When you say “I love you”, does it not mean that you are obliging the other person with your attention if not your total care?
Does this term love raise a few questions? Can this feeling be made universal? Does it mean that you are personally attached to the loved one? Are you expecting the said person to whom, you have uttered this word, to bend towards you, oblige you, look at you as someone more important and that such continued attention is required to be bestowed on you, to enable you to keep uttering this term?
This term love may imply that your senses are numbed and you are soft, sentimental and obliging to the person towards whom you feel the love. Does love feeling in you, demand from the person, to whom it is directed, some expectation in return? An expectation to gather more and more feeling of sacrifice from that person. That person should feel inferior to you; give up a part of their personality to you. You expect sacrifice, hard work, surrender to you and you get a feeling of being a boss, to bully the other person for your continuous needs! If it is not forthcoming, you feel despondent, hurt and letdown? In order to please the other person to give her best to you, you also bend so much that much of your individuality is lost including right thinking, right actions and also good thoughts. Love, as they say, is psychological trauma. However, a feeling of respect, without any expectations in return, is a different matter and may not involve the person’s inner self and its anxieties.
If I have felt “love” towards my wife, it is a psychological trauma of “expectancy” of reciprocation of “giving’ and ‘taking’ of each other’s self’. You bend and expect the same or more from the other person. Just because of this one word, you may expect more from the other person and nonfulfilment of your wish and desire may lead to resentment, anger, frustration and you may try to impose your will on your wife more violently to subjugate her to your ways.
“Love thy neighbour as thyself’, does it imply that yourself love should be exhibited to your neighbour and bring within its arena, all of them. Does it leave any choice? I may be seeking self-pity, sympathy and over attention. Which and what part of you is to be shared?
‘Love your God’, ‘Your parents’, ‘You wife and children’, ‘love your family, brothers and sisters’, have all a ring of selfish motives, desires of expectancy attached to it and an element of giving and taking’.
Is this term ‘ Love’ any more relevant, in the present life governed by material acquisitions, which is on an hourly basis and life revolving around ‘profit’ and ‘gains’, and the acquisition of personal talents for acquiring more personal comforts? Should ‘love’ be ‘shared’ and ‘gained’ or ‘ lost’ with these motives in aim? What does then ‘love’ imply in the present context of enormous stresses and strains, tensions and turmoil, uncertainties and irregularities in every aspect of time, space and living? Should it mean, to share one loaf of bread, which is hardly sufficient for yourself with umpteen number of dependents and “love thy neighbour as thyself’? Do you expect similar treatment from your “neighbour” and all others to you profess to have ‘love’ or expect them to ‘ love’ you?
What then is this ‘Love’? Does it end with being ‘sweet’ to the person you like or think you like’ or be just ‘smiling’ at them? Does ‘love’ implore you to ‘love’ your enemy, who is preparing to destroy you, create problems for you, make everything, difficult for you? Does ‘love’ mean ‘liking the other person’ if that person accommodates you in their ‘feeling’ and their private life or you feel that they could share your comforts and joys, jealousies and hatred?
Well, one should not confuse ‘love’ with ‘concern’ for each other’s welfare. We, as human beings, have found a need to form groups and societies, to protect ourselves from the predating animals, calamities arising from natural forces: and to work for each other’s needs. In this regard, delicate rules have been framed for the smooth functioning of the groups and societies for our each other’s ameliorations, recreation, safety, welfare and protection. We have learnt to govern ourselves by a system of rule of law, which has been evolving from time immemorial for its effective functioning and to maintain its balance by good governance through well laid down principles of justice, equality, brotherhood and other well-tested principles are being applied for the common good and well being of all.
However, aspect of study and reflection pertaining to “Love” and Sharing “has been within the realm of morals, philosophy and religion. Wise men have analyzed the aspect of ‘love’, ‘concern’ and ‘feeling for others’ and felt that these feelings are required to be personally regulated in terms of a recognition of some supernatural force, which has been termed as “God”, thus an idiom has come up that “Love is God’ or ‘God is Love’. This is to make ‘love’ all-pervading, all existing and lasting, Thus, it has been recognized that just as we need to have ‘concernn’, for humanity, for working for common good of all, likewise, it should be preceded by feelings emanating from heart and mind, so that we are not propelled by a brute mechanical force, but by a feelings of willingness, which feeling should bring joy and happiness, rather than pain and suffering. Pain and suffering accepted voluntarily, due to a strong feeling of likeness to the person to whom it is directed in the form of “Love”, does not cause destruction, but it propels a person towards a ‘life force’ or ‘magnetic force’, which is everlasting.
We see in nature, forces acting in unison or in harmony. Likewise, in order to direct the feeling of ‘love’ towards everlastingness and prevent it, from becoming a destructive force and a psychological barrier, great religious leaders have out of deep spiritual experience, shown us way of regulating these feelings of ‘love’ to make it lasting and to prevent it from being guided by selfish motive of ‘self preservation’ alone. Thus, ‘love’ has neither to be excessive nor passive but via media, just as ‘concern’ for each other is for our common good and welfare. Love neither should be demanding nor profuse. It should neither be trusted nor compelled or forced upon another. ‘Love’ should be for ‘Love’s sake’. It is a silent cool stream and its water is pure and sweet. It should neither be poisonous, nor bitter. ‘Love’, should bring joy and happiness and remove the feelings of bitterness, moroseness, self possessiveness, hatred and jealousy. Love should bring in us magnanimity and generosity of Sun, truthfulness, simplicity, beauty and grace of Moon; contentment and tranquillity of an Ocean, love should make us forgiving, merciful and compromising in all seasons; purity and shine of white snow of Himalayas, vastness of a desert and enormous goodwill and everlasting goodness.
Each one of us chooses a guide. For Muslims, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) has been a beacon of light and has been a shining example of Love.
It is quoted in Imam Ghazali’s “Ihya Ulum-di-din( Vol.iv) at the conclusion of the chapter on “Love and Attachment”.
“Hazreth Ali karramallahu wajhoo said: I asked the Prophet about his Sunnat and he said: Marifat is the root of my favour, wisdom is the root of my religion, love is my foundation, attachment is my conveyance, Zikr of God is my friend, certainty of faith is my secret treasure, sorrow is my companion, Wisdom is my sword, patience is my sheet, contentment is my valuable treasure, failure is my business, sure faith is my power, truthfulness is my intercessor, divine service is my object of love, Jihad is my nature and prayer is the coolness of my eyes.”
Thus it has come to be known that “Love and affection are the most beautiful flowers in the garden of Life.