Still, there must be love in our heart, If spiritual life is to come meaningful. Love, said Vivekananda, opens the most insolvable gates( CW 3. 225). Spiritual life begins in the real sense only when the heart’s gate opens to admit the Divine. The key to this gate is love. Love is Holy Mother’s alternate gift to the spiritual candidate.( Her “ first ” gift — stopgap — was bandied before.)
In malignancy of all the talk of love the world over, love is one thing that's least understood. Vedanta’s idea of love is radically different from what the word means to utmost of us. There's a passage in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad(2.4.5) which gives a new perspective on the idea of love
न वा अरे पत्यु कामाय पति प्रियो भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय पति प्रियो भवति ।
न वा अरे जायायै कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय जाया प्रिया भवति ।.
न वा अरे वित्तस्य कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय वित्तं प्रियं भवति ।.
न वा अरे सर्वस्य कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति, आत्मनस्तु कामाय सर्वं प्रियं भवति ।
“ It isn't for the sake of the hubby, my dear, that he's loved, but for one’s own sake that he's loved. It isn't for the sake of the woman
, my dear, that she's loved, but for one’s own sake that she's loved It isn't for the sake of wealth, my dear, that it's loved, but for one’s own sake that it's loved It isn't for the sake of all, my dear, that all is loved, but for one’s own sake that it's loved. ”
The reiteration of the expression “ for one’s own sake ” is relatively distressing at first sight. Is there nothing but tone- interest at the reverse of love in this world? Is that how Vedanta looks at it? In his book Spiritualizing Everyday Life(p. 15), this is what Swami Ashokananda says
“ It sounds hard and pessimistic to interpret mortal relationship in similar terms. But if you go on assaying your motive, you'll find that indeed though it may not be grossly selfish, it's unnaturally selfish all the same. When a woman
loves her hubby completely, unselfishly, we recognize similar love and it's to be recognized. But indeed also, philosophically speaking, tone- interest is involved. This tone gets commodity; some artha — meaning, or significance — is deduced from that love. Without this significance the relationship would be untenable. A woman would not look at a man unless some value were realized by her in that person. That's true of every relationship. It's true indeed of the relationship between a perceiver and the material object he's perceiving. When you're looking at a mountain, or looking at the sky, or at a piece of gravestone, there's some significance, some need which is being satisfied or realized in the perceiving. I would give it the simple name of tone- interest. similar tone- interest may be each right in a lower state, but compared with the verity it's still a deluded state. Why should you seek any significance when all significance is formerly within you? ”
That's the Vedanta position All significance is formerly within us. Every one of us is in reality the tone — free, immortal, one without-a-second. opining on the Upanishadic passage, Śrī Śaṅkara says
आत्मप्रीति- साधनत्वात् गौणी अन्यत्र प्रीति आत्मन्येव मुख्या ।
Ātmaprīti- sādhanatvāt gauṇī anyatra prītiḥ, ātmani- eva mukhyā.
“ Our love for other objects is secondary, since they contribute to the pleasure of the tone( ātman) and our love for the tone alone is primary. ”
That's why indeed our love out of tone- interest is really our unconscious love for the ātman. Vivekananda’s picture of this Upanishadic passage thus runs as follows
“ It isn't for the sake of the hubby that the woman
loves the hubby, but for the sake of the ātman that she loves the hubby, because she loves the tone. None loves the woman
for the sake of the woman
; but it's because one loves the tone that one loves the woman
None loves wealth on account of the wealth; but because one loves the tone, thus one loves wealth None loves a thing for that thing’s sake; but it's for the tone that one loves it. ”( CW 2. 416- 17)
The picture becomes clearer. In the smallest sense of the word, love is a product of tone- interest. But this is the lower tone, which is only a pale shadow of the real tone( ātman). At present we have n’t come conscious of our true nature as the ātman. The horizonless love for the ātman is manifesting unconsciously through its shadow and so it appears evil. Swamiji’s explanation is simple. Those that love without knowing the ātman, their love is egoism at its worst and enlightened tone- interest at its stylish. By “ enlightened tone- interest ” I mean the amenability to immolate for others and be liberal only so long as it doesn't affect one’s own tone- interest. But those who love with the knowledge of the ātman, their love is free( CW 2. 417).
“ Every time we particularize an object( Swamiji explains), we separate it from the tone. I'm trying to love a woman; as soon as that woman is characterized, she's separated from the ātman, and my love for her won't be eternal, but will end in grief. But as soon as I see that woman as the ātman, that love becomes perfect and will noway suffer. So with everything; as soon as you're attached to anything in the macrocosm, detaching it from the macrocosm as a whole, from the ātman, there comes a response. With everything that we love outside the tone, grief and misery will be theresult.However, and as the tone, no misery or response will come, If we enjoy everything in the tone. This is perfect bliss. ”( CW 2. 418)
Now we're in a position to understand to some extent Vedanta’s idea of love. Love isn't emotion, it's power. It takes the form of emotion only when it's projected through an unawakened, amiss and impure mind. Love as emotion binds. It takes down our freedom, and sooner or latterly produces grief and misery each around.
In itself love is simply power. When this power is projected through an awakened and pure mind, it leads to concinnity, freedom and unadulterated joy. The ātman is the source of all power and hence of love too. In the ignorant, the ātman is, as it were, sleeping. It needs to be “ roused to tone-conscious exertion ”( CW 3. 193). When it becomes “ awakened, ” love emerges from it spontaneously and fills the mind with indefinable bliss. We remain immersed in the bliss of the tone. We becomes, in the language of Vedanta, ātmārāma. Swami Vivekananda used to call Sri Ramakrishna’s sanctuary “ Ātmārāma’s Kauṭa. ” Kauṭa in Bengali means “ casket. ”
The Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad(3.1.4) describes those who have attained this state as “ roistering in the tone ”( ātmakrīḍah) or “ delighting in the tone ”( ātmaratiḥ). The lotus of their life blooms and they come centers of tremendous power and magnet. Everyone loves them because they love the ātman, their true tone. How paradoxical — we may suppose — that those immersed in their own tone should command the love of all! But this isn't a paradoxical situation at all. Those who are enlightened know that the tone is one, and in loving one’s own true tone, we're really loving all. Indeed when we're supposedly loving “ others, ” we do so because we see in them nothing but our own tone. This is a awful state indeed. Vedanta preceptors say that real love is possible only in this state.
What's the nature of this love? First, it's universal. It recognizes no distinctions. Second, it's intrepid. Third, it seeks no return of any kind. It takes the form of unconditional paying. Fourth, it produces no misery or anxiety or covetousness. Fifth, it's predicated in chastity. Sixth, it's an infectious power which transforms the one who's loved.
It's in Holy Mother’s life that all these characteristics of true love are manifested completely and abundantly. The reason is egregious. Holy Mother was ātmārāma. She lived on a aeroplane
where everything was a play of the Divine. She loved everyone, no matter whether the philanthropist of her love was Swami Saradananda, a convert of Sri Ramakrishna and her attendant, or it was Amjad, a Muslim planter who was also a part- time pincher. She loved the youthful revolutionaries who were engaged in the freedom struggle of India, but that didn't stop her from admitting that the British were also her children.
Her love was intrepid too. She blessed numerous youthful freedom- fighters with spiritual inauguration( mantra- dīkṣā) and defended them frequently from the ruthless hands of the law which was bent on crushing all hunt for political freedom. She loved the dacoit couple who blocked her way at night in the fields of Telo- bhelo. She addressed them as her “ father ” and “ mama , ” and they couldn't but respond by looking after her as their son. It wasn't as a part of strategy to save herself that youthful Sarada came their son. It was the indefatigable store of love in her being that simply couldn't be stopped from submerging every heart that came before her. It wasn't her fear of the dacoits that made her love them. It was her fearlessness that did it. Fear can noway produce love. True love sprouts only when fear vanishes. Indeed to love God, fear of God must evaporate. In the beginning similar fear may be tolerable, indeed lauded, but one must transcend it as beforehand as possible. The test of godliness isn't that we're God- stewing but that we come God- loving.
At Dakshineswar, Mother befriended and loved a woman who had led an indisciplined life in her youth, notwithstanding the peril of similar association Sri Ramakrishna had brought to her attention. Mother was intrepid. She knew her powers, her strength and there was no question of restraining the great mama- heart which wanted to envelop the whole world by its each- encompassing love.
It's the duty of the mama to give and it's the duty of a child to admit. Therein lies the test of true fatherhood. A true mama always gives with no study of return. Holy Mother demonstrated through her life the true mama ’s love. She did everything for her sucker- children, but not formerly did she ask anything of them or anticipate them to do anything for her. After Sri Ramakrishna’s mahāsamādhi, Mother had to spend the days in dire poverty at Kamarpukur. The addicts in Calcutta knew nothing about the difficulties she was passingthrough.However, they would have rushed to the place and made all arrangements for her comfortable stay, If Mother had transferred just a word to them. But Holy Mother was born to give, not to admit and supplicate. She did n’t seek anyone’s help. But without her knowledge a wench who used to keep her company at night spoke to the townies about Mother’s plight, the word spread and the Calcutta addicts came to know the real state of affairs and they brought her over to Calcutta.
Because Mother’s love was unconditional and undemanding, she was absolutely free from misery, anxiety, covetousness, covetousness — familiar traits in all ordinary kinds of love we see around us. Mother lived and moved about with “ a ewer of overflowing bliss ” permanently installed in her heart. Her awakened mama- heart was predicated in chastity, and that was the secret why her love was indefatigable, unequaled and extensively important. It was insolvable to be in her presence and not be won over by her love. Entire lives were changed for the better through her love.
Love, also, is the alternate gift of Holy Mother to her children. She gave this love openhandedly during her continuance, and she's continuing to give it to everyone indeed moment through her inspiring life and training. After her mahāsamādhi, and cremation at Belur Math( where her tabernacle now stands), the atmosphere had come sad and caliginous. Swami Shivananda also told the assembled monks and beginners
“ Where will Mother go leaving her children? She has not gone anywhere. She's now each- percolating . preliminarily, when she was in one place, we had to take the trouble to go and see her. Now we need not go anywhere. Wherever we may be, if we supplicate to her with devotion, we will admit her grace and see her. ”
Mother’s grace enters into our lives in the form of stopgap and love. Life ceases to be an adventure with an uncertain end. We come hopeful of achieving the thing of life. With the onset of stopgap, love sprouts. Seeing Holy Mother’s life and her love, we come charged with love ourselves love for the ideal, love for Sri Ramakrishna, Mother, Swamiji, love for our “ neighbor ” — and our neighbor isn't only the bone
who stays coming- door but also the bone
who's coming to coming- door, and the one coming to that, announcement infinitum. Love recognizes no boundaries. It envelopes all and everyone into one horizonless total. Just as an iron piece gets bewitched whenever it enters a important glamorous field, whoever enters the important, attractive spiritual field of Holy Mother gets charged with stopgap and love.
The Christian trio of Theological merits — Faith, Hope, and Love — find a striking parallel then. mama is the personification of Faith. The Devī- māhātmyam(5.50) points this out veritably easily
या देवी सर्वभूतेषु श्रद्धारूपेण संस्थिता ।
Yā devī sarva- bhūteṣu śraddhā- rūpeṇa saṁsthitā.
“ The Devī dwells in all beings in the form of faith. ”
From mama as faith externalized, emerges stopgap which matures into love. The loftiest expression of love is junction( CW 7. 30). We come united with the Supreme Being for ever.
When faith dawns in the heart, it's only a question of time before stopgap and also love make their appearance. This is nearly a universal pattern observed in the life of every pilgrim on the spiritual path. What Holy mama does is to speed up the process.
The trip is long, delicate — like “ walking on a razor’s edge ”( Kaṭha Upaniṣad1.3.14). mama shows us that we aren't lonely. Everytime we feel tired or discouraged, or whenever we tumble down a little, there’s someone we can call upon — someone called Mother. She's there near us always. All we need to do is to flash back that. All injuries get healed up, all weariness disappears, all discouraging studies evaporate by just one loving, tender regard from Mother’s eyes. When she sees our intentness, zeal and enthusiasm for verity, she plants stopgap in our hearts, which grows up in time into a potent banyan of love, under whose shade anyone may come and find peace.
We do n’t have to stay passively for Mother’s gifts. We must force our will upon her. That’s what children do. They weep and wail, maintain and bug their mama to give them what they need. Mother wants us to do it. There’s no fun in giving children what they ’re not interested in. Nor will Mother give it to us if she sees that our interest is just partial-hearted.However, she ’ll stay until we do, If we have n’t come sufficiently empty for her gifts yet. She loves to see her children girding her and demanding — yes, demanding, not soliciting — their heritage. Let us not give up until she relents and yield she will, no doubt about it.