THE INCARNATION OF LOVE
Part I: The Discipline of Love in the Way of the
Love Without Expectation
SRI DA AVABHASA: [to a woman] Are you still
dwelling on your mother? She was a movie star?
DEVOTEE: Yes, she was a star. She was very
beautiful but totally unattainable.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Did she play at being a star with
everybody, including her family?
DEVOTEE: It was obvious that up to the moment of her
death she was acting. I think that is the reason I go in the
other direction and do not dramatize anything. I
SRI DA AVABHASA: It is your way of dramatizing. [Laughter.]
DEVOTEE: I think I was always angry at her. Toward the
end of her life, I transcended it, though. I took care of
her, but she kicked me out of the house …
SRI DA AVABHASA: Turned on you and kicked you out of
the house! There was a great deal of anger even now as you
DEVOTEE: It hurt me greatly.
SRI DA AVABHASA: So no matter what you did, she still
would not love you.
DEVOTEE: That is right. Then she died. I was not there
when she died, but she psychically contacted a friend of
mine after her death and she told my friend that I had to
forgive her. Apparently she could not move on without my
forgiving her. It was very difficult. I could not really let
myself forgive her.
SRI DA AVABHASA: You havent yet! You are still
talking angrily about her turning on you and throwing you
out of the house. You went through the process of her death
in a kind of ritual fashion. You did not deal with yourself,
your reasons for not wanting to forgive her, your
expectation that she would approach you and ask for
forgiveness and somehow make you feel her need for your
love. That did not happen, so you did not really go through
the process of forgiving her. Your process of forgiving or
letting go is still waiting to happen.
DEVOTEE: I ask to really forgive her and let her
SRI DA AVABHASA: Well, yes, that is easy to say. But
what must happen in you so that you can do so? It is not
enough to admit that you must perform the ritual of
forgiveness. You must be in a position to let your mother
go. You have based your relationship with her on her loving
you. She did not give you that satisfaction, so you are not
about to give her any satisfaction now. It is the attachment
game again, not the discipline of love. The discipline of
love has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you
got what you wanted from her.
DEVOTEE: To love her in spite of everything.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes. But you will not do that yet
because you expect a gesture from her that fulfills the
expectations you have had all of your life-that she not be
the star, remote, unattainable, but that she mother you,
love you, forgive you, nourish you. She did not do so. And
because she did not, there was conflict between you the
whole time she was alive. Now that she has passed, you are
still making it a source of conflict. You are not letting
her go because your expectations have not been fulfilled.
You think somehow she must fulfill your expectations before
you can let her go. Even the word “forgiveness” seems
somehow false, as if some sort of justice must be done.
The discipline of love is not about justice. It
transcends justice. Love is greater than justice. You never
had exactly a love relationship with your mother. Your
relationship with her was based on attachment and on
expectation that was frustrated. You are still holding to
that position. You must understand yourself, how you work,
how you worked all your life with her, how you work even
now, not only in relation to her but in relation to others.
Your practice is not a matter of forgiving her. It is not a
matter of her fulfilling your expectations. It is a matter
DEVOTEE: Simply being in relationship?
SRI DA AVABHASA: [slamming His hand on the table
near Him] Love! No justice, no expectations, no
forgiveness. Love! Love is its own forgiveness. Even to
think in terms of having to forgive is about the attachment
game. You have never been able to love your mother, simply,
straightforwardly-or anyone else for that matter. To you,
love is based on conditions, expectations, and you always
feel in the frustrated position, relatively unloved. You are
always doing things for others that are love-expressions
from your point of view, but there is no glow on you. There
is no energy in you with all this service to others that you
call “love”. If you are truly loving others, it shows all
over your body. You yourself have always done healing
service-if that service is about love, it shows all over
your body. What you are doing is not about love.
DEVOTEE: I do it so I can get love from others.
SRI DA AVABHASA: That is it! You are always doing
all kinds of service because you expect to be loved. Somehow
you think that you have not been loved all your life, even
though you are doing all of this service. You served your
mother, you serve everybody else, and you are not being
loved for it. Your life is basically all about a frustrated
expectation, and you yourself are not practicing the
discipline of love. You are living on the basis of
expectation rather than loving, simply, uncontaminated, not
contracted, not being frustrated because others do not give
you the love you expect, released in the full feeling
gesture, no withholding, no contraction, no reasons not to
love, none! Your mother was the way she was. She never changed,
and that is the way it is. Why should that retard your
DEVOTEE: There is no reason.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Your relationship to your mother
seems to characterize your life altogether. It seems to be
the paradigm, the symbol, in which you have fixed your
entire life. You are always serving and doing what is good,
and expecting love in return. Love never fully happens to
you, so you can never fully receive it. It is always the
same dramatization. You never live on the basis of
self-understanding and practice the discipline of love
yourself. You think you are loving, but you are dramatizing.
You think your service is about love, but it is something
you are doing to serve yourself. It is a dramatization of
You will let your mother go not when she approaches
you and asks for forgiveness, not when you decide to forgive
her, but when you become love. To become love takes real
self-understanding, real practice, real discipline, and the
giving up of your psychology of expectation. Stop making
your expectation the bargaining point of whether you will
love or not. Just give it up entirely.
To do that requires real self-understanding, a
change of life, a change of disposition altogether. Some months ago, you were suggesting that you had
heard Me. You said that when you were travelling in India
this past year, you got the reality picture of life and that
some kind of detachment came over you as a result, as if
that were hearing, or most fundamental self-understanding.
What we are discussing now, not detachment, is what hearing
is about in your case. Your detachment is just another way
of immunizing yourself against your frustrated
DEVOTEE: The celibacy that I chose at the time was
about the same thing.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Yes. Look at the details of your
life and see how they are associated with this principal
dramatization-the frustrated expectation of love. You deal
with it in various ways, through your healing services,
through your choice of celibacy. But these are all aspects
of the one dramatization. This dramatization is what you
must “consider” in yourself, and you must begin to change
your life. There is no true hearing until you do. This is
what hearing is about in your case.
You look like a child in some ways. You have a fixed
expression of a kind that communicates this frustrated
expectation. There are other relationships in your life, to
your father and other people, that have the same limits, but
your relationship to your mother was a very important one,
perhaps the key one. Nevertheless, the many other
relationships were about the same thing. You must see how
you developed this particular character game and how you dramatized it in all your relationships and all your choices
and all the aspects of your appearance and all the aspects
of your doing. It is all the same dramatization.
What else about it? Anything?
DEVOTEE: Thank you.
SRI DA AVABHASA: Tcha.
What else then? DEVOTEE: Beloved Master, I am sure it is
different in every case, but is it basically true that this
complication about love is one of the primary areas of
limitation in all beings?
SRI DA AVABHASA: Absolutely. The Heart is the great
Principle of life. It is Inherently Free. It is never
damaged. Many things are superimposed on It, however, and
presumptions of un-love are made. The Heart is feeling
without limitation. In the context of daily ordinary human
living, the Heart is expressed as love, or feeling in
relationship. Why is “Avoiding relationship?” the principal
form of self-Enquiry I have Given to My devotees? Because of
your heart suppression, your suppression of the feeling
You are crippled because you live as the ego,
self-contracted, with the heart contracted, therefore, or
seeming to be. This contraction is shown in the
dramatization of a fundamentally loveless life. Even though
you say you experience feelings, you experience them through
the mechanisms of egoity, the games of attachment, the games
of suppression, the games of avoidance. Therefore, love, or
the Heart, does not become the context of your life.
The great “Consideration” that is the Way of the
Heart is not just about the human exchanges of love in
social relationships. It is about the Awakening of the
heart. It is about proceeding from the heart-foundation to
Awaken fundamentally and altogether and then Absolutely. The
beginnings of understanding have everything to do with the
observation of what you are doing in the terms of your
ordinary life. And you are suppressing the feeling dimension
You live as self-contraction. Therefore, you
dramatize self-contraction in all relations. Yet all the
while you are this knot, you say you are loving. How can it
be so? You are really suppressing love, withholding love,
not being animated by love altogether. A little of it leaks
out, perhaps, when you are associated with something that
pleases you, that fulfills your expectations, or that you
want to fulfill your expectations. That is why you use the
word “love” to describe your feelings for almost
everything-“I love ice cream, I love going to the movies, I love my girlfriend, I love my boyfriend.” You are playing
the games of attachment to things that please you, that
fulfill your expectations or your desires. If anything does
not please you or fulfill you, you do not love it, you do
not love that one, you are not happy with that one, you are
contracted, you are dramatizing, you are independent, you
Therefore, you carry around with you the presumption
of love, or the heart-principle, but because you live by
self-contraction you adhere to an agreement in yourself that
you will not practice the discipline of love, you will not
manifest free feeling, unless you are pleased, unless your
expectations are fulfilled. When anything or anyone does not
fulfill your expectations, the knot is dramatized everywhere
in your feeling. It comes all over your body, all over your
face. And what are you doing? The dramatization of “I dont
How much of your life do you spend doing this?
Basically you are doing this almost all the time. When now
and then your expectations are fulfilled, suddenly you are
the love boy or the love girl.
DEVOTEE: But is that love, Sri Gurudev? Is that
authentic love in those moments when we feel fulfilled?
SRI DA AVABHASA: Of course it is not authentic love.
It is feeling come to the front, fine, but it is based on
the egoically “self-possessed” (or self-absorbed),
self-contracted notion of how to live. You will manifest
such feeling only if you are pleasurized, only if your
expectations are fulfilled, only if you get what you want
from another. You are not free to exercise free feeling
unless your expectations are fulfilled. And, as a matter of
fact, the moments of such fulfillment are rather rare! You
build up so many expectations over a lifetime that there is
hardly any room for the expression of free feeling. Free
feeling rarely occurs.
In moments now and then, on special days, on special
occasions, at special events in your life, all of a sudden
you are full of feeling. Everybody gets together in
December, for example, especially Christians and Jews, who
have special holidays at that time, but the December holiday
is a ritual that is fairly common all over the Earth. People
give one another gifts and show in their faces and on their
bodies how pleasurable they find one anothers company. This
lasts for a few hours, and then everybody goes through the
ritual of the New Year, when they separate from one another
once again and return to business as usual.
In certain ritual moments of life, like everyone
else you manifest free feeling, but basically you have
founded your life on expectation and you will not express
free feeling unless your expectation is fulfilled. “Consider” it. This is exactly how you operate. This is why
your expressions of free feeling are so rare, because you
base your life on the expectation of pleasure from others
rather than on the discipline of love founded on
self-understanding. If you founded yourself on
self-understanding and the discipline of love, the
manifestation of free feeling would characterize your life
no matter what happened. You would uncover more and more
impediments to free feeling and go beyond them. To do that is to grow. To do that is to mature. To
do that is truly to be a human being instead of a subhuman
DEVOTEE: One of my strategies has been to avoid what I
really have to deal with in life.
SRI DA AVABHASA: As if everything is okay, and you
are really practicing, living the Divine life. What you are
really doing is dramatizing the self-contraction through the
loveless order of the first three stages of life and a
little bit of the fourth. You say you are practicing
devotion to Me. Is it love? Or am I just another party to
your lovelessness? The Way of the Heart is not about mere
observances, it is not about consolation, it is not about
indulging in the stimulation of seeking. It is about
self-understanding and the transcendence of the
self-contraction through real devotion to Me.
You must equip yourself, then, with these arms of
self-understanding and authenticate your practice and not
reduce your practice of the Way of the Heart to mere
observances. It is not by mere association with Me that you
Awaken and grow. It is by right practice in relationship to
Me that Awakening and growth are potential.
You want to rattle around here and call yourself My
devotee and not deal with this dramatization. You want to
talk about subject matter, talk about love in an
intellectual sense, perhaps, make pronouncements about it. I
am talking about the real sadhana that cuts through your
drama. I am talking about real content that must be dealt
with. The Way of the Heart is a “reality consideration”. You
must really deal with yourself, really deal with your dramatization, or you are an amateur at the Way of the
I practice the discipline of it! I do not have to
look one way or the other. I just do it for real. That is
why I do many things, act in many ways, not just “kissy-kissy, I love you”. I act in all kinds of ways to
serve your Awakening, your responsibility, your real
practice of the Way of the Heart, your Realization.
Therefore, when love is really exercised, it appears in many