How does love between humans differ or relate to love for Krishna? Is there a sense of ‘oneness’ underlying pure love? Claudia (Canada.) Response by His Grace Purujit Dasa:
Dear Claudia. Thank you for asking these nice questions. How does love between humans differ from love for Krishna? Well, first of all we must understand who loves. It is the soul. My body changes from childhood, to youth to old age, but I, the person in that body remain the same. That person is the eternal soul. I am the eternal soul in the body. I am not the body. In its original state the soul is eternal, full of knowledge and full of blissfulness, but when illusioned by the attitude of overlordship or controlship (the opposite of love) we loose our eternal spiritual consciousness and we identify with the body which is temporary, full of ignorance and full of misery. We assume temporary bodily designations such as man, woman etc., while in reality we are all one in the sense of being of the same spiritual nature.
Theoretically, this seems simple, but actually the full realization of our spiritual identity requires that we take up the process of bhakti yoga (primarily chanting of the holy name of Krsna: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare) in order to have an actual experience of pure unconditioned consciousness. Being conditioned by the material body, mind and material identity we try to love people in this world but we end only loving their body or utmost their mind and this makes our love conditional and therefore not real love. Love by definition must be unconditional. In other words, real love cannot be invested only in one person of this material world at the expense of others. In our experience, we see people love their lovers, family, societies, nations and thus they necessarily must discriminate against other people, families, societies and nations. In order to express our love to someone we sometimes harm someone else. A boy invites his girlfriend to a restaurant where a steak is served from a cow who has been brutally killed. A soldier in order to show love for his country bombs people of other countries. A thief in order to provide for his family steals and creates misery for another family. Also, our family circumstance, marital or sexual status might change and then we give our love to someone else completely rejecting the persons we so-called love just a while ago. The main motivation in this material love is that we always hanker for reciprocation of our love. The girl loves a boy because he has money. A boy loves a girl because she is beautiful. A charitable man helps poor children in Africa for the feeling of doing good deeds. So this is not real love. The real love means that by loving we give our love not only to all humans, but all living entities without expecting any return. This is possible to accomplish very easily by loving Krsna. Just like by pouring water on the root of a tree, all the branches and leaves are nourished, similarly by loving Krsna through the process of bhakti-yoga, we can satisfy our lover, country, society, animals, etc. It is not necessary to directly give love to all living entities, just like it is not necessary to water all the branches and leaves of the tree separately. By intelligently applying the water on the root, the branches and leaves are automatically nourished. Similarly by developing pure and unconditional love for Krishna, all living entities are loved. By foolishly trying to water the branches and leaves of the tree, the water actually does not reach the inside of the branches but stays on the surface, nor will we be able to water all the branches since the tree is so big. Similarly, by trying to love humans, animals, society etc without Krsna, our love stays on the surface and only serves their bodies, which are mere coverings on their souls. Imagine a man who is drowning in a river and another man jumping into the water to save him. However, when he reaches the man, he only pulls his clothes and lets the man drown and he comes out of the water with clothes only. Administering service and love to the bodies of others while neglecting their souls is like that.
Since the soul is eternal, full of knowledge and full of bliss, it does not need any sort of bodily love as experienced in this material world. The soul is satisfied when it connects with Krsna, who is the eternal reservoir of bliss. Therefore our love for one another in this world is to give each other enlightment about Krishna. Even if others do not appreciate such love, simply by loving Krishna, the very act benefits all living entities even without their knowledge. When they become awakened to their spiritual nature, they are able to see how the devotees are serving and loving everyone by the simple act of serving Krsna.
A good example of unconditional love of Krsna is given by Lord Caitanya. In his famous poem He says:
aslisya va pada-ratam pinastu mam adarsanan marma-hatam karotu va.
This means: “I know no one but Krsna as my Lord, and He shall remain so even if He handles me roughly by His embrace or makes me broken-hearted by not being present before me. He is completely free to do anything and everything, for He is always my worshipful Lord, unconditionally."
The culmination of all love is to love Krsna and love Him without expecting anything material or spiritual from Him. A real devotee never asks anything from Krishna. He simply loves Him and in His love, He praises Him in the ecstasy of love. Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare.