Only two kinds of entities need your love – an innocent child and the Lord (dwelling in all, animate and inanimate, and in the form of a divine body, when perceived through a pure mind and heart). Once you happen to love anyone of these they shall demand your whole attention. In return they may give you such a smile that you will land in ecstasy.
Love for a child may go on decreasing with the passage of time, i.e. it can be enjoyed as long as it is innocent. Since it is in physical body it may not remain always cheerful due to various ailments, and that will be a disruption of enjoyment. So in a physical form we feel the taste of love sometimes temporarily. How to make love feelings a permanent source of pleasure?
In fact, saints consider this world as their spiritual teacher and try to learn from it how to get eternal peace and pleasure of mind. Some devotees like the Lord in His evergreen child form.
I and my wife happened to meet our old neighbour after almost 25 years. They called my wife Lala’s mummy (Lala is the childhood name of my son) and inquired about Lala as if he were still the same as when they saw him last, at about the age of 10. Smiling we told them that he is no more the same Lala, the image of which they were still carrying in their mind. He is married and has two kids. While I was telling about our son, his employment and other things, the wife of the old neighbour was lost in visualizing my son’s childhood image and suddenly asked whether he likes still to eat Dosa (a south Indian dish which my son relished at their house). I too carry memories of enjoyment of several neighbourhood children from whom we got separated. I mentally enjoy pastimes with them sometimes and prefer to carry their image of childhood rather than trying to meet them now.
The same happened with the gopis (the cow-maids of Brindavan who got attracted to the child Krishna) from whom their beloved Krishna got separated when he was just 11 years old. They remembered their pastimes together with Krishna who later became a great king and never returned to his native place for various reasons. It was after many years that they happened to meet the Lord Krishna (a proven philosopher and king) on the occasion of the sun-eclipse at Kurukshetra, a holy place, where they had assembled for performing necessary rituals. Though they were pleased to meet Him they preferred to remain indulged in talking about His childhood pastimes at Brindavan. If those cow-maids had wished so, Krishna would have allowed them to settle in his palatial kingdom (Dwarka in Gujarat, India).
Here we note three important points: (i) Brindavan was a rural place with natural surroundings and offered a haven for development of love among innocent souls. (ii) Lord Krishna attracted gopis of all ages, however, gopis had various mental relations with Him (Please see my article: The spectrum of the love of God) to suit their age and mental attitudes. (iii) Due to separation the image of childhood innocent pastimes of Krishna got implanted in the minds of gopis, eternally. Thus, the gopis had a soul-satisfying remembrance of the Lord’s name, His qualities, pastimes, and place, talking about it with each other.
When a devotee is alone, or two or more devotees of the Lord meet, what do they naturally do?
(i) When alone, the devotee enjoys his entitled relationship with the Lord mentally in a meditative mood. Feelings of separation from the Lord are more intense when alone and expressed preferably in a lonely place.
(ii) When devotees meet they talk about His greatness, wondering about the features of His creation, His compassionate nature through feelings of blessedness, and sing about His pastimes gloriously. They are sincere with each other and usually happen to express their feelings.
Loving God implies not to seek our comfort and pleasure but His, since our happiness ultimately lies in His happiness. A real saint never wishes his final release; he is satisfied through service to Him, i.e., service to mankind and driving them to taste the eternal love of God. Moreover, the role of a lover and his beloved, as between a devotee and God, is frequently interchanged to increase their love.
SP Sharma, India