Before we start, let us remember the reason why we are here: we are here to recognize the happiness we are. We are here to recognize that the love we are looking for, is already with us. It is what we are, indeed. We are here to get rid of ignorance.
When I first realized this, through the words of my guru, Swāmi Dayānanda Saraswati my life took a big turn for the better. By paying attention to the teaching all of us can expecte same positive change.
This is neither a promise nor a garantee, but a possibility that is open to all, that will happen if we are open to apply the teaching in our attitudes and actions.
My name is Pedro Kupfer. I live between Brazil and Portugal. First of all, I would like to thank the invitation of the organizers to be part of this event.
I have been coming to Rishikesh regularly for almost thirty years and this holy land, the sacred Gangā and the revered masters that teach here, are an important part of my life.
So it is with great joy that I received this invitation to share with you a little bit of that precious treasure Mother India has given to me.
So, to begin, I invite you to close your eyes, take a deep breath in, and exhale slowly. Become aware of your body. Let the sensations become the center of your attention now.
Love in the time of the Veda
The subject of this conversation is your Self. The loving Self you are, even if you disagree with this statement. For that purpose, I will share with you the story of Yajñavalkya and Maitreyī.
The dialogue between them appears in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad (“The Upaniṣad of the Great Forest of Knowledge”) and is one of the most amazing revelations of the Vedic Vision.
It has been a long time since we understood it through the words of our master. I am speaking in the name of my wife, Añjali, and myself.
That teaching has transformed the way we look at our relation. Actually, it has made a revolution in our lives. A revolution that I would like to share here.
The story goes like this. Yajñavalkya was one of the greatest sages of the Vedic era. He prepared himself through a long period of studies and penance, and is about to renounce the world so he can live a life of contemplation.
He had two wives. One day, summons one of them, Maitreyī, to share with her the news. This is what he said: “Maitreyī, my dear, I am going to give up this life and live a life of renunciation. Let me make a settlement of all I have between you and Katyayanī.”
Maitreyī said: “Venerable Sir, if indeed the whole earth full of wealth belonged to me, would I be free through that?” “No,” replied Yajñavalkya, “your life would be just like that of people who have plenty. Of freedom, however, there is no hope through wealth.”
Then Maitreyī said: “What should I do with that which would not make me free? Tell me, venerable Sir, of that alone which you know to be the only means of attaining freedom.”
Yajñavalkya replied: “My dear, you have been my beloved even before and now you have resolved to know what is after my heart. If you wish, my dear, I shall explain it to you. As I explain it, meditate on what I say.” And these were his words:
“Verily, it is not for the sake of the husband, my dear, that the husband is loved. He is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Unlimited Self.
“Verily, it is not for the sake of the wife, my dear, that the wife is loved. She is loved for the sake of the self.
“Verily, it is not for the sake of the sons, my dear, that the sons are loved. They are loved for the sake of the self.
“Verily, it is not for the sake of wealth, my dear, that the wealth is loved. It is loved for the sake of the self.
“Verily, it is not for the sake of the gods, my dear, that the gods are loved. They are loved for the sake of the self.
“Verily, it is not for the sake of the All, my dear, that the All is loved. It is loved for the sake of the self.
“Verily, my dear Maitreyī, it is the Self that should be known. Should be heard of, reflected on and meditated upon. By knowledge of the Self, my dear, through hearing, questioning and meditation, all this is known.”
Now, slowly, bring your attention again to the sensations for your body. Feel your deep breath. Let it happen that way, and open your eyes. See how you feel about these words you heard: it is not for the sake of All, that All is loved. All is loved for the sake of the self.
This realization can make a big difference in our daily lives. We do not love the other for the sake of the other. We love the other for our own sake.
We look after people and experiences that can give us pleasure, however we don’t love them for what they are, but because they remember us of the loving Self that we are.
I know this can seem egoistic, however, we need to take a closer look at things. Everyone loves happiness. Everyone hates sorrow. Since we love happiness, whatever object or person that brings us happiness will be an object of our love. Similarly, since we naturally hate sorrow, it will inspire us rejection.
When a man loves a womam or a woman loves a man, the expectation is that the other will bring happiness to oneself. So, when a person inspires happiness in us, we say that we love this person who inspires happiness.
What the Upanishad teaches here is that here is no permanent source of happiness buy oneself. Their is no other source of happiness but your on Self, Atma. When we have that revelation, when we discover Atma, which is our own higher Nature, we start loving ourselves.
The final section of the text we have quoted here says that the Self that we are is present in every sentient being, in every inert object. When we recognize that the Self we are is the source of all happiness, we are able to see love in everybody.
We see ourselves in the other, like when Yajnavalkya talks about the love of a mother for her son. The mother loves the son because she sees herself in the baby. To put this in three words, she loves herself. And any love for oneself is inconditional.
If we are to discover the loving Self in all, then that love must be inconditional, like the love of a mother for her baby. So, the aim is to discover the Self. Discover self love.
And recognize, and extend that inconditional love to everyone and all. Universal love, we can say. This is the essence of the dialogue between the sage and his wife in the Upanishad.
Love is not a feeling
Now, let us come back to our time and culture. Love, for most of the people, is a feeling. A feeling that is punctuated by another feeling: suffering.
So, we say that we suffer because of love. We suffer because that feeling is missing, or because we are afraid of losing the object of our love, which is always external to us.
Why do we suffer with something that should bring us only joy? When we loose someone, we suffer. When someone we love disappoints us, we suffer. When someone we love gives us the cold shoulder, we suffer. And, when the love we cherished dies, we also suffer.
That suffering seems to arise from a wrong understanding of the meaning of love. When we feel lonely, we tend to see the other as an emotional life jacket. So, we project our happiness on that object of love, and renounce any responsibility on the way.
This means that we put on the other person’s shoulders the task of making us happy. Did you think for a moment what does this mean? The person does not have any clue, and cannot imagine, the weight we put on his or her back. Poor him/her!
I think this happens because we do not understand the nature of love. We are strongly influenced by wrong social beliefs about it. Most of the time, we cannot go beyond the limits of these beliefs.
That limitation becomes a source of suffering, because none can live happily in an emotional roller coaster all the time.
On top of that, we frequently have a wrong understanding of who we are. What the Upanishad says is that love is not a feeling. Love is not a feeling. Love is what you already are! This teaching can seem baffling and radical, and it is exactly that, indeed!
We do not love the other because of the other. We love the other because he or she evokes in us the pleasant Self, the basic, loving person that we are. However, this has nothing to do with being egoistic or ego-centered.
If we stop looking at love as a feeling, we will be able to cultivate non-attachment towards our own feelings, since we will not see them as solutions for our happiness. That can free us from the identification that arises when we think that we are what we feel. And our heart will feel as light as a feather!
To unburden the other
The other good news this vision brings us is that, since the other is a kind of a mirror in which we see ourselves as the acceptable, loving, simple person we are, we can accept the other as he or she is.
This is the reason why I told at the beginning that this teaching has been a kind of a revolution in our married life: when we accept the other as he or she is, we get rid of all our expectations and projections on the other.
If this happens in two ways, from us to the other and from the other to us, things will change for the much better in any relationship. In other words, this vision unburdens any weight we may be carrying unnecessarily, or making the other carry in our name.
How would you feel today, if your loved one comes and says: “Sweetie, my Honeypie, I unburden you from the need to make me happy, because I found myself to be complete happiness.” Would you like it? What if you say that today to your loved one?
Paradoxically, that is exactly the opposite of selfishness. So, love is not a feeling or an experience that comes and goes, but our own real nature. Emotions are organic responses to ideas or cognitions, like the natural smile we open when we see a laughing child or the adrenalin discharge we notice when we feel in danger.
Manifested love is a peaceful attitude of affection, that arises from the recognition of the loving Self that we are. This implies the full acceptance of oneself as being simple and complete.
If, in the presence of the beloved one, we see ourselves as simple and complete, that happens because the person awakens in us the acceptable, loving person that we are. So, any form of love points to the self esteem of the one that loves.
Dharma means in Sanskrit “that which holds together”. So, if dharma is what keeps a person faithful to her or himself, what keeps a family together, what keeps a society together then, that love must not be something different from dharma.
And, for a dharmic life, we need to give the other the right to be as he or she is. That is what we call radical love: the acceptance of each and every person with whom we relate, as he or she is.
From our side, we do not need to renounce our actual lives, as Rishi Yajnavalkya does, to recognize the love we are. We can do this right now, right here.
Well, that is all for now. If you have any questions, I will be more than happy to answer them.
Now, let us close our eyes once more and keep in contact with our natural breath. I invite you to chant along with me this kīrtan. It speaks about love. The words are very simple.
Śrī Kṛṣṇa Govinda Hare Murari
He Nātha Nārāyaṇa Vasudeva
Let us just recognize the completeness we are and look with compassion to the ones we love, and to everyone. Think about that. Thank you for listening.
॥ हरिः ॐ ॥
Este texto foi elaborado para apresentação no Festival Internacional de Yoga de Rishikesh, que teve lugar na Índia em março de 2015. O amigo leitor, saberá perdoar o estilo coloquial. Espero que aprecie. Aceitamos voluntários para traduzi-lo para o português. Obrigado.
Mais sobre o diálogo entre Yājñavālkya e Maitreyi aqui.