You all have someone or something in your life that you dearly love. Am I right? It could be your partner, children, parents, car or pet, and the list could be endless.
But do you think you really love them? You could be loving your spouse or girlfriend and will go out of the way to do anything for her till she brings you happiness. But won’t you break up with her if she stops listening to you? Your love for your spouse fades away as soon as s/he starts behaving against your wish. Why?
You love your children and sacrifice your entire life to give them a great future. You will love them till they behave as per your wish and take care of you. But what if they start fighting with you over your property and cause you pain? Will you still love them as you did before?
The same is the story with your belongings! You love your car when it is new and works well. But, your love vanishes the moment it becomes old and needs frequent repairs and you feel like buying a new car.
The fact is you do not love someone or something that causes you sadness or gives you pain. You love this world till it gives you happiness. Don’t you start cursing it, when things go against your will?
You only love something or someone who gives you happiness, because you love only yourself. This life-changing timeless truth, ‘Aadmi swayam se prem karta hai’, is a verse, 2.4.5 from Brihadaranyak Upanishad, which is applicable to every human being on this planet. Every individual dearly loves only himself. You feel sad and cry heavily on the death of your loved ones not because you love them, but because it is your own personal loss for they are no longer around to take care of you.
You desire more money, not because you love money, but because it buys you comfort and luxury that gives you happiness. But, the same money feels troublesome when you get life threats from a gangster or when Income Tax authorities raid your house.
You part ways with every relation, thing and your own self too when it no more gives you happiness. Even a person who commits suicide does it because he loves himself so much that he wants to get free from the problems causing him pain.
This love for ‘self’ is variable, for some, it could be limited to themselves, their family and for few, it can mean their country.
But great saints or gurus have a huge definition of self — ‘Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam’ (the whole world is their family). A guru physically bears the pain of the sins of his shishyas and yet only thinks of their upliftment. Jesus Christ could crucify himself with a smile for the sins of the world because he knew the world would not be able to bear that pain. Why? Because even though gurus too love their own selves, the entire world fits into their ‘self’.
Now do you really feel that your love for your partner, children, parents or your belongings is selfless? Or can you see its roots in your love for your own self? Think and you will get the answer.
(The writer is a spiritual leader and the founder of Antar Yog Foundation. To know more about the foundation, visit https://learn.antaryogfoundation.in)