Are there clear references to “love” in the Gita? Are the words “devotional service” and “love” synonymous?

by Chaitanya CharanNovember 15, 2012

I have been thinking about how you write about the message of love in BG. The word love in Sanskrit is probably ‘priti’ or ‘prema’- these are not there in BG. The word priyah shows up when Krishna tells Arjuna how dear he is to him or when he describes those who are dear to him. But typically he is suggesting- worship me with devotion, bow down to me, become my devotee, etc. He doesn’t say- ‘try to love me’ directly. The patram pushpam verse has ‘bhaktya’- with devotion. Does the word bhakti or the verb ‘bhaja’ necessarily imply love? Prabhupada translates bhakti most of the time as devotional service- your GDs uses the word love interchangeably with devotion. I just realized that I sub-consciously think that Krishna’s instructions focus on worship in the mode of awe and reverence (not love) in BG most of the time.

 I guess this is why we need Acharyas- to explain to us what the message is in the context of the whole tradition, rather than make interpretations on individual words.

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