There is a verse in Srimad Bhagvatam that very much personifies the bhava or the spirit of those in the path of bhakti.
sa vai pumsaam parodharmo
yato bhaktir adhoksaje
There are many types of dharma. Dharma can refer to our occupation, our natural propensities, religion, spirituality, etc. This verse tells us that the supreme dharma is that which brings about an awakening – awakening of our great potential, the very essence of our being, which is loving devotional service to the supreme truth. That love must be unmotivated by any selfishness, by any egoism, and uninterrupted by any situation that may come before us in life; then only can that love completely satisfy the self.
The Bramha Sutras tell us – ananda mayo bhyaasaat – that we are all by nature seeking pleasure. From the little ants and the rats in your kitchen to the great presidents and devas, everyone is seeking pleasure. Why? Because it is our inherent nature to have the experience of ananda, which means transcendental ecstasy. That’s what we are always seeking. But where can we find that pleasure?
Things could give some fleeting pleasure to the physical senses and to the mind, but they cannot touch the heart. There is only one thing that can give satisfaction to the heart, and that is to love and be loved. There is a simple analogy of a bird in a cage and the owner is so preoccupied decorating, cleaning and making the cage a nice place. He forgets about the bird inside. The bird is starving. So often in my travels around the world, I see little girls who are dressed very nicely and have all sorts of toys and other things but the parents have no time to give her the love that she craves. They are so preoccupied with the externals that they don’t know the needs of their child. So the little girl looks pretty but she lives in misery.
The origin of that experience of love is the atma, the eternal soul’s natural love for the supreme soul, the paramatma, whom we call Krishna, the all attractive one. To experience the infinite, unlimited love of God, to be an instrument of that love is where the heart can find its real pleasure.
Bhakti is the process of reconnecting with that energy of divine love that is inherent within all of us, to actually experience the love of God.