What’s the motive? Such a wonderful and often profound question to ask oneself or others. In any action, circumstance, desire, what propels it? If we want to truly love without conditions this question must be at the heart of our journey.
Loving without condition is not loving without boundary or safeguards, but it is loving without motive to receive or change. In yoga this is known as the practice of Bhakti. Bhakti is loving the divine source for the sake of loving, and serving that source for the love of it. Not for the reward of spiritual enlightenment, assured prestige in the everlasting, or perfection in the human form. Rather Bhakti Yoga is pure and reverent arising from the purest state of awe.
Every time we are loved without feeling bound to some obligation we are graced with the divine that is the nature of love. This is the heart of love. Love without obligation or bais, motive or reward. Love for the sake of love.
When we approach loving for the sake of loving we are in the purity of motive that is the grace of Bhakti. The Narada Bhakti Sutra’s teach that in attaining the heart space of bhakti a person does become perfected, immortal, and content, but paradoxically this is not a result of selfish motive, because pure bhakti cannot arise from selfish means. So how does one get there?
NARADA BHAKTI SUTRA 77
TRANSLATION BY: WILLIAM K. MAHONY (EXQUISITE LOVE 2010)
Sukha-duhkhecca-labhadityakte kale pratiksamanae
Ksanarddham-api vyartham na neyam
Relinquishing happiness, dissatisfaction, self-centered willfulness, worldly gain, and so on, when there is attentive awareness in every moment, not even half an instant should be passed uselessly.
In gaining awareness of our motives we can ultimately control our desires. The pursuit of which must be endured with every passing and fleeting moment. The reward of which is the luscious sweetness of the ambrosia of love, without condition, without motive, without desire for reward. From bhakti awareness arises the motive to serve in bhakti, to serve in love.
Again, such love is not love without wisdom, without safekeeping of human body, without safekeeping of human needs. Such love is wise love. Such love is not idle, not waiting to be quaffed, for it is always drawn from and returned to an unlimited source.
With love, always, in all ways, for giving, in joy,