The Wisdom Of Abhedananda - Human Affection And Divine Love
( Originally Published 1939 )
IT is true that human nature seeks companionship and longs for a suitable match for love; but all mortal companions on this plane are only for the time being. That craving of the soul will not be absolutely satisfied until the Eternal object of love is discovered. The Eternal object of love can be realized in the finite and concrete man or woman when we rise above the physical plane and understand that each individual soul is divine and immortal. It is a mere selfdelusion to seek the fulness of love in any man or woman. Therefore it is necessary to make the Eternal Ideal the object of all human affection.
FATHER'S love should recognize that Ideal as his child. Mother's love should see it in her newborn babe; the Iove of a brother or of a sister should establish fraternal relation with It. A husband who is devoted to his wife should think of his Eternal Ideal in the soul of his wife; and a wife should put her highest spiritual Ideal in the soul of her beloved husband and love him with her whole heart and soul. The love of a friend should look upon It as his dearest friend and the Divine Companion. In this way all earthly reIations could be spiritualized and all human affection could in course of time be transformed into the expressions of Divine Love in daily life. There would be no more cause of dissatisfaction in a household, no more fighting between brothers and sisters, no more divorce on account of incompatibility of temper. Then each of these human affections will be like a path that leads to Divine Reality and eternal happiness. Each human affection will then find its right mark the eternal Father, divine Mother, divine child, divine husband and divine friend; since Vedanta teaches that Divinity dwells in each individual soul and can be realized through any of these relations.
IN India a true and sincere seeker after Divine Love personifies his Divine Ideal in the form of an Incarnation of God whom he worships as his Divine Master, and loves Him with his whole heart and soul, establishing all relations which are needed in human affection. He says: "0 Lord, Thou art my mother, father, friend and relative; Thou art my knowledge and wealth; Thou art my all in all." A true lover of God thus forgets all earthly relations and enters into the holy spiritual family of his divine master. This is the spirituaI birth of the soul. If absolute sincerity and earnestness be at the bottom of his heart, and if his love be truly unselfish, then the disciple through this devotion will eventually reach the supreme goal of Divine Love.
The stream of human affection breaking down all the barriers of blood relation and the mountain of selfishness, faIIs in that river of Divine Love which is constantly flowing from the pure heart and unselfish soul of his spiritual master, into the infinite ocean of Divinity. Thus the true disciple and the divine Master become one in spirit and reach the goal together. In this sense a true spiritual master or divine Incarnation may be called the Mediator, the Saviour of such individual souls who are earnest and sincere seekers after spirituality and Divine Love. This is the path of love for those who are fortunate enough to find such an all-absorbing spiritual Ideal or Divine Incarnation in a human form. BIessed are they who have become the disciples of a Divine Master.
In each individual heart is flowing a stream of love, which like a confined river constantly seeks an outlet through which it can run into that ocean of Divine Love which is called God. It may not find any outlet for many years, or it may remain bottled up for ages within the narrow limits of animal self, but it never loses that innate tendency to run towards the infinite ocean of love. It must find its way out of that limitation sooner or later. Every drop of that stream of Iove which flows in a human heart, however, contains the germ of Divine Love. As a drop of water in a river contains all the chemical properties of the water of the ocean, so a drop of love, whether pure or impure, is of the same nature as a drop from the ocean of Divine Love. It varies in its character according to the direction towards which it flows and to the nature by which it is governed. When it flows towards one's own self it is animal; when towards another for mutual benefit or for earthly return, it is worldly and human; but when it is directed towards the divine Ideal it is divine.
Divine Love brings a cessation of all sorrow, suffering and pain; it lifts the soul above all bondage; breaks the fetters of selfish attachment and worldliness. All selfishness vanishes and the soul enters into the abode of absolute freedom and everlasting happiness.
The object of attachment in human affection is a changeable and mortal object. While the object of attachment in Divine Love is the unchangeable and Immortal Being, the Lord of the universe.
Some people have an erroneous notion that the Religion of Vedanta teaches that we should not encourage human affection and human love, On the contrary, Vedanta teaches that our life on the human plane will be bitter and dry like a desert if it be not sweetened by human love. If the dew drops of human affection do not moisten the dry and barren heart of a selfish man, how can the germ of Divine Love which is latent in each soul, sprout and grow into a big tree bearing the blossoms of kindness, sympathy, fellow compassion and all other tender feelings which produce the fruits of peace, freedom and happiness ! So long as we are on the human plane we should cultivate and practice human love and human affection. But when the soul learns by bitter experience that the object of human love and affection is only an ordinary mortal, when it longs for an immortal something which is higher and greater, when the soul rises from the human to the spiritual plane, and obtains glimpses of that which is unchangeable and absolute; how can such a soul be satisfied with human limitations and human imperfections! It is then that the soul longs for the expression of all affection on the spiritual plane. It is then that the soul becomes a seeker after the Absolute and a lover of the Divine Ideal. Until that time has arrived, one does not care for anything that is higher than human affection. As on the human plane, forced love is never sweet and genuine, so on the spirituaI plane love for the Spiritual Ideal or Divine Master must be spontaneous and intense, unwavering and whole-souled; otherwise dissatisfaction and unhappiness will be the result, if it be forced in any way by any being. Therefore, according to Vedanta human affection and Divine Love each has its value in its own sphere.
SONGS OF KABIR
HE who is meek and contented, he who has an equal vision, whose mind is filled with the fuIIness of acceptance and of rest;
He who has seen Him and touched Him, he is freed from all fear and trouble.
To him the perpetual thought of God is like sandal paste smeared on the body, to him nothing else is delight:
His work and his rest are filled with music: he sheds abroad the radiance of love.
Kabir says : "Touch His feet, who is one and indivisible, immutable and peaceful; who fills all vessels to the brim with joy, and whose form is love."
I LAUGH when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty:
You do not see that the Real is in your home, and you wander from forest to forest listlessly!
Here is the truth! Go where you will, to Benares or to Mathura; if you do not find your soul, the world is unreal to you.
HE is dear to me indeed who can call back the wanderer to his home. In the home is the true union, in the home is enjoyment of life: why should I forsake my home and wander in the forest? If Brahma helps me to realize truth, verily I will find both bondage and deliverance in home.
He is dear to me indeed who has power to dive deep into Brahma; whose mind loses itself with ease in His contemplation.
He is dear to me who knows Brahma, and can dwell on His supreme truth in meditation; and who can play the melody of the Infinite by uniting love and renunciation in life.
Kabir says: "The home is the abiding place; in the home is reality; the home helps to attain Him Who is real. So stay where you are, and all things shall come to you in time."
To what shore would you cross, 0 my heart? there is no traveller before you, there is no road :
Where is the movement, where is the rest, on that shore?
There is no water; no boat, no boatman is there; There is not so much as a rope to tow the boat, nor a man to draw it.
No earth, no sky, no time, no thing, is there; no shore, no ford !
There, there, is neither body nor mind: and where is the place that shall still the thirst of the soul? You shall find naught in that emptiness.
Be strong, and enter into your own body: for there your foothold is firm. Consider it well, 0 my heart! go not elsewhere.
Kabir says : "Put all imaginations away, and stand fast in that which you are."
BETWEEN the poles of the conscious and the unconscious, there has the mind made a swing:
Thereon hang all beings and all worlds, and that swing never ceases its sway.
Millions of beings are there: the sun and the moon in their courses are there:
Millions of ages pass, and the swing goes on. All swing! the sky and the earth and the air and the water; and the Lord Himself taking from And the sight of this has made Kabir a servant.
THE moon shines in my body, but my blind eyes cannot see it:
The moon is within me, and so is the sun.
The unstruck drum of Eternity is sounded within me; but my deaf ears cannot hear it.
So long as man clamours for the "I" and the "Mine," his works are as naught: When all love of the "I" and the "Mine"is dead, then the work of the Lord is done. For work has no other aim than the getting of knowledge;
When that comes, then work is put away.
The flower blooms for the fruit; when the fruit comes, the flower withers.
The musk is in the deer, but it seeks it not within itself : it wanders in quest of grass.