You ask me: “What is the difference between longing for the divine and loving another?” There is no difference at all – longing is longing. Then what will I suggest? Try to understand the nature of longing, the nature of desire. When you understand the nature of desire, in that very understanding the desiring disappears. Then you start enjoying your aloneness, you become utterly joyous with yourself. There is no need for the other, there is no dependence on the other.
I am not saying that you will not be able to love then. In fact you will be able to love then and only then – because then love will have a totally different quality, the quality of sharing. You will not be a beggar, you will be an emperor. You will love because you have something to give, not something to get. You will love because you are overflowing with joy and you would like to share it with people. But then it will not be a relationship at all.
I call it relating. You can relate, but there is no need to create any bondage, there is no need to create any marriage. You can relate with somebody, you can relate to the same person your whole life, but tomorrow remains open, it is not closed. Tomorrow is not settled today, you cannot take it for granted; tomorrow you may feel like sharing with the same person, the same person may like sharing or may not like sharing. Even if one of the two decides not to share, then you say good-bye to each other with great gratitude because all that joy and all that has happened before and all that has transpired before – one is grateful for it. With no grudge, with no complaint, with no quarrel, you simply depart. You know, “Our ways are parting now, we may not meet again,” so you depart with a song in the heart, with a smile on the lips; with a hug, with a kiss you depart. You depart in deep friendliness. It is not a divorce because there has not been any marriage at all in the first place. You were not bound to each other so you are not getting free from each other. You had always been free, you had always remained individuals.
Two individuals relating remain individuals; two individuals getting into a relationship lose their individuality. They become a couple, and to be a couple is an ugly thing. That means you have lost your freedom, you are no more yourself; the other is also no more himself or herself. Both have lost their freedom and nobody has gained anything out of it.
That’s why Sartre says, “The other is hell.” But still I would like to remind you: it is not the other it is the desire for the other. When you have understood the futility of desire, the utter stupidity of desire, then you relate in a totally different way; a qualitative change happens to you. You are happy with yourself; you are not seeking happiness through the other. You are so happy that you would like to share it with somebody, that’s why you relate.
Relationship originates in misery, relating originates in bliss.