Our specific love for Krishna is just the beginning of the ecstatic spiritual experience called prema-bhakti-rasa. Love is the ocean in which the ecstasy of rasa flows in endless waves.

The word rasa literally means “flavor” or “juice.” The idea is that everything has a certain taste in it – everything has some quality and quantity of unique, enjoyable flavor. Sports, music, movies, dancing, and eating – for example – each contain some enjoyable, essential flavor: rasa. But the greatest quantity and quality of rasa exists within affectionate relationships: making friendships, caring for children, falling in love, and so on. The rasa apparently present in things like sports, music, and so on merely reflects rasa of affection (and other emotions) expressed by the participants.

In our current reality, everything is inspired by a hunger for rasa. Our deeds always search for some experience that can fill a persistent emptiness within us. This is why deeds in this world are called karma – “work” which eventually becomes tiresome. In this sense our current reality is diametrically opposite to the reality we can enter through divine love. Emptiness and hunger never exist to motivate anything there. Instead every deed is a celebration, a festival expressing the surplus of rasa that endlessly overflows from the infinite fullness within us. That is why the activities within the realm of divine love are not known as karma, they are known as līlā, “festivity.”

By practicing divine love (bhakti-yoga / sādhana-bhakti) we will immediately improve our lives right now. If we practice with great dedication and sincerity, we can begin to experience the spiritual reality of rāsa-līlā, and eventually enter into it completely.

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