Saturday, March 20, 2010

True Love Knows No Fear

The power of love is so overwhelming that even its skewed form, lust, impels two incompatible people to come together in the name of love. Genuine love essentially commits itself to first giving or offering the best from the heart with an attitude of pleasing the recipient and where high expectations of returns are practically never there in one’s list of priorities.

Lust bears the indelible stamp of taking from another, because pride condemns the very act or thought of giving as a defilement of one’s self-respect; demand levels are so unreasonably high that one may even go to the extent of turning violent if what one receives falls short of irrational expectations. Lust feeds on feverish praise, recognition and dominance, whereas love maintains detachment from selfish gain, being willing to sacrifice everything for the welfare of the beloved.

Here’s an analogy: Both gold and iron sell in the market as metals; but, a few grams of the lustrous, soft rarer metal costs more than a tonne of its hard and dull counterpart that is available in an incomparably larger quantity. Just as quantity does not assure quality, similarly, selfless love does not lose its unprecedented value just because it is rarely experienced.

Pretentious words and vain promises are favourite disguises of lust. Love, on the other hand, wears the garb of simplicity, speaks the language of purity, walks the path of humility, adopts the code of tolerance and commits itself to the religion of respecting every being, both moveable and immoveable, as the precious creation of God. No one is more exalted than the other.

Gentle love is invincible whereas brutal lust stifles by the impetus of its own inflammable nature that burns to ashes all traces of reason, compassion and empathy. When one’s lustful advances are spurned, and the lusting is frustrated, all the illusory sheen of false attraction and attachment instantaneously turns into contempt and retaliation in the form of abuse, defamation and destruction. There is no trace of love, here.

Until and unless one is able to discriminate between true love and deceptive lust, one is unable to genuinely appreciate the unfathomable treasures of wisdom lying concealed in Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu’s ‘Shikshastakam’, wherein the ardent lover of God manifests such a degree of resignation that he is fully prepared to undergo any kind of adversity – birth after birth – to attain to the Lord’s lotus feet. If, in spite of all this surrender, he never ever gets a glimpse or is shunned by his beloved Lord, still his faith would not diminish even an iota; rather, his inexhaustible affection would increase a million-fold without a trace of misgiving.

This simple but true story says so much. Once, Krishna had a splitting headache. No doctor could cure Him. Finally, Krishna revealed that only the dust of the lotus feet of His unalloyed devotees could give Him relief. The moment the gopis heard of this, they offered all the dust from their feet. When admonished for even thinking of allowing the dust of their feet to be put on the head of their venerable Lord – an offence that would send them to hell – they joyfully replied, “We don’t care about going to hell! We would willingly suffer in hell, for all eternity, if it gave a moment of relief to our beloved Krishna!”

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