Love, like faith, is beyond logic or rationale. It is the very thing that propels us to grow, transform and make the impossible possible. I am not sure if faith can move mountains but I am certain that if the stream of love is gushing from your heart, you can move the entire universe. The tale of Nachiketa in the Katha Upanishad or of Savitri in the Mahabharata is indicative of, if not a testament to, such human potential. What is love, though? Does it simply begin or end with having intense feelings for someone you care about?
Recently, I read the touching story of a woman in Life’s Amazing Secrets by Gaur Gopal Das. Here it is in my own words because I found it too beautiful to just quote verbatim.
Lata Khare, a 65-year-old woman, and her husband lived practically below the poverty line in a small village in Maharashtra. After marrying off their three daughters, they worked as farmhands to survive on daily wages. One morning her husband felt uneasy on account of some infection he seemed to have developed. The medical professional in the village referred them to a hospital in the city. Let alone for treatment, they had no money to even travel to the location or pay the doctor’s fee. Somehow managing to borrow just enough to scrape through, the worried couple travelled to Baramati to get Lata’s husband checked.
Several hours, some preliminary tests and a few hundred rupees later, finally when their turn came, the doctor examined the old man as Lata waited outside with bated breath hoping for good news. Much to her dismay though, the doctor recommended a whole lot of new tests costing a few thousand rupees. There was no way they could arrange that sort of money. Teary-eyed, she pleaded for some way out but the hospital or the doctor couldn’t be of more help.
It was already late afternoon by now and they had to get back to their village. Dejected and hopeless, they looked at each other, fearing that they might not be together for long. Following brief moments of denial and disbelief, they realized that they hadn’t eaten anything since the morning nor had they drunk a glass of water.
While walking back to the bus stop, they stopped by a street vendor who was selling samosas. She pulled out a little handkerchief where she had tied some tens of rupees and ordered two samosas. The vendor handed her one on a piece of newspaper. Smeared with oil and sauce, the paper read “Baramati Marathon Tomorrow”. Apparently, a marathon was on the cards just the next day and it carried with it, prize money of Rs. 5000.
“I’m running this marathon,” she said to her husband.
“Have you gone crazy?” he retorted. “You want to die too?”
“I’m going for it.”
Against everyone’s advice in the village, including her husband’s and daughters’, Lata Khare showed up at the marathon the next day. She was not wearing any sports clothing, a T-shirt or trackies, but the only type of dress she owned and had worn all her life – a saree. If this wasn’t a red flag for the organizers, she wasn’t even wearing shoes. She was barefoot. Citing great risk of injury and all, she was refused entry.
But, Lata Khare wasn’t having any of it. Ancient texts have pegged the willpower of a woman at the same level as a king’s, calling stri-hatha on par with raja-hatha, that is, when a woman decides to do something, no one can stop her. Lata Khare proved it that day. The organizers listening to her story and plea, finally gave in and allowed her participation just to keep her calm.
Many onlookers cheered for her, some out of sarcasm and others more genuinely. “Go, Aunty, go,” they chanted.
Lata Khare hitched her saree to her knees and, against all odds, ran like there was no tomorrow. For the record, 42 kilometers (26 miles) make a marathon and it’s not something you train yourself for overnight. Forget winning, without prior preparation and adequate nutrition, most people can’t even complete it. Besides, just finishing it wouldn’t be good enough, she had to win it to get any prize money. As far as she was concerned, this was the only way out to keep her husband alive.
She wasn’t running for a trophy or fame, she was running for life, literally. If anything, it wasn’t she but her love for her husband that ran on that paved road with no shoes on, with her saree that obstructed her every step. Gravel, pebbles, potholes or just tarred road, onlookers claimed that Lata Khare ran as if she had been possessed.
Then again, that’s what love does. It does what only love can do – it makes you transcend your limitations.
The question is: did Lata Khare win? An elderly woman running barefoot, competing against those who were physically fitter and better fed and equipped. And does it matter whether she won? Or more importantly, would this be a story at all if she hadn’t won? I doubt her love could be deemed any less in the absence of a trophy.
You cannot imagine doing what Lata did for her husband without a deep love that constantly runs through your veins faster than adrenaline does in fright. Love: a state where you equate your own well-being on par with that of the other person.
Care: the only true measure of one’s love. After all, if a constant verbal expression of love was sufficient then perhaps all relationships would be full of love. Whether your actions show that you care about the preferences, honor, and wellbeing of the other person (and they yours) is just about the only true indicator of love.
Yes, Lata Khare won. She had to. She did. See below.
I would have liked to have ended this post right here but Lata’s story doesn’t paint the complete picture. There’s another side, one more dimension of love that needs some reflection.
Wouldn’t it be nice, or wouldn’t it be love, if one or many of the onlookers had stepped forward and offered her a meagre sum of 5000? Should an old woman have had to run to save her husband? What would I have done if it were my mother who had to run like this? Why didn’t the organizers or anyone else say to the old lady, “We are sorry for what you are going through, Ma’am. We’ll raise five grand for you.”
This world is full of generous people. I have not an iota of doubt that had the organizers announced it there, many people would have come forward and done much more than raise money for just the tests. Even with all the social and economic challenges, billions of dollars are donated every year in India by millions of people. Therefore, when it comes to love, the question is not whether you can afford to care, it is: do you care at all to begin with? Because if you do, there’s no dearth of resources. If you do, it is love.
The next time we see a Lata Khare, we will not cheer for her as a spectator but step in to her problem and adopt it. Open your heart and hands. The one who spreads his palms for helping others is better prepared to receive benediction from the Universe, for his hands are already stretched. Not a moment is wasted. Just like you may set aside something for your superannuation or retirement fund on a regular basis, take out a little bit, however little, for helping others. You will never regret it.
Live. Love. Laugh. Give.
Art of Meditation
Free yourself from suffering and live life to the fullest. Learn the yogic technique of meditation in 4 days (and master it over a lifetime)
From the moment we are conceived to the moment we die, we constantly experience love in one form or another. Even to the person embittered by life’s experiences, love presents itself in small ways, impossible to ignore. What does love feel like when it fills up our beings and opens up our hearts? Browse through the questions below for a better understanding of this magnificent emotion:
How do I forget about someone I deeply love and move on?
There are only three reasons that make you want to forget somebody. One, their thought wells up negative emotions in you and throws you off-balance. Two, you still love them deeply but they have moved on. Three, despite your love, they don’t love you back.
If you find yourself thinking about that person, hold a mini self-dialog as the first step. Accept that you are missing them and that you are hurt. Talk to yourself. Repeat it a few times and watch your mind releasing the thought of that person. Releasing their memory is crucial if you want to forget them.
Give yourself time and each time their thought arises, simply and gently focus your mind elsewhere. This is the most powerful method I know of. What does love feel like after that?
Read more here.
To the one trying to overcome loneliness, what does love feel like?
If you are seeking someone in your life because you are lonely, you will be disappointed. Granted that having another person will keep you busy as most worldly relationships do but busyness does not equal fulfillment or bliss. Two lonely people do not make a festive crowd.
Who can then make you feel lonely or snap you out of loneliness? No one. If anyone, only one person wields the power to pull you out of your loneliness once and for all. And that person is you.
The complete you, the beautiful you, the indestructible you that is seated in you, that being of boundless glory and magnificence who is forever away from anything even remotely close to ordinary loneliness.
The only true and eternal relationship you have is with yourself. Live it. Love it. Value it. It’s worth it.
Read more here.
What does love feel like in a person’s life when they are trying to drop the past?
The truth remains that our past travels with us wherever we go. Only when we are in the dark, our shadow merges with the darkness around it. In such darkness, we may momentarily feel that we have no baggage but that’s an illusion because we have not gotten rid of the darkness. Instead, we have hidden ourselves from the light. Even the best-lived life hides in its heart a darkness of some kind.
We have absolutely no reason to be afraid of it. We are beings of light and therefore shadows are inseparable from our existence. When you walk towards the light, your shadow will be behind you. It will no longer obscure your path with darkness.
And that’s just about the only method I know of dropping our baggage: we must journey towards light with hope and compassion for ourselves and others. Forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past. Go easy. This will do you much good and will help you do good for others, which in the long run can only ever be a good thing.
Read more here.
How do we express our love for someone with kindness and sincerity?
When you speak sincere words, kindly and sweetly, the inner you starts to glow, you experience peace. Your relationships automatically improve and you increasingly find yourself surrounded by those who care about you. Primarily because your speech and words can make them feel good, make them feel important, make them feel human, even divine.
When you trigger a positive emotion in someone, you get a favorable response. Such a response strengthens both you and them, it builds your bond; love grows naturally as a result.
So, what does love feel like when expressed in such a manner? Before all knowledge, possessions, labels, and attainments comes the emotion of love. There are only two ways to express love: with words, and gestures. Generalization aside, everyone is tied to the language. You use words and gestures of love with them and they become yours.
Read more here.
What does love feel like for a couple working on their relationship?
It happens much too often, at least, I hear about it all the time, that two people even though married to each other for a long time, feel they are not compatible. She doesn’t listen to me, he doesn’t understand me, she doesn’t like any of the things I like, he doesn’t do any work around the house, our tastes don’t match, we are diametrically opposite in how we see the world or what we want from our lives and so on.
What does love feel like and look like in such a relationship? The truth is building compatibility is a mutual effort for a happy marriage. If you open up to possibilities, you start adapting to each other’s tastes. While it doesn’t happen overnight, it does come about eventually.
Love is just about the only defroster to thaw the coldness in two hearts. If you are in it and if there’s any chance of making it work, only love or its derivatives (kindness, care, gentleness, empathy, etc.) can effect that change.
Read more here.
To a devotee immersed in bhakti bhava (devotional sentiment) what does love feel like?
This bhakta has transcended the traditional rituals of external worship. Due to a highly virtuous life, and even higher righteous conduct, you have completely purified yourself. In essence, you have become the deity yourself. With a child-like innocence and indifferent to the ways of the world, you spend your time in solitude. However, in solitude as well you are always in the company of your personal god. And even in the midst of the greatest crowd, you are perfectly alone with your deity.
Desires, therefore all vikaras, have completely left you, for, how can darkness and light coexist! You are the light, light of love, peace, bliss, and knowledge. Because you have found your God, you develop great dispassion (vairagya) — a natural by-product of self-realization.
So, what does love feel like to such a bhakta? Bhakti is rarely comparable to love-at-first-sight. It is more like a relationship where your love and bond with your deity grows over time.
Read more here.
In a healthy relationship, what does love feel like?
In a healthy relationship, two people are there for each other but they take care of themselves too. They understand that they must take responsibility for their own lives. If you wish to have a healthy relationship, sooner or later you have to stand up for yourself. True love naturally has a degree of detachment otherwise it becomes too clingy and uncomfortable. Healthy relationships on the other hand are fueled by friendship and freedom.
What does love feel like when we take this stand? Your life and others’ too will only become more beautiful as you stand your ground and find your feet because, ultimately, this new-found strength will make you even more loving, caring, confident, and happy.
Read more here.
What does love feel like in comparison to hate?
Hatred is an incredibly forceful emotion. In fact, it is strangely, sadly, and wrongly empowering. It trumps sanity and compassion in the blink of an eye. Hate is nothing but an intense feeling. As long as we have insecurities or fears (which almost everyone does), we are likely to have jealousy and hatred too.
You can only hate what you don’t understand because once you understand the other person or perspective, the energy of hatred transforms into compassion.
So, what does love feel like? Love is a million times more powerful than hate, for love creates space and makes mansions where hatred can’t even slip in. Care, compassion, empathy, and reciprocation make up love. When you are in love, these come naturally. Practice them in your heart and love will shine through every pore of your existence like the soft winter sun, soothing and warming everything around you.
Read more here.