Voltaire wrote: “Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.”
And in her prayer about the power of bhakti, Queen Kunti uses the word, “grnanti” (“appreciating”) to say that those who appreciate other’s devotional service are themselves performing high grade devotional service, just by deeply appreciating how others are doing their service. Queen Kunti says, these “appreciators” will come to see the Lord directly.
As we become purified, our ability to appreciate Krsna and His devotees increases more and more.
Really, the soul is naturally and eternally an appreciator. The Vedas say: eko bahu-syam: “The one Lord has become many.” Why? Vedanta Sutra answers: Anandamayo bhyasat, “For enjoyment.” In other words, the soul, Krsna’s part and parcel, exists for Krsna’s pleasure and has the eternal privilege of appreciating Krsna, Krsna’s devotees, and the process of devotional service.
Krsna is an ocean of attractiveness, but what makes His attractiveness forever increase is the dynamic relationship between Him and His devotees. “A pure devotee does not want anything from Krsna; he simply wants to serve Him. And Krsna also looks for the opportunity to serve His devotee. Krsna is always as anxious to please His devotee as the devotee is to please Him … This is spiritual competition.” SSR 8
Seeing Radharani (Krsna’s supreme appreciator) Krsna thinks: “There is constant competition between My sweetness and the mirror of Radha’s love. They both go on increasing, but neither knows defeat.” (Cc Adi 4.142) “Whatever pleasure I get from tasting My love for Srimati Radharani, She tastes ten million times more than Me by Her love.” (Cc Adi 4.126)
Appreciation for Krsna moves the devotee to smile, to dance and to serve. In his Samhita, Brahma describes how in Goloka, “every word is a song, every gait is a dance.” There the residents move out of a joy driven by their overflowing appreciation for Krsna, Krsna’s devotees and devotional service.
To this end, one evening during our hari nama sankirtana performance in Palo Alto, CA, I watched as an elderly women smiled broadly upon beholding our devotees chanting blissfully on the sidewalk. Soon the force of her appreciation moved her to clap her hands to the beat of the kirtana; soon after that she swayed with obvious happiness, waving her hands in the air.
People spend their whole lives looking for things and people to appreciate. They flock to natural scenes like the Grand Canyon, eulogize talented or famous singers, writers and athletes, and gaze at beauty in all its forms …
Bhakti yoga is the simple act of connecting all such appreciations to Krsna and His devotees. Watering these seeds of appreciation brings forth the beautiful creeper of prema, pure love for the Supreme Person, the only true satisfaction of the soul.
Humbly in service and with deep appreciation of your association,