Friday, June 27, 2014

And if at all you need to define Love ...

Love - As simple as it is the world revolves around love. Roses, chocolates, gifts, valentine’s day, mother’s day, father’s day, family day and many more. But do we really understand what love means or what it could mean. Stop the thought at this juncture and look back in your life. Thousands of quotes, poems, stories, books, cards, movies and much more will come to your mind. But let’s not restrict ourselves to those thoughts. Let’s get to the basics as should be done. 

I searched for the definition of love in dictionaries and here is what I found
love (noun)
noun: love; plural noun: loves
an intense feeling of deep affection.
synonyms: deep affection, fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment; compassion, care, caring, regard, solicitude, concern,  
friendliness, friendship, kindness, charity, goodwill, sympathy, kindliness, altruism, unselfishness, philanthropy, benevolence, fellow feeling, humanity
relationship, love affair, romance, liaison, affair of the heart, amour
a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone.
synonyms: become infatuated with, give/lose one's heart to; a personified figure of love, often represented as Cupid.
a great interest and pleasure in something.
synonyms: liking of/for, enjoyment of, appreciation of/for, taste for, delight for/in, relish of, passion for, zeal for, appetite for, zest for, enthusiasm for,  
keenness for, fondness for, soft spot for, weakness for, bent for, proclivity for, inclination for, disposition for, partiality for, predilection for, penchant for 
affectionate greetings conveyed to someone on one's behalf.
synonyms: best wishes, regards, good wishes, greetings, kind/kindest regards 
a formula for ending an affectionate letter.
a person or thing that one loves.
synonyms: beloved, loved one, love of one's life, dear, dearest, dear one, darling, sweetheart, sweet, angel, honey; 
(in tennis, squash, and some other sports) a score of zero; nil.
Old English lufu, of Germanic origin; from an Indo-European root shared by Sanskrit lubhyati ‘desires,’ Latin libet ‘it is pleasing,’ libido ‘desire,’ also by leave  
and lief.

But these definitions does not express the true feelings and I continued my search for more information about love. If you think why I want more information the answer is simple. These definitions do not apply to the Divine Love, as we cannot say God had an intense feeling of deep affection or he had a romantic attachment nor was he playing a game of tennis or squash. Then why do we say God is Love. So we need to search for more.

Then I searched for the meaning of true love and I happened to read an article about love in a health section of website. And this is what it  
"Love means never having to say you're sorry," or so the famous line from the movie Love Story goes. But when asked to define what true love is, even the experts have to pause and think. Perhaps it's because true love has different meanings for different people. Dr. Neder defines true love as caring about the health, well-being and happiness of another person to a greater degree than your own health, well-being and happiness. "When you carefully consider your words, thoughts and actions, and specifically how they will benefit that other person," says Dr. Neder, "you're in love."
Now that again put me in dilemma as the meaning gave a thought that this is not a definition which will suit divinity, as many people get sick and hence would not hold true if God loves us. And the definition does not hold true as many people in this world are not happy either. So the search deepens. In the same article Dr. Northrup had a different definition.
"True love comes from the "fourth chakra" and is easily recognized as unconditional support."
This would be true if it was involving only humans. But Love is something beyond animate and inanimate objects and also spiritual. So let me borrow just one word from it and that would be "unconditional".

Many articles say that defining love is a complex procedure. But if that is so then why is it that the world talks about love in poems, songs, stories, interpersonal relationships, spirituality and almost anything. So I have an idea that it has to be something much more basic and simpler. So the search continues.

In Buddhism, you are advised not to have desire as it is the cause of misery. So definitely Love is not just a desire. In Greco Roman thought there are many kinds of love like selflessness, friendship, parental love and so on. Same is the case with thoughts from other parts of the world. I should not negate the thoughts from around the world and should understand what is common in them. Which specifies that love can be towards anyone, anything or a group of animate or inanimate objects too. Is it just a feeling or emotion, the answer is No, as we experience love. So love is directional for sure as it is towards someone or something. The next phase of the search in religious texts as the definition has to encompass the spiritual world too.

Agape: In the New Testament, agapÄ“ is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love, seen as creating goodness in the world; it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another.

Phileo: Also used in the New Testament, phileo is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as "brotherly love."

Two other words for love in the Greek language, eros (sexual love) and storge (child-to-parent love), were never used in the New Testament.

Christians believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life (the greatest commandment of the Jewish Torah, according to Jesus; cf. Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 28–34). Saint Augustine summarized this when he wrote: 
 "Love God, and do as thou wilt."
The Apostle Paul glorified love as the most important virtue of all. Describing love in the famous poem in 1 Corinthians, he wrote, "Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres." (1 Cor. 13:4–7, NIV)

The Apostle John wrote, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16–17, NIV) John also wrote, "Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (1 John 4:7–8, NIV)

In Judaism I found more:

The commandment to love other people is given in the Torah, which states, "Love your neighbor like yourself" (Leviticus 19:18). The Torah's commandment to love God "with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might" (Deuteronomy 6:5) is taken by the Mishnah (a central text of the Jewish oral law) to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one's life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all of one's possessions, and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity (tractate Berachoth 9:5). Rabbinic literature differs as to how this love can be developed, e.g., by contemplating divine deeds or witnessing the marvels of nature. As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: "See life with the wife you love" (Ecclesiastes 9:9). The biblical book Song of Solomon is considered a romantically phrased metaphor of love between God and his people, but in its plain reading, reads like a love song. The 20th-century Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point of view as "giving without expecting to take" (from his Michtav me-Eliyahu, Vol. 1).

In Islam the beginning of the Holy Quran itself mentions about God and Love:
Love encompasses the Islamic view of life as universal brotherhood that applies to all who hold faith. Amongst the 99 names of God (Allah), there is the name Al-Wadud, or "the Loving One," which is found in Surah [Quran 11:90] as well as Surah [Quran 85:14]. God is also referenced at the beginning of every chapter in the Qur'an as Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim, or the "Most Compassionate" and the "Most Merciful", indicating that nobody is more loving, compassionate and benevolent than God. The Qur'an refers to God as being "full of loving kindness."

In Hinduism the mention of love has been at different levels, each having a different meaning. The mention of the Karuna, Kama, Prema, Bhakti and so on. Love is a bit of all these or a combination of all these. The search starts simplifying here. As the understanding of all the above, we can see that 

Love is: A virtue, unconditional, not bound by human feelings like fear or hate, not having expectations or desires, can be towards anyone or anything, forgiving and thankful. The search for the true meaning will continue and I am sure you will search for answers too, as there lays the true human nature of defying  anything and everything anyone says, which lead me to this search too. But I, for the time being would put all these together and define Love. With the  definition of love as I understand, I tried putting it in most of the cases I know and it is a befitting answer. So I feel more satisfied. The definition stands true for Impersonal, Personal, Interpersonal, Spiritual and attraction towards animate or inanimate objects too.

Love - it is the unconditional virtue with no sign of fear or expectations from anyone, anything or any group animate or inanimate, and the gratitude towards them or it. And "Trust" is a bye product of this virtue.

For once, my writing has a lot of I and not we, the reason is simple. When you read this article, the worlds should be for the "I" in you to read. So with Love the submission of "I" or the ego happens and remember "I" is in Sin, Filth, Dirt, Fickle .... and so on. Lets spread love with an understanding and search for more from the universe.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Will to change your life ...

One of these days while travelling I happened to have a discussion with Wilson, my brother, about the state of the people in the world. Or was I destined to talk about it. I don't know. But what I realized from the discussion seems to be the right way to look at life, or that is what my understanding is. I thought it would be worthwhile if I could put the discussion in words for all to look at life in a different way. The sum total of all that happens in the world can be seen in a different eye.

The point of contention was nothing but why some people are successful and some are not. The answer was simple at first. They are bestowed with special abilities and so they succeed. But looking back in time, the success of people was never a special ability. Wilson asked me about the special grace that people have. That sparked a thought about a prayer based on Gospel of Mathew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4.

Our Father, Who is in heaven,
Holy is Your Name;
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
as we forgive those who sin against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The seven petitions could lead me to think about the Power of Seven, as in one of my previous blog, but that will take me away from the topic. Coming back to a simple question : Why is it that this prayer holds true for all. Then we should understand that everyone is made equal in this whole wide world. Everyone has the same set of two eyes, one nose, two ears, two hands with palms and five fingers, two legs, 206 odd bones (depending on our character too) and so on. So what is that makes a person different.

Wilson opined that each persons life is determined by the situations or environment. The question in my mind took a rational course. If that is the case why is it that a few people meet with accidents on the same road and same conditions and on cars with similar conditions. The reply was instantaneous. The way they drive. Even in our life we have the same situations and how we use it makes our life move forward in the way it is. Each car has the same situations on the roads like exits, petrol stations, convenio stores and more. The next question ensued. Driving a Lamborghini or a KIA, does that not make a difference. I was looking for the answer when I understood one more fact of life. Whether I want to drive a sports car or a four wheel drive or a saloon is my decision. Thus in a short span I stumbled on the fact that God gave everyone the same environment and gave a special touch equally to everyone - "Free Will". 

Wilson came up with the next hurdle and asked: what about the difficulties in life, that's not similar. Searching was not needed in this case. Leaving behind the few in the world who are born with challenges, all the other difficulties in life are result of the decisions we take and that arises from free will. I asked him to explain what "knowledge" or "learning" is. We both arrived at the right meaning as it is in the nature. The ability to understand a difficulty and the way to overcome it is learning or knowledge. Let me split the word for you "know" + "ledge". Knowing the narrow space near a cliff from which we might fall, will save our lives. Hence the know-ledge we have saves our lives. The information or all the answers are available in this world but picking them is our free will.

I am sure many who are reading this will find the article silly, but once you understand the power of free will your life will be changed. You choose to speak, act or react in a way based on the free will you have to make that decision. So the result would be based on your action. Or so it says in Newtons third law of motion

"For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction"

So know the ledge and use your free will to drive safe in your life. Take some specific examples from around us or from our past. These are not comparisons, but just to show a few people who understood the power of using free will and had the know-ledge.

Helen Keller: She could have decided to remain triply handicapped but she chose not to and became an example to the world. There are many who have the wealth, health and mettle to do but they choose not to.

Charles Martin Hall: His decision, after being mocked by his teacher in class, was to devise a method for the extraction of aluminium and become rich. Others in the class with him also had the same opportunity but they chose not to.

Wilma Rudolf: The doctors comment that the four year old will never walk in life, did not let her free will down and she chose to be the fastest woman in the world. And so she did. 

Abraham Lincoln: His economic difficulties did not stop him from becoming the President of the US. or fight for the rights and become an exemplary leader. 

Ray Crock: His penniless evening made him choose a way to find the first franchising network and he became rich. Today MC Donald's is not a name that we don't see or hear.

Many of the world successes have a humble beginning or a difficult past. The question remains: How many of us can do it. The answer is simple all can. But we choose not to.

Given the same body, same sun, moon, stars and the sky, the same facilities around us, our free will can lead us to success, our fate are our decisions and they are because of our free will. The best gift from God, but still unseen by many. Blaming him for the decisions we make as per our free will. Jut stop and think for a few minutes, how many opportunities knock our doors each day. We choose not to respond or look at them. And after all this I come to one thought as mentioned in the Brahma Samhita Text 1, where the God is mentioned to be the prime reasons for all reasons in this world and beyond. That my friends is the reason why we are gifted with our free will and thus the god who gave it became the prime reason of all reasons.

So with your free will choose to take this in your life for a bright future or ignore it. It was a decision taken by free will which made me write this. I quote Late Swami Haridas Giri: It was the True Teacher and Lord, who is none other than God Himself, who directed me to bring these words to you.

Otherwise recite the famous lines of Swami Phunsuk Wangdu (Ranchoddas Shyamaldas Chanchad) : "All iz well, All iz well ..."