Everybody says God is love and love is God. But i love my partner, my children and all the expensive things i own. Why should i love God and not some other person or thing?
The answer can be found by understanding who we are and what is our goal in life. Innumerable people have pondered over these three questions:
1) Who are we and where do we come?
2) Why are we here?
3) How do we find God and love him?
Since eternity, scores of sacred texts, manuscripts and religious books have been dedicated in an attempt to answer these questions. Renowned philosophers and theologists have propounded a variety of answers. Many are accepted and some not.
What you will read here is a concise version of what is a "generally" accepted truth. The source will be revealed as we read on.
There are many variants to these questions, but in general, they all hum around the same concept.
Who are We?
We are all Souls and an eternal part of God. We all seek happiness, in one form or the other. Our search for happiness has been on since time immemorial, even before WAIS, Altavista or Google came into being. Gee, that's a long time!
God is synonymous with happiness, peace and love. If we all like happiness, then, it is only natural for us to be attracted to God. It is a scientific rule that a tiny fraction of any large object moves towards that large entity.
For ex., a handful of mud or dust is a part of the earth. Release it from your hand and it goes back where it came from. Light a fire and it goes skyward, towards the Sun, its origin. The river is a part of the Ocean, all rivers race towards the Ocean.
Similarly, whether we like it or not, "WE" are eternal "fragments" of God and we can only love God. It is a different matter that we have forgotten who we are and generally, don't tend to "love" God. All of us assume ourselves to be this body or mind and associate with it.
We pursue happiness and luxury related to the body or the mind. Why? Because we firmly believe that we are a body. Hence, whatever pleasure the body or mind seeks, we pursue them till the ends of the earth.
If we begin to realise the truth that we are not this perishable body but an eternal part of God, then we would begin our search for happiness related to the Soul.
What is this "Soul" thing? can we touch it or feel it?
The Soul is an eternal entity. It is a part, a fraction of God's eternal energy. We cannot touch it or feel it (atleast not now!). It is a Divine being, since God is Divine. It is due to the Soul that a body feels conscious or sentient. Without the Soul livening it, a body is but a lump of rotting flesh.
As long as we think that we are a body, we will continue to perceive happiness in people and inanimate objects of this material realm. The true "I" is the Soul and the true happiness associated with the Soul is God.
Many of us have been lucky to obtain some objects of material pleasure like house, car, money, etc. Some of us may also have partners like a husband or a wife. Some may also have children. Have we found perfect and ever lasting happiness in any of them?
It is definitely true that we feel happy and sometimes elated with these objects and the people we are closely related to. There are moments when external objects give you a sense of euphoria. But, we also know that they are all momentary and fleeting. We only live with the memory of a certain incident gone by. There are many instances in our lives where we says, "Remember, we went there? we did that. Those were such good times". We always long for one of those great times that is the past.
A good example of this revealing truth is about a mother who has lost her child in the market. She searches frantically in all directions for any trace of her dear little one. People bring her all sorts of luxurious things, but all she wants is her child. They show her the most beautiful kid in town but she still seeks her kid. Each second of separation seems like an eon.
Finally, her kid is found. What a relief!
She holds the child in her arms and hugs it, pouring all her love and affection. You can actually get a barrel and capture all the overflow. She is filled with euphoric joy and continues to hug the child. The mother repeats the same act of love for a while and hugs the kid closer to her chest. The kid almost suffocates as result of these teddy-bear hugs!
But the mother is overcome by emotion. At the moment, she is not worried about the child's happiness or comfort and is seeking her own happiness by hugging the child. After a few of these hugs, she lets the child down and says, "Little one, now go play with your friends". The child still clings on to the mother, but she reluctantly lets go.
Whoa! what happened? Why did she let the child out of her arms? just moments ago, the child was the dearest thing in this cosmos! Now, after 10 minutes, she lets the child go as she has work to do in the kitchen.
What happened to that euphoric and ecstatic feeling just 10 minutes back? Its gone. If she really loves the child, then she must have hugged it for ever. But, that is not practical nor feasible.
This is the real face of love and affection in our real world but we have trouble accepting it.
There are some stark realities that present themselves in front us during the course of our daily lives. We cannot answer them. We do not look these questions in the eye and face them.
What happens after we die? Is there something called re-incarnation? Why is that some people are deformed whilst some are physically very fit and healthy?
We are well aware of all the suffering across the world. This has been an ongoing process since eternity. No amount of peace talks, ceasefires, arms control, etc. has stopped people harming each other.
In our immediate lives, we see suffering at home and close by. What if your wife or husband malfunctions? would you love him or her irrespective of that for ever? Does every mother or father love their mentally sick child?
We know all too well that material pleasure is also momentary. Do we really adore and love our $10,000 Home Theater system as much as we did 3 years ago? Does it really matter to us today as much as it did so many years ago? After a few days or months, it becomes a part of the furniture and feels ignored. How will our material possession(s) help us when we are growing old and inching towards a certain undesirable end called death?
In this way, there are many examples of how our love for people or things dear to us has no lasting consequence. Our love for a person lasts as long as there is reciprocation. If they stop loving us, love dies down and we forget that person over time. There are some exceptions of "everlasting" love and endearing stories, but they remain exactly that. An exception and an endearing story.
Discontentment and dissatisfaction takes over our mind when we realise the futility and limitations of loving people or material objects. The key aspect is "realisation". If we continue to believe that the next level of material object or person will give us what we are looking for, then we will again fall into the same quagmire.
For ex., if we think that a Ferrari is better than a Mazda MX-5 or that an Aston Martin is better than an MG Rover, it is only a matter of time before we start to think that a Rolls Royce is the ultimate answer.
What after a Rolls Royce? A Jet Fighter? What after that? A Spacecraft?
There is no end to this fire called Desire. There goes a story that God was once asked who or what is bigger than him. The Lord said that man's desire is bigger than anything else in this Universe!
Desires will never end. If a wish or a desire is fulfilled, a new one arises and if a desire is not satisfied, discontentment and/or anger takes over our mind. So, what happened to that happiness we were looking for? Desires fool our mind into thinking that happiness, peace or satisfaction lies in "this or that". Once we attain "this or that", we lose interest and start thinking of next object of desire.
So, the secret lies in "realising" the fact that true and long lasting happiness does not exist in people or material objects. We have to "realise" that we are eternal Souls and a part of God. Due to this fact, we can only love him. We have forgotten this simple truth and have been searching for happiness (love) in this material world.
No person in this world can proclaim that he or she does not want happiness. Everyone including an atheist, a communist, a sadist, a rich man, a common man or a religious person, seeks happiness.
Earlier, we mentioned that God is synonymous with happiness, peace and love. Then it is only logical to say that if we love happiness, we love God, although indirectly. It is akin to saying that, I do accept my father but do not accept my mother's husband. Both are one and same person but with different duties!
It is not difficult to deduce that, if people and material objects cannot satisfy our hunger for peace, happiness and true love, then God can. Where else can we look?
Is there is a realm other than the material world (Maya) and God? Many of us already know that there are only three eternal "truths":
2) Maya – God's eternal and lifeless cosmic energy. The world (earth) is only a small part of this energy.
3) Individual Soul
If a Soul does not find everlasting peace and happiness in this world (Maya), then there is only one other place to look. God.
Why are we here?
We, the Souls, have taken birth as humans with immense cognitive powers and a few other unique characteristics like,
2) The ability to think AND act
No scientist has been able to provide a plausible answer as to why we have these powers. Man has to turn to Spirituality for an answer to these questions.
An interesting observation we can make is that, it is only humans who seem to categorise actions as good and bad. No other living organism has this power of discretion.
Another startling fact about all living organisms, especially humans and animals is that we can love without being taught. Love is so innate to us. Nobody taught us that we need to "love" this or "love" that. We just loved. But every other aspect of our life has been taught.
In the animal kingdom, some animals have other innate properties. Snakes are born with venom in their fangs and can deliver a deadly dose even as they break through their egg shell. Frogs and Crocodiles can swim as soon as they are born.
Yet, all these organisms know to love. How is that possible?
In this way, there are many subtle aspects associated with the human form of life too.
The answer to our existence is that, by being born in the human form, we have been given a chance to "realise" God and find eternal happiness, truth or love. As mentioned earlier, we have forgotten our original or true form (that we are a Soul), and tend to pursue happiness in the wrong direction.
Where is God? How do we find him? How to love him?
We have all been taught at some stage in our lives that God is everywhere. We don't believe it. If we begin to trust in this simple truth, it will change us.
Now, that is only the beginning. God has many aspects attached to him and is full of opposing contradictions. For ex., he is smaller than the smallest and at the same time, bigger than the biggest. How is that possible?!?
God is very easy to attain and at the same time, he does not audition so easily. If he is everywhere, then where is question of finding God?
Coming back to love, We have ended up loving our father, mother, child, our spanking new McLaren or a Fender Stratocaster. Why didn't we love God from the beginning itself?
It is universally accepted that we are able to love a person whom we can see or touch. We haven't seen God and how can we love an invisible entity? Sounds spooky!
Hence, to understand various aspects of God, his true identity and virtues, our identity and how to love him, we need a guide. We need an infallible source of knowledge that can clear the path for us and show us the way. We need someone to hold the light and dispel the darkness surrounding us.
Who is this person?
That person who will hold your hands all the way till the end and beyond, is a Guru or a Spiritual Master. We can even go to the extent of saying that God cannot directly help someone who wants to meet him, but only a Guru can help!
In modern terms, we can describe that, if we have to meet God, then only a qualified Guru can give you the appointments. You cannot get a direct meeting with God, unless you are a Guru or a Mahatma yourself 😉
These are intrinsic aspects or truths about devotion that we will learn from a Guru of our choice and selection.
Hence, to comprehend the answers to the three questions we put forward in the beginning, we have to find a Guru who can dispel all the myths surrounding the mind and lead us on the practical path of spirituality and devotion.
It is only a Guru who can bestow you with the rock solid foundation of Divine knowledge required to hold your devotion together. It is only a Guru who will explain and show you what is true love and how to attain it.
How to find a Guru?
The easiest thing to do is approach Google with a magic keyword. But, "Find my Guru" is one term Google is not equipped to handle 🙂
It is a search that each individual has to perform by his or her own self. If a Soul is hungry enough to meet God, then God himself will ensure a meeting with a qualified Guru. The rest is left to the aspirant as to what he or she does after meeting the Guru.
It has been my greatest fortune, luck and destiny that i have been gifted a Guru, who has thrown open the path of Divine Love for me and many other countless aspirants to follow and reach our final destination.
Whatever has been written here is a 'nano-scopic' fraction of a droplet from that unfathomable ocean of Divine Knowledge. In fact, i am having trouble viewing this fraction on my brand new electron microscope.
All mistakes introduced are purely mine and i assume complete responsibility for the errors.
As a reader, i hope you will appreciate that condensing a topic as vast as Spirituality and Divine Love is an improbable task. These are only excerpts of what i have heard from him and an attempt to simplify the message for easy reading.
In the future, we might attempt to expand various aspects and facts described here. Comments are most welcome.
This blog is dedicated to my revered Guru, Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj.