Unconditional Love – not without conditions
by Swami Prasad Sharma
(Dona Paula, Goa, India)
There is a desire that supersedes all worldly desires, and for the fulfillment of this desire one may willingly lead such a simple life, that we common people can’t even imagine it. The option to aspire for that state is open to anybody at any time, but one has to resort to that desire in order to start the process. This super desire is related to peace of mind (self-realization), development of unconditional love, and immortality.
Emperor Ashoka, who had a large kingdom in India, was mentally upset over a large massacre in the Great Kalinga war of 261 BC. One hundred and fifty thousand died in that battle, one hundred thousand were slain. In that situation he happened to see a Buddhist monk going barefoot with almost no belongings, but looking self-contained. For peace of mind Emperor Ashoka adopted Buddhism, helped in its propagation, and looked after the welfare of mankind.
From the spiritual point of view a saint having devotion combined with intellect is considered to be of the highest order. Such a saint is capable of motivating a large section of society for that goal. He prescribes each one an easy sadhana (practice) suitable to their taste, because he commands both - knowledge and devotion. He is super in showering love on other people.
Our last desire is related to the search of unconditional love, but for a worldly man who has not yet achieved feelings of universal love, certain conditions apply. These are to be fulfilled before one could aspire to it, develop and enjoy it. First, one has to condition one’s mind to check its natural
tendencies, which hinder the prosperity of love. Below are some of the conditions; any or some of these may be applicable to a true seeker:
• Love is enjoyed through the mind, not with the five senses.
• It may not be a reciprocal love.
• No quality of the loved one may match your expectations.
• The loved one may develop a strong hatred against you, avoid you and may make propaganda against you. The loved one may reject your love and show enmity.
• His acts may be directed to torment you.
• The loved one may resort to hate to such an extent that he/she may abuse you openly and tarnish your image.
• There is no consideration of age and sex between the lover and the loved one.
The above mentioned behaviours have been shown by God in the past (with the help of His creation) with innumerable saints. But strangely enough none of them left the Lord’s feet and the Lord had to shower on them the desired love. One should not expect to be called a lover of God or just a devotee even in one’s lifetime. Perhaps the situation seems to be very discouraging. But saints, in spite of all this considered it an invaluable gift from God.
A saint at heart feels that a disease called ‘expectations about others’ has infected him, and by bearing the pains in going through the above-mentioned conditions he is cured.
Hence, the scriptures and saints advocate developing a love relationship with God – a solace to the restless mind – even at the cost of sacrificing all worldly belongings.