Unconditional love is a fierce commitment to reject all but the One || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: Anshu’s question, all humans and living body are confined by the 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 practically one take all the hurt, criticism, pain from others, and yet love them unconditionally? Can this be real and achievable?

Anshu, we have all experienced the excitement, the euphoria, the bliss, of the so called ordinary love, mortal love, ishq-e-majazi; and it’s wonderful. It’s just that it depends on ‘somebody’ for its being. It has a particular reason for its existence; 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, get into the same state of mind, the same euphoria, the same excitement, the same bliss, even more intense, experience them even more intensely, but without a reason. In your 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 would always be fear associated with that, the feeling can never go very deep.

You would experience bliss accompanied by fear, so things will be superficial. There would be boundaries, and fear would be lurking down 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 special person of yours. It’s a misconception. Unconditional love is not an expansion of conditional love. What we often think is that “Just as I have feelings and attachment for particular one person, if the same kind of feeling and attachment is there for twenty thousand persons or the entire universe then this is called unconditional love.” No this is not unconditional love.

Unconditional love means: experiencing the Bliss of Love without any conditions attached, without any reasons. A reason is a condition.

Listener 1 : How does the mind, the body, go out of that reason? Means, soul is within the body, and with that limitation you are thinking, if somebody tries to cut my hair it will pain.

Speaker: It will pain.

Listener 1: And if you continue to believe, and I may have certain tolerance in it, but ultimately it will be really, really painful.

Speaker: Yes.

Listener 1: But enlightenment asks me to not to experience my pain and be devoid of that pain and still love that axe which is cutting.

Speaker: No it does not say that ‘do not experience that pain’, till the time you are there, the physical processes of the body will be there. What is being said is very-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 the 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 contented, 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 ecstasy of love, this is unconditional love.

Listener 1: How?

Speaker: When you say “How?”, then you are asking..

Listener 1: Does he know something more?

Speaker: That’s the keyword – ‘Does he know something more?’. When you are asking “How?”, what you are saying is “This unconditional love, this 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, it is our natural state; so there is no question of achieving it. One does not achieve it, 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 “How?” will only spoil the state, when you say “How to achieve?”, you would do something to achieve and you would find reason, and that reason would again be something to do with an object, get money, get a particular person, get respect, something “How we pertain to that?”. Getting it? So there is no ‘how’ in that. In fact, there is only removal of all ‘how’ and ‘reasons’. You said, “Does the second person know something more?” The second person does not know something more, the second person does not have 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 has no reason and reason is ego, reason is calculation. You don’t have to do something to gain that unconditional thing, you in fact have to get rid of a few thing. 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 contented, to feel ecstatic unless I have attained something. You have imposed a condition, you don’t impose a condition, 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 that I have to love all the women of 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; that will not be unconditional love.

Listener 1: Let’s say you are already in a relationship, right. We always divide ourselves in name, even “I am a daughter or I am wife or I am a teacher or I am a neighbor”, so in that relationship whatever object comes in front of you, where you have to deal with that relationship, so as a daughter, you are respected.

Speaker: But love is not something that is applicable to relationship in particular. Love is not something that has got 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 the presence of an 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 something 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, in the world. There is a state of the mind which remains continuously untouched by whatever is happening outside, this is called unconditional. It doesn’t matter what is happening here, there, with that person, in the future, in the past, today, 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, that doesn’t matter, this unconditionality itself is the Love.

So when you say unconditional love, you are actually using a redounded word, you may just as well say – unconditional. And that is 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 entire universe, unconditional love is actually a movement within. It’s a closeness of the mind to its own Source and such an intimate closeness that it is unaffected by the situations on the periphery.

We will not use sentences or phrases like “I love you unconditionally.” No. You do not love a person unconditionally. If you love a person, condition has already been set, and 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 he is also foolish. Are you getting it? Till the time it has anything to do with the other, it is your ordinary attraction, it is not Love at all. Love is only unconditional, and it would appear quite awkward initially to hear that Love has nothing to do with the other. You would feel like asking “Then whom are we loving?”. Nobody. Because Love is not at all about anybody else. Love is primarily your own mind.

A 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, they 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. Because this mind is at peace, this peace reflects in its interactions 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 one can ever have. So there is no reason for it to be ambitious, there is no reason for it to feel dissatisfied. When the maximum, the ultimate is so readily available then there is no reason for this mind to devise methods and schemes. So this not a cunning mind, it’s 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 this symbol is a loving mind” the primary thing is the closeness of mind to its Source, when that happens, then all these symbols, signs, characteristics, symptoms, they start showing up.

Generosity does not come from no-where, generosity comes, when you are feeling full, and that feeling of fullness comes only when you have the ultimate in your back pocket, “So I can now distribute and distribute without thinking that I would be lessened”, this is unconditional love. “I can distribute, I can give without thinking that anything can be reduced from me” this. is unconditional love. But remember before you come to the feeling of distribution you first have to come to the stage where you clearly see, where the mind clearly see that it has attained, there can be no generosity without attainment.

What is primary? –  The attainment, the generosity is secondary. We often do not have anything but ‘try’ to be generous, such 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 he 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 deprive? 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 anything extra, you are already doing so much.

Listener 2: I am not clear.

Speaker: You are not born poor, right? We earn poverty; we earn all kind of disease, so stop earning. I am not saying, go on a reverse process, you don’t even need to go on any kind of process. Because whatsoever process you will follow, will ultimately be ‘your’ process. Don’t follow any process. Just humbly accept for once, that whatever “’I’ will do” will be rotten, so seize 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 2: How is it possible to do not do anything?

Speaker: It is not at all possible till you have great belief in your capability. Till the point you keep believing that “’I’ can do something”, you will surely keep doing something. It’s only when you see the utter stupidity of all your action and effort, then all your action will seize. Till the time you don’t come to that point where you realize that whatever I do takes me two steps behind, you will not stop doing. You see, people ask questions and one question has come up today as well, that “Is it possible to understand something and yet not accept?” All these are deceptive questions. It is just that you are still greatly excited by your own caliber, you still want to do this and 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’ already achieved so much. ‘I’ am educated. ‘I’ am earning. ‘I’ am doing this. ‘I’ am doing that. ‘I’ have a mind. It does this, it does that.” Deep within that belief is holding up, that’s it’s nothing else. You don’t want it.

Don’t ask questions that “You know, I have understood but I am not accepting.” You don’t want to accept, that’s it, simple, full stop. You have no intention to accept. So when you have no intention to accept, then asking this kind of a question is pointless “Why am I unable to open my fist? Why am I unable?” Who is keeping it close? You are keeping it close, because you have belief in your power and you might, go ahead keep believing. That is the reason why in India, we believe in endless time, what Kabir call as ‘Chaurasi ka fer (cycle of birth and death)’ you will learn, if not in this birth, some other birth. Keep believing that you are somebody and keep pretending that “You know, it is not coming to me, it is not coming to me.” Every time it comes to you, you kick it away and you are saying, “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 you know, some evil conspiracy up in the heaven is keeping you deprived. There is no conspiracy anywhere in the heavens, you yourself don’t want anything to happen.

Your grand ego that has grand delusions about his 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? (Smiling) How will we have all the fun? You know what it means to become unconditional? It means becoming like trees and the river. If it is hot “We take it”, if it is cold “We take it”. From somewhere 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, I start having doubt; that is unconditional love.

Unconditional love is not about being fair weather friends with the Lord. “You keep giving me bounties, and you are so nice; and don’t gave me what I desire, then you have had it”. One of the most important reason, you know, why people change religions? When adversity comes, two things start happening in abundance: One, the Sunday attendance at churches, that increases. Second, a substantial chunk of people also convert to other religions. Why do they convert? “This god is not at all good, so much of adversity, I will go to some other god. The Christian god is not good, let me go to Islamic god.”  And those who are still trying, they say “Alright, let me give two more Sundays to the Christian god. (Sarcastically)” This is not unconditional love.

And remember, your interactions with other human beings, your interactions with the rest of the world, is just a reflection of what your primary relationship with your own Source is. “How will I behave with my husband?”, that will depend on how you believe with Source, how you behave with Source. “How will I behave with my neighbor?”, that depends on how you behave with your Source.

Listener 3: I am driving on the road, and someone hits, and my vehicle gets damaged. At that moment, your behavior is “Why? Why? This? This?”, you know road rage over the vehicle. To find peace in that situation, where you are in this thought process, you are living this life, it’s so very difficult. You know you find you are far away from what was actually be considered as, you know you are aligned to Source versus what you are right now.

Speaker: You know that’s a moment of infidelity. 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. “Sorry I got angry, sorry I thought I need to manage affairs. You are there to manage and yet I took matters in my own hands. Sorry.” that’s it, humble sorry.

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

Listeners: (All together) Himself.

Speaker: And this himself is?

Listener 2: His Source.

Speaker: When there is no love here (pointing towards the heart, indication towards a loving mind) 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 and mothers and wives and husbands and you want good relationships with them, right? Remember you can never directly have good relationships with them; your relationship with your kid can not be good till your relationship with your god is not good. Conversely, if you find that you have a bad relationship with your husband or your wife or your partner or your neighbour or anybody, 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 affair will come to an end.

Listener 3: It depends on both hands.

Speaker: There are no both hands. There is always only one hand. Remember what we are talking of? We are saying that “Love is not object dependent”. When you say both hands, you are saying, “I am 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..?”

Listeners: (All together) Your feeling towards me.

Speaker: “So you have the power to spoil my mood then”. Now the world has gain control of you, now the world has become your master. Choice is yours; either have One master and that one master is 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, you will be condemned to have billion masters, everything will have the power to lead you astray. Anybody will come and influence you. And if anybody can influence you, that is sure enough proof that you don’t love that One master.

Listener 4: So that is the fidelity, that whatever comes, we will be loyal to that One master, whatever happens now.

Speaker: That itself is called Advait (non-dual). That itself is called Vaidat.

Listener 4: That is the limit, like, not I do say achieve, that is just limitless. That is all and all is Love. And as the Kabir say very beautifully in one of his couplet that “Jab main tha, tab tu naahi; jab tu tha, tab main naahi (When I was, then You weren’t; when You were, then I was not); prem gali ati sakri, jaa mein do na samaye (The road of Love is too narrow, two cannot exist)”. Though, it’s our perception, but when it want again, it would be wrong to say that, because words are just making the discussion of the expression, that I started walking the path of the so called path, you cannot go out, it is just, that is all, nothing else; that is the state, it’s flowing.  But then you are walking and others start like throwing stones on you or whatever, that is whatever comes, you won’t stop; you are One with the master.

Speaker: You want me to go a little more on this? When you are One with the master; you know the master. And when you know the master, then you know that others are not throwing stones on you, the master himself is throwing stones at you.  And when your lover throws stones at you, you know that he is just having a 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 who has thrown a stone, it’s the total, it is a will of the universe, it’s the Source itself that has thrown a 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 strained, you will not immediately become an infidel.

Listener 5: The peace will not be disturbed.

Speaker: The peace, that intrinsic peace will not be disturbed.

Come what may – that is unconditional love.


“My intrinsic peace is never disturbed, come what may.”

Listener 3: It is like we are seeing superficially and we are seeing the bodies.

Speaker: And superficially and bodily, I will respond. There will be times on I will be required to run away, I will run away, but one can run away in peace. There will be times on I will be required to shout, I will shout, but one can shout?

Listener 3: Only when he is in peace.

Speaker: No not only when, mostly people shout peace-lessly; but there can be a way and yet not loose your essential peace, it’s still there. I have not gone bonkers, my head is not spinning.

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: Unconditional love is a fierce commitment to reject all but the One The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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