KISHOR KULKARNI explains the meaning of true love

Love is not a deliberate action. It is a natural emotion arising from within. It is like a natural flow, or, an overflow that can no longer be contained inside. It is not directed towards any particular object. It is not discriminatory ― naturally flowing love will not distinguish between ‘my’ child and someone else’s child.  That is why we find a truly self-realised person is naturally loving even towards animals.

That is why God’s love is true love. He does not discriminate at all while letting anyone and everyone make use of the sunlight created by Him; or, the water created by Him does not distinguish between a sugarcane plant and a poisonous plant, feeding them equally.

Love is different from ‘liking’. Liking is a preference of our senses or ego based on an evaluation of past conditioning and experiences. So, “I love ice creams” is an incorrect usage of the word ‘love’. For, love is not based on any kind of evaluation. It simply flows.

Kishor Kulkarni

There is no expectation of a ‘reciprocal response’ to true love. True love is an overwhelming emotion. It does not leave any room for any other emotion.

A person with true love is like a water-bearing cloud. A cloud is nothing but water itself. Similarly, a truly loving person is love personified. When the cloud is full, at an appropriate time, the water in it simply pours out without any other consideration.

The water is not directed towards any particular object like a river or a field only. Also, the cloud does not expect anything in return for the water it pours out. In fact, the cloud itself is no more after it pours out! True love should similarly ‘dissolve the self’ completely.

I ‘like’ the objects that please my physical senses or ego. In other words, the ‘liking relationship’ is based on my getting something from the object that I like. It, therefore, goes without saying that if and when I feel that I am no longer ‘getting’ the pleasure that I was getting earlier from an object, I will stop liking it. Then the ‘relationship’ between that object and myself will also end.

For instance, I like to have pakodas (fritters) today because they please my taste buds. I might continue liking them for some time and keep having them every evening. However, the degree of pleasure that I get from the pakodas will gradually go on reducing every day. So, after some days or months, I may find myself not getting any pleasure from the pakodas. Then my relationship based on the liking for them felt by my taste buds, will end and I will stop eating pakodas.

True love between mother and child

Then, what is love? Love towards an object is not based on any pleasure that the object can or cannot give to my senses or ego. In fact, there is no ‘transaction’ at all between the object of love and myself. It is just that my soul feels pleased with the way that object simply is. This pleasure is unending and does not reduce over time so long as, of course, that object itself does not change in any fundamental way.

True love may even be one-sided, because it is not transactional. There is no expectation on my part from the object of my love. It is just that I feel pleased even when I simply think about that object. In case the object is a live person, I don’t even need to be talking to that person. I am happy just being in the company of that person or simply thinking about that person. A loving mother’s love for her child falls in this category.

And ultimate love can only be towards the Creator God. Such a God may not be a ‘personal God’. He may simply be perceived as a phenomenon underlying the entire creation, in the form of the complex web of all the laws of nature in accordance with which the whole of creation functions.

Such a God is truly perceived as all-pervading and the feeling of love towards Him, then, is nothing but love towards each and every small and big object and phenomenon that is a part of this magnificent creation.

When such ultimate love is felt towards God, the limited self vanishes. Such love is not a ‘relationship’ between ‘I’ and ‘another object’, but an identity that is all-encompassing.

Kishor Kulkarni is a technologist by education with work experience of about 30 years, spanning banking and information technology. After he developed spiritual interests around the age of 50, he quit his job to pursue spirituality. He has written many books on spirituality and self-published them on Amazon. Many of his articles have been published in the ‘Speaking Tree’ column of the ‘Times of India’.

More Stories by Kishor Kulkarni

(Featured Image: Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)