Today let’s experience a taste of bhakti – devotion and love for God. This isn’t a vague, bland, intellectual, or prim sort of love. The Bhakti’s love is passionate, powerful, all-consuming.
When he quickens all things
To create bliss in the world,
His soft black sinuous lotus limbs
Begin the festival of love
And beautiful cowherd girls wildly
Wind him in their bodies.
Friend, in spring young Hari plays
Like erotic mood incarnate.
– Jayadeva ( 12th century, India )
Bhakti poetry is passionate and erotic, but it is also highly spiritual, sung daily in many Indian temples.
Vaishnava Krishna Bhakti poetry tells us of the love play, separation, and union between the God-man Krishna and the cowherdess Radha.
/ Photo by solidariat /
When spring came, tender-limbed Radha wandered
Like a flowering creeper in the forest wilderness,
Seeking Krishna in his many haunts.
Love Song of the Dark Lord: Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda
Translated by Barbara Stoler Miller
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The song of songs, which is Solomon’s.
– Song of Solomon 1:1
/ Photo by big-ashb /
We won’t get very far in discussing the sacred language of lover and beloved within the Western traditions without referencing the biblical Song of Solomon, so let’s start there.
Virtually every Christian and Jewish love poem, sacred and secular, in some way hearkens back to the Song of Solomon. Continue Reading »
/ Photo by jurvetson /
It’s a new year. The winter weather has already turned surprisingly warm and sunny, hinting at spring. Valentine’s Day is on the horizon. It’s natural for thoughts to turn to love.
That flush of first infatuation. A glance, a smile, a turn of the head. Yearning, hope. Preparing yourself to attract the notice of that special someone. A shy invitation. Perhaps a secret tryst. Surrender. Sometimes sacrifice. Maybe the heartbreak of separation. Or maybe marriage.
These images have been the foundation of sacred writings long before they filled romance novels and pop songs.
It’s surprising when you first notice just how passionate sacred poetry is. At times it verges on the erotic. All this talk of lovers and longing…
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