During our college reunion function today, while reminiscing the golden era of our MBA days, our conversations flowed from old team projects, cultural activities, doting professors to personal lives. Suddenly, I was astonished to overhear the confab of one of our senior batchmates from another group, when he began boasting about his simultaneous multiple ‘love affairs’ and innumerable break-ups. He seemed to be very proud of his deviant achievements. I was aghast at the way he was describing the corporeal attributes of the partners he supposedly dated. The reason for break-ups with each of them was that he didn’t find them physically attractive anymore. He was glorifying himself stating that the longest ‘love-relationship’ he has ever been in, lasted two weeks. I was further appalled to witness that the other young boys and girls in his group were lauding him for such loathesome feats.
This repugnant episode set me wondering about a very crucial issue or rather question that has been posed to me several times by my counselees – Does true love exist? Do youngsters or people in general, these days, even comprehend the meaning of true love? Or, are they simply chasing the demons of lust to satisfy their egos and live in a perverted world filled with false sense pleasures?
Since the beginning of time, people have constantly been in a quest to repose their love on something or someone. This is due to a strong emotion that stems from the impulse to unconditionally give and receive some reward for our untainted affection and our servitude to another being. So, what exactly is true love? True love is magical. True love is divine. It is free from all lust and all contamination. True love is the act of showering euphoric pleasure to the supremely worthy object of love – God. Love in its real sense is the effusive feeling of complete surrender to the Supreme, the desire to express ecstatic joy to Him in abundance without any expectations or reciprocation in return. It is a conditional state that is dormant within each one of us but is grossly covered by the dark fabric of ignorance. Everything else that is termed as ‘love’ in this world is but a pale reflection of this original pure love for the Supreme Lord.
Through the practice of the highest form of Yoga known as Bhakti-Yoga, one comes to realize that love of God, includes within its purview, love for all created beings. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Srila Prabhupada – the Founder acharya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, very beautifully explicates this element in his Preface to ‘The Nectar of Devotion’: “In the primary stage a child loves his parents, then his brothers and sisters, and as he daily grows up he begins to love his family, society, community, country, nation, or even the whole human society. But the loving propensity is not satisfied even by loving all human society; that loving propensity remains imperfectly fulfilled until we know who is the supreme beloved. Our love can be fully satisfied only when it is reposed in Krishna (God) …”
Real love begins within spiritual life, and spiritual life contains the highest standard of love in all relationships, including those of the family. In fact, true family life begins only when the husband and wife share mutual God consciousness. By performing their family duties in the spirit of service to Krishna, devotees renounce the lustful materialistic angle of their relationships, while permitting that part which is sanctified and pious, to grow and mature fully. Thus the loving relationships between parents and children or husband and wife become perfect, only when based on the higher principle – love of God.
We need to be cognizant of the fact that who is actually qualified to be a receptor of such pure love. It must never be misdirected towards conditioned beings or matter which are temporary. When our love is entrusted on such objects, it results in frustration and dissatisfaction, due to unfulfilled expectations. According to holy scriptures, the real benefactors of our true love are God’s pure devotees who are sincerely following the path of spirituality, our bonafide acharyas and above all – our Creator, the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
Therefore we can conclude that true love definitely exists. The art of true love needs to be established and practiced. As revealed in the ‘Brahma Samhita’, our eyes should be anointed with the ointment of pure love for none other that the Supreme Lord. That should be the ultimate goal of life – to express our inherent love for our eternal Father. The analogy of the mirror affirms this. Just like a mirror reflects what is placed in front of it. Similarly, God is like the mirror. Whatever we offer Him with love and devotion, He accepts it and it is bound to reflect back. This has been emphasized in the ninth chapter of Bhagavad Gita As It Is by Lord Krishna Himself. It is also my personal realisation that, when we completely surrender to Him, when we take refuge at His Lotus Feet and render selfless loving devotional service, He reciprocates our unalloyed love with His seamless blessings and causeless mercy. Hence, by imbibing a mood of humility and steadfast faith that the Lord is our sole maintainer and protector, we can cultivate pure love for Him. Regular practice to develop this selfless mood conditions our soul in a beautiful way – so much so that our thoughts, words and actions radiate unconditional love. This pure love proliferates and snowballs to all other relationships we share with fellow living beings.
This nascent, unadulterated love that we have planted within our hearts gradually blossoms, as we reach a higher spiritual platform, to experience divine joy, eternal bliss and eventually culminates into a manifestation of true love – for our Supreme Creator and His incredible creations.
By: Meghna Choudhury (Her Grace Mathura Vasi Devi Dasi)