Sep 23, 2010

PHILOSOPHY OF LOVE

The word love itself is very philosophical, romantic and emotional, and has been the core of human relationships. Several books have been written, several plays are performed, and several movies have been made, yet the word love is the most mystical and beyond the understanding of an ordinary human being.
In the modern world where people have no time to deliver or express this natural emotion, it has become more of an idiom for demonstrative feelings. In some cases, the word or feelings of love have become more synonymous to the term ‘Lust’ where the physical desire is the sole cause of its invocation. And once this pseudo desire is fulfilled, the feeling of love evaporates like camphor. Therefore we are forced to think whether the  love of Romeo and Juliet or Laila and Majnu or Siri and Faryad or Meera and Krishna were also superficial or rather true with eternal feelings without succumbing to any desires. And if it was true love then what makes it different from the pseudo love or untrue love.
Scientifically the emotion of love is triggered by the part of the brain called the hypothalamus and the related endocrine glands. Once the feeling of love is generated and the neurotic activity is electrified, one feels a sense of compassion towards a person or other living creature, and object. It also creates intense interpersonal affection towards the other person. Depending upon the intensity and motive of this feeling, testosterone and estrogenic fluids are released by the brain to the blood.
However, the idea is not to write a thesis on this but to discuss the types of love we feel towards each other in our normal lives, and then to see where we stand when we claim to love people around us; and whether our feelings are genuine, selfless or self-centric, whether we love somebody because we are in need of them, or the feeling of love has come from the deepest part of our hearts.
As I see it, philosophically love can be categorized into seven different types:
1)      Love due to natural bond (Natural Love)
2)      Love due to compassion (Compassionate Love)
3)      Love due to necessity (Temporary Love)
4)      Love due to lust ( Lustful Love)
5)      Love that is superficial (Demonstrative Love)
6)      Love to Oneself (Self Centric Love)
7)      Love due to devotion (Devotional Love)

A mother’s love towards a child, or love between own blood relatives can be considered under the first type. This natural quality has been bestowed upon every living creature on this world and for that, no effort is required. It comes naturally unless we are crooked enough to pollute this natural feeling.

Interpersonal love between husband and wife or two different persons and/or with other living creatures can be considered as the love of the second type. My topic of discussion will be mainly centered towards this type of love which may also fall under another category depending upon the desire and motives of love.

We love our employer or employee or clients or donors or providers due to our reliance upon them for our livelihood or to maintain our lifestyles. As a result, such love may fall under the third category. Any love which activates our endocrine glands only for the purpose of temporary pleasure may be categorized as the love of the fourth type. In this situation the feeling of love evaporates with the fading of intravascular activity. We generally express superficial love, in order to show off to other people that we really love them, whereas the truth is that the person showing the love does not mean it seriously.
The love due to devotion is Para natural and very few people experience this love. Love to the divine with full affection, having the feeling of complete surrender is devotional love. In this love, the emotion is of the purest level and a person is longing for the divine with full faith and trust.
Now I would like to discuss the most contentious category of love and would like to invoke a debate whether we really love our partners, family members or friends? As I perceive, if one really loves another person and that person may be his wife or her husband or other family members or a friend, then that true love should not expect any return from the other person. If we expect any return, then in the process we are trying to conduct a business.

Sometimes I am dismayed seeing people kissing several times in a day and suddenly I see them breaking off. In this case did they really love each other in the first place? Was it all pretentions of love to fool for personal advantage? If they truly loved each other then they should have been tolerant enough to adjust with the difference in mentality and personality. A person cannot become bad or good overnight. There are signs in daily life which tells us about a person’s character and personality which should have been noticed and thought over before outpouring the emotion of love. And if it was true love then it should have survived the litmus taste of time. True love breaks all barriers of anger, ego and discomfort and even tries to look for beauty in a beast. Therefore to me it was a demonstrative love or temporary love or lustful love and it disseminated once the purpose is served.
Hence, we should look within ourselves that in reality do we expect anything from our loved ones or it is just a pure love, free of all expectations? Pure love is based on the foundation of trust, confidence and sacrifices in small things in our daily lives. Thus, if we love a person then are we willing to make sacrifices? That sacrifice will require some mental adjustment with our desire, ego, anger and overall personality.
To provide examples, in our daily life we claim to love our wife or husband but ignore the pain or suffering she or he goes through in her or his day to day life. If we really care for them then we should feel the same pain and sufferings and try our level best to minimize them. We all claim that we love our children but we are not willing to take pain in shaping their lives. Here I mean to create an exemplary life by sacrificing or suppressing our own worldly desires and pleasures for their sake. But instead of doing that, we start debating with ourselves that God has given us only one life and we should enjoy it. Therefore this feeling itself defies the meaning of true love. In case of our friends and relatives including our parents we keep talking that we love them. If we really love them then there should be a sense of longing for them. If the feelings of yearning for their company are not there then it is not love but just to fill a vacuum in our mind or overcome our guilt sense or to pass time. 
I have also come across several people who show self-centric love. It means that they love to love themselves more than anybody else and for the sake of their own pleasure; they are not willing to adjust or sacrifice with anything and with anybody. I will demure in saying that they are the sole cause of their own pleasures or sufferings. These people at times may be heartless in fulfilling their desires at the cost of humility and as such; their love towards another person is more demonstrative and superficial.
What can I say about humanly love when, people even deceive God? I heard many people saying that they believe in and love God. But their love for God keeps changing as per their comfort and suitability. If one really loves God then it means that one has been able to develop a strong emotional connection with the almighty. This strong emotional connection cannot be developed unless one has complete faith and trust in divinity. The true love towards divinity makes one’s nature mellow, humble, and egoless and one becomes calm and stable in all situations. If this has not happened then it will be a mere belief and their visits to the temple, church or synagogue will be more a customary or ritualistic.
Therefore, I would like to invite your comments on this topic, which has been discussed and has been in the minds of many. I have written this article the way I have perceived and I would like to share your perception on the topic.
I wanted to add a poem in Hindi called “Pyaar ki Paribhasha” (The Definition of Love) written last year which describes the meaning of true love but in order not to make this blog  long and boring for English readers, I may share with you in my future postings.
Suman Saran Sinha

11 comments:

Octavia said...

True Love is not a feeling, it is a State. The Spirit loves all, itself and all there is and is not in the Cosmos and beyond. The "Feeling" of Love as experienced on the current plane is a DECISION. We decide whom (another being) or what (a separate thing) to single out for preference. We speak of "falling" in love and pretend that it was beyond our will, but usually this is merely hormonal. The genetic entity's desire for reproduction which then, often, but not always, transfers onto the offspring of that desire. There is also the illusion of karmic recompence which causes us to be "attracted" to specific individuals, sometimes with disastrous effect. We blind ourselves in order to "repay" and afterwards say "what on earth was I thinking?" At that time we used the "sensation" of love to make it more appetizing for us to enter into an unwanted "payback". All of which can be avoided by entering the true State of Love in the first place which provides for forgiveness to ourselves and to others. And so:
LOVE TO MYSELF AND TO ALL!

Anonymous said...

Love due to devotion is the love of the world we live in that is love of nature, love for living beings.But love due to devotion is being exploited by false emotion based on religion. Unless we develop, practice one religion for the world, there will be wars, violenc, and injustice.Tecnology is good but unless it is bonded with one religion, the world will always
be as it is today.

Anonymous said...

Dear Suman, Read your article carefully. It is interesting to note that in todays time every person is experienceing similar situation in their life as u described and making adjustment to pass life. And as u wrightly said love for the sake of loving. Thanks

Ajit Sahay, New Delhi.
Sent from BlackBerry® on Airtel

Anonymous said...

Suman,

Nice one. Yeah this is with us from the day human being was created. Kabir said it so well - pothi padi padi jug muya.....................
Dhai akhar prem ka...........................
But Suman you know what, we cannot say few good words about others how can we love people - one will be expecting too much. Leave everything aside I feel awfully pained when I see people cannot love innocent children. People are only focussed in my mine and my children. Beyond that it is a big NO.
But definitely it is a great privilege and pleasure to be loved and love. One has to earn it.
Neela

Anonymous said...

Suman,

Nice one. Yeah this is with us from the day human being was created. Kabir said it so well - pothi padi padi jug muya.....................
Dhai akhar prem ka...........................
But Suman you know what, we cannot say few good words about others how can we love people - one will be expecting too much. Leave everything aside I feel awfully pained when I see people cannot love innocent children. People are only focussed in my mine and my children. Beyond that it is a big NO.
But definitely it is a great privilege and pleasure to be loved and love. One has to earn it.

Neela
Calgary, Alberta

Gyan Rajhans said...

Suman ji:

On every Valentine's Day I produce a special webcast on different types of love including the worldly and divine love. But, I must admit you have taken great pains in elaborating on this subject. Let me quote Sant Kabir, which I do on every Valentine's day special broadcast.

"Akath Kahani Prem Ki, Kuchh Kahi Na Jaye; Gunge Keri Sarkara, Baithe Muskae." meaning:
Inexpressive is the story of Love, It cannot be revealed by words; Like the dumb eating sweets only smiles; the sweetness he cannot tell.

Anonymous said...

Suman:
I would suggest you go to WIKIPEDIA and look at love in a cultural context. Expression of love varies greatly in different cultures and different groups. Are your observations based on NRI or Anglosaxons?

Ushi Choudhry
Toronto.

SUMAN SINHA said...

My observation is not based on a particular group or any class of people. As I have mentioned, the idea is not to write a thesis on the subject or present the concept of love from different socio-cultural point of view; but to write in short and leave a room for others to present their views. My endeavour is to present my thought in its originality the way "I perceive", and not copy & paste from the published materials on the internet.

nina sinha said...

Love is a universal feeling and beyond any boundaries - I agree to that. But in modern times the meaning of love keeps on changing as per our convenience and perception. Expectation of love from one's partner is very natural. Though the definition given by you is correct but in practical life, it becomes difficult to love someone without getting love in return. One sided love & commitment have become a saying of the bygone days. Demonstration and expression of words in love have been given too much of importance in this consumerist and materialistic world. It gives assurance and makes the relationship strong. The story of Laila- Majnu, Shiri- Farhad are still being talked because they were exceptional & godly.....

Tolstoy, the famous writer form USSR had to say something very interesting about love," यह कहना कि तुम एक व्यक्ति को आजीवन प्रेम करते रहोगे , यह कहने के समान है कि एक मोमबत्ती जब तक तुम चाहोगे तब तक जलती रहेगी i " - Is this what we call cultural differences?

Anonymous said...

Sumanji;
You have discussed the topic of "love" which albeit extensive, but very intricate and lot of truthfulness and honesty is manifested in your expression of the platonic love and divine love,lover's love and so on...

I would just like to contribute my opinion in one part of the above discussion.We all know that our spiritual selves see our relationships as providing oppurtunites for joining and acceptance, as opposed to separation and judgement.From a spiritual point of view all human relationships can be seen as laborataries of life where we discover what unconditional love is really all about and in this laboratory we also learn to transform fear,guilt & blame into love but in today's world I have started to doubt how much of unconditional love exists .The perspective of love has changed ,due to the fact,that world is rapidly changing,constant economic upheaval and so on and hence the pattern of love has also changed ,irrrespective of the fact that love is divine,profound and an abstract feeling....but in modern society the very idea of "falling in love" has dramatically changed in the sense that partners tend to look for more viable partners in terms of education,career and so on which would obviously help them to lead a more flourishing life,educating the children,adjustments and so on ...so in otherwords I can say that people have become more practical when it comes to choosing partners rather than blindly falling in love...may I say... if at all blind love exists.

It is definately true that the sense of love and security is gradually disappearing from our lives.More and more people seems to be engrossed in finding out ways and means to achieve their own selfish ends forgetting that love is not only a magical word but the very essence and feeling of love is a magic in itself....

Shubhra Sen.

Srini Gollapudi said...

This is quite interesting. But you know, Vedanta has good explanation what love is. Love is the most misunderstood and misused word in the day-to-day life. As a matter of fact you love an object of person not for the sake of the object or person. You must have guessed the answer, you love something for your own sake. The greatest object of love for anyone is HIMSELF. You love a thing because it give you happiness, and continue to love as long as it gives you happiness. As soon as it ceases to do so, you are eager to part with it. Real love is in sacrifice and acceptance, in spite of difficiencies.

GS

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