Chapter 4.1 from "Study Circles for Divinity"
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4.1 LOVE


WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS

"And seek forgiveness of God, for God is most forgiving, most merciful."    Mohammed

"God is love and man must love and serve man if he wants to truly love and serve God."    Sri Krishna

"Keep hatred from you, let nothing tempt your minds to violence, hold on to love."    Zarathushtra

"Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you. Love and serve one another."    Jesus Christ

"One should win anger through kindness, wickedness through goodness, selfishness through charity and falsehood through truthfulness."    Buddha

"Let a man overcome anger by love."    Buddha

"The immortal can be reached only by continuous acts of kindness; and perfection is accomplished by compassion and charity."    Buddha


FROM DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA

THE NATURE OF LOVE

God's love is unbounded. It knows no growth or diminution. Worldly love is momentary and fickle. Divine love is unchanging and eternal. God is the embodiment of love. His infinite love is offered to all in equal measure. Some may feel that they had experienced God's love for a time and had been deprived of it later. This reflects only their own feelings and not the attitude of the Lord. Nature is like a clean mirror which reflects your feelings and attitudes. It is your own actions and thoughts, whether good or bad, which are reflected back to you. The Lord's love remains the same always.

Pleasure and sorrow are not inherent in the nature of man. They are products of the mind. Bliss is the true nature of man. But it can be realised only when the love of God is experienced. The sense of "my-ness" has to be totally eradicated. You must strive for the welfare of all. This is Bharat's message from times of yore. Fill your hearts with this sacred feeling. Banish from your minds all thoughts of hatred and envy. (180789)

Love is like a most precious diamond. It will not remain even for a single moment with selfish persons. It will not stay even for half a moment with egoistic persons. It will not remain at all with ostentatious persons. Love is alien to persons who are selfish, conceited or ostentatious.

Where, then, is love to be found? This precious diamond can only be got in the Kingdom of Love, in the Street of Love, in the Shop of Love. It can be obtained only through a loving heart. It may be asked: Is not the whole world permeated with Love? Why, then, is not love readily available? The love with which the world is considered to be filled is not real love. Love cannot be associated with the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect. Anything associated with these is only attachment or affection. The spiritual life alone is a Love-filled life. Therefore, people must lead a spiritual life, not a life subject to the body, the mind, the senses and the intellect. A life related to the body, the senses, the mind and the intellect can never be free from selfishness, conceit and ostentation.

To experience real love there is no need to practise any kind of meditation, worship or rituals. That is because in the practise of all these there is an element of selfishness. Love can only be obtained by complete absorption in spirituality. (210892)

WHY THE DIVINE INCARNATES

You should note that the Divine comes as Avatar only to teach mankind the truth about love. "Oh man, it is because you lack love and are filled with selfishness that the world is plunged in so much conflict and chaos. It is only when you develop love and the spirit of sacrifice that you will realise the divinity that is in the human." The man who has no spirit of sacrifice will be a prey to all ills. A man without love is a living corpse. It is love and sacrifice which makes man Divine.

I have come to restore Love among mankind, to cleanse it of narrowness and restrictive attitudes. That is the main task in the revival of righteousness. It is not enough to talk about the prime importance of Love in the task of human rehabilitation. One must set the example, in actual practice. This hall is a symbol of that Love, resulting in joy for this town. When words, deeds and thoughts emanate from hearts filled with Love - pure, untarnished, such as Love for God and for man as the image of God - all who contact you will feel elated. If you love your real self and not your body, you will realise that the same real self is the core of every being and you will start loving every being as much as you do yourselves. This is real self-realisation. This is the truth; that is to say, a fact that can never be denied or deviated from during the passage of time. (010871)

The Lord is Love, His Form is Love, All beings are Love, Love saves and serves,
Through Love alone can Good arise, Love reveals the God in all.


Love binds one person to another; Love attaches one thing to another. Without Love the Universe is naught. The highest Love makes us aware of the Lord in every one. The Lord is equally present in all. Life is Love; Love is Life. Without God, deprived of God, nothing and nobody can exist. We live on and through the Divine Will. It is His will that operates as Love, in each of us. It is He who prompts the prayer, "Let all the worlds be happy". For, He makes us aware that the God we adore, the God we love, the God we live by, is in every other being as Love. Thus Love expands and encompasses all creation. (251281)

DIVINE LOVE

Students should understand the difference between worldly love and Divine Love. Worldly love knows only how to receive and not to give. Divine Love gives and forgives and does not receive. It does not expect any return. In worldly love, there is no spirit of sacrifice. The Vedas declare that immortality can be attained only through sacrifice and by no other means. (280592)

Devotion directed to the Lord is called Divine Love and is the easiest of all paths for the realisation of the goal.  Pure Divine Love is the stage where service to the Lord alone matters and is its own reward. (Teachings of SSSB 77)

You may consider that the love within you and the love represented by God are the same. But there is this difference. God's love is totally selfless. It is absolutely pure. It is eternal. It is flawless. Human love is self-centred and tainted. Such a love cannot merge with God's love. It is only when one is free from egoism, pride, hatred and envy that God will abide in you. Without renunciation if a person is immersed in worldly pleasures and leads a mundane life, all his devotion is only artificial and a kind of self-deception. Such devotion will not lead him to God.

God is the very embodiment of Love (Prema). Man is a spark of the Divine. You may find a man without anger, without truth or without peace, but you cannot find anyone in the world devoid of love. Love is present equally in all human beings as the one effulgent divine quality. This love may be expressed in different ways, but its nature is the same.

How is divine love to be cultivated?

(a) Consider the faults of others, no matter how large, to be insignificant; consider your own faults, no matter how insignificant, to be large and then repent and correct your faults. In this way you acquire the qualities of brotherliness and forbearance.

(b) Whatever you do, with yourself or with others, do it while remembering that God is omnipotent and omnipresent. He sees everything and hears and knows everything. Discriminate between the true and the false and speak only the truth, always. Discriminate between the right and the wrong and do only the right. Strive every moment to be aware of the presence of God. The body is the temple of the soul, so whatever happens in the temple is the concern of the soul. So, too, this world is the body of God and all that happens in it, positive or negative, is his concern. By observing the relationship between the body and the soul, observe also the relationship between God and the world.

The relationship of the soul and God, the kinship between them, can be grasped by everyone who acquires and uses three main instruments: a mind free of attachment and hatred, truthful speech and a body free from internal and external disturbance. (Prema V 21)

The only wealth one can carry with him after death is the love of the Lord. One should strive to earn that wealth during his life. This can be done only by selfless devotion and love. To earn God's love, one has to dedicate one's time, body and actions to the service of the Lord. This was the realisation that came to Arjuna after listening to the message of Sri Krishna. He declared: "I shall carry out whatever you say". Arjuna, who was an exceptionally intelligent person, came to this conclusion only after every kind of argument with Krishna. (070489)

LOVE ALL BEINGS

Embodiments of Divine Love! Realising that the Atma in everyone is the same, extend your love to all. It does not matter if you do not practice any spiritual discipline. Your love to others will raise you to the highest level of spirituality. Bear no ill-will towards anyone. When you harm anyone, realise you are doing harm to God. When you develop this kind of universal love, it will be the basis for unity. (180789)

The Grace of God cannot be won through the gymnastics of reason, the contortions of Yoga or the denials of asceticism. Love alone can win it, Love that needs no requital, Love that knows no bargaining, love that is paid gladly, as tribute to the All Loving, love that is unwavering. Love alone can overcome obstacles however many and mighty. There is no strength more effective then Purity, no bliss more satisfying than Love, no joy more restoring than devotion, no triumph more praiseworthy than surrender. The Gita says you must be without hatred to all beings; but, that is not enough. A wall has no hatred towards any being! But is that the ideal? No, you must positively Love all beings, actively Love, actively engage yourself in acts of Love. That alone wins the Grace you crave for. (SS 89,164)

We must endeavour to love all. If we are to earn the love of the Lord, we have to love everyone. The best way to love God is to love all. Love all, serve all. Hating everyone, cavilling at everyone, feeling jealous of everyone, if you want to experience grace, how can you have it? Only if there is water in the tank, you can get water in the tap. If the tank is dry, how can you draw water from the tap? If you fill the tank of your heart with divine love, you can have love towards everyone and receive love from everyone. (290588)

MANIFEST LOVE

Love must be manifested as service. Service. Service must take the form of food for the hungry, solace for the forlorn, consolation for the sick and the suffering. Jesus wore himself out in such service. The heart full of compassion is the temple of God. Jesus pleaded for compassion. Compassion was His message. He was sorely distressed at the sight of the poor. This day, Jesus is worshipped but His teachings are neglected. Sai is being worshipped, but his teachings are neglected. Everywhere, pomp, pageantry, hollow exhibitionism! Lectures. Lectures. Lectures! No activity, no love, no service. Heroes while lecturing, zeros while putting what is said into practice. Develop compassion. Live in Love. Be good; do good and see good. This is the way to God. (251281)

Consider your heart as Atma. Soften it and make it full of compassion. That is the only spiritual exercise you need to perform. Narasimhan has told you that so many people are coming to Prasanthi Nilayam from different parts of the world. What brings them here? Are invitations sent? Does anyone ask them to come? It is only on account of the love that is here and felt heart to heart. Through love you can accomplish anything in the world. Consider love as the Atma itself. However many scriptures you may read and however many spiritual exercises you may do, if you do not allow your heart to melt with compassion your life will be a sheer waste. All practices have to be directed towards softening your heart so that it will flow with kindness and love. Develop this feeling of compassion and allow it to flow fully and spread among all the peoples of the world. (300387)

LIVE IN LOVE

When Love is the lever that operates the mind, only good can result. That is why I always emphasise the role of Love. Live in Love; Love is Life. Without loving or being loved, no being can exist on the earth. Love sustains, Love strengthens, Love is the urge behind all adventure, all sacrifice, all success. (010871)

The troubles besetting the world today cannot be removed except through the promotion of unity. This unity can be promoted only through love. There is nothing that cannot be accomplished through love. Love is God. God is Love. Live in Love. (030988)

Looking a little closer, we discover that life itself is Love. They are not two but one. Love is the very nature of life, as burning is the nature of fire, or wetness of water, or sweetness of sugar. We tend a plant only when the leaves are green; when they become dry and the plant becomes a lifeless stick, we stop loving it. Love lasts as long as life exists. The mother is loved as long as there is life in her; when life departs, we bury her without the least compunction. Love is bound with life. In fact, Love is Life. The person with no Love to share is as bad as dead. This is the reason why love expands in an ever widening circle. (251281)

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