That is why in India there is a word which is called ishta devata which means preferred deity. Every individual in the world whether he knows it or not has an ishta devata. That is how human beings approaches the Higher. Even in human terms you will find different individuals who admire different people. Automatic admiration for something that is high and our tendency is also to make others to believe that my ishta devata should also be yours –– which is wrong. In India it is recognised that each one can have his own ishta devata, you should not prescribed to other. Some people are attracted by Durga, some by Mahakali, some by Saraswati, some by Ganesh, some by Subramaniam, Kartikeyan, different gods each one has a specific character. You recognise him in one way or the other according to your own nature and temperament, whichever is suitable to your temperament, is your ishta devata.
Question: If you love all?
That also happens but gradually. It depends on your universality. But very often when you say that you love all, there is still a preference in most of us, because our nature is not yet comprehensive. When your nature becomes comprehensive then you rise to a higher point. You pray like Sri Aurobindo, you will pray to every god and you will say now let me go beyond all gods. Then you become absolutely connected to the Supreme Divine.
You may recognise him as Power or Love or Wisdom, in many forms of them. This is how you recognise. Sri Aurobindo tells us how to recognise. One of the ways to recognise is recognize what you admire automatically. What is your highest point of admiration? Every human being secretly admires something, enjoys something. And if you can become conscious of it you can determine and then you can follow it and as you follow it will become expanded gradually. Your admiration also constantly changes in that way.
That is the first way by which you can recognise. Or you may recognise him “as an Absolute manifesting in the relative and attracting it.” Love, Power, Wisdom, these are different aspects but you may say that you are not limited to any aspect, my admiration is for the Supreme, the Absolute, so you may recognise an Absolute working in the world which is present in all the relativities. That may be another way of recognising him. You may recognise him as a Divine Person within us. Absolute is not a person. Absolute is a principle which is impersonal. The Divine Person is a personal relationship –– a very important point about the Divine Person is that He enters into relationship. It is like going to a river which is flowing. Whoever approaches the river can take the water. The river itself does not comes out and says, you are my very favourite and I give you water. It is impersonal; there is no special relationship of the river with you but its gifts are available to all. Whoever approaches can take advantage. But Personal Divine is different. The Personal Divine has relationship with every one of us in a very special manner.
There is a beautiful story in India of Gopal, one young boy and the mother who was very poor but wanted that her child study in a school. She managed to get him admitted but the school was very far off and the mother had to send the child through a long road in the forest, which was infested with animals, and the child was very much afraid. So the child told his mother: “How should I pass through the forest to reach the school? I am very much afraid why don’t you come with me?” But the mother was working somewhere and she had no time to accompany the child. She said: “Look I have another son of mine, he lives in the forest and if you need him you can call him and he will come and take you whenever there is a difficulty.” And the child whenever he passed and had a fear he called out and said: “Come and help me!” And indeed his elder brother appeared and took him always. And they used to have fun, good talks. One day there was the birthday of his teacher and everyone was required, not compulsorily but it was expected that everyone would give some gift to the teacher. And the child told the mother that he had to give something to his teacher but the mother had nothing to give. So she said: “You ask your brother he will give you.” On his way he called out to his brother and who gave him a very little vessel in which there was little milk. That was the gift he gave. Of course the boy was slightly ashamed that his gift compared to others was nothing. But it was all that he could manage. All the boys in his school gave big gifts to the teacher and with a great hesitation he offered his own little thing. But lo and behold! When the milk was being poured it continued to pour and pour and pour endlessly. And vessel after vessel was filled but this trickle of milk was still continuing. And the teacher became extremely intrigued and he said: “Who has brought this milk?” The boy said: “I brought it.” “From where did you get it?” “My brother gave me.” So he said: “Let me see your brother. Who is this brother of yours who can give this kind of miraculous streak of milk?” The boy said: “Alright, I will show you my brother.” And then the boy took the teacher into the forest and called out to his brother and he saw his brother standing and he said to the teacher: “See, he is here.” But the teacher could not see him.” Only the boy could see him, the teacher could not see him. The boy was surprised and said to the teacher: “But he is here.” But the teacher replied that he doesn’t see him. Then his brother told the boy that his teacher has to be as young as you are, as small as you are, as pure as you are to be able to see him, but because he is not he will not be able to see him.