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“I know for sure that love saves me and that it is here to save us all.” ~ Maya Angelou (SuperSoul Sunday)
The vibrant colors of evening greeted my dewy eyes after an afternoon siesta.
I could smell the evocative scent of Earth after a fresh spell of monsoons. With every downpour, the sky waltzed with nature, like the peacock in my front lawn—opening its beautiful feathers to entice the female, unaware of its becoming. I stepped out with a leisurely gait into the lawn.
This was my abode: an almost flawless, picturesque, and benevolent home at the foothills of the Aravalli range in India.
At home, my loving dad encouraged me to turn inward and take up spirituality, literature, culture, science, and the history of the world. There were talks on how one should lead their life in an optimum and worthy way to benefit humankind. The teachings were full of wisdom and yet open for debate.
Where childhood liberated me, adulthood was to constrain me.
Upon reaching adulthood, my upbringing demanded I be virtuous and kind to all. However, here was the crisis: in the pursuit of doing the “right thing” for everyone—my partner, my children, my extended family, my friends, even a stranger if they asked for my help—my love and kindness for others, in the name of virtue, had turned into a sacrificial ritual. I was like a lamb to be sacrificed before a holy doing.
I had, now, no choice but to be courageous to salvage my thrashed mind, body, and soul, and end everything that I had built and lived for in this lifetime—my marriage, my home, my job. Turns out, I was more afraid of the consequences than of being worthy to all.
And then the mother of all awakenings happened with just four words.
The words, “Aham Prem Aham Brahmasmi,” or “I am Love and I am the Universe,” struck me like a lightning bolt. I first heard them from a friend who wanted to tattoo them on her back; the words took on a new meaning for my existence. For all these years, there had been no Aham or I, and to put it mildly, there was no we either, in togetherness or separateness. So, if there was no I and no we, then who was me? Was I the Brahmasmi or was the Brahmasmi me?
By asking these questions, I not only challenged love but my reality.
“Always recognize that human individuals are ends, and do not use them as means to your end.” ~ Immanuel Kant
We fall in love, hoping it to be everlasting, magical, and unconditional—until death do us apart. But how many of us really include love in our way of life, or even the person whom we claim as our beloved? Can anyone define love? Can love be learnt and unlearned?
Yes, there is a reason why we fall in love: the hormones, the chemical mumbo jumbo that takes over our brain. The warnings be damned! And this chemical explosion is enough to question our sanity, and has given birth to the adage, “Love is blind.”
The honest and glaring truth though is that love for another human is complex and can lessen with the testament of time, fractured emotions, and a broken spirit.
We must question what good is love when it’s selfish and born out of neediness. When the wants can no longer be fulfilled, when the roots of selfishness spread deep, the ego consumes any iota of emotion left to love the other person. The Aham, or I, convert to ego and self will not let love win.
True and real love must be strong, even when it’s messy and frail. This kind of love is a rare connection at a deeper soul level and beyond the scientific reasoning of hormonal interference or morality. All of us deserve this ego-less, benevolent love—a love that is giving and forgiving. This type of love will not waiver when we are exhausted and most vulnerable. This love will not hunt or chase us, because it is ever-present. This love will put you before me and cannot bear the thought of me without you.
This is the kind of love that must exist between lovers, parents and children, brothers and sisters, or friends. This is the kind of love that is present when you suddenly stop to give a homeless person food to eat.
Aham Prem Aham Brahmasmi taught me that the act of love must be greater than the sum of you and me. This is a whole equation that is created by including you as part of me and there is no other way around it.
We ourselves are the embodiment of this heavenly emotion and action of love. We are the unavoidable Love and we are the whole Universe. Once we breathe in this mantra, we will have no choice but to breathe out the same. We live in a universal society and we are global citizens of the world. We must omit the boundaries drawn by hate, war, and prejudice to come together and chant this intonation that can unite us all.
I am Love and I am the Universe.
One cannot exist without the other. We are indestructible as one—no ego, no entity. I do not identify myself with any sect, any formation, any boundary. I exist as I am. I have no agenda. This is the eternal ultimate truth and realization of my being.
The flamboyant colors of evening are again waiting for me. I am greeting them in the Western hemisphere, sitting by the fireplace, sipping my hot coffee with the chatter of my children surrounding me. Outside is a blanket of snow glistening under the starry night. I end the day with gratitude and a prayer that these four words, “Aham Prem Aham Brahmasmi,” create the ripple effect that humanity needs to drown in the sea of love by merely existing as our loving selves.