Ahymsin Newsletter: Yoga is Samadhi

Path of Love

by Swami Rama

[This passage has been taken from the book Choosing a Path, pp 55 – 56, by Swami Rama, published 1982 by the Himalayan International Institute of Yoga Science and Philosophy of the USA].

Bhakti yoga is known as the path of love and devotion. It is the path of self-surrender and dedication of all one’s resources to attain the ultimate Reality. In this path, love becomes the Lord of life and motivates the whole being toward Divinity alone. The path of bhakti yoga is the path of love. This sounds so exciting to modern young people, that many want to follow this path, but only a few know what it really is. Many think that performing rituals and becoming fanatical makes one a follower of this path, and they also that that it is the easiest to follow. But it is not at all like that. Performing certain rituals to worship God is an easy way to keep the mind busy, but it is an inferior type of worship yielding no results and no progress in spirituality. In the higher way of bhakti, one totally surrenders everything to the Lord. The offering is not just a flower or a fruit, but all of oneself.  There are no rituals involved. The offering is the devotee himself. He completely surrenders himself to the Divine.

Bhakti is a compound of two qualities: love and reverence. Love without reverence cannot be called bhakti. Reverence is also essential in human relationships. If one does not respect the person he loves, then there is something wrong with that relationship; that is not love. One cannot exclude love from reverence. There is a Persian poet that says, “On the ladder of love, reverence is the first rung leading to the person you love.” If a person has no reverence for the beloved one, then he does not have true love.

One should also learn to love with one-pointedness. One-pointed love and reverence is called self-surrender. One cannot be selfish and egotistical and loving at the same time. If one is not giving and selfless, he can never follow the path of love. Bhakti means unconditional love, directing all the energies of mind, action, and speech for God only. Love for God is something different from love for human beings. Bhakti is love for God. It is the path of the heart and not of the mind.

The path of the heart is not mere emotionalism and sentimentality. If a person just allows whatever emotions arise to come into action without properly channelling them, the goal of life will remain unattained. One must learn to control that emotional power and channel it towards spirituality. Emotions are of two varieties: one is negative and the other is positive. When a negative emotion arises, one is distressed and becomes passive, depressed, or imbalanced. This is not control; this is being helplessly tossed about by an emotional outburst. But when a positive emotion arises, it makes one calm, joyous, and happy. The emotional body is like a fish tossed by the currents in the lake of the mind. If the mind is agitated by unfulfilled wants and desires, the emotional body is also disturbed; but when the mind is calm, the emotional body functions properly. Emotional maturity comes when one starts guiding his emotional powers consciously for creative use. In the path of bhakti, the devotee learns to tap that emotional force within and to control it properly so that it is channelled positively in one-pointed devotion for the Lord. He does not suppress his emotions, but intensifies them and directs them towards God.

Editor's Note

For published works of Swami Rama and Swami Veda Bharati, please visit www.yogapublications.org or email hyptbooks@gmail.com.



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