Gyan (knowledge) and Prem (love): Two sides of the same coin

It is true that most of us are sincerely trying to meditate in this time of trial. However, why are we still not able to completely connect with our Guru and establish a concrete bond with Him? The answer to this is that along with dhyan-sadhna (focused meditation), we must also do prem-sadhna (devotional meditation and love for the Guru). Doing only gyan sadhna will render us like the withered leaves of a tree. Have you ever noticed when the strong winds blow, it is these dry leaves that are the first ones to fall, the ones whose connection with the life-giving fluid of the tree is broken. On the contrary, the green healthy leaves that derive their nutrition from the tree, live long. They do not fall. Likewise, only doing gyan-sadhna will leave us dry and undernourished.

Therefore, we will have to instill in ourselves the nectar of love as well, through prem-sadhna, i.e., by harboring devotional feelings for the revered Master. This is why Shri Maharaj Ji elaborates in his words that an ordinary tree will fall but a vat-vriksha (banyan tree) will never fall or dry up. Just note carefully the hidden meaning in these words of Maharaj Ji.

The banyan tree is a special kind of tree that has roots not only in the ground but also originating from its branches. The latter ones are so long that they meet the ground itself. This makes the banyan tree appear to be standing on many columns. Meaning that, where ordinary trees are grounded only with one set of roots, there, the banyan tree is supported from all directions through its columns that are formed by the roots originating from the branches. That is the reason why no wind, however fierce it may be, can move a banyan tree which is so firmly grounded and supported.

It is this sutra that we all need to imbibe today. Gyan-sadhna is like the roots that fix the trunk to the ground, which indeed should be strengthened. However, prem-sadhna too must be enhanced, which is like the roots that originate from the branch and support the tree in all directions, and keep it protected from falling in all kinds of tempests. Our prem-sadhna must be of the kind as exemplified by the great Vivekananda and Shri Hanuman.

Narendra (Pre-monastic name of Swami Vivekananda) would often tell his friends that, Thakur (his Guru, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahansa), had made him a slave of his love. As a matter of fact, it so happened that for days altogether, Thakur would not look at him. But still, Narendra continued to seek his audience and remained fixated in his love. One day, Thakur asked him as to why he kept coming to see him despite not getting any attention from him. Narendra replied that it was because he loved him. He said, “Thakur, your love compels me to keep coming to you irrespective of any reciprocity on your behalf.”

And it was because of this love for Thakur that Swami Vivekananda could resist and overcome all temptations without hesitation. There were moments when there was no food to eat, there was no means to earn. People offered him jobs but at the cost of compromising his relationship with Thakur. In all these times Narendra at once rejected every such thing that could take him away from his Guru. He said that he was ready to live without food, but never forsake his love for Thakur. This was Narendra’s gyan-sadhna and prem-sadhna.

Shri Hanuman too never doubted the intentions and ways of Lord Ram. He loved his Lord so intensely that once Shri Ram asked his army as to why the moon had spots on it. Why it was dark from the inside? While everyone answered according to their understanding. But when it was Hanuman’s turn, just see how his prem-sadhna got reflected in his answer. His love for his lord was exhibited in his words. He said, – “Lord, it is because this moon has also engraved your glimpse in its heart, just as we all have done!”

It was his gyan-sadhna along with prem-sadhna that did not ever let Shri Hanuman doubt his Guru’s potential. It so happened that when the bridge (Ram-setu) was being constructed and the Lord threw a rock in the sea, the rock sank. If any ordinary devotee doing only gyan-sadhna had witnessed that sight, he would have instantly raised a doubt as to why did the rock that was thrown by the Lord Himself, drown? However, Hanuman who nourished himself with gyan-sadhna as well as prem-sadhna, his devotion immediately got expressed in these words. He said – “Lord, the one that is forsaken by you is bound to get drowned!” This is prem-sadhna, wherein a devotee does not ever raise any doubt on his Guru, whatsoever the circumstance may be!

We must learn from these profound instances that we too need to do such prem-sadhna. You may say that you love and revere Shri Maharaj ji and thus are doing prem-sadhna. But, always remember when we offer something to our Guru, we aught to do it with utmost purity.