Divine Love in Action


"God and love are identical, and one who has divine love has received God."-Meher Baba

Philosopher Peter Kreeft wrote, "Love is the greatest of miracles. How could an evolved ape create the noble idea of self-giving love? Human love is a result of our being made to resemble God, who himself is love. If we are made in the image of King Kong rather than in the image of King God, where do the saints come from?" Kreeft touches on a perennial truth here. Indeed, Materialism doesn't adequately account for self-sacrificial love. If survival of the fittest is the ultimate intangible force influencing humanity, then self-sacrificial love would be counter-productive to survival. In fact, it would never have occurred to humans to give themselves in such a way. The only thing that adequately accounts for the existence of love is the transcendental answer. In other words, only the existence of the Divine Being, from whom the energy of love flows, explains the existence of self-sacrificial love. If we put this in a syllogism, it looks like this:

1. We experience self-sacrificial love.

2. The survival instinct required by Materialism doesn't include self-sacrificial love.

3. Self-sacrificial love then is transcendent to the material world, and any survival instinct.

4. Therefore, self-sacrificial love has a transcendental Cause.

The word love comes from the Sanskrit word "lubhuati", meaning desire. The Rigveda speaks of love as "kam" (a passion), and is considered an energy of the Supreme Absolute. The basic definition of love is 'to seek another's (or my own) highest good'. It is a popular Western meme to say we need to love ourselves. But if we don't first know who and what we are, then there is no possibility of loving ourselves. You can't love that which you don't know. And even knowing who and what you are doesn't mean you're capable of loving yourself, since few understand what love really is. Applying the definition I provided, this removes a mere emotional definition of love. In any relationship, emotional and physical desire or attachment will ebb and glow. One day we feel the emotion we call love, and the next we no longer feel it when we're arguing. Society today is in even worse condition than this, as the phrase "fell out of love" is used as an excuse to end relationships. Love isn't something one "falls" into. This entire concept is based on the faulty notion of love as an emotion. 

"Ordinary "love" is selfish, darkly rooted in (material) desires and satisfactions. Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of true love."-Sri Yukteswar Giri

Love is a choice, a desire to seek the highest good of those around us. Sometimes the highest good must be met by first meeting their most basic needs. If we encounter a homeless person the most immediate need is food and shelter. Your best efforts at bringing them to spiritual life will be unsuccessful if they can't hear you over the growling of their empty stomach, or feeling the painful cold of sleeping outside in winter. Seeking another's highest good is, then, a holistic act of the will. Often it requires self-sacrifice, either of money, space or time. 

"All loves are a bridge to divine love. Yet, those who have not had a taste of it do not know."

-Rumi

Love can be uncomfortable as well. For example, in a marriage one spouse may deprive themselves of something for the other. No thought is taken of "I, me, and mine". Nor does love ask questions like, 'Why this?', 'Why me?', or 'Why now?'. Such questions arise not from love, but from the ego seeking comfort and deference. This is a very self-defeating consciousness, as it keeps us from experiencing the blessings that love brings. What is perhaps more repugnant than most is the person who claims to be spiritual, to love the Supreme Absolute, but when a need arises which they can fulfill, and which would relieve the suffering or discomfort of others, they either make excuses as to why they can't do so, or simply vanish for the duration of the need, only to reemerge when the crisis is over. Such people don't really love the Supreme Absolute, nor anyone else. We might confuse their attitude for self love, but it isn't even that, since self love always overflows such that one is compelled to love others through Right Action. No, they're not loving anyone, but showing indifference, which is a passive form of hate and contempt. In short, it is being fully immersed in maya. 

"Eliminate selfish desires, and recognize true faith."-III Shinkun 2-11

Our love for the Divine is manifest clearly in our love for others, in our dedication and passion to seeking the highest good of those around us. Such a consciousness is considered Bhakti, loving devotional service and has its source in the Ultimate Love-God.

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