Love is the measure of spiritual progress:
Love and self-realization are so inter-related that they cannot be separated from one another. Some sages, particularly Narad Ji has gone to the extent declaring that self realization is not feasible without love. Tulsidas Ji did not even care for self-realization. Love to him was supreme.
All great teachers have said, "Love God." But, do we know what love is; if we did we would not be talking so much about it. Everyone says he can love, and then, in no time, finds out that there is no love in his nature. The world is full of the talk of love, but it is hard to love. Where is love? How do we know that there is love?
The first test of love is that it knows no bargaining. As long as we see someone love another only to get something in return, we know that it is not love; it is simply shop keeping, business. Whenever there is any question of buying and selling, it is not love.
The second test is that it knows no fear. As long as one thinks of God as a Being sitting somewhere in the clouds, with rewards in one hand and retributions in the other, there can be no love. Can anyone frighten one into love? Does the mouse love the cat? Does a thief love a policeman? Love is always the highest ideal. When one has passed through the first two stages, when one has thrown off all shop keeping, and cast off all fears, then one begins to realize that love is always the highest ideal. The philosophy behind ‘love being the highest ideal’ is that everyone projects his own ideal and worships that. This external world is only the world of suggestion. All that we see, we project out of our own minds. Ralph Woodrow Emerson puts it very concisely, “As I am, so I see.” Similarly, external things furnish us with suggestions, over which we project our own ideals and make our objects. John Stewart Mill observes,
“Matter is the permanent possibility of sensations.”
Lovers see this world as full of love and haters as full of hatred; brutes see nothing but strife, and the peaceful nothing but peace. The perfect man sees nothing but God. So we always worship our highest ideal, and when we have reached the point, where we love the ideal as the ideal, all arguments and doubts vanish forever. The ideal can never go, because it has become a part of my own nature. I shall only question the ideal when I question my own existence, and if I cannot question my own existence I cannot question the ideal. We always begin as dualists. God a separate Being, and I a separate being. Love comes between, and man begins to approach God, and God, as it were, begins to approach man. Man takes up all the various relationships of life, as father, mother, friend, or lover; and the last point is reached when he becomes one with the object of worship, the ideal.
The love of ideal and the ideal of love become one. The spiritual journey is complete – nothing more to say, nothing more to do.
यही है बो साँझ और सबेरा जिसके लिये तडफ़े हम सारा जीवन भर an old