Do We Love God?

Many times, this question runs through my mind. Do we actually love God? I am sure our first and initial reaction is 'Yes, of course'. However, it is a question we need to ask ourselves again and again. Let us look at how God sees us and our love for Him. In the Bhagavad Gita, the song Divine, Lord Krishna says to Arjuna that there are four kinds of aspirants who pray to Him. The four kinds are described as Arthi, Arthaarthi, Jignaasu and Jnani. Let us take a crash course on what these mean.
Very simply put, Arthi is one who prays to God only in times of distress or dire need - the category most people belong to.
Arthaarthi is the one who seeks Artha(money). The general population who pray everyday but include only prayers for the financial and physical well being of themselves and their families.
Jignaasu - now, this category of people are rare. They pray for wisdom and enlightenment. This is a person in search of God.
Jnaani- This category of people constitute the wise. The ones who see all creation as one with the Divine and only pray and act for the welfare of the world. These are the rarest kind and there will be only a handful of them in society.
Lord Krishna categorically mentions that the Jnani is the one who is dearest to Him. However, the question in point is, who amongst these loves God? Well, all of them do - some for personal gain, some for family wellness, but the true devotee loves God unconditionally. I am reminded of a sweet little experience we had during our final year MBA in the Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning. We had prayed to Swami on the previous evening for an opportunity to present our Gratitude programme in the Bhajan Hall. For those who do not know, it is customary for students who belong to the outgoing batch to offer a programme as an expression of their gratitude to Swami towards the end of the academic year.
Our warden told us that it was the norm to present the programme outside in the Sai Kulwanth Hall and therefore a private session will not be possible. However, when we went to Swami with the card, we had a plan in mind. Our plan was to request Swami for an exclusive session for the class of 120 final year PG students in the Bhajan Hall so that we could have an interaction with Swami. The warden told us that it had been many years since Swami blessed students with a class interview. To our pleasant surprise, Swami readily agreed when we told Him that we wanted to put up the programme in the Bhajan hall since there was a video presentation also and the light outside would make it difficult to view. Those days, there were no giant screens in Kulwanth Hall. The next day, we were all ready in the Bhajan Hall eagerly awaiting Swami. I was at the door with my classmate Sanjay. As Swami alighted from the golf car that He was using for granting Darshans, He gently enquired as to how many boys were there. We replied that 120 were there. Swami then asked innocently if the programme was inside to which we nodded in the affirmative. As Swami entered, He seemed surprised that we had made arrangements for Him to sit near the middle door and not in His usual place near the interview room door. We had deliberately done that so that more boys could sit around Him and many would get the first row.

Why are there mistakes in this?

 As we began the programme with the first song, 2 boys went up to Swami and handed over a sheet containing the lyrics of that song. This method continued for each song and that way more boys got chances to get close to Swami. We ended with a Telugu song 'O Nesthama...' which had the last line as Maatalaadavaa...and then requested Swami to speak to us. Swami then tactfully pulled out one of the lyrics sheets of a song we sang during the programme. The lyrics were His own composition to which one of our classmates had set a lovely tune. They read, "Aa Nanda Baalude, Ananda Baaludai, Tanavaari gurtimpa Tarali vacche, Aa Ramachandrude, Aarama chandrudai, tana bantulanu kanugonanga vacche" This meant 'That very son of Nanda has come as a child full of Ananda(Bliss) to recognize His people. That very Ramachandra has come as the one who confers Aarama (rest) to see His emissaries....'
Swami pulled this sheet out and asked us, "Who wrote these lyrics?"
We said, "Swami, You have written it."
Swami said, "Are you singing from your heart or from your lips?"
We said, "From our heart Swami."
Swami then said, "If you are singing from your heart, why are there mistakes? See, (and He showed the lyrics sheet) you say 'Aa Nanda Bala, Aa Ramachandra' (that Nanda bala, that Ramachandra), but now this Nanda bala has come(pointing to Himself), this Ramachandra has come. So, shouldnt your lyrics be Ee Nanda Baludai, Ee Ramachandrudai"
Then He looked at the bottom of the page which said II PGC (PG Class). Swami asked, "What is PGC?"
I said, "2nd Post Graduate Class". Swami did not seem satisfied. He looked at another brother and asked him the same question to which he replied, "Swami, Purity, Goodness and Character."
Swami then said, "Purity is Goodness and Goodness is Character. What is the difference between the three? There is no difference. What is purity?"
The boy then said, "Swami, Love for God and Fear of Sin."
Swami then said, "Love for God? Everyone loves God. Who does not love God? But," He continued, "the problem is that you love other things too!"
I was taken aback. When I look back at that interaction today, Swami was saying that it is not just enough to love God. We must also make our love for Him exclusive. We must love everything else as God too. So, simply put - do we love God? I would say, as long as we have desires for things which are un-Godly, I don't quite think we can claim to love God.
I am also reminded of another Trayee Session in which Swami asked all of us, "Boys, do you love Me?"
All the boys responded in chorus, "Yes Swami"
Swami then sounded a little more serious and said, "Boys, do you know what is love?" No one responded.
He continued, "If you lose all your wealth and possessions, if your relatives desert you and if your friends turn against you, if you lose your respect and reputation and people are chasing you on the roads and hurling stones at you like they would at a mad dog....if in that kind of situation, you say 'God, I love you', then that is Love. For, love cannot be conditional. Now boys, tell me, do you love Me?"
All were silent, but Swami continued, "Whether you love Me or not, I love you."
It is always easy to get onto a platform and declare our love for God. But, it behoves us to understand what is meant by loving God. This kind of state is not easy. We are unable to follow even simple things that Swami wants us to do, leave alone 'loving' Him. I suppose we can love Him like the Gopis of Brindavan did, only if we stick to the path He has shown us. Someday, I pray that Swami will tell us, "Yes, you love Me"!


Amit said…
"love other things" very well highlighted. Loved it. Thanks!
Sita said…
Orey Bhaktha, You took us on the best trip down the memory lane!
Sita - Posted this to remind myself of the wonderful experience!!
Dev Kruthi said…
Dear Venu, Thanks for sharing .. Sairam..
Devsen bro..when are you available to share your beautiful experiences. We would like to hear from you.
Wonderful share..Thanks brother

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