Love is the sum of all the spiritual laws. We may say that love is the heart of the mind. Universal love has nothing to do with emotional infatuation, attachment or lust. It flows freely through the person whose mind is unclouded by resentment, malice, greed and anger.
Pure love is a state of Being. Whereas everyone is running around trying to get love, it is found in giving. When a person begins to lose the idea of his own personality through concern for others, he will attract a like response to himself. The outgoing force of the soul in action brings freedom to the lower states of mind. The instinctive person is ordinarily so preoccupied with his own self, so wrapped up in his own shell, that he cannot give a thought to the welfare of another. He cannot give anything of himself. He is still far from any realization of the Self within. The action and reaction of the self-centered state of mind creates tension and discord in mind and body. Often, when the diaphragm is tight, the muscles are tense, breathing is difficult and your whole disposition is on edge. A person attains relaxation and peace through a benevolent act in which he loses himself in another’s happiness. The cycles of tension and release, tension and release – which are constantly given birth to in the instinctive and intellectual state of mind – are only broken as the unfolding soul expresses itself in devotion, breaking up the crust of personal concern and hurt feelings.
To suddenly relieve a person of all tension would be like making a poor man rich overnight. The instinctive mind feels lost and insecure under the impact of any sudden change in evolution. As the soul, the superconscious mind, or the light of God, begins to shine through the rest of the mind, the mind will either become reactionary or cooperative.
Some people have a terrible fight within themselves as the soul begins to shine forth, and yet their only lasting satisfaction in life is in the outpouring of their individual soul qualities.
When you can become fully aware of the states of consciousness through which you pass, there will be no one whom you cannot understand, no one with whom you could not communicate through the medium of love. Until you learn the operation of this law as the sum of all laws, you will continue to harbor contention, to prefer argument and to walk the path of difference. Through bhakti yoga, the yoga of devotion, the combative mind becomes erased, absorbed into the consciousness of the One Self, the Being permeating all beings. With the help of devotion, you can soar within. You cannot only pull away detachedly from unwholesome areas of the mind, but it is possible to keep yourself in an inward state of expanded consciousness.
The only real security comes from within. Gain security, and if your security comes from within you, you become unburdened. However, if one gains his security from the external mind, then of course he will not accept help if help is given. What is help anyway, but man sharing with man? Who is the helper and who is the one who is helped? You have often heard teachers say, “Every time I give instruction, I learn more than my students.” Is the teacher giving the opportunity to the students to learn, or are the students giving the opportunity to the teacher? Obviously, it is quite mutual. The external ego does not give us help. It only ramifies awareness into even more externalized areas of the mind. The mind of light, your super consciousness, is the only area of the mind where permanent bliss, security and steadfastness occur when awareness flows through it, even in the outer areas of your nature. The mind of light is the only thing that can uplift awareness, shuffling off the burdens of the external mind. It is the great teacher.
It takes great dedication, devotion and bhakti to disentangle awareness from that which it is aware of, to flow into and become aware of expanded areas of mind. The rewards are great. We are able to look over and through our expanded vision the totality of the exterior area of our mind and intuitively know the answer to the experiences that we are going through. And then we can focus, superconsciously, from our intuitive state of mind and look at the exterior world from a new perspective, from right within the very core of life itself. It does not take long. It does take one quality though – devotion. Devotion involves going deep enough to understand the great principle of the fulfillment of one’s duty. Who must be devoted to whom? Members of a family to their temple, a wife to her husband, a husband to his religion, children to their parents, the student to the teacher, the disciple to the guru. No matter what you are studying – mathematics, chemistry, philosophy, cybernetics, sociology, religion, a lifestyle – the professor should represent what you are going to be. That is why you are studying with him. Only through devotion will you be totally aware, open, free, inspired. Only through devotion will you become what you aspire to unfold within yourself.
Where do you get devotion? Not from the teacher. The teacher is only an awakener. He imparts knowledge to you, a vibration to you. He awakens you to the possibilities of the grandeur within yourself.
How do we unburden awareness from the external areas of the mind through devotion? Our attitude has to be correct. Only in that way can we manifest the qualities that we want to manifest.
Everyone has many different qualities and tendencies in his nature. Some are flowing freely. Others are suppressed. Others are repressed. Some are active and others temporarily inactive. Our tendencies formulate our attitudes. Our attitudes, once consistently held, stabilize our perspective in looking at life. The first step in unburdening awareness from the externalized odic-magnetic areas of the mind is to cause a bhakti, a love, a devotion, right within the nerve currents of your body.
Devotion and duty lay the foundation for the spiritual unfoldment that everyone is talking about in this age. We do not find the path in books. We find the path in how we handle our individual lives.
Bhakti yoga is the awakening of the love nature through the practice of devotion and giving. Giving begins new life. Giving is an essential for spiritual unfoldment, for until we give and give abundantly, we don’t really realize that we are not the giver; we are just a channel for giving. Abundance, materially and spiritually, comes to you when you cease to be attached to it, when you can take as much joy over a little pebble as you could over a precious ruby. The power of giving is a very great power, a great power that comes to you through yoga. You hear about yoga powers, the power of levitation, the power of suspended animation, but the truly great powers are the power of giving, the power of concentration, the power of the subconscious control over your mind, body and emotions, the power of universal love – practical powers that can be used today.
Why can’t you spiritually unfold until you learn to give and give and give and give until it hurts? Because that hurt is your block. Many people give, and they give generously, up to the point where they feel, “I have given a lot,” or “I have given too much,” or “I gave as much as I can give,” or “I will give more when I can,” or “I enjoy giving and I used to give a lot, but I can’t give so much right now.” These are the little blocks that come up within man’s nature and undermine man’s nature and bind him down to the depths of the negative areas of the subconscious mind. And then he can’t progress. Why can’t he progress? Because he can’t have devotion unless giving unfolds as his light.
The person who has a heart full of joy, even if he doesn’t have material possessions to speak of, always finds something to give; he gives what he has. He knows that he is not the giver at all, and when something comes his way, he gives of it freely. He is a vehicle for giving, and finally he is so full of abundance in consciousness that he knows he is not the giver, and he fulfills bhakti yoga in his life. If you give and give freely and spontaneously, you feel good about it, and if you do it again, you feel even better about it. But if you give and give selfishly, you feel bad about it, and if you continue to do so, you’ll feel worse. If you give and give spontaneously, you will awaken your inner nature, and spiritual power will flow through you, and you will merge with God within you. But if you give and give selfishly, by hanging on to your gift after you have given it, you close the door to spirituality. Giving is in many, many forms. Give freely, and your gift will come back to you, often doubled. That is the incomparable law of karma. Then this opens the door for another gift to be given. Your intuitive nature will tell you how you can give, when and where, and soon you will find yourself giving every minute of every day in the most
Excerpts from “Merging with Siva” by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami