Types of Love

Swami Chinmayananda 

No activity in human life is taken up with so much sincerity and elaborate preparation as is man's search for the joy of love and yet, no enterprise of man fails so constantly with such regularity, as his quest for love. He helplessly waits to receive love and yet everyone is always disappointed. 

In a nutshell, the love that leaves us with agitation is lower love and the love that leaves us with profound peace and joy is higher. In true love, every action and sacrifice you make towards the object of your love reduces your egocentric desires and calms the agitation in your mind. When love is directed towards a Higher or Nobler object or person than yourself, it is called prema. When it is towards a lower object, it is called sneha. Higher love alone can help us come out of our sense of incompleteness and alienation.

 The lower type of love called sneha is an escape from a person's sense of loneliness. Without this protection the person feels lonely, isolated and helpless. Some people demand love, they need to receive it--they cannot give love. Such an individual depends entirely upon other objects and beings for his existence: his home, work, money, friends and relations. With these, he makes a prison for himself and ever willingly suffers in it. This refers to both passive and aggressive type of sneha. They are both unconsciously seeking freedom from their sense of loneliness.

The higher kind of love is called prema. Here, love is dynamic. The lover is not waiting to be loved by others. He is not a beggar of love. His dynamic love floods forth from his heart and in its irresistible onward dash, it breaks all walls around others, storms into their hearts and therein seeks and discovers a blissful fusion of oneness. In this dynamic love, the lover ennobles the beloved and at the same time retains his own individuality. In such a blessed lover relationship, the two become one and still neither dominates the other. In dynamic love, it is a willful "dashing on" to love, rather than an unconscious accidental "falling into" love. It is a consistent passion to give, not a meek persistent hope to receive. True love is not a passive taking, but a dynamic giving. 

This idea of giving is often dreaded and misunderstood as a giving up of something--a painful renouncing--a state of being deprived of everything pleasant and sweet. But actually, it is a giving up of all the anxiety to enjoy the fruits of actions. Love, when it is true and unconditional, is its own regard. Very few realize it, none dare to live it. Some of us love only if we are loved in return. That is, we give love in payment for love received. This is a very commercial attitude, a shopkeeper's mentality. To give love is freedom; to demand love is nothing but an example of pure slavery.

The human mind always runs in the direction of His love. The object of love reflects his vasanas, his tendencies. It is important to fall in love when your piece of mind is gone and your abilities are distracted. Similarly, it is equally important to rise in love to any ideal, profession, art, science or person that makes you integrated and created. Devotion gives you more intellectual capacities, abilities improve. You become dynamic--a person to be reckoned with. 

Hence, if you want others to love you, be lovable. Love cannot be lust. In lust, there is abject dependence upon the physical object. In lust, there is a subordination of one's personality to the enchantment of the object; while in love, the personality of the lover is tuned to the personality of the beloved. Love brings an expansion of being, while lust ends in an existence loaded with darkness and exhausting fatigue. Love is the victory of the spirit, lust is the cry of the base flesh and low mind. Love lives the joy; lust only seeks it.

Very few are indeed rich in love. How can they love, who have none in themselves? Love transforms work into inspiration with efficiency as its result. Love is the heart of all religions, the theme of all classical works of art and literature, the song of all devotees. Scientists know only what love does--not what love is. Love can indeed empty our asylums, perhaps all our prisons, maybe all our hospitals. People suffer in life due to the lack of love. Love is, therefore, to the human heart what the sun is to flowers! 


Swarnali said…
Hello Akshay...thanks for dropping by my blog (would like to know how you found me)...you have an interesting blog (looks quite spiritual to me)..glad to know you are a malayalee (I am basically from Kolkata but spent 8 years of my childhood in Cochin,so Kerala and the people from there are always special to me) :)
Sujatha Sathya said…
love has many hues & you have covered them all

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