Is it dangerous to love God as my beloved?


I’ve read that approaching God as your Beloved is dangerous because it's too intimate.

I've found though that approaching God as Beloved works better for me because I can think of my beloved all the time, as I do in human relationships, and it brings a tendency to feel that He's the only one I love and need. Also it is easier to see the Beloved in all. It seems harmless to me.

If it’s possible, can you explain more about the dangers?

—Robbie, Netherlands



Yours is especially a good question because much of western culture (and certainly Dutch culture) is head, not heart oriented. The intellectual approach to life and truth is suspicious of traditional forms of devotion because they can seem or in fact be fanatical and irrational.

But, in fact, one India’s wisest preceptors, Swami Sri Yukteswar, in his one and only book of abstruse philosophy, The Holy Science, concludes therein, “That without the natural love of the heart, one cannot take ONE step on the spiritual path.”

In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna (representing the soul, the “everyman” disciple) asks Krishna (representing God in the form of guru), “What is the best way to approach God: with devotion or with the mind (intellectual perception of the Absolute)?” Krishna responds, “For incarnate (embodied) souls, the path of devotion (“I-Thou” relationship) is the easier, though both lead to the One.”

Be not, therefore, concerned. Even if you “fell in love” with the “Sacred Crocodile,” God, who is in all forms, would gradually re-direct your devotion to a steadily higher octave. Why reproach those who think Jesus is the only one; or Krishna; or Buddha? As long as they are sincere (and not judgmental of others), they will enter “the kingdom of heaven” (Self-realization/Oneness). There are many paths to the One! Clinging to one divine form to the exclusion of others is still better than chasing the will o’ the wisp of delusion and materialism, isn’t it?

Best yet, however, is to use both mind and heart: common sense, intellect, selfless service as well as heart/devotion/love to guide you to as high and pure expression of God’s presence as you can. This, in fact, is the role of the guru. A true guru (and there are very few) doesn’t seek your attention for himself or for his / her own needs. A true guru is a divine incarnation: a soul, like you and I, who, through many incarnations, has achieved the same state as Jesus, a true Christ: “I and my Father are One.”

For me and perhaps millions, Paramhansa Yogananda is such a one. He lived in the 20th century and spoke the modern language of English and lived in the West (USA). He related well to the western emphasis upon reason, proof, and science (experimenting and proving). He brought techniques of mind concentration (Kriya Yoga) and devotional self-offering (chanting, mantra, etc.) and serving our fellow humans and creatures in practical ways. Through Kriya Yoga and similar yogic practices and attitudes, we find a universal path that is nonsectarian and that anyone can benefit from.

But, ultimately, Yogananda was bhakti: a lover of God. For those of us who see in such a one God’s loving presence we feel blessed, for in such a one “the Word was made flesh and dwelt amongst us.” We, too, are THAT: “Tat twam asi.” But we haven’t achieved full and permanent realization, yet!

Jesus said there are but two steps on the path to truth: Love God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul, and, love your neighbor AS your SELF.

Joy to you,
Nayaswami Hriman

P.S. My wife is from Holland we were just there recently to visit her brother in De Hague. We stayed near the beach and enjoyed perfect weather, the sun and sea and the dunes!