Cultivating Bhakti or Divine Love
by Isabel Cuetara
This article first appeared in Prema Shakti Vol. 2 No. 7 of January 1999.
Tonight is the December full moon, a very special night. All over Tamil Nadu and India we are celebrating Lord Murugan's birthday. From my room I can listen to the joyous exclamations of the Ashram children to the Lord of the Vel: "Haro Hara, Haro Hara, Haro Hara!"
I had the marvelous chance to know Him at the shrine of Kataragama in Sri Lanka. There, God chose to appear to me in one of His more beautiful forms: an attractive warrior in whose powerful arm was the spear of love. Then I could realize a dimension of love that I had never felt before.
His first spear-shot sent me to another stage of consciousness. I felt as if my body had disintegrated into millions of energy particles, spread all over the surrounding space. Then I was the river, the tree, the child who was playing in the river and the elephant who was taking his evening bath. I was in all and all was in myself. My mind stopped for some time. Everything was more alive than before. Even the colours appeared more intense to me. It was absolute peace and surrender to the universal Love.
After some time, I got the opportunity to demonstrate my submission and devotion when He tested my faith in Him on the waters of the ocean. I had given my heart to worldly love, but to my God I offered my soul. I was ready to sacrifice myself if He had asked for it. I felt God closer. I could notice Him in everything. He was part of myself. He was my love and thanks to Him my faith became as strong as iron. Since then I cannot be the same as before.
The way I experience life and understand its sense is completely different now.
With the second shot of His spear I lost the fear of death and the fear of the void, of nothingness. I did not see myself as just a speck in the infinite universe, I became the universe itself. I was the Divine Centre. God was in me! I am His imperfect reflection of whom He is taking care. His challenge is my ultimate perfection and He will carry me forward to that end.
I remember the beautiful days in Okanda, the sacred land of the lovers Valli and Murugan, where God Himself gave me the chance to know a secret and sacred part of His love. This time the third spear struck the very centre of my divine heart, awakening all energy that was sleeping in me. Then I could feel a fountain of energy emanating from one point inside me and spreading up in all directions connecting the universe with me.
Suddenly I was closer to the All than to myself and I loved all alike I love Him. I was learning the universal language!
Slowly my ego is being burned with the Divine Warrior's fire. Until my soul is ready to join all other souls, I cannot be complete.
See also Kataragama.org