THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF PURE LOVE
Loving Sai Ram and greetings from Prashanti Nilayam.
We are passing through troubled times, with violence
dominating the news in many places. In Iraq of course, gruesome atrocities
have become so common that as far as the Media are concerned, they have
stopped being news. Then we had the multiple bombings in the suburban trains
in Bombay that killed nearly two hundred and wounded many more. Right now,
the situation in the Middle East is hotting up badly, making everyone very
worried. And as if all this is not enough, there is the daily quota of
violence all over the place, in slums, in the ghettos and so on, apart from
what is called Maoist violence in India , which rages unabated. Just a
couple of days ago, nearly forty tribals were massacred and in the process,
a six-month old child was mercilessly thrown into the fire. It is very
painful to mention all this but we have to draw attention to the ugly to
stress how casual and sometimes even indifferent we are to the beautiful.
Violence is nothing new; it has always been there from times immemorial. Man
having evolved from animals, has a natural tendency to violence inherited
from animals. However, God in His Mercy has given man many tools, using
which man could check and keep violence under control. But unfortunately, he
does not appreciate the power latent in him and seldom uses those tools. To
make matters worse, man constantly uses his wonderful brain to invent new
methods of inflicting devastating violence in very cruel ways.
If you think about it, the anatomy of violence is really strange. Religion,
they say, is often the cause of conflict. So it seems, but have you ever
wondered why it is that Christians are fighting Christians in Northern
Ireland ? To those who are not Christians, this would seem absolutely
strange, and yet there it is, this conflict, still to be resolved
satisfactorily. Then again, to non-Muslims, it seems strange that Shia
Muslims are fighting Sunni Muslims in many parts of the Middle East . If you
look further, you will find that all these conflicts originate because
people try to differentiate themselves, unnecessarily, one might add. Once
they start this process, then all kinds of self-interests creep in, causing
problems. Just to give an example that borders on the ridiculous, we would
like to briefly narrate the story of a dispute that arose about eighty years
or so ago in Chennai, then Madras.
To Westerners, Hindus might seem to be one homogenous block but that is the
view from outside. As in other communities, despite the Vedas and all that,
Hindus too easily fall a prey to the disease of unwanted differentiation.
Thus, as if the so-called caste distinctions were not enough, there is a
divide that separates those who worship Vishnu as the Supreme God and those
who claim that it is Siva who is the Supreme God. If you think this is
pretty bad, hold on to your chair! Among the followers of Vishnu or
Vaishnavaites as they are known, there are two sects, and they distinguish
themselves by the way they wear the caste mark on their foreheads. There is
the northern branch that wears it one way and there is the southern branch
that wears the caste mark with a slight difference.
Now there is in Madras a temple of Krishna , managed by Vaishnavaities.
Krishna being an incarnation of Vishnu is a natural favourite of
Vaishnavaites, though it must be added that He is also equally adored by
Saivaites or the followers of Siva. Now this temple in Madras had an
elephant, very much like our beloved Sai Geetha. The more prosperous temples
in South India all have or least used to have, elephants that participated
in and lent colour to various festivals.
Getting back to this temple in Madras , the question arose as to what type
of caste mark should adorn the forehead of the temple elephant. The Southern
brand of Vaishnavaites said it must be according to their style while the
Northern brand said no way. The argument between the two sects in the Temple
Management Committee became so fierce, that the matter went to Court – this,
by the way, all happened when the British ruled India . The lower Courts
could not settle the matter and the litigation slowly wound its way up the
legal ladder until it reached the Federal Court . None of the Courts could
arbitrate in a manner acceptable to both parties. And do you know what
happened after that? An appeal was made by the aggrieved party to the Privy
Council in England ! Imagine that!! The legal body of the House of Lords in
England was called upon to arbitrate in a matter involving the caste mark of
an elephant that was the property of a Hindu temple in faraway India ; and
by the way, these Lords hardly knew anything about Hinduism! Today when we
recall that story, it all seems pretty amusing but the fact of the matter is
that when two people, groups, communities or races get involved in a
dispute, they can become very petty and quite mean. This is the starting
point of hardening of positions, which later, in many cases, leads to
With that preamble, let us come to the central issue. In a sense, all these
conflicts arise from issues connected with identification and space. People
want to cling on to certain identities and demand space for their identities
to flourish. Thus it is that Catholics and Protestants forget that they both
worship Christ and quarrel about their Catholic or Protestant identity. It
is the same when it comes to Shias and Sunnis, Vaishnavaites and Saivaites,
and so on. Mercifully, not all conflicts are vicious or violent but the
point we are making is that humankind somehow seems to revel in
differentiation rather that in seeing unity in diversity.
And yet, interestingly, it is not always that such unwanted feelings of
differentiation prevail. For example, during the recent blasts in Mumbai,
people of ALL communities and strata in Society rushed to the help of those
affected. Calamities have their own way of blurring differences. The
question arises: “What is the special chemistry of calamities that makes
people forget their differences?” Ah, that precisely is where Swami’s
profound observations enter into the picture!
Swami often tells us, “You also are God.” What does that mean? It does not
mean that we can wave our hand and materialise Vibhuti and things like that.
It means something totally different. In the Gita, Lord Krishna declares
that wherever compassion, forbearance, selfless love, etc., manifest, there
shines His Divinity. In other words, God means Love, something that we
remind ourselves of via the beautiful Bhajan Prem Ishwar hai, Ishwar Prem
hai . When there is a disaster and people are suffering, differences that
normally divide humans recede into the background and the chemistry of
compassion and love starts operating.
Perhaps we can now return to our opening remarks. Yes, there is a lot of
anger and hatred but since we are all made in the image of God, there is
also within each one of us, the reservoir of Pure Love. In purely numerical
terms while some may appear to be filled with hate, Pure Love is locked up
in all without exception. That can make an enormous difference, if what is
locked up is released at least in some measure.
This Pure Love that we are talking about is no ordinary love; it is not the
feeling of bodily attachment that we frequently mistake for Love. It is
soft, gentle and compassionate but has power that would dwarf the staggering
forces that operate in the galaxies and quasars in Cosmos.
Just look back to 1940, the year when fourteen-year old Sathya quit home to
dedicate His life to bring Ananda to humanity. He was then a mere village
boy, born in a poor family, and had not even completed school. The village
He lived in did not even have a road leading directly to it. And now look at
that same Puttaparthi. Today when we walk around this place, we take
internet cafes, air-conditioned banks, travel offices and even a Fedex
office, all for granted. Yet, as late as 1968, Arthur Schulman of Hollywood
described this very same place as being 160 km from Bangalore and ten
minutes past the Stone Age. In a few decades things have changed remarkably.
Equally remarkably, things have changed little in Karnatakanagepalli just
across the river. What is amazing is that way back it was Karnatakanagepalli
that was the gateway to Puttaparthi. By the way, Swami did not implement any
specific project to improve Puttaparthi as such. He did not seek help from
either the State or the Central Government; nor did He ask the World Bank or
the IMF to pitch in. It all happened quietly seemingly all by itself but in
reality, it is all due to the subtle influence of Swami’s Love.
The point we are making is simply this. Even at the worldly level, Pure Love
can work wonders. Think about the Super Hospitals for a moment. Is there
such a hospital in all the G8 countries put together that has rendered so
much service to the poor? In the area of cardiology alone, nearly twenty
thousand procedures have been performed. All this is happening in a village
that till recently was just ten minutes past the Stone Age. And what do the
big cities boast of? Inhospitable hospitals, if you recall a recent Sunday
We can go on and on but do not have to. The point to realise is that
firstly, Pure Love is incredibly powerful, and secondly this reservoir of
Pure Love is present in each and every one of us, that is right, in all the
6.2 or so billions of humans living on earth. If the love locked up in even
one million people is released, what a tremendous difference it can make to
People wax eloquent about Swami’s Love but it is equally important to
realise that that same Love is immanent in each one of us. May be our
attachments and self-interests would limit the amount that we can release
but if we really feel for the problems of humanity, it is quite feasible to
harness this Love for solving many problems that afflict Society today,
including that of violence.
Take the case of poverty. Just about a year ago, there was a lot of hype in
the Western world about making poverty in Africa into history. One year
later, it would seem that the progress is quite disappointing. Mass poverty
and gross injustice are the real weapons of mass destruction. They may not
destroy in one second, as a hydrogen bomb would do. But they would bleed
Society in slow and most painful steps that inflict horrible violence on the
hapless and the unfortunate, rather than on those who are responsible for
wealth and justice asymmetry. If violence must be contained then extreme
asymmetries must be avoided. And if these asymmetries to be avoided, people
must stop thinking in terms of parameters that divide. Instead, people must
think in terms of factors that unite.
Unity: that is the key factor. We may differ in terms of the colour of our
skins, the religions we profess or the languages we speak. Yes, these
differences exist. But is that what we should focus on or what unites us?
Why don’t we all speak as the children of one God? In the Organisation, sad
to say, despite all the Bhajan singing, speech making, etc., a large number
of grass-root devotees complain about lack of internal unity. Indeed, even
Swami has been forced to speak out openly about this lack of unity on many
Unity cannot drop like Manna from heaven. Unity between individuals will
happen only when there is unity of thought, word, and deed in individuals.
So, as they say, we must all go to the drawing board, and do what it takes
to follow Swami’s teachings seriously. When we are perfectly tuned to Swami,
His Love would find expression in the fullest measure. We are not saying
that devotees lack Love. What we are implying is that we must magnify that
Love a million fold, so that its full power can be unleashed for solving the
problems of humanity.
OK, we all do that but will that stop violence in Bombay , Delhi , London or
wherever? Not right away may be, but if we all make strenuous and serious
efforts to enable the power of Love to manifest on a large scale, then a
turn-around is possible. Mother Teresa was a human but her commitment was so
strong that the Love that she showed did make an impact. Nelson Mandela in
South Africa faced a delicate situation when apartheid ended. The black
community that for over a century was victimised badly was all poised for
revenge. But Nelson Mandela defused the tense situation with his approach of
Truth and Reconciliation, shaped not surprisingly by the ideas practiced by
Gandhi earlier in that very same land.
Speaking to students once, Swami said that if we have the deep faith that
God is really within us and set out to do good, the Power of God will carry
that mission to great heights. That is the message we must take to heart. At
a time when there is so much suffering, anything we do, however little it
might be in worldly terms, must be done with an intense Love for Swami,
unshakable faith in His Grace, and an unstoppable flood of compassion for
those who are served. That would then make Sai Love visible everywhere so
that people at large begin to understand the power of Divine Love and start
using that as an option for settling differences and solving problems.
It is not enough to simply say that Pure Love is very powerful; we must
demonstrate it even as Swami has been doing. May be we cannot attain the
heights reached by Swami, but certainly, we can try to reach the heights set
Violence arises from the pollution of the human Mind. If that pollution has
to be cleaned up, it can be done only by Heart; the Mind cannot do it. And
the clean up becomes faster when millions of Hearts fuse into one!
It is time we start appreciating the incredible power of Pure Love. It is
time we make it manifest to suffering humanity in some convincing measure,
so that mankind would seek solutions via Love rather than hate and violence.
Do you agree that it is about time all of us together, did something really
which makes evident to the world of Swami’s Love? Or do you feel that
violence will only increase and become worse and that humans cannot fix it?
Why don’t you write and tell us what you feel?
Jai Sai Ram .
With Love and Regards,