What is the difference between Sringaram and Bhakti...
I am no writer or scholar, but these are just my thoughts
I think this is a very very personal question.. and who you are, how you approach life, your experiences in life, really gives definition to this.
I must admit.. Bhakti comes very very very naturally to me. Devotion is everything to me and to start off I never understood Sringaram
As life has gone on.. I have tried to search for its meaning.. I've looked in the mirror... the physical mirror and the metaphorical mirror of life ( the past)
tried to read about it.. tried to dance it
here is my conclusion...
Bhakti is giving yourself to something else... loving someone else... worshipping..
Sringaram is loving yourself.. drawing people into you... This is a very hard task.. (I find at least) , this rasa doesn't come naturally to me. I have had to work on myself so much, change a part of me, to try to emote it.
To be honest, I think the maximum I have actually reached so far is to emote is Sringaram mixed with Bhakti.. I suppose this is what we practice in a non platonic relationship.. what today's world calls "romantic love" Isn't it strange that we need someone else to experience self love?
I also find it interesting that in the past selfless love had been glorified and self love not so much.. Im actually inclined to say that it is a Western thought.. perhaps it resonates with medieval ideas... living in fear of Armageddon... fear of god.. more than love of god.. I first came across this idea in Christianity which preached self less sacrificial love... the way Christ sacrificed himself... it is beautiful in itself..
Then I recall reading about the renaissance art which was considered a rebirth of man.. where they focused on the human figure and more greek ideas. I have found this idea to also be prevalent in Indian culture.. eg the human figures the worshiping almost of ourselves.. once upon a time self love.. Sringaram was the essence of beauty.. it was the essence of women.. especially dancers.. and our gods.. (Krishna for one!)
In stories around Hinduism, even if there was devotion, at the end the person gets a boon. It was always the give and get policy. Which I now find amusing thinking back . Even Markandeyen got an extension on his life)
In this day and age however, Western thought has flipped a complete 180 degrees from medi-evil times. Individuality and self care and self love are celebrated... The East which somehow flipped to Bhakti rasa is also slowly making a come back to the idea of Sringaram. Ironically this thought pattern is now considered Western not Eastern (again amusing).
So now I see a lot of cultural confusion as to what is right or what is wrong... Bhakti or Sringaram?? What should be known as the higher form of love? This I do not know an answer to because I don't know enough about life..
However, the greatest thing I find about the navarasa is that it is purely just a reflection of human emotions and the more you experience in life the deeper the understanding of each rasa is... First of all how can one rasa be greater than another.. they are all human after all.. Each person prefers things differently and experiences things differently. Also the wonderful thing about this day and age.. is that people are allowed to feel what is right for them. ( At least in the society I am a part of )
So, my personal preference, at this point in time, I'd love to understand both Sringaran and Bhakti so that I can strike a balance between the two, both in dance and in life. I do find both Sacrificial love and self love beautiful.. Something between the two is the perfect portrayal of love for me. Since Bhakti comes so fluently to me.. Right now my journey is towards finding my Sringaram.
PC: Pan Irai