During my whole life, I always thought that I loved somebody. Now, being here for the first time with you, I ask myself: have I ever really been in love? Am I even able to love? Am I able to love you? Or has life brought me to a point where happiness in love does not happen anymore?
The basic fallacy that you are carrying within you is that you always loved somebody.
This is one of the most significant things about all human beings; their love is always for somebody, it is addressed – and the moment you address your love, you destroy it. It is as if you are saying, “I will breathe only for you – and when you are not there, then how can I breathe?”
Love should be like breathing. It should be just a quality in you – wherever you are, with whomsoever you are, or even if you are alone, love goes on overflowing from you. It is not a question of being in love with someone – it is a question of being love.
People are frustrated in their love experiences, not because something is wrong with love…they narrow down love to such a point that the ocean of love cannot remain there. You cannot contain the ocean – it is not a small stream; love is your whole being – love is your godliness. One should think in terms of whether one is loving or not. The question of the object of love does not arise. With your wife, you love your wife; with your children, you love your children; with your servants, you love your servants; with your friends, you love your friends; with the trees, you love the trees; with the ocean, you love the ocean.
You are love.
Love is not dependent on the object, but is a radiation of your subjectivity – a radiation of your soul. And the vaster the radiation, the greater is your soul. The wider spread are the wings of your love, the bigger is the sky of your being.
You have lived under a common fallacy of all human beings. Now you are asking, “Am I able to love you?” – again, the same fallacy.
Just ask: Am I able to become love?
When you are in my presence, you need not think of loving me; otherwise, you have not come out of your ordinary fallacies. Here, you have to learn…just being loving. Of course your love will reach me too; it will reach others too. It will be a vibe surrounding you, spreading all over; and if so many people are simply broadcasting their love, their song, their ecstasy, the whole place becomes a temple. There is no other way of making a temple. Then the whole area is filled with a new kind of energy, and nobody is at a loss – because on you is showering the love of so many people: on each single person, so many people’s love is showering.
Drop that fallacy. And because of that fallacy, another question arises in you: “…or has life brought me to the point where happiness in love does not happen anymore?” Life is nothing but an opportunity for love to blossom. If you are alive, the opportunity is there – even to the last breath. You may have missed your whole life: just the last breath, the last moment on the earth, if you can be love, you have not missed anything – because a single moment of love is equal to the whole eternity of love.
Love, truth, bliss – there is an intrinsic core in them: they need to be shared; they are not sufficient unto themselves. Sharing is part, but they are not possessive. The reason is totally different. The reason is that love basically gives freedom: it gives freedom to oneself, it gives freedom to others. A love that becomes a bondage is not love; it is lust, it is animal, it is not human. Love gives freedom, then it becomes human, but it is still a kind of relatedness.
There is one more dimension to love. In the first, love is a biological need; in the second it is a psychological sharing; in the third you are love. In the first it is a relationship, a possessiveness; in the second it is a relatedness, a friendship, a friendliness; in the third you are love itself. Your very being is love, you radiate love. Only then has love come to its crescendo – it has achieved the ultimate, the last – you can call it godliness.
What is love?
It depends. There are as many loves as there are people. Love is a hierarchy, from the lowest rung to the highest, from sex to super-consciousness. There are many, many layers, many planes of love. It all depends on you. If you are existing on the lowest rung, you will have a totally different idea of love than the person who is existing on the highest rung. Adolf Hitler will have one idea of love, Gautam Buddha another; and they will be diametrically opposite, because they are at two extremes.
At the lowest, love is a kind of politics, power politics. Wherever love is contaminated by the idea of domination, it is politics. Whether you call it politics or not is not the question, it is political. And millions of people never know anything about love except this politics – the politics that exists between husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends. It is politics, the whole thing is political: you want to dominate the other, you enjoy domination.
And love is nothing but politics sugar-coated, a bitter pill sugar-coated. You talk about love but the deep desire is to exploit the other. And I am not saying that you are doing it deliberately or consciously – you are not that conscious yet. You cannot do it deliberately; it is an unconscious mechanism.
Hence so much possessiveness and so much jealousy become a part, an intrinsic part, of your love. That’s why love creates more misery than joy. Ninety-nine percent of it is bitter; there is only that one percent of sugar that you have coated on top of it. And sooner or later that sugar disappears.
When you are in the beginning of a love affair, those honeymoon days, you taste something sweet. Soon that sugar wears off, and the realities start appearing in stark nakedness and the whole thing becomes ugly.
Millions of people have decided not to love human beings any more. It is better to love a dog, a cat, a parrot; it is better to love a car – because you can dominate them well, and the other never tires to dominate you. It is simple; it is not as complex as it is going to be with human beings.
At a cocktail party the hostess couldn’t help overhearing the conversation of a suave gentleman.
“Oh, I adore her. I worship her,” declared the gentleman.
“I would too if she were mine,” agreed his friend.
“The way she walks and swishes. Her beautiful big brown eyes, her head so proud and erect…”
“You’re very fortunate,” commented his friend.
“And do you know what really thrills me? The way she nibbles my ear.”
“Sir,” the hostess interjected. “I couldn’t help listening to those affectionate words. In this day of numerous divorces I admire a man who so passionately loves his wife.”
“My wife?” said the gentleman, surprised. “No – my champion race horse!”
People are falling in love with horses, dogs, animals, machines, things. Why? Because to be in love with human beings has become an utter hell, a continuous conflict – nagging, always at each other’s throats.
This is the lowest form of love. Nothing is wrong with it if you can use it as a stepping-stone, if you can use it as a meditation. If you can watch it, if you try to understand it, in that very understanding you will reach another rung, you will start moving upwards.
Only at the highest peak, when love is not a relationship any more, when love becomes a state of your being, the lotus opens totally and great perfume is released – but only at the highest peak. At the lowest, love is just a political relationship. At the highest, love is a religious state of consciousness.
I love you too. Buddha loves, Jesus loves, but their love demands nothing in return. Their love is given for the sheer joy of giving it; it is not a bargain. Hence the radiant beauty of it, hence the transcendental beauty of it. It surpasses all the joys that you have known.
When I talk about love, I am talking about love as a state. It is unaddressed: you don’t love this person or that person, you simply love. You are love. Rather than saying that you love somebody, it will be better to say you are love. So whosoever is capable of partaking, can partake. For whosoever is capable of drinking out of your infinite sources of being, you are available – you are available unconditionally.
That is possible only if love becomes more and more meditative.
Medicine and meditation come from the same root. Love as you know it is a kind of disease: it needs the medicine of meditation. If it passes through meditation, it is purified. And the more purified it is, the more ecstatic.
Last night I heard you refer to Zen as “the great love affair.” yet, rarely are love or compassion mentioned in Zen anecdotes or discourses of the masters. Why is this?
Anando, when you love a person, you don’t harass him by saying “I love you” again and again; otherwise, he will kill you. There is a limit to how much you can listen to “I love you.” One gets fed up.
Just try it on any lover and see how long the love remains. The boyfriend or the girlfriend will disappear, because you can eat sweets but there is a limit, otherwise sickness will follow.
Zen never mentions love. My own understanding is that the man of Zen simply loves as he breathes. It is not something special, there is no need to mention it. Don’t you feel my love although I never say it? Do you want me to say it to you again and again?
Zen does not say it, that is a great indication that it understands. Love should not be said, but shown in every gesture – through your eyes, through your hands, through your silence. It should radiate around you. It is the same with compassion. It is not mentioned either.
Zen is not born in America, where there are great thinkers who can be great only in America, like Dale Carnegie and Napoleon Hill….
Dale Carnegie’s books have been best-sellers in America, second only to The Holy Bible. He used to run classes and schools where people were taught that whether you love or not does not matter. What matters is the word, the expression. Who can tell about the inside? Before going out of the house, kiss your wife and say, “I love you, sweetheart. I will miss you so much.”
You may have other thoughts inside, absolutely contrary to this: “Now is the time to enjoy…” Or you may be thinking of your girlfriend! But that is all inside – your wife is not a mind reader. So just say it, and it does not cost anything to kiss her, at least three times a day. When you come back from the office, again kiss your wife and say to her, “I love you, darling.” And again before going to bed; don’t forget. These idiots like Dale Carnegie are thought to be great philosophers who are helping people in their relationships.
Real love has no words to express itself. Real love is a presence, you can feel it. It surrounds you like wind, it rains over you like rain. A roseflower does not say, “How beautiful I am.” And if roseflowers start studying Dale Carnegie and start saying to you, “Where are you going, darling? I love you so much. And I’m so beautiful,” you will have to say, “Shut up! Just be a flower – don’t bother me!” – what else can you do?
Your question is very accurate. Zen is love, and Zen is compassion, but there is no need to make a manifesto, a declaration of it. In utter silence – the transmission of the lamp.
The real thing is not a relationship but a state; one is not in love but one is love. Whenever I talk about love remember this: I am talking about the state of love. Yes, relationship is perfectly good, but the relationship is going to be false if you have not attained to the state of love. Then the relationship is not only a pretension, it is a dangerous pretension, because it can go on befooling you; it can go on giving you the sense that you know what love is, and you don’t know. Love basically is a state of being; one is not in love, one is love.
And that love arises not by falling in love with somebody. That love arises by going in – not by falling but by rising, soaring upwards, higher than you. It is a kind of surpassing. A man is love when his being is silent; it is the song of silence. A Buddha is love, a Jesus is love – not in love with a particular person, but simply love. Their very climate is love. It is not addressed to anybody in particular, it is spreading in all directions. Whosoever comes close to a Buddha will feel it, will be showered by it, will be bathed in it. And it is unconditionally so.
Love makes no conditions, no ifs, no buts. Love never says, “Fulfill these requirements, then I will love you.” Love is like breathing: when it happens you are simply love. It does not matter who comes close to you, the sinner or the saint. Whosoever comes close to you starts feeling the vibe of love, is rejoiced. Love is unconditional giving – but only those are capable of giving who have.
One of the most mysterious things about man is that he goes on giving things which he doesn’t have. You go on giving love and you don’t have it in the first place, and you go on asking love from others who don’t have it in the first place. Beggars begging from beggars.
Love first has to happen in the deepest core of your being. It is the quality of being alone, happily alone, joyously alone. It is the quality of being a no-mind, of being silent. Contentless consciousness is the space, the context in which love arises in you.
And when it arises in you it is so much, it is unbearable. Its pleasure is so unbearable that it becomes almost pain. It is heavy like the clouds which are full of rain; they have to shower, they have to rain, they have to unburden themselves. When love arises in the silent heart, it has to be shared, it has to be given; you are helpless.
And the person you give your love to is not obliged to you in any way. In fact, you are obliged to the person because he helped you unburden, he shared something that was too much in you. And the economics of love is: the more you give, the more you have, because in your silent being you are joined with the oceanic, the divine source of all. And you can go on sharing…more and more goes on flowing in you, it goes on welling up.
Yes, you are right, love is the only hope of the world. And we are coming close to that turning point: either total war or total love. And this is a question of either/or, there is no third alternative. There is nothing like a compromise now, you cannot be in the middle. Man has to choose. And it is a question of life and death: war is death, love is life.