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Path of Love

  

Dear associates in the Path,

It gives me immense happiness to talk to you all on this auspicious occasion of Basanth Panchami L.E.139. Pranahuti is something that has become part of our lives. Love of the Master is so intimate that most of us live through that all the time.

Our beloved Master said 'Love Him who loves all'. I would like to share my meditations on this thought. Repetition may not be considered wrong when the subject matter is sublime. I am aware I shared some thoughts on this subject earlier: I remember to have read the following sentences that make me think about this subject yet again. "There are only four great questions in life: What is sacred? Of what is the spirit made? What is worth living for? What is worth dying for? The answer to all of them is the same: Only Love."

In Telugu, one of the richest languages spoken mainly in South India, there is a proverb 'kaami kaanide moksha kaami kaadu' meaning that one who does not know how to love cannot learn to love moksha or liberation. The point of concern for me has been whether there is any difference between loving persons or things to which we feel related and the love spiritual. The feeling we derive from loving and being loved brings with it a warmth to life in a way that no other feeling or emotion grants to us. Love, in its purest sense, is an unconditional acceptance, an Unconditional acceptance of someone or something, the way they are, without judgement. But that this purity in love rarely happens in relationships with persons is a matter of experience. It is a wonder for me when I think about my love to Master - is it personal or impersonal? I have more wondered when I think of his love for me- does he love me because I am His or I am his devotee? These questions I am sure you all have and we find answers deep in our hearts.

In many cases when love is felt in personal relations, it is desire, caring, attraction and admiration. These qualities are felt in increased measure if the feelings are mutually felt. Essentially love is accepting and inviting persons just as they actually are, without them having to put on an act or behave according to some hidden standard. The ultimate lesson all of us have to learn is unconditional love, which includes not only others but ourselves as well.> The first experience of love for all of us was in mother's arms. The love we all had from our brothers and sisters, father, uncles and aunts and host of other relatives in our family and neighbourhood is what we remotely remember. Not because they were not genuine but we have become self centred and started to love ourselves more and others who we thought are more kind to us. Sometime in the early days fear of punishment got somehow ingrained mostly from father and what we are told of God. Wrath of God, and of elders' contra to what we enjoy as Love from those sources I feel is based on a totally misguided agenda.

I seek your pardon if in this paper I refer to my own story of anguish and ecstasy. Ever since the consciousness of Lord Krishna and other avatars got infused into me, as is wont in our tradition, I felt they are Love incarnate and are essentially trustworthy and lovable. When I started learning even though it is elementary from the school books the systems of philosophy like Buddhism, Jainism and the three great acharyas of South India I could validate myself as an individual spark of the universal consciousness which is one organic unity. Later on I found that it is an easy transition to the understanding that Reality is Love.

However hard facts of life, which are based on competitiveness and conflict made me, look into why all of a sudden I who was an object of love was being looked down upon because I was not scoring well in my school examinations. Good boy I was for purposes of all errands but I felt I was not treated as well as my other siblings and cousins. That feeling led me very early to seek succour from the one true source of love namely God who or whatever that might be.

As a resident of a temple town it was a common sight for me to see many persons doing japa or meditation. I asked an elder whether I can also do that and he said to me to sit in a quiet place and repeat Ram mentally as long as I can and that would lead me to other methods gradually. This practice enabled me to get in touch with elders who meditate regularly and most of them doing Gayathri japa. But there was always something in them I found to be rigid dogma call it orthodox if necessary. The environment of my town offered little chance to be totally unaffected by such dogmas and superstitions of Religions. Yet I decided very early to stay clear of such organised religions and also to look for better ways of expanding consciousness that do not take lifetimes to achieve the goal that is elusive for understanding. What I had learned from the stories of Lord Krishna is the power or unalloyed love. Then on to study of Bhagavad Gita which began when I was about 12 years and it is no wonder I continue to be in primary class as far as knowing the love of the Lord.

When I started my sadhana while still in 'teens' under the great Master Rev. SriRamchandraji of Shahjahanpur I started understanding the importance of acceptance of all that comes in life as a gift of the Lord and his love for me. That led me to know the value of non-attachment and due attachment as an expression of love. But that was not a simple learning. I had to discuss and argue with Master the happenings in personal life as well as the Country to know the raison-d'Ítre of such happenings. Finally I got convinced that it was enough for me to perceive of God as the quality of Love, and that when we accept unconditionally all that happens to us- it is love. However whenever we find enabled to be in such a consciousness we are God/ Master in form and person. As the saying goes, "When we love, we are the universe and the universe lives in us."

Thanks to many things that would normally go by the tag 'unfortunate' in my life I learnt that inner gnosis, that is, intuitive knowledge of spiritual truth is the way to live leaving aside all dogma. Though I find reality is simple and graspable when we look inside what remains complex and mystery is the structure of our mind and the odd number of ways that lower mind sneaks in to obscure and corrupt our natural insight and universal love.

It is one of the dogmas that seem to attract almost all to live a life of unalloyed love is our ego. Ego structurally is nothing but our inner thoughts, fears, likes, desires, dislikes and it is what may be called as our face to the world. It is an essential part of our being a human being. It is our everyday conscious thinking apparatus or structure. It is ever changing and never static. It grants for its self a certain amount of illusive identity. But reality permits only plurality and never separate entity. To feel someone or thing as separate is a dogma that appears to grant some security however imaginary and illusive that it may be.

It is true that but for doing things competitively humanity would be still at the Stone Age. But continuing to live with competition at the needless cost of peace and happiness would be playing cricket after we won the game in the pavilion. Selfishness and Ego are synonyms and they are a barrier to spiritual growth which demands compassion and love to be the matrix of living. It is to be clearly appreciated that Personal spiritual growth is about transcending the ego and not weakening it. In reality Ego is similar to the structure of a fort that we have created to fend ourselves. Most of the time we live in this illusion fooling ourselves as if we are in safe zone. It is already too weak and afraid; that is why it is immaturely selfish and hateful. It should be treated like a child growing up, not rejected as imperfect. By trying to translate our ideals into action through this fragile fort we fail to achieve our best intentions.

But if we can make this structure serve the larger purposes of the good for all it can be made stronger and finally take it to a stage of Oneness with the Divine decree. The selfish ego trying to protect its fort always in a defensive manner when made to serve the purposes of the good of all, starts growing infinitesimally in the beginning and infinitely later. The self that is small and timid when grows up to serve the good of all, becomes stronger and mature. The stronger and more mature it is, the more transparent it becomes to the spiritual essence that lies behind the person. Such a transformed self or ego then becomes an instrument of Love. Then the Nara becomes Narayana.

Spiritual growth is all about integrating and loving; it is never about separating and destruction. Ascension is not destruction of the ego; it is integrating and transcending the ego, to be one with Master and also with the body-mind, purified by Love. This is possible because there is no separation in truth and in Love which is what we imperience in our meditations as Oneness. When our meditations mature and we feel a seamless unity there is only Master and He becomes everything. This is the highest viewpoint of oneself-our true Self. The true Self exists only because of its connection with Master and we may be better described as a function arising out of such a connection with Master.

It is obvious that when we are aware of our connection with Master as His function, the less reason the ego has to fear its awful loss of identity at death. This fear underlies all others and releasing it opens a huge pathway for the illumination of Love to lighten the dark patches of our personality. The healing of fears is always Love: unconditional acceptance. A beautiful aspect of love is that it always integrates and we live in all that we love. It is a matter of our experience that we do not trust our own feelings and thoughts that arise during meditations. Since we are already conditioned by several dogmas that we learnt from childhood through schools of learning in life making our ego very weak and fragile there arises a complex state of mind which doubts everything of our experience. Such a state may lead people to be neurotic and unable to trust their own thoughts and feelings, and enslave them to the religion or any other belief system that caused the damage. The real enemy in our love for union with the Master is our dogmas. We should know as some sage put it that our "Minds, like parachutes, function better when open." We each need to realise our own true nature and not accept the notions dictated to us by authorities. Reality is simple in essence but the network of defences we erect to deny our own truth driven by fears and the sophistication of the conditioning we have obtained to persist with the status quo are complex.

Our imperience grants us the vision of Love that is simple and fundamental that words are inadequate to express the same. It is a state of being; it simply is what it is, perceived with perfect communication, understanding and empathy. When the underlying truth is realised it is always a message of love, of unconditional acceptance, of oneness with what Is. To love is to live in the present ignoring the past and not dreaming about the future. In any situation we have to be mindful of the intimacy we have with the Master and should refrain from reacting emotionally. Most of the time emotion kills reason. We have to pull our attention trapped in the past and the future and get grounded and centered in our function of Love of the Master. We should respond, from love and not from fear. We should learn to communicate with the Master and we should remember that communication is the solvent of problems. When in doubt or anxious, or when we feel stranded we need to communicate with Master in absolute faith and confidence.

Though truly speaking there is nothing but Love as the core reality in all conceivable situations we cannot ignore the fact of painful experiences in our lives. The most empowering thing we can do in our lives is to connect with the Master or one who is connected to the Master in a true sense. Master always complements us perfectly, in a truly connected loving experience -spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. In such a situation we become more than twice the person we are. Life is then more than worthwhile. We know instinctively that this state of being is a possibility for everyone in this world.

However when it goes wrong, and the relationship does not connect on all levels as we had hoped, it is deeply disappointing and we feel we have lost what could have been a perfect gift.

The main barrier for the expression of true Love is surprisingly our attachment. Attachment and love we think are near synonyms. But we should note that attachment to something or person really means the fear of losing it or the person. Fear distorts the truth. It is wise not to get attached too quickly and perhaps we should try to have no attachment except with the Master. We may really feel that we are better off on our own than in a mismatched relationship. However we learn in spirituality that it is much better off to be in a relationship based on true love with the Master than to be on our own. When we get attached to others without having the Master as the core we do get into situations that threaten the bonds of affection in attachments. Love to any person who appears to be not connected to the Master leads to hurt and needs to be healed. This type of situation has led many to renounce married life and somehow it has become a matter of admiration. While in fact Love is what is needed to heal, ironically love has become a barrier. The only way forward is to love the Master in all and also realising that love resides always in our heart in abundance. It is our duty to cast the beam of lovely light on all. It is then, new possibilities emerge and healing solutions ooze out of such love.

Fear of losing the attachment and consequently the love between persons is purely due to possessiveness. Then jealousy rears its ugly head. We should be cautious of jealousy which is an immature emotion. Aspirants in the Path should have learned better but in many cases they have not. Jealousy is less than love, since it resents the other's freedom. Jealousy is to consider another person as an object of possession, a person who has no right to make their own choices. In reality we all feel the sting of jealousy sometimes and we need to acknowledge and accept the emotion, and then release it as something that is simply not rational.

The institution of marriage is the finest example where love is expressed in totality. We realise and affirm that though we were born separately we bind ourselves by strings of love and together we shall be forever even when we are in the silent memory of God. The value of Grhasta life is the possibility of two souls emitting the fragrance of love on all occasions. There is intimacy but it is wise to allow spaces in the togetherness. For, if winds of the heavens are to dance between the souls there is need for space between the two. Grhasta life teaches us to love one another, but make not a bond of love. Sagacity lies in filling each other's cup but drinking not from the same cup. To love means not merely to sing and dance together and be joyous, but allowing each person to be alone. The relationship is to be like the strings of a Veena that are alone even though they quiver with the same music. Even as the pillars of the temple stand apart yet serve the same cause the partners in marriage stand apart to serve the cause of Love-God.

Love is more than an emotion. It is actually the fabric of the entire universe. Love is a state of being and intention, spiritual qualities that are above the level of physical energy. Love when expressed becomes a creative force, an energy of imagination, that manifests physically in space and time. In the human sphere, love expresses our dreams and vision. Our ability to creatively manifest our vision is empowered by the emotion of love. The path of love is not narrow as some poet put it but is as vast as the universe. Obviously this is because our Master, an expression of unlimited and unbound love is the connecting link for all of us. By loving Him who loves all we embrace the universe in its entirety. That leads to the state where there is neither suffering nor joy. We go beyond Satchitananda. The path of the Master is the path of love. I am happy we are all in the path and reaching the shores of the divine ocean of bliss.

Pranam.