“How does Bhakti increase in its own way?” and “What is the meaning of ‘its own independent sweet will’?
An analogy can help us to understand better the concept that “Bhakti increases in its own way”.
If you ignite a fire in a forest, it may burn down even the whole forest. You did not light a fire on every single tree or shrub but nevertheless, everything catches fire. The reason is that fire is natural in everything living in a forest, humans included. It is enough some vicinity or association with fire and it will act.
Similarly, Bhakti is natural in everyone’s heart. We often mention this verse because it is very clear:
‘sadhya’ kabhu naya
“Pure love for Krsna is eternally established in the hearts of the living entities. It is not something to be gained from another source. When the heart is purified by hearing and chanting, this love naturally awakens.”
(Caitanya Caritamrita Madhya-lila 22.107)
If one comes in the vicinity of a pure devotee or of pure devotion, even if he has still a lot of material desires and doesn’t really want pure devotion yet, Bhakti activates itself in his heart. Just like the fire will burn the forest without your further intervention, bhakti will work its way in our heart towards prema. Those who want it more will arrive before, but eventually, everybody will go back to Krishna.
However, all material analogies contain limitations and imperfections. As a matter of fact all trees are bound for destruction, and while it is true that Bhakti will be revived, still there will arrive the moment that you’ll have to become active, meaning that it will come the moment that you’ll have to want it. If you don’t want it, it will not arrive.
The reason is that the most important item of love is the free choice to love or not.
This is a section of the book “A Sidelong Glance”.
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