Research, Essays, Commentaries – Inspired by the Social-Cultural-Political Thought of Sri Aurobindo (PLUS a bit of photography too!)
All quotes are from the Mother, Collected Works of the Mother, Volume 14.
Photographer: Suhas Mehra.
Please do not reproduce any of the photographs without explicit permission.
The spiritual significance of the flowers pictured here are taken from the two-volume set ‘The Spiritual Significance of Flowers by the Mother’.
Introductory text by Beloo Mehra, who also helped with the selection of quotes.
A couple of weeks ago as I was casually admiring some of the spring blossoms in my garden, I felt like preserving some of the beauty of those blossoms for a little bit longer. So I asked Suhas to take a few photographs. Which he did later that morning when the light was better. I had no idea at that time that we might be using some of the photographs from that day for this photo-feature today, on Love.
But here we are.
A few days back when the thought of doing a photo-feature on Love first came to me, almost immediately I brushed it away. This unsure feeling must have persisted at the back of my mind, without my knowing most likely, because a couple of days later, I knew for sure that we should do this photo-feature, on Love. And we should do using some of the recent photographs from our spring garden.
What made me sure?
Those who have been to the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pondicherry, know about the exquisite flower decorations that are done at the samadhi, as an offering to the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, twice a day. That particular evening when I went to the samadhi to offer my pranams, I saw the most delicate, the most beautiful hearts with pink rose flowers.
The moment I saw them, a most profound line from Sri Aurobindo came to mind – “Nothing has to be rejected, all has to be raised to the pure levels of the divine consciousness.” (The Secret of the Veda, p. 272) And the next instant, I remembered the unsure feeling I had about the photo-feature and I immediately knew that we should do it.
So here it is.
Certainly one has the right to love and true love carries in itself its joy, but unhappily human beings are egoistic and immediately mix with their love the desire to be loved in return, and this desire is contrary to spiritual truth and the cause of passions and sufferings.
The one you love must have the right of freedom in her feelings and if you want the truth you must understand this right and accept it. Otherwise there will be no end to your miseries. This is an occasion to surmount your egoism and to open to the true life. (pp. 119-120)
The need for human love, to the extent that it is not merely in obedience to the instinct of Nature or to a vital attraction, is the need to have a Divine for oneself alone, at one’s entire and exclusive disposal, a Divine who is one’s personal property and to whom one gives oneself totally only if the gift is reciprocated.
Instead of enlarging oneself to the size of the Divine and having a love as vast as the universe, one tries to reduce the Divine to one’s own size and have His love for oneself alone.
Therefore, human love is not a need of the soul, but rather a concession it makes for a time to the ego. (p. 120)
There is a thirst for Love which no human relation can quench. It is only the Divine’s love that can satisfy that thirst.
They always speak of the rights of love but love’s only right is the right of self-giving.
Without self-giving there is no love; but self-giving is very rare in human love which is full of selfishness and demands. (p. 121)
So long as the ego is there, one cannot love.
Love alone can love, Love alone can conquer the ego. (p. 121)
At first one loves only when one is loved.
Next, one loves spontaneously, but one wants to be loved in return.
Then one loves even if one is not loved, but one still wants one’s love to be accepted.
And finally one loves purely and simply, without any other need or joy than that of loving.
It is not the love that someone feels for you that can make you happy, it is the love you feel for others that makes you happy: for you receive the love that you give from the Divine, who loves eternally and unfailingly. (p. 122)
All the forms that love has taken in the human consciousness on earth are but awkward attempts, deformed and incomplete, to find once again true Love.
True love has no need of reciprocation; there can be no reciprocation because there is only one Love, the Love, which has no other aim than to love. It is in the world of division that one feels the need of reciprocation—because one lives in the illusion of the multiplicity of Love; but in fact there is only One Love and it is always this sole love which, so to say, responds to itself.
True love, that which fulfils and illumines, is not the love one receives but the love one gives.
And the supreme Love is a love without any definite object—the love which loves because it cannot do other than to love. (pp. 122-123)
True love is something very deep and calm in its intensity; it may quite well not manifest itself in any exterior acts sensational or affectionate.
Divine Love, true love, finds its delight and its satisfaction in itself; it has no need to be received and appreciated, nor to be shared—it loves for the sake of loving, as a flower blooms.
To feel this love in oneself is to possess an immutable happiness. (pp. 124-125)
The Mother has given spiritual significances to more than 850 flowers. Read more about it HERE.
To see more photo-features on this blog, click HERE.
To read another perspective on celebrating love, click HERE.
To read one more post on love, click HERE.
Linking with ABC Wednesday, F: F is for Flowers