The Forms of Divine Love

There are two primary manifestations of Divine Love experienced and reported by seekers and devotees around the world, irrespective of particular religious or philosophical backgrounds. The first is a focus on the personal manifestation of the Divine, which brings the seeker to an extremely intimate and personal form of devotion and experience. This may be directed at a specific form of the Divine, or to the Virgin Mary for Christians, or Krishna to the Vaishnavas. It may also take on a wider formation that opens the heart centre, not to a specific form of the Divine, but the Divine in all. This form ls what Sri Aurobindo calls psychic love. The second form is a more universalised type of love, which focuses on the Impersonal rather than the Personal aspect of the Divine. The Bodhisattwa ideal that dedicates the seeker to the realisation of all sentient beings before achieving personal salvation is an example of this type of wide, disinterested love and dedication to the entire manifested universe. In either case, whether concentrating on the Personal or the Impersonal aspect of the Divine, there is a pure self-giving to the object of the love and devotion without expectation or demand. Eventually the integral truth of love and devotion will encompass both the Personal and the Impersonal together as two aspects of the same Truth.

Sri Aurobindo writes: “The Divine’s love is that which comes from above poured down from the Divine Oneness and its Ananda on the being — psychic love is a form taken by divine love in the human being according to the need and possibilities of the human consciousness.”

“Universal love is the spiritual founded on the sense of the One and the Divine everywhere and the change of the personal into a wide universal consciousness, free from attachment and ignorance. … Cosmic love depends on the realisation of oneness of self with all. Psychic love or feeling for all can exist without this realisation.”

“The psychic love is pure and full of self-giving without egoistic demands, but it is human and can err and suffer. The Divine Love is something much vaster and deeper and full of light and Ananda. The love that belongs to the spiritual planes is of a different kind — the psychic has its own more personal love, bhakti, surrender. Love in the higher or spiritual mind is more universal and impersonal. The two must go together to make the highest divine love.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Love and Devotion, Divine Love, Universal Love and Psychic Love, pp. 156-158

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