this story to a friend
It was Christ
Jesus who first said "Love God with all thy heart, with all thy
mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength,
and love man as thy brother." This is an absolute truth indeed; but
different men put different interpretations to this noble expression.
The expressions of all great men are nice but somewhat mysterious—when
understood they bring the truth nearest to the heart; otherwise they
remain mere letters that "kill". The reason of the mystery is
that men, advanced in their inward approach to the Deity, are in the
habit of receiving revelations which are but mysteries to those that
are behind them.
The stages of
progress are very much the same as the circles of spiritualism which,
though not true themselves, explain a great deal about the gradual
development of the soul. We have understood some spiritualists to
maintain that matter when sublimated converts itself to spirit. This
theory is indeed against any inward conviction. Matter is matter, and
Spirit is spirit; one of them cannot form the other. Spirit is
certainly of a superior existence; though we cannot fully understand in
our present state of material imprisonment, what relation Spirit does
exactly bear to matter, space and time. Metaphysics apart, we decide
that the human soul rises higher and higher and can understand things
of which we have no idea at present.
this important rule, Christ Jesus of Nazareth received and uttered the
words quoted above. To readers who are a little above the scale of
ordinary men, these expressions of Jesus teach that man should love
God with all his heart (meaning the affections of the heart
perceivable in all children as opposed to hate), with all his mind
(meaning the intellect which knows as opposed to ignorance of good
things), with all his soul (meaning that principle of the human
constitution which worships the Almighty and feels its own immortality)
and with all his strength (meaning all active work).
inspired, however, more things and better and sublimer meanings appear
beneath these holy words of the Inspired Jesus. He teaches man to love
God and not to know, infer, hate, or think
of God. He tells us that man in his absolute state is not the intellect
or the body but is the pure Soul itself. The essence of
the soul is wisdom, and its action is love absolute.
The absolute condition of man is his absolute relation to the Deity in
pure love. Love then alone is the religion of the Soul and
consequently of the whole man.
asks here, "What have I to do with the heart?—my heart loves to see the
'sun to smile', 'to eat the sweetest dish and to see a dance'." Jesus
profoundly replies, "Yes, you must love God with all thy heart.
Your heart now runs to other things than God, but must (as you train a
bad horse) make your feelings run to the loving God." This is one of
the four princples of worship or what they call in Vaishnava
Literature, Shanta Rasa.
pupil says, "My Lord, the intellect takes me elsewhere from God, i.e.,
it wants to take me to Positivism; please instruct me what am I
to do?" "Yes", replies Jesus, "you must love God with all your mind,
i.e. when you perceive, conceive, remember, imagine, and reason, you
must not allow yourself to be a dry thinker but must love. Love
alone can soften the dryness of the intellect. You must develop the
intellect on all good and holy things by means of love of truth,
spiritual beauty and harmony." This is the second phase of Vaishnava
development which passes by the name of Dashya Rasa.
then enquires whether the development of the affections and the
intellect is quite enough for him. Then says the Lord, "You must love
God with thy soul also, i.e., you must perceive yourself in spiritual
communication with the Deity and receive holy revelations in your
sublimest hours of worship." This is called the Sakhya Rasa of
the Vaishnavas, the Soul approaching the Deity in holy and fearless
service. The disciple apprehends that he will be lost in such a
position and will be unable to act. Then the Saviour tells him these
words: "You must love God with all thy strength or will—you are wrong
in concluding that you will lose your active existence. You will get it
the more. Work for God and work to God, proceeding from
no interested views but from a holy free will (which is alone the
strength of man) and identifying itself with pure love, will fully
engross your attention."
description is of Bhakti in general. Then Jesus proceeds to
tell us "You must love man as thy brother." From this is inferred the
fourth phase of love, which is a feeling that all men are brothers and
God is their common Father. This is Batshalya Rasa in its first
stage of development.
(love) is thus perceived in the very first development of the man in
the shape of heart, then in the shape of mind, then in
the shape of soul, and lastly in the shape of will.
These shapes do not destroy each other but beautifully harmonize
themselves into a pure construction of what we call the spiritual man,
or the Ekanta of Vaishnava Literature.
But there is
another sublimer truth behind this fact which is revealed to a few that
are prepared for it. We mean the spiritual conversion of the Soul into
a woman. It is in that sublime and lofty state in which the soul can
taste the sweets of an indissoluble marriage with God of Love. The
fifth or the highest stage of Vaishnava development is this,
which we call Madhura Rasa, and on this alone the most
beautiful portion of the Vaishnava Literature so ably expatiates. This
phase of human life, mysterious as it is, is not attainable by all;
nay, we should say, by any but "God's own". It is so very beyond the
reach of common men that the rationalists and even the ordinary theists
cannot understand it; nay, they go so far as to sneer at it as
Reveal Thy most valuable truths to all, so that Your own may not be
numbered with the fanatics and the crazed and that the whole of mankind
may be admitted as "Your own".