What the World Needs Now is Love and Compassion

by Durga Ahlund

A Suffering World

The events of this past year, the war in Iraq, the genocide in the Sudan, the murder of innocents by terrorist all over the world, the incidents of American maltreatment of prisoners in Iraq and Quantanamo Bay, hurricanes, earthquakes, the latest tsunamis, have not only caused endless suffering to others, but have affected each of us all on a very deep level. The siddha Swami Ramalinga informs us of the great truth, which we must understand that "all souls are alike, they are all equal and related to one another. When one sees, hears, knows that one of his brothers is suffering; he too suffers, for there is a bodily relationship existing between the two. We have all experienced the Truth of this.

The problem of problems all over the world is how can we all just live a peaceful happy life? The question which arises in every year is how we can as the people of one nation; much less people of different nations, of different religions, languages, and cultures live together in peace and harmony?" Is there an answer which can be given to every individual and to every nation tackling this problem? Perhaps God alone knows. The Siddhas would say that it is only essential that we as individuals develop our virtue, character and our usual human faculties in order to live harmoniously and harmlessly with all in the world. Babaji tells us we can make a start by developing our character and rooting it in universal love and compassion. He gives us a framework, "focus on building character first, then on building devotion and then on obtaining Divine knowledge, then alternate your sadhana in service, bhakti and jñana and self-study until they interpenetrate. For there is a stage we are all capable of reaching, where Supreme Divine Love is experienced and character, devotion, and action are all perfectly aligned with Divine Will and what is expressed is always a reflection of Love and Compassion."

The Purifying Power of Love

What is this love and how can we become its instruments? Babaji tells us that Love is more than being attracted to or feeling pleasure in being with, or desiring, or even being ready to sacrifice for someone or something. Love is the source of all virtues and the source of aspiration for union. It is limitless, mysterious and miraculous. It is strength, courage and an elixir of renewal and regenerativeness. It is humility, patience, acceptance and endurance. It carries with it the power of expansion and transformation. We all know love in some form, so what we must do is to purify the outer expression of that love, and remove its attachment and emotion, in order to realize a true love, which permeates everything and every moment of life. There is power in the virtue of Love…power that can our perspective, enabling us to see the spiritual Presence within the mundane. Sri Aurobindo says that one ray of divine love can alter the character of one's life. This love can only arise once we realize the spiritual relationship between souls, and this "love" awakens a divine energy or shakti, which then informs our actions with wisdom. Love is inherent in Consciousness, it manifest as we go through the process of spiritual purification. When we let go of ignorance, attachment, egoism, aversions. When we embrace truth and wisdom, even while engaged in activities of the world. It is not so difficult to love God as He who lords over all and is above everything earthly. What is difficult and necessary is to love the Lord manifested in every form, in every man.

Babaji tells us that compassion is a natural expression of the inner state of the soul, when the soul is at peace. Our pure inner state is a dynamic force and its vibration of peace can benefit the world at large. Compassion, like love is a quality of the heart and a virtue of the soul. It develops as our hearts open to our connection with the Lord and with others. So , why is that so often the deeply religious are not compassionate? The Siddhas tell us that it takes a constant awareness of one self, a sadhana of self-reflection and detachment and development of the virtues of love and compassion to slowly rid our selves of all hatred. Normally we are so concerned with our own sense of lack that we feel we cannot afford to be compassionate with others. With truly spiritual practices we are able to utilize our energy to strengthen our mental discipline, to control thoughts and emotions, to strengthen our concentration, our nervous system and our sense of equanimity and compassion so that we begin to expand to include, rather than to exclude others in our love.

The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram said, "compassion seeks to relieve the suffering of all, whether they deserve it or not." By identifying with others and enlarging our world to embrace all others , we cultivate true compassion. And only be cultivating dispassion can we truly embrace all others. And only when a mind is dispassionate, can it be truly peaceful and free from fear, sorrow, anger and worry and courageous enough to live lovingly and compassionately with all others. Once we are free of fear, sorrow, anger and worry, love and compassion expands. Then, we are free to give our love and compassion widely, so that we can embrace the interests of others, understand their perspective, and ultimately identify with them as our own brother, and serve them as we are able.

The Purifiying Power of Dispassion

Repel even the slightest anxiety, sorrow, anger, jealously, any disturbance of the mind. Record in your journal and note where the disturbance comes from; detect the source (the source is often an emotion or idea from a defect, a fault of an egoistic claim of "I or mine," or a vital desire). Then, discourage this emotion or idea, through will-power….will, powered by spiritualized intelligence and your Guru. Replace the emotion with the emotion of love and compassion or if you are unable, transform it by chanting your Guru mantra.

On no account should you allow any excuse for a disturbing thought, no matter, how natural it is, or plausible it may be, or even when there is real inner or outer justification.

Remember that it is always the prana which is troubled. So just separate yourself from the troubled prana and keep seated in your higher nature, and reject the hold that desire or aversion or clinging has on you. Reject even an emotion coming from your heart…which is causing the disturbance.

Sri Aurobindo says, "If the source of a mental disturbance is your will or intelligence then it will be harder to control the disturbance. Consciously align your will and intelligence with your soul, with your aspiration for spiritual growth. If the will and intelligence is working for the ego and against the Divine Will, it will encourage the movements of the lower self."

By practicing dispassion, compassion will arise within stages. First in our thoughts, then with all those we come in contact with in our daily lives, and then with all those in our communities, and finally with all those in the world. An outpouring of love from the heart grows and grows and we become open to the immense power underlying Compassion, which can transform everything. For compassion is a force of God, a virtue of God, not a virtue of any religion. While all of our yogic sadhana including occurring asana, bandhas, pranayama, mantra, and meditation involves purification, to get beyond the egoistic sense of "I and mine," we need the help of Love and Compassion. Put aside all sense of being the doer, be an instrument of this love, in whatever circumstances you find yourself centered in heart-filled awareness.

Copyright: Durga Ahlund, January 2005


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