What “Bhakti increases in its own way” and “its own independent sweet will” mean?
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 neverthless 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 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 it 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 imperfection. 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 will not arrive.
The reason is that the most important item of love is the free choice to love or not.
“Its own independent sweet will” means “natural”. It’s natural for trees to burn in presence of fire, even if they are not doing anything active to burn. In the same way it’s natural for a Jiva to start advancing in spiritual life even if he has scarse desire.
The word ahaituki in the Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.2.6 verse is significant. There is nothing in this material world that can help in advancing in spiritual life. This is why bhakti is also called hetu, without material cause.
Therefore the meaning of the word yadricchaya is that Bhakti is attractive and by its own actractive nature will eventually draw us toward the all-actractive Lord Krishna.
Thanks for your always wonderful questions. It is a pleasure to spend part of the day thinking on how to answer them.
– Manonatha Dasa (ACBSP)
3 July, 2019