Divine love manifests in eleven different types. Though Divine love is only one, you can see it coming out in eleven different forms.

In order to praise something, it needs an intense feeling of love inside. Have you noticed when you’re crazy about something, that you talk about it, talk about it, talk about it, talk about it. Like, when someone has fallen in love with a girl or with a boy or with somebody, then they always talk about them, talk about them, talk about them, talk. This is the first manifestation. So when you’re crazy, when you’re experiencing Divine love, the sign of it is in the form of praise, seeing all the qualities of the Divine. Any amount of praising, you won’t feel is sufficient or that you are done.  When you have been in love with something, you like to talk and talk and talk about it. It never tires you. Just a mild interest cannot evoke such amount of praise. That’s why I said you have to be crazy to praise so much, so much, so much. That is a sign of Divine love. One would go on praising continuously, nonstop, non-ending, and still one feels, “Oh, it’s not sufficient. I have to do it more, more, and more.” 

The second type is “Rupa,” means form. Deep interest in the form, though God has no form. That’s what we have all seen. God is all-pervading. He has no physical form. There is no form to the Divinity, but it is expressed in the forms. Love for the form of the Divine. The Divine loves the form. That’s why millions and millions of forms are present in this creation. Even if you are aware of the formless nature of Divinity, a form makes it more interesting. It kindles the love in your heart. It just relates, because your mind is always used to forms. You open your eyes, you see forms. You deal with forms. All your life, even when you’re sleeping, forms appear. That is what is dreaming. Except for very deep sleep and very deep meditation, forms keep appearing into your mind. The mind is used to it. 

The third one. Puja means worship, honoring, offering, offering one’s self. Whatever you love, you want to possess it. And in the process of possessing, you bring ugliness to that beauty. You make the beautiful thing ugly. Your expression gets distorted. Worship is contrary to that. Whatever you appreciate, adore, recognize the beauty, you worship it. Worshipping is just the opposite of wanting to possess.  The nature is worshipping you. God is worshipping you in so many forms. So a puja is a replica of what the nature does to you. Sense of giving, offering, is one of the expressions of Divine love.

That memory comes again and again. It’s not that you make an effort to remember the Divinity or Divine love. As soon as you wake up, the first thought comes about the Divine, about the Divinity, about the loved one. If you have loved anyone, you know how the thought comes keeps coming. You don’t make any effort to think about that person. But the thought constantly comes, you remember, and you go deep and deep in the silence within you. That becomes the meditation. Deep interest in meditation or deep interest in remembrance is one of those qualities that happens.

One form of expression of Divine love is so much of humbleness and service, as one’s nature. Not even the thought comes, “I am doing some service.” You can’t but do the service. Even if one wants to try to abstain from it, it doesn’t happen. One finds oneself back into it. Love gets expressed as service.

You know what brings authority? It’s being a servant. A perfect servant has total authority, total responsibility. A caretaker, a servant, has full authority of the home. If the master is out of the place, he acts as the master. He gets that authority.  A servant is one in whom the master have bestowed his trust. Being a servant is to acknowledge the fact the Divine has bestowed this trust in me. It has given me this job to carry on. So it is my job. It’s not somebody else’s job. All the prophets have spoken with that authority, because their love for the Divine was so deep. . This is a strange mathematics. If you don’t want to be a servant, you can never be a master. If you don’t want to be a disciple, you can never be a guru, a master. Its first qualification is this, being a servant. 

Making the Divine as your dear friend. To someone above you, you may have a lot of respect but there may not be love. You can have respect, honor. You may honor them, but your heart may not start speaking. In such cases, the master will come and put his hand around you, “Come on, what is it? What is the matter? How are you doing? What is happening? Open up.” Love expressed in the form of a friend, companion. Friend means playfully. The wisdom is not preached to you in a very serious manner, but in an all playful manner. That is how I see it, whether people may agree with me or not. Nobody may agree with me. To me, a friend is one who plays.

As one’s beloved. Divine love manifesting as one’s life partner. The purpose of a life partner is to rejoice and to share life with and to talk to someone who you can depend on. Said, the Divine is the only really dependable relationship, never changing, total relationship. So when that longing is there, remember the Divine could be related to yourself as a life partner, and see the same Divine in your life partner, too. Both ways. Making the Divine as one’s life partner. Companionship.  If you could make the Divine as your life partner, your problem of loneliness will never come. You get more centered. Otherwise, you keep hanging on to your relationship whomsoever you are having a relationship or companionship with.

Another form of love is mothering the Divine, being a mother to the Divine, seeing the Divine as a child. This attitude is also in you naturally. Anyone whom you love, you immediately go to care for them and feed them and take care of them. Motherly affection for, the parental affection to, the Divine. Loving the Divine as your child, as having been born out of you. “Oh, it is mine.” Sense of ‘mine’. And it has all these qualities. This happens. Wherever you see that magnanimity, enormous love, and you start dissolving and you start caring for. That magnanimous love.

With wisdom, when one sees life, with experience, when one looks at life and says, “Even if this life can be a flower on the path of the Divine, it’s worth it. This life is offered to the Divine. This belongs to the Divine.” Completely offering your life. That very moment, the worries disappear. You will not start worrying. You’ll smile. You will smile through all, smile through all situations.

Missing the Divine.  It shows how deep you are in love. This is the last and the supreme form— the intense longing, an unbearable longing. And you will see that as it becomes intense and intense and that intensity of longing flips over and becomes bliss. You become, you get immersed totally in the Divine. Many of you have experienced intense longing, and at some point that longing itself becomes a joy. And that very longing itself becomes blissful. And that very longing is so enjoyable.

This is an excerpt from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s commentary on Narada’s Bhakti Sutras – You can read the entire book here