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Posted on : Nov 5, 2011
Radio Sai Study Circle – 6
Understanding Love in All Its Dimensions
Radio Sai Study Circle series was started in September 2010 to discuss and elaborate on Baba's teachings. The last episode of this series was on the theme ‘Discovering True Excellence’ and we did receive plenty of positive feedback from all over the world. Here are just a few:
Ms. Meena Menon, Nashville, USA: “I enjoy your study circle very much; subtle things like the difference between perfection and excellence were explained so well. In our study circle here, we are doing Jonathan Roof's Pathways to God, Volume 3 and are having a Sai retreat on October 22, 2011. I wish you all could be here at our study circle and at our Sai retreat.”
Minesh, UK: “The discussion made me understand the importance of quality in much greater depth. Your narration of Swami’s observations and attention to detail were very helpful. Thank you for leading us onto the right path.”
Dreethi, Mauritius: “I’m a medical student and in this field there is a lot of competition but now I do not want to lose my way from the correct path. Your study circle on excellence was indeed very enriching.”
Ms. Lata Sri Sathya Kumar, Sultanate of Oman: “Just as I was preparing to elaborate the point ‘Yoga Karmasu Kaushalam’ (excellence in action is yoga), in your study circle, lo and behold, was readymade material on discovering true excellence. It gave explicit insight into lots of things. I cannot wait to read the other episodes.”
Letters like this are many. But there was one mail which was a special request from Ms. Aruna Narayanan, San Jose, USA to have a study circle on Love. That in fact is the theme of the current episode.
Love is such an indelible part of everyone’s life because it touches everyone in some form or the other, and the sooner we understand this principle the better for us. Apart from Amey Deshpandey (AD), Sai Giridhar (SG), K. M. Ganesh (KMG), Bishu Prusty (BP) and Mr. G. S. Srirangarajan (GSS) who is the moderator for this session, there is also a special participant in this episode who actually begins this session by introducing this concept of love for us in His mellifluous voice. Let us listen to Him:
Swami singing "Love is My Form"
GSS: I think this song says it all. It means that love is neither a concept, a thought or an idea but an experience. So today, when we are going to discuss about love, we all are clear that we are not talking about the love that people generally associate with in the conventional way. Of course, we’d be discussing that too, but will concentrate on the love that Swami always talks about which is an elevating form of love. In fact, Bhagawan says, ‘Life itself is love, they are not two but one and love is the very nature of life just as burning is the nature of fire or wetness of water or sweetness of sugar. Love is the fruit of life’. And Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Where there is love, there is life.’ Victor Hugo put it as: ‘Life is the flower for which love is the honey.’
In fact love is universal, and all religions speak of divine love in the same wavelength. For example, the Bible says, ‘Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envy, it is not boasting, it is not proud, it is not self-seeking and it keeps no record of wrongs’. The Quran in Chapter 85, Verse 14 refers to Allah as Al Buruj which means, He’s truly forgiving and all embracing in His love. It also refers to the Almighty as Al Wadood which means that God Himself is infinite love and compassion.
Now these may be very ‘difficult-to-understand’ definitions of love. So what I suggest is we start by expressing our own understanding and view point on love. And then we will see how we can relate these various viewpoints into that unified thought which Swami talks of as divine love.
So why don’t we start with Giridhar.
True Love Gives Without Any Expectations
SG: I am reminded of a story which Swami narrated in the interview room to one of our brothers. He takes us back to the Dwapara Yuga when Lord Krishna returns to Brindavan after many years and after meeting his parents, mother Yashoda and father Nanda, goes to the banks of River Yamuna to meet Radha.
Radha is seated under a beautiful tree and as usual is lost in the love of her dear Krishna. The Lord runs and stands in front of her hoping that she would be pleasantly surprised. But she just looks at Him and gives a gentle smile. Krishna is puzzled. He says, “Radha, are you not happy that I have come back?”
|Radha told Krishna: "I don't want anything from You.
Not even Your love"
Radha looks at Him quizzically and then goes to the River, takes a palm full of water, calls Krishna and says, “Look Krishna, are you not there in every drop of this water?” She now runs towards the tree under which she was seated, shows a leaf and then says, “Are you not there in every single leaf of this tree? In every breeze and in every atom of this Brindavan, it’s only Krishna and nothing else! When did You leave that You have come back as You say?”
Hearing this Krishna was so pleased that He said, “Radha, ask for anything and I will give it to you.”
She replied, “I don’t want anything from You.”
“Not even My love?” Krishna asked.
Radha said, “Krishna, I know that I love You and You are mine. That is enough for me; I don’t expect anything from You, yes, not even Your love.”
At that moment, Swami says, that Krishna fell on His knees and said, “Radha, for the first time I have been a recipient of something from My devotee. Love is giving without any expectations.”
KMG: Indeed, Radha’s love was the purest but frankly to verbalise what love is and what it means is next to impossible.
To the best of my understanding, there is a very fundamental drive in all living beings which is - to seek happiness. Everyone wants to be happy and as Swami says ‘bliss’ is actually our true innate nature. When we experience that joy we’re in absolute harmony with ourselves which is the secret of contentment.
Therefore, I feel love is an emotion or feeling that facilitates an ambience for this joy and happiness to spring out of our heart. That is why everyone seeks and thirsts for love.
GSS: Bishu, what’s your take on this?
BP: Let me put it slightly differently. I would like to refer to a story that was forwarded to me some time back. It is the story of a mother’s sacrifice during the earthquake that robbed the Sichuan province of China in May 2008.
|The touching picture of the mother protecting her child at the cost of her own life,
during the earthquake in China, 2008.
After the earthquake had subsided the rescuers reached the ruins of a young woman's house and through the cracks they saw a dead body. But they noticed that there was something strange in her posture – she was crouched as if she was praying and her two hands seemed to be supporting some object. The collapsed house had crashed on her back and her head. So the leader of this team put his hand through the cracks and touched her body; it was cold and still. Obviously she was no more. The rescuers started to move on but the leader driven by sixth sense suddenly paused. Something told him to go back to that woman. And now he put his hand through the narrow cracks to search the little space under the dead body. And then suddenly he screamed with excitement, “There is a child; there is a child!”
GSS: The child I guess was alive…
BP: Yes, it was alive! The mother had protected the child so well that the little one was blissfully asleep.
GSS: That’s really touching!
BP: In fact the story goes that there was also a message in a cellphone that was found there which read, “Baby! If you survive, you must remember that I love you.”
Well, I do not know if that part of it is true, nevertheless that definitely is the unspoken message of that amazing mother. Now, imagine multiplying this sacrifice an unimaginable million times and what you probably get is a glimpse of love that is absolutely deep and tremendously touching – that is Divine Love. Now think of Swami. If we look at what He has done in His life, He has just given Himself completely to others. Even in the last few years I remember how He used to sit for long hours in the evenings, sometimes even up to 9 p.m. watching the programmes in the Sai Kulwant Hall and filling the cup of every devotee's heart with joy. I feel this zenith of unconditional affection, this pinnacle of sacrifice, this state of supreme selflessness is Love.
GSS: Amey, what’s your understanding about this?
|Lord Rama seeking a favour from mother Kaikeyi to
carry out His divine mission
AD: It’s so beautiful to hear all these different concepts and stories; they are overwhelming too. My own understanding of love is not very different. In fact, when Bishu was talking about that mother, I was reminded of another outstanding example of what a mother’s love is. In fact, it took three yugas, for the Avatar to come back and give us the real meaning; I am talking about the love of Mother Kaikeyi. Here was a mother who sacrificed her name, fame and her most loved entity - Rama Himself. We think that Kaikeyi asked Rama to go to the forest, but Swami says that in fact, it was Rama Himself who had told Kaikeyi a few weeks earlier, “Mother, if you love Me... and I know you love Me the most… help Me to carry out My divine mission. And for this you have to take on the ignominy for the rest of your life. Are you ready to do this?” And she simply said, “Yes, I will.”
SG: In fact Swami says that no parent today ever names their child after Kaikeyi.
AD: Very true. So I think that is the kind of love that one must have.
BP: It's ultimate sacrifice!
GSS: So it’s interesting to see the various aspects of love that we have talked about, love as giving and love as sacrifice. These are definitely the different characteristics of love but I am also trying to understand what love could be.
Here I’m reminded of what Bhagawan says: “I separated Myself from Myself to love Myself.” Love is the cosmic glue that manifests during this great act of separation which ensures the ultimate union. So if God is like a divine magnet which separates itself into smaller magnets; love is this magnetic force which brings back and unites everything together.
If we want to understand the word ‘religion’, see how beautifully Swami explains it. He says, “There is only one religion, the religion of love.” But religion actually originates from the Latin world ‘religare’. In essence, it means 'trying to unite the creation into one united whole'.
At one point, Swami says, “Love transposes the self onto another and the two begin to think, speak and act as one. When love takes in more and more into its fold more and more entities are unified as one”. Expansion, Bhagawan says, is the very essence of love.
So I feel the best way to go forward is to try to understand the manifestation of this love in various forms. Incidentally, it’s striking that the two of you spoke of mother’s love. And I guess mother's love is the one that comes closest to divine love. But let’s also try to understand the various other forms of love. For convenience, let's put them in the framework of Vyashti, Samashti, Srishti, and Parameshti.
Firstly, we’ll talk of Vyashti Prema or love associated with individuals, then go on to Samashti Prema or love connected with the community, society and the nation, next we will move on to Srishti Prema or love associated with the whole of creation, i.e., Nature. Finally, we’ll discuss Parameshti Prema, or love associated with God.
Vyashti Prema - Love Associated with Individuals
Now Vyashti Prema is of many types, we have moha, anuraga, etc. and Swami has extensively talked about all these. So why don’t we start with the word that is closely associated with love which is moha or attachment?
There are a lot of things that we need to understand here. Is moha love or is love moha? Or are the two intertwined? Let’s begin our deliberations on this topic.
Giridhar, what are your thoughts on this?
SG: Once in Chennai, Swami had a session with a few of us where we were allowed to ask a few questions. One of our brothers asked, “Swami, akarshana ki moola karanam enti?” (What is the root cause for attraction?) He must have been impelled to ask this question as attraction as we all know, is the root cause for moha or attachment.
Swami paused for a moment and then said just one word, “Drishti”. After a few moments He continued, “Shrishti lo lopam yemi ledu, drishti lone antha undi.” which means 'there is no defect in creation; everything depends on our vision.'
KMG: So drishti means how we perceive things...
|The attraction (Akarshana) to what is seen takes the shape of a desire (Korika). If the desire is not fulfilled it leads to disappointment (Badha). If fulfilled, the joy is shortlived for
then the mind goes after something else and the cycle repeats (MAD syndrome).
SG: Yes, our perceptions.
GSS: There is flaw in our vision not in the creation.
SG: The flaw is in our perception…
BP: It’s how we look at it…
SG: In fact Swami said three words after that. “Drishti, Akarshana, Badha” almost giving a sequence of events. He explained that drishti is your perception because of which you are attracted to some things which is basically akarshana. He also used another word Korika which means desire.
Swami said, “The moment you are attracted towards something, in your mind arises a korika or a materialistic desire. And if for some reason this desire is not fulfilled, then it leads to badha or disappointment and despair.” What a beautiful sequence of events as explained by Swami! Drishti leading to akarshana, korika and then badha.
Attachment and the MAD Syndrome
AD: Very interesting, in fact I really liked the way Rangarajan Sir put it calling love as the cosmic glue that binds everything. So I guess, moha is something that gives you an instant feeling but doesn’t last long. Here I’m reminded of an interesting syndrome prevalent in our hostel which we call the MAD or the Momentary Attachment Detachment Syndrome.
- Radio Sai team