What is love ?

Hare Krishna!

What is love ? Not looking for a formal definition but trying to understand what the emotion is meant for ?

Sarvam Sri Krishnaarpanam!

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  • Volunteer

    Who else can explain the meaning of Love better than the source of Love, our beloved, Krishna.

    Excerpts from Srimad Bhagavatam 10th canto, Krishna book:

    SB 10.32.15

    Śrī Kṛṣṇa had awakened romantic desires within the gopīs, and they honored Him by glancing at Him with playful smiles, gesturing amorously with their eyebrows, and massaging His hands and feet as they held them in their laps. Even while worshiping Him, however, they felt somewhat angry, and thus they addressed Him as follows.
    SB 10.32.16
    The gopīs said: Some people reciprocate the affection only of those who are affectionate toward them, while others show affection even to those who are indifferent or inimical. And yet others will not show affection toward anyone. Dear Kṛṣṇa, please properly explain this matter to us.

    By this apparently polite question, the gopīs want to expose Lord Kṛṣṇa’s failure to properly reciprocate their love. They were very disturbed when Śrī Kṛṣṇa left them in the forest, and they want to know why He caused them to suffer in these loving affairs.

    SB 10.32.17

    The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: So-called friends who show affection for each other only to benefit themselves are actually selfish. They have no true friendship, nor are they following the true principles of religion. Indeed, if they did not expect benefit for themselves, they would not reciprocate.

    The Lord here reminds the gopīs that in pure loving friendship there is no sense of selfish interest but rather only love for one’s friend.

    SB 10.32.18

    My dear slender-waisted gopīs, some people are genuinely merciful or, like parents, naturally affectionate. Such persons, who devotedly serve even those who fail to reciprocate with them, are following the true, faultless path of religion, and they are true well-wishers.

    SB 10.32.19

    Then there are those individuals who are spiritually self-satisfied, materially fulfilled or by nature ungrateful or simply envious of superiors. Such persons will not love even those who love them, what to speak of those who are inimical.

    Some people, being spiritually self-satisfied, do not reciprocate others’ affection because they want to avoid entanglement in mundane dealings. Other persons do not reciprocate simply out of envy or arrogance. And still others fail to reciprocate because they are materially satisfied and thus uninterested in new material opportunities. Lord Kṛṣṇa patiently explains all these things to the gopīs.

    SB 10.32.20

    But the reason I do not immediately reciprocate the affection of living beings even when they worship Me, O gopīs, is that I want to intensify their loving devotion. They then become like a poor man who has gained some wealth and then lost it, and who thus becomes so anxious about it that he can think of nothing else.

    Lord Kṛṣṇa states in Bhagavad-gītā, ye yathā māṁ prapadyante tāṁs tathaiva bhajāmy aham: “As people approach Me, I reciprocate with them accordingly.” Yet even if the Lord is approached by someone with devotion, to intensify the devotee’s love the Lord may not immediately reciprocate fully. In fact, the Lord is truly reciprocating. After all, a sincere devotee always prays to the Lord, “Please help me to love You purely.” Therefore the Lord’s so-called neglect is actually the fulfillment of the devotee’s prayer. Lord Kṛṣṇa intensifies our love for Him by apparently separating Himself from us, and the result is that we achieve what we really wanted and prayed for: intense love for the Absolute Truth, Kṛṣṇa. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa’s apparent negligence is actually His thoughtful reciprocation and the fulfillment of our deepest and purest desire.

    According to the ācāryas, as Lord Kṛṣṇa began to speak this verse the gopīs looked at one another with squinting eyes, trying to hide the smiles breaking out on their faces. Even as Lord Kṛṣṇa was speaking, the gopīs had begun to realize that He was bringing them to the highest perfection of loving service.

    SB 10.32.21

    My dear girls, understanding that simply for My sake you had rejected the authority of worldly opinion, of the Vedas and of your relatives, I acted as I did only to increase your attachment to Me. Even when I removed Myself from your sight by suddenly disappearing, I never stopped loving you. Therefore, My beloved gopīs, please do not harbor any bad feelings toward Me, your beloved.

    Here the Lord indicates that though the gopīs were already perfect in their love for Him, still, to inconceivably increase their perfection and show an example for the world, He acted as He did.

    SB 10.32.22

    I am not able to repay My debt for your spotless service, even within a lifetime of Brahmā. Your connection with Me is beyond reproach. You have worshiped Me, cutting off all domestic ties, which are difficult to break. Therefore please let your own glorious deeds be your compensation.

    The translation and word meanings for this verse are taken from Śrīla Prabhupāda’s English rendering of ŚrīCaitanya-caritāmṛta (Ādi 4.180).

    In conclusion, the gopīs became eternally glorious by their behavior in the Lord’s temporary absence, and the mutual love between them and the Lord was wonderfully enhanced. This is the perfection of Kṛṣṇa and His loving devotees.

    Thus end the purports of the humble servants of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda to the Tenth Canto, Thirty-second Chapter, of the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, entitled “The Reunion.”

    Hope you feel satisfied. Here is a video where Prabhupad is answering questions on this matter of Love and how to love Krishna. 


    Please listen with full attention, and not do other activity during the video, as it is very concentrated information and also it is disrespectful not to pay full attention when playing Prabhupada, who is an Acarya! :) Let me know if you feel fully satisfied in understanding about Love from a pure devotee, Srila Prabhupada.

  • * those having parental love for krsna have qualities of palan-poshan(nurturing) and tadana(disciplining).
    Their love is more higher than sakhas because they have deep concern about the welfare of krsna. Yashoda is always worried, my son is so busy in playing that He wont eat properly and He will become skinny or sick. She tries many means to make Him eat. She tells " oh lala look at your hair its so thin, but see bhaiya's hair(balaram) how big it is. He eats so much of butter and ghee so it is fat like butter" oh krsna cant see His hair bun behind His head ,He believes yashoda and immediately eats all the butter His mother brought.
    Then she thinks krsna is born from my womb, He cant know better than me. I am His mother and i know what is good for Him. So when krsna does some mischief , she claps Him , twist His ears and binds Him . She thinks if i dont discipline Him now , then when He grows up everyone will call Him a thief etc..
    So krsna is afraid of His mother when He does wrong. He also cries .
    But sakhas cant do like this.

    In this way love is developed with more intimacy. So here all of them are only engaged in loving krsna and He is engaged in loving His devotees. There is no selfishness here. And this love is eternal .

    And there are similar pastimes that show how even with sufficient reason, love doesnt break.

    If u read the pastime of talks between krsna and rukmini from krsna book, there krsna gives many reasons why He is not a suitable match for her. He gives her a chance to divorse Him and marry someone more qualified than Him.( he is doing all this for fun, to see how beautiful rukmini will appear when she is angry). So instead of His words convincing her about His disqualifications leading her to breakup, instead it heightened her love and in the fear that she will be separated from Him, she fell unconsious.

    In a similar way krsna disguises Himself as an angel and comes to radhika. He wants to hear about Love from Her own mouth. He describes how krsna is totally unworthy of Her love, he is a cheater, untrustworthy, cruel, heartless etc. He narrates how krsna has been unfair to her at certain situations etc..
    In this way although krsna told so many faults about Him, radhika said His faults are His ornaments. Then she herself explained what love is ,and how krsna's actions are justified.

    Chaitanya mahaprabhu has said in siksastakam , hey krsna you can embrace me or crush me under your feet, you can neglect me or make me broken hearted by showing love to someone else who may even be unqualified, you can do anything with me as you wish but you are the only object of my love unconditionally.

    I have only scratched the surface. Telling something theoritically and actually expiriencing it practically is different. U cant understand the sweetness of a gulab jamun by hearing about it. But when u will go , buy the items and cook it in the prescribed way and when its fully ready and you put it in your mouth then you will actuay understand.

    So love cant be explained but it is expirienced.
    If you want to taste it yourself then you should follow the process from the beginning adau sraddha, tatha sadhu sanga.....
    The naam kirtan is the process. It will give you this prem if you will chant steadily avoiding offenses.

    Hare krsna
  • Sri guru gaurangau jayatah

    Love or priti is the nature of every jiva. Its the goal of human life. Krsna is the object of love (vishay-alamban) and His devotees are the containers of that love(ashray-alamban).
    Kaviraj goswami has defined like this,
    Atmendriya priti vancha tare bale kaam, krsnendriya priti iccha dhare prem naam.

    Desire to satisfy one's own senses is called lust and desire to satisfy krsna's senses is called love.

    In this world although we find some love still it wont fully satisfy us because of its limitations and faults.
    We may love someone but they may not love us. Even if they will love us , it may be partial conditional and impure -
    * in the beginning they may love us but as the time passes their love will weaken and it wont be as intense and sweet as before;
    * they love us with some reason( sahetu prem) - because we are beautiful or strong or wealthy or we have nice qualities. So if the cause ceases, their love also ceases - if they get a better person than us they will abandon us. Thus it is not really love. They dont love us but they only love themselves, because we give them happiness in so many ways they seem to love us; but if we do something displeasing to them , they will quarrel and breakup. Thus this love is conditional and impure.
    * and even if the above problems are not there, the love is really genuine still there is death which terminates their loving relation.

    Rupa goswami has defined love like this,

    Even in the presense of every reason for love to break, still it will never diminish. This is love .
    This love we can see in bhagavatam, so many relationships are described . We can observe the nature of love between lord and His devotees there progressively with more intensity and intimacy.
    There are personalities like kumaras, brahma , siva, bhishma, prahlad, dhruva, gajendra, ambarish, hanuman,pandavas, yadavas, uddhava, vrajavasis etc..

    Therefore it is called the ripened fruit of vedas. Sukadev goswami is so expert, he is making his audience to drink this nectar in perfect sequence .

    The idea of this i can convey through brhad bhagavatamrta where narad muni travels to different places to search for the person who has the most love for krsna .
    He begins with a brahmana , proceeding towards king, indra , brahma, siva , to prahlad, hanuman, etc..
    Some comparison i can make -
    * those who have neutral love have 2 qualities ie, krsna nista (steadyily fixed in meditation on krsna) and trsna tyag(natural distaste for other things).
    * those having dasya prem have seva(service) and mamata(possessiveness){each successive rasa also includes the qualities of the previous rasa mentioned in addition to their own special quality}. This qualities bring them more closer to god. They are serving the lord according to His desires unlike the santa premis. The santa premi thinks Bhagavan is atmarama and aptakama(self satisfied) so He doesnt need anything. And the dasya bhakta has mamata - He is my prabhu. I am His sevaka. This mineness is required for any loving relationship.
    * those who are friends of krsna have - samata(equality) and visrambha bhav(confidence). The dasya premi cant serve in some ways like playing , fighting, critisizing,teasing etc.. because they have reverential mood, they have some inhibition and hesitation.
    But the sakhas think krsna is my friend, He is not superior to me. In the morning they go to krsna ,jumping on His bed and calling Him to come to play they drag Him by hand quickly. Sometimes they have very delicious lunch and they put it into His mouth saying try it. They give their remnants to krsna. They climb on His sholders and tell Him, hey horse run faster run faster. Krsna enjoys this kind of services more than that rendered by servants. This gives more enjoyment .
    But this cant be done with ramachandra. Even His friends like sugriva or vibhishan cant do like this. Their friendship is mixed with thier knowlege of His godhood( sambram sakhya)
  • Hare Krsna
    Love means that there is someone dear in your life.
    • Adding 2 more important points.

      Some people say love is trust, love is  shraddha.. Now for this one example. 

      One man trusted his wife he loved her so dearly.. so dearly he is ready to die also for her. But one day he found out that that wife started to love someone else.. DOes his love change? Yep. Mortals' love changes with loss of trust.!! Trust is gone love is gone? As someone said previously--->> amount of love is directly proportional to the amount of trust.. So calculative is our mortal love.  Trust hai toh prem hai. trust nahi toh prem bhi nahi.. This is our conditional mortal love equation.

      Krishna's love doesn't change even you become a thief/ rogue tomorrow..... HIS love never changes.  Lord love is not based on any conditions. He wont stop providing nourishment to you now as you became a rogue..( in the form of air, water, sunlight). 

      He just waits for you to realize your mistake and come back to Him.

      That is why it is called unconditional love.

      Sharddha You have shaddha today.. tommorow you become lazy to follow rules and conditions laid by Krishna/guru. Will the love of Krishna Change? Mortal love changes with all conditions.. But Not divine love.

      Krishna love' is pure divine unconditional.. He showers his love ( SUN LIGHT, Rainfall, moonlight, everything that is eternal) is for all.. Those who follow his rules or those who don't follow ... HIS love is not partial to a devotee or rougue. It is same in all conditions and circumstances.  Love is eternal. Love is divine.. LOve is impartial. Love is Unconditional, Love transcends all words, emotions. Love transcends--body, senses, mind, intellect, ego.. Love is only Between jivatma and parmatama ( which is having no genders), no relationships ( guru, shishya, wfe, husband, devotee, God., boy galfriend) all relationships it transcends.

      Mortals find reasons to love someone. Lord's Love is cause-less mercy, reasonless. akaaran Kripa aur prem.

      Who took care of you when you were not chanting when you were not following regulative principles. Who took care of you when you were kid and you didn't know who is God or Krishna was then.? Lord is always loving. 

      We also find reasons to believe in something.. by reading books we came to know Lord is so great. We need reasons to believe in something. But Lord's love is natural and same for all.  Even if you are a in insect body or you were in a human body.

      To understand a mother's love we don't read a manual or book but to understand God we need books and references to know His greatness to have belief in Him. Mortals love needs proof/ reasoning. Whereas God's love is causeless mercy reasonless  love.( akaaran karuna) That is pure love. That is why Lord loved the cobbler who was not well read but had more faith In HiM then the learned brahmin.

      Final thought is mortals cannot love They don't know what is love.  Only Krishna can love as HE is complete in Himself.  We are empty not complete what can we love or give anyone.  Love means to give selflessly .. not to receive. 


      • I don't think gopikas' came to Raasleela because they trusted Krishna. They simply loved Him and were ready to surrender to HIM selflessly. 

        Trust, faith and all we see in business dealings..not in love. Love is blind that is why it is called maybe!!!

        • Hare Krishna,

           Thank you mataji for the clarification. I need some further clarity on this discussion. So here I am adding few more points, for further clarification if possible.

          Whatever we do Krishna loves us (vs) whatever we do Krishna loves that - These are two different things. Whenever we misuse our freedom, we are getting bound more tightly. And it is for our own benefit. If child misuse father's trust, father gets hurt, but out of his love for the child, he will ensure that child cannot misuse it again. But fathers love to child and child's love to father is not the same. Say one father has 10 children. And among them, there is one who trust his father completely. He acts on his father's instructions, not with an egoistic personal desire to enjoy. For Him, admitting father's word is whole and sole of his life. Then definitely, that child will be most dear to his father among those 10, i.e. can we not say - Amount of love is directly proportional to the amount of trust ?

          Shraddha - it is said - To create shraddha in God, firstly we need to create shraddha in His words. If Kṛṣṇa wants, the devotee can do anything which is ordinarily undesirable; and if Kṛṣṇa does not want, he shall not do that which he would have ordinarily done for his own satisfaction. 

          And regarding the point - "HIS love is not partial to a devotee or rougue".  We could see below slokas confirm God's partiality towards his devotees. 

          BS 5.54 - karmāṇi nirdahati kintu ca bhakti-bhājāṁ :

          God impartially induces the fallen souls to act in the way that is consequent on the deeds of their previous births and to enjoy the fruition of their labours but, out of His great mercy to His devotees, He purges out, by the fire of ordeal, the root of all karma, viz., nescience and evil desires. Karma, though without beginning, is still perishable. The karma of those, who work with the hope of enjoying the fruits of their labors, becomes everlasting and endless and is never destroyed. The function of sannyāsa is also a sort of karma befitting an āśrama and is not pleasant to Kṛṣṇa when it aims at liberation, i.e., desire for emancipation. They also receive fruition of their karma and, even if it be disinterested, their karma ends in ātma-mamatā, i.e., self-pleasure; but those who are pure devotees always serve Kṛṣṇa by gratifying His senses forsaking all attempts of karma and jñāna, and being free from all desires save that of serving Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa has fully destroyed the karma, its desires and nescience of those devotees. It is a great wonder that Kṛṣṇa, being impartial, is fully partial to His devotees.

          ##) सुनु मुनि तोहि कहउँ सहरोसा। भजहिं जे मोहि तजि सकल भरोसा॥2

          प्रभु बोले : हे मुनि! सुनो, मैं तुम्हें हर्ष के साथ कहता हूँ कि जो समस्त आशा-भरोसा छोड़कर केवल मुझको ही भजते हैं,॥2

          ##) करउँ सदा तिन्ह कै रखवारी। जिमि बालक राखइ महतारी॥

          गह सिसु बच्छ अनल अहि धाई। तहँ राखइ जननी अरगाई॥3

          : मैं सदा उनकी वैसे ही रखवाली करता हूँ, जैसे माता बालक की रक्षा करती है। छोटा बच्चा जब दौड़कर आग और साँप को पकड़ने जाता है, तो वहाँ माता उसे (अपने हाथों) अलग करके बचा लेती है॥3

          ##)प्रौढ़ भएँ तेहि सुत पर माता। प्रीति करइ नहिं पाछिलि बाता॥

          मोरें प्रौढ़ तनय सम ग्यानी। बालक सुत सम दास अमानी॥4

          : सयाना हो जाने पर उस पुत्र पर माता प्रेम तो करती है, परन्तु पिछली बात नहीं रहती (अर्थात्‌ मातृ परायण शिशु की तरह फिर उसको बचाने की चिंता नहीं करती, क्योंकि वह माता पर निर्भर न कर अपनी रक्षा आप करने लगता है)। ज्ञानी मेरे प्रौढ़ (सयाने) पुत्र के समान है और (तुम्हारे जैसा) अपने बल का मान न करने वाला सेवक मेरे शिशु पुत्र के समान है॥4

          ##) जनहि मोर बल निज बल ताही। दुहु कहँ काम क्रोध रिपु आही॥

          यह बिचारि पंडित मोहि भजहीं। पाएहुँ ग्यान भगति नहिं तजहीं॥5

          : मेरे सेवक को केवल मेरा ही बल रहता है और उसे (ज्ञानी को) अपना बल होता है। पर काम-क्रोध रूपी शत्रु तो दोनों के लिए हैं।(भक्त के शत्रुओं को मारने की जिम्मेवारी मुझ पर रहती है, क्योंकि वह मेरे परायण होकर मेरा ही बल मानता है, परन्तु अपने बल को मानने वाले ज्ञानी के शत्रुओं का नाश करने की जिम्मेवारी मुझ पर नहीं है।) ऐसा विचार कर पंडितजन (बुद्धिमान लोग) मुझको ही भजते हैं। वे ज्ञान प्राप्त होने पर भी भक्ति को नहीं छोड़ते॥5॥

          Gopi's showed the highest form of trust in Krishna as they renounced everything else for Him without thinking of any single future consequence.

          - Jai Shri Krishna !! Jai Bhakt Prahlad ki Jai !! 

          • Hare Krishna Prabhu ji,,

            SB 10.47.12 — The gopī said: O honeybee, O friend of a cheater, don’t touch My feet with your whiskers, which are smeared with the kuṅkuma that rubbed onto Kṛṣṇa’s garland when it was crushed by the breasts of a rival lover! Let Kṛṣṇa satisfy the women of Mathurā. One who sends a messenger like you will certainly be ridiculed in the Yadus’ assembly.

            SB 10.47.13 — After making us drink the enchanting nectar of His lips only once, Kṛṣṇa suddenly abandoned us, just as you might quickly abandon some flowers. How is it, then, that Goddess Padmā willingly serves His lotus feet? Alas! The answer must certainly be that her mind has been stolen away by His deceitful words.

            SB 10.47.19 — Faithfully taking His deceitful words as true, we became just like the black deer’s foolish wives, who trust the cruel hunter’s song. Thus we repeatedly felt the sharp pain of lust caused by the touch of His nails. O messenger, please talk about something besides Kṛṣṇa.

            Gopis' thought that Krishna was a cheater, he abondoned them for some new Mathura woman, they thought He was decietful. But still they loved Him.  They compared Him to a bee.. who wanders from one flower to another and is never trustworthy. LOL! but still their love never decreased. hehhhee.

            The gopis' didnt follow any regulative principles and read any bhagwat gita or any big texts to understand Lord or trust in HIS words. They simply loved HIM for nothing in return.

            LOrd is never partial to his devotees.. He is so kind even to this enemies He granted highest benediction ( Putana who tried to Kill HIm also got to reach His abode). He never stopped loving anyone becoz they are not following His order..He only gave them a chance to rectify their mistakes if they couldn't themselves do it.. He personally came down to teach them what is right and also gave them liberation ( He gave mukti to His enemies also). It shows how impartial He is.

            When he laid his Lotus feet on Bali Maharaj's head He was most displeased to do that act.  For the sake of Demigods' and Aditi mata He crushed down Bali's to Patala Loka But He was so compassionate that He personally went down to Bali's maharaja's Patala loka and did serve like a Watchman. That is what is called Impartiality. 

            Mujhe itna hi pata hai.. 

            Agar koi galat baat bol diya maaf karein.

            I am not very well read person. I donno now. pls. forgive me if I say something wrong.

            Jai Sri Krishna.

            SB 10.47.12
            Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī indirectly chastised Kṛṣṇa by chastising the bumblebee, which She took for His messenger. She addressed the bumblebee as madhupa, “…
            • As far as what you talked about father and 10 sons' that is vatsalya prem. 

              Bhakti also has many types.

               12 different relationships (rasas) a living entity can have with Lord Krishna 5 are prominent (Chaitanya Charitamrta) . They are:

              1. shanta rasa - relationship in neutrality e.g. 4 Kumaras,
              2. dasya-rasa - relationship in servitude e.g Hanuman, servants of Krishna in Dwaraka ( Daaruka the charioteer of Krishna).
              3. sakhya-rasa - relationship in friendship e.g. Arjuna, Sudama, Sridama, etc
              4. vatsalya-rasa -relationship in parenthood e.g. Nanda & Yashoda, Vasudeva & Devaki, Dasharatha & Kaushalya, etc
              5. madhurya-rasa - conjugal relationship e.g. the gopis. queens of Dwaraka, etc.

              Madhurya rasa is further divided into two varieties, namely Svakiya & Parakiya.

              Svakiya rasa is the relationship with Lord Krishna as a formally married husband,

              Parakiya rasa is the relationship with Lord Krishna as a paramour.

              Expert analysts have decided that the transcendental ecstasy of the parakiya mellow is better because it is more enthusiastic - A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

              Chaitanya Charitamrta Adi Lila 4.47- 49

              Therefore I call it madhura-rasa. It has two further divisions, namely wedded and unwedded love.

              There is a great increase of mellow in the unwedded conjugal mood. Such love is found nowhere but in Vraja.

              This mood is unbounded in the damsels of Vraja, but among them it finds its perfection in Sri Radha.

              The “Raasa” of Krishna with the maidens of Vrindavan falls under the category of the Parkiya raasa.

              • And Vatsalya bhav prem has some limitations.. like as us said.. trust n partiality.

                The father had more trust on one child and he loves him more than rest of ten sons.

                Right? that is why it is incomplete and not highest form of love.

                a mother also sees differences between her two kids...If one kid is handicapped she gives more importance to that kid then the other kid.  This form of love is not highest form of love..

                highest form of love is Gopi love where they dont have any conditions to love.. Even if the person wont love them back.. or if the person breaks their trust and abandons them and goes to other gals also....the gopis's didnt lose their love for Krishna. Though they kept on blaming Krishna about HIS deceitful words  calling him cheater and what not their were having love for him and couldn't stop talking about HIm when Uddhav ji came to them with a sandesha.( letter from sri krishna).

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