I am currently reading "Man's Eternal Quest" by Paramhansa Yogananda. In one of the chapters I was reading how true prayer can convert hatred into love. While meditating, our attention should be on God. If we concentrate on the subject of our hatred, won't it take us away from God? I do practice meditation, but I couldn't relate with this concept of what Master said. Could you elaborate more on how we can change hatred into love?
Thanks and Regards,
—Sangita Sanyal, India
You are right, when we meditate we concentrate on God or one of His qualities or aspects. We try our best that nothing diverts our attention.
When Yogananda speaks about praying for people, for example to change their hatred into love, he means at the end of meditation. Before meditation we pray to God to reveal Himself to us. Then we meditate to feel Him. But at the end we pray for others, with healing prayers. At such times our prayers are most effective.
About your question “to elaborate more on how we can change hatred into love”:
If we respond to hatred by negativity, anger or hatred itself, poison is added to poison, which poisons the other person even more and hurts ourselves too. Love is a healing force. Yogananda writes: “Why should you love your enemy? In order that you may bring the healing rays of your love into his dark, hatred-stricken heart. When it is so released, it can behold itself as pure golden love.”
This is why Yogananda loved Gandhi so much. Here are his words on him:
“Thy love will awaken love, will melt gunpowder, selfishness, political strife, hatred, wars, fighting airplanes, bombs, machine guns, and armies into the consistency of All-Freeing Love. Oh Gandhi! Thy Love will build the United States of the World, and Thy seal will be in every heart!”
Such love isn’t a weak submission, or helpless acceptance. On the contrary, we need to become extremely strong inside if we want to live it. We should never, for example, become “doormats” for others. Instead the love which changes hatred into love is true heroism. And it is the only medicine for our stricken world.
Here is an affirmation you can work with if you like, written by Yogananda:
“I know that if I offer my friendship to all, as Christ did,
I shall begin to feel the cosmic love, which is God.
In human friendship lies the echo
of God’s friendship.
The greatest thing that Jesus Christ represented
was to give love in return for hatred.
To give hatred for hatred is easy,
but to give love for hatred is far greater.
Therefore, I will burn hatred in the roaring embers of my spreading love.”
May love conquer everything, within and without,