If you love a woman, you are immediately ready to reduce her to being your wife, that is, you are ready to reduce her to a certain role: the role of a wife – which is more predictable than the reality of a beloved. If you love a man you are ready to possess him like a thing. You would like him to be your husband, because a lover is more liquid, one never knows…. A husband seems to be more solid. At least the law is there, the court is there, the police are there, the state government is there to give a certain solidity to the husband. A lover seems to be like a dream, not so substantial. Immediately people fall in love they are ready to get married – such fear of love! And whomsoever we love, we start trying to control. That’s the conflict that goes on between wives and husbands, mothers and sons, brothers and sisters, friends – who is going to possess whom? That means: who is going to define whom, who is going to reduce whom to a thing? Who will be the master and who will be the slave?
Mulla Nasruddin sat moodily over his drink and his friend said, “You look pretty down in the mouth, Mulla. What is the matter?”
Nasruddin said, “My psychiatrist says I am in love with my umbrella and that is the source of my troubles.”
“In love with your umbrella?”
“Yes, isn’t that ridiculous? Ah, I like and respect my umbrella, and enjoy its company – but love?”
But what else is love? If you enjoy the company of your umbrella, and if you respect and like your umbrella, what else is love? Love is respect, tremendous respect. Love is a deep liking, and love is sheer joy in the presence of the one you love. What else is love? But people love things – a deep need is somehow fulfilled by substitutes.
Remember, the first calamity is that one becomes head-oriented. The second calamity is that one starts substituting love-needs with things. Then you are lost, lost in the desert land. Then you will never reach to the ocean. Then you will simply dissipate and evaporate. Then your whole life will be a sheer wastage.
The moment you become aware that this is what is happening, turn the tide, make all efforts to again contact the heart. That’s what Bauls call love – to make contact with the heart again, to undo that which has been done to you by the society. Undoing that which has been done by the society is true religion, undoing all the nonsense that has been done by your well-wishers. They may be thinking that they are helping you, and they may not be knowingly destroying you. They may themselves be victims of their parents and their society. I’m not saying anything against them. Great compassion is needed for them.
Gurdjieff used to say to his disciples that a man only becomes religious when he is able to forgive his parents.
Forgive? Yes, that’s how it is. It is very difficult. The moment you become aware, it is very difficult, almost impossible to forgive your parents because they have done so many things to you – unknowingly of course, behaving unconsciously of course, but still they have done. They have destroyed your love and they have handed you dead logic. They have destroyed your intelligence and they have given you, as a substitute, intellect. They have destroyed your life and aliveness, and they have given you a fixed pattern to live, a plan to live by. They have destroyed your direction and have given you a destination. They have destroyed your celebration and they have made you commodities in the marketplace. It is very difficult to forgive them. Hence all the old traditions say: respect your parents.