Just imagine doing any kind of activity without having any passion for it! The whole activity would appear dry and lack enthusiasm. When it comes to spirituality, the same principle follows. Most often, when seekers embark on their spiritual journey, they all go through the motions of spiritual practice, but they may not get the feeling of the divine. Quite a few people take to this path because they are facing problems in life rather than it being an inner calling. For such people the mind keeps telling them that what they are doing is right and when such people hear spiritual experiences of others, their mind convinces them that they too are getting similar experiences.
One needs to be very careful about falling into this kind of mental trap. It is very difficult to extricate oneself when this happens. This happens because they are not aware of bhav or spiritual emotion and how to go about awakening this bhav! However, when they do experience this emotion, it brings divine sweetness into their lives and spiritual practice.
It is said that where there is spiritual emotion, God is present. This statement emphasises the need for making efforts for awakening emotion — this has immense importance. First, one needs to understand what bhav means. It is very difficult to explain this superlative spiritual feeling. Bhav is the feeling of oneness with God — but how does this feel?
All of us are acutely aware of our own existence. However, when we make efforts to awaken our spiritual emotion, we get a chance to experience the presence of God. It is a superlative feeling where we feel we are in communion with the Divine. In this state, there are no needs, no wants, just feelings of bliss, love and gratitude and a feeling of being in union with the Divine. This feeling is often accompanied by some physical manifestations like uncontrollable tears (of joy) or trembling, and so on.
It gives meaning to everything we do as part of spiritual practice and brings the essence of the Divine into our lives. We feel that God or the Guru is by our side walking with us. At that moment, stress fades away. The greater the spiritual emotion, the greater is the feeling of closeness to God or Guru.
Sometimes our spiritual emotion gets awakened spontaneously when we feel gratitude for God or remember how much God has done for us. However, it is important to make efforts at the level of the mind and intellect continuously to increase our spiritual emotion and for it to become constant in our lives.
We can perform all day-to-day activities with the feeling that we are serving God through that. We can also remember all the spiritual experiences He has bestowed upon us during our spiritual journeys to nurture our faith. Having a feeling of gratitude is an important ingredient in inculcating spiritual emotion.
One important point to remember is that we may not be able to remain in a state of bhav continually. However, remember this is the goal that we are trying to achieve. Being in a continuous state of bhav is possible at an advanced spiritual level. So, do not get disheartened if you are not able to experience bhav initially. It is more important to continuously make efforts to awaken bhav.