LOVE AND LOVE ONLY
“Let their love be natural, let them know the secret of devotion; let them not exhaust themselves by other Sadhanas, let them stick to this one simple remedy.” – Sri Sai Satcharitra, Ch. III.
He was an early disciple of Christ. He lived at the time when to become a devotee of Christ was to invite death by torture. He was not afraid; He was a simple peasant who lived by the sweat of his brow. As he tilled the land, he sang within his heart, the Name of his Master. He tilled for the love of Christ. His land yielded abundant grain. He kept little for himself, sharing the rest with the poor in whom; he beheld the radiant face of his Beloved. His house was open to all who needed food and shelter. Many were the pilgrims and wayfarers with whom he shared his simple meals and the love of his brave, beautiful heart.
The government of his days learns of his deep devotion to Jesus. Soldiers are sent to kill him. They arrive at the village, a little after sunset. They want food and shelter for the night. They are told that in the village is a man who denies hospitality to none. They go to him, not knowing that it is he whom they have come to kill. He meets them with the warmth of love; he serves them; he gives them with food to eat. When he asks them the purpose of their visit, he learns that they have come to kill him. He does not reveal to them his identity but asks them to spend the night in his cottage, He attends to their needs; he prepares beds for them; he puts them to sleep.
And then, what does he do? He does not escape from the village; he goes out and digs a grave for himself; he is not afraid of death. He is happy as a bride on her wedding day. He is eager to meet the Eternal Bridegroom, the Spouse of the soul. He keeps awake the whole night, communing with his Lord and Master.
As the day dawns, he says to the soldiers, “I am he whom you seek. My head is before you; do your duty!” The soldiers are taken aback. They loathe to take the life of this most marvelous man and fain would give him a chance to escape. He says to them, “Fear not, brothers! You have come to lay on my poor, undeserving head, the crown of martyrdom. I die for the love of my Master – Jesus Christ!” As they prepare to chop off his head, there are tears in the eyes of soldiers; but his face is filled with an unearthly light. He is not afraid of death. He smiles in the face of death. When they ask him the secret of his life, he says, “The secret is a simple one. I love and laugh. Each moment I delight in the Lord! I try to translate the teachings of my Master in my daily life; and I have the fullness of love which no man may take away from me!”