Love is a connecting force since time immemorial. There are a number of Jataka stories which illustrates the values of Love. Christian religion always emphasized on love among fellow beings and preaches ‘love thy neighbour’. Towards the end of the last Supper, Jesus instructed to his apostles to love one another as he loved them. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Jesus frequently preached: ‘Love your enemies; do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you; pray for those who treat you spitefully, treat others as you would like them to treat you.’ St. Augustine (354-430), founder of Christian theology, exhorts, “No sinner is to be loved as a sinner; and every man is to be loved as a man for God’s sake, but God is to be loved for His own sake…Each man ought to love God more than himself. Likewise we ought to love another man better than our own body, because all things are to be loved in reverence to God.”

                              Plato describes love as ‘the healer of the ills which are the great impediment to the happiness of the race.’ Augustine never wearies of talking above love. “Love is the power that moves me, whithersoever I go.” Emerson emphasized “Love, and you shall be loved- All love is mathematically just, as much as the two sides of an algebraic equation.” Benjamin Franklin was in the view “If you would be loved, love, and be loveable.” Somebody asked Albert Einstein to tell what his theory of relativity was all about. He explained in simple terms: “If you put your finger in the boiling water, one minute will look like one hour. On the other hand, if you are sitting with your sweet heart or the person you love, one hour would seem like one minute.”

                                    Indian saints always believed to three words—Truth, Love, and Work. It is said that on the one side it is impossible to love God unless we love our fellow-men and, on the other, it is impossible to love men unless we love God. Paramahansa Yogananda once stated “Greater than the destructive force of hate is the compassionate power of love. Whatever you say or do to others, let it be with love. Harm no one. Judge not others. Hate none, love all….Whatever blessings you have, desire that all should have.” The XIV Dalai Lama was in the view: “All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, and that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The most important thing is that they should be part of our daily lives.”

                                        An important motive for practicing love towards our fellow-creatures is that we are all ultimately one. This idea, very characteristic of India, is the logical conclusion of the Upanishads doctrine of the Atman-it is the universal soul which we love in each individual person. Life is one, for it is the expression of the unseen but ultimate Reality, immanent in all things yet transcending them. If we recognize the Atman, it must lead to love of all men. As it is sometimes put today, a man should love his neighbor as himself because he is himself. The seventeenth century poet Donne said, “No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the main; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” Very similar ideas are found in the Buddhist scriptures, as in the following passage from the Bodhicharyavatara of Santideva which states that ‘A man should diligently foster the thought that his fellow creatures are the same as himself.’

                                    Saint Ramalingam calls the love between human beings and other beings as soul-force. If one hurts another, one is really hurting one’s brother/sister. All souls are the manifestations of God. A great writer exhorts: “Love all God’s creation…. Love every leaf, every ray of light, love the animals, love the plants and love each thing. If you love each thing, you will perceive the mystery of God in all. And when once you perceive this, you will thenceforward grow everyday to a fuller understanding of it, until you come at last to love the whole world, with a love that is all-embracing and universal.” 

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Ashutosh Kumar

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