Symbols of the world's religions



Meher Baba

Man is not content to create suffering only for himself, but he is relentlessly zealous in creating suffering for his fellowmen. Man seeks his own happiness even at the cost of the happiness of others, thus giving rise to cruetly and unending wars. As long as he thinks only of his own happiness he does not find it. In the pursuit of his own individual happiness the limited self of man becomes accentuated and burdensome. When man is merely selfish he can, in the false pursuit of separate and exclusive happiness, become utterly callous and cruel to others, but this recoils upon him by poisoning the very spring of his life. Loveless life is most unlovely, only a life of love is worth living.

If a man is desireless he will not only eliminate much suffering which he causes others, but also much of his own self-created suffering. Mere desirelessness, however, cannot yield positive happiness, though it protects man from self-created suffering and goes a long way towards making true happiness possible. True happiness begins when a man learns the art of right adjustment to other persons, and right adjustment involves self-forgetfulness and love. Hence arises the spiritual importance of transforming a life of the limited self into a life of love.

Pure love is rare, because in most cases love becomes adulterated with selfish motives which are surreptitiously introduced into consciousness by the operation of accumulated bad sanskaras. It is extremely difficult to purge consciousness of deep-rooted ignorance that expresses itself through the idea of "I" and "mine". For example, even when a man says that he wants his beloved, he often means that he wants his beloved to be with him. The feeling of "I" and "mine" is notably present even in the expression of love. If a man sees his own son wearing tattered clothes, he does all that he can to give him good clothes and will be anxious to see him happy. Under these circumstances he would consider his own feeling towards his son as that of pure love. But, in his quick response to the distress of his son, the part played by the idea of "mine" is by no means inconsiderable.

If he happened to see the son of some stranger on the street wearing tattered clothes, he would not respond as he had in the case of his own son. This shows that though he may not be fully conscious of it, his behaviour towards his own son was, in fact, largely selfish. The feeling of "mine" is there in the background of the mind, though it can be brought to the surface only through searching analysis. If his response to the son of the stranger is the same as to his own son, then only can he be said to have pure and selfless love.

Pure love is not a thing that can be forced upon someone, nor can it be snatched away from another by force. It has to manifest from within with unfettered spontaneity. What can be achieved through bold decision is the removal of those factors which prevent the manifestation of pure love. The achievement of selflessness may be said to be both difficult and easy. It is difficult for those who have not decided to step out of the limited self and it is easy for those who have so decided. In the absence of firm determination, attachments connected with the limited self are too strong to break through, but if a person resolves to set aside selfishness at any cost, he finds an easy entry into the domain of pure love.

The limited self is like an external coat worn by the soul. Just as a man may take off his coat by the exercise of will, so through a bold decisive step he can make up his mind to shed the limited self and get rid of it once and for all. The task which otherwise would be difficult becomes easy through the exercise of bold and unyielding decision. Such decision can be born in mind only when he feels an intense longing for pure love. Just as a man who is hungry longs for food, so the aspirant who wants to experience pure love has an intense longing for it.


MEHER BABA ON LOVE, pp. 37-39, ed K. K. Ramakrishnan
1995 © Avatar Meher Baba Perpetual Public Charitable Trust


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