The Precious Gift of Love
One day in early 2004, all the final year post graduate students of Baba’s University had gathered in the Bhajan Hall at Prasanthi Nilayam to offer their gratitude to Swami. They had made a card in which was a model of a ship. Swami looked at this ship and said, “Children sing Baa Baa Black Sheep. But this Baba is not a black sheep; Baba is a white ship!” So saying He lovingly blessed the artwork.
Even as He did this the boys around were thrilled, for the import of that seemingly casual statement of Bhagawan was profound.
Gurus are often considered as boats who take their disciples across the ocean of worldly existence. But when the Jagadguru (Master of the World) descends as an Avatar, He becomes the ‘white ship’ carrying everyone across the sea of earthly joys and sorrows; He is like the ark that saves all during the deluge.
In the same year, during the Guru Poornima celebrations on July 2, Swami delivered a beautiful Divine Discourse wherein He gifted to all present a secret; it was a key to unlock the vision of the Divine at all times and in all places. Let us prayerfully sit at the lotus feet of our beloved Guru and receive this Secret!
Sairam! With Guru Poornima around the corner, let us refresh ourselves with the teachings of our beloved Guru, Bhagawan Baba. And as we drench ourselves in that nectarous shower of love and grace, we invite all of you to join us.
In this sacred land of Bharat, forbearance is the real beauty. The modern man has no idea what forbearance is. He is not able to realise that forbearance is the real beauty in this sacred land. One bereft of this virtue is no human being at all. We should have sympathy and forbearance towards the poor and the physically challenged. But man today shows disgust towards such unfortunate people. In fact sahana (tolerance) is the most valuable and sacred mantra of the Bharatiyas. But man, out of his ignorance, has given up such a sacred mantra and is carried away by yantra and tantra (classified devices or techniques to aid one’s spiritual pursuit).
There is one point we must keep in mind here. When Swami refers to Bharatiya, He does not mean the people who reside in the geographical borders of India. ‘Bha’ means Bhagawan and ‘Rathi’ means attachment. It is not mere ordinary love but the soul’s deep longing for union with the Divine. A true Bharathiya is one who has this kind of love for God. And the place of residence of such a lover of God is Bharat. In this discourse on July 2, 2004, Swami went further and explained the true meaning of love and forbearance.
Embodiments of Love! Love is not merely that which exists between two individuals at the physical level. True love is that which exists between two hearts. Bharatiyas today are neglecting such sacred and noble love. It is only the love towards God that has sustained and protected the people in this sacred land of Bharat since ancient times, just as the eye lid protects the eye. This divine love permeates the entire universe. It is present wherever you look for it. There is nothing in this world except divine love. All other types of love are only mere passing infatuations. Real love emerges from the depth of one’s heart. Cultivating such divine love and sharing it with others is most pleasing to Me. Today everywhere you find worldly and physical love for achieving selfish ends. But you cannot call that real love. Real love is sacred, divine and selfless, and it has to spring from one’s heart.
Swami is an expert in giving examples. The mike into which He is speaking, the lights above, the tumbler of water next to Him, the handkerchief – all become objects to teach us profound lessons. When Swami explains the vedic chant Sahasrasheersha Purusha He says that it does not mean that the cosmic Lord has thousand heads, hands and legs. It only means that whomsoever we see in society is a part of God; that is why one must salute everyone. Swami explains this concept with a unique example.
(Showing a flower . . .) What is this? This is a flower. Everybody says so. But the truth is it is a manifestation of divinity. There are several petals in it which represent divinity. If the petals are taken out one by one, it cannot be called a flower. Similarly, if there is no love in a human being, he cannot be called an “Embodiment of love”. The source and sustenance for the entire universe is love. This quality of love takes different shapes in different individuals, say between father, mother, brothers and sisters, but you refer to it all as love. All these individuals together constitute a family. It is not enough if you limit your love to the family members. The entire universe must live like a family. Whomever you see, offer your pranams; say ‘Namaskar! Namaskar!’ Can you come across a nobler feeling than this? All the forms you come across in this world are embodiments of divinity. There is nothing in this universe which is not divine.
Is it any surprise then that Swami tells us to relentlessly serve society? And how should this service be? It is not as if we are helping someone, truly we are redeeming ourselves through our service. Swami tells us the story of how a saint jumped into the slush to save a struggling calf. When praised for his selfless act, he replied, “When I saw the suffering calf, I felt intense pain in my heart. I did nothing selfless – I merely relieved the anguish of my heart; thats all.” Now that is how Swami wants us to serve all. And when we do that, we shall see Him in all, every time.
God has only one attribute – love. That is His form. When someone converses with Me lovingly, My joy knows no bounds. If people employ empty rhetoric without love to describe My qualities, I am not at all pleased or impressed. Talk to Me with a loving heart. Pray to Me with a love-filled heart. Whatever you pray for with a loving heart, I will readily respond. With love call out to me as “Sai” and I will readily respond saying “Oyi”. Any amount of prayer devoid of love cannot move Me. If you call Me with love, I will respond immediately, wherever I am. There is nothing greater than love. Therefore if you wish to have the darshan of God and experience Him, pray to Him lovingly. You may have any amount of wealth and virtues, but they are no match to the quality of love. The sweetness inherent in the word prema is not to be found anywhere else in the world. The more you cultivate and practise it, the sweeter will be your personality. Therefore cultivate love as the foremost quality in you.
God gives us what we desire so that one day we may desire what He has come to give. In the celebrated book Autobiography of a Yogi Sri Yogananda refers to the saint Bhaduri Mahasaya who had forsaken great family wealth to become a yogi. When he was asked about it, he replied with a mild rebuke, “You are reversing the case! I gave up a few paltry rupees for a cosmic empire of endless bliss. The worldly folk are the real renunciates. They relinquish an unparalleled Divine Love for the sake of earthly toys.” Let us be wise and seek from Swami, what He has come to give.
On this auspicious occasion of Guru Purnima, love is the most valuable gift I hand over to you. This is my most precious gift to you. Devoid of love, whatever other gifts I may give, they will be of no use. My love is pure, sacred and most precious. You also cultivate such love.
Prema Muditha Manase Kaho….