THE PATH OF LOVE (Letter 179)
This morning a Tamil youth approached Bhagavan and asked, “Swami, it is good to love God, is it not? Then why not follow the path of Love?”
“Who said you couldn’t follow it? You can do so. But when you talk of love, there is duality, is there not — the person who loves and the entity called God who is loved? The individual is not separate from God. Hence love means one has love towards one’s own Self. For this, i.e., loving one’s own Self, examples have been given in the 'Vasudevan Mananam', stage by stage. Man loves money most; but he loves his son more than money; his own body more than the son; his indriyas (the organs of the body) more than the body; the eye most among the organs; life more than the eye; and the self (atma) more than life. This is exemplified thus: If the son does something untoward and the government decides to punish him for it, the parents offer money and even bribes to set him free. Hence the love towards the son is more than money. If, however, the government does not accept money but say that they will let off the son if the father agrees to undergo the punishment himself instead, then the father will say, ‘Do whatever you like with the boy; I have nothing to do with him’. Hence the father loves his own body more than his son. If a man does something for which the powers that be say that his eyes must be plucked out, he tries to save his eyes by agreeing to bodily torture; so bodily torture is preferred to loss of an organ. If, however, they decide to take his life by beheading him, he would be prepared to lose his eyes or any other organ rather than lose his life; so life (prana) is loved more than the organs. In the same manner, a person who desires to have Atma-Anandam (bliss of the Self) would be prepared to lose his life even, if necessary; so the Self is loved more than life. Hence the idea of a person in loving God, is only with a view to being happy himself. He is, however, the embodiment of happiness and that happiness is God. Who else is to be loved? Love itself is God,” said Bhagavan.
“That is why I am asking you whether God could be worshipped through the path of love?” said the questioner.
“That is exactly what I have been saying. Love itself is the actual form of God. If by saying, ‘I do not love this; I do not love that’, you reject all things, that which remains is Swarupa, i.e., the innate Self. That is pure bliss. Call it pure bliss, God, atma or what you will. That is devotion; that is realization and that is everything,” said Bhagavan.
“The meaning of what you say now is that we should reject all outside things which are bad, and also all those which are good, and love God alone. Is it possible for anyone to reject everything, saying this is no good, that is no good, unless one experiences them?” said some other.
“That is true. To reject the bad, you must love the good. In due course that good also will appear to be an obstacle and will be rejected. Hence, you must necessarily first love what is good. That means you must first love and then reject the thing you love. If you thus reject everything, what remains is the Self alone. That is real love. One who knows the secret of that love finds the world itself full of universal love,” said Bhagavan and resumed silence.