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.Continue reading