Question: Amma, are love and compassion one and the same, or are they different?
Amma: When love becomes divine love, compassion also fills the heart. Love is the inner feeling and compassion is its expression. Compassion is expressing your heartfelt concern for someone — for a suffering human being. Therefore, love and compassion are two sides of the same coin; they coexist.
"True worship of God is rendering help to those who are suffering."
"There are three types of people in this world. There are those who have nothing; then there are those who are just scraping by; and the third type are those who have far more than they need. Now, if those who belong to the third category don't do anything to help those of the first two categories, then Amma would say that those who belong to the third category, who are supposed to be rich, are, in fact, the poorest of the poor. Those who have far more than they need should have eyes with which to see the suffering of others; they should have ears to hear the distressed calls for help; they should have a loving heart with which to feel compassion towards those who suffer, and they should have willing hands with which to lend their assistance to those in need."
"Compassion is Consciousness expressed through your actions and words. Compassion is the art of non-hurting. Compassion cannot hurt. Compassion cannot hurt anyone because compassion is Consciousness manifested. Consciousness cannot hurt anyone. Just as the sky cannot hurt anyone and space cannot hurt anyone, the manifestation of Consciousness, compassion, cannot hurt anyone. One who has compassion can only be compassionate."
"Compassion does not see the faults of others. It does not see the weaknesses of people. It makes no distinction between good and bad people. Compassion cannot draw a line between two countries, two faiths or two religions. Compassion has no ego; thus there is no fear, lust or passion. Compassion simply forgives and forgets. Compassion is like a passage. Everything passes through it. Nothing can stay there. Compassion is love expressed in all its fullness."
"To be able to put oneself in another's position, to be able to see and to feel as another person does, this is the rare gift of an earnest spiritual seeker."
"A spiritual person finds happiness in being loving and compassionate towards everyone, even towards those who are against him. He is like a tree that gives shade even to those who are in the act of cutting it down."
"There is a difference between buying medicines for a wound on one's own hand, and going out to get medicine for someone else's pain. The latter shows that one has a loving heart. This is what a spiritual seeker needs; it is what his spiritual practices are for. Sadhana shouldn't be done for one's own liberation, but for the sake of becoming loving, compassionate and understanding enough to remove the suffering of the world. There's no benefit to be derived from just sitting somewhere with our eyes closed and doing nothing else. We have to become so large-hearted that we experience the suffering of others as our own, and work to alleviate their suffering."
"Anyone who has tasted prema bhakti — devotion with supreme love — even for a second, will never waver from it. But such devotion does not arise in everyone. Not everyone who enters a lottery gets first prize. That only goes to one person among millions. True devotion is like that; only one in a million will experience it."
"Fear is completely absent only when love is present in all its fullness. This kind of love is found only in a devotee who has surrendered completely to God. Such a devotee lives in love; he has drowned in the ocean of love. Fully consumed by divine love, his individual existence is lost, for he has merged with the totality of love. He becomes love. He becomes an offering to his Lord. Like a drop of water, which falls into the sea and merges with its vast expanse, the devotee dives into the ocean of bliss as he offers himself to existence. In that state, all fear, all worries, all attachments and sorrows disappear."
"Real love is the complete absence of any negative feelings towards anyone."
"Real love is experienced when there are no conditions. To have conditions is to force. But where love is present, nothing can be forced. Conditions exist only where there is division. Force is used where there is duality, a sense of 'you and I.' You use force because you perceive the other to be different from you. But force cannot take place when there is only one. The very idea of force disappears in that state. Then you simply are. The universal life force flows through you; you become an open passage. You let the Supreme Consciousness take charge of you. You remove whatever has been obstructing the flow; you remove the self-created bund allowing the river of all-embracing love to run its course."
The Path of Love
"The spirit of worldly love is not constant. Its rhythm fluctuates; it comes and goes. The beginning is always beautiful and enthusiastic, but slowly it gets less beautiful and less exciting until it ends up being shallow. In most cases, it ends up finally in upset, hatred and deep sorrow. Spiritual love is different. The beginning is beautiful and peaceful. Shortly after this peaceful beginning comes the agony of longing. Through the middle period, the agony will continue to grow stronger and stronger, more and more unbearable. Excruciating pain will ensue, and this pain of love will prevail until just before it leads up to unity with the beloved. This unity is beautiful, even more inexpressibly beautiful than the beginning of love. The beauty and peace of this unity in love remains forever and ever. Love of this kind never dries up or diminishes. Always alive, both within and without, it is constant, and each moment you live in love. Love will swallow you; eat you up completely until there is no 'you,' only love. Your whole being will be transformed into love. Spiritual love culminates in unity, in oneness. Sometimes a relationship between two people, if it is pure, can reach that union."
The Lover and the Beloved
In the ultimate state of oneness, even if the lover and beloved retain their bodies, that is, even if they exist as two bodies, deep in the depths of their love they are one whole. It is like two banks of the river. The banks are different; they are two as we as we see from the outside, but deep down they are one, one united in the depths. The same is the case with genuine lovers. Though they appear as two persons externally, deep within they are one, united in love."
"In the final stage of love, the lover and the beloved become one. Even beyond this, there comes a state where there is no love, lover or beloved. That state is beyond expression. That is where the Master finally takes you."
Love and Detachment
"Desire for anything will not rise up once love of God arises. Attachment to other things will automatically decrease. If intense love for God comes, then that love is like one who is suffering from fever. A feverish person will not feel any appetite at all. He will not feel anything if he sees food, however delicious it may be."
"Without feeling love for God within, we cannot fasten our minds on Him. Once someone has that love, his mind will not stray again towards worldly things. To him, worldly pleasures are like dog excreta. Little babies will pick up mud and dirt and put it in their mouths. Will they be tempted to do so, even a little bit, once they grow up and develop some discrimination?"
"In pure love there is no burden. Nothing can be a burden to pure desireless love. Real love can carry the entire universe without feeling any weight. Compassion can shoulder the suffering of the entire world without feeling the slightest bit of pain."
"Only a person who is completely detached can love others without any expectations. Attachment is not an aspect of real love. In real love not only the bodies but also the souls will be united. There will always be the knowledge of the changing or perishable nature of the body and the eternal nature of the Self. Attachment binds and destroys the person who is attached and the person to whom he is attached. Due to this attachment, discrimination fails and discipline will be absent."
Love for the Guru vs. Worldly Love
"Is the love we get from our relatives, wife, husband or children real? Is it not for fulfilling their selfish ends that men love women, and women love men? What will happen if she or he runs away with another man or woman? Then the attitude becomes just the opposite. You will be ready even to kill her or him. Is this love?"
"No one loves anyone more than they love themselves. Behind everyone's love is a selfish search for their own happiness. When we don't get the happiness we expect from a friend, our friend becomes our enemy. This is what can be seen in the world. Only God loves us selflessly. And it is only through loving Him that we can love and serve others selflessly."
"All quests for worldly love end in tears. That is the story of our lives at present. Real love cannot be found anywhere; there is only artificial love. It is like the lights used by a fisherman. He casts the net, turns on the bright lights, and waits. The fish come, attracted by the lights. Soon the net is full, and the fisherman fills his basket. Everyone loves another from a selfish point of view."
Love cannot Contain Two
"Love cannot contain two. It can contain only one. Love is purnam; it is fullness. In Love's constant and devoted remembrance, 'you' and 'I' dissolve and disappear. Love alone remains. The entire universe is contained in that pure, undivided love. Love is endless; nothing can be excluded from it. Love is all-pervasive."
If You Love Amma...
"If you children love Mother, you should love and serve all living beings. Then only can it be said that you children love Mother."
Amma is with You
"Where there is love there is no distance or separation. It is your love for Amma that keeps you close to Her. Whether or not you love Her, whether or not you're able to feel Her love, Amma loves you and She is with you. But you will feel Her closeness or presence only when you love Her."
"Love and freedom are not two; they are one. They are interdependent. Without love there can be no freedom; and without freedom there can be no love. Eternal freedom can happen only when all your negativity has been uprooted. Only in the state of love will the beautiful, fragrant flower of freedom and supreme bliss unfold its petals and bloom."
"Love is of two kinds. Love towards the world and worldly objects is love of a lower nature. Love towards God is devotion, love of the highest kind; that is pure love. Everyone has love within him but it fully manifests only when it is directed towards God."
"People are bound by the past and the future; that is why it is so difficult to find true love in the world."
"A true relationship, or true love, is based on the amount of identification one has with someone. However, it isn't something that can be measured, for it is a deep feeling, something that happens within. As the identification intensifies, that sense of oneness becomes manifest externally as well. Your heart overflows with love and expresses itself through your words and actions. At its peak, even your bodies will bear a close resemblance. This rarely happens in worldly relationships. In a spiritual relationship, however, it happens in a clear, profound way. It happens, for example, to a disciple who has completely surrendered to his spiritual Master, and whose heart is filled with love and devotion towards his Master."
"Children, listen to the desperate calls for help! No one's pain is insignificant. In order to really hear their sorrow-stricken words you need to have a compassionate heart, a heart that enables you to see and to feel the suffering of others as if it were your own. Try to come down to their level and feel the vibrations of their aching hearts. If you cannot do this, then all the spiritual practices you do are a useless waste."
"Children, our duty towards God is compassion and love towards the poor and needy. When somebody is suffering we should sympathise and take pity on him. That alone is not enough; we should be ready to help him because God is everywhere, in everything. When we develop compassion and love for ailing people, His grace will spontaneously flow into us."
"Children, whenever you go through a difficult time in life, think to yourselves: 'I don't expect any love from others, because I am not someone who needs to be loved by others. I am love itself. I am an inexhaustible source of love, who will always give love, and nothing but love, to everyone who comes to me."
"Children, you should love all. Only then will God love you. The state of equanimity is the real God."
"If we pour water at the root of a tree, it will reach all the branches. But if we pour water on the branches, the tree does not get the benefit, and our effort is wasted. If we love God, it is equal to loving everyone. It benefits everyone, because the same God dwells within everyone. Through loving Him, we love all. Forming bonds only with individuals, however, just leads to sorrow."
"Life in the world cannot be an obstacle once God is enshrined in your heart. So bind Him with the rope of love."
"No one but God loves you selflessly. Hold on tightly to Him. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't love others. See God in everyone and love that God. Then you won't succumb to grief if anyone's love disappears."
"We must be able to love without expecting anything from anyone."
"A person who really loves God is like someone suffering from a fever. He won't have any taste for food. He won't savour salty or sour dishes; even sweet dishes will taste bitter to him. He won't be very interested in food at all. But it is very unusual for a seeker to feel this kind of love in the beginning. Therefore, in the beginning one should try to control one's various habits with shraddha. Especially in the matter of food. If the mind wanders off to external things, one should bring it back, again and again, to the thought of God. Not a single moment should be wasted."
"At present, love is like a spark within us. Constantly blow on it, using the fan of the divine name, japa and meditation. You may perspire, sneeze and cough, but do not stop. Your body may become hot; tears may fill your eyes; you may want to faint. But do not stop. If you perspire, you sneeze and cough, persist in your efforts, and be assured then that you are heading towards the goal. Soon you will become love itself. This is the reward of your love."
"God has given us the necessary faculties to become like Him. Love, beauty and all divine qualities exist within us. We should make use of our faculties to express these divine qualities in our lives. Don't be lazy. Don't idle away your time. Life is a precious gift. This human body is a rare gift. Work with love while you are still healthy. Do not be a burden to others. God may not have provided you with money, but if you are endowed with a healthy body, work and do it with all your heart."
"If you choose love and selflessness as your goal, you need to be watchful. Watch your mind constantly, because the mind won't let you do anything selflessly. The mind doesn't want you to be selfless— -its one and only aim is to drive you along the path of selfishness, because the mind is selfish. As long as you dwell in the mind you can only be selfish. You have to be free of the mind to be selfless."
Question: What should be done to develop love?
Amma: When the divine name is chanted constantly, spiritual hunger will come. Consequently, a taste for the name will arise followed by love for God. We are saved if love is obtained.
"The ability to grow in love and compassion has almost been forgotten. By not making use of this rare gift, you are rejecting God, going against God and denying His gift. This is the worst thing that can happen to you."