We often come across the word “Bhakti” in the spiritual discussions. What exactly does this mean? Let us not bother about its English equivalent (which is never equal). Let us examine the real sense in which the word is used. If we recollect its usage, we find it as “hari bhakti”, “shiva bhakti”, “guru bhakti”, “swaami bhakti”, “desha bhakti” etc. This represents a relationship between two persons – between hari and his bhakta etc. What does this relationship comprise of?
Have we heard anybody saying “putra bhakti”, “patni bhakti”, “sevaka bhakti”, “shishya bhakti”? No, certainly not. This indicates a specific component that exits in Bhakti without which it cannot be considered as such. What is that component? In the first set above, the bhakta is inferior to his master whereas in the latter set this is not found. Thus it is essential that the master in whom bhakti is done should be superior to the bhakta. In otherwords a bhakta should be knowing the greatness of the person in whom he has bhakti.
Is knowing greatness enough to be called as bhakti? No. Duryodhana had the knowledge of superiority of Krishna. But he had no bhakti in Krishna. Mere knowledge of superiority cannot comprise bhakti. The other essential component is “love”, which Duryodhana did not have in Krishna. Is it then love alone can form bhakti? No. Just have a look at the second set (putra bhakti, patni bhakti etc) mentioned above. In all those cases, there is love and yet it is not bhakti.
Hence it is a combination of the knowledge of the greatness (maahatmya jnaana) coupled with love that makes it Bhakti.
Let us make bhakti in Sri Raayaru and be blessed by him