It is the selfless love for the child that mother spends sleepless nights and faces all sorts of hardship for his comfort. The disciple serves his Spiritual Master whole-heartedly and selflessly out of love. For them, love and life are words with similar meanings.
The life is a barren wasteland overgrown with weeds of hatred and ill-feelings when devoid of love. We hear a lot about love but we must be careful to understand what love is. Love is generally taken as lust or barter. There is always some expectation and love takes its wings when that expectation is not fulfilled. That is not love. It is bargaining or shop-keeping. True love is for love’s sake and not for any rewards. Gurudev Shri Swami Vishvas Ji says, “Love is PREM – beyond me or mine and is rendered whole-heartedly to your own Pure Self without any thought of any reward – even of salvation. Love is the end in itself. You get extreme joy i.e. Bliss in PREM that you don’t need any other reward. The devotee pays full devotion to his Master without caring whether the Master takes any not of his devotion or not.”
Love can be compared to the three vertices of a triangle. As any triangle has three angles, love has got three characteristics. The first angle of the triangle can be compared to the first characteristic of love that it knows no shop-keeping, no bargaining. The second is that love knows no fear and the last one is that love is the highest ideal.
Men do not know what love is or what it is to love. If they did, they would not talk so glibly about love. Everyone says that he can love and in no time finds that there is no love in his nature. Love has completely disappeared because it was shop-keeping. Wherever there is any question of buying and selling, it is not love. So when a man prays to God, “Give me this and give me that,” it is not love. How can that be? I offer you a prayer and you give me something in return. It is mere shop-keeping. It is not love.
An emperor went to a forest for hunting and lost his way. Then he met a sage who provided him food and shelter for the night. In the morning when the king was leaving, he requested the saint to accompany him to his kingdom as he wished to express his gratitude by offering him some valuable gifts. The sage replied that God was very kind to him by providing the fruits for the food and sweet water of the streams to drink and he needed nothing else. As the visitor insisted, the sage went with the king. After having arrived in the splendid palace, the king asked his guest to wait in a room and he himself went to next room. After few minutes, the sage looked into the next room and found the king kneeling down with arm spread in air and praying, “O God, grant me more wealth, bless me this good health, extend my territories and so on.” Seeing this, the sage left immediately. By this time, the king had finished his prayer and was shocked to see the sage leaving. He hurriedly followed him and asked him the reason of leaving suddenly without accepting any presents. The sage replied, “I do not beg of beggars.” It is not love it is shop-keeping.
The second test of love is that love knows no fear. No love can be forced out of fear. The lamb can’t love the lion. A mouse can never love a cat. A slave can’t love his master. For fear of going to hell, you cannot love God. This may be a tyranny of a Master over the Slave but it can never be love. Love is free, spontaneous, God’s grace without any bondage. ‘Love and Life are words with similar meaning.’ It is illustrated in the following example:-
A mother is going in a street. A dog barks and mother runs into a house for safety. Next time, the mother is going with her child and a tiger appears. The tiger jumps at her child and now the mother won’t run away. Her place will be in tiger’s mouth. Love knows no fear and for the mother, love and life are words with similar meanings.
Third characteristic of love is that it is the highest ideal. It does not need any object or person to express itself. Many a time, we find a handsome man loving ugly woman or a beautiful woman loving an ugly man. Here the object or person whether it or he is beautiful or ugly is gone. Love has become the highest ideal. Love is for love’s sake. The highest ideal of every man is called God. The love i.e. PREM for Him is blissful and never ends. As Kabir said:-
Love for God is the highest ideal of every man. It knows no shop-keeping, no fear and no rival. God is the nearest of the near and the dearest of dear. Love Him as a miser loves his money, as a man of world loves his sweet heart and as a drowning person loves his breath. When you yearn for God intensely and love Him dearly, He will reveal Himself to you.
Love of God is the only reality. Gurudev Shri Swami Ji says, “Prem is extended towards God, your own true Self and not to the fleeting objects of the ephemeral world which do not last for ever. But PREM is never ending. It is blissful. That is why we say that Love and Life are words with similar meaning.