“Of all the Qualities, Love is the most important, for if it is strong enough in a man, it forces him to acquire all the rest, and all the rest without it would never be sufficient.” (J. Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master, p. 46, Greek edition)
The materialistic and narrow intellectual world of the present era is mainly governed by conflict, division, and antagonism. Most humans live and exist psychologically and mentally isolated from their fellow humans, whom they see under the influence of separateness and so are easily driven into collision with them. Conflict is usually caused by the wish to prove to others which idea and opinion is better and more justified and should prevail. In truth, the hidden wish behind all conflict is the wish to control and to achieve this. It takes various forms each time; it hides under a different mask and uses several excuses. In doing so, it hides itself even from the person who starts the dispute.
In one way or another, the various religions speak and teach love, but human intellect interprets this idea in so many ways that serious differences arise. These, unfortunately, lead to major disputes, quite often to schisms, dogmatism, fanaticism and even to actual war between followers and peoples; wars resulting in so many dreadful situations and unnecessary deaths or tortures, not only like those witnessed during the Mediaeval Ages but also like the ones taking place in our era. However, when human minds achieve a certain degree of spiritual development rejecting every selfish emotion, then the first signs of another type of energy will start to appear in a clear and absolute way. It is that energy which comes down from the soul, from the buddhi, and not from the intellect alone. It is the energy of the Second Logos which manifests as Love.
According to the Christian teachings, this stage of Love corresponds to the Christ, the Son – a notion which makes us think that the central idea of the Gospels is the ascending of the human soul to a higher spiritual stage by the power of Love. « “Love thy neighbor as thyself” », we read in the Gospel of Matthew (22:39). It is exceedingly difficult to understand what the Gospels mean by asking one to act through love, because this emotion can have many faces in our material world. As humans, we tend to form false ideas about how love can be expressed, and this causes great pain to most of us. We interpret it as attachment to persons, objects, and situations; we try to limit it to individuals or even ideas but the possessive character of this type of love usually results in raising actual walls in front of true love.
Jealousy, possessiveness, obsession, selfishness in action, thought and emotion, all work non-stop turning love into a disastrous illusion by restraining it within the limits of a stereotypical cycle which makes humans self-centered, wears them down psychologically, and gradually drives them to emotional annihilation. Unfortunately, they often refuse to abandon this cycle within which they have “imprisoned” what they call love, since they believe that everything else beyond their cycle is nothing but maya or illusion and utopia. Still, this “maya and utopia” might be the only true love embracing all. Therefore, perhaps the Gospels do not speak of love as is usually known to us, but they speak of something entirely different.
If humans could really love others as they love themselves, we would not suppress, we would not control or lie, or harm etc. Certain laws would not be necessary, nor the attachment to different aspects of truth or the partial truth found in various cultures and peoples; because generosity is that virtue which opens up human nature, it expands it and permeates it with a powerful energy of affection and devotion derived from the one and only knowledge, the Knowledge of Love, of Goodness, of the Logos.
Plato, in his work Definitions (p. 123, Greek text), refers to love as “agapissis” (αγάπησις). He interprets it as unconditional acceptance and separates its meaning from the word “Eros” (Έρως), about which he writes in his Symposium and other of his works. In them, Eros as an idea seems initially to have an educational and philosophical character, but at a higher level its meaning becomes more mystical and devotional as it turns its attention to faceless and formless Beauty. He writes that love for the sentient beings is a lower but nevertheless necessary step for the ascent of the soul towards the beauty of Goodness, towards To Agathon (To Aγαθόν). He assigns to Eros the notion that sentimentalism for the sentient and the material gradually transforms into a clear metaphysical and religious emotion for the faceless and formless Ideal.
“Wisdom is a most beautiful thing, and Eros is a love of the beautiful; and therefore, Eros is also a philosopher or lover of wisdom”, says Diotima of Mantineia, the wise prophetess (Symposium, 204b).
And further down she adds: “He who has been instructed thus far in the things of love, and who has learned to see the beautiful in due order and succession, when he comes toward the end he will suddenly perceive a nature of wondrous beauty and this, Socrates, is the final cause of all our former toils, a nature which in the first place is everlasting, not growing and decaying, or waxing and waning; secondly, not fair in one point of view and foul in another, or at one time or at one place fair, at another time or at another place foul, as if fair to some and foul to others, or in the likeness of a face or hands or any other part of the bodily frame, or in any form of speech or knowledge, or existing in any other being, as for example, in an animal, or in heaven, or in earth, or in any other place; but beauty absolute, separate, simple, and everlasting, which without diminution and without increase, or any change, is imparted to the ever-growing and perishing beauties of all other things. He who from these ascending under the influence of true love, begins to perceive that beauty, is not far from the end. And the true order of going, or being led by another, to the things of love, is to begin from the beauties of earth and mount upwards for the sake of that other beauty, using these as steps only, and from one going on to two, and from two to all fair forms, and from fair forms to fair practices, and from fair practices to fair notions, until from fair notions he arrives at the notion of absolute beauty, and at last knows what the essence of beauty is.” (Symposium, 210c-211c).
Thus, according to Plato, this type of love defined as Eros transcends physical limits by moving from one object of affection to the many, and finally becomes love for Beauty and The Agathon. It transforms into divine madness. It is a way, a necessary procedure, a path, while its worth lies on the radiance of that towards which it leads us. It is said that a similar, even though less intense feeling arises at certain stages of meditation during which the practitioner experiences an ineffable joy enwrapping him and taking him to an ecstatic level; there he grasps a view of the Essence, of that Beauty and feels Divine Bliss. However, if this love is
“ … translated as an intense desire for liberation from the round of births and deaths, and for union with God…, to put it in that way sounds selfish, and gives only part of the meaning…” (J. Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master, p. 46, Greek edition).
The human need for true love is quite deep but humans do not realise that our soul, our inner and immortal Self has beauty in it. So, they are trying hard to find love in the things of the exoteric world. Lead astray by materialism, they do not know that true and divine love shows its face only to those who can receive it within themselves; to those who prefer to love more the light of Truth than the vanity of the personal self – of the personality. Higher love has nothing to do with our senses and the physical world. It ignores even the existence of the sexes because the Soul has no sex. Divine love does not reject physical beauty but pays no attention to it. It does not prefer certain human types but turns its glance to every human being, even the sinful and unworthy, just as the sun sends its invigorating rays to all beings on Earth, even to those of the lowest level. True love, when it is applied to the physical world, has nothing to do with the beloved person but only with the energy of the affection and its effect on the receiver, be it a person, an object, or an idea.
Love, or what is considered as love, which derives only from bodily desires is an emotion which limits because it attaches itself to physical bodies and is absorbed by the material world, often turning people into narrow-minded slaves. On the contrary, true love deriving from our immortal soul, from our buddhic nature, rejects egotism and embraces selflessness. It is trustworthy, and can become a regenerating factor on every level of life, even on the physical one, whether it is applied to one person, to many or to all. It is harmony and tolerance which cure conflict and disharmony because, as Victor Hugo puts it (Les Misérables):
“Love is a portion of Soul itself and it is of the same nature as the celestial breathing of the atmosphere of Paradise…. To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life… Love, that is the only thing that can occupy and fill eternity. In the infinite, the inexhaustible is requisite.”
In our physical world, gravity or attraction is the energy that coheres, coordinates harmoniously, and holds firmly everything in our visible universe. By analogy, attraction in the realm of Soul in the form of true love connects, binds, and coheres everything. Spiritual law unifies those who relate to true love and sooner rather than later brings them together again to meet one another on this planet, to love one another and to work for the good of humanity and all Nature. Love beyond the grave is not maya and utopia; it has an inherent magical power which affects humans and is not limited by space and time.
When we become liberated from selfish love, we feel our heart being broken into pieces because this liberation truly requires a painful effort on our part if we want to succeed in our endeavour. Obviously, one cannot achieve it right away because this change, this transmutation, does not take place exoterically via the usual intellectual methods nor by a special ritual, religious or otherwise. It requires an inner realisation and acceptance on our part because the main purpose and task of every researcher of Truth, of every aspirant, is to find that love which is unifying and “celestial breathing from the atmosphere of Paradise”.
“Hast thou attuned thy heart and mind to the great mind and heart of all mankind?”, asks Aryasanga. “For as the sacred River’s roaring voice whereby all Nature sounds are echoed back, so must the heart of him ‘who in the stream would enter,’ thrill in response to every sigh and thought of all that lives and breathes.”
(H. P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, pp 10, 50)
Few are those who serve the Tree of Life, who are anxious for more love amongst humans, more unselfishness and service deriving from the heart – because in the heart lies the seed of Universal Brotherhood. It awaits the reviving breeze which will turn the spark into a huge flame and a fire – the fire of creativity and liberation from the turmoil of egotism and blinding materialism. But as love grows and transcends human limits ascending to a higher level, it becomes a respect for all beings and a service to humanity and the spiritual world. It can uplift and regenerate us and our planet. It is inspired by our immortal soul to which it belongs and by controlling the materialist desires it leads the aspirant towards his or her immortal core. “This flight of the soul”, says Socrates to Theaetetus, “is what transforms one… and makes us just and virtuous by the means of love.”
Then, like the light of the sun which shines upon all, such is the radiance of the one who has achieved the higher level of love. That person becomes an Ananda, one who rises above all separateness and discrimination, who feels all as brothers and sisters and radiates love and compassion to the surrounding world, adding one more stone to the wall of Knowledge which protects humanity from darkness and ignorance. And this is because, as Master Serapis Bay wrote to Colonel Olcott, one of the Founders of the Theosophical Society (Letter 13):
“Let love radiate around you expressed by its higher spiritual form. Take the emanations of this divine feeling and try to find the best way to serve humanity by applying love, compassion, justice, mercy, and self-abnegation. Applying these to microcosm will allow you to know better the mysterious laws of Love in its macrocosmic aspect. No mortal can imagine Divine Beauty in a way other than the one which is most familiar. Therefore, true love on earth purifies and prepares humans to understand the Divine Love, because those who want to understand the Infinite, should first understand the finite. The essence of the Infinite has nothing to do with its volume that is known as expansion, but with the mystery of Unity. The more we realize the unity within, the deeper we understand the mystical bliss of Existence….
God’s blessing on thee, Brother”
- Krishnamurti, At the Feet of the Master, TPH Greece, Athens, 1966
Plato, Symposium, KAKTOS, Athens, Greece, 1991
The Bible, HELLENIC BIBLICAL SOCIETY, Athens, 2003
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables,
- P. Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence, https://www.theosociety.org/pasadena/voice/VoiceoftheSilence_eBook.pdf
- Jinarājadāsa, Letters from the Masters of the Wisdom, Second Series, Adyar, Madras, India, Theosophical Publishing House, 1925.