Love, Serve and Remember
by Swami Nitya
Third contemplation: On universal Love
In the previous contemplation, we looked at Love from a personal point of view, what does it mean to love someone or something. But in Swami Rama’s teaching, love has yet another dimension, which in the world of today is of huge importance.
In fact he can be described as a visionary, for seeing the course of society, and giving us the tools to operate, in a society which is estranged from itself. A society which has carried separation to such an extreme, that it is about to destroy itself!
Let me start again with an unusual contemplation.
The Puranas tell us the story of Krishna and Radha. I am aware that this has many levels too, but looked at the simplest level, it means the love between two…(people/Gods or whatever..) just two, a relationship, between two.
Where there are two… there is duality, there is separation; or there is love in a direct relationship, one to one! Such love in “two-ness” is the start of dissolving isolation, between the TWO so that there is no ‘otherness’.
The Krishna Leela, or story has also a different dimension; the love of the gopis, the cow-girls and Krishna. There are some stories that talk of Krishna’s 16000 wives – and 8 main ones.
I am not going into the likely- hood of this or the customary interpretations, but just want to just lift out one point. Here love is not the relation between TWO, but between an enormous amount of people.
Therefore in this context, love can never be the manifest, possessiveness, or even lust ---associated with the term…but means something much wider, such as a shared global awareness of a special relationship; or even wider: Love of humanity and love of God.
What Swami Rama seems to teach is, that these are the same!
It’s not love between individuals, but love amongst/ between.. humanity as a whole, which matters.
And if we go one step further, and go back to the first talk, about all being One, - from that insight, Love becomes a shared energy.
Swami Rama writes in his book Love whispers: (p. 11) of love as a guiding principle of the universe, and even love as a guiding force of the universe.
(Ask yourselves, where is that principle now, with all the wars, pains, slavery, misuse of women, suffering on a big scale!)
In the teaching here love is referring being Divine, as everyone exists in Krishna, in Shiva, in Brahman… (again: never mind the word.. but the meaning.)
In this way there is ultimately only Love which includes all and excludes none and nothing.
It is this level, that Swami Rama was focused in his book “Call to humanity!”
Love that includes all and excludes none, this is the level of talking about: Love, light and life”. What does it mean?
Swami Rama writes: “True joy flows from the center of love, and the purpose of life is to allow that flow - to flow throughout. When true love flows from the heart, one learns how to give and share without expectation.
Both the lover and the beloved are transformed through the force of love. In fact self-less love and dharma are one and the same, since love is the inherent quality of the soul.
We become true followers of dharma, when all our activities are determined by the force of truth and love.” Wow, that is an amazing sentence.
Yet we cannot, but ask ourselves: where has this power of transformation gone? In our world, in the big picture … or the small ?
In the spirit of self-inquiry, or self-awareness, let’s ask ourselves: How do we express love to all, excluding none?
Where does our love stop? At our children, family, friends, community? What about the rest? All our activities should be determined by the force of truth and love….HM?
Love is the awareness of “No otherness”….???
Sharing ourselves… with others….no boundaries, no limitations….
Why is it not happening…? Today humanity /we are suffering from a huge intellectual mistake, we think of individualism, our rights, our own choice… we live from the ego-born differences and inequality. Swami Rama writes: “Today people discriminate against their own brothers and sisters.. simply on the base of race, religion, cast or complexion…” (106)
What does it actually mean, that love includes all…. Excludes none…
How does that translate in my behavior? Try to think out of the box, our mind is conditioned to work in frames, with limits… that is not freedom!!!
Freedom is the ability to get out of our individual cages and open our heart to everyone, open our arms, our mind, our caring…to everyone we come across in our path of life!
No limitations of me and mine, no limitations of my culture? My religion, my tradition, my rites and rights! Swami Rama writes:
Instead of identifying with a certain group or community…. (we and them…i.e. otherness) we need to identify all as human beings, then they will (we will) love all as their (our ) own family members…. People will respect the feelings and rights of others…more than their own.
I remember the story: Wolfgang Bishop told about the school in Orissa.
A boy’s school. So one day a young girl, holding a baby, stood by the fence, weeping. He asked: why do you weep?
The child answered: “I wish I was born a boy, then I could go to school here.”
How do we contribute to changing this, i.e. to make it possible that girls in India, even in the rural districts, get the same education, the same chance than boys?
One humanity, means:. that girl, in rags, in tears. ..with no future… that so wishes to go to school, is your daughter, your child…. And there are many cases like this; thousands, in India alone…. What do we do about it… they are our family members?
If we know what Love is, we cannot exclude….
Swami Rama writes:
A human being can attain his goal of life (whatever it is) “without getting in the way of the welfare of others, if he keeps love as his central focus. By loving all, a human being practices all the other great principals such as non-violence, truthfulness - , - non possessiveness, contentment and so on. Love and negativity cannot co-exist.
Love for all human beings purifies the heart….
And then he continues, that is not really enough, one needs to …:
“ … re-defines one’s conception of love and instead of loving human beings alone , all of creation falls within the range of one’s love. The thread of love unites all the diversities into one non-dual, unitarian consciousness.
By loving all, one loves the universal soul, GOD.
As supreme love unfolds conflicts, differences, hatred, jealousy and selfishness disappear once and for all. “
Love for all, means what? Love for the earth, its animals, its plants….
How do we each express our love, our respect, our care for the earth… and all on it?
Great statements - we think: but I am only human, what can I do, with my limited means….and abilities?
First of all: Realize when you were just thinking this.. you were making excuses!
Open your heart…That’s all. Look around you, see who needs your love, your support, your ability to listen…. Without Love, there is nothing! For love is life… is light, is God!
In the book “Love-whispers”, Swami Rama writes: p. 29
Love is the Lord of life. Life without love is like an infertile, barren field. No matter how much it is tilled, nothing grows.
… The Wise one knows: that a human being is the shrine of the Lord and he indweller in him is the Lord of Life and Love. ….Nothing can survive without Love. Therefore Life is Love…..
Love is the most ancient traveler, which engulfs the beauty of the universe, and assumes its form.
…..Love is giving without expecting any reward. If there is total surrender to it, it showers happiness and bliss.”(29)….
“There is no language that can convey the true meaning of love. It is the language a newborn fawn speaks to her mother. It’s the language of the heart that can be felt but not painted on a canvas. One can sing the songs of life, but the true songs of love are unsung….” How, how, how - can we open to this love….? Turn within, observe your inner core...is one way; looking at Beauty seems another way…..so the old Greeks like Plotinus said: it’s easier for the human mind to look into Beauty and see the Divine… than it is to look within. Beauty is the Divine.
We know this from many Indian scriptures such as the LalitaSahasranam etc.
Again in his book: Love Whispers, Swami Rama too contemplates the beauty, the beauty of a flower as a dharana.. a door to turn within. Use these examples, start there, then give up desire for outer objects and expectations… love will finds its way into us.
So to turn within “for love is the same within and without! Unfortunately this inward awareness is more difficult, in our modern times than ever. As Swami Rama said (p.114; Call to humanity).
In this age of high technology, no community or race (or group or tradition…) can maintain its existence without associating with other communities and races. So there must be a better understanding among human beings. We have to share one an other’s losses, and gains (and pains) . We have to learn from each other’s experiences for our own growth… groups must work together for common goals…
We must understand that we are born as humans and all other identifications are superimposed on us later. Loving others and receiving love from others is our birth-right.True freedom, means loving all- and hating no-one, including all, excluding NONE.
For cultivating the true human being within, to fulfil the potential we have to become truly human - we have to reach out to the hearts of fellow beings.
Removing differences, and moving from diversity to unity are the essence of real spiritual practices… That’s practicing LOVE! And with it… we change.
“By loving all and excluding none, we develop freedom from fear of hell and the desire for heaven. We can have our heaven on earth”
Our perception of love is limited by our experience, because our brain… works that way, it compares everything to the a past stored memory.
So our perception of love, in our mind too is compared to past, stored memory.
But the real love, the higher form that Swami Rama talks about is not love that jearns to repeat a memory, not love for some shadow forms of the mind, - but almost the opposite… the “total expansion of the mind, where lover and beloved become inseparably one.”
But now not on an individual level, but on the level of humanity and existence as a whole, and ultimately the Divine… which of course is in All as ALL.
In fact he says: “Love for a mortal is incomplete it separates us from the whole…” (Love whispers; 37p.
Where as the love he talks about is total expansion, of mind and heart, on the gross and subtle level. In fact he almost prays when he writes:
“I do not want to be part of this society that remains under the law of contraction and knows not the law of expansion. Every individual is meant to radiate this love from individuality to universality. An individual is a nucleus and the universe is its expansion. Are they not qualitatively the same?
When every human being lights his lamp, there will be illumination all around and darkness will disappear. Every human being will walk on light and all miseries and pains will be annihilated. Then the whole universe will be one solid conglomerate and the entire humanity will celebrate a grand festival, that will be the day when the purpose of human life will be fulfilled.”
Means what..? When all human beings will be filled with love….existence is fulfilled.
Right, great image… but…Our great big BUT…..
Because we realize we are far from it….on the human scale and even on the individual scale…What to do…
As we always need to do, putting what we understand into action, into practice… or better into Sadhana! Without claiming ownership.
Acct we must…,its life… but rightly so….
One way is to look how we can do Sadhana , that helps to open heart and mind, to love, to exclude no-one include all.
Second way is how to live in the world; participate into the world from the open heart and mind; knowing your inners energies, (Atman we may call it) is knowing life, is knowing the love that resides inside you. But there is a problem with this, it is hidden after under many layers of conditioning.
So all great teachers including Swami Rama advocate to find that love within, ultimately there is only one technique and that is to Meditate.
We all do, or try to, but as Swami Rama in his book on Sadhana explains, we often fall prey to fantasy, to imaginations and even hallucinations, - many things we take for meditation, that are actually products of our subconscious minds. (p.80)
Furthermore, meditation cannot be limited to sitting time for formal meditation…
Meditation is a state of awareness from which to live! Unfortunately nobody has trained us to chop carrots win a meditative state, to clean toilets in a meditative state… if we could, then life itself, would become meditation, then life becomes filled with that special love, that arises from inside. But its our mind that stops us. It is a great trickster.
Swami Rama writes in “Sadhana”…
“If you really want to know who you are, you have to take off all the masks (what we call persona), one after the other. You have to be totally naked.
You have to be in the fire. If you are prepared to do that, you can learn to tread the path of meditation.” Why such hard work…why such hard words!!!!
Because every snipped of conditioning, of believing in our individual personality, our ego-self, knowingly or unknowingly is a limiting wall, that separates us from the expansion into LOVE!
He continues to say” if you have everlasting joy…then you’ll be free”. It’s for that freedom and for that great joy that you live”… Joy, love, Divine energy….
Life, light, love….
But now do not fall back into thinking he is talking about your individual salvation..
Remember he is talking of a love that is shared with the rest of humanity, with the rest of existence!
Swami Rama writes:
“Love is the only self-existent reality!... with object or without object, The highest of all loves is love without an object.”
Once we start seeing this expanded vision of love, it will call us to behave different in the world. Swami Rama was absolutely clear, that we need to act in this world, but from the perspective of love, inside and out,
Out of spiritual awareness, out of love… love without an object…. we live in this world, we act in this world, and that means : to serve.