(Excerpts from How to Cultivate Divine Love By Paramahansa Yogananda)
Divine Friendship of Guru and Disciple
The relationship between guru and disciple is the greatest expression of love in friendship; it is unconditional divine friendship, based on a shared, singular goal: the desire to love God above all else. The disciple bares his soul to the master, and the master bares his heart to the disciple. There is nothing hidden between them. Even in other noble forms of friendship there is sometimes diplomacy. But the friendship of the guru-disciple relationship is taintless.
I can think of no relationship in this world greater than that which I had with my Master. The guru-disciple relationship is love in its supreme form. I once left his ashram, thinking I could more successfully seek God in the Himalayas. I was mistaken; and I soon knew I had done wrong. Yet when I came back, he treated me as if I had never left. His greeting was so casual; instead of rebuking me, he calmly remarked, "Let us see what we have to eat this morning."
"But Master," I said, "aren't you angry with me for leaving?"
"Why should I be?" he replied. "I do not expect anything from others, so their actions cannot be in opposition to wishes of mine. I would not use you for my own ends; I am happy only in your own true happiness."
When he said that, I fell at his feet and cried, "For the first time there is someone who truly loves me!"
If I had been looking after the business of my earthly father and had run away, Father would have been very angry with me. When I had refused to accept a lucrative position offered to me, he wouldn't speak to me for seven days. He gave me the most sincere fatherly love, but still it was blind. He thought money would make me happy; money would have been the grave of my happiness. Only later, after I had started my school at Ranchi, did Father relent and say, "I am glad you didn't take that job."
But look at my Master's attitude; even though I ran away from the ashram to seek God, his love for me remained unchanged. He didn't even rebuke me. Yet at other times he always told me clearly when I was wrong. He said, "If my love can be bribed to compromise itself, then it is not love. If I have to alter my behavior toward you for fear of your reaction, then my feeling for you is not true love. I must be able to speak to you honestly. You can walk out anytime, but so long as you are with me I will remind you, for your own highest good, when you are going wrong." I had never imagined anyone could be so interested in me. He loved me for myself. He wanted perfection for me. He wanted me to be supremely happy. That was his happiness. He wanted me to know God; to be with the Divine Mother for whom my heart longed. Was that not divine love he expressed? to wish constantly to guide me in the path of goodness and love? When that love is developed between the guru and disciple, the disciple has no desire to manipulate the master, nor does the master seek control of the disciple. Supreme reason and judgment govern their relationship; there is no love like this. And I tasted of that love from my Master.
Lord Krishna expressed in his life pure love in its highest form. He has shown to the world that a love without any impurity can exist between man and woman.
Krishna had many women disciples, but one favorite, Radha. Each disciple said to herself, "Krishna loves me more than anyone else." Still, because Krishna often talked of Radha, the others were envious of her. (…) She (Radha) realized that the Master (Krishna) was interested not in her form, but in her soul.
The Perfect Love Between Soul and Spirit
The greatest love you can experience is in communion with God in meditation. The love between the soul and Spirit is the perfect love, the love you are all seeking. When you meditate, love grows. Millions of thrills pass through your heart. If you learn to control sex attraction and attachment to human beings; and if you strive to love all and to meditate more deeply, there will come into your life such love as you never dreamed possible. That is the love that Krishna gave, and that Jesus Christ expressed for all of his disciples. (…)
There is no one to whom we owe love more than to God. And there is no love sweeter than the love He gives to those who seek Him.
So why spend all your time pursuing temporary human love? Conjugal, familial, fraternal—all forms of human love have blind alleys. Divine love is the only perfect love. It is God who is playing hide-and-seek in the corridors of hearts, that perchance behind lesser human loves you may find His all-satisfying love.
Therefore love God, not for His gifts, but because He is your own, and because He made you in His image; and you will find Him. If you meditate deeply, a love will come over you such as no human tongue can describe; you will know His divine love, and you will be able to give that pure love to others.
That divine love of God came over me last night. I had only a wink of sleep, so overwhelming it was. In that great flame of love I am beholding you all. Such is the love I feel for you! In your faces I see what is in your hearts.
In the consciousness of one who is immersed in the divine love of God, there is no deception, no narrowness of caste or creed, no boundaries of any kind. When you experience that divine love, you will see no difference between flower and beast, between one human being and another. You will commune with all nature, and you will love equally all mankind. Beholding but one race—the children of God, your brothers and sisters in Him —you will say to yourself: "God is my Father. I am part of His vast family of human beings. I love them, for they are all mine. I love, too, my brother sun and my sister moon, and all creatures my Father has created and in whom His life flows."
True love is divine, and divine love is joy. The more you meditate, seeking God with a burning desire, the more you will feel that love in your heart. Then you will know that love is joy, and joy is God.
Throughout the ages, the strong motivating force of human love has been expressed in diverse ways—filial, conjugal, friendly, family, serviceful, humanitarian. All human love is borrowed from Divine Love, but by comparison is a meager expression. Dissatisfied with the imperfections of human love, man finally turns toward the perfect love of God. As the love of His children is the one thing the Lord is seeking, it is that devotion, freely given—in whatever form of expression, endeavor, or worship—that brings His divine response. He makes Himself known to a seeker in a measure commensurate with that person's mentality and capacity to receive. (God Talks With Arjuna p.452)