The Upanishads - Love in Action

In my last Blog, From simple to universal consciousness - love, I mentioned The Upanishads and their key message of love, where “The truth of love is the Truth of the universe.” And so I have gone back to reading The Upanishads, and reiterate, God is Love, and love is joy.

What has popped out for me on this reading are the two paths open to us; love or pleasure. “Love is undefinable, but we know that love is joy: not indeed a transient pleasure, but an eternal joy of the soul.” In the Katha Upanishad there are two clear paths, “There is the path of joy and there is the path of pleasure. Both attract the soul. The two paths lie in front of man. Pondering on them, the wise chooses the path of joy: the fool takes the path of pleasure.”

I can see that most of my life has been dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure. We often talk of the psychological opposites pleasure and pain. My pursuit of pleasure has mostly been a dash from the pain inside. A sticking plaster over unresolved trauma. It really wasn’t until I came into contact with Tantra that I found a road map out of this trauma.

Talking therapies did a job of helping me manage my life and understand, intellectually, where my issues came from. But actually releasing that trauma from my body and integrating my intellectual knowledge and body-based knowledge (The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to, wrote Ramon Llull) was only possible due to the work I undertook as part of my tantra journey.

Juan Mascaro, who translated The Upanishads and wrote the Introduction, says, “One of the tasks of education is to reveal the joy of the Infinite which is the joy of love.” Having spent 30 years in the education sector, this is news to me, but something I am passionate about sharing through my own tantra and kundalini yoga facilitation and coaching work.

For we embrace the rise from unconsciousness to consciousness (for only in the consciousness of Joy can we apprehend the reality of God) through a process of Yoga. Yoga being the path and the map to get us there. But yoga is not the destination. This is love. Love is “the first condition” for entering the path.

The central message, then, of The Upanishads is YES; a yes to life and to love. OM is to know this central Truth. “The truth of love is the Truth of the universe.” “Yes, this love which is the Joy of the Infinite, the ananda of Brahman, this love that is God, is here and now.”

Brining it all together

The Upanishads is very much a bringing together of the material and the spiritual, based on a recognition that we are first and foremost and ‘event’ in the world “we do not live in a world of incorporeal spirits”, “before man can enjoy life he must eat and be alive.” However, this should not be seen to reduce life to a mere material view. There is a “spiritual radiance from which this universe of matter is only a reflection.”

Love is not some abstract thing. It is shown through action. It is not the prayer and the practices. It is the works of love we do. We need to bring the work of love into our daily lives; into that which we do. This is how we proclaim, as the ISA Upanishad says, “the victory of life” for “only actions done in God bind not the soul of man.”

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