A life of love

Baba says, ‘Where there is love, you have an entertaining Brahmin life‘. If there isn’t love, Brahmin life is dry; it is a life of effort.

Love means to remain absorbed in love. No matter how knowledgeable someone is, if they don’t have love in the heart, they would not have an enjoyable Brahmin life, says Baba. It would be a dry, tasteless, life. This is because, where there is knowledge without love, then there is arrogance of the intellect. Then, my approach to life is very clinical.

I listen to what Baba says every day- He wants me to be kind, loving, to not be angry, to speak only sweet words etc. I get on a mission, I make a spreadsheet, so to speak, of all the things I need to do or change within myself and live life on high alert, trying to check things off my list or trying to ensure I don’t fail. And when I inevitably do fail at something i.e. make a mistake, I find it hard to handle, I feel like a failure, beat myself up: ‘I did it again’, ‘why can’t I get this right?!’, ‘when will I ever change!?’ I battle with my own effort.

I listen to Baba as if I’m taking instructions from the Principal and then leave Him there while I try to do life alone, on my own strength. God has not asked me to do this! He wants to be part of my journey, He wants me to take His company. But it’s, unfortunately, what I do when there is knowledge but no love in the heart. Then, not only do I labor but I also lose my joy in life, I stop enjoying it. Knowledge is the seed and love is the water, says Baba, if the seed doesn’t receive the water of love, the fruit cannot emerge.

When I am knowledgeable without love, I think I need to perform perfectly to please God. I think that once I get rid of these weaknesses, once I overcome these areas I’m struggling in, then, God will be pleased, then I’ll feel good about myself, then I’ll be content. This is the way of Ravan’s world, not God’s. In Ravan’s world, I am judged based on accomplishments, on meeting criteria, on how well I do. God is the opposite. He searches for souls with a pure heart that is turned toward Him. He is pleased with someone with an honest heart who makes mistakes every once in a while than someone with a dishonest heart but who performs perfectly all the time.

I may follow all the disciplines perfectly, wear my white clothes and badge, look and behave impeccably but if my heart is not right, not only does that not allow me to experience God’s love, it doesn’t allow me to feel good about myself either. Instead, let me be honest with God, go to Him as I am and relate to Him as my Father, my Teacher, my Guide, my Best Friend, my Beloved, my Companion. He loves me already, He accepts me already, He chose me before I chose Him. He already knows me better than I know myself. Let me stop performing. Let me take His company on my journey. I know that He is the Benefactor, that He is Karankaravanhaar, that I am the child, now, let me start being.

When I surrender to Him which is to say, take His hand, I feel light, I take the pressure off myself. He is the Purifier, the Sculptor, the Supreme Surgeon- let me experience this. Let me experience that my life is in His hands, including my weaknesses and struggles. It’s certainly my duty to do my best at following His Shrimat but I work with Him, not alone. And most importantly, I accept myself during, not at the end of, this journey of change. If I keep my heart turned toward God, my performance will catch up. He will keep working with me. He does not expect me to perform perfectly but He does expect me to keep trying, keep growing. When I make mistakes, He expects me to dust myself off and keep going. There will be voices telling me I am a failure, that I am no good, that I am taking too long etc. When there is just knowledge with no love, I will succumb to those voices, beat myself up and become disheartened, I will shut myself down. In other words, I battle with myself. When there is love, when there is the company of my Friend, of my Beloved, of my Companion, I have the power to get back up again. I am able to make a mountain into a mustard seed.

When I feel wrong on the inside, it will only make me do worse. When I am focused on my flaws, on what I’m not, then I always wear a frown. If I don’t like myself, no one else will either. I project onto others how I feel about myself. If I feel guilty, lousy, condemned, mad at myself because I think I’m not far along, then, I will also not have good relationships. It also makes me jealous of others who I perceive to be better than me. Then I cannot have good remembrance of Baba either- those ill feelings keep pulling me toward them. But when I have love in my heart, then I am merged in the remembrance of the One. I keep learning from Him, observing myself, tweaking, growing, and improving. Instead of ‘why did this happen!’, I think ‘wow! that was interesting!’. I enjoy the process of change.

The life of a knowledgeable soul without love in the heart is an ordinary life, it is a life of labor, tasteless and dry. My life as God’s child is anything but ordinary. I am the child of the Creator, of the Highest-on-High, of the Almighty! That is where I get my worth from – from Whom I belong to, from my family, not from how perfectly I perform. So let me quit living life the old worldly way, the ordinary way and live it the way God intends for me- as a sovereign.

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