A Painting Full of Bhava

A Painting Full of Bhava
by Govinda Dasi

Govinda Dasi: It was at that time, when Swamiji was recovering from stroke in Vrindaban, feeling great separation from Swamiji, that I designed a drawing of Krishna returning home from the forest with thousands of cows. It was indeed a special drawing, for though I had never seen Vrindaban, or even photographs of it, just from Swamiji’s many descriptions of Vrindaban, I was able to create a picture that did indeed look very much like Krishna’s Vrindaban.

While doing this drawing, I was seeing cows and cowlads in my minds’ eye for weeks! I selected one particular cowlad to be Swamiji, and sent him a copy of the picture, denoting that the cowlad on the far right of Krishna was my depiction of him.

Years later, this early drawing of Krishna’s Vrindaban was artfully colored in by some of the later BBT artists, and is still used today in many of the books and temples. It is a painting that is full of bhava. That is because it is Swamiji’s drawing – not mine. It is full of his devotion. Remember, I had never even seen Vrindaban. But he was able to convey it to me so perfectly that the mood of Vrindaban is indeed present in that picture!

And he was also able to guide me from within my mind and heart just how he wanted it done. This is the deeper, more spiritual, understanding of transcendental art. It doesn’t come from us; as artists, we have to open ourselves so that Srila Prabhupada’s devotion comes through us. This mood requires surrender of the arrogant and rebellious attitude that, “I am the doer.” Or, “I am the artist.“

The Most Confidential Part of Knowledge

Bhagavad-gita slokas

Because you are My very dear friend, I am speaking to you the most confidential part of knowledge. Hear this from Me, for it is for your benefit.

Always think of Me and become My devotee. Worship Me and offer your homage unto Me. Thus you will come to Me without fail. I promise you this because you are My very dear friend.

…”Just always think of Me.”…This is the most important instruction in all Vedic literature. What Kṛṣṇa is saying in this connection is the most essential part of knowledge, and it should be carried out not only by Arjuna but by all living entities.

…The most confidential part of knowledge is that one should become a pure devotee of Kṛṣṇa and always think of Him and act for Him. One should not become an official meditator. Life should be so molded that one will always have the chance to think of Kṛṣṇa. One should always act in such a way that all his daily activities are in connection with Kṛṣṇa. He should arrange his life in such a way that throughout the twenty-four hours he cannot but think of Kṛṣṇa. And the Lord’s promise is that anyone who is in such pure Kṛṣṇa consciousness will certainly return to the abode of Kṛṣṇa, where he will be engaged in the association of Kṛṣṇa face to face. This most confidential part of knowledge is spoken to Arjuna because he is the dear friend of Kṛṣṇa. Everyone who follows the path of Arjuna can become a dear friend to Kṛṣṇa and obtain the same perfection as Arjuna.

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Bhāva

Radha Krishna Bhava

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Here is a new word for your Vaisnava Vocabulary: Bhāva. In the Glossary in the back of the Bhagavad-gita As It Is, 1972 Edition, the word Bhāva is defined as; the preliminary stage of transcendental love of Godhead. Bhāva is a big word and has various meanings

The last stage of the devotional life is called bhāva, or transcendental love of Godhead.

“In the beginning one must have a preliminary desire for self-realization.This taste leads one further forward to attachment for Kṛṣṇa consciousness, which is matured in bhāva, or the preliminary stage of transcendental love of God. Real love for God is called premā, the highest perfectional stage of life.” In the premā stage there is constant engagement in the transcendental loving service of the Lord. So, by the slow process of devotional service, under the guidance of the bona fide spiritual master, one can attain the highest stage, being freed from all material attachment, from the fearfulness of one’s individual spiritual personality, and from the frustrations resulting from void philosophy. Then one can ultimately attain to the abode of the Supreme Lord. (Bhagavad-gita 4.11)

So it seem that bhāva is not only the preliminary stage of transcendental love of Godhead but we find that this preliminary stage of transcendental love is also the path to the highest perfectional stage of life, pure love or premā. There are two ways to approach the Lord, one is with awe and reverence and the other is with affection; bhāva. One who approaches the Lord with affection, is sure to advance spiritually.

In the Srimad Bhagavatam we find many references to the word Bhāva and highlighted some of them here. More

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