Author: Beloo Mehra (2020). Published in Sraddha, Vol. 11 (4), April 2020, pp. 82-99
Love and relationships are the root of all human life as lived in our familial and societal contexts. But ordinarily, most people do not take the trouble to examine and understand the nature of these two things. Life situations generally have a way of making people experience several different aspects of human love and relationships, in the process creating a variety of emotions in them, ranging all the way from pleasure to pain, from passion to indifference, from happiness to sadness, from calmness to rage, and so on. Such ups and downs cause much turmoil in people’s lives – outer and inner, and also lead to strained and troubled relationships.
By becoming deeply aware of the nature of human love and becoming more conscious of how this human love expresses through different relationships in our lives we can prepare ourselves more effectively to deal with the changing life situations which are inevitable. By becoming conscious observers of the various emotions – not all of which may necessarily be grounded in love – that fill up the space of our human relationships we can also avoid going through unnecessary turmoil in our outer lives and needless disturbances in our inner lives.
Generally in present times, much of what young people learn about love and relationships is through popular culture – fiction, films, television and social media. Most of the times such unfiltered exposure to a variety of influences, most of which are not necessarily educative but rather meant to stimulate the lower nature of the individual – instincts, passion, and sensations, can end up creating more confusing and muddled understanding of these things.
It is important, therefore, to examine the nature of human love and relationships using a deeper psycho-spiritual view of human nature, given to us by the great yogis, sages and seers who have not only explored the depths of human nature but have also raised themselves to the highest heights of consciousness. No human experience is insignificant in their wider view of life and existence. And that’s why we are able to find relevant insights on almost all aspects of life in their writings and teachings. Through this paper I hope to highlight some of these insights as applicable to the topics of love and human relationships.
LOVE, A UNIVERSAL FORCE
Let us first ask ourselves – what is the essential nature of love? Is there more than one kind of love? Is love a personal thing or something more universal in nature? What does it mean when people use the expression ‘falling in love’?
The Mother describes love as one of the great universal forces, adding:
“…[love] exists by itself and its movement is free and independent of the objects in which and through which it manifests. It manifests wherever it finds a possibility for manifestation, wherever there is receptivity, wherever there is some opening for it. What you call love and think of as a personal or individual thing is only your capacity to receive and manifest this universal force. But because it is universal, it is not therefore an unconscious force; it is a supremely conscious Power. Consciously it seeks for its manifestation and realisation upon earth; consciously it chooses its instruments, awakens to its vibrations those who are capable of an answer, endeavours to realise in them that which is its eternal aim, and when the instrument is not fit, drops it and turns to look for others. Men think that they have suddenly fallen in love; they see their love come and grow and then it fades – or, it may be, endures a little longer in some who are more specially fitted for its more lasting movement. But their sense in this of a personal experience all their own was an illusion. It was a wave from the everlasting sea of universal love.” (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 69)
It is indeed quite liberating when we can see that love that we experience as an individual comes to us as a wave from an everlasting sea of universal love. A question then naturally arises – what does it mean to be receptive and open to the force of love? And related to this is the question – how should an individual become a fit instrument for love to manifest through him or her?
Love is Complete Self-Giving
Our sages have explained that the entire universe, this manifestation, is essentially an act of Love – Love of the Divine, the Perfect Consciousness. The manifestation of the love of the Divine in the world is an act of supreme self-giving. But why does this act doesn’t seem like love to our ignorant minds? Because such an act of supreme self-giving does not clothe itself in a superficial sentiment, it makes no demand in exchange for what it has done, no show of its sacrifice, explains the Mother. And that truly is the what love is about – complete self-giving.
The love of the Supreme for its creation is a movement to help awaken in the world a longing to get back to its essential divinity. In human terms, it simply means that love is a force that awakens in human beings a yearning to get to their true source, that deep oneness within. This for a long, long time is expressed through loving another human being. No matter how distorted or deformed human love is due to the imperfections of the human nature and human egoism, at its deepest depth lies the longing for uniting with the Divine.