Love is the most common word used in worldly as well as spiritual expressions. This term is used loosely in the worldly conversations. In spiritual language they say that love is God and God is love. God created the world, since he loved himself, thus love becomes the cause of creation. Then what is this love that is abundantly expressed but poorly understood.
Let us take the scenario of a mother and child. When the child cries due to a pin prick, the mother feels the pain. She instantly and spontaneously responds to soothe the child. Here the mother’s body expanded to include the child’s body, as result the mother felt the pain and reacted immediately. Another scenario: Two childhood friends separated for 50 years suddenly meet at the airport arrivals. When they meet and hug each other, they are in ecstasy and bliss. In that moment two persons became one and all surroundings and surrounding people vanish in that union. There is absolute Oneness in that moment.
The above two are example of true love. In the first case mother is connected to the child and expanded to include the child in her body. This connectivity is love. This expansion is love. In the second example of friends at the airport there is Union and oneness. For a moment the two friends became one. In that oneness all the duality of surroundings was lost. This moment of unison and oneness is love.
In this moment of unison, there is no “I”-ness or “My”-ness. All that is left is Oneness. This oneness and union is love. That is full expansion of one self. In this oneness ego (“I”-ness &” My”-ness) melts down to expand into one-ness. This melt down of created boundaries is true Thyaga. Upanishads declare “Thyagenaikena Amrutatthwamanasu” meaning that only through sacrifice one attains immortality. This immortality is the final state of ultimate Love where there is union and merger.
Intense love for God is bhakthi as defined by Narada Bhakthi Sutra. Best example of this is the Gopikas of Brindavan who forgot themselves in their love for Krishna. They saw Krishna in the lakes, trees, bushes and everywhere.
Love is the emotion of creation. World of duality manifested because of love. Truth as emotion is love. Everyone has this in them. One only needs to cultivate and learn to express it. To cultivate this love one needs to bring in loving thoughts into mind. Yad Bhavam Tat Bhavathi, Upanishads declare. Loving thoughts make us spontaneously loving persons ultimately. Initially it is an effort that becomes spontaneous with practice.
A loving person is a universal person. He will be able to connect to cosmic energy, knowledge and sustenance. He reflects un-ending joy and peace. He will be a walking God on two legs. His presence transforms any place into a happy place. He will be a blessing to the humanity.
Then what is not love. Selfishness is anti-love. Selfishness is lovelessness. Love is selflessness. In love we seek the welfare of the object of our love, like of the mother’s love for the child. Possessiveness is restrictive love (constrictive and throttling love) and is anti-love. Any love that is selfish and restrictive is not love; it is in fact anti-love called passion or a delusion created by our senses (called moha).
One can hold a flower gently and enjoying the fragrance and being grateful to the flower for its contribution to the beauty of the world. On the contrary you can pluck a flower and crush it in your hand saying this mine only in a possessive nature, as if the beauty and fragrance of the flower only belong to you. The first one expansive love and the second one restrictive love (moha). In Love there is only freedom. True love is expansion. Restriction is not love. One always looks for the good of the object of love in true love.
For whose sake we should cultivate love? We should cultivate love not for the sake of others, but for our own happiness and salvation. Love is our true nature. We should be loving, since that is our home. We are at peace, when we are at home. It is our own nature. We feel unhappy when we are influenced by hatred, since that is not our true nature.
To cultivate love, we should get rid of the six enemies called arishadvargas, desire, anger, miserliness, delusion, ego and envy, when we do this, the inherent love spontaneously manifests and our vision gets transformed. There is paradigm shift in consciousness that makes the world look connected and appears as a beautiful tapestry. We experience the connectedness and oneness in creation. We start seeing the spark of goodness even in so called bad people. Let us bring the best in us out and be loving, and then we become LOVE. That is our true nature.