The Dance of Love
In a past question and answer session, Baba Ji said something that sounds like an ordinary maxim. It is a saying we have all heard before, maybe it is even a cliché. But it is also something that the more we think about, the more profound it becomes. And when the Master says it, all of a sudden it becomes fresh again and we begin to understand it in a whole new way.
The saying was these five simple words: love is a two-way street. He went on to say that our love is his strength. At another session someone had asked him, “Master, do you love me?” His answer was thorough and kind as always, and in his main message he used these five words again: love is a two-way street. He also said something at that time that was quite amazing. He said that the Master needs us as much as we need him, that he worships his Master through us.
Let’s explore this idea of love being a two-way street, that he needs us as much as we need him, that our love is his strength. This idea is startling because it suggests that our responsibility is as great as his.
There is a popular saying that goes, “It takes two to tango.” That saying comes from a song that was popular about fifty years ago that included the words, “Let’s do the tango, the dance of love.” Not that we want to dance the tango, but we do want to dance the dance of love. And the point, of course, is that the lover and the beloved are partners in this dance of love.
The problem for most of us is that we haven’t yet learned how to dance; we’re just beginners. And we don’t like to admit that we are beginners, still a little clumsy and awkward. Kabir says:
The path of love is easy but the difficulty lies in us. We do not know how to dance and in our ignorance we find fault with the floor.
As quoted in Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
But once we are initiated on the spiritual path we have to step out on the dance floor and do our best. If at first we stumble and fall, what does it matter as long as the beloved is pleased with our effort? He has brought us to the dance, now we have to do our part.
There is a wonderful description in Aesop’s Fables of a dancing camel. Everyone’s laughing at the camel because he looks so ridiculous, so he says, “Go ahead and laugh. I may look pretty silly when I’m dancing, but I also look silly when I’m standing still.” We also have to be willing to look silly – to admit what we are and where we are on the path. The only question that should really concern us is how do we look to our Master? How can we please our Master?
We have to be willing to accept ourselves as we are, warts and all, as the Master has! He initiated us with full knowledge of all our flaws and shortcomings. It’s no good pretending to be something we’re not. All that pretending will do is delay our own progress. So let’s accept our shortcomings, and not worry about them. The only thing that matters now is to learn that dance of love, to step out on that dance floor with the one who brought us, and if we stumble and fall, we have to have faith that he will support us and pick us up.
Now that we have received initiation, we have to do what we promised him. What we promised him, of course, was to give ten percent of our time to meditation every day with love and devotion to the very best of our ability and to mould our whole life according to Sant Mat principles. As Master once said, the ball is in our court until we reach the eye centre.
It does take two to tango on this two-way street of love. And he tells us that for every one step we take toward him, he will take ten steps toward us. What a bargain! Of course, the corollary is if we stand still, he will too.
The primary way to express love for the Master is meditation. Meditation for two and a half hours a day, done with love and devotion to the best of our ability as we were taught at the time of initiation. The trouble is meditation is hard because we have to battle the mind.
And that’s not all! This mind has been digging itself into this creation for millions of lifetimes, the saints tell us, attaching itself ever more strongly to the pleasures of the senses. In Spiritual Gems, Maharaj Sawan Singh writes:
Mind cannot be taken away from its routine course, in spite of one’s best effort, in a day, a month or a year. It is a life-long struggle. Those who have undergone this struggle, or who are engaged in it, understand what it is to conquer the mind. It is son, daughter, wife, husband, friend, wealth and poverty, attachment, greed, lust, anger, pride and whatnot. It is attached to the outside world with ropes, double ropes, triple ropes, and manifold ropes, and has been held by these chains so long that it does not feel the irksomeness of its bonds. It likes them instead.
So that’s the bad news about meditation and what makes it so hard. Fortunately, there’s also good news. In fact, the good news far outweighs the bad news. The good news is that through the Master’s help, kindness and grace we will ultimately succeed. We will realize who and what we truly are, as the saints tell us, and become one with our source, who is all light and love. We can make it easier for ourselves by cooperating with him or harder by resisting him, but in the end we will succeed.
The reason we meditate is simply to please the Master and to love him, to take that one step toward him every day on this two-way path of love. And when he wants our mind to be still, he will still it himself. In Divine Light, Maharaj Charan Singh says, “Mind is a rogue elephant but the Master’s iron goad will bring it home one day.” So we meditate because he has asked us to and we want to please him.
We travel toward the Master through our effort – effort at meditation and effort at living our life according to the Sant Mat principles. But in both of these efforts the results are not in our hands. They are in his hands, thank God, because he knows far better than we do as to what’s good for us! We have to be willing to accept what we think are our failures, believing that they are just steps to our ultimate success. This is what it means to live within his will, to do our very best, with effort, sincerity, gratitude, love and the faith that he is taking care of us better than we can take care of ourselves. The end result is that he will take us home.
It’s a question of our attitude. We give our very best efforts every day to our meditation and our way of life and leave the results to him as he guides us in learning to dance the dance of love. Maharaj Charan Singh writes in Quest for Light:
You are quite right when you say that the Master rewards disciples according to the amount of effort they put in with the proper attitude. The more we strive on the path, the more help we receive from the Master. Those who do not make an effort of their own have no idea of the blessings that are being showered on us every day of our life. The rewards that are received by a disciple are far greater than one could ever expect or even dream of, and this realization comes only when we are doing our part of the duty. Then our heart is full of gratitude to the Master.
Notice the wonderful formula he presents us with when he says, “The more we strive on the path, the more help we receive from the Master.” (And here again is the two-way street.) “Then,” he says, “our heart is full of gratitude.” Because then we will realize how blessed we really are to have the human form, to have been initiated by a true Master, to have been given this amazing and rare opportunity to realize who we are and who we belong to. Hazur closes this letter by saying: “All good wishes for you in your sincere pursuit of the path.” This is such a sweet ending, isn’t it? In fact this is what we always have from the Master – his good wishes, and his love. He is unbelievably kind and generous. If he sounds stern sometimes, it’s only because he wants to make clear to us where we stand and goad us into action.
So we have to put in our effort with the proper attitude, the attitude of love, humility and faith in meditation and in life. Then we may know these “blessings that are being showered on us every day of our life”, as he says.
The idea of love being a two-way street, the feeling between the lover and the beloved is reciprocal. And the action to consummate this love must also be reciprocal. Both partners depend on each other to play their part.
We know that it all begins with the beloved, as Rumi tells us:
A lover never seeks without being sought by his beloved. When the lightning bolt of love has pierced this heart, be assured that there is love in that heart.
When the love of God grows in your heart, beyond any doubt God loves you.
Rumi: A Spiritual Treasury, compiled by Juliete Mabey
This answers that original question of “Master, do you love me?” doesn’t it? Rumi says that when the love of God grows in our heart, it is beyond any doubt that God loves us. He also reaffirms that love is a two-way street when he says that the lover never seeks without being sought by his beloved.
It begins with the beloved. He initiates us because he loves us and he wants us to come home. From the moment of that initiation the love of God begins to grow in our heart. And the more we cooperate with him and work hard to please him, the more aware we become of his blessings and his love. And the more we submit to him, the easier the path becomes. Maharaj Sawan Singh says:
All things become easy in the presence of love. A person under the influence of love performs the most difficult tasks with comparative ease. Through love, even impossible things become possible.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II
Through love even clumsy camels like us can learn to dance. And all of our stumbles, all of our falls, all of our failures are only steps to our ultimate success because he is there every moment to support us and lift us up. And that should make us very happy.