– Ch 26, Festival at Aadhar’s House
Once Rāma was pleased with the prayer of Nārada and told him to ask for a boon. Nārada prayed for pure love and said further, ‘O Rāma, please grant that I may not be deluded by Thy world-bewitching māyā.’ Rāma said: ‘That is all right. But ask for something else.’ Nārada replied: ‘I don’t want anything else. I pray only for pure love.’
How can a devotee attain such love? First, the company of holy men. That awakens śraddhā, faith in God. Then comes nishtha, single-minded devotion to the Ideal. In that stage the devotee does not like to hear anything but talk about God. He performs only those acts that please God. After nishtha comes bhakti, devotion to God; then comes bhava. Next mahabhava, then prema, and last of all the attainment of God Himself. Only for Isvarakotis, such as the Incarnations, is it possible to have mahabhava or prema.
The knowledge of a worldly person, the knowledge of a devotee, and the Knowledge of an Incarnation are by no means of the same degree. The knowledge of a worldly person is like the light of an oil lamp, which shows only the inside of a room. Through such knowledge he eats and drinks, attends to household duties, protects his body, brings up his children, and so on.
The knowledge of a devotee is like the light of the moon, which illumines objects both inside and outside a room. But such light does not enable him to see a distant or a very minute object.
The Knowledge of an Incarnation of God is like the light of the sun. Through that light the Incarnation sees everything, inside and outside, big and small.
The mind of a worldly person is, no doubt, like muddy water; but it can be made clear by a purifying agent. Discrimination and renunciation are the purifying agent.