Love -a ubiquitously used word that unleashes so many emotions and feelings. Is it a romance that has inspired poets, a virtue preached by religion, or merely , chemical pandemonium in the neuronal circuits? Is it a sense of possession, ownership or control? Is it an acceptance or a dependence? Is it subjugation or submission? Is it desire or an overwhelming need to be desired? Is it a surreal emotional high, or just, an euphemism for rudimentary biological behaviour?
Love conventionally encompasses a multitude of emotions; from the selfless and unconditional, to a pathological, paranoid obsession ; from empathy and compassion to an insane ,inexplicable passion. From attachment and dependence, to a very liberating and inspiring experience. A spectrum that extends from divinity to despair; from a benediction to transcend to a curse of lustful, beastly regression.
Nomenclatures abound, - filial love, maternal indulgence, platonic love, conjugal love, compassion, empathy, the sobriquets just go on endlessly.
Prima facie, Love is a bond that binds, a virtue that connects, giving a sense of purpose in this otherwise meaningless hedonistic existence.
It paradoxically also harbours the potential to hurt, cause pain, create misunderstandings and grief. Why does an emotion that can potentially liberate mutate into a tool of torment?
Love based on acquisition comes with a shelf life. Valid till the object of affection remains captive on the shelf of possession. A possession that is available for indulgence any time , to gloat over with a pride of ownership. This joy, however, is a package that comes with a subtle fine print, 'terms and conditions apply' implicitly and unobtrusively.
These terms and conditions restrict the validity of the emotion to circumstances frozen in time and place. Any thawing of the same with the passage of time effects disintegration of this conditioned emotion.
This conditional love is divisive , a love that discriminates the subject as separate from the object and depends on the equation between the two for its survival. Love that is subject to specifications is transient, and volatile ,changes shades as the specifications change, inevitably.
A radioactive isotope , with variable half lives, but irreversibly decaying with time. A love that comes packaged with fear, and an insecurity of change. A change, either in the subject, object or their equation, and this ecstasy morphs into agony.
Can love ever be eternal? Can this emotional transience, evolve, beyond mere gratification of the ego and the senses into a state of unending bliss?
This fleeting duality based high is merely a glimpse of the eternal bliss of Nonduality. A state of bliss and compassion experienced in oneness, without any anxiety of separation. A fearless unconditional state.
A state that does not seek recourse from insecurity but rather dispels any need for it.Love, experienced as the need to merge, has the ability to liberate when a state of unison is achieved. 'Selfless' love is the exalted state of bliss when this emotion is experienced by transcending the form. Using the form as an instrument to pitchfork the consciousness of the 'self' into the abyss of selflessness.
This love liberates, sets free. It is no longer a bondage, between the subject and the object . It does not become a phenomenon linking the two. It becomes the noumenon, a source that manifests as subject and object,to experience itself through its own manifestations. Like Meera's realisation that Krishna was not merely a personification, but an instrument to merge her own Identity into. Krishna, was a transformation of her own self, into a state of
formless, eternal bliss, beyond subject and object, beyond nomenclatures.
Dr Deepak Ranade
The author is a consultant neurosurgeon - firstname.lastname@example.org