One day I was out in a boat on the Ganges. It was a beautiful evening in autumn. The sun had just set. The silence of the sky was full to the brim with ineffable peace and beauty. The vast expanse of water was without a ripple, mirroring all the changing shades of the sunset glow. As our boat was silently gliding suddenly a big fish leapt up to the surface of the water and then disappeared. It drew aside for a moment the many-coloured screen behind which there was a silent world full of the joy of life. I felt it had a friendly greeting from an alien world in its own language, and it touched my heart with a flash of gladness.
Then suddenly the man at the helm exclaimed with a distinct note of regret, “Ah, what a big fish!” It at once brought before his vision the picture of the fish caught and made ready for his supper. He could only look at the size of the fish through his desire and thus he missed the truth of its existence.
It is our desires that limit the scope of our self-realisation, hinder our extension of consciousness and give rise to sin, which is the innermost barrier that keeps us apart from our God. Sin is not one mere action, but it is an attitude which takes for granted that our goal is finite, that our self is the ultimate truth and that we are not all essentially one but exist each for his own separate individual existence.
So I repeat we never can have a true view of man unless we have love for him. Whenever some ancient civilisation fell into decay and died, it was owing to causes which produced callousness of heart. When either the state or some powerful group of men began to look upon people as mere instruments of their power, man struck at the foundation of his greatness.
In love, all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost. In love loss and gain are harmonised. In its balance sheet, credit and debit accounts are in the same column and gifts are added to gains.
Indeed, love is what brings together and inseparably connects both the act of abandoning and that of receiving.