Love is perhaps the greatest driving force for all of us, where we seek both to love someone and to be loved.
The poets, song-writers, and film-makers all make love a central theme, that they write about, over and over again. People are drawn to a good love story and an emotional love song. But what is love?
A common definition is ‘an intense feeling of deep affection’. And one identifiable symptom of love in this world is when we see a person being more concerned for someone else’s happiness than their own.
There are people who might put up some form of hard exterior, pretending they aren’t interested in love, but even they will come to a point in their life where they desire a genuine experience of love.
We can experience some level of love or affection in this world, but the experience we desire within our heart cannot be completely fulfilled in this world, with other material personalities.
The normal progression of so-called love is that it starts off with great excitement and a fluttering heart, and then as it progresses, people often begin wishing the relationship was giving more. They are not completely fulfilled in the relationship, and yet still hold onto this idea of finding perfect love. This is because it is part of our eternal spiritual nature to exist in the condition of perfect spiritual love.
There are so many lonely people in the world visiting dating websites and going to bars—people trying to meet each other. But everybody brings some baggage– with their own ideas of what it is that they want or what they expect of someone else.
I will often advise people of the need to appreciate the reality that at some point in their relationship or marriage, they’re going to be dissatisfied with each other and that is normal. Another person or material personality is not going to be able to provide the complete fulfillment of this great spiritual need that you have - to both love and to be loved. Placing unrealistic and unachievable expectations on each other is the worst thing that you can do for a marriage or relationship.
It is perfectly acceptable and even healthy to have relationships founded on a “less than perfect” love.
However, as eternal spirit souls by nature, our real and eternal need lies in re-establishing our connection with the Supreme Soul, the actual Lord of our heart. If we are not able to fulfill this natural propensity to love the true Lord of our heart, we’ll find ourselves constantly seeking this connection elsewhere.
The word ‘yoga’ actually describes a union, a relationship. The cultivation of such a spiritual relationship of love with the Supreme Soul is the highest perfection of yoga. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna says:
I am the Supreme Soul, O Arjuna, seated in the hearts of all living entities.
In order to become intimately connected with the Lord who is residing within our own heart, it is necessary for us to undergo a transformative process. The material condition is where we live separately from the Lord who resides within our own heart and we become completely focused on what we consider “our life” and “our self”. We chase after things in this world thinking that we will find some perfection here. We chase here, we chase there; we try this, we try that, and we always come up empty-handed.
The yoga process very much involves learning to curb that tendency and redirecting our search for happiness within.
The Bhagavad-Gita says:
Being freed from attachment, from fear and anger, being fully absorbed in Me and taking refuge in Me, many persons in the past became purified by knowledge of Me and thus, they all attained transcendental love for Me.
This is the result of full spiritual awakening. If a person has a partial spiritual awakening, they may not come to experience this actual condition of transcendental love. But when one is able to unite in love with the Supreme Soul, they will be able to come to experience the condition of true spiritual love.
In this condition, not only will they love the Supreme Soul but they will also experience genuine love for all others, seeing them as His children, His parts and parcels, and individual living beings who are all intensely loved by the Supreme Soul.
About the author
Acharya das is a respected teacher of Vedic and yogic philosophy, meditation and kirtan, and a practitioner of the transcendental science of Bhakti Yoga. He has spoken about yoga wisdom to international audiences for over 40 years. Acharya das is currently in Auckland and holds regular discourses. For more information about these discourses, to ask questions, visit: www.Acharyadas.co