Welcome to another week of informative transformation with topics that are worth deliberating. I hope you all are faring well and had a lovely week.
In my last article, I had mentioned that this week we shall take a look at the great word Love. This is one word many of us use, have used, or at least hear people using every now and then. Last week people from various parts of the world celebrated a day that is supposed to celebrate “love”. I cannot however vouch for the substance of the so-called love people celebrate that day.
So what is this Love? There are many definitions of the word love, many as a result of a particular perspective of an individual. We shall look at a few definitions of the word love, and then try to look at a definition of love from a perspective that is un-influenced by our human desires.
The dictionary defines love as a “strong feeling of affection” or a great interest and pleasure in something. This definition however places a lot of emphasis on the physical aspect of love, especially as it is understood by most people. To define love however by saying it is a feeling or interest is to limit its real function. The Bible gives a little glimpse to what love is like in its unadulterated state. In 1Corinthians, the characteristics of love is given: patient, kind, free from envy, not boastful, not proud; that is free from pride or false ego, does not dishonour others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no records of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts,always hopes and always perseveres.
Some of us might have seen this verse before and some even know it by heart, but what most people do not realize, is that this here, is a very high definition of love way beyond what we know or express today.
Today we say we love someone as long as; we can use them, manipulate them, if they honour us, and we definitely keep record of their wrong doings because then we can justify why we do not “love” them anymore when the time comes. We can see it is a far cry from what real love is truly about. Love according to gaudiya vaisnava’s is ” that which gives pleasure to the Supreme Lord’s senses”. In other words love is that which is gives satisfaction to God. In my humble opinion, it is difficult to find a better definition. Why? It is absolute and without flaw. Even the Bible says ” for God so loved the world, that he sent his son…” He gave himself as a token of love, however in the usual selfish ways of Man, instead of appreciating that love, they killed him. Jesus further went on to express this love by being totally submissive to the will of God, even in his darkest hour. This is the definition of love; to give pleasure to God.
Those who are adherents of the gaudiya vaisnava philosophy would understand that the gopis are the manifestation of such undying and selfless love to God. They desire nothing for themselves but to please God. This attitude is totally in line with the qualities of love given in 1Corinthians. The only thing is, in the Bible we do not get a vivid description of how to put this love in practice. Fast forward to our present day, we have totally usurped the real meaning of love and taken the liberty to link it with romance and sex. So when someone says ” I love you” today, invariably we hear ” I want to be intimate with you”. We may pretend that actually not everyone has this kind of motive in mind and some people really love deeply, but the real question is; can they genuinely say that their love is totally selfless and expects nothing in return. That they will give themselves to their lovers body, mind and soul 100% and wont even ask for a single favor in return?
In this light we have stories like Romeo and Juliet who “died” for love, and most times I ask did they really die for love? While studying Shakespeare back in high school it sounded really fascinating but over the years with deeper study of the scriptures, I ask what right does any man or woman have to end a life they don’t have? We have all been given this life by God as a gift and it is for a purpose thus to put an end to it would be ungrateful and also selfish. You can only end a life if you can restore it back,something which is impossible for the modern man today. Therefore those who hide under the canopy of “love” to commit suicide are no where near the name lovers. For the first person we owe the most love in our lives is He who gave us life, and if we end that life he gave us without his sanction then we are selfish. Selfish because we want things to go the way we want and if we cant have it, we would rather die.
While some may read this and feel it is rather “harsh” and “unromantic”, the real question is, what is romantic about taking a life you didn’t create in the first place, just to prove that you have a high level of “lust” for someone? Taking one’s life doesn’t reflect hope and perseverance, both of which are characteristics of Love, as mentioned above.
From another dimension we look at marriages which ought to be a holy union of a man and woman in the presence of God, and nowadays it seems from the onset everyone has a list of things they expect the other to fulfill. In fact, it is a prerequisite these days to discuss your expectations with your partners before marrying them. It is supposedly thought to bring things to the light and to see how best you both can help each other. Now while this could have genuine advantages, it shows how “selfless” we really are. That in one of the greatest institution of “love” today, we are told to make sure our partners can fulfill our expectations, otherwise do not commit to it. So how is this love, how is this selfless? This is self-seeking in every way.
The response to this will be ” hey we gatto to be real man, we all have needs, so where is the harm if two people who “love” each other want to fulfill them together?” Well there is no harm, as long as they don’t term it “love” give it another name, maybe business relationship. (Lol) the truth is as soon as we say what can you do for me, or I expect you to do ABC for me, the it is not Love.
I shall draw the curtain here for this segment,next week we shall discuss more about love. Till then read, internalize and follow for more.