Yoga of Universal Love
by Swami Sivananda
There is no virtue higher than Love, there is no treasure higher than Love, there is no knowledge higher than Love, there is no Dharma higher than Love, there is no religion higher than Love because Love is Truth, Love is God. This world has come out of Love, this world exists in Love and this world ultimately dissolves in Love. God is an embodiment of Love. In every inch of His creation you can verily understand His Love.
The delicious fruit-juice that quenches your thirst, the palatable vegetable and food that appease your hunger, the silken robes that you wear, the sun, the moon and the stars that illumine this world, the rivers, the mountains and the oceans that bespeak of divine glory, divine beauty and divine splendour, the various kinds of flowers that blossom out in your gardens, the music that lulls you to an agreeable slumber, the scents that give you pleasure, nay, each and everything that gives you happiness and joy has come out of the power of God. When you are tired at night, He envelops this world with darkness to lull you to rest and takes you to His sweet bosom of Love to refresh and soothe your tired nerves. At night He sheds light in the dark to show you the path by taking the forms of stars. God is indeed an ocean of Love! Have you understood the mystery of His creation? Have you realised His magnanimous nature and wonderful love towards His creatures? He serves you in the form of attendants and nurses. He treats you in the form of doctors. He has taken the forms of herbs and medicinal plants to serve your needs. He is the spoon. He is the medicine. He is the patient. He is the doctor. He is the disease. He is the microbe. This great mystery will be unravelled to you when your mind is absorbed in Him through intense and Param Prem.
To love man is to love God alone. Man is the true image of God. He is His Amsa. In the Gita you will find: "A portion of mine own Self transformed in the world of life into an immortal spirit, draweth around itself the senses of which the mind is the sixth, veiled in matter" (XV, 7). "Knowledge of sacrifice (Adhi Yajna) tells of Me as wearing the body, O best of living beings" (VIII, 4). Love is the fulfilling of the law. The aim of charity, social service, altruism, humanitarianism, socialism, bolshevism and so many other 'isms' is to develop this universal love, to expand one's heart ad infinitum. Theosophy speaks of universal brotherhood and tries to unite all through the common thread of cosmic love. Love is a great leveller. There is no power on earth greater than Love. You can conquer this world even if you have a ray of this divine commodity which is absolutely free from even a tinge of selfishness. Pure love is a rare gift of God. It is the fruit of one's untiring service of humanity and incalculable virtuous actions in several incarnations. It is a rare commodity indeed.
He who possesses even a ray of this is a veritable god on earth. He is a mighty potentate. St. Paul says: "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and if I have no love, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, though I have all faith so that I could remove mountains and have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and have not love it profiteth me nothing. "
True religion does not consist of ritualistic observances, baths and pilgrimages but in loving all. Cosmic love is all-embracing and all-inclusive. In pure love no one is shut out from its warm embrace. It is wide enough to include the humblest of us, from the tiny ant to the mighty elephant, from the condemned prisoner to the mighty emperor, from the worst scoundrel to the reputed saint on the surface of this earth. It is hatred that separates man from man, nation from nation and country from country. It is pride and egoism that divide a man from another man. Hatred, pride, egoism are mental creations. They are the products of ignorance only. They cannot stand before pure love. Just as darkness is dispelled by the penetrating rays of the burning sun, so also jealousy, hatred and egoism are dispelled by the rays of divine Prem.
It is easy to talk of universal love. But when you come to the practical field, you obviously show signs of failure. If anybody talks ill of you and uses harsh words, at once you are thrown out of balance. You get irritated and show an angry face and pay him in the same coin. Where is universal love? You do not like to part with your possessions when you see people in distress. A man who is struggling to develop cosmic love and realise Him through love, cannot keep anything for himself more than he actually needs for keeping the life going. He will sacrifice even this little to serve a needy one and undergo privation and suffering willingly with much pleasure. He will rejoice that God has given him a rare opportunity to serve Him. People talk of universal love but are very niggardly in action. They show only lip-sympathy and lip-love. This is absolute hypocrisy. Those who have developed pure, cosmic love are very, very rare in this world. But those who talk of universal love are plenty. He who tries to develop universal love should try to possess various Sattvic virtues such as Kshama, patience, perseverance, tolerance, generosity, straightforwardness, mercy, truthfulness, Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, Nirabhimanata, etc. He should serve humanity untiringly with a disinterested, selfless spirit for many years. He has to kill his little self ruthlessly. He must bear calmly insults and injuries. Then only there is the prospect of cultivating cosmic love. Otherwise it is all vain and flowery talk and idle-gossiping only. It is sugar in paper or tiger in the carpet.
Pure divine love consciously felt and spontaneously directed towards all beings including animals and birds is indeed the direct result of one's vision or realisation of the Supreme Being. Let me repeat here the words of Bhagavan Sri Krishna: "He who seeth Me everywhere and seeth everything in Me, of him I never lose hold and he shall never lose hold of Me" (Gita: VI-30). "The self-harmonised by Yoga, seeth the Self abiding in all beings, all beings in the Self; everywhere he seeth the same" (VI-29).
How can that Yogi of pure love who has this grand vision of cosmic consciousness hate another, abuse another and show contempt and anger towards another? He is dear to God. That is the reason why Lord Krishna says: "He who beareth no ill-will to any being, friendly and compassionate, without attachment and egoism, balanced in pleasure and pain, and forgiving, he, My devotee, is dear to Me" (XII-13).
The saints, seers and prophets of the world have spoken of love as the end and aim or goal of life. The Rasa Lila of Sri Krishna is full of Prem and divine mysteries. The stripping of clothes of Gopis means the destruction of egoism. Lord Krishna has preached love through His Flute. Lord Buddha was an ocean of love. He gave up his body to appease the hunger of a cub of a tiger. Raja Sibi gave from his own thigh an equivalent weight of the pigeon's flesh to satisfy the appetite of the hawk. What a noble soul! Lord Rama lived a life of love and showed love in every inch of his activity. My dear children of Love, draw inspiration from their teachings. Tread the path of Love, commune with God and reach the eternal abode of Love. This is your highest duty. You have taken this body to achieve Love which alone is the goal of life.
Dear brothers, if you wish to attain perfection, if you wish to enjoy infinite peace and bliss, if you wish to become immortal, develop pure Divine Love; cultivate universal love by serving and loving all, for Love alone will bring you liberation; Love alone can carry you to the other shore of bliss and immortality, the shore which is beyond all grief, pain and sorrow.
Live in Love. Breathe in Love. Sing in Love. Eat in Love. Drink in Love. Walk in Love. Talk in Love. Pray in Love. Meditate in Love. Think in Love. Move in Love. Write in Love. Die in Love. Purify your thought, speech and action in the fire of Love. Bathe and plunge deep in the sacred waters of Love. Taste the honey of Love and become an embodiment of Love (Prema Vigraha or Prema Murthy).
May the divine flame of Love grow brighter in you all! May we all feel universal brotherhood and cultivate universal love! May we all recognise God in all beings and see God in all faces! May we share what we possess with others! May we speak at all times sweet and loving words! May we serve humanity untiringly with sweet love! May the cultivation of universal love be the goal of life! May we not forget the Flute-Bearer of Vrindavana, the embodiment of Prem, the Joy and Solace of life! May we sing His Name like Radha and repeat His Mantra 'Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya' at all times! May His blessing be upon us all!