Love first, understand afterwards
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
The worldly mind cannot think of the true meaning of love and devotion. Normally, physical love and being attached to it is taken for love. Similar is the case of devotion to God, which we are doing materialistically. Thus, common man usually is mistaken about the true meaning of love and devotion.
If, being a father, I think that I should be praised by my children for providing them all the best things within my means, then it is my sheer folly, because whatever I do my ego is involved. I consider my status, reputation, family background to which I am attached, and accordingly I provide them. Usually we always consider our priorities and keep ourselves safe. We may keep provision for our old age fearing that children may turn away in due course of time. So, where is the constant love between a father and son?
In another way, I can think that, being a father, I should sacrifice whatever I have for the sake of love towards my children. Age of the children is no bar for fulfilling their necessities and I don’t impose any conditions on them for doing so. It is up to the children to think of my welfare if they feel like doing so. After all it is not my consideration. I have done my duty and it is up to them to take care of their duties. Out of love I cannot remind them of their duties toward me.
In turn, I
am also a child of God. I believe He has put me in a proper family for my development. I am not considering whether I am put in a poor, or rich, or intellectual family. God has done his duty towards me doing whatever he considered proper for me.
Should I be thankful to him for it, or does He expect me to do this? Let me see what the opinion of the saints is on this matter. I find that we should reciprocate God with our heartfelt love. He doesn’t expect us to say prayers, or observe certain rituals, or sacrifice ourselves for his sake. Out of mercy He has played his part toward me and lets me reciprocate Him for this. That should be the Alpha and Omega of my relationship with Him.
Realizing this fact I have to think in what way I can express my love to Him. He is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent. Saints advise us that we should extend our love to all His creation – living, and non-living too! Differentiation of any kind is to be removed because He is all pervading.
There is a hairline of difference between livings and non-livings that is still not possible to understand through science, in spite of all its developments. So let me try not to understand Him through all present knowledge. However, it doesn’t bar me to love Him. Love doesn’t need such analytical understanding!
“Love first, understand afterwards” - is the core of divine love.