Love is probably more important than oxygen, food and water for human existence. Suppose oxygen was not there on earth, the human body could have evolved over a period of time to find another source for energy. But if love was not there in this world, we would have been history, fighting with hatred towards each other. The secret of health lies in how much love we spread to the people around us.
What is love?
This is like asking what is breath. Love is the most important and essential positive human behavior. Love is the feeling of belonging, feeling of oneness, feeling of care, comfort and so on.
When we are born, and as we grow up gradually, we absorb love from all the people around us. Parents love us, our teachers love us, our friends love us, everybody loves us. It is with such a love that we are what we are today.
- Love of parents gives the child confidence.
- Love of children makes the parents proud.
- Love of friends gives a shoulder to rely upon.
- Love of spouse gives a meaning to life.
Swamy Vivekananda – says – If you do not love your parents, your family and yourself, you can never love God.
Love message: Love yourself
Loving yourself means doing what is really good for you. The best way to explain this is by a sentence of Ravana, the Villain of Ramayana. He says –
Jaanaami Dharmam, na cha me pravruttihi |
Jaanaami Adharmam, na cha me nivruttihi ||
“I know what is right, but I do not follow it. I know what is wrong, but I can not leave it. “
So loving yourself is the opposite message to this –
Loving yourself means –
To leave the bad habits, that you know that it is not good for you.
To take the path of righteousness.
To help others.
To have real kindness and love towards the needy and poor.
To love and respect parents, spouse and family.
So, before we start loving others, we should start loving ourselves.
- We know that getting up early in the morning is good, but we do not.
- We know that doing Yoga or gym is good, but we do not.
- We know that we can at least take 10 minutes to do walking, but we do not.
- We know that we can do well without jealousy, anger and hatred, but we do not.
- We know that we can easily afford to give a small donation to the beggar, who has nothing. But we do not.
- We know we can take 10 minutes for prayer, but we do not.
Let us reverse all these trends this Valentine’s day. Let us re-explore the meaning of love. Let us start loving ourselves first, before loving the people around us.
Additional notes by Dr MS Krishnamurthy –
Viveka chudamani is a unique philosophical text written by Shri Adi Shankaracharya founder of Advaitha philosophy. He explains the concept of loving and ways to remain happy.
Today our love and affection is exhibited to please others. It has the intention to keep others happy or to gain some profit or benefit from others. This is not considered as love, in fact this is mere business.
True love does not have selfishness. It is unconditional. It is a way to explore the mind extending the self with others, or in broader sense to everybody. So there is a need to love ourselves first. This does not mean self appreciation or self boosting or ego. Instead, it means consciousness of the self denoting the fraction of ‘ATMAN’ which can be perceived by others too.
Acharya Shankara elaborates the same in his verses-
The things are not dearer for others sake; but for the sake of the self. The reason is, the self is the dearest to all beings.
The elaborate idea of the verse is as follows-
The Yathartha, true or ideal perception of self is the first entity in the path of consciousness. If we understand once self, it shows us the strength and inner power or ability of the individual. Whole universe (beings) is the extended forms of the self, as each one is a fractional derivative of the PARAMATMAN (absolute soul).
Read related – Importance Of Soul In Perception Of Knowledge: Atma Jnana
So if one learns to love themselves in a true way, he learns to love others too. Such a love should be without profit. Because we ourselves cannot indulge in beneficiary marketing strategies!
Read related – Incorporating Atma Jnana (Self Awareness) In Treatment – Case Study
Further he explains the same with some more ideologies of pleasure of self love as below-
This means-the self (atman) in every blissful (sada-ananda) and there cannot be even traces of misery. This is the reason why we experience the highest pleasure in deep sleep, when we are devoid from attachments for external objects without consciousness.
Read related – 20 Simple Ayurveda Tips For A Better Sleep
The details of self consciousness or the alertness can be gathered by referring various texts, observation, history etc. Above all, one can experience this in a deeper level by detaching themselves from worldly matters.