Six loving exchanges – Opening the heart and reciprocating with the opened heart
[Talk at Krishna House, Gainesville, USA]
Transcription of Summary Lecture
I spoke about the six loving exchanges in bhakti, and I said how giving or receiving gifts, offering food, taking food and sharing our heart an hearing others share their heart and responding, these are characteristics of love in every field. When people become friends, when people become business partners and when we work as devotees…
So, Rupa Goswami here in Bhakti-rasamrita-sindhu is ultimately going to talk about love of God, but Bhakti is not solitary spirituality, it is social spirituality, and we need to relate with those who love Krishna so that we can advance towards… ourselves developing love for Krishna.
Giving gifts and receiving gifts… It is said that, gifts are the visual markers of love. We need markers… tangible objects to anchor our consciousness and anchor our feelings of love. So, gifts in order to really have an impact… the amount of money is not as important as the amount of thought, and by the amount of thought what should happen? We give a gift not just in our circle of interest, something that is there in their circle of interest. This shows that we understand and we care for them. The best is if the gift is in the intersection of the two circles of interest. Then that gift can lead to… not just one transaction, but it can lead to further interactions, and then I talked about food. We may be detached but that doesn’t mean we should be hard-hearted. So, detachment is about level-headedness and hard heartedness is about insensitivity. So, if somebody offers us food lovingly they are offering their affection. If I say, ‘I am detached from food.’ we are not reciprocating properly.
So, when we see the food as a way the person is offering affection… and we accept that affection. That leads to deeper connection, and primarily I focussed on sharing our heart and responding to the sharing of the heart. So, we have in our subtle body desires and doubts which distracts us. Now what is in our subtle body is by the natures arrangement, under Krishna’s supervision kept private from the world, and that is what required for civilized society, for sustained relationship… because our mind just becomes wild, but still if some desires and doubts just come and go occasionally we need not to bother about it. It’s just like some wind just blows, but if some desires or doubts becomes stormy… storm becomes threatening, then we need to deal with it, and dealing with it is through a balance of honesty and modesty. Just like I have a sore in a private part, I don’t tell world but I do go to the doctor and I will show and ask for treatment. Like that we need to go to a appropriate trustworthy devotee and while sharing our heart we need to have the confidence that we will not be judged or ridiculed.
So, love is expressed by shifting through the other side. So, that love is expressed through understanding and appreciating or empathising. So, we need like-minded association. Although we want to ultimately transcend the mind… during the lifetime we have the same mind. That’s why we need to find who will understand our questions, not question our questions.
So, desires can make us feel low, but doubt’s makes us feel high. That’s why we have to find some devotee who is also intellectual, whom we see respectably and then we ask questions to them. But either way when somebody shares their heart, our goal should be not just to give the solution, our goal is first to understand and then make the other person feel understood; like a doctor who just gives one’s own specs and they are not understanding the patient’s condition, or the doctor who even gives the right prescription without hearing the patient. Then they are not… the patient will not feel convinced taking the treatment.
So, when there is interactions we actually see those interactions as a means for coming closer, and if somebody shares their heart non-judgmentally, in a customized way for them we offer them guidance, and through this interactions devotees enter into each other’s hearts… then both the hearts get permeated with Krishna’s presence, because both of them are moving closer towards Krishna.
Srila Prabhupada did this in a very extraordinary way. That’s how he attracted thousands of thousands of people to Krishna’s lotus feet and when the force of love which is either choked or misdirected presently, is freed… when we feel loved and we feel someone who we want to love, then that can overpower all our conditionings and we can march towards Krishna.
(Transcription by Sadananda Krishnaprema Prabhu)