called `amruta` that which does not die but exists eternally. The Bhagavad-Gita says that a little advancement in bhakti-rasa can save the devotee from the greatest danger – that of missing the opportunity for human life.
The rasas derived from our feelings in social life, in family life or in the greater family life of altruism, philanthropy, nationalism, socialism, communism, etc., do not guarantee that one`s next life will be as human being. We prepare our next life by our actual activities in the present life.
A human being engaged in Krishna consciousness, even if unable to complete the course of bhakti-yoga, takes birth in the higher divisions of human society so that he can automatically further his advancement in Krishna consciousness. Such a practice of Krishna consciousness will immediately bring one to an auspicious life free from anxieties and will bless one with transcendental existence.
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