Love beyond Law

by Swami BV Tripurari

Those who stress the hells and punishments, rules, etc. of the 5th Canto of the Bhagavata do not have a very good understanding of the text and thus of bhakti. Bhakti is not about rules. It is about love, and there are no rules in love, and there is no love in following rules. Over-identifying with even the rules of bhakti is detrimental to bhakti (niyamagraha). Rules have a purpose and over-identifying with them can be at the cost of realizing their purpose. They are meant to foster love. That’s all.

From the very beginning we are told to forgo the rules, sarva dharman parityaja mam eakam saranam vraja. While this applies to the rules of dharma sastra, for those who come to bhakti from outside of the karma marg it also applies more readily to the rules of bhakti. The point being that Krsna is asking Arjuna to love him, not follow a set of rules. And of course this means to do as he says regardless of what might be said–even by himself elsewhere. Follow Sri Guru. This is sraddha. How sublime. But how many practitioners understand this? Many identify with the rules of bhakti, but how many are prepared to put themselves in the hands of Sri Guru? We trust ourselves too much. We should be afraid of this tendency. As I said elsewhere, love is illusive while rules are easier to grab on to. To the extent that one identifies the rules with bhakti itself, one’s faith is compromised and one’s capacity to follow the path inhibited.

Swami BV Tripurari's weblog