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HOW TO LOVE BABA
by Meherji Karkaria
As Baba frequently told us, real love is a gift from God to man, so when we speak of loving Baba, we mean a sharing with Him and others of something He has given us. But Baba always stressed that the gift of His love is a rare and precious one, dispensed only through the descent of His grace. So immediately the problem rises as to what we can do to win Baba's grace and the gift of His love, and how we can share and nurture it once we have received it.
Baba stressed to us that love is a spontaneous outpouring of the heart which no amount of force on our part can produce. I remember sitting before Baba many times while He would relate a story of one of His great lovers in the past; how his love for God led him to sacrifice everything for His Beloved and undergo unbelievable hardships and trials until he became consumed in his love for Him. "You have no idea of the agony of real love — Divine Love," Baba would tell us, "Ordinary, human love is just a faint shadow of it." Those sitting around Baba would feel greatly humbled by the story and we would wonder how we, who were trying to love and serve Baba in our own limited capacities, could develop so strong a love for Him.
Baba was very compassionate in His reply to our inevitable queries as to how to love Him. He would silently reflect for a moment, then with His special sense of humor lightly gesture, "That's the problem, isn't it, how to love me." And with that He would describe to us the stages of love; how we could prepare ourselves to receive His love, and we would feel comforted by knowing the ways in which it was possible to arrive at real love for Him.
He told us to begin by remembering Him, to constantly turn our thoughts to Him, by surrounding ourselves with things that remind us of Him, and by taking His name. Our remembrance of Him, He assured us, would gradually seep into our heart, and slowly awaken the love for Him which is buried there. As this happens our thoughts naturally turn from other desires and worry and towards Baba, making once what was a continual effort as much a part of us as our very breath.
Once even a slight love for Baba awakens in us the question of forcing ourselves to remember Him dissolves in a growing desire to be with Him as much as we can.
As our love for Baba strengthens we will naturally be drawn to do the things that would please Him, to obey Him, and to serve Him by serving others as He is the One in all. All questions regarding spirituality, the stages of the path, and so on, will be put to an end, as the very nature of love is to seek the Beloved's presence and pleasure above all else.
Baba also described to us the different types of love, how even greed and lust are forms of love. But there is irony inherent in these lower forms of love, for when we chase after or try to possess something we are in fact possessed by it, and bound by a feeling of separateness from it. But in real love, Divine Love, when we offer ourselves unconditionally to our Beloved, we find that in the very act of giving we have included the Beloved in ourselves, and in Him we gain everything.
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