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I crave love.
The world craves love.
We want to love so much, yet it is something we can't give ourselves. We need someone to love us in order to fulfill our craving for love. Yet there is another way to fulfill this craving for love, and that is to give love.
Rav Nachman of Bratslav says love is coming down into this world every second, every billionth of a second. It's flowing down. The only thing is, you must have the sense to pick it up.
What a wonderful thing to be surrounded by. We need glasses to color everything we see with the color of love.
Rabbi Shlomo Carlbach taught:
"If I love a girl very much, and I find out she is not so good, and I decide I won't see her anymore, the problem is not that she is bad, but that I don't really love her so much. If whatever she did wrong can destroy my love, then my love wasn't so strong! But if I really love her, and someone says; 'Listen, she's a terrible girl,' I would say: 'I don't care.' It doesn't mean that I don't care for her being wrong, but that her doing wrong doesn't reach the place where I love her. My love is so high, that the wrong she did remains lower, and doesn't reach the love."

"The question is not how much you love someone when you love each other. The question is how much you love them when you hate each other."

 

Here attempts are made to understand the oldest and the most complicated of human emotions- the one with the most diverse interpretations and expressions. I am aware that it is a daring attempt; let me try it whatsoever. The importance is placed on the philosophy of love than the manifestations. Following are some of the questions that are being attempted to be answered. What drives a person to love another? What does the lover expect from the beloved?  What is the role of sexual love?

As individuals are increasingly realising their relevance in the bigger scheme of things, the need for the other, to complete oneself is on the decline. This can be seen from the decreasing population growth in the individualistic societies. Individuals are finding the need to have children to substantiate their existence far lesser than say, 50 years ago. The need is more for companionship than completion. This is not to say that this is the sole reason; after all history won’t let you break the shackles so easily.   

In the current context, friendship is the only relationship which is left with any amount of virtue, however small it may be. All other relationships place a certain level of expectation on the other, thereby restricting the individual – urging him to be someone else than what he actually is. However, if the nature of the relationship is such that, one party only requires the other to be himself, then there is an acceptance of his individuality which is the essence of freedom. And, if the other party enables him to discover himself, then you can say, the eternal fruit of existence is taking shape in him. If he is instilled with vigor upon the appearance of the beloved, if he is performing beyond himself, then he is lucky to be experiencing the exquisite pain which is the most powerful of feelings. It can be love for another person, another animal, invariably there has to be communication between the two for this to happen. The cases where the muse is a stone are rare.

In a world, where salvation anxiety is on the rise, every value or possession is quantified and apparently, more means better.  Does this apply to the sublime emotion under discussion? The answer is an emphatic no. The boundaries can be crossed only as much as the beloved wants to be. And if there is a lack of understanding of the boundaries, it is due to the sheer lack of effort from the lover who is exceedingly narcissistic to see beyond himself. This is applicable even in the case of the most sacrosanct of relationships, the mother-child relationship where the mother has to make sure that her love is not detrimental to the development of the child. The overwhelming nature of motherly love has stunted the development of many a child.

The idea of loving is not to extend oneself, it is not to find another who would ignore one’s limitations, but who would help one to see beyond himself, to stretch one’s boundaries and be a superior individual, every passing moment of time.  The beloved is a path and reason for personal excellence.  As Plato says “The lover is ashamed to be seen by the beloved doing or suffering any cowardly or mean act. And a state or army which was made up only of lovers and their beloved would be invincible. For love will convert the veriest coward into an inspired hero.”

The sexual act of love, if it is solely based on the external aspects of a personality, is momentary and at best juvenile.  This is not to say that body and soul are separate entities, body is an extension of the soul. The great thinkers were not just being aphoristic or poetic when they said, “eyes are windows to the soul” or “an unhygienic body reflects the condition of the soul”. But sexual love, completely oblivious of the soul is a waste of psychic energy.   This aspect of love serves as an addendum to the acts of love mentioned above. The foundation is, the beloved enabling one to improve, so that the pleasures of life are enjoyable within the levels each of the two is capable of. ( Identifying the limits of pleasure will enable one to stretch it further. However, the journey of hedonism is never ending. Too much indulgence in it, like anything else leads to self-destruction) 

From the above paragraphs, one might get the impression that love symbolises all that is ‘good’ by the traditional yardsticks.  "Love and war are the same thing, and stratagems and polity are as allowable in the one as in the other” – says Cervantes in Don Quixote. Is war ‘good’? Most of the technological innovations of the current world are the result of war, be it direct or indirect. Most of the masterpieces in the art world are the result of love. I am as clueless as everyone on this question.

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