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Dasya Bhakti

by Swami Sivananda

Dasya Bhakti is the love of God through servant-sentiment. To serve God and carry out His wishes, realising His virtues, nature, mystery and glory, considering oneself as a slave of God, the Supreme Master, is Dasya Bhakti.

Serving and worshipping the Murtis in temples, sweeping the temples, meditating on God and mentally serving Him like a slave, serving the saints and the sages, serving the devotees of God, serving poor and sick people who are forms of God, is also included in Dasya Bhakti.

To follow the words of scriptures, to act according to the injunctions of the Vedas, considering them to be direct words of God, is Dasya Bhakti. Association with and service of love-intoxicated devotees and service of those who have knowledge of God is Dasya Bhakti. The purpose behind Dasya Bhakti is to be ever with God in order to offer services to Him and win His Divine Grace and attain thereby immortality.

Arjuna prays with a sentiment of a slave, a servant and a disciple, in order to get the grace of Lord Krishna. O Lord! I am Your disciple. I have taken refuge in You. Teach me. This should be the Bhava of a Bhakta. He should completely give himself up to God and should not retain any personal reservations with him. Ananya-Bhakti is total relinquishment of the self to God.

Lakshmana, Hanuman, Angada, etc., cultivated this Dasya-Bhava of Bhagavad-Bhakti. Lakshmana could not even speak to Rama at times in his extreme love for Rama and the humiliation of his self before Rama. Hanuman is a towering example of Divine Seva to the Lord. He spent his whole life in serving Lord Rama. Angada did not want to leave Rama even at the latter's request and prayed to Lord Rama that he would serve Him at all times, that he would do even the most menial of services for the sake of Lord Rama. These devotees were of an exceptional type and it is very difficult to develop such a Bhakti as was possessed by Hanuman, Lakshmana or Angada. The heart has to be purified, the mind has to be thinned out, desires have to be annihilated. It is then that the devotee feels his real Love for God. Before such a purification, the love of God becomes coloured with earthliness and does not bear the expected fruit. Total surrender is the ideal of Dasya Bhakti. The Dasa or the servant loses nothing but gains everything through the service of God either in His Transcendental or His Immanent aspect.

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