What is Love?

joejo's picture

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I thought to write on this topic after seeing that so few had commented on it in the forum. So the question What is Love? is so important that it would be worthwhile to examine it with an open mind.

This is one word that is much used or abused in all the cultures or societies. Any serious person would know that what goes around with the name Love is not so. Yet aren't we all conditioned without our conscious participation. So whether we like it or not we have certain notions about it. Though I personally do no like to divide the life into secular & spiritual, it would be a good starting point to our examining Love. Some may even object to such a cold-blooded dissection for they would say that Love is a matter of Heart. We are not being anything of this kind and fully realise that it is the kernel of Spiritual life.

In the Hindu devotional tradition Madhur Bhava or the relation of the devotee to God is one of that towards the Beloved. This is considered the highest form of devotion. Yet Shree Ramakrishna Paramhansa the great saint and Guru of the famous Hindu monk Swami Vevekananda warned against this practice probably because, any romantic relation between the two sex, has sexual connotation. Love then to the Puritans was something passionate but devoid of sex.

Love is God goes the famous saying of the Gospel yet we can safely assume that even this definition of Love had nothing to do with sex. Why was one supposed to sublimate this sexual energy and convert it to a passionate affair with the Lord. It would do no good to dismiss it as a fad of Puritans. There could be many reasons that sincere seekers would know but for the present let me confine myself to the topic.

If we derive any energy out of stimulation then a dependency is formed towards the object and it enslaves us. We all know the example of drugs. Many have claimed to have reached altered state of consciousness by the use of psychotropic substances but this as a method has been rejected because of the dependency it produces. We become a slave whereas the Goal was Freedom. Moreover the requirement of dose (quantity) increases as the body gets used to the level of drug in the blood. Drugs are merely an example. The object could be anything even the opposite sex.

Love we said is the cornerstone of any spiritual tradition. The reason for this is not far to see. In our passionate moments we forget ourselves (transcend). This going beyond the little self is Samadhi or highest meditation. On of the great Mystics of our times Shree Neeb(Neem) Karori Baba was an advocate of this.

I cannot claim to know any more than this great adept but would say that to go beyond the self by conscious effort seems illogical. All efforts strengthen the ego or self. To see clearly the tricks and trap of this egocentric activity could at least slow it down and it is in these magical moments that we can have an insight into Love. One of the safest way is to reject what it is not, whatever our gut feeling be. The advaitic negative approach or Neti, Neti meaning not this, not this may be a safe approach.

The second important aspect is whether Love is something other than Intelligence. We sometimes presume that to be from the heart is to be impulsive. Love may be the highest Intelligence for it is born out of freedom. It is the self that narrows the vision. A full treatment of this theme would require more time and space so I would reserve it for later. Similarly Love is the greatest strength.

We require energy for everything that we do. Love is the purest form of that energy or the very source the very Heart. In fact Heart is one of the names of God as told by Maharshi Ramana.

To conclude I would just say Love is where self is not (J Krishnmurti).

mbnarayana's picture

I did not read the maya vada

I did not read the maya vada or advaitha of adi sankara.But I agree the non-duality theory of sankara.If you accept your fellow being as your soulmate,then you start loving him thinking that the same soul exists in him(her)also.Once you start liking him an attachment develops and you may call it love or liking.This is the firststep.At higher level you become non-dual(ie.above love and hatred).Radha was the soulmate of lord krishna,radha thought krishna as dearest.the sadhana they did was rasa kreeda,what some gurus call it group realisation

mbnarayana | Sun, 02/07/2010 - 08:17
B-friend's picture

On Love

Here's one of my favorite things ever written on Love. Though written mostly for the Christian audience some 400 years ago, the universality of it remains evident. I find it beautiful.


B-friend | Sun, 02/07/2010 - 15:54