The Message and Ministrations of Dewan Bahadur R. Venkata Ratnam, volume 2/Chapter 25
We have been brought here, not for man, not for me, not for any other, but for God. We are met here solely and wholly for our God. We are here to feast direct from the bosom of our Divine Mother. From the days of Rajah Rammohan Roy, the Brahma Samaj has been a worshipping family — not a philosophical school, not a philanthropic band of mercy, but a worshipping family of sinning, sorrowing, trusting, aspiring adorers. Even as on the day (in 1830) when the memorable Trust-deed was promulgated to the world, these "meeting-places" are meant for the worship and the adoration of the eternal, immutable, beautiful, adorable God. This is the worshipping religion, this is the adoring faith, this is the singing and praising dharma. We are a family of adorers. We are come to the common feast of love and worship. Mine is all thine; thine is all mine. If thou art served, I am filled : if I am served, thou art filled; if all of us are served and filled, God is glorified. If God is bountiful, we are blessed. Thus we are a family of worshippers, a fraternity of adorers. Aye, we are meant, every one of us, every person, every living being is meant, has been created, for the worship of God. My hands, thy hands; my eyes, thy eyes; my powers, thy powers—pardon the presumption which differentiates 'my and thy'—these are given to us, evolved in us, conjured up in us, by God Himself for worship and adoration. He seeks our worship, not as the praise-loving God, but as the tender, watchful Mother unto whom the lisp of the child is the music of deep affection, the revelation of profound love, the gospel of all-absorbing devotion. He seeks not merely the offerings of our gratitude, not merely the praise of His greatness, but the worship of Himself for His own sake. For, mark you, He is the Divine Charmer! Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. The whole body is athrill with the touch of His holy presence. Heads bowed, hands folded, tongues fluent, ears enraptured, eyes ravished, minds aglow, hearts transported, souls enchanted, we are an adoring fraternity, a worshipping family of God.
And wherein lies the fulness, the totality, the quintessence of worship? Our revered Pradhanacharya, Maharshi Devendranath Tagore, has happily defined it for us in inspired words which a beloved one of mine reminded us of last night, ' Thasminpreethih thasya priyakarya sadhanancha thadupasana meva.' Not mere sedate love, but a rejoicing, revelling emotion of rapture and ecstasy for His own enchanting sake and the practice, again and again, during our whole lives, cf exercises and disciplines in and through acts dear unto Him, acts loved of Him, acts rendered as offerings to Him, the Best Beloved—these constitute upasana : sitting near Him, aye, in His lap! Thasminpreethih; Oh! the blessing, the beatitude of loving Him — that is the ninth heaven beyond the eight paradises, as a Sufi has it. Thasminpreethih: let us prayerfully endeavour to realise it and treasure it in our hearts, this lovely morning. Loving Him, caressing Him, rejoicing in Him, going into ecstatic delight in adoration of Him—this is the pure, concentrated essence, the vital central truth, of worship—loving Him for His own sake; loving Him who is Loveable, loving Him who is Love itself.
Love begets love. We love Him; He loves us : that is the complete current of love. God needs us, draws us together closer and closer; and we feel welded together. I cannot give Him up; He will not give me up. Even the all-sufficing God needs me, feels a want without me. What am I? A destitute, pauper, orphan, absolute bankrupt, if I have Him not! My beloved One! Perish the thought, for ever perish the dread possibility, of being without Thee! I want Thee. I cannot live without Thee. Without Thee life becomes not merely empty but simply impossible—denuded, eviscerated, completely hollowed out, nought but a name, a dream, a passing mist, a fading nothing. With Thee, having Thee, my beloved God, what shall I lack? Yes! In spite of my sins, notwithstanding my revolt, though these many years I have averted my face and withheld my heart from Thee, Thou hast been lurking in a corner of my heart, even my dark heart, oh! my beloved God; and that, not for any lingering merit in me but wholly from Thy clinging love. Thou wouldst not go away, even when Thou wert told to be gone; Thou wouldst not desert me even when I wantonly dismissed Thy presence! That eternal law of love which sustains me in spite of my insolent violation of it-that unfailing law of love compasseth my salvation. Beloved God! Thou, Thou art the dear object of my love. Thasminpreethih; The lo v e of Him for His own sake—that is the very soul, the pure spirit, of worship. Think not, my brethren. I am attempting to teach it to you. I know you know it Pardon me, I only remind you of it. Love is not gratitude for liberal benefits, not admiration for transcendent wisdom, not reverence for unspotted holiness, not confidence in unfailing providence, not obedience to sovereign will, not assent to infallible truth; but love — true love, pure love, simple love— consists in adoring God as the Beautiful One, as the Charming One, so entrancing, so enrapturing alike to the eye and to the heart, for Himself, for His own dear and holy sake, even as He is half veiled behind and half revealed through His universal manifest- ation which we call viswam. We love Him for His own sake. And love banishes all ideas and motives that are low, while those that are good, wise, noble and holy are all comprised in that one divine sentiment, Love. Love, love, love — -that is something purer, holier, more comprehensive, more disinterested, more engaging, more absorbing, than all the other sentiments of obedience, trust, gratitude and reverence. It is love which declares, 'He and I are sufficient unto each other.' Let the world be dissolved into the elements. Let the rainbow fade into darkness. Let music be hushed in silence or even confounded into jarring discord. Let the smiling landscape be blasted into a volcanic eruption. I and my God are sufficient unto each other, heart applied to heart, soul clinging to soul, embracing each the other. I love God, God loves me: this is true worship. This love is all-inclusive. It is purer than flawless holiness, surer than unerring wisdom, stronger than irresistible omnipotence, richer than inexhaustible goodness. Love, as the fundamental' instinct or impulse — the ceaseless vital breath of the soul — is imperishable, immortal. It is a treasure of ecstatic experience — even that of an uncalculating, unhesitating, unwavering, self-surrendering devotion which is prior and superior to all holiness and all righteousness. So let us embrace our God, cling to His feet and find in Him all that we need and all that we are to attain now and for evermore. Om! Harih Om!
- * At the Andhra Theistic Conference, Masulipatam, (19-11-1916).