Saturday, November 29, 2008

27. Types of paths, continued, (Second installment).....( afnta, afnta-questforallah, Allah, God, love for God, quest)

If love for God is essential for success (in the path of love for God), a logical question arises, how to get love for God?

The answer is that some get it free, as a gift from God (as this unworthy mote got it), others have to cultivate it. A devotee asked this question: "how can I develop love for God?” Sri Ramakrishna replied, "Repeat His name…..” The devotee asked the next question, “How can I take delight in God’s name?”

He replied: "pray to God with a yearning heart that you may take delight in His name.”

The essence of his reply is to pray to God to grant the person love for Him. Prayer is a mortal’s last resort

It is also mentioned by sages, that to develop longing for spirituality one must seek the company of holy men. If it is not possible to have the company of holy men, then spiritual books are a substitute. This mote has been guided and consoled by books. I was initially made aware of the world of spirituality by a book, “shahabnama” (see sidebar). I had absolutely no belief in the existence of life after death, but my views changed after reading that book. I was comforted for almost a whole year by “pilgrim of stars” (see sidebar). If book could speak, it would have testified to my anguish. Several other books, listed in sidebar, held a light, and showed me the path, in the dark night.

I cannot, ever, repay the debt I owe to these authors. Their voices, guided me, sometimes across centuries ( Brother Lawrence over three centuries, St Teresa of Avila, over five centuries, and Daata Gunj Bakhash over ten centuries). The diary entries of Nancy Mayorga, her ecstasies and her sorrows , stirred the depths of my soul.

The journeys of Paul Brunton, in foreign lands, in search of truth, and ultimately finding it, are full of suspense. They leave an indelible impression. Love for God is palpable, and drips from every page of ‘Confessions’ by St Augustine, written, sixteen centuries ago. One feels, that one is not alone, countless seekers have gone before him, and some have left their footprints in the sands of time, to guide us, to sustain us, and to comfort us. They wrote these books, not for personal aggrandizement, but to help others and to glorify God

And sometimes, some holy souls, even come back from other worlds, from where no one comes, at God’s orders, to comfort an aspirant in distress, and wipe his/her tears (see the entry 3. 'The dream', and entry 14, St Therese). I quote entry 3, because it was told to me by the person himself.

God has everything. We cannot give him anything which he does not have. He does not need anything. However, there is one thing, which we can give, and He will like our gift, and that is our love for Him. Our love, without asking for anything in return. Even He, who has everything, likes it. He is drawn by a devotee’s love. Read again the entry, 17. Brother Lawrence….

"….I eat and drink at the Lord’s Table.” In another letter he writes: "….this King, full of goodness and mercy, lovingly embraces me, seats me at His table, waits on me Himself, gives me the keys to His treasures, and treats me in all things His favorite; He converses with me and takes delight in me in countless ways….This is what I see from time to time while in His holy presence.”

To be continued

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