“Devotional Love” in Hinduism
Bhakti Yoga (one of the four Yogas) is a religious practice to attain Divine Being through devotional love. Feeling devotional love would be a transcendent experience, as The Bhagavad Gita says: “I love you well, I will tell you what’s in your best interest. Keep me in your mind, love me, worship me. Sacrifice to me and prostrate yourself before me. I promise you this, in all sincerity, for you are dear to me. Give up thinking in terms of laws. Turn to me and make me your only refuge. I will deliver you from all evil, so have no fear of all evil, have no worries” (Gita, XVIII. 64). Kama, as a Sanskrit noun, denotes the mystical experience within the sphere of love and sex on a divine basis. In The Atharva-Veda, love-life means family and married life. The principle and original aim of this doctrine is to make this love-life a success, and to produce a happy and harmonious family—an ideal relationship between a husband, his wife, and their children denoted by phrases as “a love spell with a sweet herb”; “to secure a woman’s love”; “to command a woman’s love”; “the incantation of the lover entering the girl’s home by night”; “two charms to win a woman’s love”; and “to win and fix a man’s love with a plan.” For instance, in the Hindu wedding ceremony, bride and groom are clad in festive garb and sit before a sacred fire, emblem of the love and holiness into which they are entering. Gita describes godly love: “He who hates no living creature; who is loving and compassionate, without selfishness and self-seeking, who holds pain and pleasure equally; who is patient, contented, always loyal, full of self-control and steady determination; who fixes his mind and his reason on me and loves me; he is dear to me” (Gita, Xii. B, 14). There is a basic virtue for the Hindu monk—to abide pervading the entire world by love, with great immeasurable freedom from hatred.