What is unconditional Love? || Acharya Prashant (2014)

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.


Speaker: All humans in the living body are confined by needs of the body. Isn’t it then too much to ask for unconditional love, for those who hurt you when actually you are deeply affected by that hurt? How can one practically take all the hurt, pain, criticism from others and yet love them unconditionally? Is this real and achievable?

We have all experienced the excitement, the euphoria, the bliss of the so-called ordinary love; mortal love, Ishq-e-majazi, and it is wonderful. It is just that it depends on somebody for its being. It has a particular reason for its existence and that reason most often is one particular person. There is a particular person in life and usually of the opposite gender. So there is one particular person, and the presence of that person has opened some doors for me. It has brought the mind to a particular condition. That is our ordinary love, what we call as conditional love. What then is unconditional love?

Unconditional love is when you are in the same state of mind, and you experience the same euphoria, the same excitement, the same bliss perhaps even more intense. You experience it even more intensely but with no reason. In ordinary love there is that feeling of lightness for a reason, and because there is a reason, the reason can be taken away. So consequently, there will always be fear associated with that. The feeling will never be very deep. You would experience bliss, accompanied by fear, so things would be very superficial. There would be boundaries. Fear would be lurking around the corner. Unconditional love does not mean love him and love her and love all of them in the same way as if you are loving that particular person of yours. It is misconception. Unconditional love is not an expansion of conditional love. What we often think is that just as I have feelings and attachment for a particular one person, if the same kind of feeling and attachment is there for 20,000 persons or the entire universe, then this is called as unconditional love. No, this is not unconditional love. Unconditional love means experiencing the bliss of love without any conditions attached, without any reasons. Reason is a condition.

Listener 1: How do the mind, the body go out of that reason? When the soul is within the body, and with that limitation you are thinking that if somebody tries to cut my hand, it will pain and I may have a certain problem. But ultimately I am going to be in a lot of pain. Enlightenment asks me to not experience my pain and be devoid of that pain and still love that axe which is cutting. How is it possible?

Speaker: No, it is not saying that do not experience that pain. As long as ‘you’ are there, the physical processes of the body will be there. What is being said is very simple. You need not bring in terms like soul and all. There is one fellow walking on the road appearing very light, very happy, very contended. Why? Because he has that someone special in his life. This is conditional love. And on the same road you have another fellow walking, who is equally happy, probably even happier. His happiness is more intense, it is joy, very light-hearted, very contended but without any reason. The first fellow has a reason. What is the reason? I just got my girlfriend. The second fellow has no reason yet he is experiencing the ecstasy of love. This is Unconditional love

Listener 2: How? Does he know something more?

Speaker: When you say ‘how’, what you are saying is that this unconditional love, the state of the second person, is a thing of achievement. So one can go out and achieve it and ‘how’ pertains to the method of achieving it. You are asking for that. The state of the second person is not a state to be achieved, it is just a clean slate. This feeling of ecstasy, this love, this is our natural state, so there is no question of achieving it. One does not achieve it. Yes you can work hard to obfuscate it, to spoil it, to cover it, to run away from it, but you cannot achieve it. So all ‘hows’ will only spoil the state. When you say ‘how to achieve?’ you would do something to achieve and you would find a reason and that reason would again be something to do with an object. Get money, get a particular person, get something. ‘How’ will pertain to that. Getting it? So there is no ‘how’ in that. In fact, there is only removal of all ‘hows’ and reasons. You said  that does the second person know something more. Does the second person have something more? The second person does not have something more, the second person does not know something more. In fact, he is poorer than the first person. The first fellow has a reason. The second fellow does not have a reason so it’s not something additional that he has, it’s something lesser that he has. He does have not a reason and reason is ‘ego’. Reason is your calculation. You don’t have to do something to gain that unconditional thing. You in fact have to get rid of a few things. Look at the word ‘unconditional love’. Conditions are gained. What do we do? We gain conditions. What is meant by gaining conditions? We apply conditions. We say ‘I will not allow myself to feel contended, to feel ecstatic unless I have attained something.’ You have imposed a condition. You don’t impose a condition and it is available, simply available.

So unconditional love does not mean two things. One, loving everybody in the same conditioned way as one loves one particular special person. That’s a great misconception. So, when we say unconditional love, people often get up and ask, ‘So does that mean I have to love all the women in the world in the same way as I love my wife?’ First of all you don’t love your wife. Second, even if you love five billion women in the same way as you love your wife, that will not be unconditional love.

Listener 2: Let’s say you are already in relationship. Right? We always give ourselves a name. Either I am a daughter, wife or a neighbor. So whatever object confronts you in that relationship, you have to deal with that relationship.

Speaker: Love is not something that is applicable to a relationship in particular. Love is not something that has greatly to do with a relationship. Love does not have greatly to do with the other. Love is your own state of mind. The other does not have much to do with love. That’s another misconception. That for love there has to be a presence of the other. Not needed. Love is essentially between the mind and the source, and because the source is the source of the mind itself, so again it is not between two entities, not between two separate entities.

A condition is something that changes. What is it that changes? Whatever is in the world will change. Whatever is in time and space will change. So what is meant by ‘unconditional’? Something which will remain unaffected by whatever is happening on the outside, the world. There is a state of the mind which will remain continuously untouched by whatever is happening outside in the world. That is called ‘unconditional’. It doesn’t matter what is happening here, there, with that person, in the future or in the past, today or tomorrow. ‘I have a particular state of mind that does not change’ and that is called the unconditional state. You may call it love, you may not call it love. This unconditionality itself is love. So when you are saying, ‘unconditional love’, you are using a redundant word. You may just say ‘unconditional’ and it’s sufficient. It suffices to say ‘unconditional’. You need not say ‘love’. That state of mind which remains untouched by all the movements in time and space is unconditional, and that alone is Love.

So contrary to what we usually assume, that love is about reaching out to the other, unconditional love is actually not about reaching out to one or thousands or the entire universe. Unconditional love is actually a movement within. It is a closeness of the mind to its own source and it is so close that it is unaffected by the situations on the periphery. We will not use sentences or phrases such as, ‘I love you unconditionally’. No, you do not love a person unconditionally. If you love a person, condition has already been set. What is the condition? I love a ‘person’. The boundary has already been drawn. So anybody who is making this statement that ‘I love you unconditionally’, does not know love and is also foolish. Are you getting it? Till the time it has anything to do with the other, it is your ordinary attraction. It has nothing to do with love. It would appear quite awkward initially to hear that love has nothing to do with the other. You would ask, ‘Then whom are we loving?’ Well, nobody. Because love is not at all about anybody else. Love is primarily your own mind. The mind that is in close contact, in intimacy with its own source is a loving mind. And that is why it is unconditional. Because when the mind is in contact with its own source, then whatever is happening on the periphery, all the conditions that are continuously changing on the periphery, do not affect the mind, and hence it is called unconditional love.

Now what is the quality of such a mind? This mind is at peace. And because this mind is at peace, this peace reflects in its interaction with the so-called others as well. This is not a violent mind, this is not a divisive mind, this is not a cunning mind, this is not an ambitious mind. It already has the maximum that anyone can ever have so there is no reason for it to feel ambitious. There is no reason to feel dissatisfied. When the maximum is so readily available, then there is no reason for this mind to devise methods and schemes. So this is not a cunning mind, it is a simple mind. This simplicity, this peace, this lack of ambition, this tendency to generously give and distribute, this shows in the interactions of this mind with the entire world. But these interactions, please remember, are not primary. These are mere symbols. You cannot say that anybody who displays these symbols, is a loving mind. The primary thing is the closeness of the mind to its source. When that happens, then all these signs, characteristics, symbols, symptoms, they all start showing up. Generosity does not come from nowhere. It comes when you are full and that feeling of fullness comes only when you have the maximum, the ultimate, in your back pocket. So you can now distribute, and distribute without thinking that it would be lessened. This is unconditional love. ‘I can distribute, I can give without thinking that anything can be reduced from me.’ But remember before you come to the feeling of distribution, you first come to the stage where you clearly see, the mind clearly sees, that it has attained. There can be no generosity without attainment.

So what is primary? The attainment. The generosity is secondary. We often do not have anything but try to be generous. This generosity is superficial, it is intended just to have a particular image. To deceive others, and sometimes ourselves.

Listener 2: How can one know that they have attained?

Speaker: You will feel like giving. How does one know that the plant is healthy? By the look of the leaf.

Listener 2: If one feels that one has not attained, then what should they do?

Speaker: They should stop doing whatever they are doing. If you feel you have not attained, it is purely by the virtue of what you are doing. Is the universe intent upon keeping you deprived? Then what has brought you to a stage where you feel that you have not attained? Your own actions, your own beliefs. Give them up. Stop doing what you are doing. You don’t need to do something extra, you are already doing so much. You are not born poor. Right? We earn poverty, we earn all kinds of diseases. So stop earning. I am not saying that go on a reverse process. You don’t even need to go on any kind of process because whatsoever process you follow will ultimately be your process. Don’t follow any process. Just humbly accept for once that ‘whatsoever I do will be rotten.’ So, cease doing, stop doing. That is all that is needed and you will stop doing only when you really, really feel the need to be peaceful.

Listener 3: Is it possible to not do anything?

Speaker: It is not at all possible till you have great belief in your capability. Till the time you keep believing that ‘I can do something’, you will surely keep doing something. It is only when you see the utter stupidity of all your actions and effort, that all your actions will cease. Till the time you don’t come to that point, till you realize that whatever I do will take me two steps behind, you will not stop doing. You see people ask questions. One question has come up today as well. ‘Is it possible to understand something and still not accept?’ These are all deceptive questions. It’s just that you are still greatly excited by your own caliber. You still want to do this or that. You simply don’t want to surrender. That’s it. There is no great complexity in your question. It’s just that your arrogant ego is still standing. You have a firm belief that ‘I am somebody, I will go out and prove myself’. ‘Who says that I cannot achieve anything? I have already achieved so much, I am educated, I am earning, I am doing this, doing that, I have a mind it which does this, does that.’ Deep within that belief is holding up. That’s it, nothing else. You don’t want it.

Don’t ask such questions as, ‘I have understood but I am not accepting’ You don’t want to accept! That’s it. Simple. You have no intention to accept. When we have no intention to accept, then asking this sort of a question is pointless. ‘Why am I unable to open?’ Who is keeping it closed? You are keeping it closed because you have belief in your power and your might. Go ahead keep believing. That is the reason why in India we believe in endless time. What Kabir calls as “chaurasi ka phera” . You will learn, if not in this birth then another birth . Keep believing that you are somebody, and keep pretending that ‘you know, it is not coming to me, it’s not coming’. Every time it comes to you, you kick it away and you are saying that it is not coming to you? Do you have any intention of welcoming it when it comes? It has come to you a thousand times. Every time you have turned it back. And here you are, posing as if some evil conspiracy in the heavens is keeping you deprived. There is no conspiracy anywhere in the heavens. You yourself don’t want anything to happen. You have a grand ego, that has grand delusions about its might. You don’t want to surrender. You have great faith in your own capability and cunningness. ‘I will get it done, I know the ways and tricks’. Try. If you will not try then how will we have all the fun?

Do you know what it means to become unconditional? It means becoming like the trees and the river. ‘If it is hot we take it, if it is cold we take it. From somewhere a lot of stuff comes, we take it. From somewhere nothing comes, we take it. Plenty of rain, we take it. A long drought, we take it. And for not a moment does my faith quiver. For not a moment do I start having doubts’. That is unconditional love. Unconditional love is not about being fair-weather friends with the Lord. ‘You keep giving me bounty’s and you are so nice! And don’t give me what I desire, then you’ve had it’. You know one of the most important reasons why people change religions? When adversity comes, two things start happening in abundance. One, the Sunday attendance at the churches increases. Second, a substantial chunk of people also convert to another religion. Why do they convert? ‘This God is not at all good. So many adversities. Let me go to some other God. ‘The Christian God is not good let me go to the Islāmic God.’ And those who are still trying say, ‘Alright, let me give two more Sundays to the Christian God.’ This is not unconditional love. And remember your interactions with other human beings, your interactions with the entire world is nothing but a reflection of what your primary relationship with your own source is. ‘How will I behave with my husband?’ That depends on how you behave with your source. ‘How will I behave with my neighbor?’ That depends on how you behave with your source.

Listener 1: If I am driving on the road and my car gets damaged due to somebody else’s fault. At that moment, it is human to say, ‘Why? Why me?’ Call it road rage. To find peace in that situation, when you are in this thought process is very difficult. You find that you are far away from what will actually be considered aligned to source versus what you are right now.

Speaker: That’s a moment of infidelity.(Listeners laugh) You have been disloyal to the Parampati. Just say sorry. What else can be done? The total was there to take care of you, and yet you thought that you are on your own. You need to say sorry. You have been infidel. Just say, ‘Sorry I got angry. Sorry I thought I need to manage the affair, you were there to manage and yet I took matters into my hand, sorry.’  That’s it. A humble sorry.

Please remember this clearly. If you have no inner connection with your own essence, you cannot love anybody else. You will be a very, very unloving and violent being. That is the fundamental and monstrous problem with being an atheist. An atheist cannot love others because he does not love..?

Listeners(everyone): Himself.

Speaker: And that himself is..?

Listeners(everyone): Source.

Speaker: When there is no love within, how can there be love radiating outwards? When there is no brightness within, how will you brighten others? You have babies, you have families, you have fathers, mothers and brothers and you want good relationships with them. Right? Remember you cannot directly have good relationships with them. You relationships cannot be good till your relationship with your God is not good. Conversely, if you find that you have a bad relationship with your wife, husband or neighbor, then it means only one thing. Your relationship with the source is bad. If that one relationship is good, all other relationships will be good. If that one relationship is bad, all other relationships will be necessarily bad. You may try to do whatever you want to do. Your best love affairs will come to an end.

Listener 4: It depends on both ends in a relationship.

Speaker: There are no ‘both ends’. There is only one end. Remember what we are talking of. We are saying that love is not object dependent. When you say ‘both ends’, you are depending upon the object. ‘I am depending upon her feeling towards me’ and this itself is a huge condition. My feeling towards you will depend on…?

Listener 5: Your feeling towards me.

Speaker: So, you have the power to spoil my mood. Now the world has gained control over you. The world has become your master. Choice is yours. Either have one master, the source or have a billion masters. Choice is yours. What do you prefer? Having one master or a billion masters? Depends on you. And if you don’t have loyalty to that one master, then you will be condemned to have a billion masters. Everything will have the power to leave you astray. Anybody will come and influence you. And if anybody can come and influence you, that is a sure enough proof, that you don’t love that one master.

Listener 6: Is this spirituality? That we will only love that one master. No matter what happens?

Speaker: That is what is called Advait.

Listener 5: Is this the limit? I do not mean achievement. Is this the limitless? Love is all, all is love?

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 6: So if you are walking the path and somebody is throwing stones at you, then you should not bother. Because love is all, all is love.

Speaker: When you are one with the master, then you know the master. Then you know that others are not throwing stones at you, the master himself is throwing stones at you. And when your lover throws stones at you, you know that this is just Leela. When your lover throws stones at you, you know that he is just indulging in some kind of playfulness. Coming close to the master, there are no others. Somebody has thrown a stone at you, it’s not somebody. It’s the total. It’s the will of the universe. It’s the source itself who has thrown the stone. Now how can I feel bad? That does not mean that you will not respond appropriately. You will respond appropriately but that primary relationship will not be stained. You will not immediately become an infidel. The intrinsic peace will not be disturbed, come what may. That is unconditional love. Come what may, my intrinsic peace is never disturbed.

Listener 4: It is just that we are superficially connected and we are seeing the bodies.

Speaker: And superficially and bodily, I will respond. There will be times when I am required to run away. I will run away. But one can run away in peace. There will be times when I will be required to shout. I will shout. But one can shout without losing his peace. I have not gone bonkers. My head is not spinning.

Listener 3: You just said that the superficial generosity, that ‘I am giving’ would be there but that doesn’t mean that there is a relationship with the source. This superficial generosity, will it have a limitation to itself after sometime, because there will be fear?

Speaker: You will give and count. You will give and count. ‘How much have I given and how much am I receiving back?’

-Excerpts from clarity session held at Advait office. Edited for clarity.

Watch the session at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lM9yrhV2rZ4

To personally meet or connect with Acharya Prashant: click here.

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4 comments

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