If you ask people whether they love God, almost everyone replies that they love Him from the core of their hearts. Perhaps they are right. But if you try to assess the level or intensity of their love for God, you may be surprised. The other day, in one of my spiritual classes, I asked ‘how should we judge that you really love God?’ Their answer varied from “I daily say my prayer two times, in the morning as well as in the evening.”, “I remember Him too often.”, “He grants almost all my wishes.”, “I remember Him before starting anything new,” etc.
But would all these be the indicators of my love and not my respect or my fear of Him or even my selfishness? I may respect Him for being the Creator and the Supreme or I may pray to Him for the grant of some desire or a vested interest; I may also be afraid of His annoyance and wish to be safe at all cost. Out of all these or some of these, I may display my devotion to the Almighty. But how can that be interpreted as my love for Him?
To find out whether I really love Him I should search my inner-self. For example a mother loves her child. If you ask her why does she love the child, what would she say? She loves him because she loves him and because he is her child. And for this seemingly very simple reason, she can do anything and can undergo any inconvenience and trouble for the child. We perhaps do not remember what our mother must have done for our comfort and happiness. She may not have even been conscious of the fact that all her effort and labour for the well-being of her child would ever be recognised, not to say whether it would ever be compensated and rewarded.
“I think the pure love, apart from certain other features, lies in unquestioning acceptance and a total and sincere obedience of the Lord, the Supreme Soul, God.”
Of course, it is love and not any form of selfishness or even a sense of duty. It is love–pure and simple. Judged from this point of view, does our remembrance of God qualify for being called Love? No doubt we remember Him, make very rich and plentiful offerings, even undergo the suffering of travelling long distances to pay our respects to Him at particular places and monuments raised in His honour. It is perhaps our devotion of Him that we also undergo long and strict fasts.
But the question still keeps lurking in the mind, “Why do we do all these things?” Is it just out of pure and deep love, like that of the mother for her child, or for the fulfillment of some long-standing wish and desire? Perhaps we can judge our emotions for Him and reach the conclusion whether we really love Him or remember and try to appease Him for some specific purpose or reason.
I think the pure love, apart from certain other features, lies in unquestioning acceptance and a total and sincere obedience of the Lord, the Supreme Soul, God. No questions, no grumbling, no doubts, no demands, but just acceptance happily and whole-heartedly. I think it is time for me to search my inside and say what it is that I identify as my ‘Love of God’.
By Dadi Janki