The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, September 30, 2001

Basic ingredient of life and happiness
Review by Kuldip Kalia

For the soul: Love; a book on self-empowerment
compiled by M.M. Walia. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi. Pages 63. Price not mentioned.

CAN you think of life without love? Is love the ultimate reality? Truly speaking, love is an intrinsic part of life. It is the foundation of human existence. It is universal and eternal. It is more than goodwill. Neither it is limited to human being nor does true love depend on persons and circumstances. It is based on a "give and take" policy. In fact it is in harmony with psychic and spiritual elements.

Love is said to be the basis of human happiness . That is why it is compared to "listening a symphony". It crosses boundary lines and like the sky, it covers, all space.It has been rightly said, "Love is the law of life. He who loves, lives; he who is selfish, is dying".

Philosopher and spiritual leader J.Krishnamurthy compares love with a flowing river. In his words, "Love is like a strong flowing river. Nothing can spoil love, for all things are dissolved in it — the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful". However, it has different meaning for Gandhi: for him, "power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than one derived from fear of punishment."


Anyway, love can be of three types — unselfish, selfish and mutual. But unselfish love is its highest form. Love can unite man with God. "Solitude" is the pre-requisite for attaining divine love. Ramakrishna Paramhans has tellingly explained this basic instinct when he says, "To get butter from milk, you must let it set into curd in a secluded place. If it is disturbed, the milk will not turn into curd."

Santa, Dasya, Apatya, Sakhya, Vatsalya and Madhura are various kinds of love which help to channelise human feelings into love for god. At the same time, one should not forget three important features of love such as seeking no return (nature of pure love is to give and not to take or demand); knowing no rivals (devotees’ highest ideal).

Moreover love neither judges nor condemns anyone, In fact, it is a balance wheel for the human being: That is why Parthasaraty reminds us that, "The feeling of true love arises from purity; a purity wherein there are no distinctions and demarcations."

Love is certainly a key to every problem. It opens the door to "realms of eternal bliss". So everyone should be treated with love.

About the present situation, nobody can say better than what Sathya Sai Baba has summed up in a sentence. "Rivalry among those following different faiths cannot bring peace, nor prosperity to any country." So God is the source of all love. It is the most powerful gift given to us. One can emerge victorious from the ‘ocean of sorrows’ only through love. Of course, faith is the utmost "sustaining force" for love because love itself acts as truth, dharma, peace, ahimsa in the different forms of thought, action, feeling and understanding respectively.

Love and compassion are said to be considered as a cure for certain kinds of illness, particularly in the Tibet region. Unfortunately these are even omitted in our many spheres of social interaction. The most tragic part is that their practice (love and compassion) is thought to be almost impracticable.

Love is the highest moral truth, particularly when it is directed towards the ultimate. Love can in no way to be true if it does not "serve and sacrifice". In fact these are the two basic ingredients. There are also the basic factors which distinguish it from human love. In human love, we usually hope for "return, benefit or advantage, pleasure and gratification, be it mental or physical".

Moreover possessiveness is not love. Becoming sentimental, emotional or weeping for somebody hardly qualifies to be described as true love. Such kinds of things add to our "tension, anxiety and sorrows". This is here we really "fall" in love but we "rise" in love when love is true and dynamic.