What Is Unconditional Love?
Summary: Sadhguru tells us that, this concept of unconditional love, is grossly misunderstood. There is nothing like conditional love, or unconditional love. He says - "There is either love or no love. Either you know love in your life or you know a mutual benefit scheme"! All relationships are transactions, and we must manage them gracefully. Sadhguru narrates a beautiful and touching story (from her grandmother) to highlight this aspect. Sadhguru says - "Do not get lost in ideas of unconditional love. Love itself is a condition."
article originally published on isha.sadhguru.org
How To Love Unconditionally
Questioner: Namaskaram. How to give unconditional love? I always have issues with that when I am dealing with people, particularly with my wife.
Sadhguru: If it becomes unconditional, she will not be your wife. It is a condition of marriage that she should always be your wife. Within this condition, how can it be unconditional? Right now, your very life is a condition. Only if you fulfill certain conditions will life happen. When it comes to an emotion like love, there is no such thing as conditional love or unconditional love. There is either love or no love. Either you know love in your life or you know a mutual benefit scheme. “I will give you this – you will give me that. If you do not give me this, I will not give you that.” If it is a mutual benefit scheme, run it gracefully.
Benefit schemes are needed. With business partners, neighbors, husband, wife, children, father, mother, there have to be some transactions. If you think this is all one overflowing love affair, you are still living in la-la land. Your wife should bring you down to earth. Romance is fine, but when it comes to relationships, there is a transaction. If you do not want to admit that, you will suffer. If you admit it, you will learn to conduct it gracefully and well. If you say, “I gave you so much – what are you giving me,” it becomes ugly. There is a way of running it in a graceful manner, so that what you give is not noticed by anyone.
The Generous Brothers
My great-grandmother told me many stories – this is one that stuck with me. This story is not the basis of my life but definitely shaped me in some ways. There was a man and his wife. In those days, the man worked the land, grew crops, and made money. And if you had boys, you could work more land. They had two boys. These two boys grew up into strong young men. They worked hard with their father, increased their land, and became well-to-do. When the man was getting very old, he told his two sons, “I may die anytime. This is one thing you must maintain at all times. After my death, both of you should always share the produce of this land fifty-fifty. Never should there be any debate, argument, or fight about that.”
One day, a worm entered the unmarried brother’s head. He thought, “My brother has a wife and five children to take care of, and I am single…”
The old man died, and the boys took care of that. In India and many other parts of the world at that time, there was no question of dividing the land. Only the produce could be divided, not the land. Only in the last four generations, maybe after the British came, we started dividing the land. So, the two brothers always split the produce equally between themselves. One of them got married, and he had five children. The other one never got married. But still they shared fifty-fifty. One day, a worm entered the unmarried brother’s head. He thought, “My brother has a wife and five children to take care of, and I am single. Still I take fifty percent, and he takes fifty percent. This does not seem to be fair. But it was our father’s wish. And my brother is so proud that if I try to give him some more, he will not take it. So let me do something else.” He started an operation. Once the harvest was over, every night, he secretly carried a sack of grain on his back and put it in his brother’s store.
The same worm entered his brother’s head, and he thought, “I have five boys growing up. In a few years, I will have much more happening for me. My brother has no one. What will he do later on? But he takes only fifty percent; I take fifty percent. If I try to give him more, he will not take it.” He started taking one bag of grain every night and putting it in his brother’s store. A kind of reverse osmosis of grains was happening. Both of them did not realize that for a long time.
They were growing old and still continued to do this. One day, as they were walking with a sack of grain towards the other one’s store, they bumped into each other. They looked at each other and suddenly realized what had been happening all this time. They quickly averted their eyes, walked on, took the sack of grains to its destination, went back to their houses, and slept. Time passed, and they became old and died. The towns people wanted to build a temple and were looking for a nice site for it. After a long search, they decided the best place to build a temple was where these two brothers met with a sack of grains on their backs, and were embarrassed about their own generosity. If you live like this, you are a living temple. Then you do not have to worry about unconditional love, conditional love, and all this.
A Pool of Gratitude
If you do not count what you give but always remember what you get, you will naturally be a pool of gratitude. Drop this nonsense of “How much I have done!” If you do not expect anything from anyone, you will live easy. If you expect something from someone, or you ask yourself whether they love you or not, then all these problems arise. When you do not expect anything from anyone, if they do it, it is wonderful for them. If they do not, what is the problem?
Do not get lost in ideas of unconditional love. Love itself is a condition.
A relationship is a transaction; it takes a certain skill to run it well. Otherwise, it can turn ugly. You may have seen how wonderful it can be with someone on one day, and how ugly it can be with the same person on another day.
Unfortunately, most people do not want to acknowledge that a relationship is a transaction. There are certain ground rules and conditions for it. Only if you stay within these rules and conditions, will you run the relationship successfully. If you have la-la ideas like “our love is unconditional,” any day, it will break down.
Do not get lost in ideas of unconditional love. Love itself is a condition. Why should you love? If your emotions are sweet, you will look at anything you see lovingly – whether it is the sky, a lake, a man, or a woman – simply because you are loving in nature. There is no condition on it. It is your quality, not someone else’s.