“We love love because it gives us such intoxicating happiness. So love is not the ultimate, the ultimate is bliss. God is Sat-Chit-Ananda, ever-existing, ever conscious, ever-new bliss.”
- Sri Pramahansa Yongananda.
What’s love? Various people have tried to define it, redefine it and interpreted/misinterpreted others’ definitions and ultimately confused their audiences! I like what Gulzar says in the famous Hindi song:
“Hum Ne Dekhi Hai In Aakhon Ki Mahekti Khusboo,
Haath se Chooke Issay Rishton Ka Ilzaam Na Do
Sirf Ehsaas Hai Yeh Rooh Se Mehsoos Karo
Pyar Ko Pyar Hi Rehne Do Koi Naam Na Do.”
(We have seen the pervading-fragrance of these eyes, by touching that with your hand, don’t give them the punishment of relationships; this is only an experience which you can feel with your soul, (so) let love be love, don’t give it any name)
Because what name can we really give it? Mother? Sister? Father? Brother? Spouse? … Which? Try it and are you not taking away the sublimity of that divine relationship?
In this article I have no intention to define it or preach it, just to explore various dimensions of this sublime-divine experience. So, please read it in this context only and not take it as ultimate, because ultimate is God.
At one seminar, a participant approached Dr. Stephen Covey (author of the famous book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) to seek his advice on what to do as he felt that his wife and he just didn’t have the same feeling for each other they used to have. He felt that he did not love her anymore and she also didn’t love him. I quote the dialogue as written in the book.
Dr. Covey: “The feeling isn’t there anymore?”
“That’s right,” the participant affirmed. “And we have three children we’re really
concerned about. What do you suggest?”
“Love her,” Dr. Covey replied.
“I told you, the feeling just isn’t there anymore.”
“You don’t understand. The feeling of love just isn’t there.”
“Then love her. If the feeling isn’t there, that’s a good reason to love her.”
“But how do you love when you don’t love?”
“My friend, love is a verb. Love – the feeling – is a fruit of love, the verb. So love her.
Serve her. Sacrifice. Listen to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her. Are you willing to do that?”
Quoting further from the same book:
“Proactive people make love a verb. Love is something you do: the sacrifice you make, the giving of self, like a mother bringing a newborn into the world. If you want to study love, study those who sacrifice for others, even for people who offend or do not love in return. If you are a parent, look at the love you have for the children you sacrificed for. Love is a value that is actualized through loving actions. Proactive people subordinate feelings to values. Love, the feeling can be recaptured.”
In the ancient literature all over religions and regions, love is a verb. Reactive people make it a feeling. SO, IF YOU WANT TO EXPERIENCE LOVE (AS NOUN), YOU MUST ACT LOVE (AS VERB). Mother Teresa’s definition of love: that If you love until it hurts, it doesn’t hurt anymore, for it’s there only that you find more love.
Before I explain that Love is a principle of life, let’s first understand what are principles. They are natural laws, self-evident, never changing, objective (outside us), and they govern whether we understand them or not. Principles rule our lives. As Lord Krishna in Bhagwat Gita states:
Karmany evadhikaras te ma phalesu kadacana
Ma karma-phala-hetur bhur ma te sango ‘stv akarmani. [2/47]
(You certainly have the right for the prescribed activities but never at anytime in their results. You should never be motivated by the results of the actions, nor should there be any attachment in doing your prescribed activities)
My own interpretation of this most essential and core sloka from our Holy Book, is that the only right we have is to do our actions according to our beliefs, knowledge and thinking; however, the result of these actions will be determined by the operative natural laws. And talking spiritually, the natural laws are the dictates of mother nature according to permutation and combination of its elements. Human beings have no control over these. Let’s not even attempt to “influence” these. We only need to align ourselves to the natural laws after understanding these.
Brni Nidhiji Chaitanya of Chinmaya Mission answers the question, “What is love?” as follows:
“The tireless courage with which the ocean attempts to kiss the shore in spite of being stubbornly pushed back every single time,
The silent selflessness with which the sun rises everyday to fill light into the heart of the empty skies who can never give it anything in return,
The crazy care with which the wood feeds the fierce flame of fire which
unapologetically burns it to ashes,
The endless acceptance with which the earth quietly supports them who dig into its heart to selfishly take away everything valuable within it,
The irrational largeness with which the space embraces everything and
everyone even if it needs nothing and no one,
And the inexplicable reason why the unseen air humbly keeps entering into our breath and gifts us with life, without us even realising it.
Come on, now let us LOVE!”
The Principle of Life is Love. Look around, all the forces of nature binding together in a cohesive manner and obeying each other’s behavior patterns are great teachers for us to learn that love will lead to discipline. The whole universe operates in a loving manner, a well connected disciplined manner giving strength and energy to each other, e.g. the Sun to Earth to Moon and other planets, even planets connected with each other. The Universe operates on of Principle of Love. Sacrifice. Discipline. Movement. Energy.
Love is a principle. Hatred is a chosen belief (Value). We choose to hate, but love comes naturally to us. Observe a new-born baby, willing to go to anybody’s lap; it's the people around them who teach them to go to some and not to others. Husband and wife, quarreling many times proves my point very well. Husband thinks he is better, so he wants to “make” his wife better; similarly wife also thinks she is better and it’s her duty to make her husband better. When their ego takes over in the process, that’s when their choice shifts towards frustration to anger to sometimes hate. They forget that this “fight” was originating from love for each other. In situations like these, we need to remind ourselves of John Gray’s message in “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” that we get attracted to each other because we find the other different. That opposites attract is the principle of magnetism. However, this basic premise is forgotten when the ego’s take over. Summing up all this learning, I conclude to myself, as my own definition of Love:
“Love is to make the other person better than yourself.”
Another principle connected with love, is maturity. Infatuation is not love. In infatuation, there are expectations; it more or less translates into “transaction”, whereas in love, there is transformation. The famous iceberg model we study in behavior sciences is the referral here.
EXPERINCE OF LOVE
ACTS OF LOVE
PURITY IN THOUGHTS
The Principle of Maturity is that we need to have total clarity of what we want from, say a relationship, (Vision: the Essence of a Desired Future=Experience of Love), then to get that vision realized, we need to connect the vision with Actions & Behaviours = Act Love), acting love without inner pious feeling, will be transaction. Obviously, Thoughts have to be aligned to the Principles of Life. The Principle of Transformation is that we start behaving the way we initially thought would be good, acceptable and loving behavior people want us to have. That requires Faith in oneself.
Talking about faith, Pujiya Gurudev Swami Chinmayananda defined Faith as “… to believe what we do not see, the result of which is that we see what we be-lieved.” Connect this with the iceberg model. No science, whether abstract or perfect, can be understood unless one understands the principles of that science, be it Physics, Chemistry, Astrology, Oncology, Ontology, Architecture, Management, Neuroscience.
So, let me repeat, Love is a Principle and it governs us. Love is not subjective, it’s objective. It’s fundamental to all laws of life, so understanding it that way will be the first degree of learning towards experiencing love.
Here are 10 practices you must adopt to experience love:
 Understand the person and people around you; their roles, aspirations, their needs, frustrations, anchors, et al; to the extent that they may not need to express these days and still you get them.
 Align your actions, behaviours and attitudes to meet up with their needs. Remember the pleasure is in giving and not taking.
 Acknowledge their achievements, appreciate these and provide support to take these forward.
 Value-add by giving positive workable and supportive suggestions to make them reach their goals. This may need, at times, some financial support too.
 Communicate your own desires, needs and frustrations. However, this needs to be done very very carefully with the end in mind being love and not transactions.
 Seek Support and not demand it. That is, after assessing and in full knowledge of the person/s’ capacity, capabilities and convictions. This makes them feel wanted.
 Use “I” language particular when there is tendency to accuse the others. In those situations of unpleasantness, anger and annoyance with them, talk about your feeling rather than analyzing their character or characteristics. Saying, “I am feeling let-down” works far better than saying, “You let me down.” Talking about our feeling is justified.
 Admit it quickly and emphatically. Sounds familiar, right? Yes! Never forget you are a human being liable to go wrong and make mistakes or even inadvertently cause irritation to the others. The faster you admit your faults and mistakes, the faster will be restoration of peace, harmony and love.
 Forgive. We generally say forget and forgive. Friends, human brain is not designed to forget anything. Whatever experiences, observations, deep scars or even shallow learning we may have gone through, brain cannot delete or erase it. It stays there for all times to come. It may dilute or become less hurting over period of time, but it’s always there. But forgiving is possible and easier. Telling the other person, “God Bless you” and really wishing them well works. Or, just say, “Jaa tera bhi bhalaa ho jayey!”. Saying that to the person directly or in your own mind, will restore your own peace of mind.
 Respect the absentee. In other words, don’t talk bad behind people’s back. If others indulge in this in your presence, stop them by suggesting, “let us not talk about him/her, since they are not around.”
These ten rules or practices when observed will definitely build good will and relationships and the corollary is that you will experience love – you will create great feelings of love around you and you also will be loved and hence will feel that to your core.
To conclude, I would say, remember this prayer which explains how love will take you to an experience which is beyond any worldly ecstasy.
We say our prayers to pray as we love to experience love. Remember what Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1864) said in one of the last stanzas of his famous poem:
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”:
He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.
Therefore, Experience God by experiencing Love through acts of Love.