Love of God overtakes all

Love of God overtakes all (The following article was posted in the “Meditations” column of the Hindustan Times, one of India’s largest English language daily newspapers, on 9 March 2004.) MANY TEENAGERS are nihilistic. They think the end of history coincided exactly with their arrival on earth. Similarly, once sensual attraction makes itself known, life before romance is is dead. No school, college or university can teach the subject. How do you teach someone to be madly in love? The 16th century Vaishnava intellectual, Rupa Goswami, wrote that attraction to God should flow as naturally as rivers surge to the sea, and be as spontaneous as teenage feelings, or youth awakened to new dimensions at puberty. His writing was as much a prayer as a concept. A prayer because what is natural to the transcendentalist is unnatural to the worldly-minded. The fashion is to ‘get back to basics’. There’s a notion that technology is unnatural and transforming us into cyborgs. To offset this tendency, the thinking goes, we have to revert back to nature, get back our roots, be true to our instincts, the more animal-like the better. Rupa’s prayer is to return to basics, but not merely to sensuality or the unpredictable vicissitudes of our natures. He teaches that the existence of God and His intervening invisible hand is the most basic and natural of all phenomena. We have developed an abnormality, a lack of belonging to our roots, but eternal broadband doesn’t hang up. God stays connected. The writer is emeritus member of the ISKCON governing body commission.