I recently wrote something on relating where I discovered how love is merely the knowing of someone’s nearness to you. I was surprised and deeply comforted to read this extract on loving someone in Nisargadatta Maharaj’s “I am That”, a book GD often recommends. Here the questioner talks about his yearning for his mother’s love and Maharaj’s response where he disassociates love from happiness and the movement of love.
[Q = Questioner , M = Maharaj]
Q: Can I find the richness and abundance of emotions, which I needed in such ample measure as a child?
M: Where is your childhood now? And what is your future?
Q: I was born, I have grown, I shall die.
M: You mean your body, of course. And your mind. I am not talking of your physiology and psychology. They are a part of nature and are governed by nature’s laws. I am talking of your search for love. Had it a beginning? Will it have an end?
Q: I really cannot say. It is there – from the earliest to the last moment of my life. This yearning for love – how constant and how hopeless!
M: In your search for love what exactly are you searching for?
Q: Simply this: to love and be loved.
M: You mean a woman?
Q: Not necessarily. A friend, a teacher, a guide – as long as the feeling is bright and clear. Of course, a woman is the usual answer. But it need not be the only one.
M: Of the two what would you prefer, to love or be loved?
Q: I would rather have both! But I can see that to love is greater, nobler and deeper. To be loved is sweet, but it does not make one grow.
M: Can you love on your own, or must you be made to love?
Q: One must meet somebody lovable of course. My mother was not only not loving, she was also not lovable.
M: What makes a person lovable? Is it not the being loved? First you love and then you look for reasons.
Q: It can be the other way round. You love what makes you happy.
M: But what makes you happy?
Q: There is no rule about it. The entire subject is highly individual and unpredictable.
M: Right. Whichever way you put it, unless you love there is no happiness. But, does love always make you happy? Is not the association of love with happiness a rather early, infantile stage? When the beloved suffers, don’t you suffer too? And do you cease to love, because you suffer? Must love and happiness come and go together? Is love merely the expectation of pleasure?
Q: Of course not. There can be much suffering in love.
M: Then what is love? Is it not the state of being rather than a state of mind? Must you know that you love in order to love? Did you not love your mother unknowingly? Your craving for her love, for an opportunity to love her, is it not the movement of love? Is not love as much a part of you, as consciousness of being? You sought the love of your mother because you loved her.
Q: But she would not let me!
M: She could not stop you.
Q: Then, why was I unhappy all my life?
M: Because you did not go down to the very roots of your being. It is your complete ignorance of yourself, that covered up your love and happiness and made you seek for what you have never lost. Love is will, the will to share your happiness with all. Being happy – making happy – this is the rhythm of love.
Questions it has raised for me:
* Must we have someone to love, to be in love?
* What would it be like to just be Consciousness, where outer forms come up and dissolve, in waves, and yet this love is constant? Not a feeling, not an experience, nothing transient, but something that just Is? Isn’t that present now because it is a part of who I am?