Today I was having a discussion about love and friendship with Lauren and Heather in Alumni forum I love discussions, still I feel a lot of energy is wasted in semantics. I have never been accustomed only to dictionary definitions because I am not a robot. Dictionaries might provide a common context for understanding each other but concepts like life, love, god and self are best felt independently and realized without dictionaries. They are not exactly philosophical terms for me but rather parts of mysticism.
Variety and differentiation is obvious in life. It takes some courage to let go of widely accepted notions and go deeper to see unity instead of variety. I deeply believe that Krishna, Buddha, Lao Tzu and Jesus are not different deities to be worshipped but rather same divinity expressed in different timezones. They are flowerings of same consciousness.
Similarly I believe there is only one love. It’s the same energy which has created this universe and sustains it. This energy is the expression of the supreme self. There are many forms of love. Love of a human being for another human being which is known as philanthropy. Romantic love, which is the most intense form of love and reason why world keeps going on which includes animal instinct for procreation. Agape love is form of love which is seen in selfless and most generous souls who serve humanity unconditionally and it’s the most selfless and balanced kind of love but not as intense in expression as romantic love. Love of relatives which is most intensely seen in form of love of a mother for a child is also conditional love because it starts with conditions. It is often said in quotes and books that love of a mother for a child is unconditional. It simply means it remains all through the life but it is not absolutely unconditional because it starts with the condition of physical relation.
Romantic, Maternal and Agape Love
Romantic love is conditional but more intense than maternal love. Romantic love begins with physical or psychological attractions and with changes in the physique, psychological, economical or social dispositions it keeps changing. I shared this quote by Yajnavalkya but it is worth this post so here it is again:
Then Yajnavalkya said: Verily, not for the sake of the husband, my dear, is the husband loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self which, in its true nature, is one with the Supreme Self. Verily, not for the sake of the wife, my dear, is the wife loved, but she is loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the sons, my dear, are the sons loved, hut they are loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of wealth, my dear, is wealth loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the brahmin, my dear, is the brahmin loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the kshatriya, my dear, is the kshatriya loved, but he is loved for the sake of the self.
Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II, IV-Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi (I), 5
Verily, not for the sake of the worlds, my dear, are the worlds loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the gods, my dear, are the gods loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the beings, my dear, are the beings loved, but they are loved for the sake of the self. Verily, not for the sake of the All, my dear, is the All loved, but it is loved for the sake of the self. Verily, my dear Maitreyi, it is the Self that should be realized-should be heard of, reflected on, and meditated upon. By the realization of the Self, my dear-through hearing, reflection, and meditation-all this is known.
Absolute Love or Love of Self
Agape love is unconditional and absolute love. It emanates from self which is shining through when drawbacks of personality have been dissolved. Love of Jesus, Buddha or Krishna is not similar to the love of our romantic partner because romantic partner loves you for selfish reasons. His idea of self is very limited whereas Jesus doesn’t see any difference in his own self and you. As it is obvious from the quote above we can’t love anything or anyone more than ourselves. It’s simply impossible. Now you may say, verily I say unto thee I can sacrifice my life for my wife. It’s alright, don’t get excited so soon! I believe you can do so for wife, lover or children and many people have done that but they didn’t really give up themselves. They gave up their limited idea of personality. They ended this temporary existence because it gave them the greatest happiness if their loved ones were happy. But ultimate subject of love always remains the self.
Like trees, black clouds and saints always keep giving. Trees give fruits even when stones are thrown at them. Clouds give the water they carry and say thank you to trees. This is love. Sages give their whole out of love and feel grateful to those who take because sages don’t see any difference between themselves and others. Giving others is giving themselves.
Friendship is Love!
I see only one love in different forms and this love is essentially about sharing and giving. Sharing and giving are synonymous terms. Friendship is also a form of love because it is about sharing your energy. You like to spend time with friends, respect them, share ideas and help each other. This is positive and out of love. Similarly you share things, care and help your romantic partner. Some people want to reserve word love for their romantic partners. It’s none of my business if they do but in my opinion love is the same. You spend two minutes with some people and call it friendship and you spend twenty years with another and call it love. I see the play of same energy called love. In the ultimate calculation of things this material existence is temporary and hence a life-time and an hour are both limited in amount. You spent more time with some people and called it love and less time with some people and called it friendship. Romantic love is more intense and friendship is not that intimate still they are varying degrees of sharing and giving of the same energy called love.
So if your heart is open you love stranger and a dog equally and you love a friend and call it friendly love. You love your husband or wife and call it certificate love. You love your romantic partner and call it romantic love. You love your mother and daughter and call it parental or maternal love. You love god, self and humanity and call it philanthropy and agape love. There is no use in dissecting terms and saying that friendship is not love. It is merely ego playing games to create differences to delude you and hide under various cloaks. Simplicity leads towards unity and harmony. I would love to hear your ideas about love and friendship. Let me know via comments!