“It is good to love God for hope of reward, but it is better to love God for love's sake; and the prayer goes: O Lord, I do not want wealth nor, children nor learning. If it be Thy will, I shall go from birth to birth. But grant me this, that I may love thee without the hope of reward--'love'' unselfishly for love's sake.”………………….. Swami Vivekananda
This saying of Swami Vivekananda has tremendous meaning and puts in simpler terms the deeper esoteric content in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad which expounds the philosophy of Sage Yajnavalkya.
Swami Krishnananda, explaining the role of Sage Yajnavalkya in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, explains:
“Idam brahma, idam kshatram, ime lokah, ime devah, imani bhutani, idam sarvam yad ayam atma.” meaning “This Source of knowledge; this source of power; all these worlds; all these gods; all these beings – All this is just the Self.”
This proclamation is like a Brahma Astra1 that Sage Yajnavalkya is discharging against every kind of attachment one can conceive in this world. It is somewhat easy to accept that God is everywhere. It becomes easy because we always externalise the location of God, however much we may try to universalise Him. The idea of location in space does not leave us so easily. God is everywhere, this is what we generally believe. The everywhereness of God implies that there is space, and inasmuch as our mind is wedded completely to the concept of spatial expansion, we feel a little bit comforted when we are told that God is everywhere.”
The true import of the saying of Swami Vivekananda is that in understanding the love of God all derivatives of emotions, expectations and any other type of attachment must be overcome. All dualities must be eradicated. This is not a mental exercise. As you can read in the note appended below, the way these dualities can be annihilated is only through a single-minded intuitive journey with absolute focus on merging oneself with all manifest and unmanifest universal consciousness. But the moment we assign a space-time aspect to this entity, we are defeated in our attempt.
The prayer suggested by the Swami summarizes the absolute detachment, not only in this life but in all the birthing that we will experience. This is the continuous seeking of the soul or Atman for ultimate union with the Paramatma.
Unselfish love is the one that is devoid of possession. All desires including spiritual ones are two different aspects of one internal mental action. In the explanation of the great Swiss depth Psychologist, Carl Jung, every object outside is taken into the psyche as an interject with which the subject interacts. The interject itself is the product of conditioned consciousness and can not be have an absolute nature. Hence we are really dealing with a tainted image of the self in all our attachments and desires.
Love for love’s sake is the simple form of perceiving everything beyond the name and form with which our conditioned mind is familiar. To develop this process of perception is a journey, wherein a force far stronger than the downward pull of the conditioned consciousness has to act, is a continued vigil of unwavering focus.
Let us begin this journey without the reward of heaven nor the threat of hell in our minds.
Love to you all.
1(note-The Brahmastra, the weapon of Brahma, never missed its mark and had to be used with very specific intent against an individual enemy or army, as the target would face complete annihilation. It was believed to be obtained by meditating on the Creator in Vedic mythology, Lord Brahma; it could only be used once in a lifetime. The inner meaning of this that this is the means of destroying the duality that separates creation from the creator. Once this weapon is deployed the ego self if completely annihilated)