Friday, November 14th, 2014
Ice cream can be compared with Nirguna Brahmam…and the melting Ice cream can be called Saguna Brahmam… Using the imagery of Ice cream, Bhagawan, in His inimitable style of punning, taught the tiny tots from the Primary School the profound spiritual lesson of the ‘sixth-element’ called L – O – V – E. … Prof Kasturi’s son, Late Dr MVN Murthy chronicled the beautiful incident on an enchanting Sunday morning in ‘heavenly’ Prasanthi Nilayam…
It was a Sunday morning at Prasanthi Nilayam. After finishing the morning ‘interviews’, Baba went to the western side of the Mandir where the children from the Primary School were seated. Baba does not like anybody, and certainly not the sweet little ones, to sit in the hot sun! He made them all sit in the shade in the porch very near the ‘interview’ room. The children beamed as they trooped in and sat in an orderly fashion, followed by Baba who came behind them, glowing with a big smile! He came to the first row and all of a sudden started singing, ‘Love is My Form! …… ‘ He asked the children to join. All of us who were fortunate to be present had this unexpected gift of Grace! (I have found that grace always comes unexpectedly!). Half way, He stopped and asked the children, “What is Love?’, with a teasing smile. The children were taken by surprise at this question and smiled, non-plussed! He ‘minused’ their bewilderment by obliging the answer!
“Love is Ice cream!” I heard Baba say. He allowed the children’s laughter and the adults’ surprise to die down, before He explained further. Baba, the ideal teacher, is Master of the technique of teaching. A startling question to evoke attention, provoke curiosity and secure interested listening is The Master’s method! All ears were now alert, awaiting Baba’s explanation! ‘Love is sweet, like Ice cream; love is joy, like Ice cream; love cool, like Ice cream and love is pure, like white Ice cream!’ Baba explained. Apparently meant for the children, it was a gift from Baba to all of us, this extra-ordinarily original definition of Love from Love Incarnate! Images are sketched by poets to make the abstract concrete. Baba, The Poet of poets, gives images which have great spiritual depths, and uses the most modern of them to make us understand what He wants to convey. In the Krishna Avatar, it was milk, curds and butter; Sai Krishna uses the imagery of Ice cream!
Who will not understand that Love is sweet like Ice cream? Baba had also said, Love is joy like Ice cream. We understand this best when Baba gives us a taste of what Love really is. The kind of Love that we experience with Baba is sweetness itself. “Rasovai sah” ‘He is the very Essence of sweetness,” says the Upanishad. I remembered the imagery of a cup of water with a spoonful of sugar added to it, given by Baba on another occasion. Baba said: “There is sugar in the cup, but the water is insipid, for you have not stirred it well. There is God in the world, and by stirring the Divine well into every drop and atom thereof, you can make the world a sweet thing to live by.” Life becomes sweet and joyful by stirring the Divine, whose most potent expression is Love, into every action of ours.
I also recollected another illustration of Baba, viz., sugar candy. Baba had used this imagery to explain the apparently paradoxical Upanishadic statement, “That is full; this is also full”. Just as even a small particle of sugar candy is sweet like the larger lump, every bit of the ice cream is as sweet as the whole block. The part is as sweet as the whole. The quality of sweetness is not any the less in a small portion! Love is also like that; every act of love is complete, pure, full, nothing held back. Every act of love is a total act; love cannot be graded!
Baba said: ‘Love is ‘cool’ like ice-cream!” This is so very different from the commonly understood meaning attached to the word love. We somehow think that love is ‘hot’. Our popular conception of ‘love’ is that of a heated passionate emotion. This is what happens when people ‘fall in love’! But Baba is talking of a kind of love which belongs to a higher realm, more lasting and sustained than the passion that fluctuates!
Like the finely dispersed globules of butter fat in milk, we all have within us little globules of love which do not become obvious. Like natural milk in which the fat content varies from cow to cow or between cow and buffalo, we also vary in our love potential. This can also be increased by appropriate feed! In our case, the feed is in the form of opportunities for manifesting our love. Love must be practised, until it becomes a natural habit !
However, to get the best out of life, we must get the cream out of the ‘milk of human kindness’, to use a common expression. The natural process is slow, but we must also be centrifuged to help the separation of love! We need the centrifuging force of challenging opportunities, which we must seek. Then the minute acts of love, compassion and kindness oft-repeated come together and float on top, above the otherwise insipid water of life. Love globules also must be forced to accrete!
Ice cream makes people who taste it allowing it melt slowly on the tongue joyful, happy. The solid block of Ice cream loses its form by melting and finally disappears, fulfilling itself. Pure love springs from self-sacrifice; pure love is fulfilment. It is in losing that one gains everything.
Like Ice cream, God also melts when the heart of the devotee displays the warmth of Love towards Him. Sri Ramakrishna compared the inactive snake curled up, as Nirguna Brahman, while the same snake in motion is Saguna Brahman; both are the same essentially. The block of Ice cream is Nirguna Brahman; when the Ice cream melts giving ananda to the devotee, it is Saguna Brahman. The Avatar incarnates for this very purpose.
II Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavantu II