Maharaj Charan Singh often used to say that Sant Mat is nothing but love.
So, we might ask – what do Hazur and other mystics mean by “love”? We know of many kinds of love: romantic love; love between parents and children; love of country; and, among religious people, love for God. We even love our cars and our smartphones. But how is love understood in mysticism, in Sant Mat?
Hazur offers a unique definition:
Love means to become another being, to merge into another one, to lose your own identity, to become another one.… You do not exist anymore at all, only the object of your love exists…. Then only the Lord exists, and we are no more. That is love.1
Because Hazur has given us this definition, we need to think about it deeply, and try to apply it to our understanding of Sant Mat, which, as he told us, is nothing but love. What happens if, wherever we encounter the word “love” in his teachings, we stop to remember how he defined it?
But before we can do that, we need to look at his definition of the term “God” or the “Lord.” He tells us that the Lord himself is love.
God is love and love is God, because the real form of the Lord is love and only through love can we go back to him. 2
He has told us that Sant Mat, the path to God, is nothing but love. And now he is telling us that the goal of that path, God, is also love. Love is not only the method of the mystics; it is also their goal.
So, what might Hazur mean when he says that the real form of God is love? If we use here Hazur’s own definition of love, then God is love because God is always becoming everything that exists. God, having created the universe out of love, pervades it out of love, has merged himself into it. He has and is giving himself infinitely to it, to its every particle. In a way, he has given himself so fully to the creation that he no longer exists – just that union remains. He cannot be found anywhere in it. At the same time, he remains separate from all – and nothing exists but him. This is a subject that only the saints can understand, but which they sometimes attempt to put into words for us.
For example, in Saint John we read:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.3
In the form of the Word or Shabd, God pervades everything – giving everything life, his light shining everywhere.
Now we find that whenever the saints describe how God pervades everything, they always mention that he also pervades us, even dwells right within us. They say that our essential being, our soul, is a particle of the Divine. Indeed, they go even further and say that the soul is nothing but the Divine.
As Saint John said, the light of God, the Shabd, shines everywhere, and God in the form of the Word is within us and is our very “life” and “light.”
And Hazur said, commenting on Saint John:
Our soul is that divine spark of that creator, that divine light which is giving us life.… Potentially, every soul is God, because its origin is the Creator. 4
So, from all this, what have we learned about mysticism, which we call Sant Mat?
- God is already within us in the form of our soul.
- Though his light is within us, is us, we remain in darkness and “comprehend it not.”
- Mysticism is the path, the process, of learning to leave that darkness, to see that “light,” to “comprehend” God’s presence.
- We must not only see or know God, but actually become him, merge in him, lose our own identity.
And there is a related point: if the soul is nothing but God, and if God himself is nothing but love, then isn’t the soul also nothing but love, with “love” meaning to become another being?
Hazur says, using the analogy of a needle being always drawn to the magnet:
The needle is always in love with the magnet.… The inclination of the soul is always towards its own origin. That is love. 5
So, the soul doesn’t have love or not have love. Rather, love is its very essence. It isn’t that we “desire” to become one with God. It goes deeper than that.
The soul by nature, by instinct, is in love with the source, in love with the divine ocean, since it is a drop of that divine ocean. So, the characteristic of love is actually there in the soul. And it is the same love which is in the Father. Potentially every soul is God. 6
Then why doesn’t the soul instantly fly back to the Father, like a needle to the magnet? Hazur explains:
If you put weight on the needle, the magnet cannot attract it. It cannot go back to the magnet. That doesn’t mean that if the weight is there, the love has become less. Love is always there.… But … we have a weight on the soul – the weight of the mind, of karma, of our sins, of our actions.7
The mystical path, then, is the process of gradually removing that weight of mind and karma so that the soul can fly back to God. How do we remove that weight? Only by love for the Shabd, by merging into it. Only the pull, the attraction, of the Shabd can draw us away from the mind.
Our karmas relate to our mind. Therefore, when, with the help of Nam or Shabd, our mind goes back to its origin and the soul rises above the mind; those karmas just drop away.
So how do lowly mortals like us make a start on this path of love, start becoming another being? We can better understand this if we remember Hazur’s definition of love. Saints say there are two key essentials required for us to travel the path.
The first essential is initiation – instruction – by a living Master. Such a Master is one who has himself merged back into the Divine and is also charged by the Divine to instruct others. He teaches us how to meditate, guides us through the process of merging with the Divine, and gives us a living example to emulate.
But beyond being one with God, the Master manifests God on this plane – thus giving us an experience that is a forerunner of the eventual union. Seeing him, we are seeing our goal. As Christ said, “He that seeth me seeth Him that sent me.”8 Our love for the Master gradually merges into love for the Word and then for God himself. As Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”9
The second essential element, according to the saints, is spiritual practice, or meditation as taught by the teacher. Hazur has said that meditation is simply remembrance – remembering the Lord and forgetting ourselves. According to an ancient teaching, we become what we think about intensely. Therefore, by remembering the Lord intensely, we gradually merge into him.
By forgetting ourselves and remembering God through meditation, we are simply practising love – in the sense of practising and experiencing becoming another being. So, meditation is the only time when we can, with total focus, practise losing our identity, becoming another being, merging in another person.
Meditation is therefore the highest expression of our love for God. After stating that “meditation itself is love,” Hazur was asked “So, by doing our meditation we’re loving God?” He replied, “That is the height of love.” 10
This is why the Masters insist on meditation – because it is nothing but the purest possible practice of love, which again is both the path and its goal.
We can now see how Hazur used his definition of love when explaining the basics of the mystical path. But he also frequently used that meaning to answer many of our more specific questions. When we read his answers, we see how, if we remember to understand love in the way he defines it – to become another being through the method of meditation – many things become clearer to us.
For example, here’s how he explained what it means to be receptive to the Lord’s grace:
To be receptive to the Father’s love in our everyday lives, to accept whatever he gives us unconditionally – without hesitation, without sitting in judgment over it. To accept with gratitude what he gives, because he never does any wrong. When you are not there, then who’s to judge what is wrong and what is right? The realization will come to us that we don’t exist – only he exists. Whatever comes from him, we accept with cheerfulness, with gratitude. We don’t even differentiate between what is good and what is bad because the one who differentiates doesn’t exist anymore. We have merged into the Father.11
About worry he said:
Whatever has to happen, has already happened and we human mortals are just helpless spectators. If we can just withdraw this “self,” then only we can enjoy this drama of life.12
In other words, if we have no self, if all is decided by God, then we have nothing to worry about.
Or, to return the topic of meditation, using Hazur’s definition of love we can learn more about how love and meditation relate to each other. For example, we sometimes worry or complain that, though we are doing meditation, we don’t “feel” any love. We may be meditating, but we don’t feel that we are doing it with “love and devotion.”
But, remembering Hazur’s definition, what would love be beyond making effort – through meditation – to become another being, to remember the Lord and forget ourselves? What feeling matters more than a willingness simply to do meditation, to the point that we actually do it? As Baba Ji frequently tells us, just do it. Perhaps we are confusing mystical love with worldly love, in the sense of an emotion or a passion.
A final way to illuminate Hazur’s definition of love is to examine our understanding of what we call spiritual progress.
We are always concerned about whether we are making progress or earning the Lord’s grace. But because meditation is so exactly what we need to do to progress on the path – itself being the “height of love” – it’s no wonder that saints say that every effort put into meditation must yield progress, indeed is progress.
Any minute you spend in love and devotion for the Father is to your credit. It’s a steppingstone. You are making some progress – maybe at an ant’s speed, but you are making progress.13
What is the best sign of success in our meditation? Is it traversing inner regions, seeing inner sights and sounds? No, it must instead be any decrease in our sense of self and a corresponding increase in our desire to complete our union, to end our separation.
The more time we devote to meditation, the more we strengthen our love, grow our love, become rich in devotion. I personally think the more time given to meditation, the more pain of separation you feel. And the more pain of separation you feel, the more progress you make within because ultimately this pain of separation will make you one with the Being, with the Lord.14
Hazur even says, “If [a seeker] has longing, a desire to go back to the Father, love for the Father, … yearning for the Father, is there anything else to be done?15
How do we get this longing? Through our efforts at meditation, yes, but perhaps next through the fruitlessness of those efforts, their very failure. Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh may be revealing a deep secret:
Work hard on the path shown by the Master. When the mind finds little apparent progress despite its labor, it grows restless and begins to feel pangs of separation from the Master. This develops into an intense longing and ardent love for Him, which actually burns up all worldly desires, frees the soul from its shackles and makes it fit for mystic transport. This fervent love is the essence of all spiritual discipline and it is attained by faithfully carrying out the devout practices as explained by the Master at the time of Initiation.16
We have petty expectations of what progress is, what meditation is supposed to bring. These expectations are missing the point, as Hazur explains in the following interchange:
Q: What can one expect? We know we are nothing, and we shouldn't expect anything, but…
A: Just give yourself to Him. To love somebody means to give yourself without expecting anything in return. To give yourself, to submit yourself, to resign to Him is all meditation. We are losing our own identity and our individuality and just merging into another Being. We have no expectation then.17
Maybe, from the narrow perspective of our petty selves, progress is measured not by what we gain, but by what we lose.
And when by giving we can become God, what else is left? If by giving yourself – as a drop you become an ocean – have you gained or lost? If in losing your own identity you become the Father, have you gained or have you lost? That is love.18
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, #144
- Bible, John 1:1-5
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. I, #223, #227
- Ibid., #265
- Ibid., Vol. II, #170
- Ibid., Vol. I, #265
- Bible, John 12:45
- Bible, John 14:6
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, p. 101, #143
- Ibid., Vol. III, #294
- Quoted in Treasure Beyond Measure, p.196
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, #344
- Ibid., Vol. III, #96
- Ibid., Vol. III, #107
- Maharaj Sardar Bahadur Jagat Singh, The Science of the Soul, Part II, #8
- Maharaj Charan Singh, Die to Live, 7th edition, #277
- Spiritual Perspectives, Vol. II, #597