What Is Love?
Excerpts from What Is Love by Paramahansa Yogananda
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What is Love?
Love is the mystic echo from the caverns of the heart and the inaudible voice of feeling. Love is the unseen Charmer of souls. Love is the call of God to all creatures, animate and inanimate, to His house of Oneness. Love is the heartbeat of all life and the angel of incarnations.
Love is the balanced rhythmic dance of planets sun- and moon-lit, in the temple of the sky festooned with fleecy clouds, around the sovereign, silent will of the Creator.
Love is the silent choirs of snowflakes singing the winter's harmony of uniform beauty, and it is the urge of the sun to keep all things alive.
Love is the Mother of all affections and in its breast throbs the heart of God.
Love is the silent language of souls, and the invisible ink that lovers use to write letters on the pages of their hearts. Love is the silent conversation between two hearts. It is the lover's unenslaved surrender to the' beloved to serve and to solace ['solis].
Love is born in the garden of soul progress, and it sleeps behind the darkness of outer attachments. Love is the oldest and the sweetest nectar, preserved in the bottle of hearts. It is the elixir flowing from the bosom of friendship, reviving bruised and broken spirits.
Love is the light that dissolves all walls between souls, families, and nations. Love is the unfading blossom of pure friendship in the garden of both young and mature souls.
It is the ineffable, silent call of one heart to another heart. It is the God-drunk poet's heartaches for every creature's groans.
Love is to enjoy the family rose of petaled beings, and thence to move to spacious fields - passing through portals of social, national, and international sympathy, on to the limitless Cosmic Home - there to gaze with looks of wonderment and to serve all that lives, still or moving.
Love is the Divine Cupid, enticing mystic souls to pierce the heart of all living things. Love is the call of beauty-robed saints to worship the one Great Beauty. Love is the call of God - through silent intelligences and star-burst feelings.
Love is the song of the soul, singing to God. Love is the door to heaven, the complete song of souls. Love is Heaven itself, whither flowers, rivers, nations, atoms, creatures - you and I - are rushing by the straight path of right action, or winding laboriously along error's path, all to reach haven [heiven] there at last.
This is to know what love is: he knows who lives it!
The sun and moon and earth and all things are held together by the love of God. If we want to know God, we must not isolate our love, but join it to Divine Love. In spite of the sorrowful dance of life and death we know that God is Love. Therefore the only purpose of life should be to find God.
All nations must come into the temple of universal love and understanding. Love alone will last. The laws of God are the laws of brotherhood and love.
Although love is born in human relations and the law of mutual usefulness, yet pure love transcends all relations and is free from the conditions of the law of mutual usefulness. Although love is born in usefulness, we are not aware of it. A mother's love for her child is unconditional. Mothers are known to love even the most useless, ugly, diseased, or wicked children.
Our love should not be limited to those near us. The purpose of being together is that we may expand our love. Nature breaks the ties of family life in order that we may learn that the love we give our family must be extended to our neighbors, friends, country, and all nations. He who does not love his family cannot love his neighbor or his country. He who does not first love his country cannot learn to love all nations.
Love is a condition of the mind and heart distinctly transcending all relations. Yet we can worship God through all forms of human relations: we can love Him as Father, Mother, Master, Friend, or the Beloved of all hearts.
Love must never remain hidebound in a small circle. Through the gates of friendship, conjugal affection, parental love and the love of all fellow beings and all animate creatures, we can enter into the kingdom of Divine Love. Pure love does not come by talking, but by culturing it gradually on the expanding soil of an ever-increasing feeling of sympathy and friendship toward all.
The person who has never loved anyone in the world, not even birds or animals, cannot possibly love all humanity. One who has never loved his fellow beings cannot possibly love God. Only the soil of the heart that can grow human love can grow Divine Love.
One of the ways to attain God-consciousness is to shut "self" out and live for all. You should be loyal to your friends, and have love for all. Do you know why you were given a family? That you might expand your consciousness by living for others. In family life we learn to love and to sacrifice ourselves for others; thus we attain an expansion of consciousness. When love becomes personal it is exclusive, confined; when it becomes impersonal, it expands. Give impersonal love; be able to feel for everybody the same love that you bestow on your family, and to do for others exactly as you would do for yourself. The social way to cosmic consciousness is to love everyone in that way.
God loves all His children alike - they are all His divine family, and His love is impersonal. You should give that same kind of love to everyone. That is the divine plan. To forget it is to suffer. The whole world-attitude should change. You are everybody, because your true nature is omnipresence.
I enjoy giving things to others; I feel the greatest happiness in seeing their joy. When we feel for and love others, we find that all of creation responds to us. Jesus, who gave up his body as "a ransom for many," showed us the way of attaining cosmic consciousness. Christlike, you too should serve all men as your own Self.
The man of cosmic consciousness is a happy man. He doesn't limit his love to a few, excluding everyone else. Make the whole world your own family. Will you remember that? That is what I feel all the time. I have no caste, no country; but all are mine. Love all men as your brothers, love all women as your sisters, and all old people as your parents. Love all human beings as your friends.
Love comes from the Lord. It is the panacea for all our human sufferings. There is nothing greater than love, for it is a quality of God Himself within our beings. When we manifest this love, under all circumstances - in family life, in our social and national life - it expands to greater, universal love. Such love is divine. When you have that kind of love, then and then only are you One with Him.
There is no greater tonic than love, which can beautify the body and mind of man. Love cannot be described; it can only be felt. All our love in its native purity is the love of God. If pure love beams in our soul, we will be clothed with the ever-attracting universal beauty and love of God.