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The Art of Asking Questions
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Swami Brahmeshananda (Hindi)
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Hara Hara Bhutanatha
Sundara lala Nanda dulala
Swami Kripakarananda (Hindi)
Uthlechhe prema parabar
Swami Kripakarananda (Bengali)
Prabuddha BharataLatest Issue
Editorial : True Love
We think we know everything about some things in life. We comment on them, idealise them, and in short, act as if we were experts on the subject. These are things close to our life, cooking for instance. Every one of us has something to say about it. Though all that we would have had done ever in our lives to qualify as cooking would have been boiling a glass of water, still the moment we taste any food, or the moment we are dragged into any conversation about food, we speak like experts. We start commenting about the flavour, ingredients, and the variety of food. Same is the case with health. Though we would ourselves be having a bad health and worse lifestyle, we would not think twice before advising others on how to reduce body fat, how to manage an ailment, how to avoid becoming prey to a disease, and so on. And, we do not lose any opportunity to do some bedside practice when one of our near and dear ones falls ill! We run to their rescue, not so much by serving them, but by making them the targets of our amateur medical wisdom and using them as guinea pigs for our research. Another on the growing list of things we never hesitate to act as an expert on is music. Though one would not have sung anything more than the spontaneous and sporadic mumblings resulting from a downpour on one’s head in the bathroom, also called ‘bathroom singing’, as soon as some notes fall on our ears we vouch to be musical and start analysing the merit of those tones.
Thus, life turns into a great course of an individual trying to judge things one is not qualified to even take part in. It is the same with love. Each person thinks one knows about love. Everyone thinks they have loved, have been loved, and
would continue to love. We claim to know much about this important and crucial element of human life. There are countless books, videos, and other resources on love. But what kind of love are they talking about? It is the identification and attachment with a particular body and mind. A love that centres around a body and mind, where one constantly strives to own and overpower them much like one does when one acquires a property or an object. One is possessed by the idea of possessing one’s possession. All the time and effort of an individual is spent on protecting the love or the person and in ensuring that this love is not snatched by some other person. Just like one guards one’s wealth, people guard their love or people they love and ensure they are bound by their love.
To call this behaviour love is to make a mockery and insult it. Attachment, delusion, and superimposition—that is seeing things to be what they are not—are the characteristics of that what is called ‘love’ by people. It is not true love. True love needs sacrifice. It requires us to go beyond our limited notions of ourselves as body and mind. What is commonly known as love is just another method of seeking approval and asserting authority. A person does not feel beautiful and needs another to get the idea of beauty. Projecting one’s desires and illusions, one wants to smile, be innocent, fair, and sweet and call it ‘love’. The adage ‘everything is fair in love and war’ is characteristic of the illusion that people call love.
True love is not about difference. It is about oneness. It is not about wanting to possess. It is liberating. Only that person who does not have a fixed locus of personality can truly love. Only that person whose ego has ceased to exist can truly love. True love has no expectation and hence no attachment. There is no ‘other’ from whom to expect. True love transcends all boundaries and distinctions because the lover and the loved are one. In true love, there can never be two persons. It is impossible. That could never be. All that could exist could exist only within these persons, not between them because there would be no difference and there would be only one, a complete mingling of two, the superseding of the one over the many.
True love is not physical. All that is physical is impure. True love is a reflection of purity. All external barriers lose strength in front of true love. It defies perception. It is difficult to understand. Just as God, it cannot be described. It can only be experienced. It comes with an intense madness to give out oneself completely. True love is characterised by a maddening passion to unite. Not asking but always ready to give. One who can give one’s head, everything that one cherishes and also give one’s individuality, only that person can truly love. Nothing is hidden in love. There is no notion of self or possessions of self. There is no need for privacy. One fails in love if there is even an iota of space required to be kept private. There is no shame in expressing one’s most terrible secret. There are no secrets. True love takes one closer to God. It is only before the beloved that one stands in one’s true nature just like one stands before God.
If this is not the case in something that a person calls ‘love’, that is no love. What hiding or strategy has ever won a heart? Innocent and complete submission is the only way to love. It is also the only way to God. Love is not holding someone to oneself but holding oneself free for the other to become one with. It is the abnegation of ego for getting united with someone beyond one’s limited constructs of individuality. Love is not closing the palms and squeezing the air out of them but opening them for all to peck from it. Love is the journey to oneness and the culmination of the discourse between two leading to the convergence into one. There is no difference between true love and God. Both take us beyond body and mind. Both remind us that we are infinite. True love is surrendering thought, word, and action to the beloved. It is floating free in its own flow just like a dry leaf in the air. It is becoming one with nature and then going still beyond. True love is a music that is unheard by human ears. It is a rhythm that no musical instrument can keep. It is the tone of the beyond. No form can convey it. No name can be given to it. It is beyond all emotions and itself is anything but an emotion. True love is your true Self. It is your true personality that constantly eludes your grasp. It can make. It can mar. And it can take us beyond all creation to the very primal source, our true being. Love is Truth. True love is there for all of us to experience. Silent as a dewdrop, it has a power of its own. It is love.