The Nature of Divine Love

There is an apocryphal tale in the Mahabharata which illustrates the nature of Divine Love and the devotion of the seeker. Narad, the divine sage, came across a yogi who was practicing austerities. The yogi took the opportunity to ask how long before he would achieve liberation. When Narada told him it would be several lifetimes, he was distressed that after so many years of hard austerities, the result was still long in the future. Narad later came across a bhakta who was singing and dancing in praise of the Divine under a large tree. This bhakta asked the same question of Narad who said that “as many leaves as there are on this tree, so many lifetimes before your liberation.” At which the bhakta cried for joy and thanked the Divine Grace that he would be liberated in so short a time! He obtained immediate liberation! This story illustrates the true attitude of the seeker, and the nature of Divine Love.

Sri Aurobindo notes: “The Divine Love, unlike the human, is deep and vast and silent; one must become quiet and wide to be aware of it and reply to it. He must make it his whole object to be surrendered so that he may become a vessel and instrument — leaving it to the Divine Wisdom and Love to fill him with what is needed. Let him also fix this in the mind not to insist that in a given time he must progress, develop, get realisation; whatever time it takes, he must be prepared to wait and persevere and make his whole life an aspiration and an opening for the one thing only, the Divine. To give oneself is the secret of sadhana, not to demand and acquire. The more one gives oneself, the more the power to receive will grow. But for that all impatience and revolt must go; all suggestions of not getting, not being helped, not being loved, going away, of abandoning life or the spiritual endeavour must be rejected.”

Sri Aurobindo, Integral Yoga: Sri Aurobindo’s Teaching and Method of Practice, Chapter 6, Sadhana Through Love and Devotion, Divine Love, Bhakti, pp. 158-162

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