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Love
(HinduDharma: Dharmas Common To All)

What is called love may be divided into three categories. We love great men for their high qualities, I mean distinguished men, men of truth, philanthropists, jnanins, men of grace. We mix with our friends and relatives intimately and affection develops between them and us. Then we love people- love them ostensibly for a specific purpose, for the reason that we stand to gain from them. For instance, we may seem to love a rich man hoping that he would help us in our business or some other enterprise. We may love our employer because he pays us our wages.

These three types of love are neither true nor everlasting. If our employer sacks us we will cease to have either respect or affection for him. If people with whom we have had close contacts leave for a distant place or die or if we lose touch with them, we are likely in due course to forget them. All the sorrow we felt in the beginning because of being separated from them will eventually be forgotten. Were it true love the grief also should be enduring. Even our love for a great man is not lasting. If there happens to be a diminution in his qualities- or if he seems to us not as great as we thought he was- we will love him in correspondingly lesser measure.

All three categories of love have some reason [or motive] behind them. That is why they are not everlasting. We love great men because they possess certain qualities: there is an element of selfish interest in our feelings for them: because we think they will be helpful in our advancement.

True love knows neither reason nor motive. When do we love a man truly? When our affection for him is unchanging and unwavering- we love him even if he does not apparently move closely with us or does not seem to possess inward qualities or the capacity to bless us; we love him even when we do not have any selfish interest to be served by him. Does anyone possess such love? Yes, only One. It is Isvara- he alone has such love.

God loves us for no reason. If he needed a reason he would not give us even a morsel of food. It is Paramesvara who forgives all our misdeeds and protects us- and he is all love. It is his love that is manifested in the three categories mentioned earlier.

We must learn to have such love as is revealed through Paramesvara; that is love that is universal, love that is not based on any reason or interest. Why should we dislike a man because we think he is guilty of certain wrongs? Are we not similarly guilty ourselves? Do we then discard ourselves? We must have the same attitude towards others as we have towards ourselves. There is nothing remarkable about our love for a great man; the remarkable thing is to love a sinner also. If you ask me, you must have greater concern and affection for him. "He commits wrongs like us," we must tell ourselves. "His mind goads him into doing them. We must have sympathy for him and try to correct him". There may be a few whom Isvara, out of his compassion, has given the gift of blessing others. Such men must take it upon themselves the task of freeing others from sinful actions.

We must, to start with, learn to have disinterested love for an individual, that is love that is not tainted by self-interest. Eventually, this love will permeate us, inspire our inner being, and we will then be able to enlarge it to embrace all. It is the teaching of the wise that we must have such love for our guru, love without any consideration of the fruits thereof. We must not look for any reason to love our preceptor. If we constantly "practise" to have such love for our guru we will be the recipients of his blessings. Our love for him will eventually grow into love that will encompass all. If our love is manifested in this manner there will be fullness, tranquility and bliss.

"Hindu Dharma" is a book which contains English translation of certain invaluable and engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here