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Love is the Lord of Life

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  • Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati
    LOVE IS THE LORD OF LIFE Swami Rama Those who are aware only of their birth and life on this platform of existence always remain afraid of so-called death. Yet
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 24, 2005
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      LOVE IS THE LORD OF LIFE
      Swami Rama

      Those who are aware only of their birth and life on this platform of
      existence always remain afraid of so-called death. Yet it has been
      proclaimed by the great sages of all times and climes that death has
      no power to change anything except the body. There is only one power
      that can change the deeper aspects of one's being, and that is called
      the power of love. Love is the only center that radiates life and
      light, but we have not yet learned to understand what it is. If there
      is any universal religion, if there will be one religion in the
      future for humankind, it will be love, because love is the most
      ancient traveler of all.

      When we examine the entire process of life, we can see that when a
      child is born, its first love is for its mother's bosom; then it
      feels love for dolls; perhaps later there is love for gaudy colors or
      certain styles. Then, as one matures, one develops love for honors
      and certificates from schools and universities, love for a particular
      man or woman, love for self-respect, and so on. We think that these
      loves are very necessary, but when we examine them we find that many
      times we are just feeding our individual egos. Finally when a couple
      in old age examine the whole process of life, they find that they
      have not known anything. They wonder, "What is next?" So love is that
      something which we feel and understand, but cannot explain.

      The first commitment in yoga science and philosophy is
      called "ahimsa." "A" means "no," "himsa" means "killing, injuring,
      hurting"; so ahimsa is an expression of love. Those who do not
      understand this commitment cannot love. If you feel that you love
      somebody but hurt him or disregard him, then certainly you are not
      loving him. To practice love, you have to practice ahimsa with your
      mind, action, and speech. We are often bewildered in our search for
      the definition of truth, and there could be millions of definitions
      of truth, but the great scriptures and sages say, "Why are you
      worried? Why do you not apply this great law in your daily life?"
      Ahimsa is so practical that we can easily apply it to cross this mire
      of delusion. We can go to the other side and enjoy that perennial
      center which is called love. By expressing non-killing, non-harming,
      and non-injuring, we are practicing ahimsa. Do it with your mind,
      action, and speech according to your capacity, and know that the
      highest of all powers is the power of love. I have examined this for
      myself. Once, I meditated for ten hours and nothing happened. I
      prayed, still feeling I was different from the Lord. But then I
      completely surrendered and said, "Lord, I am Thine and Thou art mine.
      I am a drop and You are the ocean. There is no place for me
      anywhere." Then there came some courage from within, and that cloud
      of disappointment was dispelled.

      LOVE AND FEARLESSNESS

      I would like to share another experience that I had. In India, you'll
      find that there are many cobras in the jungles (though not in the
      cities, as you may have been told). I had gradually developed a
      phobia about these snakes. Whenever I sat down, I would look
      everywhere to see if there were any cobras; I even used to put my
      hands in my pockets to check there. How fear develops and becomes an
      obstacle to growth! I used to lecture on the Brahma Sutras, the
      highest of all philosophies, and my students always thought that
      their teacher was very fearless. But all the time my mind was going
      toward the groove of fear for cobras. I did not even speak to my
      master about it, and it developed in my heart for six years.

      One day I said, "It is of no use to live like this, talking of the
      highest philosophies and teaching meditation, but being controlled by
      the fear of cobras." And I started flowing tears, I was outside our
      cave monastery in the Himalayas, and my master came out and smiled at
      me, He said, "Look, tomorrow we have to go somewhere." So, the next
      day I went with him into the wilderness. After a while he stopped and
      said, "You have to perform a ritual here." I thought to myself, "He
      does not believe in rituals. What is he trying to do?" But I gathered
      some flowers anyway, and he said, "You have to repeat a mantra ten
      thousand times and offer these flowers," I asked him, "What is going
      to happen?" He said, "First do it, and then you will see what
      happens."

      Early the next morning he said, "Pick up that heap of flowers that we
      used yesterday." I went and picked up the flowers, and can you
      believe that a snake was sitting on that heap? My Lord! My whole body
      shivered. My master said, "Don't be afraid. This poor creature has no
      power to hurt you. Why are you afraid? You are hurting yourself by
      thinking like this, and your fear is attracting him also. He might
      hurt you if you are afraid of him, Don't be afraid. Bring him to me."
      So I was carrying that death in my arms, and he said, "Look, catch
      hold of him." My God! I closed my eyes and caught hold of the cobra,
      and he said, "Look at it, Have you ever seen such a clean creature
      before? The cleanest creature in the world is the snake. And it never
      bites except in self-defense. Kiss it." I said, "Sir, I'm sorry, I
      don't have the power to do that, Can you kiss it?" He replied, "Of
      course. Give it to me." I gave it to him, and he said, "Look, now I
      want to tell you something, Sit down here. When you are in deep
      sleep, why do your teeth not bite your tongue? Why do your fingers
      not poke your eyeballs? Why do your fists not hurt you?" I
      answered, "Perhaps our limbs are constantly aware that they all
      belong to only one body." He said, "That's right. And if you are
      aware that we all belong to only one proprietor because we are all
      breathing the same vital force, there can never be violence in the
      world. Anyone who is possessed by violence will have to surrender
      before the person who understands this."

      Because I had been afraid of cobras, I had started hating them out of
      fear. Slowly, I started loving that snake. Now I know that there is a
      very fine distinction between hatred and love--a very fine
      distinction. This was a practical lesson for me that cannot be found
      in books. That's why I always say that a person's conscience is the
      finest of all mirrors and that direct experience is the highest of
      all teachers. Without understanding these two points, no matter how
      many scriptures you study or how many university degrees you acquire,
      nothing is going to happen; you'll not find any transformation.

      LOVE MEANS BEING SELFLESS

      When we study the history of various great religions of the world, we
      come across an enlightened one called Buddha. In his time, there was
      a fierce tantric villain who was chopping off people's fingers. He
      wanted to use the fingers to perform a ceremony to attain special
      powers. When he had collected nine hundred ninety-nine fingers, he
      told his mother, "I need only one more, and I can't find anyone else,
      so get ready, tomorrow I need your finger! "The next morning his poor
      mother left home and ran away, and on the way she met Buddha. He
      said, "What's the problem with you? Why are you running with fear?"
      She told him the story and he said, "Come on. Let me go with you." So
      they went back and Buddha asked the woman's son, "Do you need a
      finger?" The son said, "Yes, and now I'll easily get yours. I won't
      have to kill my mother and take her finger." He lifted his sword, but
      he could not strike Buddha. Such is the power of compassion.

      Though we all claim to love each other, a human being is very poor
      and weak as far as his claims are concerned. "I love you. O
      sweetheart, I could die for you. O sweetheart, you are a beautiful
      angel between the sun and moon." A man can compose a beautiful poem
      to seduce a beautiful girl, but upon examination you will find that
      such a person is selfish; he is using the word "love" for his own
      sake. Love is not selfish. Selfishness has built a boundary around us
      and made us captive. This problem is very serious; there is no remedy
      for the problem of selfishness. When we become selfish we start
      expecting something; a wife expects from her husband, and a husband
      expects from his wife. They call this love, but actually it is
      expectation, and expectation is the mother of all misery. Expectation
      mingled with attachment brings all the miseries of the world.

      I have found that with all the great people of the world, though they
      have trodden various paths, there is a quality they all have in
      common, and that is selflessness. Christ was so selfless that when he
      was crucified he never said, "I beg your mercy; please release
      me." Moses, Buddha, and the other great sages of ancient and modern
      times have all been very selfless. When you are selfish you reinforce
      the boundaries that limit you and separate you from others. "I exist,
      I exist, I exist"--by this feedback you are strengthening the
      barriers around you, thinking you will thereby be protected. But that
      kind of protection chokes human life; it does not allow us to attain
      the next step of civilization.

      The easiest principle to follow in life is the philosophy of non-
      violence and love. It's very simple. No matter how angry you are at
      the moment, later on you will come to know that while you were angry
      you were unreasonable and irrational. And this same truth applies to
      all people who destroy and hurt humanity. Love should not be
      understood as a selfish gesture. Love means being selfless,
      completely selfless. You can examine this. When you become very
      selfish, you will find your personality being contracted. Be
      completely selfless to cope with your fears, and you will find
      yourself in a state of tremendous power. So there are two laws, the
      law of contraction and the law of expansion. To become selfish is to
      follow the law of contraction, and to become selfless is to expand
      your consciousness. Constant awareness of that center called love is
      meditation in action. The highest of all therapies is the therapy of
      love.

      LEARNING TO LOVE

      I always say that the institution of the family has been made by
      women only, but that they have forgotten their power. Unless women
      are awakened, unless they arise, humanity cannot help itself. The
      home is the first institute for learning, and that institute of
      learning is crumbling. So the first thing we should learn is to
      protect the institution of the family. It is where we get our first
      education; it is where we learn to understand. The child who receives
      love understands how to love. One who has never received love can
      never love no matter how many methods of acting he learns. Most
      psychological problems are sown in childhood, and the main defect
      lies in the education one receives. We should become aware of this,
      and we should ask mothers to protect this institution.

      We should learn to respect motherhood. The finest of all symbols of
      love in the world is the mother. See the tremendous power that women
      have! If you put a stone on a man's stomach and say, "Carry it for a
      few days," he cannot do it. Yet a woman carries a child for many
      months. Then she is pleased to go through that death called labor.
      The center of her strength is the center of love. Physical pain has
      no value once you know the body is going toward change, death, and
      decay. The body doesn't matter to a real sage or swami. Even someone
      who understands this just a little can say, "Come on, I don't care
      about physical pain. I have many other higher problems to solve." If
      we are wasting too much time in eliminating physical pain, how can we
      get freedom from mental and spiritual pain? We have to learn to be
      strong, and true strength comes from within. We have corrupted our
      motherhood by cheapening it everywhere in the external world. That's
      why we do not get that love which no one else can give us the love of
      our mother. We have to return to that institution called family life.
      If we really want to learn and grow and understand, we have to go
      back.

      To be loved means to love. A husband may ask his wife, "Do you love
      me?" and his wife may reply, "Do you love me?" They may have lived
      together for forty years, yet they are still asking this question! In
      an Urdu poem it is said, "On the ladder of love, the first step is
      reverence toward the person you love." If you do not have reverence
      for the person you love, then you don't love enough. You cannot
      separate love from reverence. Most people have lost their love for
      life and for the center of consciousness.

      LOVE MEANS GIVING

      Love means giving, giving, giving, where there is no thought of
      reward. To give wholeheartedly and willingly is called love. Those
      who have practiced this understand this law. Love means to renounce.
      It's like swimming. When you swim, you push water away from you and
      that is how you move forward. But what are we doing? We are trying to
      swim, but we are pulling the water toward us. This is not the way to
      swim; this is the way to drown. The principle of renunciation applies
      whenever we want to go anywhere. To get to that place we want to be,
      we have to leave where we are now. To progress, we have to learn to
      renounce. When we go on renouncing, we will attain that state which
      we long for.

      Love actually means renunciation for the sake of others. The highest
      of all states is selfless love for others. After doing many, many
      experiments in life, finally one comes to know, "Why am I doing this
      thing for myself? It should be done for others. Let them be happy."
      And then enjoyment comes because others are happy. If you study the
      life of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, you will find that when he was
      suffering from throat cancer, Vivekananda and all his other disciples
      gathered together and said, "Sir, you are not eating and you are in
      pain." He smiled and said, "But you are eating. I'm very happy that
      you are enjoying." Similarly, when Christ was crucified, I think he
      was the happiest person in the world because he was crucified for the
      sake of humanity. When you have developed that sensitivity, then you
      cannot stop loving people and helping them. Great are those who help
      and serve others, for in serving others they express their love.

      Once, when I was nineteen, an old swami suddenly came from the
      mountains to our cave as I was about to eat. There would be nothing
      to eat until the next day. We could not cook twice a day in the cave,
      and I had only a piece of bread and some vegetables. My master
      said, "This old swami is here; you have to give your food to him." I
      replied, "Look, I am not going to do that." He asked me, "Don't you
      have any feelings for him?" I said, "I'm hungry! I don't have any
      feelings for anyone." He stood and said, "I order you to give." When
      the swami started saying his meal prayer--"I am eating for the Lord"--
      suddenly my consciousness lifted upward, and later on I understood
      that in giving my meal to the swami I had really done something
      great. I started practicing such behavior again and again and again.
      Now, I assure you, if I am hungry and someone else is also hungry, I
      am pleased to offer my food to that person. We can practice this same
      thing in our daily lives. Let us become selfless and examine what
      happens during that time.

      Love can be practiced fearlessly, faithfully, and honestly; and love
      alone can lead us to the highest state of consciousness. You are in
      eternal samadhi if you are selflessly doing your work. Fully do your
      work, live in the world, and yet remain above. When geographical
      boundaries have no meaning, when the world has become a small thing,
      when individuals interact every day in counsel with many others,
      which religion will we follow? I say that all the great religions are
      given by the same center of love. When we understand the essential
      points of all great religions, we will know that they are all one and
      the same. They all say be loving, be kind, be gentle, be truthful.
      Where is the difference? The difference lies in non-essentials. We
      can change the eggs, but the basket remains the same.

      When we understand this truth, we will finally come back to the
      center of love and try to practice it. When we understand the highest
      of all yogas, we will know that it is called the yoga of self-
      surrender. Exactly as a drop meets the ocean, the individual meets
      the highest Being and expands his consciousness. We should look to
      that world religion and world government that will be guided by the
      love which is not merely animal or human, but which is divine. With
      such guidance, we will all love each other--including all and
      excluding none.

      http://swamij.com
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