What We Mean by Love
As human beings, we experience the normal range of human emotions. We are capable of intense feelings of one kind or another, and most people, at some time in their lives, have felt the intensity of being in love with another human being. We have felt a deep sense of attachment to our parents, our spouse, our children, our friends, even our pets.
All religions have had something to say about love; they have laid great stress upon its qualities, and have emphasized that love is the standard for their rules of conduct. Sant Mat itself is known as the path of love.
Yet, from the teachings of this path, we know that there is difficulty in explaining love. Saints of all ages have tried to describe the glory and beauty of this love. But even they have declared it beyond the capacity of any tongue or pen to describe it in any human language. Love, the mystics say, can only be experienced. While we may have theoretical knowledge of it, this can never satisfy us – just as reading the recipe of a delicious dish can never satisfy our hunger, nor can the description of a perfume delight our senses, nor can written music entertain us unless it is played on an instrument or sung. In the same way, theoretical knowledge of love cannot give us the joy and bliss that we seek.
What then do we speak of when we speak of love? What we often speak of is either physical love or divine love. The mystics say that physical love is the love of worldly people who are continually tied to the world and its objects. On the other hand, divine love is that of the devotee of the Lord, and it establishes a permanent connection with God.
What does this mean? The saints tell us that the principle that is at the core of worldly love and spiritual love is the same; the difference between them is only in the direction in which the current of love is flowing. If the current of love is directed outwards toward worldly relations and possessions, it often leads to attachment entangling us further in the birth and death cycle. Attachment is the root cause of sorrow, as everything in this creation is short-lived and perishable. When love is directed towards the sensual pleasures – otherwise known as lust – it is limited and ends in degradation and disappointment. It drags one down to suffer and grieve.
But when this very same current of love forsakes the pleasures of the world and the senses, and is directed inwards to God, it becomes divine love. Divine love is true affection and ennobling; it ends in perfection. Attaining true love means turning around and facing the other direction – inward instead of outward, upward instead of downward. Perfection will never be attained in the outside world.
If we direct our attention towards the Lord who is our real destination and get connected with that Word (the sound current which he has kept within every one of us) we get detached from the senses, from the worldly objects and the physical forms. Then we eventually realize eternal bliss and everlasting peace.
Maharaj Charan Singh, Divine Light
The living Master inspires us to focus our attention towards the Lord. When we are in his presence, we experience a love that words fail to describe. His love is unconditional and selfless; he accepts us like a loving father, in spite of our heavy load of sins. He has only one purpose: to teach us how to return to the Lord. And he gives so much of himself tirelessly and patiently so that we make the effort to fulfil this objective. His love is a unique treasure which surpasses any form of worldly attachment. In fact, longing for the Lord is awakened and gradually we detach ourselves from the world. The love for the physical form of the Master drives us to seek the inner Master, otherwise known as the Shabd or the Word made flesh, which is the true form of the Master. As the Shabd, he is the embodiment of true love. Maharaj Charan Singh further explains:
Real love is engendered and fostered only when you go in, come in contact with Shabd and have a glimpse of the Master inside.
Light on Sant Mat
It is our relationship with the Master that brings us halfway on the road to love. It is this connection, that gives us the strength, power and wisdom to follow the path. This is why it is often said that the bond that is established between Master and disciple is beyond all other relationships in this world because it is born of divine love.
The saints say that there is nothing in this world worth shedding a tear for, and that only the Lord is deserving of our love. And so, while living in this world and performing our duties towards family, friends, relatives, and fellow human beings, let us strive to give our heart to our true Beloved.
We can do that by regularly and consistently attending to our spiritual duties. It is this practice of sitting every day in meditation that will enable us to understand the true meaning of love. And when our hearts are sufficiently pure, the Master will appear within and manifest himself in his Radiant Form, transforming our understanding of love into blissful experience.