Questioner: I came from Europe a few months ago on one of my periodical visits to my Guru near Calcutta. Now I am on my way back home. I was invited by a friend to meet you and I am glad I came.
Maharaj: What did you learn from your Guru and what practice did you follow?
Q: He is a venerable old man of about eighty. Philosophically he is a Vedantin and the practice he teaches has much to do with rousing the unconscious energies of the mind and bringing the hidden obstacles and blockages into the conscious. My personal sadhana was related to my peculiar problem of early infancy and childhood. My mother could not give me the feeling of being secure and loved, so important to the child's normal development. She was a woman not fit to be a mother; ridden with anxieties and neuroses, unsure of herself, she felt me to be a responsibility and a burden beyond her capacity to bear. She never wanted me to be born. She did not want me to grow and to develop, she wanted me back in her womb, unborn, non-existent. Any movement of life in me she resisted, any attempt to go beyond the narrow circle of her habitual existence she fought fiercely. As a child I was both sensitive and affectionate. I craved for love above everything else and love, the simple, instinctive love of a mother for her child was denied me. The child's search for its mother became the leading motive of my life and I never grew out of it. A happy child, a happy childhood became an obsession with me. Pregnancy, birth, infancy interested me passionately. I became an obstetrician of some renown and contributed to the development of the method of painless childbirth. A happy child of a happy mother -- that was my ideal all my life. But my mother was always there -- unhappy herself, unwilling and incapable to see me happy. It manifested itself in strange ways. Whenever I was unwell, she felt better; when I was in good shape, she was down again, cursing herself and me too. As if she never forgave me my crime of having been born, she made me feel guilty of being alive. 'You live because you hate me. If you love me -- die', was her constant, though silent message. And so I spent my life, being offered death instead of love. Imprisoned, as I was, in my mother, the perennial infant, I could not develop a meaningful relation with a woman; the image of the mother would stand between, unforgiving, unforgiven. I sought solace in my work and found much; but I could not move from the pit of infancy. Finally, I turned to spiritual search and I am on this line steadily for many years. But, in a way it is the same old search for mother's love, call it God or Atma or Supreme Reality. Basically I want to love and be loved; unfortunately the so-called religious people are against life and all for the mind. When faced with life's needs and urges, they begin by classifying, abstracting and conceptualising and then make the classification more important than life itself. They ask to concentrate on and impersonate a concept. Instead of the spontaneous integration through love they recommend a deliberate and laborious concentration on a formula. Whether it is God or Atma, the me or the other, it comes to the same! Something to think about, not somebody to love. It is not theories and systems that I need; there are many equally attractive or plausible. I need a stirring of the heart, a renewal of life, and not a new way of thinking. There are no new ways of thinking, but feelings can be ever fresh. When I love somebody, I meditate on him spontaneously and powerfully, with warmth and vigour, which my mind cannot command.
Words are good for shaping feelings; words without feeling are like clothes with no body inside -cold and limp. This mother of mine -- she drained me of all feelings -- my sources have run dry. Can I find here the richness and abundance of emotions, which I needed in such ample measure as a child?
M: Where is your childhood now? And what is your future?
Q: I was born, I have grown, I shall die.
M: You mean your body, of course. And your mind. I am not talking of your physiology and psychology. They are a part of nature and are governed by nature's laws. I am talking of your search for love. Had it a beginning? Will it have an end?
Q: I really cannot say. It is there -- from the earliest to the last moment of my life. This yearning for love -- how constant and how hopeless!
M: In your search for love what exactly are you searching for?
Q: Simply this: to love and to be loved.
M: You mean a woman?
Q: Not necessarily. A friend, a teacher, a guide -- as long as the feeling is bright and clear. Of course, a woman is the usual answer. But it need not be the only one.
M: Of the two what would you prefer, to love or to be loved?
Q: I would rather have both! But I can see that to love is greater, nobler, deeper. To be loved is sweet, but it does not make one grow.
M: Can you love on your own, or must you be made to love?
Q: One must meet somebody lovable, of course. My mother was not only not loving, she was also not lovable.
M: What makes a person lovable? Is it not the being loved? First you love and then you look for reasons.
Q: It can be the other way round. You love what makes you happy.
M: But what makes you happy?
Q: There is no rule about it. The entire subject is highly individual and unpredictable.
M: Right. Whichever way you put it, unless you love there is no happiness. But, does love make you always happy? Is not the association of love with happiness a rather early, infantile stage? When the beloved suffers, don't you suffer too? And do you cease to love, because you suffer? Must love and happiness come and go together? Is love merely the expectation of pleasure?
Q: Of course not. There can be much suffering in love.
M: Then what is love? Is it not a state of being rather than a state of mind? Must you know that you love in order to love? Did you. not love your mother unknowingly? Your craving for her love, for an opportunity to love her, is it not the movement of love? Is not love as much a part of you, as consciousness of being? You sought the love of your mother, because you loved her.
Q: But she would not let me!
M: She could not stop you.
Q: Then, why was I unhappy all my life?
M: Because you did not go down to the very roots of your being. It is your complete ignorance of yourself, that covered up your love and happiness and made you seek for what you had never lost. Love is will, the will to share your happiness with all. Being happy -- making happy -- this is the rhythm of love.