Love is the emotion of creation. All of creation is created because of love (God loved see himself in creation). It sustains in love and merges in love. Love is the cement of creation. Love is the element that binds all in creation. In love there is merger and union.
In love there is expansion beyond the limited self and ultimately into oneness in creation. The effect of love can be seen day to day with mothers and their children. When the child hurts from a pin prick, the mother feels the pain and rushes to attend to the child, leaving everything else. This is because the mother’s body expanded to include the child’s body in it.
Similarly when two long term friends who did not meet for 30 years suddenly meet in the airport, they forget all surroundings and become one with each other. This is a joyful feeling. This joy of the friends and the pain of the mother is the result of love, though not fully expansive in the true sense. Thus love is of two kinds, the restrictive, constrictive love called mamatha, mamatva or mamakaara and the expansive love, Divine love or Bhakthi. Narada Bhakthi Sutras define Bhakthi as “intense love for God”. This is the only expansive love that when practiced makes our life loving and transforms us into embodiments of love. Once this expansive love dawns in us, we develop Ekatma Bhava and we experience the world of unity and oneness.
All other forms of love are a restricted spark of this expansive love. When the restrictive love fully blossoms away from the shackles of restriction, it blossoms into true love. Let us ponder on the differences between these two forms of love. Restrictive love is what Arjuna had during Kurukshetra war that blinded him of his dharma with mamatva. Krishna expounded on the principle of expansive love of creation and creator through Bhakthi Yoga and advised him of total surrender of limitedness (Ahamkara) at the altar of un-limitedness (Divinity). In other words all of Gita is a flow, journey from limited love (mamatva) to unlimited love (Mama Dharma – Atma Dharma) through sacrifice of limitedness (Sarva Dharman Parityajya). Restrictive love is possessive love and desire for self (ego), to satisfy needs of self (ego). This is what we call love, the misunderstood love.
True love is expansion. It wishes the welfare and happiness of the lover or object of love. It gives, not takes. It does not demand, it abundantly gives. This kind of love is seen in Gopikas of Brindavan towards Krishna. Here is an episode in Bhagavata. When Krishna pretended to having head-ache and asked Narada to give the dust from his feet to ameliorate his head-ache, Narada refused saying it is a sin for him to do that. However when same thing was said to Gopikas, they danced till they got tired, collected the dust from their feet to help the head-ache of Krishna. They said even if we go to hell in the process of giving dust from feet to lord, they would feel better if Krishna ‘s head ache is ameliorated. Their only thought is welfare of their beloved even if they acquire papa in the process. Fundamental principle of expansive love or true love is it seeks the welfare of the beloved, the object of love.
There are no demands of anything in return. It loves for loves sake. It is love without duty. It is said: DUTY WITHOUT LOVE IS DEPLORABLE DUTY WITH LOVE IS DESIRABLE LOVE WITHOUT DUTY IS DIVINE It is the love without duty that is the true expansive love or Divine love. This is what we should be cultivating. Be good for goodness sake. Be loving for love’s sake. Give. Give. Give. In giving Love blossoms. Here are two worldly examples of such love in my own life, if I may share to make the point. However the restrictive love we all naturally possess can be expanded to expansive love (Divine Love) even in our human relationships, when we treat each other as embodiments of divinity itself. Thus worldly restrictive love can be transformed into Divine expansive love. My father is very fond of my mother. She loves fish and non-vegetarian dishes. My father is a strict vegetarian, cannot even eat eggs. He cannot eat in the same plate that others used for non-vegetarian dishes leave alone fish. Since my mother loves fish, he used to go to the fish market in Ongole on foot, enquires the fish vendors about good fish, buys them and brings them home for my mother. This is an expression of his expansion love towards my mother, by catering and attending to her happiness and needs.
Here is another example of such expansion love from Kalyani (my spouse) towards me. Though she wears a hearing aid, she still cannot hear and decipher all the conversation fully in a group. Since I enjoy and committed to study group at Sathya Sai Center, every Sunday, she spontaneously gets ready and enthusiastically comes and gives me company to Sathya Sai Center. Though she does not enjoy as much as I do (because of her hearing problem), she does it to make me happy as a saha dharma charini. This is true with several other community events and programs that she religiously accompanies me to make me happy. This she does as an act of love to give me the pleasure of her company.
These are some examples of this selfless expansive love that elevate human relationships into divine relationships. This fostered the oneness and unity in our relationship which both of us cherish. In true love oneness and unity prevails. One (true lovers) thinks as one, speak as one and act as one. You feel the unity in diversity in action. In order to reach this stage, lot of nurturing and cultivation is necessary. We need to transform the restrictive love, fondness, adoration, appreciation into ever expanding love. It begins with each of one of us, it all begins with us. World and the worldly relationships are a medium through which we can directly experience the Divine expansive love, if we so nourish and cultivate it to attain the Divine joy and happiness leading to bliss.