Take romantic love. Why does a man love a woman and vice versa? What do they mean when they say, “I love you”, thereby using the word “love” as a verb? Presumably that they prefer to spend time with them, they feel good in their company, they enjoy their conversations with them, and ultimately perhaps marry them so that they can be together till death parts them. While such a relationship is well and good, and has its undeniable advantages, one can well ask the question, is that relationship one of “love”?
As it turns out, we “love” only those who appeal to us either physically, intellectually or in some other fashion. That is, there are some characteristics that they possess which please us and make us happy and joyful where “time stands still”. But, what is that other than the fact that they fulfil our desires in some way. To “love” somebody because they fulfil our desires is selfish and where there is selfishness how can love exist?
Take the case of a mother’s love for her child. Here one seems to come close to what could be construed somewhat loosely as a purer form of love because the mother does everything to keep the child happy irrespective of what she gets or not from the child. The mother feels happy merely by making the child happy. It does not matter to her whether the child is beautiful or intelligent or even morally upright. Irrespective of how the child is, the mother loves it. And yet, the same mother’s love does not extend to children of other parents. So, even the mother’s love for her child is selfish to that extent that she loves the child because it is “hers”. That is selfishness. And, where there is selfishness how can love exist?
Then, what is love? Love is a state of one’s being where one radiates love to anyone and everyone that one comes in contact with much like a flower radiates perfume. A flower does not choose to whom it radiates perfume nor withholds it from some people. Similarly, love is that thing which cannot be dispersed selectively to some people and not to others. Love is that radiant state of Being that showers love on everyone irrespective of who they are and what they are like, much like a Sun shines equally on the ocean and the gutter. Hence, it is meaningless to say “I love you” because love is not “of” something but “love” is how you are. So, there is no need to say specifically to someone “I love you”, much like the sun does not go round saying to people “I shine on you”. The sun’s nature is light. Similarly, one’s nature should be “love”.