What is true love? Does it exist in this temporal world? When one says, ‘I’m in love with you,” what do we really mean? Let me explain a little bit to clearly bring out the essence. The mind is a thing and so is the body. It is not part of a person but it is just the covering of a person. The atma or the soul, also called the Jiva, is source of life & that is a person. So, to love someone really means to love the soul in that person and real attachment in the higher reality means being attached to the source of life or being attached to the soul. For eg: When someone close to you dies, there is no much love for the dead corpse but there is love for the person that has left that body, isnt it?
So, everytime we hear a young lover say, ‘I’m in love with you,’ please note that this is not the real love that we are seeking but it is just an expression of ones attachment to the temporary gross body. In actuality, when one says I’m in love with you, it just means, ‘Please satisfy my senses,’ & if you don’t then, ‘I hate you.’ This temporal world is full of dualities, because even though we are not this body, we identify strongly with it, its pleasures & pains & its needs. Therefore, we find that we are not satisfied.
The reason we are not satisfied is because the soul is hungry for true love. The nature of the soul is ‘sat cid ananda,’ it is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. What is that pleasure? It is the pleasure of prema or love. That is the only food that actually gives satisfaction to the heart–to love and to be loved. Actually, when one aspires to find such love, love that satisfies our soul, then it is the highest we can aspire for in our lives.
But we need to use our intelligence to actualize such high aspirations and when our intelligence is being guided by the actual needs and wants of the soul, then our life is directed toward experiencing the highest form of love and happiness thereby. But when our intelligence is being guided by the mind and the senses as against the actual wants and needs of the soul, it leads us to many a binding karmic situations and the perpetuation’s of illusion, which we misunderstand to be love or happiness and it eventually leads us onto the path of misery and suffering only! Everything that we experience through the mind and the senses is “duhkhalayam asasvatam”–it is temporary & brings us misery! All the things we are attached to–be it people or things, will be destroyed & it will end in due course of time.
But, how do we train our senses and mind? The secret is in perfecting our existing relationships. I repeat – The secret of training our senses and mind is in perfecting our existing relationships. All our relationships happen to us with the sole purpose of purifying our existence. Radhanath Swami defines purification as the means of bringing something back to its natural state. Just like pure water means there is no contamination in it. The vedic scriptures prescribe that we can turnaround our situations and miserable conditions of existence when we redefine our love for someone through the means of serving them selflessly. Through rendering service, developing pure motivations and nurturing a genuine concern of wellbeing of everyone around us, we gradually develop divine qualities and bring our mind and consciousness in harmony with the original nature of our soul. As we purify our motives and our selfish tendencies, we begin to attract divine love back into our lives, the love which is the highest treasure and aspiration in all worlds then begins to shine upon us in all its tenderness, bringing fulfillment and unlimited bliss to our being.
Some Relationship pitfalls :
1. To be judgmental: Being judgmental about each and every action of others is not progressive but it is simply distractive. It facilitates us to be argumentative or angry or at best we end up carrying these burdensome thoughts in our mind and breed them day after day until they explode someday. The simple solution to this pitfall is to be non-judgmental. Judging is a force of habit, so we simply have to turn it around and practice being non-judgmental. This requires us just to be aware of our thoughts and actions each and every moment to begin with and arrest judgmental thoughts using our higher intelligence. For eg: Our neighbors dont talk to us ever (because they think they are superior). Stop your mind before it starts the judgmental thought which is given in the bracket. Instead, you can just repeat the fact that your neighbors dont talk to you & be peaceful with it. Believe me, it works like wonder!
2. Harboring negative thoughts about the other person/s: To be envious/hateful towards another, to wish evil/failure for another etc, all these are demoniac thoughts. They do not have anything divine to offer us but hamper our progress on our path of pure love. Please be mindful of not harboring such thoughts even towards people who you consider evil or towards someone who you think is unworthy of respect. Our tricky mind has from time immemorial played tricks to take us away from our goal but now that we are aware of the colossal damage caused by the mind, resolve to yourself not to give into its ways! Replace every negative thought as it occurs with positive counter – thought, even for people who you consider abominable for every soul is inherently good. Do this exercise religiously for EVERY negative thought, relentlessly, every day and one day you will realize that you no longer harbor any negative thoughts but are filled with positive thoughts for people. Thus, seeds of deep love and compassion for every living being fructifies within you as you get connected to the divine realm.
3. Ulterior motives: We have ulterior motives because we sense some kind of profit or adulation/recognition from the act/situation. However, when we perform action laden with ulterior motives, we cease to be genuine caring persons and we fail to attract pure love which is our ultimate goal of life. The best antidote is to practice speaking the truth in every circumstance i,e speak out loud our hidden agendas, even if they may at first sound selfish or you could also confess about your ulterior motive. The only stumbling block we might sense in purifying our motivations is fear of exposing ourselves. But please remember, this is just a mental concoction; our original nature is that we are eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss. So, forge ahead and break the habit fearlessly and truth will be on your side! Radhanath Swami reiterates that as we progress on the path of pure love, we are supposed to be developing deeper, pure intentions and that means we are devoid of any ulterior motives.
4. Domineering spirit: Most of us fall trap to being control freaks, whether we acknowledge it or not, whether we are aware of it or not! We want to control others, control the situation and control everything that concerns our life. At the deepest level, we do this out of our misplaced propensity to enjoy material nature but the fact is that we are not the controllers and therefore we are frustrated! At a different level, we might want to be in control of situations in our life just to counteract our fears (mostly irrational). However, whatever be the reason, trying to be controller definitely counters our progress. The moment we realize this, we can let go and channelize our energies in developing self-control. Letting go is easier said than done but when we do this as an act of surrender in pursuit of supreme love, it purifies us of our contaminations and then we reflect the eternal nature of the soul.
When you learn to control your mind and your senses, then your mind and senses become peaceful. And in this peaceful state, the true love of the soul can manifest.- Radhanath Swami