What Is Real Love?
Reflect always on this deep truth: You belong to no one, and no one belongs to you. You are on this earth for only a little while. Your real reason for being here is altogether different from anything you may have imagined.
Your family claims you as its own. Should you die, however, and be reborn next door, will they love you? Will they even recognize you?
Your friends claim you as theirs, but if you cease in some way to please them, perhaps even by some trivial misunderstanding, how many of them will remain loyal to you? Not all of them, by any means.
Real love finds happiness, even at the cost of great personal sacrifices, in the happiness of the one loved. How many people love in that way? Very few! And of those few, how many find their love reciprocated? Fewer still!
Only our love for God is ever fully requited—indeed, far more than requited. For God understands us when all others misunderstand. God loves us when others betray us. God loves us when others turn against us. God remembers us when everyone forgets us. We are God’s and God’s alone, for all eternity.
The sun and moon and all things are held together by the bonding force of God’s love. If we want to know Him, we must not keep our love isolated and small, but conjoin it to divine love.
Through all the dance of life and death, know that God is love. The only purpose of life should be to find that love. There is no greater tonic. It can beautify man in both body and mind. Love cannot be described or defined: It can only be experienced, as a deep feeling.
All love, in its native purity, is God’s love. If pure love shines in your soul, you will be clothed with God’s ever-attracting, universal beauty and infinite love. All nations should come together in the temple of universal love and understanding.
Love alone will last. The laws of God are the laws of brotherhood and love.
Although man’s love is born in his human relations and in recognition of mutual usefulness, yet pure love, as it evolves spiritually, transcends all outer relationships and becomes freed from every condition of mutual usefulness.
Although love is born in that sense of usefulness, one ceases to be aware of any such outward condition. A mother’s love for her child may be taken as an example, for it is unconditional. A mother loves even a wicked child.
Excerpted from How to Love and Be Loved by Paramhansa Yogananda.
For more information on How to Love and Be Loved by Paramhansa Yogananda.