Industries thrive on it, popstars sing about it, teenagers dream about it, and people are willing to do just about anything for it. To love and be loved – the everlasting, universal dream. Unfortunately, though we wholeheartedly endeavour for that perfect connection in our material sojourn, for the most part it’s a let-down, and the story of life is more a case of frustrated love.
But do we truly know what love even is? We freely say “I love you,” but if we don’t deeply understand our own identity, the identity of the person we profess such feelings for, and how love is actually defined, how seriously can we take the statement? Thus, ancient literatures begin by clarifying who we really are – spiritual beings in temporary bodies. This helps us understand that true love goes beyond the physical and emotional, and is rather based on spiritual connection. Furthermore, the literatures delineate what love is – an outpouring of heartfelt service which is entirely unmotivated (ahaituki) and uninterrupted (apratihata). Such loving exchange brings fulfilment to the soul (yenatma suprasidati).
Chapter Nine falls right in the middle of the sacred dialogue, and Krishna reserves this prime spot for the most confidential knowledge. When we selflessly give ourselves in a relationship, the strength of that loving sentiment conquers the heart of the other. This power of purity is so irresistible that it even captures the attention of the Supreme Lord. Krishna declares that even the most simple things in existence, a leaf, fruit, flower or water, if offered with genuine and sincere love, conquer His heart.
When the innate desire for loving connection is reposed in Krishna, not only is that love perfectly reciprocated with, but it’s also abundantly distributed. Our ‘loving’ connections in this world are often the cause of the greatest pain due to feelings of let-down and lack of reciprocation. When those powerful emotions are directed toward Krishna without any ulterior motive we experience the most perfect loving reciprocation. As Srila Prabhupada says: “If we make our friendship with Krishna, it will never break. If we make our master Krishna, we will never be cheated. If we love Krishna as our son, He will never die. If we love Krishna as our lover, He will be the best of all, and there will be no separation. Because Krishna is the Supreme Lord, He is unlimited and has an unlimited number of devotees.”
Furthermore, since Krishna is the source of all, the love we offer to Him naturally flows towards everyone and everything. As a light directed into a diamond is reflected in all directions, when we have love for Krishna, all our other relationships become infused by the devotional connection and we become empowered to exponentially widen our circle of love. Thus, by loving Krishna, we let our love break free from its limitations and flow unimpeded, bringing supreme happiness in our own lives and the lives of many others.
By learning to love in this realm, we prepare ourselves to enter the ultimate realm of pure love: “Real love is in the spiritual world between Radha and Krishna. Real love is between Krishna and the gopis. Real love, the friendship is there between Krishna and His cowherd boys. Real love between animal and man is there—Krishna is loving the cows and calves. Real love between trees, flowers, water. Simply that is the platform of love. That is spiritual world. Everything love.” (Srila Prabhupada)
“I envy no one, nor am I partial to anyone. I am equal to all. But whoever renders service unto Me in devotion is a friend, is in Me, and I am also a friend to him.” (Bhagavad-Gita 9.29)
9.29 – When one approaches Krishna, He reciprocates in a very personal way.