How to love Krishna?
Actual Question from a girl devotee (Name hidden):
“Can u please define what love is, and how to know if one is in love? I know, we can’t even imagine the eternal love of father, I mean Shri Krishna. We can’t love someone that much. But what love did He (Krishna) defines? Can u plz tell sir?”
Love means “Total Surrender with 100% dedication, without even a trace of doubt & expectation of benefits”.
Real Love is pure and unchanging. It will remain so till death of this body. In the material life, only when two people believe each other, they start to love.
In many cases, we can see in this material world that love comes only if the person is materially rich and can ensure a comfortable life. That is, material love may have some expectations. Whereas, Gopis loved Krishna NOT BECAUSE He is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It was natural & spontaneous. They just wanted His association. With no reasons and expectations.
Anyone can come to temple and offer some prayers to Krishna. That does not mean he is loving Krishna. He might have come to temple even out of fear about Krishna. Because devotion comes both because of love and fear.
Where there is true love, there will be no ego. Where there is ego, there will be no genuine love. Only when the two persons surrender themselves, they start to feel that they are in love.
Therefore, to love Krishna wholeheartedly, we should skip our ego, ie, the feeling of “I”, “Me” and “Mine”.
During the initial stage, we may develop only the partial devotion with Krishna with expectations. That is not wrong. But, it must be taken to the next stages till the surenderin due course of time.
Krishna says that the devotees who love Him without expectations are dear to Him. See this quote:
In NECTAR OF DEVOTION, Sri Rupa Gosvami says (Explained by Srila Prabhupada)
“Further classification of the neophyte devotee is made in the Bhagavad-gita. It is stated there that four classes of men–namely those who are distressed, those who are in need of money, those who are inquisitive and those who are wise–begin devotional service and come to the Lord for relief in the matter of their respective self-satisfaction. They go into some place of worship and pray to God for mitigation of material distress, or for some economic development, or to satisfy their inquisitiveness. And a wise man who simply realizes the greatness of God is also counted among the neophytes. Such beginners can be elevated to the second-class or first-class platform if they associate with pure devotees.
Lord Krsna, however, has explained in the Gita that out of these four types of neophytes, the one who is wise is very dear to Him, because a wise man, if he is attached to Krsna, is not seeking an exchange of material benefits. A wise man who becomes attached to Krsna does not want any return from Him, either in the form of relieving distress or in gaining money. This means that from the very beginning his basic principle of attachment to Krsna is, more or less, love. Furthermore, due to his wisdom and study of sastras (scriptures), he can understand also that Krsna is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
Example for such total surrendered state of love without expectations is Srimati Radharani. Krishna is everything for Her.
The body of Radharani is made up of sweet tenderness and loveliness for Sri Krishna. The substance of her subtle form as Mahabhava is Krishna Prem. Ardent passion for Sri Krishna is her dress. Her sweet radiant smile is the camphor. All good qualities are her garlands. All the Bhavas form the ornaments, her limbs. Lord Krishna’s name, qualities form the ornaments of Her ears. Krishna’s name and qualities flow out in a stream from Her tongue. She serves Krishna with the drink of Premarasa or Shyama-rasa.
The culmination of Bhakti is reached in ‘Madhurya-Bhava’. The lover and the Beloved become one through the intensity of love. Radha had this type of love. In Madhurya-bhava there is the closest relationship between the devotee and the Lord. There is no sensuality in Madhurya-Bhava. There is no tinge of carnality in it. Passionate people cannot understand this Bhava as their minds are saturated with passion and lower sexual appetite. In the secular sphere the only “love” which approaches this Bhava to an appreciable nearness is the love, a grown-up son has to his mother. Here, there is not even a semblance of the sex-element prevalent.”
Gopis were always thinking of Krishna though they were involved in their daily routines like normal girls. They saw Krishna in everything. Their world is Krishna only.
Thus, Love as expected by Krishna is : Without expectations; Loving for Krishna Himself; Not for any other benefits. Such lovers of Krishna get Krishna Himself as Gopis got to the envy of celestials and demi gods.