In one of his famous dohas, Sant Kabir Das ji says,
पोथी पढ़ पढ़ जग मुआ,पंडीत भया न कोय;
ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडीत होय I
(Pothi Padh Padh Jag Mua, Pandit Bhayo Na Koye;
Dhai Aakhar Prem Ka, Jo Padhe so Pandit Hoye)
Meaning: In this mortal world, caught up books, words, thoughts and concepts; nobody became Wise, nobody got Enlightenment. However, one who understood the two and half letter word called Love (प्रेम), he attained all the Wisdom, he transcended the Time.
In this small Doha, Sant Kabir Das ji has revealed the greatest secret of wisdom.
He says the secret of Wisdom is Love!
To understand the real meaning of what Kabir Das ji is saying, we have to understand the real meaning of Love & Wisdom.
Many times the word ‘Love’ has been misused. Particularly in western culture, the word ‘Love’ has been used synonymously for ‘Lust’ and ‘Sex’. However, there is a vast difference in meaning of these words.
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji says, “In love even an object gains life. Stones speak to you, trees speak to you, the Sun, the Moon and the whole creation becomes alive, divine….. In lust even a living being becomes a mere object. You want to use even people like objects.”
In lust one wants to possess whereas in love one dissolves.
Lust has a very limited meaning. It is usually used for bodily attraction between two individuals. However, Love has a very vast meaning. You can Love – yourself, people around you, animals, food, your work, books, knowledge, music, nature and almost everything in this creation.
Gurudev says, Love is that magic which binds everything together.
Love is connecting totally with something or someone. Love is merging. Love is dissolving (the mind) and becoming ONE with.
In the moments of complete Love, the mind is silent and at the same time it is totally open and receptive. Everyone experiences these fleeting moments of Love frequently in life (in all situations) but we are not aware of these precious moments because our mind (with its innumerable thoughts) immediately takes over those moments.
Understanding is subtler than words and thoughts. Understanding can happen only when you are totally connected with something. Total connection can happen only when the mind is silent and receptive. A silent mind is one which has dropped all its concepts, judgements, thoughts and desires.
If I am reading a book but I have no interest or no Love for what I am reading, if I am not at all connected with what I am reading and my mind is on its own trip; then it will be almost impossible for me to understand a single word. I can understand only and only when my mind is silent, receptive and becomes one with what I am reading.
I can understand what you are saying, or for that matter, I can understand anything around me only when I am connected with that thing. That fleeting momentary connection is Love.
Feeling that connection and becoming ONE with the words/things/situations/person makes me understand those words/things/situations/person.
Young children have much more grasping power than grown-up adults because children have no strong concepts in their mind and they are connected with (in Love with) everything around them.
In the moments of Love, the seer, process of seeing and the scene become one. That is when understanding happens, knowledge dawns.
In my opinion, it is not the physical structure of the brain which decides the intelligence of a person. Just like all people with healthy eyes have same capacity of seeing, all people with healthy ears have same capacity of hearing; all people with healthy brains have same capacity of perception or understanding.
Intelligence of a person in a particular subject depends solely upon his interest or Love for that subject. A person who loves Physics will be brilliant in Physics, a person who loves Arts will be brilliant in Arts and a person who loves History can become a great Historian.
Two identical twins with exactly identical brain structure can have different IQ levels based on their level of interest or Love (or lack of it) for different subjects. So physical structure of brain has a limited role in deciding the IQ of an individual.
It is because of Love that the weaver birds know how to build a beautiful nest, monkeys know how to take care of their young ones, birds can teach their young ones how to fly, humans know how to communicate with each other, and so many amazing things happen in the nature.
Love is the basis of all understanding, knowledge and wisdom in this world.
According to the ‘Advaita’ philosophy, everything is but the manifestation of the ‘ONE’ consciousness. My experience of ‘sweetness’ of sugar is same as your experience, my experience of ‘blueness’ of sky is same as your experience, my ‘sorrow’ is same as your ‘sorrow’, all this is, because of the inherent underlying unity behind everything.
Quantum Physics also agrees with this theory of connectedness. Quantum Physics says that it is impossible to completely isolate the observer from the observed. That means at some subtle level everything is connected with each other.
Love is experiencing this Oneness of Existence, not as a mere concept but as a reality.
An Enlightened Master is one, who is always in this state of total unconditional Love with the entire existence. He is ONE with the entire creation. Just like I know all the fingers of my hand, he knows everything in this Universe. For him all the past, present and future is in the purview of known. He has truly transcended the barriers of Time and Space.
Human birth is said to be very precious. Every Human being is blessed with the capacity to Love unconditionally. Every Human being is blessed with this seed of all-knowingness. However this seed is covered with a thick veil of ignorance which needs to be lifted.
Ignorance (or Maya) is getting caught up in one’s own web of ego-sense, concepts, judgements, thoughts, cravings and aversions.
Spiritual practices like Yogasanas, Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, Meditations etc. help us to thin down this veil of ignorance (Maya). With these practices, one comes closer to the truth of existence. One starts experiencing one’s true nature, which is Love. A sense of belongingness (with everything) starts blossoming. All negativity slowly drops off and positivity shines forth.
Knowledge requires duality. Knowledge requires a Subject (knower) and an Object (knowable). For the one who has attained Oneness with the entire creation, there is no duality, there is no Knower and there is nothing to be known. A Guru (Enlightened Master) has no need of knowledge for himself. He has no desires left because there is nothing to be gained and nothing to be lost. In-spite of all this, only because of the infinite compassion and love in the heart of the Guru, he steps down to the level of the Disciple and uplifts him. Only because of this Love, the Guru’s words can bring about that silence of understanding in the mind of the Disciple. The veil of ignorance can get completely lifted only with the grace of a Guru.
Knowledge gets distorted with time. Time and again Knowledge needs to be re-interpreted and rejuvenated, otherwise what remains is only words and dead concepts. The Enlightened Master or a Guru, through his infinite compassion and Love, helps to rejuvenate and protect the Knowledge in this world. It is Love which protects the Knowledge and keeps it alive.
Many times people ask Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji about the meaning of the ‘Art of Living’ logo. Gurudev says it is up to you to give it a meaning. One meaning for this logo can be – The pair of Swans signifies pure unconditional Love. The ‘Art of Living’ symbol signifies that, the all illuminating Sun of Wisdom rises from the very centre of pure Love and is preserved and protected by Love!
Be in Love with everything and everybody and be Wise! Jai Guru Dev!