It is only through love that the devotee can find his way back to God. God is the pure essence of love in all beings, but that pure divine love becomes colored by the outer human personality, just as the pure mountain stream comes down and flows through a clay riverbed, and takes on its qualities. Remember always, however, that the water itself is pure but must be filtered to remove the sediment and contamination.
Every devotee must forsake the egoic thought, “I have meditated so much; therefore God must manifest Himself.” Along with deep meditation there must be deep devotion, humility, and surrender to God. God becomes entrapped in the net of the devotee’s unconditional devotion.
God loves mental whispers
Those who love God are always thinking of Him. You don’t have to fly away from the world. You can perform your daily activities and still think of Him. Just as the pianist is always thinking of her music, so the lover of God is always thinking of God.
God loves mental whispers. You are never so busy that you can’t whisper your devotion to God mentally. There is no possible excuse for not talking to Him inwardly. Whenever you have a real need, the thought of it is in your mind all the time, no matter what you are doing. You think, “If only I could have this,” or “if only I could do that.” That mental whisper is the real appeal of the heart. You can practice mental whispers anywhere, all the time. By this constant practice everything eventually vanishes but God.
See God in everything
Christian thinkers have denounced Hinduism because its teachings are pantheistic. Their error lies in thinking pantheism means worshiping God as everything, instead of as expressed in everything. In the highest sense, God is none of the forms in which people worship Him, but it is helpful to use human concepts as a means of deepening our devotion to Him.
Isn’t it much sweeter to see His manifestations everywhere—His beauty in the sunset; His tears for human error in the rain; His tenderness expressed in a mother’s love for her baby? If God is omnipresent, isn’t it obvious that He must also be in everything? The flowers, birds, and the beauties of nature all speak of the Mother aspect of God—the creative, motherly instinct. When we look at all the good things in nature and feel a tenderness rise within us, we are seeing and feeling God in nature.
All things in creation, for those who love God, become reminders of Him. Through the beloved, God helps one to find the selfless intensity of divine love. Through people’s children, He helps them to understand love as something precious, as a thing to be protected from harmful influences and nourished with devotion. We must, of course, seek God behind His veils, but even a veil may suggest the form that it hides.
Love is a selfless sharing
God is the ever-loyal Friend behind all earthly friends. Who could be a better friend than God? Through your friends, God shows you that love is a selfless sharing, without any hint of compulsion. Those who love others selflessly are already well on the way to learning the secret of divine love. All they need is to direct that love upward to God.
Radha, the greatest of the gopis, had that kind of love for Krishna, who felt free, therefore, to demonstrate his selfless, divine love for her, though in reality he gave that love equally to all. There came a time, however, when the other gopis grew jealous of Radha, and Krishna decided to teach them a lesson.
One day when Radha happened to be absent, Krishna suddenly, with a groan, cried, “Oh! Oh! I have a terrible headache! Please, won’t someone do something for me?” “What, Lord, can we do?” the gopis cried in desperation. “We’ll do anything!”
He replied, “If only one of you will press her feet on my head, my headache will go away.” The gopis gasped in horror. In India, it is sacrilegious to place one’s feet on the head of the guru. In deep consternation the gopis looked away.
After some time had passed, Radha appeared and learned of Krishna’s distress. She anxiously asked what she could do to help, and Krishna cried, “Please, just press your feet on my head! Nothing else will help me.”
“But of course, Lord. Instantly!” replied Radha.
“No! No! You mustn’t!’ cried the other gopis. “If you do, you will go to hell!”
Radha scoffed. “Why, if pressing my feet on our Lord’s head will give him one moment of relief, I will gladly go to hell for eternity!” She was about to do as he had asked, when Krishna sat up smiling. His headache was gone. And then the other gopis understood. They had been concentrating on their own safety, not on Krishna’s well-being. Now they all bowed before Radha’s greater, because selfless, love.
Human love is a reflection of God’s love
Through human relationships, God wants us to learn to love the Spirit within. Human love is so imperfect; it always ends in delusion. We must be in love with the Spirit behind the body before we can love others truly.
In one of my classes there were two beautiful young married persons. They were ideal lovers and the envy of all the class. The young man said, “If only I could get a job, we would be supremely happy. Please pray for me.” I said, “You shall have a job, but at the end of a year I shall visit you and see if that is all you need to be happy.” A baby was about to come.
One year later, I saw the young man. His back was bent, his brow was wrinkled, and he said with a bedraggled smile, “I got a job all right, but it is such hard work. However, I still believe in God.” Then I saw his wife. Another baby was coming and she greeted me with a tired, worried face, and said, “I never see my husband any more. He is working from eight in the morning until eight in the evening. We hardly have time to meditate.”
I said, “Look at my serene face. My love for my Eternal Beloved has only deepened. Wake up! Without God’s love, your love, which is merely a reflection of His love, will fade away. Feed your love with the ever-flowing power of God’s love, or it will wither into nothingness.”
The light of practical sympathy
Only one who has begun to feel his oneness with every human being can know what divine love is. We must love others not for their human personalities, but because they are manifestations of God, Who dwells equally in all.
The lesson of reincarnation is to neutralize the waves of likes and dislikes, of desire and aversion. We do this by the expression of kindness, forgiveness, and compassion to all, and by steadfast contentment in the Self. The light of practical sympathy dispels the darkness of separation and enables you to see all hearts tied with one golden cord of divine love. One who extends his love to friends and enemies alike finds the duality of love and hate vanish, and he beholds only the presence of one love everywhere.
Learn to see God in all persons, of whatever race or religion. When your mind is free from prejudice, when you unreservedly sympathize with everybody, when in mutual service you forget the little self—only then will you see the one measureless Self of the Spirit running through all.
You must yearn for God
One must yearn for God and churn the ether with the rod of devotion or He will never manifest Himself. Every night when you sit to meditate, pray to Him unceasingly. With the love of your heart, tear at the veils of silence again and again. Cry as you would to your mother or father: “Where are You? You made me. Come to me. You must come to me. You must!” Those who really mourn and wail for God incessantly, with ever-increasing zeal, are comforted by God’s own presence.
It is very difficult to reach God. If even a concert pianist must work hard to become successful in his profession, how much more earnestly must the devotee “work” at meditation and devotion in order to realize the Infinite!
Here, however, is an encouraging thought: Everyone who makes a sincere effort on the spiritual path will surely reach his goal. You cannot say that of worldly ambition. Not everyone can become a famous pianist, no matter how hard he tries. In every field of endeavor there is room at the top for very few. Everyone, however, can equally claim God as his Heavenly Father and Divine Mother. If our way of worshiping Him is incorrect, but the love of our hearts is selfless and pure, God will have no difficulty in correcting our error.
The most enjoyable experience possible
How should you love God? Love him as the miser loves money; as the drowning man yearns for breath; as the desert wanderer craves water. Love Him with the first love of true lovers. When you have learned to love Him with all your heart, you will have Him. You will then be a yogi–one who is united with God.
Union with the Cosmic Beloved is the most enjoyable experience possible. It is dream after dream, joy after joy; a thousand million divine romances in one, ever thrilling your heart. In every point of space you behold searchlights of His love, shining like a million suns. As often as you think you have exhausted His love, again and again, like a rolling surf, it crashes anew upon the shores of your mind. That is ecstasy!