Barbara Hebert – USA
The Ancient Wisdom as expressed through Theosophy is complex and multifaceted. Conversations about the Ancient Wisdom range from the Unmanifest through spiritual evolution to the lives we live on this physical plane. What, one might ask, is at the center of this great teaching? Is there one important component upon which we could focus? Possibly the answers to these questions is quite simply: Love. Can we even imagine a world filled with love? Can we imagine a world in which individuals care for one another with compassion and understanding? Can we imagine a world in which everyone works together for peace and harmony? Yet, we know that love, compassion, understanding, peace, and harmony are hallmarks of the inner realms of existence. Love beyond all measure for humanity may be the one thing that is at the center of the Ancient Wisdom, the one important component upon which we can focus.
Many people tend to use the word “love” in a very casual manner. We may use the word to indicate things that we like or dislike: I love this beautiful flower. I love the colorful clothes. I love French fries! At other times, we use the word in a more personal way: I love my children! Interesting isn’t it? I don’t love French fries the same way I love my children. These are quite different feelings. Yet we use the same word. From my perspective, there is nothing wrong with the casual or personal use of the word “Love;” rather, it makes me happy to think of the vibrations of the word rippling across the world. However, these casual uses of the word -- even love for family, which is more of a personal type of love--are not what we are discussing here.
Gottfried de Purucker in his book, Golden Precepts of Esotericism writes:
“Love is the cement of the universe; it holds all things in place and in eternal keeping; its very nature is celestial peace, it’s very characteristic is cosmic harmony, permeating all things, boundless, deathless, infinite, eternal. It is everywhere, and is the very heart of the heart of all that is.”
De Purucker’s statement sounds as if this type of Love is a synonym for the Ultimate Reality--permeating all things, everywhere, and the very heart of the heart of all that is.
This Love-- “the very heart of the heart of all that is” --has no personal implications; rather, it is a universal and impersonal type of love. It is a love that goes beyond anything we can imagine except possibly in those few moments of meditation or intuitive leaps toward the Divine. De Purucker also says that “the more impersonal it is, the higher it is and the more powerful.” Impartial love is love that has no attachment. Once we have attachment, love of family, for instance, while it is a form of love, it is not Universal love.
Brother N. Sri Ram, former International President of the TS said:
“The love which deserves that name is impartial, non-possessive, wholly beneficent; in that love alone is to be discovered the force which will ultimately bring man to his freedom. Love is the only force which does not create or add to the complications of karma.”
That last sentence should probably be repeated...Love is the only force which does not create or add to the complications of karma.
We may be reminded of the incredible love of the Elder Brothers and Sisters of Humanity who work to raise the consciousness of all beings. Their love for humanity, we may assume, surpasses our understanding both in its universality and in its impersonal nature. Love deepened beyond what we generally understand to be Love. It’s hard to imagine, isn’t it, a love so great and so intense yet so impersonal.
We must strive toward this type of love. We are told in At the Feet of the Master:
"Of all the qualifications, Love is the most important for if it is strong enough in a man, it forces him to acquire all the rest, and all the rest without it would never be sufficient."
Brother Sri Ram said:
“Without love there is no unfoldment, because love belongs to the life of the Spirit, to the real Self; without love all search is in vain.”
So, on our spiritual paths, how do we move toward feeling that type of love?
When we look at the beauty around us and feel that swelling of gratitude and love for Nature in her boundless glory, we are experiencing a tiny sliver of impersonal love. When we love without expectation, we are moving in the direction of universal love. In the words of De Purucker:
"Impersonal love asks no reward, it gives all and therefore gives itself. Love is an illumination. Love is inspiring; it opens the doors of the mind because it cracks the bonds of the lower selfhood hemming in the god within. When [we] love impersonally then the divine fires flow out..."
For this moment, we become truly human, moving from personal love toward universal love.
On our spiritual journeys, as we begin to realize that all others are a part of the Universal, as we begin to recognize that we are all One at the core of our being, as we begin to discern that what happens to others also happens to us, we are moving toward an understanding of Universality. Brother Sri Ram told us that:
"Love is, ideally, the state in which the distinction between self and another has vanished. This does not mean that we abolish individuality, but we learn to regard the happiness, the progress, the interests of another as our own." Or more succinctly, he said, "In a state of spiritual or universal Love, all other persons are but one person--the object of love."
These beautiful words, so easy to say, so difficult to accomplish! Again, we ask ourselves, how do we reach this state of universal love? Perhaps it might be easier to consider this question from the opposite side...what is the opposite of impersonal love? Is it hate? Maybe. Why would we hate another person? There is a great deal of anger and hatred in our world right now. Is it because there is no understanding of another? Is it because we are afraid of what another might say or do to us, especially because we do not have an understanding of that person's perspective? Perhaps it is more accurate to say that Fear is the opposite of Love.
De Purucker writes
“ [Humanity] will be ruled by fear just as long as they love themselves; for then they will be afraid of everything that is going to happen--afraid to venture, afraid to act, to do, to think, for fear lest they lost. And they will then lose....The strong [person] is one who loves, not [one] who hates. The weak man hates because he is limited and small. He can neither see nor feel the other's pain and sorrow, nor even sense so easy a thing as the other's viewpoint. But the [person] who loves recognizes [our] kinship with all things."
What opportunities have we lost due to fear? Consider for a moment HP Blavatsky and all of the others who have gone before us. If they had been fearful of what others might say, think, or do, where would we be today? Perhaps there would be no Theosophical Society.
When we are no longer afraid, when we no longer see the world as me vs. you or us against them, we begin to experience Universal Love. It is then that we may begin to move toward Love: the Heart of the Heart of all that is, the Heart of Theosophy.