21. Love is God's fragrance
Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 31 (1998)
Love is God's fragrance
From the time one gets up in the morning till one goes to bed in the night, one is struggling for one’s livelihood and is spending time studying various types of books, forgetting the Divine. What happiness can one derive from such a life? Oh man, have you ever thought of this? Man also strives in different pursuits in order to get blissful happiness. Can one get bliss from objects of the outer world, or is it available in a particular place or region, or is it possible to get it from some persons? Nobody seems to have pondered over this. Bliss is present everywhere. What is the point in searching for it in a particular place or object or person.
God is immanent in all living creatures, all objects, and all places, without exception. This is very well-explained in the Bhagavad Gita. Einstein, the famous scientist, has given a new name “psychotronic” for this. He said, “How can I call God, who is omnipresent?” God is hidden from the physical eye in all beings, in all places as Cosmic energy. We are in constant search of God, within the limitation of a compact form. There is bliss, but it has no form. Love is there but it has no form. How do we experience that which has no form?
Love may not have form, but you can see this love expressed through a form, which exudes real love. Here we see a flower. Even without seeing the form, you are able to enjoy the fragrance of the flower. When we experience the fragrance, we can only surmise that the form of the fragrance is the flower.
Experience love, the fragrance of God
Ancient sages who experienced the fragrance of the Divine were searching for the form. Sages who had renounced everything made lot of sacrifices to search for the form of the divine fragrance, but they were unable to experience it. They enquired about this in forests and bushes. They could not find the source. Some have left it in the half-way stage, being satisfied with the fragrance that they had experienced.
One must not give up in any pursuit, once one is determined to take up the same. When you have asked for a certain thing, do not give up till it is achieved. When you have thought about a particular scheme of action, do not rest till it is completely carried out. This was the type of determination that the sages adhered to in achieving the objective to the extent that the Lord should at last get “disgusted” and grant their request. To go back from the pursuit undertaken is not the quality of a true devotee.
With such relentless determination, they were able to find out the flower from which the fragrance emanated. Thus, they experienced the fragrance of bliss. Some of the seekers could not experience the fragrance due to severe “cold”. Those who could not experience the fragrance were termed atheists. Even though they had the nose they could not experience the fragrance of divine Bliss. They are unfortunate people.
But those who were able to experience this bliss exclaimed in ecstasy “Vedahametham Purusham Mahantham (We have realised the supreme personality of the Godhead).” How to realise this? In every human being, the bliss of Ananda is emanating from the hearts, just as fragrance comes out of a flower. The heart is complete and full. “That is Full, this is Full, and when you take out the Full from the Full, what remains is also Full,” says Veda. What is the totality of Nature?
Perfection is total and divine
For example, you buy one kilogram of jaggery. From this you take a bit and put it in your mouth. This tastes sweet. Take some pieces and mix it in coffee or water, they become sweet. All the pieces are equally sweet. The balance left is also sweet. So the quality of sweetness is not reduced when you take bits out of the full piece of jaggery. Every bit is equally sweet.
Totality relates only to one quality. There was one expert artist by the name Anthony who used to make violins. He used to take one year to make one violin. One of his friends asked him how he could earn enough to take care of his wife and children if he took one year to make one violin. He said, “God is the embodiment of totality. Therefore whatever we do should be totally perfect. On the selfish ground of carrying on a living, I cannot compromise on the quality of perfection. The only way to please God, who is the personification of perfection, is to stick to the principle of perfection in its totality, so that God will confer Bliss on us.” This is how the artist taught his friend. Whatever little job we may undertake, we should do it with perfection. God is perfection. We are part of the Divine. We should also stick to this principle of perfection in its totality. Because of his scrupulous adherence to his principles, Anthony earned great fame and his violins are famous even today bearing the reputation as Anthony’s Violin.
In order to experience Divinity, we should have totality, which is unity and not multiplicity. We are considering the one as many instead of unity in diversity. We only divide and do not make efforts towards unity.
All are one; be alike to everyone
The tailor has got the instruments of scissors and needle. What does he do with them? You give him a single piece of a two metre cloth and ask him to stitch a shirt. The tailor takes the scissors and cuts the cloth into several pieces like those for collar, arms, etc. The single piece of cloth is cut into bits. The tailor joins them all and stitches them into a shirt. It is the pair of scissors that he uses to cut the cloth into pieces. Then he uses the needle to stitch them together.
We divide the one God into many, like Rama, Krishna, Jesus, Allah, Zoraster. But with love, we should bring them together. We should say, “All are one, my dear son; Be alike to everyone.” This is the saying of Jesus. When he was put to suffering, the disciples were feeling very sad. But they went on accusing the head priest and the priest community. The governor who placed that order was also criticised. To teach this principle of unity, Jesus said,“All are one. We should not criticise anybody or blame anybody.” It is love that will not deride or hate anybody.
There is a gulf of difference between worldly love and divine love. Divine love does not ask for anything. It is selfless. It is not mindful of praise or blame. Love is desireless and continuous; you will not find even a trace of selfishness.
Worldly love and divine love
Divine love always gives and never receives. Worldly love only receives and does not give. It is full of selfishness and expects a reward in return. Divine Love does not desire any return. Love is equal only to love. Nothing else can be equated to love. This unparalleled and incomparable Premathathwa (principle of love) is only divine love.
How is worldly love? You all know about it. Suppose, a boy gets married and few days after the event, they go for a walk in the park. He sees a thorn in the path. Immediately, out of his love for his newly wed wife he shouts, “thorn! thorn!” and pulls his wife away, lest she hurt her feet by stepping on the thorn. At that moment, out of the consideration for his wife as his life, he pulls her out of the risk of stepping over the thorn.
The same couple walks in another path six months later. The husband notices a thorn in the path. What does he do now? He warns her to watch her step and be careful. Some more months later, when a similar situation arises, the same person in an indignant tone asks his wife, “have you no eyes, can you not see the thorn?” Thus worldly love goes on diminishing in its magnitude as time passes. Divine love never diminishes but is constant and changeless under all circumstances, and after any number of years, even after several aeons and births.
The Lord’s love is sweet love. His words are sweet. Everything about the Lord is madhuram (sweet). That is why the gopikas (cowherd maids) of those days, sang “Madhurathipathe! Akhilam dadhuram”. They could not bear the pangs of separation from Krishna. They went round Brindavan asking even the flowers, Oh flowers! Did you see our beloved Krishna?” They were not mindful of the thought, whether a flower was capable of seeing Krishna. What does this mean? Even the flowers, leaves, branches, and plants will see the Lord, who is all pervasive. But, Krishna was described as unique by the gopikas, who exclaimed, “He is dark in complexion, with eyes comparable to a lotus flower; by any chance, have you seen Him? He has a peacock feather on his head, Oh creepers! Is He hiding in the bushes?” “God is full.” You cannot say, “He is only in this and not in that.” You have to love all. You should not love with the motive of getting any fruit or reward. You should love for love’s sake.
Gopika’s love for Krishna
A newly wed bride came to her father-in-law’s house in Gokulam (the village of cowherds). The tradition of that place in those days was that all the villagers should go to mother Yasoda’s house and light their lamps every evening from the lamp in that house. This was because that was the house of the richest family of that village and because Lord Krishna was born in that house. He was God, in whom all Ashtaisvarya (the eight types of wealth) were enshrined. The villagers believed that, because the Lord of all wealth was there, by lighting their lamp from that hallowed house, they would also have the benefit of all wealth.
This view was not shared by the father-in-law and motherin-law of the newly married girl. They complained that all the women were going after Krishna, who was in Yasoda’s house. But this daughter-in-law was very eager to see the charming form of Krishna, which attracted all other young women of the village. In fact, she used to ponder over the infinite capacity of the Godincarnate and sing His glory as Shabdhabrahmamayi, Characharamayi, Jyothirmayi, Vangmayi, Nithyanandamayi, Parathparamayi, Mayamayi, Shreemayi (Supreme master of sound, master of movable and immovable things, one full of effulgence, one of good speech, full of eternal bliss, supreme power, creator of illusion and master of prosperity). She used to sing the glory of Lord Krishna in this way within herself, for fear lest her parents-in-law may reprimand her.
As God’s Will would have it, one day, the mother-in-law had developed high temperature, so the daughter-in-law had necessarily to go to mother Yasoda’s house to light the lamp. She was allowed by her mother-in-law only for that day, as an exception.
Yasoda used to keep a lamp outside. So, she had to light the lamp and go away. She was feeling sad that though she came to that house where the Lord had incarnated, she could not have even a glance of Him because the door was closed. She was lost in contemplation as she was lighting the lamp and the flame even started burning her hand. When her dress also started catching fire, on sensing the smell of burning cloth, Yasoda rushed out of the house and asked the girl, “Are you mad? Are you not aware of your cloth getting burnt?” This daughter-in-law was smiling as though in bliss. She said that she was seeing the form of Krishna in the jyothi (flame). On hearing this, the other gopis (cowherd maids) who came to light the lamp started dancing in joy and ran through the streets. The lady’s name was Suguna, and they sang that Suguna burnt her hand but was smiling in joy as she saw the form of Krishna in the jyothi.
The mother-in-law of Suguna heard this too. She got terribly annoyed and even beat her daughter-in-law. She was exclaiming, “Because I took ill, you had to be sent to Yasoda’s house. You say that you saw Krishna there in the flame. How can we bear this haughtiness of yours?” So saying, she went on beating her daughter-in-law. But the latter never appeared to heed all this, and was in rapture. The gopikas started singing, “In spite of her mother-in-law beating her and her husband becoming angry, Suguna never bothered. Nor was she afraid of anything. She was enjoying as though the picture is printed on a paper. Nobody can separate them.” In this way, the gopikas enjoyed the company of Krishna. Different people enjoy in different ways. But God is totally present in every heart.
God is in every creature as love
If you take a small vessel to fill water from the ocean, you can get only that much of water that that vessel can hold. If the vessel is bigger, it can hold a larger quantity of water. If you taste even a drop of water that is saline, whether the quantity of water is more or less, the quality is the same and total. Similarly, God is in the form of love in every one. The quality is the same, though the quantity may vary. That is why the Upanishad declares, “That is Whole and this is Whole.” The Pandavas and Kauravas started the battle of Mahabharatha. Vyasa came in a chariot to bring about a compromise and avoid a conflict, which would result in loss of lives. Vyasa composed several epics and codified the Vedas into four, though they were countless in number. With the view that the people cannot go through all the Vedas, he classified them into four namely, Rik, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Vedas.
Vyasa had knowledge of the language of the insects, birds, and animals. When he was going in the fast-moving chariot, he saw an insect moving fast across. He asked the insect why it was hurrying so fast. The insect replied that the chariot of Arjuna was approaching very fast and, before it approached, it had to reach safely its home where its family members were waiting. Vyasa realised that the attachment to wife and children was common not only for human beings but was for other beings as well, like the insect. Of all creatures, the human being is considered the best. Because we do not know the language of lower beings, we are not able to realise that insects, birds, and animals also have such feelings of attachment. Only then did Vyasa declare that God is in the form of hands, feet, eyes, ears, everywhere. Divinity is everywhere. But love of Divinity is selfless; this is spiritual, while worldly love is selfish and transient. We must change worldly love into spiritual love.
All are acts of God
Ruchir narrated a story. An emperor arranged a very big exhibition. He said anyone could pick any article one liked. What was this exhibition? In the world of exhibition, the exhibits range from insects to human beings. It is full of different objects and creatures. The vast humanity visits this exhibition and takes whatever it wants. They show preference and take costly things.
A woman entered this exhibition and saw sacred things, sacred wares, forests sacred to sages and saints, and all pertaining to the Will of God. “All are acts of God. God is the master of this world. I did not bring anything with me when I was born. Nor do I take anything when I depart from the world. We do not even leave behind the address.” So saying, she walked empty-handed.
The king asked her why she was not taking anything. She said, “It is natural. I came empty-handed and I am returning empty-handed.” The king asked her to take at least one article. She asked whether he was prepared to give anything. She said, “I want only you. When you become mine, the entire property in the exhibition belongs to me.” Then God gave himself to her. She said, “This is the consummation of my birth.” Out of all the time we spend on family, wealth, food, etc., if only we spent a fraction of that time in contemplating on God, our last journey would be very safe.
The gate of the God of Death is made very heavy material. In order to open the door we have to contemplate on the Lotusfeet of God.
Every human is Ardhanari
Who is the lady here? It is Prakriti. All are women! Simply because you wear pants and a shirt you do not become a Purusha (male). The one who wears a body is a sthri (woman). The awareness that pervades the body is called Purusha - it is chaithanya (consciousness). The body is jada (Inert). Man is a combination of both.
This combination of the awareness within, the Purusha or masculine aspect, and the inert body or feminine aspect is termed Ardhanareeswara (half-male and half-female). Not only Easwara but every human is an Ardhanari. So, human life is not a single entity but the combination of Prakriti and Paramatma, or the feminine and the masculine aspects.
In this drama of life, all are actors. Even Bhagavan is acting a role. The world is like a stage. God is the Director, and as per God’s directions, all are acting. Simply because a person wears the dress of a male, he cannot be termed masculine.
Suppose the anniversary of a girl’s college is being celebrated. They may enact a drama in which the girls may act the role of a king; minister, sepoy, watchman, etc. All the actors are girls. They have only taken the role of these males. The males should not pride themselves by saying “Udhyogam purushalakshanam (to hold a job is the prerogative of males).” The Atmashakthi (Atmic energy) is common in all.
Now you find many women going for work, and there are many males who do not work. Dharma is the characteristic of human - male or female. Truth is the characteristic. Truth is his characteristic. Truth is God. Love is God. Live in Love.
Surrender to the Divine within
Divinity is total in everyone and everywhere. You cannot see Him with the physical eye, but you can visualise with the wisdom eye or inner vision. You have air, you cannot deny this, even though you cannot either see or catch hold of it. Similarly, god is in many forms.
When it is hot, you can experience coolness either by a hand fan or an electric fan. Air has not come from the fan. Whoever uses the fan gets the air. The intellect is the fan. If you turn it toward Atma, you get Atmananda (Atmic bliss). On the other hand, you turn it toward the body, you get temporary bodily pleasure, which is momentary.
The body cannot be depended upon to cross the ocean of life. It is perishable and transient. It is full of dirt and filth, flesh and bones. You have to surrender to the Divine within. Once you have Divinity to help you, there is nothing that you cannot achieve.