This article is shared by SP Sharma
In the knowledge path, one practices control of the senses and makes one’s mind silent through correct reasoning. The case seems to be different in the devotion path, where one is allowed to direct the senses and concentrate the mind towards God, or his representative in a living human form as a saint or spiritual teacher.
After self-realization it is a joy to accept a saint having knowledge of self, combined with the spirit of devotion. This meeting is considered with such a hearty acceptance, that no parallel example exists in any other relationship. However, it has also happened between rare pairs of husband and wife. In India, a Sati lady who has never thought of any other man than her husband and who faints and dies immediately on just getting the news of her husband’s death, is even regarded no less than God!
Our five senses through related organs graze on the objects of their liking, living or non-living, irrespective of age. There is almost an inborn instinct in a child to get attracted to a member of the opposite sex. It is mentioned in Buddhism that a newcomer soul in a mother’s womb, if it becomes attracted to the father becomes a girl and, similarly, if to the mother, then a boy. And, in most of the cases, the bond of affection between mother and son, father and daughter, remains throughout life, in spite of seeming differences. Similar affections to a lesser degree are found in other relations like sister-brother, husband-wife, lovers, etc.
In such relations there are chances of conflict and of drifting away circumstantially. Also the physical appearance of the object may not remain the same always. Moreover, sense gratification in society is still a risky proposition! In such a situation, ultimately we have to select an object that is never changing, so our senses can enjoy it forever.
Many a time I have seen that some devotees worship their personal God in the form of childhood. Seeing Christ or Krishna in the bosom of their mothers, in a picture or idol is a feast to the eyes. The child’s mother, chosen by God, has great significance in elevating the spirit of the devotee.
A word of caution here is, that mostly, when a man happens to see a beautiful young mother with a child, he fondles the child with a crooked eye on the mother. But here the devotee himself has to be innocent (or be a witness) to enjoy the beauty of the super pair of child and mother.
Now, considering God in child form has an implication for the devotee and results in binding him to become innocent like a child (See the article: Innocence is divine). Protection is provided to the innocent from the mother’s side (nature).
Our scriptures advocate love as a non-physical entity, undemanding and non- possessive. That type of love is only possible through the mind. This love is perfected first for God or a saint, and then with His creation.
A devotee has several options, suiting his nature, for establishing a relationship with God (See: The spectrum of the love of God) and enjoy through His service (Nourishing the mind through selfless service).
SP Sharma, India