Excerpts from the writings of Paramahansa Yogananda
The greatest love you can experience is in communion with God in meditation. The love between the soul and Spirit is the perfect love, the love you are all seeking. When you meditate, love grows. Millions of thrills pass through your heart....If you meditate deeply, a love will come over you such as no human tongue can describe; you will know His divine love, and you will be able to give that pure love to others.
If you could feel even a particle of divine love, so great would be your joy—so overpowering—you could not contain it.
The world as a whole has forgotten the real meaning of the word love. Love has been so abused and crucified by man that very few people know what true love is. Just as oil is present in every part of the olive, so love permeates every part of creation. But to define love is very difficult, for the same reason that words cannot fully describe the flavor of an orange. You have to taste the fruit to know its flavor. So with love.
In the universal sense, love is the divine power of attraction in creation that harmonizes, unites, binds together....Those who live in tune with the attractive force of love achieve harmony with nature and their fellow beings, and are attracted to blissful reunion with God.
“Ordinary love is selfish, darkly rooted in desires and satisfactions,” [Sri Yukteswar said]. “Divine love is without condition, without boundary, without change. The flux of the human heart is gone forever at the transfixing touch of pure love.”
Many human beings say “I love you” one day and reject you the next. That is not love. One whose heart is filled with the love of God cannot willfully hurt anyone. When you love God without reservation, He fills your heart with His unconditional love for all. That love no human tongue can describe....The ordinary man is incapable of loving others in this way. Self-centered in the consciousness of “I, me, and mine,” he has not yet discovered the omnipresent God who resides in him and in all other beings. To me there is no difference between one person and another; I behold all as soul-reflections of the one God. I can't think of anyone as a stranger, for I know that we are all part of the One Spirit. When you experience the true meaning of religion, which is to know God, you will realize that He is your Self, and that He exists equally and impartially in all beings. Then you will be able to love others as your own Self.
In the consciousness of one who is immersed in the divine love of God, there is no deception, no narrowness of caste or creed, no boundaries of any kind. When you experience that divine love, you will see no difference between flower and beast, between one human being and another. You will commune with all nature, and you will love equally all mankind.
Compassion toward all beings is necessary for divine realization, for God Himself is overflowing with this quality. Those with a tender heart can put themselves in the place of others, feel their suffering, and try to alleviate it.
To develop pure and unconditional love between husband and wife, parent and child, friend and friend, self and all, is the lesson we have come on earth to learn.
To wish for perfection for the loved one, and to feel pure joy in thinking of that soul, is divine love; and that is the love of true friendship.
The love of God, the love of the Spirit, is an all-consuming love. Once you have experienced it, it shall lead you on and on in the eternal realms. That love will never be taken away from your heart. It shall burn there, and in its fire you shall find the great magnetism of Spirit that draws others unto you, and attracts whatsoever you truly need or desire.
I tell you truthfully that all my questions have been answered, not through man but through God. He is. He is. It is His spirit that talks to you through me. It is His love that I speak of. Thrill after thrill! Like gentle zephyrs His love comes over the soul. Day and night, week after week, year after year, it goes on increasing—you don't know where the end is. And that is what you are seeking, every one of you. You think you want human love and prosperity, but behind these it is your Father who is calling you. If you realize He is greater than all His gifts, you will find Him.
Our dear ones promise to love us forever; yet when they sink into the Great Sleep, their earth memories forsaken, what value their vows? Who, without telling us in words, loves us everlastingly? who remembers us when all others forget us? who will still be with us when we leave the friends of this world? God alone!
The Lord ever silently whispers to you:
“...Without speaking a word, I have loved you always. I alone can truly say, ‘I love you’; for I loved you before you were born; My love gives you life and sustains you even at this moment; and I alone can love you after the gates of death imprison you where none, not even your greatest human lover, can reach you.”
The greatest romance you can have is the romance with God. Human love goes away in a little while, but your romance with God is eternal. Not one day must pass without seeing Him. That is why I wrote, “Through endless incarnations I called out Thy name, searching by the streamlets of all my silvery dreams.”* I always tell Him that He is to blame for sending me out; but at last I realize that all life's illusions were to make me appreciate Him more, to excite me to seek Him. It was always He, the Father behind all fathers, the Mother behind all mothers, the Lover behind all lovers, that I sought through incarnations. He is the Lover and our souls are the beloved, and when the soul meets the greatest Lover of the universe, then the eternal romance begins. The love that you have been seeking for incarnations through all human loves is at last yours. You will never want anything else.
*“Divine Love Sorrows,” in Songs of the Soul.
- “The Eternal Romance,” in The Divine Romance, by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “A Scripture of Love,” in The Divine Romance
- “How to Cultivate Divine Love,” in The Divine Romance
- “Lord, Possess Us With Thy Love,” in Man’s Eternal Quest, by Paramahansa Yogananda
- “Divine Love Sorrows,” in Songs of the Soul, by Paramahansa Yogananda