What is “Bhāva”?

Bhagavata Purana Manuscript, Scene: Yashoda ba...
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It is good to first have a thorough understanding of the word, bhāva, the original Sanskrit term for the eighth step towards realization of prema, “Internal Awakening.” You might spot that the first vowel in the word is a long a (ā), which indicates that bhāva is a modification of the more basic word, bhava. Understanding the meaning of bhava will be very helpful to understanding what bhāva means as a word.

Bhava denotes “existence, being.” Thus the word bhāva denotes “things that spring into existence,” and “things which result from existence.”

The eighth step towards realization of Bhakti-Yoga occurs when the “real thing,” real love of Krsna, starts to come into our existence. It indicates the stage when the source of our existence (bhava), our very soul, becomes energized to its inherent potential and bhakti becomes one with our very being.

Another Sanskrit word used in reference to the eighth step towards bhakti is rati. This word is related to the root rāma (pleasure). Rati means “delightful affection.” This word is also used for the eighth stage of bhakti-yoga because when our soul (bhava) becomes energized with its inherent real love for Krsna, when then develop a definite specific type of delightful affection (rati) for Krsna.


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