What is this Love? What is Compassion?
Swami Rama talks about objectless love as the power behind the universe…a positive force behind everything…that is also how other Sages speak of the ‘Oneness’ behind all existence.
Really we must admit that we understand none of these terms!
Some people, especially spiritual activists, in our time talk about it in poetic phrases that are free from religious association but still carry the same deep spiritual wisdom. One of these is Joanna Macey, she says this power is the “ongoing Song of life”.
Many cultures talk of this power, this positive force behind everything as Love. The Greeks talked of Agape, the Romans talked of caritas, and Buddhism and Hinduism talk of Maitri or Metta. Both these words are linked to the Sanskrit syllable ‘Mid’ referring to love.
What is this Maitri, this love?
It says in the Taitriyi Samihita: “May I enjoy the loving kindness…as do you May not one of us supplant (hurt) another…”
Here you have it… love and compassion!
There is even a Maitri Upanishad in early Indian thought, where it is said, to act good makes pleasant energy, pleasant situations; bad actions make unpleasant actions.
Meaning within ourselves, if we act from joyful, loving feeling within, that will spread from us. Just as bad feelings spread. So as your mind is… so is your environment. That is practicing loving-kindness, is practicing Metta, is living from a point of Love.
Doing so, modern research has shown, has a big effect on the practitioner themselves and others, it even reduces pain and anger; chronic back pain, stress, depression etc.…..
So to be healthy and well in ourselves and live like that in the world, we need to get in touch with that Joy, that Love…inside our own self!
If we look at the Yoga Sutras, they too talk of Maitri (1st Chapter, Verse 33)
Maitri – Love, Karuna – compassion, Mudita – joyfulness, Upekshanam – equanimity.
That’s what we are asked to cultivate in Yoga. In Yoga-speak it is called the Brahmaviharas. But really these four are much older than the Yoga Sutras, they appear amongst the teachings of the Paccekabuddhas…the Buddhas before THE Buddha. They appear in Jainism, and as mentioned before, even earlier than that.
What we called Metta or Maitri, or Love was very important to Swami Rama. What was it that he understood by it? What does he say in his writings about this Love? He says for example in his book ‘Creative Use of Emotions’, “Among all the positive emotions, love is the finest…Love is the source of Life…It’s the biggest gift to humanity; Love and life are the same! Love is when the gap between ‘me and Not me’ is closed.
“In Life we find two principles, one is expansion the other contraction. Expansion includes all… Contraction is selfishness; selfish man corrupts and misuses the word love”. And let’s be honest, we do too. In daily life we misuse the word often, to fulfil our desires. By and large, the love we use in the world creates attachment, bondage, misery and ignorance.
Self-less action, service to others, to humanity comes from love that flows through the Heart area, the centre of your chest; it is where we feel the joy… because we feel connected, there is no otherness!
In the book ‘Conscious Living’ Swami Rama says, “Love is giving. It means to give without expectations … learning to give (in this way) is the greatest of arts”.
We could link the two and say, just giving…just giving from the heart space…where we ourselves feel this Joy this love.
He talks of ‘objectless love’ as ‘just giving’, meaning there is no expectation, no intention, no thought of reward; there is only a spontaneous good feeling.
Put your hand on that heart-space and think of a beautiful moment where in your life was only joy and love… Once you feel the warmth that we associate with love, let that feeling, that love and joy fill your body… and let it flow to the people around you… let it flow to the world. That joy that you feel doing this the scriptures call ‘Ananda’.
We always “want to be loved”, let’s change that and instead give love to the surrounding, to the world… because, “life is to live, as love is to give”. This is what Swami Rama calls objectless love!
But what we understand by love is nearly always coupled with expectation.
Except when we surrender to the highest to which all objects belong, of which all objects are an embodiment. If we see ‘others’ or objects as an embodiment of that ultimate Force, then it is clear how Swami Rama makes the bridge that love is a Divine Force, it is THE Divine Force that we know as Shakti, as the source, the centre of Consciousness.
Shakti is Love and Love is Shakti!
So Swami Rama’s book “Love Whispers” is about his relationship with Shakti… with the “Ground of being” and his love for HER.
In his book “Sadhana” he talks of Love as “the most ancient Traveller who travels from the unknown to the known, from eternity to eternity”. In other words, this love is always there, it is the ground of all existence.
“The spirit of love is boundless”, so loving somebody really means opening to loving all. Your love should travel towards expansion not towards contraction (I.e. be limited to one being, thing or object). He writes, “Love is immortal and needs an immortal container. People say that it is expressed through the heart, the heart is the centre of love… I deny that. The soul, actually, is the real container of love, for the soul is the most ancient traveller and so is love…, So they both are one and the same.” “There is only one Reality, without a second, without space and time or causation. We call it Love.” To be in conversation with that Reality is what Swami Rama calls ‘Love whispers’.
In the pages of his diary, published as “Love whispers” on p. 16 he says, Love is the only “self-existing Reality”; meaning it comes from nowhere, it comes from nothing…. It just is. Love is the source, the material, the building block, the essence of the universe. Therefore by listening to the universe… to all its forms…. We hear can hear “love whispers!”
“Love whispers come from the heights… Whispers from the depth… Whispers from the mountains and streams Whispers from above and below From the petals of flowers From my little brooklet – it whispers from here and everywhere, Love is a whisper Divine”
So the Love Swami Rama talks about is not the passion and attachment we often confuse with love, for him it is the Divine essence within all existence… and that means it is in Nature and that means, it is also naturally within you and me!
Nature as the embodiment of Love is so important for him that he says, “I will be only understood by those who are the students of Nature and study its gospel”.
He spent of course years in communion with Nature in the mountains of the Himalayas…and he listened…. And he heard the whispers of Nature, felt the essence of life! Which is the essence of Love.
All through the ages, and through many cultures, from the beginning of time, people have listened to the voice of Nature, and they gave that whisper a form. As human beings we understand by expressing phenomena we can’t understand, by linking them to that which we can understand. And so this ‘voice of love’, this positive driving energy behind existence… has been expressed in many forms… in the different cultures. For some people that Essence was linked to a beautiful Maiden…such as the Australian Aboriginals. They are very close to nature… and envisaged the essence that created living forms as a beautiful maiden of light.
However the most common form in which many cultures in Europe and Asia portray this energy is in the image of a Mother, the one who protects and loves us, no matter what! In some cultures it is likened more abstract, to a womb, even a cosmic womb, which harbours all potential… and eventually brings a form into light, i.e. the process we call birthing.
In Indian culture this energy has been portrayed in many different forms and aspects, and so there are many Goddesses, each a facet of this one Divine energy. For most (and in very ancient times for all), this energy was Feminine. For Swami Rama too, this energy, this Love as creative origin was a beautiful Woman. He had his first Vision of HER when he was seven years old. He describes her: “Thy slightly olive tainted complexion, luminous eyes, and long wavy dark hair
… the smile was gentle and spontaneously winning…
with humour-filled brilliance and unselfconscious dignity…as one with overpowering beauty”.
Furthermore he talks about her as “a majestic mother” that he has adored since he was 7 years old. And he has been in dialogue with Her in his deepest heart ever since.
He writes, “These dialogues for me are always meaningful. And they answer all my questions and leave me free to write, act and speak the way I choose”.
If we remember that he declared his Mission was to introduce us to the teacher within…then we have here a direct link to what we today call the “inner Guru”.
That voice of Love and wisdom inside – is – the essence of each of us.
“This love is the living principle of the universe (it) is the all-pervading influence that redeems the human from the desolate world of despair”. And he continuous to say, “The acknowledgment of love as the guiding force of the universe is slowly moving in my inner being to disintegrate the giant mountain of my individuality…This love is the power of life, yet for us human beings it has no form we can recognise. We can be still and become aware of it, feel it… and we want to hold on to it, but we can’t for SHE is formless”.
But listening deeply into ourselves, or listening to Nature we can hear ‘the eternal whisper’ of that love…. This is our inner Guru.
But remember, we are part of nature, that voice is in us… as it is in all life… we are it! It is your very essence! The Sufis talk of the union, where lover, loved and the process of loving are one! The Bhagavad Gita talks of knower, known and knowing as one.
There is only One… the guiding principle of the universe is ‘love’ Itself!
And so Swami Rama writes, just like the Sufi masters, “Lover and beloved are One … both lose their individuality and only love exists”.
That is why Swami Rama can call the beautiful lady of his vision, which is the embodiment of love for him “My phantom Lady”; he knows lover and beloved are one… the essence and the form are one, the inner Guru and You are One… there nothing to look for on the outside…
Just listen to the “Love Whispers”.