Bhakti Yoga – Egoless and ego-centred love

There are two distinct forms of love. Firstly, there is ego-centred love, in which one loves another person, deity, saint or whatever with the expectation of love in return. This is the most common form of love and is really a love of oneself, not of someone or something else.

Secondly, there is egoless love. This is love for the sake of love, without any expectation of love in return. This form of love is bhakti and is felt even when it is not returned. This type of love may exist for some inexplicable reason; or it may exist because of some natural resonance or compatibility; or perhaps the love exists because of the realization of the deeper nature of the other person, deity, etc. In a higher sense, there cannot be love for another person, for other people, for a deity and so forth because of the understanding that everyone and everything is really one’s own self. Others do not exist. This is non-directional love; love that goes out and returns to the bhakta.

Ego-centred love will chain one to the finite, whereas bhakti, intense non-expectational love, leads to the infinite. One limits, whereas the other leads to the unlimited. Bhakti or egoless love does not depend on beauty, wealth or reciprocation of love. Bhakti should be felt even if one is rejected. This is a test of the sincerity of devotion. The great Indian bhakta Rasakhan (born a Muslim, but who worshipped Krishna) said: “Bhakti is the fountain of all sweetness. It is not dependent on youth, virtue, beauty or riches, nor is it tainted by self-interest or thoughts of personal gain.”

Ego-centred love tends to quickly subside with time, whereas bhakti increases and grows with every passing minute.

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