Just Love Festival at The Ashram
Shree Peetha Nilaya, 14 July 2019
At the annual Just Love Festival, Paramahamsa Vishwananda explained the greater meaning of 'Prem' and how this true Divine Love is eternal happiness and ever-growing.
It was lovely seeing all of you singing ‘Prema Sagai’. You know, Prem is something which is eternal, which doesn’t finish, and which is ever-growing.
When we look at this world, we see that everything has a passing time. You have people that you meet throughout your life, and you think that they will always stay with you, like your best friends and so on. But now when you look back at your life, everything has passed, no? How many best friends did you expect would stay with you? How many are still with you? It keeps changing, doesn’t it? Krishna said that’s the only reality: change. But Prem is something that is forever. You see, if you hold onto something that is limited, you will have limited happiness. But if you hold onto something that is eternal, you will have eternal happiness.
You may say, 'How can we hold onto something that is eternal when we don’t know about it?' The limited mind doesn’t know about it, but the Divine mind knows about it. That’s why, deep inside of you, you have these two personalities which are constantly fighting. You have your individual will, the ego, who wants to say, ‘Yes, I can control, I think I can do everything’, and then you have the Divine Will inside, which is sitting patiently waiting for you to awaken, for you to realise. And that’s what this Prem stands for: letting the Divine Will take over. Just like He was a charioteer of Arjuna, you also let Him become your charioteer in your life.
Prem stands for letting the Divine Will take over.
But for that you have to trust Him. You can’t say, ‘Yes, I give myself to You, but yet, I still hold onto my own will’. It’s like giving a gift, but you are still holding it halfway. Or you give a gift and you say, ‘I will tell you how to use it afterwards.’ Of course, with whatever you are giving there are going to be instructions inside. Those instructions come with the Guru. There is a little paper inside that will instruct you how to reach Him, to reach something that is eternal. And that eternal thing inside of you longs for something eternal.
You were so joyfully singing 'Sri Radhe', and Radha stands for that longing. Why can nothing in this world satisfy you? You have short-term satisfaction, and then you say, ‘Yes, I am happy.’ Then you look back, ‘What happiness have I gained? Am I truly happy?’ You look at your life and you are still miserable. But here, you devotees are happy people. The devotees have something great inside of them; something different has awakened. That thing is in everybody, but it’s dormant, waiting. The moment you start to sing the Divine Name, He awakens it.
You know, we say, yes, we can love God, but we don’t know Him. Often you hear, ‘Have you ever seen God to love Him? How do you know that He is there?’ There is a degree of faith needed for one to say, ‘Yes, He is there. We have not seen Him, but there are people who have seen Him.’ And you trust what they have said. If God was so available to everybody, you would not appreciate Him. You would not long for Him. That’s why He hides deep inside. Only when you truly long for Him will He jump from the inside out. And sometimes He will give you tests. So many tests in your life, you know!
The Story of Karna
When we look at the story of Karna, for example, up until the end of his life Bhagavan Krishna was giving him constant tests. Even after he was shot by Arjuna and left on the battlefield to die, still Lord Krishna wanted to test him. So Lord Krishna transformed Himself into a brahmin and He went to beg from Karna.
Karna was very famous because he was very charitable. He was always giving. So, Lord Krishna wanted to test him to see whether he would still give, even being in so much pain and dying. Now, Karna had gold teeth. Nowadays everybody has gold teeth, you know; imagine 5000 years ago and they still spoke about gold teeth! It’s nothing new. So, Bhagavan Krishna disguised Himself as a brahmin and He went to Karna and said, ‘Karna, Bhiksham Dehi ! Give me something. Give me some alms.’
And Karna said, ‘I don’t have anything on me. I’m dying. What do you want, some arrows?’
He said, ‘No, no, no, no, you have gold teeth. I want those.’
Without thinking, Karna took his dagger, took out a gold tooth and handed it over to the brahmin. When he handed it over, of course, there was blood and everything coming out, so the brahmin said, ‘No, I can’t take this. There is blood on it. You can’t give me something dirty.’ Nowadays you have people who use things, then they give them away. At that time, no, you had to give something complete, you know. So, He said no. Even in that, He was testing Karna about what he would do. So, with the little force that he had, he took an arrow and shot it on the ground and a spring gushed out. Then he washed the tooth and handed it over to the brahmin. And Krishna was so pleased with him. Even while dying He tested him, but Karna never went away from his word. He gave the tooth, Krishna regained His appearance, and revealed to him that it was Krishna Himself who had been testing him.
We know about Lord Krishna. In the Mahabharat war He revealed His cosmic Form, His supreme Form which no one had seen, to Arjuna and to Sanjaya actually, because Sanjaya also had that vision because he was telling it to the blind king. And there was a third person who also had that vision, and that was Karna. So, before he died, Lord Krishna gave him this supreme vision of His true Self, His Cosmic Self. He is always His Cosmic Self, but with that vision Karna also had it.
You see, we are connected to Him eternally. You have forgotten about your relationship to Him, but He never forgets about His relationship to you. That’s why when we address Him, we address Him as ‘Prem’. Because His relationship to each one is eternal. You were with Him, you are with Him and you will be with Him. You may take millions of lives, but as He is eternal, He will wait for you.
You have forgotten about your relationship to Him, but He never forgets about His relationship to you.
Now the question is, have you ever seen Him? You’ve heard that millions of people walk to Pandharpur. Varkari, no? Millions of people walk to have just a glimpse of Panduranga. Just like on Friday we had Ekadashi, so they walk and go just to have a glimpse of Panduranga. There are so many people that they cannot all go inside; they will just have the darshan of the Kalash which is up on the temple, and they will go home.
There was a reporter who was interviewing an old man and he said to the old man, ‘How old are you?’
‘I am 65 years old.’
And the reporter said, ‘Why do you come like this to Pandharpur?’
He said, ‘I love it. Since I came here when I was 15, so for 50 years I’ve been coming.’
And the reporter said, ‘Have you ever seen Vitthala?’
The man said, ‘No, I’ve never seen Him.’
Then the reporter said, ‘How do you know He exists?’
Then the old man said, ‘You see, in our village we people keep dogs. We don’t keep dogs like you people keep pets, you know, but we keep dogs for security reasons. So, in the village there are like 20 dogs around and it is very efficient.’
So, he said, ‘You see, if a thief is coming, one dog will bark. What will happen? You have all other 19 dogs also barking.’ Then he said, ‘These 19 dogs didn’t see the thief, right? Only one has seen. But the trust that they have in that one makes them all bark. Even if they have not seen, they trust him. So, like that I trust in Sant Dnyaneshwar, I trust in Tukaram Maharaj, I trust in Namdev Maharaj. They have seen Him. They have conversed with Him. They have talked with Him. They were His friends. I trust in them, even if I have not seen Him. Due to that trust, I know that one day, when He wills that I see Him, I will see Him.’
If dogs could do that, what are you? You are a human being; you can learn to trust. This should be naturally inside of you. But the problem is that your mind is still limited. The mind is still thinking, ‘Yes, I am great and everything rotates around me.’ When that changes, and He is the One that your mind rotates on, when your mind is filled with the Divine Name, then the transformation will happen. Then this Prem will awaken inside of you. That is the ‘Prema Sagai’. That is this relationship, this eternal relationship which we all have with Him.
Like I was saying earlier, how wonderful it is to see everybody singing and dancing. Yesterday prabhuji was singing: be happy, without anything being secondary. You see, everything which is secondary always stays secondary. It has a short term. Once the effect is finished, the happiness is gone and the problem is still there; it didn’t disappear. Whereas, when you are truly happy singing the Divine Name, you remember you are happy, and the problem is gone. Where you focus your mind, that becomes your reality. If your mind is on your problem, that will be your reality. That can’t escape you. But if your mind is on the Lord Himself, then He becomes your reality. The choice is yours to take in life and when it comes from your side [to turn your mind to God], you will see how He runs to you.
So, I wish you all to be happy. You know, earlier we were singing in the food court, and it was so wonderful to see all the happy people. So, bring this happiness to wherever you are and spread it. Because happiness is one thing that you can’t keep for yourself. Automatically you will reflect it. People will even ask you why are you happy. Have you ever been asked this question? ‘Why are you happy?’ You know, many people have asked me. Even last week in the plane while returning from Lanzarote, the hostess said, ‘You are very happy person!’ I said, ‘Yes, I am happy, but…’, I said, ‘…look at this plane full of people, they are coming back from a holiday. They should be happy.’ They had a wonderful holiday, but they were miserable. So, you see, people work the whole year to get two weeks of holiday, and what do they do with that two weeks of holiday? Drinking, partying, not remembering anything. And then when they go back to work, ‘Have you had a good holiday?’
‘What have you done?’
‘I don’t remember.’
This is the majority of the people. Most of you, for sure, have done that also. Until He awoke inside of your heart and said, ‘Oh, you belong to Me, come back!'
So, He brought you. We think that everything is in our hands and that we are in control of everything. Nothing is in our hands. It’s all in His hands. You may not perceive it, but actually He is the One that does everything, especially in the devotee’s life. For those who are surrendered to Him, He is in control. It doesn’t mean that your life will be wonderful, no. Because He wants you to finish with everything. He wants you to finish with Maya, everything, so that you can be with Him eternally. One may say, ‘Okay, these are just words’, but many have gone there. Many even have proof of it. And when you read the Bhagavatam you see how He cares for all of His devotees.
You may not see it, but He is there. So, always trust that whatever you do, He is with you.