“The closest of dear friends, she made one feel, yet an aura of remoteness was ever around her — the paradoxical isolation of Omnipresence.” In this way Paramhansa Yogananda wrote of the great woman saint, Anandamayi Ma, in Autobiography of a Yogi.
This describes the dilemma we, too, face in trying to deepen our love for our Guru. It’s often easier to visualize Yoganandaji’s consciousness as impersonal and spanning infinity than to think of him as “the closest of dear friends.”
Why do we shrink back from receiving a love that has been waiting for us eternally? Why do we hesitate to sing the melody of divine love that constantly plays, often unheard, within our own hearts?
As we celebrate Yoganandaji’s birthday on January 5, let’s consider some ways that we create these barriers, and how we can break them down.
One common self-defeating thought is: “I know my Guru loves other, more deserving disciples more than me.” We may try to feel his love, but we place others (who we think meditate better or serve more) before us to receive the guru’s affection. We accept our place as the neglected, overlooked stepchild in the family.
This concept may apply where human affection is concerned, but with the love of the guru for his disciples it’s a harmful misunderstanding. Divine love is unconditional, not based on outer achievements, nor given to one at the expense of another.
If this thought plagues you, try this: Blend the personal and impersonal nature of the guru. Feel that he loves you (and every one of his disciples) completely and equally, because that is the nature of omnipresence.
Another thought-barrier to break down is: “How can my Guru possibly love me if he knows all the mistakes I make?” That doubt may lead us to hope that one who is omniscient doesn’t know that we ate all those cookies when we were supposed to be fasting, or that we spent our morning meditation with random thoughts flitting through our mind. But of course the guru knows. As Yoganandaji told Swami Kriyananda, “I know every thought you think.”
So instead of hiding the cookie crumbs in a dark corner, try this: Share every mistake, every error in judgment, every lapse in self-discipline with your guru. Even let him know how good the cookies were that you ate (he already knows that you enjoyed them). When we trust that divine love grows in honesty and openness, then we begin to experience the joy of feeling totally accepted for who we are. In that complete acceptance, it’s also easier for us to change.
Finally, we may mistakenly think: “Someday I’ll feel my Guru’s love, but it won’t be for a long time.” Instead, tonight before you go to bed, eagerly share with him everything that happened throughout the day: the tests, the joys, the silliness, the pain, the whole experience. When you wake up tomorrow, let your first thought be, “I love you, Master. Please come share the day with me.” Why wait for time to pass to express our love for our Guru? Offer it today. Only by giving the cup of our love each and every day can we receive the ocean of his love eternally.
Swami Kriyananda wrote these words as an introduction to his song, “You Remain Our Friend”:
Why do we flee Him
Whose hand is outstretched in kindness?
Is not the answer obvious?
It is the emptiness in our own hearts!
We flee because He asks of us the greatest gift:
He asks our love.
We wish you a blessed celebration of Master’s birthday in which you joyously give him this treasure from your heart. Once we fully share the love that radiates from within us, we draw the living presence of this premavatar, “incarnation of divine love,” our beloved Guru.
Your friend in God,