Much has been said and written about ‘love’, in the absence of which all the virtues disappear and all the evils — like jealousy, enmity, fearfulness, falsehood, deception, anger, suspicion, backbiting and hatred — appear. So much so that pessimism and depression overpowers us if we have lost love.
Ever since God made The Creation, there has always been love. Though in the modern world, the word ‘love’ has lost its sanctity and is always taken for ‘romance’ and ‘lust’. Love is love and it is this love that makes the universe go on smoothly. The sanctity of love can be seen and felt in all mothers, be it human beings or animals or birds. ‘Love’ needs no adjectives and no adverbs as it is in itself supreme. Bertha Von Suttner, a Czech-Austrian pacifist and novelist, said: “After the verb ‘to love’, the verb ‘to help’ is the most beautiful verb in the world.” Without love, life has no meaning. Leo Buscaglia, American author and motivational speaker, also known as ‘Dr. Love’, said: “Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life.”
Directly or indirectly, we love a person or a thing only when we have self-interest. Though it may sound ridiculous and unbelievable if I say that without selfishness love does not exist, so selfishness can’t be overlooked. We are happy only when our ‘self’ is satisfied and our ‘self’ is satisfied only when we love and are loved. Sydeny Smith, English wit, writer and Anglican cleric, said: “To love and be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.” The fact is that whatever we do, we do for happiness.
Though happiness differs from person to person, from place to place, and from time to time; it is our self-interest that counts much more. As ‘excess of everything is bad’, so if we are self-centred and we judge everything from the angle of our selfishness, we lose happiness as well as love. The more selfish we grow, the more happiness we lose. But we all know that without self-interest, we hardly take any interest in any thing. Who is not acquainted with the fact that the whole of the universe exists with selfishness under the garb of love? All the planets and stars are related to one another with gravity, i.e., selfishness. We all human beings have relation with others as we have some or the other self-interest, and I find no harm and fault in it. Unless we have self-interest, we can do nothing better. Self-interest includes fame, name, wealth and bodily & mental satisfaction. Under the garb of selfishness, we perform feats after feats. So we must give importance to ‘selfishness’.
But at the same time, we are to be aware of the fact that our selfishness may not come in the way of development and progress of others. Our selfishness may not harm others. Hence, the philosophy of the great hermit Yajnavalkya works when he says that the knowledge of ‘Self’ is the knowledge of all. Here, the great hermit takes the word ‘Self’ for ‘Soul’ in a wide sense. He says that a wife loves her husband and vice versa, not because she/he is austere, good or beautiful, but because her/his self/soul is pleased. A teacher loves his pupils or pupils love their teacher not because he or they are intelligent, disciplined and gentle, but because their soul is pleased and satisfied.
Likewise, we love our houses, flowers, our relatives, worldly possessions, and many other things — not because they are attractive, beautiful, grand and good, but because our soul gets satisfied and pleased. Why do we hate some persons or some things? The answer is that our soul is not pleased with such persons or things. The hermit talks of the ‘Self/Soul’ in a very wide sense and the word ‘love’ is expanded without a speck of selfishness. The great poet Tulsidas said: “The whole universe is shadowed with Rama and Sita (incarnation of the same Divinity) and I (Tulsidas, or we all) with folded hands salute the whole universe (all the Creations).” What a mystic mystery! So in a world where selfishness has overpowered most of us, the philosophy of hermit Yajnavalkya may work to a large extent.
The Bible says to love all men. “Every human being is worthy of reverence because of the divine element within,” said Swami Jitatmananda. It is an open secret that if we do not love or are not loved, we are in tension and we are burdened with the weight and pain of life. Sophocles, ancient Greek tragedian, said: “One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life: that word is love.” I can say for sure that love relieves us of all tensions and creates a halo around us and brings sweet words on our lips. The great poet and social reformer Kabirdas had rightly said: “When we are filled and lighted with ‘love’, the whole of our self is illuminated and the words we speak are as fragrant as musk.” So powerful is love.
“To love another person is to see the face of God.” ~ Les Miserables
“Love is His (God’s) essence
Love is His (God’s) presence
Love is a state in which there is no ‘me’.”
~ J. Krishnamurti
If our love is self-centred, we are bound to entertain fearfulness, jealousy, hatred, partiality, false promises. And love is not for love. If you love, never expect that you shall be loved in return. If you do so, you are always in pain.
Work like you don’t need money,
Love like you’ve never been hurt,
Dance like nobody is watching.
We love our nation; we love our children; we love our parents; we love our relatives; we love our neighbours; we love each and everything that pleases our self/soul. But the moment our love loses piety and is soiled with selfishness, we lose all happiness of life. Then we are haunted by hatred and jealousy. Love becomes a means to get our self-interest fulfilled. This kind of love tarnishes ‘love’, as such a person whose love is for his/her self-interest loses faith. The result is that by and by he neither loves nor is loved. He is overpowered by selfishness so strongly that he loses faith even in God, let alone human beings.
The Qur’an says: “Nothing is acceptable to Allah, which does not proceed from a pure and sincere heart.” Sri Sathya Sai Baba was always right when he said: “Where there is faith, there is love; where there is love, there is peace; where there is peace, there is God; where there is God, there is bliss.” Without faith we have no love, and without love we have no bliss. “Know love, know happiness. No love, no happiness.”
All creatures, be it human beings or be it animals, love their young ones. They love them without expecting anything in return. Love is not love, but it is something else if it is for mundane affairs. Flowers attract us; young children attract us; the young ones of animals attract us. “The love a man feels for his children is deeper and more pure than anything else in this world,” said Val McDermid, best selling Scottish crime writer. Why? They have some heavenly qualities that make us love them. Though they are speechless; they say a lot. And, we are easily captivated with their inner beauty and innocence. Then we love them. This love is love without any qualitative or quantitative adjectives.
Now a question arises: how our love can last longer in a world where every thing is counted and measured from the angle of selfishness? Undoubtedly, selfishness is always there with our love, but our love should not be dominated by our selfishness. Whatever you do and whomsoever you love, you do with love without extreme selfishness and sans expecting anything in return. Albert Einstein had rightly said: “The best part of loving is not hoping that a person loves you so much as you do, but in knowing that you love her/him far more than you can.”
Our love can last longer only if it does not go in extremity. Here is a saying that is worth-noting: “The loves and sorrows are destroyed by their own plenitudes.”
“Love is life. And if you miss love, you miss life,” said Leo Buscaglia, as I mentioned before. As life is filled with many obstructions, so is love. William Shakespeare said: “The course of true love never did run smooth.” Who is not acquainted with Nal and Damyanti, Laila and Majnu, and so on and so forth, who sacrificed their all for the sake of love. They had to face hurdles after hurdles. Go to the freedom fighters and ask them what price they have given for the love to their nation. Our freedom fighters who loved their country wholeheartedly laid down even their lives. “Love does not claim possession, but gives freedom,” said Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.
If you love any man or any woman, it does not mean that you have every right to derive love from him or her. If you think so, you are always in the wrong. However, human nature does not allow this. He or she never tolerates to share his/her love with others. Though love itself is not divisible; one should be aware of the fact that love is God and God is omnipresent. We hardly absorb and digest such philosophy. Even murders are committed when love is shared, though such love is nothing else but hatred and jealousy. “With love, one learns the best manners,” said Mir Taqi Mir, leading Urdu poet of 18th century.
In his famous book ‘Love and Loneliness’, J. Krishnamurti, the 20th century thinker, emphasises on ‘love’ as the panacea for all our ills and miseries. He says, “If you have no love, do what you will, go after all the gods on earth, do all the social activities, try to reform the poor, enter politics, write books, write poems, you are a dead human being.” Without love, your problems will increase, multiply endlessly. And with love, do what you will, there is no risk, there is no conflict. Then love is the essence of virtue.
In loneliness, our lives are empty and know no love. I have known a few families whose senior members (grand fathers, grand mothers, or fathers, mothers) have to pass their lives in misery, though they are in affluence, only because they have none around them, whom they could love or who could love them, as their grown-up kids (sons, daughters, grand sons, grand daughters) have been residing in other cities or in other countries. Such citizens, as they live all alone in their homes, hardly enjoy a long life. They are always in quest of love and the hunger for love makes their life pitiable and miserable. However prosperous you may make your father, mother, grand father, grand mother or other senior members of your family, they are always poor if they are devoid of ‘love’ and ‘affection’. If they are left all alone without their children around, they feel bored in absence of ‘love’ and ‘be loved’, and their way of living is badly affected.
“The only horrible thing in the world is ennui (listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from boredom).” ~ Unknown
And, it is the boredom that makes them crippled in every walk of life. ‘Longevity’ is shortened. Life to them trudges. In absence of love, they are burdened with anxiety, hatred, jealousy and pessimism that are enough to affect their health adversely. Kabirdas, a great poet and reformer, said: “Real happiness lies only in love. All the rest is just fuss and anxiety.” Worldly possessions undoubtedly work to strengthen our love but mundane things fail to work soothingly if love is not there. Free love? Emma Goldman, a feminist anarchist known for her political activism, writing and speeches, said: “Free love? As if love is anything but free. Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love.”
I can’t help expressing my views regarding the love between a man and a woman (a boy and a girl, i.e., the two youths) having no relations. However piously and clear-heartedly they love, they are always doubted. If a young man says to a young woman, ‘I love you,’ the former, even if his love may be brotherly, may fall in trouble as the latter may lose her temper. The young woman may be wrong in getting the young man punished, but in most cases, the young boys are found to be teasing young girls. To love is not a sin and every creature is worthy of loving and being loved. Gandhiji said: “Hate the sin, not the sinner.” He might have meant, “Love all and sundry.”
If our intention is wrong, everything we do or say is wrong. Nobody is going to trouble you if you love with piety. Women love with their ears just as men love with their eyes. But both men and women are deceived in their love, if they are not sincere in their love, and their intentions are otherwise. There goes a saying: “A man can be happy with any woman as long as he does not love her.” The reason is that the moment she comes to know that he loves her very much and can do anything for her, she starts bothering him. “The women treat us just as humanity treats its gods. They worship us and are always bothering to do something for us. Women give to men the very gold of their lives.”
There is a truism in that women are better than and superior to men in ‘love’, ‘patience’, and ‘sacrifice’, though exceptions are always there. There have been millions of wives who were and have been and will always be awaiting their husbands patiently (in the armies, in the foreign countries, in other cities) for years. They sacrifice the prime of their lives for their love.
So just love and be loved.