All About Love

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Many people have asked me if a questioning attitude is detrimental to guru bhakti, and I have given some answers. Then I was also thinking about whether the answers which I have given were correct or not. The connection with guru is not an intellectual connection, and to bind that into one intellectual, logical connection and relationship is not really the connection that these two people look for.

Intellectual connection, rational connection, questioning, you can have with anybody. A student does that with the teacher anyway, and there is nothing wrong with it to clarify your own doubts. To clarify your own doubts, you have to listen also. But then you have to listen also, not only speak. And accept the wrong and the right both, in order to come to the correct path.

So logic is always applicable, questions are always applicable, but then my question is – do you have the wisdom to ask the question? A student of second year, third year in school is asking questions about atomic theory and nuclear theory – and wanting to learn that is impossible. Asking questions about that is futile. In the same manner even in spiritual life and in yoga, you have to apply the wisdom to ask the questions which are relevant for your class, not for something that will come ten years later – chakra and kundalini, and everybody is asking about that. If you have the wisdom to ask the right question, Guru will give you the right answer. And if you don’t have the wisdom and you ask inappropriate questions, you will be shut off, the door will be closed, simple as that.

The relationship between Guru and disciple transcends logic and intellect, it’s a connection of knowing that I belong, a connection of knowing that I trust, a connection of knowing that I am supported and guided and inspired by the Master. When that feeling comes in, I never asked my guru any question. Till today I don’t think I recall myself asking my Guru anything; due to that inner connection, logic was bypassed, so no problem.

What is ishq haqiki?

The Arabic word ishq means love, and there are two words associated with love in Arabic. Ishq mizazi, love that comes from the head, and ishq haqiki, love which is our birth right. Now see the difference between the two.

What is ishq mizazi? I decide I like somebody, but who is deciding? It is logic, buddhi, saying, “I like this person, I love this person.” Love is not in the jurisdiction of buddhi. The choice which you are making out of your intellect, not out of your feeling, that is mizazi. Love which you think about, and want, desire and strive for, to attach yourself, to gain it. Friendship, relationships, in all our interactions when we are looking for that input of love, that is the head-trip. If in the morning somebody smiles at you, you feel happy that I am liked. In the morning somebody looks at you with fiery eyes; then you know that something is wrong. That is an intellectual interpretation of a feeling which you desire, and then if that is not as per your expectation there is dejection and there is lack of love also.

Then there is love which is birth right; do you ever think on how a child loves the mother? Does the little child ever think, ‘Oh! I should love my mother?’ The feeling is natural, spontaneous, and it is the rightful feeling. That is ishq haqiki, my right, haq, which is natural. How to cultivate it? There is no need to develop anything, there is no need to do anything except make sure that your intentions are always positive, correct and proper. Then these expressions get the right direction in which to manifest their positive power.

What is the difference between emotion and bhakti yoga?

I think the person who is asking the question doesn't know the difference between emotion and devotion. They are one and the same, yet the only problem is that in devotion you are sublimating, and in emotion you are binding. In emotion, there can be demotion; in devotion, there is always promotion.

What is devotion? You think of devotion from the religious perspective, yet the essential quality of the mind in bhakti is one-pointed. Forget what you are thinking of, whether it is God or Guru, or an abstract or concrete object. Remove that religious connotation from the word ‘devotion,’ then what is the state of your mind? It is dhyana, ekagrata, one-pointedness, and that is meditation too, conscious meditation, wakeful meditation, eyes-open meditation.

No matter what we say about bhakti yoga, no words do justice. You are only asking me about the two states. Now there is a third one. Bhakti yoga is neither devotion or emotion, but the expression of positive love. That is the latest definition of bhakti yoga. Here, we change the definition practically every month. Nothing remains constant, everything has to evolve. Last year I made the proclamation that bhakti yoga would not be known as the yoga of devotion or emotion, but as the yoga of higher love.

12 May 2019, Ganga Darshan