Philosophy of Divine Love
From all the scriptures we need to understand the answers to three questions to get the Essence of philosophy of Divine Love:
- What is our relationship with God?
- What is the means for establishing that relationship?
- What final goal will we attain once that relationship has been established?
These questions are addressed by Shree Maharajji’s philosophy which has been summarized as below but before a short video on the Divine Life of Kripaluji Maharaj :
- Every living being is incessantly searching for happiness. This search is natural to our being, since we are an eternal part of God, who is the ocean of Divine Bliss. The search for happiness is the search for God, except that is unknown to our mind and intellect. Hence, God-realization is the goal of our lives.
- We cannot know God by our senses, mind, and intellect. These instruments of knowledge of ours are material, and cannot fathom the Divine nature of the Supreme Being.
- The only means of knowing God is through his Grace, whereby He Himself bestows His Divine knowledge upon the soul
- If we wish to receive that Divine Grace, we must surrender ourselves to Him. This surrender is not an external act; it should be from within. True surrender is that of the mind.
- The difficulty in surrendering our mind to God is that at present, it is attached to the world; we must first detach it from here, only then can we attach it to God.
- At this stage, we need a Guru, or a Spiritual Master who can explain to us on the basis of the scriptures how to detach the mind from the world and attach it to God. The qualification of a genuine spiritual Master is that he must be God-realized himself.
- Although the Vedas mention the three means of karm, gyana, and bhakti, our goal of God-realization can be accomplished through bhakti alone. Karm needs the addition of bhakti to make it karmyog; gyan needs the addition of bhakti to make it bhakti to it to make it gyanyog; while bhakti is by itself bhaktiyog.
- This bhakti or devotion must be performed selflessly, without the desire for any material rewards. Even the desire for liberation is an inferior desire, since liberation is an automatic by-product of attaining devotion.
- In this devotion, we can establish five kinds of relationships with the Supreme Being. We can look upon Him as our King, our Master, our Friend, our Child, or our Beloved. Amongst these, worshipping God as our Beloved, in the mood of the gopies of Vrindaban, is the highest.
- Longing for our Divine Beloved develops by the practice of Roop-dhyan, or meditation on the personal form of God. Along with this, we must learn to remember Him throughout the day, by feeling His Divine presence with us at all times.
- When our heart is perfectly cleansed by the practice of devotion, we will receive another kind of devotion by the Grace of our Spiritual Master, called perfect devotion or Divine Love. This Divine Love is an eternal power of God; it is such a power that God Himself becomes captivated by the devotee who possesses it. With that Divine Love, we will engage in the eternal loving service of the Supreme Lord, and upon leaving this body, we will enter His eternal Divine leelas & finally achieve unlimited happiness & Divine Love.
Importance of Human Birth
The human form of life is the most important and the most valuable. Humans possess far greater knowledge than other creatures. While other creatures possess knowledge pertaining to only the body, humans have access to knowledge pertaining to the material body as well as the spirit soul. Only humans can attain the knowledge of God. Even devtas (celestial gods) desire the human form. The reason is that humans alone reap fruits of their actions. Humans not only taste fruits of actions of previous lifetimes (known as destiny), but also taste fruits of actions performed in the present. Devtas merely reap fruits of previous actions but are not held accountable for actions of the present life. They must be born human to make spiritual progress and thereby attain God. One disadvantage of human form is that death may come any moment. Consequently, we must embrace the Godly path without procrastination. Life is as temporary as that of a bubble that appears in water one moment only to disappear the next. Prahlad says to his little friends, “Do not wait until you are older, to know God. Death may pay a visit any moment to any one of us.” What is the importance of knowing God?
Life’s Ultimate Aim
Krishna Every living creature is engaged in work. Works are of two types; physical + mental, and only mental. The body may or may not be involved in the performance of a work, but the mind is always involved. Mind motivates all activities, which means that there is a motive behind every action of every individual being. What is our motive? We want happiness. Philosophers say that we desire Immortality, Knowledge, Freedom and Power also, but the Bhagvatam instructs that these are mere means of attaining happiness. Every creature desires happiness. Everyone is so different from one another. All look different; have distinct tastes; think differently, but all want only happiness. Why?Reason: All are part of God, and every part desires to unite with the whole. Being part of God, all desire to unite with Him. Vedas tell us that God is happiness, and that the individual soul can attain happiness only by attaining God. This is the reason we should know God. Through God we will attain genuine happiness; happiness that is unending, everlasting and ever-increasing. Why have we not yet attained God?
Grace of God
The Vedas and Shastras say that there is no means of attaining God. God is beyond the reach of limited and material senses, mind and intellect, and these are the only three criteria through which a human attains knowledge. Material mind and intellect fail to comprehend even material phenomena, what to speak of God! Moreover, God possesses innumerable mutual contradictions within Him. He is bigger than the biggest, yet smaller than the smallest. He is without name and form, but also with name and form. He is farther than the farthest, yet nearer than the nearest. God does not take birth, yet takes birth innumerable times. For all these reasons and more, it is impossible to know God with material senses, mind and intellect. Finding out that God cannot be known, is very disappointing. But the Vedas instill hope in our hearts by clarifying that though He cannot be known through self-effort, yet He can be known through Divine Grace. When God bestows grace, the material senses, mind and intellect become divine, and then they can see, hear, taste, touch, smell and know God. It was only after being granted divine eyesight by Lord Krishna that Arjun was able to behold the Lord’s universal form.
In order to attain God’s grace, one must surrender wholeheartedly to Him. Even in the world we see that a newborn child is completely surrendered to its mother, and therefore, the mother assumes full responsibility of the child. As the child starts doing work for himself, the mother starts lessening her responsibility towards the child. To surrender means to offer the mind to God. In the Geeta, Shri Krishna says, “Arjun! Offer Me your mind and intellect.” Speaking fancy words in Sanskrit does not constitute self-surrender to God, nor does the performance of rites, rituals and ceremonies make one surrendered to God. The mind must focus on God. However, it is extremely attached to the material world. Since we have only one mind, this poses a problem. We need to examine the mind, understand it and then divert it towards God.
Nature of the Mind
The mind continually generates thoughts regarding the world, because it desires people and objects of the world. Desire is the most damaging disease that afflicts the mind. Anger and greed are born of desire. If a desire is fulfilled, it leads to greed. If unfulfilled, it leads to anger. Why does the mind desire the world? Because of attachment. Why does the mind get attached anywhere in the world? Because of continually thinking the world to be a source of happiness. Why do we constantly look for happiness? Because being part and parcel of God, it is our natural desire to find happiness, which is another name for God. Is there happiness in the world? No. If there were, All would be happy with every person and object of the world All would be happy at all times, and All would be happy in the same limit. Using these three criteria as the measuring stick, we come to the conclusion that real happiness cannot be found in any worldly individual or object. Constant reflection on this brings about detachment from the world. What more needs to be done?
Gyan vs Devotion
Even as one follows the path of Gyan, he constantly falls down, for he does not ask for the grace of God. He meditates on the nameless and formless Brahm. The devotee worships God with form (Shri Krishna), and is therefore given protection at all times. Shri Krishna declares in the Geeta, ‘My devotee will never perish.’ Gyani is like the baby monkey who holds on himself to its mother; while the devotee is like the kitten that is held protectively within the mouth of its mother. And if both the gyani and the devotee follow their respective paths and attain God, is there any difference in their respective attainment? Yes. The gyani attains atma-gyan. He then worships Shri Krishna and attains Brahm-gyan, eventually merging into Brahm. He now tastes the bliss of the Impersonal Absolute. The devotee worships Shri Krishna right from the beginning, and attains Premanand (bliss of divine love). Though both are unlimited, Premanand is infinitely sweeter. They who had tasted BRAHMANAND: the fours sons of Brahma, King Janak, Shukdev Paramhans, and Shankaracharya, renounced it after tasting PREMANAND. We find three significant differences between Gyan and Devotion. It is most difficult to qualify for Gyan, but very easy to qualify for Devotion. Path of Gyan is extremely difficult to follow, whereas Devotion is very easy to follow. Brahmanand (bliss of the Impersonal Brahm, meditated upon by the gyani) pales before Premanand (bliss of God with form, worshipped by the devotee) We find that Devotion is the only path that can lead one to God.
The Intellect’s Decision
Beyond the mind is the intellect. It is the intellect that decides, and it is the mind that desires. Sometimes mind and intellect are referred to collectively as just the mind; sometimes individually as the mind and intellect. If the mind which desires the world, is governed by the intellect that decides that there is no happiness in the world, detachment from the world will come about naturally. We see that desires are unending. When one desire is fulfilled, many more are born. Although an individual keeps getting older, his desires are constantly rejuvenating themselves. According to scriptures, a wealthy man is not one who possesses more; he is one who desires less. Since the body is the means through which one can fulfill the selfish motive of the soul, it is very important to take care of the physical body. Consequently, Materialism is important. However, the material world does not fulfill the purpose of the soul. For the soul, Spiritualism is absolutely necessary. Materialism should be accepted in small limits, but Spiritualism should be embraced without abandon. Why? Because true happiness, i.e. unending, everlasting, and ever-increasing happiness is found only in God, not the material world. Detachment from the world is not enough to take us to God. We need to find out which are the paths leading to God.