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Spontaneous Love of Godhead
Thus the preliminary stage of culturing devotional service without any touch of speculative knowledge was accepted by Lord Chaitanya who then asked Ramananda Raya to proceed further in developing the service sentiment to higher and higher stages of love of Godhead until the highest stage was reached. To this Ramananda answered that the progress in this line will end in the loving service of Godhead. Every living entity has within his heart a dormant and eternal love of Godhead. Spiritual culture is the attempt to revive that eternal love of Godhead to its spontan- ous stage, and the beginning of that attempt is receiving the transcendental message of Godhead from the right source— a self-realized soul. After receiving the transcendental message, this conception has to be developed to the spontaneous stage of love of Godhead. Ramananda describes the process in the following words:
premnaiva bhakta-hridayam sukha-vidrutam syat
yavat kshud asti jathare jaratha pipasa
tavat sukhaya bhavato nanu bhakshya-peye
“As long as there is acute hunger in the stomach, there is pleasure in eating and drinking. Similarly, as long as ecstatic spontaneous love of God is aroused in the mind of a devotee, the worship of Godhead with all kinds of paraphernalia becomes the real cause of happiness.” (Padyavali 13)
The purport of this statement is that hunger is the cause of pleasure in taking foodstuffs. Similarly, spontaneous love of Godhead is the cause of all pleasure in spiritual culture.
Shri Ramananda Raya quoted another shloka as follows:
kriyatam yadi kuto 'pi labhyate
tatra laulyam api mulyam ekalam
janma-koti-sukritair na labhyate
“The intelligence for achieving the loving service of Godhead may be purchased from anywhere it is available. The price for such a purchase is a strong desire for achieving such a stage of life. Such a strong desire for rendering loving service unto the Personality of Godhead is very, very rare because it is developed by accumulating the results of many virtuous purifying acts in thousands and thousands of lives.” (Padyavali 14)
The desire for rendering loving service unto the Personality of Godhead is an invaluable desire and it brings the highest spiritual perfection. It is very rarely seen in the ordinary course of life. Lord Chaitanya, being the most magnanimous incarnation of the Personality of Godhead, out of His kindness and causeless mercy upon the fallen souls of this age of Kali, is prepared to bestow the highest benefit of life by the simple method of hearing and chanting the glories of the Personality of Godhead. This is the beginning of the transcendental method, gradually reaching to the stage of spontaneous love of Godhead.