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The scriptures discuss the various paths by which one comes to realize God. Three major ways are mentioned. The way of knowledge (jnana); the way of action (karma); and the way of bhakti (love and devotion). Respectively, these paths involve a life of study, a life of selfless service to others, and a life of surrender to the Self that is the soul of all. 

Each path has its proponents. Lovers of wisdom say that the path of action (karma) is prescribed only for purification of the mind, not for realization of the Self, while bhaktis counter that knowledge of the truth of the Self (jnana) is out of the reach of the mind and only obtainable by devotion to a higher power. But you are that Higher Power.

This talk of various paths is based on the illusion that you are somewhere and the Self is someplace else and you must go and strive and attain it. But in fact the Self is here and now and you are always It. The Self is synonymous with Love. Let its radiance shine as Love. The path of Love transcends those lesser ascents. Love (denoted by the Sanskrit word prema) is the shortcut, whereby the separate individual paths of bhakti, jnana and karma yogas converge and are subsumed. 

Intense love provides direct access to your essence. By developing an attitude of merging with the divine in all that you do, this attitude of dedication, of surrender to the divine will is the best means of realizing the Self. It is not enough to see God in a particular guru, master or deity (Christ or Buddha, for instance) and then be cruel to and careless with others. Remember Christ’s golden rule to love all as yourself. Krishna said: “One who has realized God sees God everywhere and in all. To look upon all beings as Myself, and to shape one’s conduct towards them accordingly, in thought, word and deed – that is the best method of worship.” 

That is Love.

You realize that all you know is love, that your heart is infinite and everywhere. And you give your heart freely to others until love consumes you so completely that it has turned your false self to dust and freed you of every concept and image your mind has ever known. Love is the funeral pyre on which you place your personal self. All your worldly cares, the false notions of yourself that once caused fear, disintegrate as you near the Self. And you celebrate the madness, the sheer joy, of seeing God everywhere! The path of love is so astoundingly glorious that along it your mind is obliterated and you become what you are: Inconceivable. The poets say that out of a great need we are all holding hands and climbing through life. Not loving is a letting go.

“Life is a love contest and you can only win.” (Hafiz)

And as you love, all your worry and sorrow apologize and confess they were a great lie. Because there is no other, there is nothing to fear. The universe is always willing to provide you with helpful reminders of the Oneness. In your dreams your dream self experiences fear from characters that on waking you find were figments of your own imagination. No matter what happens in your reveries, your waking body is unaffected. This same relationship exists between the false self and the Self as it truly is. Just as the water of a mirage cannot wet the desert sand, this unreal world can never harm the One (you) who is its basis.
So, Love.

As you love you realize that in a limitless universe with a circumference of infinity each individual stands as its center. That your existence is too sacred to ever end. And you see God everywhere, and dancing.

So, Love.

Today’s age is obsessed with reaching the farthest reaches of exploration, of discovering the seed of the universe and developing a theory of everything. What scientists neglect is that we are greater than anything the mind can fathom. Imagine trying to lift a boulder while standing atop it! And so you should discover what is immediate and intimate, instead of trying to find out what is distant and unknown.

So, Love.

Just like an organism transmitted microscopically to another, though invisible to the naked eye, your peace of mind, this Love, is subtly contagious.

Once you liberate your mind from its innate restlessness, freeing it from distractions and breaking its outward bent training it to look inward, you see the world through eyes of peace, caught in that pure state that momentarily intervenes between sleep and waking, in which you are pure consciousness seeing the world with clear eyes. And what do you see? To paraphrase a Sufi master, that the world is a workshop where everyone strives to build enough love to break the chains of the mind. That your wounds can only heal when you forgive this dream.

When you surrender the illusion of free-will, yet still live for the benefit of others, when you listen to strangers as if everyone were your master revealing to you her deepest secrets, when you love others, even unfamiliars, as though they sprang from your very loins, you have attained your destiny. 

Imagine a world where you were judged by the purity of your feelings and the capacity of your affections. Celebrate love in the grand festival of your heart and you will help bring heaven to Earth. Paradise is here today.


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