The Journey of Love
We have heard and read that love is God and God is love, and Sant Mat is often referred to as ‘the path of love’. But what is this love? Can the fluctuating love we experience in the world be compared to this love of God?
In the relationship of love there are two – the beloved and the lover. But the unique love between us and the Lord culminates in a merging into one – the Beloved, the Lord himself. For as Maharaj Charan Singh is quoted in Die to Live: “Love is losing your own identity and becoming another person. That is love.” It is a love where, having merged into the Lord, we cease to exist. By comparison, in the worldly love we experience we jealously protect and preserve our own identity. This is a love based on how we can benefit from the relationship.
In its purest form, love is the ceaseless desire of the lover to please the beloved, and is expressed in the lover’s every action. In this pure love, the lover feels that he is nothing while the one loved is everything. But this form of love is extremely rare, and the ones who find it are very fortunate.
Spirituality may be seen as the journey of this relationship of love. It begins with seeking: where the lover tries to intellectually understand what God is; how he permeates the creation through the creative energy or Shabd; where he can be found; the prerequisites for loving God; how to please and serve him, and so on.
The next crucial phase in the journey is understanding the relevance and importance of a living Master, and accepting the Master as the guide on this incredible journey of a lifetime. This leads to the next phase, where the lover now puts in the practice to follow the directions of the Master with diligence, obedience, faith, love, devotion and submission. The final phase is total surrender by the lover – when the lover feels he no longer exists and only the beloved exists. This is the culmination of the love relationship – the jewel of the spiritual path.
Unfortunately, the obstinate mind and an equally obstinate ego use reason, and logic to obstruct the spiritual path. It is certainly important to satisfy the intellect, but the journey of love cannot be sustained with logic and reason. For as the Great Master said:
Logic and love face in different directions. Love knows no law, and logic knows no love. Law and logic are meant for the affairs of this world. To the abode of the beloved, one can fly only on the wings of love.
The Call of the Great Master
On the spiritual path love displaces logic. Where there is logic there is no love, and where there is love there is no logic. For as Hazur so beautifully said:
Love needs no proof. It comes from within and it comes with conviction. No logic, no reasoning will convince you. Something within you will convince you.… There is something within which compels you, which convinces you. And that is all his grace and pull.… No reasoning is required to convince yourself that you are in love – you know when you are in love.
Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. III
So, let’s be wary of logic on the path of love. Immersed in the domain of illusion, the logic and reason of the mind dictate that we understand everything, including that which is beyond our comprehension – especially matters of spirituality. The mind wants to feel in charge and resists submission to anyone else, thereby creating the greatest stumbling block on the spiritual journey. In effect, the mind is the very opposite of love. It wants to retain its identity, its individuality, and its separateness, and doesn’t want to lose its existence by merging into another being.
Ironically, the initial part of the journey of love cannot be travelled without the use of the mind, and the latter part of the journey cannot be travelled with the mind. Therefore, in the initial phases of this journey we have to control and use the mind judiciously, to make it our greatest ally.
The Masters teach us that to travel this journey we have to live a lifestyle that is conducive to spirituality: one that makes us compassionate, forgiving, loving, considerate, and caring. In short, we must become good human beings. As noble as this lifestyle is, it is only a means to the end, for the journey of love can only be travelled through the spiritual practice of meditation – the crux of this journey. Meditation is the art of travelling the path of love in order to free our soul forever from the bonds of creation, and ultimately to merge once again with the Shabd.
We can approach meditation like any laborious task – a mere chore. Alternatively, we can remember that this is a journey of love, and we can choose to approach the practice with the enthusiasm and fervour of a lover who wants nothing else but to be with the Beloved. We know that love cannot be forced; it happens inexplicably and involuntarily from within us. When we approach meditation with eagerness, pleasure, and joy, we will experience an irresistible, powerful magnetic pull that draws us to the mystical presence of the Master. This exquisite happiness overrides everything else.
In this approach to meditation, reason and logic become irrelevant. When one is in a state of peace, happiness and contentment, who would want to question and establish its cause instead of just imbibing the pleasure and enjoyment of this blissful state?
The question is: How are we approaching our meditation practice? Is it with a sense of duty and obligation where we meditate mechanically, merely to fulfil an obligation? Or do we meditate with a desire to be with our Beloved, where we are driven by this pull of love?
In Discourses on Sant Mat, the Great Master advises us:
The disciple who works hard at his meditation, earns the special grace of the Master, who is always ready to help him.… Keep sitting in meditation, even if you fail to achieve concentration.… Ceaseless effort will be crowned with success; if not today, a few days later.
Although the essence of Sant Mat is love and we often refer to it as the ‘path of love’, it is much easier to talk about love than to put in the effort to experience it for ourselves. Meditation is not just sitting for two-and-a-half hours. It is a twenty-four-hour lifestyle – meaning that we must live all twenty-four hours in the atmosphere of meditation. The measure of our love for the Lord is evident in the way we spend the twenty-four hours of each day and how much our attention is focused on God during that time.
Although the physical form of the Master will perish one day, his Radiant Form is one with the Lord and is therefore imperishable. The physical form attracts us and draws us inward as we develop love for the Master, which then automatically graduates to love for his Radiant Form and culminates in love for the Lord – the Shabd.
The Great Master confirmed this when he said:
A Master is a lover of God. In him there are boundless currents of true love. He is the physical form of that love. To love him is to find the most important medium for developing love for God.… His face shines with the light and energy of God.
Philosophy of the Masters, Vol. II