BENGALURU: A mother was beating her child, and there were painful screams. Later when we came back she was caressing the child, hugging as though she would squeeze the life out of it. She had tears in her eyes. The child was rather bewildered, but was smiling up at the mother. Love is a strange thing, and how easily we lose the warm flame of it! The flame is lost, and the smoke remains. The smoke fills our hearts and minds, and our days are spent in tears and bitterness. We never know how to keep the flame clear of smoke, and the smoke always smothers the flame. But love is not of the mind, it is not in the net of thought, it cannot be sought out, cultivated, cherished; it is there when the mind is silent and the heart is empty of the things of the mind.
What do you mean by devotion? ‘Love of the highest; the offering of a flower before the image, the symbol of God. Devotion is complete absorption, it is a love that excels the love of the flesh. I have sat, for many hours at a time, completely lost in the love of God. In that state I am nothing and I know nothing. In that state all life is a unity, the sweeper and the king are one. It is a wondrous state.’
You spend several hours a day in what you call the love, the contemplation of God. Is that devotion? The man who gives his life to social betterment is devoted to his work; and the general, whose job is to plan destruction, is also devoted to his work. Is that devotion?
‘But this worship of God consumes my whole life. I am not aware of anything but God. He fills my heart.’ And the man who worships his work, his leader, his ideology, is also consumed by that with which he is occupied. You fill your heart with the word God, and another with activity; and is that devotion? You are happy with your image, your symbol, and another with his books or music; and is that devotion? Is it devotion to lose oneself in something? A man is devoted to his wife for various gratifying reasons; and is gratification devotion? To identify oneself with one’s country is very intoxicating; and is identification devotion?
‘But giving myself over to God does nobody any harm. On the contrary, I both keep out of harm’s way and do no harm to others.’ That at least is something; but though you may not do any outward harm, is not illusion harmful at a deeper level both to you and to society?
‘I am not interested in society. My needs are very few; I have controlled my passions and I spend my days in the shadow of God.’ Is it not important to find out if that shadow has any substance behind it?
The worshipper is the worshipped. To worship another is to worship oneself; the image, the symbol, is a projection of oneself. After all, your idol, your book, your prayer, is the reflection of your background; it is your creation, though it be made by another.
Your image is your intoxicant, and it is carved out of your own memory; you are worshipping yourself through the image created by your own thought. Your devotion is the love of yourself covered over by the chant of your mind. The picture is yourself, it is the reflection of your mind.
Excerpts from Commentaries on Living Vol.2 by J Krishnamurthi