Love: A simple word with a complex world inside. A favored topic of philosophers, poets, writers, and scientists for generations.
The matter of love is often viewed from the perspective of the other, and there are innumerable stories of love and sacrifice that inspire us to fill our hearts. However, I believe that self-love is the most important virtue for each one of us to have.
Love is a bridge between you and everything. When we learn to first love ourselves, we attract what we desire – so raising to the frequency of love is really going toward what we want.
Love also has a different connotation in different countries. In India, we have revered, Radha and lord Krishna’s love for almost 5000 years. Their love is a reference of pure, unadulterated celestial love. As many of you might know, Krishna had several wives including Rukmani and Satyabhama.
None of them is worshipped along with Krishna. Only Radha. Krishna belonged to Gokul village while Radha belonged to Barsana in Brindavan area on the banks of Yamuna River. There are many tales in scriptures of Krishna dancing with Radha and other women of Brindavan, called Gopi’s on the banks of holy river, Yamuna.
Even today, while greeting each other, people use Radhe Krishna. You notice that Radha comes first and then the name of lord Krishna is taken. The most important thing to notice here is that the love of Radha never came in the way of Krishna in performing his selfless karma.
When call of duty came, Radha silently and selflessly backed off to allow Krishna to move to Mathura to kill king Kansa. Kansa was the maternal uncle of lord Krishna. This also teaches us that Dharma and selfless Karma are above love as well as relations.
In the present-day world, love has lost its sanctity and meaning. The big question is, what is love?
The answer is as simple as the question. Love is love. Simple.
As Jigar Muradabadi says,
ye ishq nahīñ āsāñ itnā hī samajh liije
ik aag kā dariyā hai aur Duub ke jaanā hai.
While Ghalib laments:
Ishk par Zor Nahi,
hai ye wo Aatish Ghalib,
ki LaGaye na lage
aur bujhaye na bane.
Now the question arises, is Love just a strong emotion or is it a life-long commitment?
I think love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. One is loved because one is loved. No reason is needed for loving.
Believe me, I am no one special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I’ve led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten after I cross-over to the other world.
But in one respect, I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who’s ever lived. I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough.
William Butler Yeats famously said:
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
But unfortunately, the present generation looks at love as transactional. A give and take.
After all, what is the ultimate aim of love?
Once you are deeply attached to someone and cannot think of life without him, the next logical step is marriage. But marriage demands life-long commitment. It is marching through thick and thin, holding each other’s hand. Marriage requires flexibility, adjustment and caring for your partner.
What is the purest form of love?
I think it is a mother’s love for her child. It is selfless and expects nothing in return. A mother only gives and expects nothing in return. For her, safety, security and best growth of child is her top priority.
The present-day generation is evolved, know what they want. It is wonderful to see such clarity around as an adult. There is nothing wrong in it. But I think that there should be space for fine tuning, and adjustment in every relationship. I strongly feel that flexibility and compromise are the name of the game. Where there is love there is life. Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.
Remember, lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. You know it's love when all you want is that person to be happy, even if you're not part of his happiness.
“Love has nothing to do with what you expect to get, only what you are expecting to give, which is everything”.
It is a matter of great concern the way marriages and relationships are crumbling. When you look around, you do not find many successful marriages. Both girl and boy believe in the maxim, my way or the highway. No one is prepared to concede an inch of ground. Things go from bad to worst and soon marriages crumble. Girls come back home with complaints against the boy and in-law’s. They are convinced that they are absolutely right. Only other party is to be blamed.
Same is the scenario at boy’s house. Mostly, both boy and girl refuse to listen to any advice from parents and well wishes. Their standard reply is you are old fashioned and belong to another generation and fail to realise our problems and concerns. Parents on both sides generally want boy and girl to sit down, talk and sort out their problems.
Try and analyse position of parents. Most of them spend their lifelong earnings on marriage of their children. And marriages cost a lot these days. In some cases, they take huge loans to meet dowry demands. Jewellery, car and lavish marriage parties in expensive banquet halls is common these days. And then, old age takes its toll. Medical expenses mount and few visits to hospitals and some surgery drain your resources. To top it all, if the girl comes back home after marriage crumbles, parents are in-for a big shock.
These days, most of parents live in small flats. Now if the girl comes back with a child, she occupies most of the space in house. Since she is grown up, she wants to run the house her way. Her standard dialogue is mama and papa I love you, but this house runs my way. Girls forget that parents are growing old and cannot bear so much stress and tension.
Advice from a 78-year-old, who has seen life: Maybe it's not just about finding the perfect friend, partner, or tribe, but finding the perfection in those you've already found.
What is the spiritual form of love?
I would say it is self-care. Loving yourself means loving the higher power. This body and soul are the biggest gifts to us. Self-love has many benefits; the first benefit is greater life satisfaction. When we love ourselves more, we instantly change our perspective of the world. Self-love can give us a more positive attitude towards life.
Always remember that life is a journey, not a destination. And that it's the journey that really counts? That from it, you'll find your purpose, meaning, and true happiness?
But all said and done, it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. And as Socrates says, by all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll be happy. If you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”
Let me end this article on bit of a humorous note
Not a red rose or a satin heart.
I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper. It promises light like the careful undressing of love.
Here. It will blind you with tears like a lover. It will make your reflection a wobbling photo of grief.
I am trying to be truthful.
Not a cute card or a kissogram.
I give you an onion. Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips, possessive and faithful as we are, for as long as we are.
Take it. Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding ring, if you like. Lethal. Its scent will cling to your fingers, cling to your knife.
By Carol Ann Duffy