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Very beautiful thread, Nandini! Thank you for starting this!
As Lola told about different types of devotees, I think we should now discuss about basic definitions of all types of bhakti at first to understand which devotee has which type of devotion. So here is something I like to share with you all,
There are mainly 5 types of devotion. They are,
1) Shaant bhaav: This is the first type of devotion in which devotee loves God as God ONLY. This devotee worships God as Almighty. Most of the sages have this devotion. Also, the common people have this devotion for God. Shaant bhaav = pure reverence (Shraddha). Example: Shabari (she could love Shri Ram as her son, but she worshipped Him as God only), Garg (In spite of being KulGuru of the dynasty, he could not see Shri Krishna as disciple, always worshipped Him as Almighty from His childhood), Vibhishon, Nisaad raj (in spite of being friends, they had no friendly relation with Shri Ram but only a relation between God & humble devotee), Akrur (after realizing Krishna's divine form/after Kans vadh), Prahallad, Dhruva, Bhisma, Vidur.
bhaav: In this devotion, devotee understands God as his Lord (Prabhu/Swami)
& thinks himself as his servant. In this case, devotee has a sense of
sympathy for God if he finds God in distress & he will try at his best to
remove all sorrows of his Prabhu as an obedient servant always does for his
Lord. So, Daasya bhaav = Shraddha + Daya (sympathy). Example: Shri Hanuman (he
became much sympathetic for Shri Ram when found Him in viraha of Sita Maa),
Garg before birth of Shri Krishna (worried, as shown in Ramanand Sagar's Shri
Krishna), Akrur (before realizing Krishna's divine form), Sugreev (feeling pain in Shri Ram's poor condition during the war).
3) Sakha bhaav: In this case, devotee knows God
as his FRIEND ONLY. This devotee can easily think God at his own place &
equal to him. He can demand from God, can show anger with God, can give
consolation at His sorrow & even can give Him suggestion/advice in danger,
as a true friend does. Sakha bhaav = Sneha (affection). Example: all cowboy
friends of Shri Krishna, Arjun.
4) Vaatsalya bhaav: This is merely parental love for God. This devotee will always think God as own little child, serve Him with full sympathy (for His child-like helplessness), love Him with full care, & be angry with His naughtiness, just like any general parents use to behave with their children. Vaatsalya bhaav = Sneha (affection) + Daya (sympathy). Example: Dasharath, Kousalya (or I should say, Manu-Shatarupa), Nand, Yashoda, Vasudev, Devaki.
5) Madhurya bhaav: This is a beautiful combination of affection, respect & sympathy. In this devotion, devotee can think himself equal to God, so can behave with Him like friend, can demand, can show anger, can advise, & also, can worship Him too. This means, these devotees can simultaneously LOVE AS FRIEND & WORSHIP AS ALMIGHTY. This is the well known Prem-lakshanaa bhakti. So Madhurya bhaav = Shrddha + Daya + Sneha = Daasya bhaav + Sakha bhaav. Example: Radharani & all Gopis of Vrindavan, Sita Maa (demanding at the time of Agniparikshaa & hidden anger/abhimaan before Patal pravesh, also giving advice in Aranyakand), Bharat, Lakshman, Draupadi (actually according to character & role,
Lakshman = Radha
Bharat = Lalita Sakhi.
Hanuman + Sakha bhaav = Lakshman)
& last but not the least, there is another type of devotion which is known as Virodh bhakti. Most of the villains of our epics & Puranas belong to this category. I know there can be some hesitation or doubt about adding them in list of devotees, but I have to specify one side of their character. They thought about God, may be as enemy, but whoever thinks about God always be able to achieve Him! Ravan, Kans wanted Him as their enemy, & they also achieved Him as enemy! & they attained mukti at God's feet too, which is a natural desire of any devotee of Lord. If we want to exclude them from the devotee's list then we can do it, but they were implicit devotees, not explicit, so when we are discussing about devotees of God, I think they also should not be avoided.
In addition, I can say about one
more devotee; he was Taranisen, son of Vibhishon. He was devotee of Shri Ram
just like his father, but could not express it. Even he had to pretend as an
enemy in order to be killed by Shri Ram as well as to attain mukti. I guess he will be placed in Shaant bhaav as virodh was just his acting!
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