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The Very ‘Essence’ of God

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(a revised version of an article originally published in the MBA Newsletter, January 2001)

‘It is true that God is infinite knowledge, infinite existence, infinite power, and infinite bliss; but God is not understood in His essence until he is also understood as infinite love. In the Beyond state, from which the entire universe springs and into which it ultimately merges, God is eternally infinite love.’ (Discourses p.399)

It is evident from the quote above - taken from Meher Baba’s Discourse ‘God As Infinite Love’ - the high status and importance that he gives to love, both here and throughout his teachings. In fact it might be suggested that love is presented as being on a par with such aspects as those ascribed to God as His infinite ‘trio-nature’ of Power, Knowledge and Bliss. Furthermore, it might even be implied that it represents the very ‘essence’ of God Himself, by which He cannot hope to be fully comprehended unto He is ‘also understood as infinite love’.

This word ‘essence’ seems to have a different connotation to the term ‘nature’, and it is probably worth considering why Baba made a distinction between the two. However, any deeper understanding of these issues shouldn’t be expected to be achieved by the intellect alone, for as Baba points out in the opening sentence of this discourse: ‘Those who try to understand God through the intellect alone arrive at some cold and dry concept that misses the very essence of the nature of God.’ And perhaps the truing influence of our own intuition, and that of a companion group, might also play their part in bringing to light any spiritual discoveries we might be given the grace to receive.

So then, if love is to be considered as God’s very essence, it might suggest a fundamental relationship with all of those aspects ascribed to His nature and not just any particular one of them. If this is the case then perhaps it is no wonder that love plays such an integral and universal role throughout life, as it may inherently colour and influence all of the aspects of God’s nature that play such an essential part in shaping and sustaining the very make-up of creation. As Baba reminds us

‘…love pervades every part of the universe’ (p110)

and

‘life and love are inseparable from each other. Where there is life, there is love…’

For love

‘exists from the very beginning of evolution’ (p55),

but not only that,

‘…it is for the sake of love that the whole universe sprang into existence, and it is for the sake of love that it is kept going’ (p.115).

At first glance this last quote might seem at odds with the message God Speaks gives as to the origin and purpose of creation: the evolution and involution of consciousness. However, I would like to suggest that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. That is, both love and consciousness might be considered similarly necessary in the divine scheme of things and equally instrumental in God fulfilling the Original Urge to know and experience Himself consciously. In short, they could be seen as two sides of the same divine coin…where loves fragrance - as the very essence of God - is released into life only within the unfolding flower of consciousness, through the individualising process of the evolution and involution of form. And that, in turn, consciousness can only itself develop through the driving power provided by the impetus of loves divine nature. For, according to Baba:

‘As love gathers strength, it generates creative restlessness and becomes the main driving power of that spiritual dynamic which ultimately succeeds in restoring to consciousness the original unity of Being.’ (p.116)

Continuing to explore this connection, it also strikes me that both love and consciousness seem to develop and unfold within creation in very similar ways. Love for example,

‘is conditioned and sustained by the tension of duality’ (p.116),

while the development of consciousness also requires the polar-tension that duality brings:

‘The stream of love can never become clear and steady until it is disentangled from these limiting and perverting forms of lower love…’

and

‘…if consciousness is caught in the rhythm of the lower, it cannot emancipate itself from the self-created ruts, finding it difficult to get out of them and advance further.’ (p112)

Could it be, therefore, that these limiting ‘forms of love’ and ‘self-created ruts’ are related to the whole arena of sanskaras, not just as regards the evolution and involution of consciousness, but in relation to the growth and ultimate emancipation of love as well? For as Baba suggests here:

‘The experience of limitation in love arises due to the ignorance caused by sanskaras, which are the by-products of the evolution of consciousness. And the process of love becoming infinite is characterized by the shedding of these sanskaras.’ (p399)

Similarly, consciousness has to disentangle itself from sanskaras during its involution back to God-realisation. And, at the end of the divine game, both love and consciousness seem to require the dissolution of the limited mind (which is ultimately a construct of sanskaras) before their ultimate states can be fully realised and experienced. For love, this is the state that Baba refers to as ‘Divine Love’; and for consciousness it is that end-goal which he labels in ‘God Speaks’ ‘super-consciousness’:

‘Love becomes consciously infinite in being as well as in expression when the individual mind is transcended. Such love is rightly called divine, because it is characteristic of the God state in which all duality is finally overcome…Divine love is unlimited in essence and expression because it is experienced by the soul through the Soul itself.’ (p.402)

‘Divine love arises after the disappearance of the individual mind and is free from the trammels of the individual nature.’ (p.115)

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