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Develop Cosmic Love

by Swami Sivananda

O man, where do you search for God? All these forms are manifestations of the Lord. See the Lord in these forms. If you serve all beings with Narayana Bhava, you really serve the Lord. Service of humanity is service of the Lord. Service of humanity is really worship of your tutelary Deity (Ishta Devata). If you cannot love and serve these manifestations of the Lord or visible gods, how will you be able to serve and love the unseen?

If you want to enjoy really the supreme bliss of the non-dual Self, if you want to become a real, practical Advaita Vedantin or a sage, try to comfort the sorrowful, help the poor, heal or nurse the sick. Can any one who attempts to behold or realise the one Self hidden in all beings keep quiet without serving the humanity? All forms are the manifestations of the one Supreme Lord. All bodies belong to Him. When you shampoo the legs of a sick person, remember that you are shampooing the legs of the Lord, the legs of Virat or Saguna Brahman. Serve the animals also. Develop compassion and love for all creatures.

How can you worship God who is in all creatures unless you honour and respect everybody? Treat everybody with respect. View all with an equal eye. Do virtuous actions. Behold the Lord in all beings. Bow to all beings. Have intense and exclusive devotion for the Lord. Centre your thoughts exclusively on Him. Desire nothing, not even Moksha. You will soon overcome death and reach the fearless Abode of Eternal Bliss and Supreme Peace.

Brahman is like the sun, Ganga and the mango tree. Sun sheds its light on the wicked and the virtuous. A rogue and a saint can drink the water of the Ganga. The mango tree gives its fruits both for the care-taker and the man who cuts its branches. Develop equal-vision (Samadrishti) like the sun, the Ganga and the mango tree.

Though names and forms are different, the underlying substance or essence is one and the same. All these names and forms are hanging or floating in this essence. Hence we are all united at the common base. Universal brotherhood aims at the establishment of this unity only. It lifts the individual to a non-dual state and brings Advaitic feelings (Brahmic consciousness).

Love and serve thy neighbour. Gladly and willingly give to others of what you most desire for yourself. This will develop cosmic love, unity, and equal-vision in you. You will soon attain Brahma Jnana (wisdom of the Self). You will soon see the Self in all beings, and all beings in the Self (Samyag Drishti).

Just as a mother who has lost her nine sons loves her only son immensely, so also you will have to develop boundless love for all beings. This is the highest qualification for an aspirant. The astral body of one who has this boundless love will shine with fine brilliant lustrous colour. There will be a glow of ineffable splendour.

Be kind to all. Love all. Never hurt the feelings of others. Be one with all. Destroy clannishness. Serve all. Respect all. Share with others whatever you possess (physical, mental and spiritual). Take the whole world as the form of Narayana (anekarupa-rupaya vishnave prabha-vishnave). Bow before the world and everybody with folded hands. Give up the ideas of barber, washerman, cobbler, etc. Barber is Narayana. Cobbler is Narayana. Bow with folded hands before a scavenger and feel that you are actually bowing to Lord Narayana. Those who are shy can bow mentally. The former one is the best practice to develop equal-vision. By the former practice, you can experience the essence of Vedanta Jnana Samadarshitva, the spirit of equality.

You may be prepared to give up your life for a good cause. You should be prepared to give up your life for the sake of your enemy even. Then only you can realise unity. Even if a man hates you, you must love him. You must love all. You must love a thief, a drunkard, a rogue and a vagabond. Just as perfume emanates from jasmine, the sweet perfume of love should emanate from you and flow towards all in all directions. Then only is it termed universal love or cosmic love (Visva Prema). Then only you have an expanded heart. The Ganga gives you always cool, pure water. It does not expect anything from you in return. The sun sheds its light to all without anticipating any reward. Derive lessons from them. Always give, give. Ask nothing in return. Expect nothing in return. Do not expect even appreciation, approbation or recognition. Vibrate joy all around. Radiate cheerfulness on all sides. Feel the unity or oneness with all. Love all. Give. Sing with the birds. Laugh with the Sun. Smile with the blue expansive sky, the visible representative of Akanda Brahman. Chant OM with murmuring Ganga and the blowing breeze. Roar with the thunder. Dance with the trees. Breathe with the trees and flowers. Enjoy the Upanishadic beauty and feeling in the utterance "sarvam khalvidam brahma—all indeed is brahman." expand. grow. grow.

You cannot remove ignorance through Karma, because Karma is not the opposite of ignorance or its enemy or antidote. It is knowledge alone that can dispel ignorance. Just as heat removes shivering from cold, so also the fire of knowledge destroys Ajnana. Therefore, exert to get knowledge of unity.

Brotherhood Bhava leads to the attainment of Vedantic Unity or oneness in the long run.

Every act of purification in any sect or community promotes the well-being of the whole, of which they form a part and therefore desire encouragement.

A Jnani is only an ideal Karma Yogi. A Jnani only can perform actions with perfect Nishkamya spirit.

See how Raja Janaka lived. He lived the life of a practical Vedantin while ruling the kingdom. You cannot conceive of any man busier than Raja Janaka. He was ruling over millions of people and yet he was a sage, a deep thinker, a profound philosopher and a practical Vedantin. He had no attachment to his property or body or his family people. He shared what he had with others. He moved with all. He had equal-vision and a balanced mind. He led a very busy life amidst luxuries. He was not a bit affected by external influences. He always kept up a serene mind. He held discussions with various sages on transcendental matters. That is the reason why he still lives in our hearts. And why, even in this Kali Yuga, see how the veteran Nishkamya Karma Yogi and the seeker of Truth Mahatma Gandhi lives!

The sun, the flowers, the Ganga, the sandal, the fruit-bearing trees, the cows-all teach Vedanta only to the world. They live for serving humanity in a selfless spirit. The sun radiates its light alike over a cottage of a peasant and a palace of Maharaja. The flowers waft their fragrance to all without expecting anything. The cool, refreshing water of the Ganga is drunk by all. The sandal tree wafts its aroma even towards the man who cuts it with an axe. All fruit-bearing trees behave in the same manner. They please the gardener who nourishes them as well as the man who cuts them. The cows live to nourish the babies, the children, the invalids and convalescents. Imagine for a moment when the world is devoid of cows for six months or the race of cows has become extinct. How miserable and weak you will become! The world will abound with anaemic patients. O selfish ignorant man, learn lessons from these practical Vedantins and become wise.

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