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The realm of the beautiful

The realm of the beautiful

In the Sutras of Narada, we read that Bhakti is of the form of Parama Prema. The word Parama is often interpreted to mean intense. Bhakti is intense love of God. But, I think, the word Parama may well be understood to mean transcendent or absolute. The Bhakta’s love of God is absolute. It is not utilitarian. It is Ahetuka, motiveless, though not causeless. It asks for no fruit. It is devoid of interest. The Bhakta loves God the Beautiful for His Blessed sake, not for the sake of reward, not even for Swargaloka (heaven). “Let me be damned, my God: if only I may love you,” said St Teresa. The world often understands not the Bhakta’s ways. The world calls him a dreamer or a madman. He lives so much apart. He is an artist.

A beautiful story is told of a Christian saint. She was a little girl. She died a little girl. Her face was beautiful. Yet more beautiful was her faith. A big Roman official’s son fell in love with her. He promised her precious stones.

She said: “Be gone: Another there is whom I love, Jesus:”

In her heart was love for gently Jesus. She would not marry a mortal. The official had her stripped naked. But her hair grew long and covered her body as a beautiful robe.

The story is suggestive. That girl had Bhakti. The Bhakta sows in tears and tragedy. But he reaps in the Realm of the Beautiful “where the great voices sound and visions dwell.”

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