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Updated on February 10, 2010

Ishta-deva & all forms of the Beloved

There is more to love than romance. There are many different kinds of love. The Beloved, One who is very much loved, is very much a part of Sanatanam Dharma.

The Ishta-deva, or your beloved divinity, is one of the most unique aspects of Hinduism. You have a choice to worship the form of God/Goddess you love the most. Mine is triple: Radha/Krishna/Saraswati. God/Goddess is One but has many forms, names and aspects. This allows a person an opportunity to worship God/Goddess in their favored form. Hinduism promotes tolerance of others' images of God: "Truth is One, though the sages know it as many."

The Guru, or spiritual teacher, is another form of the Beloved in Hinduism. The Guru is the One who helps you develop yourself as a spiritual and human being. He or She helps you to love yourself and others unconditionally through the relationship with the Guru. For some the "Guru is everywhere." My Guru sometimes comes to me in dreams and teaches me as though he is right in front of me. My mother was my first Guru and then I had other gurus who helped me grow as a human and spiritual being. I have a healing Guru who taught me Qigong and Meditation. There are many stories I can tell you of how some of his students and former students contacted him with our minds and how he then helped us heal a specific ailment within a short period of time.

Then there are Great Servants of Humanity. These people are beloved by many all over the world. Pandit Munelal told me that this kind of person uplifts the consciousness of the planet. He said a number of teachers have been sent for this purpose. These great souls, in my opinion, help us to understand real love. Love breaks down all the "isms" which divide the world. God/Goddess doesn't see gender, race or categories. Human beings, unfortunately, do. Love helps us get beyond these categories. God/Goddess even sends people into the world who break stereotypes for this purpose. Some great souls which have been sent to us: Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rosa Parks, Rachel Carson, Jane Goddall, Mira Bai, Mother Teresa, Ammachi Ma and Sri Daya Mata.

Then there are the Soul Mates. Soul mates are not necessarily your spouse or sweetheart. They are people who love you unconditionally and bring out the best in you. And you can do the same for them. They could be a spouse, sweetheart, friend, co-worker, mentor, teacher, family member or priest or priestess. Most of us have more than one soul mate. They are the Beloved, too.

What about that romantic relationship in your life? Not all of us have one, but the best relationships are based on all forms of the Beloved. A great romantic relationship can be an opportunity for growth and true friendship. It gives you an opportunity for unconditional love and the highest good. Krishna said: "Your wife is not a piece of chattel, not a piece of property. She is your life's companion." This means no one can possess anyone. The Beloved is your friend, companion, equal partner, someone to consider and negotiate with as an equal. He or she is a person of beauty as you are a person of beauty.

Krishna is called the "The Lord of Love." Radha, his power, energy, Shakti is his Beloved. I remember a beautiful story of Krishna. He was placed on a scale. People put all kinds of people and objects on the scale. Krishna always weighed more. Then Radha only threw her earring on the scale. Only she could balance the scale. A true Beloved is the One who balances the scale!



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      radhapriestess 5 years ago

      Thanks for the information. No one really talks about when Bhakti became important. They just usually focus on the concept.

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      The Bhakti aspect of Hinduism is believed to be a recent phenomena, not older than couple of hundred years. However, root of Bhakti lies in Bhagavata Gita.