Love Cannot Deliver the Goods

First Question



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The first question:

Question 1


Real love always brings sadness. It is inevitable -- because love creates a space which opens new doors to your being. Love brings a twilight situation.

In the moment of love you can see what is unreal and what is real. In the moment of love you can see what is meaningless, what is meaningful, and at the same time you see you are rooted in the meaningless -- hence sadness. In the moment of love you become aware of your ultimate potential, you become aware of the farthest peak, but you are not there -- hence sadness.

You see a vision but it is a vision, and within a moment it will be gone. It is as if God has spoken to you in a dream and when you are awake you miss it. You know something has happened but it has not become a reality. It was just a passing breeze.

If love does not create sadness then know well it is not love. Love is bound to create sadness -- the greater the love, the greater will be the sadness in the wake of it.

Love opens the door to God. Two hearts come close, very, very close, but in that very closeness they can see the separation -- that is the sadness. When you are far away you cannot see it so clearly. You know you are separate but when you desire to be one with somebody and you long for it and there is great passion for it and you come close and you come close and then comes a moment when you are very, very close but beyond which you cannot go, you are stuck -- suddenly you become sad. The goal is so close by and yet it is beyond reach.

Sometimes after love you will fall into a deep frustrating night. Those who have not known love have not known the real misery, they have not known the real anguish. They live a flat kind of life. They have not known the peaks so they are not aware of the valleys. They have not reached to the maximum so they think that whatsoever they are doing is what life is supposed to be like. In love for a moment you become that which you should be. But it is only momentary.

If you want it to become an eternal reality for you then love itself is not enough -- then prayer will be needed. Love makes you aware of this need -- and unless you start moving in prayer, love will create more and more sadness.

You cannot become one in love. You can only have an illusion of becoming one. And that is the great desire -- how to be one, how to be one with the whole, how to fall in rapport with reality, how to disappear utterly. Because if you are, there is misery; if you are, there is anguish; if you are, there is anxiety. The very ego creates the problem. When you melt and disappear, when you become one, there is nobody left behind. You are just a wave in this eternal ocean of existence. You don't have a centre of your own; the centre of the whole has become your centre. Then anxiety disappears, then anguish disappears, then the potential has become actual. This is what is called enlightenment, this is what is called nirvana or God-realisation.

Love is moving in the same direction, but it can only promise, it cannot fulfil. It cannot deliver the goods -- hence the sadness. You feel you are coming very close to the point where you can disappear and yet you don't disappear. Again you start falling away from your beloved. Again and again you will come close and again and again you will fall back into your aloneness. But you will never become one. And unless you become one, ecstasy is not possible.

A very famous existentialist, Nikolai Berdyaev, has written a few very pertinent things, very relevant to the question. He says: 'I have always been afraid of happy, joyful experiences for they have always brought me the most vivid memories of the agony of life.'

Certainly it is so. That's why the really miserable people don't rebel. The proletarians have never rebelled. Marx comes from a middle-class family, so does Mao, so does Lenin, so does Engels. All the revolutionists and all the revolutionaries come out of the middle-class, they don't come from the lower strata. They cannot come from there. People are so miserable that they can't believe that there is anything more. They have never tasted anything of joy. Because they have not tasted anything of joy they cannot conceive of their life as being miserable. They have no comparison.

Unless you know what illness is you will never feel what health is. If you have been ill from your very beginning -- if the day you were born you were born ill -- and you have never felt that well-being called health, you will not be very miserable with your illness. You will be perfectly satisfied with it. You will know that this is what life is.

That's why revolution does not arise from the lowest strata.

It does not arise from the highest strata either because they have much to lose. They cannot be revolutionaries. They have too much at stake. The poor have nothing to lose but they cannot feel their misery; the rich can feel the misery but they have too much to lose. Hence all revolutionaries are born from the middle-class -- those who have known both, a little bit of misery and a little bit of joy. Their perspective is very clear. They know joy is possible and because they know joy is possible their agony is intolerable.

Berdyaev says: 'On great feast days I almost invariably felt anguish, perhaps because I was awaiting some miraculous transformation of ordinary workaday life. But it never came.' Yes, on a feast day one feels more anguish because one hopes more. When you hope more, naturally you will feel more miserable if that hope is not fulfilled.

In the moment of love there is great hope. You have arrived -- and yet you never arrive. You feel it is almost going to happen -- now this is the moment -- and the moment comes and passes by and you are left again in the same wasteland as you have always been in. The clouds gather and it never rains and the desert remains a desert. If those clouds don't gather you will not be so hopeful. You know it is a desert. You accept it. You adjust tO it. But one day suddenly you see great clouds gathering, you feel it in the winds that it is going to rain you feel it all around that it is going to rain, your heart starts pulsating that now this desert will no more be a desert, now green trees will grow and birds will sing and there will be celebration.... And those clouds start disappearing.

Have you not seen it? Some day, walking in a dark night on a dark street, suddenly a car passes by with a flood of light. And after the car has gone the darkness is more than before. What happened? You were walking in the same night in the same darkness, but those lights, those headlights of the car, suddenly filled your eyes with light for a moment. Now in comparison the darkness is more. For a few minutes you may not be able to see at all. You will be left completely blind. This has been done by the light.

Exactly the same is the situation... when you are in love you are flooded with light. But then it is gone -- it comes and it goes, it is momentary. And in the wake is great sadness.

And even while love is there, those who are very perceptive know it is not going to be so forever. It is momentary. They are still trembling. Love is there but they know it is going to go -- hence sadness.

The question is from Ma Prem Abhinava. She must be very perceptive, intuitive. She must have the heart which can feel things even when ordinarily people don't feel. When there is love you enjoy; when it is gone you become sad. But if you are very, very perceptive you will become aware that exactly in the moment when love is there, just by the corner sadness is lurking.

Says Berdyaev: 'Love in particular seemed to me to carry within itself the seed of anguish and I have frequently been amazed that people could experience the exaltation of love as sheer joy and happiness.' He seems to be puzzled.

This man, Nikolai Berdyaev, was one of the greatest existentialists of this century. And existentialism has penetrated into life's mysteries very deeply -- not to the very end, of course, but existentialism is a good beginning. One should not get stuck in it because the beginning is negative. If you don't go into it, it remains negative. It starts turning to a positive quality only when you really go deep into it.

Buddha is also an existentialist but he went to the very end. Sartre, Heidegger, Jaspers, Marcel, Berdyaev, they are also existentialists but they are stuck somewhere in the middle, they have not gone to the very end. So they remain negative. But the insight is right -- on the right lines, in the right direction. The existentialists talk of despair, anguish, anxiety, angst, depression, sadness, misery -- all that is dark, dismal. They never talk of bliss, they never talk of joy, they never talk of celebration. Yet, I would like to tell you that they are moving in the right direction. If they move a little more, soon they will find joy arising.

I have heard about a very famous lady, a very respectable lady, well-known in the highest strata of society. In a get-together party, where all the prominent people of the country were present, she got too drunk. And somebody provoked her and she became so angry that she lost her control, her usual control. She lost her temper and said some vulgar words. People were shocked. They could not believe such ugly words could come from such a respectable woman. They had not ever thought about it. They were so shocked that silence fell and then she was also shocked by their shock.

Then she understood what she had done. She smiled -- a sweet smile that only ladies know how to do -- and said, 'I am sorry. It seems I am turning existentialist.'

Right now this is the situation. Existentialism has only been talking about vulgar things, the ill, pathological, negative -- the dark side of life.

It seems as if death is the object of meditation. But if you meditate long enough on death you will be surprised that in the very centre of death arises life.

Berdyaev says: 'Love in particular seemed to me to carry within itself the seed of anguish and I have frequently been amazed that people could experience the exaltation of love as sheer joy and happiness. Eros is in anguish for it is concerned with and deeply rooted in the mystery of time and eternity. It concerns time athirst for eternal fulfilment and yet never attaining it.

'Likewise there is anguish in sex. Sex shows man wounded, fallen apart, and never able to attain true fullness through union. It bids man to go out to another but he returns once more into himself and the anguish of his longing for unity continues unrelieved The desire for wholeness cannot be satisfied through sex; on the contrary, it only serves to deepen the wounds of disunity.'

The very word 'sex' comes from a Latin root 'sexus' which means division. Sex divides. It promises to unite but it never does. In fact, it divides. But there is a great desire in man to be united. The child in the mother's womb is united with existence. He has no separate existence. He has no separate reality. He is part of the whole. He has no self, no higher consciousness. He is, but he is not yet an ego. And that remains our deepest longing -- how to enter into the womb of existence again.

Psychoanalysts say that the effort of man to penetrate the woman while making love is really an effort to enter the womb again. And there is some truth in it. How to enter into that state of absolute calm, quiet, when the ego has not yet been stirred, when everything is in peace and harmony?

While a man and woman join in love they are trying to create a unity -- hence the attraction of love and hence the appeal of sex. But it never happens. Or, it happens for such a split second only that it doesn't matter really whether it happens or not. In fact, on the contrary, it creates more desire for unity -- more desire and more longing for the ultimate union. And each time frustration comes to hand. If you have eyes to see and if you have a heart to feel you will become sad; whenever you are in love you will become sad. Again the promise and again you know it is not going to be fulfilled.

Then what to do? Let your sadness in love become a pilgrimage into prayer. Let this experience of sadness become a great meditation in depth. First you have to dissolve the ego in your own inner being; you cannot dissolve it in anybody else. It will come back. Only for a moment can you create a state of forgetfulness.

So sex functions like alcohol, a natural alcohol. It is provided in the chemistry of the body but it is an intoxicant, it is a drug. It depends on chemistry. It is as chemical as LSD, marijuana -- the difference is only that it is bio-chemical, it is already provided by nature in the body. But it is a chemical phenomenon. Through chemistry you attain a glimpse. That's what happens when you take LSD -- through chemistry you attain a glimpse. That's what happens through all kinds of intoxicants -- for a moment you forget yourself. Even that momentary forgetfulness opens a window.

But forgetfulness is not a dissolution. You are not dissolved. You are there, waiting. Once the drug has worn off, the ego will grab you again. The ego has to be dissolved, not forgotten. That's the sadness of love: the ego is only forgotten and that too for a moment. Then it comes back. And comes back with vengeance. Hence you will find lovers fighting continuously. The ego becomes even more solid, crystallised.

And that's why you find lovers always thinking in terms of the other cheating them. Nobody is cheating. But you desired, you hoped, you fantasised a state of unity, and you were thinking that great ecstasy was going to happen and it didn't happen -- somebody has cheated you. Of course, naturally, the other becomes the object. And the other also thinks in the same way -- that you have cheated him or her. Nobody is cheating. Love has cheated you both. Chemistry has cheated you both. Unconsciousness has cheated you both. Ego has cheated you both. If you understand you will not fight with each other.

This revelation of sadness through love will become a revolution, a radical change in your life. You will start moving towards a new direction where the ego can be dissolved.

That's all that Sufism is about -- how to dissolve the ego.

And love gives great insight, hence I am all for love. But remember well, you have to go beyond it. I am all for it only so that you can go beyond it. It has to become a stepping stone. I am not against it, because people who are against it will remain below it, they will never go beyond it. People who have not known the ecstatic moment of love will not know the sadness of it -- how can they know?

A monk living in a Catholic monastery or a Jain muni living the life of an ascetic -- how are they going to know the sadness of love? They have renounced love. In that very renunciation they have renounced sadness also.

And without knowing the sadness of love you cannot take off into the world of prayer or meditation. That experience is a must.

A few things more.... The sadness that love brings is very potential, it is very deep, it is very healthy, it is helpful. It will lead you to God. So don't take it negatively, use it. It is a great blessing, that sadness felt in love. It simply shows that your aspiration is beyond the capacity of love, your aspiration is for the ultimate. Love can only give you a momentary satisfaction but not an eternal contentment. Feel grateful that love gave you that one momentary satisfaction and feel grateful that love made you aware of a tremendous sadness inside you.

When people are together in love they feel very alone. Nobody else ever feels such aloneness as lovers feel. Can't you remember it? While sitting holding the hand of your beloved on a full moon night, have you not felt it? -- utterly alone. The other is there, you are there and you both are for each other, there is no conflict -- yet there is no bridge. You are alone, she is alone... two alonenesses sitting together. And each making the other more aware of his own aloneness or her own aloneness.

Love is a great experience. It makes you feel one absolute truth -- that you are born alone, that you live alone, that you die alone. And there is no way to drown this aloneness in drugs -- whether those drugs are manufactured by nature in the trees or by factories or in the body. There is no way to drown this aloneness. One has to understand this aloneness, one has to penetrate this aloneness, one has to go into its very core. And when you have reached into the very core of your aloneness, suddenly- it is no longer aloneness, it is the very presence of God. You are alone because God is alone.

Says Mohammed again and again, 'There is no God but God. God is one.' Following Mohammed, a great Sufi mystic, Shapistari, says, 'Know one, see one, love one, be one.' You are already that but you have to penetrate inside yourself.

Your beloved will make you aware that there is no way to go out and become one. The way is inwards. Go in. Love naturally leads people into meditation. Lovers become meditators. Only lovers become meditators.

So, Abhinava, it is a blessing that you have felt sadness while in those beautiful moments of love. Take the hint. Understand the message. Your unconscious has given you the message to now turn inwards. The beloved resides in you; the beloved is not outside. The beloved resides your very heart. No other love and no other beloved is going to satisfy except God -- hence the sadness.


Next: Chapter 4, Love Cannot Deliver the Goods, The second question


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