Dr. Kawaljeet Singh Anand
What is love? Scientists argue that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”. Love is not just a mental state that leads to physical bonding, it is the highest of human emotions. Throughout civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; some have described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction. Like the taste of honey, true love can be experienced but just cannot be conveyed through words. By raising our level of consciousness, all of us can intuitively realize more transcendent, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love. We will realize that Love is an ingredient in creating the cosmos, it is the primal force that sustains Nature all around us, and it is the glue that holds the family, community and society together. By consistently applying the Guru’s teachings in our lives, we will progress through the four stages of Love thereby transforming our lives from human to the divine state that our Gurus exemplified.
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Following the Guru’s path from human love to Divine Love
What is love? Scientists argue that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”. Love is not a mental state that leads to physical bonding, it is the highest of all human emotions! Throughout civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; some have described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction. Like the taste of honey, true love can be experienced but cannot be conveyed through words. By raising our level of consciousness, all of us will intuitively realize the transcendent, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love. We will realize that Love is an ingredient in cosmic creation, the primal force that sustains Nature all around us, the glue that holds family, community and society together. By consistently applying the Guru’s teachings to our lives, we will progress through the four stages of Love thereby transforming our lives from human to Divine Love that the Gurus exemplified.
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An article in the scientific journal Nature, argues that “reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality”. What a travesty of Love! To think that the highest human emotion can been “reduced” to a physical interactions of bodies in the act of procreation is like labeling poison as the “amrit” (the elixir of immortality). Once a deeper understanding of Love is attained, nothing can be farther from the truth! Love is not just a mental state that leads to physical bonding; to assert that “biologists may soon be able to reduce certain mental states associated with love to a biochemical chain of events” 1 is both myopic and misleading!!!
Current events and the media constantly bombard our intellect with images and examples of hatred, death and destruction. Often, we hear about road rage accidents, hijacked planes, mass shootings, or other catastrophes. When hatred becomes more apparent, in communal clashes, internecine struggles, or wars, we try to protect our own through any means. Hate becomes a soul-searing experience, when a loved one is attacked or killed. The death of unknown people can be impersonal but the death of a loved one leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of our lives, and forces us to seriously choose between hatred versus love. Viewed from anger or cynicism, hatred appears powerful and permanent, whereas love appears weak and transitory! Deep down, however, below the chattering of the mind or arguments of the intellect, our heart refuses to accept that Love is weak or transient, it longs for deeper meanings of Love. If animal instincts are overcome, all human beings will intuitively seek more sublime, subtle, and enduring meanings of Love. If solely driven by self-interest or sense-gratification, we may find little or no purpose in these meanings, but those inspired to explore the spiritual realms by the Guru’s Word may feel the burning desire to undertake this journey.
Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have experienced and expressed Love for each other; gifted beings described the attributes of Love through eulogies, poetry, drama, or fiction; based on feelings or fantasy, or fable or folklore. Poets, philosophers, and scientists pondered the question of “What is Love?” but they could only come up with reductionist or simplistic answers that were unsatisfactory, even to themselves! Like honey, Love can be experienced, it cannot be described. No amount of knowledge about honey will create that indelible experience gained from a drop placed on the tongue. Love, as experienced by human beings, has the same result – no amount of talk about can supplant the beauty, inner joy, the fulfilling aspects of that experience, one that has inspired the greatest achievements of mankind!
Though all of creation can experience Love, only human beings can understand the essence of Love, realize the deepest meaning of Love, or to access the inner, inexhaustible bounty of Divine Love. Let us all approach an understanding of Love from the spiritual, the mental, and the practical aspects of human experience. The first proves that our universe cannot be created without Love, the second reveals Love as a powerful force in Nature, and the third shows how Love holds the fabric of human society together, yet one must be consciously aware that all these are simply the aspects of one entity, Love. Just as a statue photographed from different angles remains one, similarly, a description of the different aspects of Love will not alter what it is.
Love as an ingredient in Cosmic Construction
During his lifetime, Albert Einstein (1879-1955) realized the apparent existence of the universe, also eloquently stated by another great physicist, Sir James Jeans, who wrote: “The stream of knowledge is heading toward a non-mechanical reality; the universe begins to look more like a great thought than like a great machine. Mind no longer appears to be an accidental intruder into the realm of matter . . . it is the creator and governor of the realm of matter”. Guru Nanak said that Maya is a product of the mind, investigating it with the tools of the mind – like reason, or logic, or deduction, proposing or rejecting hypotheses – is like a fish (or an army of fishes) trying to map the extent of the ocean! What a futile and foolish endeavor! The human mind, which exists within and functions through the facility of consciousness, can never fathom the extent of consciousness and beyond. Whereas scholars and intellectuals, scientists and philosophers had partial success, the saints and seers made greater headway through intuition and revelations about the nature of the manifest universe. They realized and proclaimed an Absolute Reality, one that exists eternally, without undergoing any change or modification, which remains beyond time and space. The human mind, using the five organs of sense – capable of recognizing sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell, can only comprehend the properties of this reality, not the substance of absolute reality itself! Einstein referred to this “perceived reality” as an illusion, but remained silent about the nature of the Absolute Reality.
So, to examine spiritual aspects of Love, we must understand the process of Creation, how the Uncaused Cause, the “Anhad Shabd”, behind all this kaleidoscopic reality created the manifested universe. From popular science, the Big Bang Theory is a commonly accepted cosmological model of the universe, one that is best supported by most of the available scientific evidence. “Big Bang” generally refers to the idea that the universe initially existed as a primordial, extremely hot and extremely dense nucleus at a finite time in the past (around 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years ago), and that it continues to expand to this day! Georges Lemaître (1894-1966), a Belgian mathematician and Catholic priest, first propounded the theory of the Big Bang, although he called it the “hypothesis of the primeval atom”. This cosmological model was built on Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, but to gain acceptance it needed Edwin Hubble’s discovery in 1929, showing that galaxies were moving away at high speeds. Almost 6 years after it was proposed, Einstein finally accepted Lemaître’s theory after a series of seminars in January 1933, saying, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”
Without any evidence for the earliest instant of the expansion, however, the Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition, though it may explain the general evolution of the universe after the Big Bang and onwards. Where did that dense, primordial nucleus come from? Or, what triggered the initial rapid expansion and cooling of the universe? From the Big Bang theory have emerged other Inflationary Universe Theories, perhaps starting with Alan Guth in the late 1990’s (The Inflationary Universe: The Quest for a New Theory of Cosmic Origins). Since then, the scientific community has proposed 50 different variants, but all the current theories have serious flaws and cannot explain the mysterious origins of our universe.
To develop an understanding of Creation, physics or astronomy are worthless, the mind and the intellect are powerless, space exploration or technology cannot help, thereby forcing us to look at metaphysical explanations of the universe, using the tools of spirituality like intuition or revelation. Few scientists realize that these same tools have given us most of the greatest discoveries in science!
Before the Universe comes into creation, nothing exists – there is no Time or Space, no galaxies, no Milky Way, no light, no sound, no matter exists – not even the “dense matter” that made up Lemaître’s “primeval atom”. Yet, there is an Absolute Reality, a Divine and Blissful Awareness, the Akaal Purakh, who remains absorbed in the self as Pure Being. To know itself, this Divine Awareness creates a primordial energy – the “Aadi Shakti”. The innate and inherent nature of energy is propulsive, so it starts expanding in all directions. But the intrinsic nature of the Pure Being is Love, which attracts, which brings close to itself, which abhors separation or any centrifugal forces. Between this expansion and contraction, a vibration is set up, which became the source of all Creation! The Source of this vibration is only One, the Ik Onkaar prescribed by Guru Nanak.
This primal vibration has been described in the scriptures of various religions. Christian texts described it as the Word of God, or Amen:
- “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.” – St. John I: 1-3
- “These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;” – Revelation 3:14
- “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth but the Word of God shall stand forever.” – Isaiah 40: 8
Ancient Hindu texts identify the Word of God by various different names, such as “AUM” or “Nad Bind” or “Akash Bani” or “Shabd Brahman”
- “…the Sound principle AUM becomes manifest as prakrithi or Nature” – Hatha Yoga Pradipaka
- “He hath taken the support of the Word, the melodious tune.” – Chandogya Upanishad
- “Let the Yogi sit on Sish Asan and while practicing the Vaishnavi mudra, he should hear the sound AUM through his right ear.” – Nad Bind Upanishad
- “By communion with the Word he will become deaf to the external sounds, and will attain the Turiya Pad or a state of equipoise within a fortnight.” – Nad Bind Upanishad
Islamic texts speak of Kalma, the Word of God, and exalt this vibration as “Amin”, calling it the Sultan-ul-Azkar (the king of prayers) or Saut-i-Sarmadi (the divine song) or Nida-i-Asmani (sound from Heaven) and describe its role in Creation:
- “The fourteen regions were made by the Kalma.” – the Holy Qu’ran
- “Take the stopcock from thy ears, and hear thou the voice of emancipation, coming to thee. Attach not to material world, the elixir of life is showering from above.” – Khawaja Hafiz
- “Grow not skeptical, but attune thyself to the sound coming down from the Heavens. Thy soul shall have revelations from afar. What are these but glimpses of the Unrevealed; were I to speak of these sweet melodies, even the dead shall rise from their graves.” – Maulana Rumi
- “…the Voice of God comes unto my ears as any other sounds.” – Prophet Mohammed
The Sikh scriptures also speak of Omkaar (the Word) or Shabd Gurmat (the divine counsel) or Gurbani as the Word of God and describe it as immanent in all of creation:
- “The Word is both earth and ether. These had their being through the Word. This Word expressed itself in other aspects as well. The whole creation sprang up after the Word… O Nanak, that endless Word is reverberating in each heart.” – Guru Nanak
- “The all-pervading Word has attracted my entire mind. What else have I to think of? Communion of the soul with the Word creates everlasting Bliss.” – Guru Nanak
Semantic differences exist between religions, but it is clearly evident that the entity they talk about is the same – a Primal Vibration at the beginning of Creation. Whether we call it “Amen”, or “AUM”, or “Amin”, or “Omkaar”, the name does not change the true essence of what it is – an eternal, invisible vibration from which countless streams of creation sprang up, still reverberating as the source of the manifest universe.
Within this vibration, which is eternal and essentially changeless, the Divine Being inserted the idea of change. Out of this idea, being nothing but a figment of imagination or a conceptual notion, the powerful construct of “Time” was born. Thus, Time is measured by change and change is linked inexorably with Time. Without this facility of Time, the human mind is incapable of comprehending the manifest Universe. Because all of Creation happens in one glorious moment, all of the past and all the future (ad infinitum in both directions) occur in the present moment of Now, the feeble human mind cannot make sense of this and therefore needs the conceptual assistance of Time in order to experience or interact with all of Creation. No wonder, then, that Time stands still when the mind is quiescent, or slows down when we are suffering, or speeds up when we are with a loved one! All these experiences show that Time is just an imaginary concept, a mere idea, it exists only in the mind, like a moving mental frame that allows us to make sense of reality.
Within this vibration, which is eternal, continuous, and essentially indivisible, the Divine Being inserted the idea of division. Out of this idea, again, which is nothing but an imaginary concept, the powerful notion of “Space” was born. This Space is filled with primordial energy, which is why the universe continues to expand at an accelerating rate (deduced from the Type Ia supernovae in 1998, later corroborated by measurements of the cosmic microwave background, gravitational lensing, measurements of redshift change, large scale structures). To scientists, it is amazing that the universe continues to expand even after 14 billion years and that the massive gravitational forces postulated within black holes have not swallowed it up! But to the students of spirituality, the primordial energy creating this universe is infinite and inexhaustible, so it will continue to expand infinitely until the Divine Being contracts it back into nothingness again.
These four entities (Being, Energy, Time, Space) acted on the cosmic vibration to make it appear as if it was particulate, like a ray of light illuminating an object appears as discrete photons hitting that object. Divine Awareness is contained in each one of these particles as consciousness – creating, for each particle, an illusion that it was somehow “separate” from the rest, from the Whole. This illusion is so persistent and widespread, that it becomes the source of “Haumai” or Ego. To overcome the powerful Ego, we must realize – as deeply as our Being allows – that Love is the only antidote to the disease of ego and that Love and Energy are the only two ingredients that created the Onkaar – so they are very source and essence of the manifest Universe!
Love is, therefore, at the core of all Creation; it occupies a position even greater than the Word of God! Love is the very essence of the Divinity that supports Creation in the entire universe! Just as a flame has two aspects – heat and light that cannot be separated from it, similarly, Divinity has two aspects – Truth and Love that cannot be separated from God. Truth is the static aspect of God, Love is the dynamic aspect of God.
From this perspective, the entire universe is simply an expression of Love, all its myriad forms are suffused with this Love; even our being is filled with Love – actually, in essence, each of us is a manifestation of Love walking on two feet! Just live with this thought for a while, and Creation around us will start revealing the innumerable ways in which it is loving us and receiving our love.
Love as the Primal Force in Nature
Having realized that Love and Energy are the primary ingredients used to create the universe, we may start to realize the importance of Love, or perhaps start looking for an answer to Einstein’s dilemma. Albert Einstein was baffled as to why every nucleus, which contains positively charged protons in extremely close proximity, does not fall apart simply because of the intense repulsive forces that would be generated between similarly charged particles. Even at the end of his life, Einstein was puzzled by this seeming anomaly. Since there were no gravitational forces within the nucleus, it seemed miraculous that protons in every atom could stay in such close proximity without repelling each other.
Given our knowledge from the previous section, it is easy to see why the only force holding the nucleus of every atom together is Love. Atoms come together to form molecules, their chemical bonds are strands of Love, physically manifested as a sharing of electrons or ions, and dancing in unison with all of Creation. Fritjof Capra, an Austrian-born American physicist, who performed ground-breaking research on subatomic particles and systems theory, describes this experience in a preface to his book, “The Tao of Physics”:“I was sitting by the ocean one late summer afternoon, watching the waves rolling in and feeling the rhythm of my breathing, when I suddenly became aware of my whole environment as being engaged in a gigantic cosmic dance….. As I sat on that beach my former experiences came to life; I “saw” cascades of energy coming down from outer space, in which particles were created and destroyed in rhythmic pulses; I “saw” the atoms of the elements and those of my body participating in this cosmic dance of energy; I felt its rhythm and I “heard” its sound…….”
All of Nature is engaged in a loving play between creation and consciousness…. The sunlight lovingly warms our fingers and toes, the moonlight soothes and lights our way playing hide ‘n seek in the clouds, the stars twinkle loving messages in a Morse code entirely their own, the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, the rainbow and the raindrops – all of these exist simply for the sake of sharing their love with the rest of creation. Nature behaves in myriad ways to clearly proclaim the ingredient of love…
- Love always expands – and so does Nature, overcoming all obstacles through the power of love;
- Love is selfless – and therefore Nature provides her bounty for all beings to share, never holding back anything for herself;
- Love is forgiving – human beings may exploit Nature for their personal benefit, but all the damage perpetrated by selfish beings can be repaired quickly if we treat Nature with love and respect…
- Love expands constantly and so does Prakriti or Nature. Not only is the manifest physical universe expanding, but all around us, Nature is constantly expanding as well. As a tree grows it expands from within, as a flower opens – nothing forces it to blossom – it just expands from within, as a leaf grows it expands from within – nothing is added to it from the outside, but all the change comes from within. Life is expressed through expansion, using the power of Love from within. This is also the underlying principle behind evolution and survival of the fittest. When forces within Nature are aligned such that they create an obstacle for the expansion of life forms, these life forms will lovingly adapt, thus allowing the species to expand beyond every obstacle. The expansive power of Love caused the earliest proto-organisms to escape the confines of oceanic life and evolve into air-loving plants, or snails, or reptiles; the expansive power of love taught the dinosaurs to fly or the nightingales to sing; it is expansive love that drove chimpanzees to start walking on two legs or humans to transcend the frontiers of space and time. Again, it is the expansive power of Love that drives each one of us to aim for the best, to excel in what we do, to touch as many lives as we can, to break down barriers or overcome difficulties that are insurmountable.
- Love is selfless and so is Prakriti or Nature. Does a tree ever bear fruit for its own consumption? Do the bees consume the honey they collect? Do the rivers or clouds hoard water for themselves? Out of love, each aspect of Nature is giving its bounty and sacrificing itself to support higher and higher forms of creation. Plants offer themselves to insects or herbivores or man, worms sacrifice themselves for birds, birds and fish offer themselves (or their eggs) to sustain mammals, lower mammals serve or provide sustenance to man. From oxygen to food to shelter, there are myriad ways in which the well-being of mankind depends on Nature. Being the highest form of life in the universe, all aspects of Nature are eager to serve the needs of mankind.
A common characteristic of early civilizations was their love and respect for Nature. Ancient cultures lived in harmony with Nature, sharing its bounty with all in their community. They did not have many comforts, but, because of their unselfish approach to life, they effortlessly used the tools of intuition, telepathy, clairvoyance for their survival. Today, the suffering of aboriginal tribes now living in Australia, India, or remote parts of the world has forced them to develop a sense of ownership, or selfishness, and are losing their intuition and culture. Throughout history, human powers were progressively lost, only because they were used for personal benefit, without caring for all of humanity and all aspects of creation.
A tendency to garner the benefits of Nature or products and services of society for oneself, or one’s extended self (family, friends, clan, race, or country), though considered normal, is a learned and unnatural habit. Self-interest has become the primary driving force, the commonest motivation, or the only consideration for our choices and actions today. Very few can overcome our conditioned selfishness that starts from infancy, is confirmed during childhood, and becomes ingrained in youth and early adulthood. This ubiquitous conditioning leads us to believe that an individual is “separate” from the rest of creation, and therefore, it must “protect” its interests from the rest of creation. The relentless pursuit of greater personal benefits, coupled with the constant exploitation of Nature, has resulted in an increasing frequency of natural disasters, global warming, epidemic diseases, wars and internecine struggles – bringing mankind to the brink of disaster!
- Love is forgiving and so is Prakriti or Nature. All the damage perpetrated by selfish beings can be repaired quickly if we collectively start treating Nature with love and respect. The greatest of environmentalists have recognized this aspect of Nature, how it quickly forgives the excesses or exploitations perpetrated by mankind.
My fourth reason for hope is the incredible resilience of nature. I have visited Nagasaki, site of the second atomic bomb that ended World War II. Scientists had predicted that nothing could grow there for at least 30 years. But, amazingly, greenery grew very quickly. One sapling actually managed to survive the bombing, and today it is a large tree, with great cracks and fissures, all black inside; but that tree still produces leaves. ….I have seen such renewals time and again, including animal species brought back from the brink of extinction. …Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace impatience and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.
Dr. Jane Goodall (1934 – ) http://www.janegoodall.org
Numerous stories abound of recovery and repair in ecosystems that were damaged potentially beyond repair, because of uncontrolled human greed and pollution. The Caribbean reefs were degraded by massive disease-induced mortality of the herbivorous urchin Diadema antillarum in 1983. Declining reef health was characterized by progressive increases in macroalgae. Despite scientific predictions of irreparable damage, recent discoveries showed that the reef has rebounded much faster than predicted, even following desultory efforts to rescue it. Another example relates to the South China tigers, smallest among the tiger species, that numbered ~4,000 in the early 1950s. These tigers were critically endangered when Communist leader Mao Zedong labeled them as “pests” and ordered their extermination. South China tigers were considered extinct and had not been seen in the wild since 1964. Soon after Chinese farmers became aware of environmental concerns and tried to protect the few remaining forests, a South China tiger was sighted and photographed in the wild as recently as October 12, 2007. If humans show sincere love and respect for Nature, it will respond by repairing the damaged ecosystems with remarkable speed and efficiency – again, teaching us how Love can be giving and forgiving. Could these virtues, manifested by Nature, also help us to repair all the ills of human society?
Love is the Glue in Family, Community & Society
At a sports meet for handicapped children, nine contestants were assembled at the starting line for the 100-meter dash. At the gun, they all started out running to win the race. One little boy, however, stumbled and fell, and began to cry. The others heard him cry; they slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back to him. One girl bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better”. Then all nine children linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood up, cheering for several minutes….. Witnesses of this event are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we all know one thing: when one of us falls or fails, we all lose! What matters in life is more than winning for ourselves. What matters is helping others to win, even if it means changing course.
Human brains are only three times larger than the great apes, closest to us in evolution, yet they have evolved many skills that are not seen in other primates, from dexterity and balance, to complex languages, to mathematics and scientific reasoning, to music and art and culture. Most of these advances can be linked to social interactions and human values. The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology tested 106 chimpanzees, 32 orangutans, and 105 two-year-old children (who had used language for less than 1 year, before literacy or schooling). They found that children and adult chimpanzees had comparable cognitive skills for dealing with the physical world, but children were far more sophisticated for dealing with social constructs than the two ape species. Can we ignore the unique human ability to build social relationships, which have nothing to do with procreation or the struggle for survival?
The first source of this social-cultural conditioning is from their mother or surrogate mother-figure. Slowly, patiently, consistently, playfully, joyously, and lovingly, a mother teaches her child basic values and social behaviors, the means of communication, the control of bodily urges and impulses, and countless other things that go into developing a child’s “social intelligence”. The child consistently experiences love and learns the meaning of Love. This early mother-infant bond becomes the template with which a child views the world; not only it enhances the child’s cognitive development and exploratory behaviors, but also becomes the basis of a child’s emotional regulation. Any disruption or derangement of these early experiences in infancy have dire consequences for their ability to form mutually supportive relationships, or friendships with peers, or the social skills to live and succeed within society.
Love within the family shows up as concern for the well being of others, a sensitivity to their needs, a willingness to happily sacrifice one’s self-interest. From affectionate interactions in the family emerge altruistic motives in society. Unlike material goods or worldly credits, love grows when it is shared. Love is the basis for building character in children. The highest human qualities: patience, forbearance, truthfulness, charity, speaking sweetly and/or softly – these are different manifestations of Love. Verily, love is the core of all human values!
Great leaders have recognized and propagated these values. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. realized “a web of mutuality”, President John F. Kennedy recognized “our common humanity”, and used it to fight injustice. As our innate oneness between human beings is recognized more and more, collaboration overtakes competition, service supersedes selfishness, being together is more than being better. Love literally is the glue that holds a family, a community, or a society together – because it allows humans to rise above the motives of self-preservation and self-interest. Examples of love are around us all the time. A mother’s love for her infant even under the most trying circumstances, a family’s response to the sickness of a loved one, a community’s support for accident victims, or society’s response to a natural disaster. Love manifests as “random and senseless acts of kindness” all the time and allows us to experience a higher calling than other creatures. More and more we see people simply helping people, children sharing their lunch box with less fortunate classmates, high schoolers volunteering at homeless shelters, young adults launching or enrolling in social entrepreneurship programs. Indeed, despite what the popular media may project, waves of violence and fear-motivated actions are becoming more stark, but fewer and more restricted; whereas love-motivated actions are slowly gaining ground and popularity. Philanthropists like Bill Gates and Warren are the role models of today!
Today, as the current economic, environmental, social and political problems seem to overwhelm even the most powerful governments and multinational corporations, can the power of Love help us heal the wounds of greed and selfishness and hatred? Or solve the most complex and pressing problems facing humanity today? Families, communities, societies, and governments must rise above their selfish motives, to cooperate, collaborate, and collectively address the problems that threaten our planet. When leaders are making the most difficult decisions, they may well ask: “what is our most loving option?” or even consider the words of Emmet Fox:
“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer, no disease that enough love will not heal, no door that enough love will not open, no gulf that enough love will not bridge, no wall that enough love will not throw down, no sin that enough love will not redeem.
It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble, how hopeless the outlook, how muddled the tangle, how great the mistake – a sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.”
Just as the body’s cells are organized into tissues, organs, and organ systems, each of which contribute to the overall well-being of the body, so too, all individuals, groups, and organs of society must contribute to its well-being. Cells or tissues that garner additional resources for themselves leading to unbridled growth are cancerous, ultimately threatening the survival of the body they arose from. Similarly, the organs of society (like health care, or banking, or industry) that gain excessive influence or resources and disregard their responsibility for the overall well being of society can threaten its survival.
What is called for, to solve the current economic, environmental, social, or political crises is our ability to rise above our narrow self-interests. In the Recession of 2008, “greed layered upon greed, frosted with recklessness” brought the entire banking system to disaster! To avoid mishaps like this, our emphasis must shift from accumulation of wealth to sharing of wealth, with an equitable distribution of the resources and benefits in society. And the motive for this approach will come from Love, not from a desire for power or privilege or self-aggrandizement of any sort. The underlying intent is as important as the actions performed.
Only selfless love between communities will solve the Israel-Palestine conflict, or heal the wounds of hostility, or repair the ravages of war. Returning violence with violence only escalates conflict and increases human suffering. Love alone can build trust in the stock market, safeguard the rights of factory workers, or strengthen the moral fiber of corporate America. A health care system driven by love and compassion – not reimbursement, not power or greed, will make the right decisions for each patient and eliminate waste, promote prevention, and enable universal health care for all. The leaders of today must harness the most sublime of human emotions, the underlying cause of Creation, the most powerful binding force in Nature, to solve the pressing problems created by greed, distrust, or self-interest.
The German poet and playwright, Goethe, referred to the world as “the living visible garment of God”. This garment is woven with love, maintained by love, and can be repaired through love. Sohuman ther hand that by progressing through the four stages of Love.
, we can use love only to understand human sexuality or other animal instincts, thus promoting society’s steady march to anarchy and exploitation, destroying humanity in its wake. Or, we can synchronize our heart beats to the pulse of this planet and reap the benefits of sharing our love with all of Creation. How do we do that? Every human being has the opportunity to do that by progressing through the four stages of Love.
The four Stages of Love
Just as pure white light, when passing through a prism breaks up into the colors of the rainbow, similarly, pure love, when passing through the prism of the mind, manifests the entire spectrum of human emotions. But the skeptics would ask: If that is the case, then what about hate? Does that also come from love? The physical world helps us understand this paradox. Just as darkness is defined as the absence of light, or cold is simply the absence of heat – in reality, darkness and cold do not really exist as separate entities! Similarly, hatred is simply the absence of love – when love is focused intensely in one particular direction – the opposite direction perceives an absence of love. Extremists are obsessed with extreme love for some aspect of creation – an idea or an ideal, so they consider other aspects of creation as threatening, or insignificant, and thus dispensable. Under the right conditions, this obsession can overwhelm the rational or discriminative faculties of the human mind and crystallize as a hate crime, or justify the Holocaust, or lead to attacks like those on 9/11. Ostracizing or torturing these individuals simply hardens their stance – or recruits others to their cause! Instead, they need to know and understand the impact of their misdirected love. Again, the advice of Sri Sathya Sai Baba comes to our rescue: “Foster the tiny seed of Love that clings to ‘me’ and ‘mine’; let it sprout into love for the group around you, and grow into love for all mankind, and spread out its branches over animals, birds, and those that creep and crawl, and let that love enfold all things and beings in all the worlds. Proceed from less love to more love, from narrow love to expanded Love”.
The expansion of love occurs in four stages, outlining the natural progression of human love. In the first stage, the widely prevalent form of human love is like a lamp kept in a room. A particular lamp illumines only that room. The glow of this love illumines a small group of people, like family and friends, and does not extend to others. The second stage of love is like the moonlight. This love goes beyond direct relationships and bathes everyone (inside and outside the room), but is not very effulgent or intense. The third stage of human love is selfless, like the sunlight – it brilliantly illuminates those both inside and outside the room – and indeed, all of creation feels its presence. But, it is not constant in the sense that the sun is not visible at night. Of course, this is not a permanent absence, because the sun rises each morning. Likewise too, selfless love may appear to be absent at some times, but it inevitably appears again.
The fourth and final stage is reached when human love is intense and is always present, beyond the confines of worldly relationships, in all places, at all times, under all circumstances. For such a person, all experiences and perceptions are suffused with Love, all thoughts, words and deeds emanate from intense Love, all relationships and interactions are based on Love. Indeed, the fourth stage of Love is imperishable, it is eternal. This degree of love is immanent in each and everyone – with the Guru’s Grace, we all have the potential to attain the fourth stage of Divine Love. Whenever any human being develops such love, they will be established in a peace “that passeth all understanding”, they will be remembered by generations of sincere men and women; – they will be living answers to the question of “what is love?”
 Young L. J. Love: Neuroscience reveals all. Nature vol. 457: page 148; January 8, 2009.
 R. C. Henry, “The Mental Universe”; Nature 436: 29, 2005.
 This conclusion may appear preposterous to those who are cynical or skeptical, or those forced to build a protective shell around their heart, because of some traumatic experience(s) in their life. But, dear reader, just allow for this as a temporary possibility, and later we will discover how only love exists – that hate does not even exist!
 Esther Hermann and colleagues, Science (Sept. 7, 2007) volume 317: pages 1360-1366.
 Anand KJS, Hall RW. Love, pain, and intensive care. Pediatrics 2008, volume 121, issue 4, pages 825-7.
About the Author
Dr. Kanwaljeet Singh Anand graduated from M.G.M. Medical College, Indore (India). As a Rhodes Scholar at University of Oxford, he received the D.Phil. degree, followed by post-doctoral training at Harvard Medical School. His pioneering research was recognized by the British Paediatric Association (1986), American Academy of Pediatrics (1992), International Association for Study of Pain (1994), American Pain Society (2000), Royal College of Paediatrics & Child Health (2004). He received the highest international honor in Pediatrics, the 2009 Nils Rosén von Rosenstein Award (given by Swedish Academy of Medicine every 5 years). Dr. Anand presented the “In Praise of Medicine” Public Address at 100th Anniversary of Erasmus University Medical Center (2013), the 2015 Journées Nationales de Néonatologie Address at The Pasteur Institute in Paris, and received the Nightingale Excellence Award (2016) from Stanford Children’s Healthcare. His community service activities founded the Harmony Health Clinic, promoted inter-faith harmony, and served victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake, recognized by Father Joseph Biltz Award (2007) from NCCJ and Dr. Martin Luther King “Salute to Greatness” Individual Award (2008) from Governor of Arkansas. He is currently Professor of Pediatrics, Anesthesiology, Perioperative & Pain Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.