Love Divine

When I had newly joined meditation my preceptor (trainer) would always emphasise on knowing the reason; ‘why’ I had joined meditation. This Spiritual path gives exactly that which one seeks, nothing more, nothing less. So, she would always caution me, ‘Be careful what you ask for, and know exactly how and who you aspire to be.’  She would at times pose this query too, ‘Who is your spiritual Master to you?’ Rather, who do you see your Guru as; mother, father, friend, distant relative, God..?’

Why I had joined meditation was a very easy answer for me. But, who the Guru was, that proved to be a very dynamic and tricky query.

Over the last few years I have seen the answer to both the questions change many times.

Initially, my applications or the chits in my begging bowl were seeking redemption, reprieve from my self-constructed hurdles and walls, like anger, irritability, compare and compete attitude, the list goes on. A year or so later I noticed that the nature of my applications had altered. I had begun to seek less for myself and more for others, immediate family and friends. I felt a bit hesitant asking for myself. The mindset was different and my aspiration from myself had also morphed. Moreover, another observation was that I had to be extremely cautious (like my preceptor had warned) about what I was seeking. I did get exactly what I asked for! The more the years of meditation in me, the more discerning and aware I was forced to become. Frivolous pleas and ephemeral demands would be answered even before I could properly articulate the request; more so if that plea was for me.  My earnest please made for others also came to fruition. It was as if every time I put up an application a counter challenge was dangled in front of me; asking, ‘Is this all you can come up with? Is this what you set out to attain on this Path?’

What I was asking and what I should have asked or whether this ‘asking’ was worth it or not seemed to clash perpetually. I was forced to weigh each application and assess its true worth. For every application, I was contemplating to put in the begging bowl, I started asking these two decider questions, ‘will this be the last of its kind?’  The answer was always, ‘No’. The next question that came was, ‘So, can this be resolved without placing it in the begging bowl?’ The answer to this was always in the affirmative! Undoubtedly, it would take time and effort, but no issue seemed extreme or worthy enough to be placed in that bowl. My faith told me that He would give it all without asking, if it was so ordained. Likewise, He would assuredly take away all the pain too, without my having to place anything in the begging bowl. If challenges still cross my path, or anyone’s path, then self – effort to overcome or forbearance to endure them was imperative. Secondly, the faith to surrender the result to Him was also necessary. For any worldly problem, I had no business picking up the begging bowl at all.  This was not why I had joined this path for. Thus, the bowl departed. I am learning and attempting to balance my life between optimum self -effort and absolute surrender.

Coming to the trickier query now.

The day I joined meditation I dutifully placed the photo of my Guru in my temple, alongside my many Gods. After a few months, on this journey of self-realisation, God and Guru on the outside seemed to distance me from my Self. Secondly, Guru as God seemed totally out of bounds, unreachable for me. How could I ever become God! ? I sought a closer connect, a more achievable and palpable one.

 Consider your Guru to be your mother, this is advised in our scriptures. The relationship between a mother and her child is said to be the most unconditional and selflessly giving relationship. This was a bit of problem for me though; I am a mother, and I don’t think I am capable of being selfless or unconditional ( much to my misery). I try to be, but expectations creep in and spoil it all. So, Guru as God and then as mother for a very short period and then it gradually shifted to Guru as my mentor cum friend. Friend cum Mentor was akin to Arjuna and Krishna’s relationship with each other, and I was happy.  Further introspection led me to the next question; was this bond just friendship or much more?  When Arjuna cried out, O lord, help me! Krishna appears and rescues Arjuna. And, when Arjuna wailed, O Friend, guide me!’ Again, Krishna only appears, to show the way. So, whichever role Arjuna sought his Lord in, Krishna adjusted Himself to fit that role. He could be a friend, brother, mother, any person/ object too, who Arjuna identified with.

Then it dawned on me; I was limiting the potential of the limitless with my own limitedness!! (Does it make sense?) He can be everything and everyone to me. His role was dependent on me and my thinking.

The Master’s Presence is an expression of his total love for us. What he gives us, totally, without any reservation, without anything being asked for in return, is Himself.  Lover means, one who loves. And a divine lover is one who loves divinely; that means without reservation, without limitation, without anything to restrict it. ( P.Rajagopalachari)

It has taken me many years to finally come to one final answer to the second question; who is my Master to me? He is… And the one unchanging relationship I aspire to establish with the Divine, is that of Divine Love.