What is Love?

By Osho Shailendra, Posted on Jan 27, 2009

WHAT IS LOVE? WHAT IS THE RELATION BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE?                                                 

Ma Antar Veena, love is related to hate in the same way as birth is related to death; light to shade; day to night; and nectar to poison. But do not mistake my words. When I say nectar and poison I am not talking about two opposite elements. They are two sides of the same coin. Birth is one side, death is the other. 



Love and Hate are Isomorphic

What you call love ordinarily is hate from another angle. Less hate is known as love. Less love is known as hate. There is not much difference. Its better we invent a new word with love and hate put together. Some psychiatrists have already started using this. They call it ‘LOVEHATE’. They are joined together without even a hyphen in between. This is really the truth. When we hate someone as we say, we also love him/her. As hate increases, love decreases.


Everything in life is isomorphic, containing mixture of two end constituents. We can mention it in form of proportion; degree; percentage. That’s why we hate the same person, we love. But yes! Sometimes our emphasis is on love, sometimes it is on hate. And both are interchangeable.


When I say personal relations are like nectar and poison, then they are not supposed to mean opposite poles. If someone takes elixir in large quantity, that too can prove to be poisonous. And if, poison taken in right quantity and at right time, it will act as elixir. Where do you think all these medicines come from? All these are made from very poisonous substances. But when taken for right disease, at the right time, in appropriate dosage, it acts as medicine, nectar. So there is no qualitative difference between nectar and poison. The only difference is that of quantity, the proportion.  If you start having 50 tablets, instead of one, that you are supposed to have thrice a day…. fifty instead of one, then, it can kill you, instead of curing you. You might say how medicine can kill us, when it is supposed to cure!  In life, we see things in opposite, in dualities, whereas they are not so. Just a little bit of difference in quantity and it makes a lot of difference. There is no qualitative difference, it is quantitative. So generally, what we call love and hate are two sides of the same coin. It seams a bit difficult to understand…but life is like this…mysterious! Life is like a riddle. Nothing is impossible…anything can happen here.


Mullah Nassruddin was tired of his wife and decided to commit suicide one night. He bought poison from the market and gulped it. He wrote a suicide note to his wife that he was going to die and had only one last death wish. It is that, she should marry his enemy Mahmud Mian, who lived in their neighborhood. Mullah and this man had always troubled each other. Mullah wrote to his wife “I want to avenge him even after my death. You have given me enough trouble, now you give trouble to my enemy.” After writing this note Mullah took poison and laid to die. The wife woke him up at six in the morning to make the children ready for school. She saw the note and started crying. Mullah woke up listening to her cry. He had not died! He was alive…Indian poison! Can anyone die of it? Mullah’s wife was pleased that he had not died and so announced that she was going to distribute sweets to the whole of neighborhood. She, Mullah and their children enjoyed having sweets. She was happy her husband had been saved. But after having those sweets she, Mullah and twenty other people in the neighborhood died. Indian sweets!


People don’t die of poison, but can die of having sweets. In life things are so confused that it is difficult to say which one will prove to be nectar and which one is poison. In nectar and poison the difference is not that of opposites but is that of quantity.


Love may be Food for Ego


The wife also wonders why she becomes so violent with her husband at times, although she loves him so much. It is because of the difference between her opposing emotions. These are variations of emotions, in quality as well as quantity. Sometime, we see one side of the coin and sometimes the other side of it. The coin as a whole includes both sides together.


Normally what you call love is only one side of the coin. The other side is hidden behind. Love is exploiting and feeding each other's ego. We satisfy the other person's ego. We keep giving compliments that the other person is so beautiful, intelligent, that we have not seen any one in this world like him, he is one in millions! The other feels loved by this. This is only feeding your ego, satisfying each other's ego. And along with this comes exploitation. These compliments are not being given for free. Something is being extracted in exchange of this. These compliments, poetry, songs are not for free. One will have to pay for them. And this has been going on from both the sides; both the persons are doing the same kind of thing: Satisfying each other’s ego.


What we normally call love is feeding the ego and behind it is hidden the exploitation of each other. That's why this love soon changes into hate. Sometimes love is in the forefront and sometimes hate. And they keep changing like night and day. That's why I said love and hate are related to each other like light and shade; day and night; nectar and poison.


Love is a Rainbow

Ma Antar Veena, you ask me - what is love? Love is a rainbow, the whole range. Do not understand it as divided into two opposite things. It can become clearer, if you divide it in smaller divisions. If we pick two extreme colors of the rainbow, violet and red, they may appear opposite to each other. But when we understand the whole range and all seven colors hidden in the rainbow, we can understand that they are all interchangeable. Violet becomes blue. There's not much difference between the two. There is green between blue and yellow. When blue overlaps yellow, we get green. Similarly there are other colors. If we understand the whole range then we can see that ultraviolet and infrared, which are beyond the rainbow, are also in a sequence. And we can also see that they are all interchangeable.


Love is a rainbow. Even opposite things are not exactly opposite. The colors that seemed different are also coming out of the same source. The same way is life energy, like the sun light, which is one, and appears like a rainbow of different colors to us. Our love energy is expressed exactly like this, in seven colors.


First Expression: Possessiveness


First of all, let us understand the first kind of love, that is, LOBH, Greed and grip over things, such as home, material objects, money, places and so forth. English word LOVE is just mispronunciation of Sanskrit root LOBH. This is most impure kind of love, when we say these are my things; my house; my land, my furniture; my jewelry. People say that I love my car; Women say that I love my clothes and ornaments. Possessiveness is love of the lowest type. But we cannot deny the fact that this is also love, love towards material objects, riches, etc. This is related with the first center MOOLADHAR Chakra.


Second Expression: Libido


Above this is the love of the second level, love for the physical body, KAAM, which takes the shape of lust or sex. So the first kind of love is towards things, which takes the shape of possessiveness and the second kind of love takes the form of libido. This is related with the second center SWADHISTHAN Chakra.


Many people love their wives or husbands, girlfriends or boyfriends, as they love their collection of furniture and antiques, then their love has not grown to second type. They are using and manipulating living persons as dead things. The other person never gets satisfied and feels insulted with such love; and frequently becomes angry. This is the psychology behind constant conflict between sexual partners, the husband and wife, the so called ‘intimate enemies’.


Third Expression: Belongingness


The third Chakra is called MANIPUR which is the center of vital force. If it is weak, the person is full of fear. When it functions well, the person becomes courageous. The third type of love is born out of fear, BHAYA. Tulsidas says: “BIN BHAYA HOYE NA PREETI”. It means: Love cannot happen without fear. He is talking about this category of love. Mostly dependent people like children, youngsters, students, servants, or subordinates show reverence to their parents, elders, teachers, masters, or bosses because they are afraid, they pretend to be loving, caring, respecting to the powerful.


People feel insecurity in being alone; they like to belong to a group, society, school of thought, tradition, culture, nation, religion, cult, political party, club etc. Family is also an institution, which fulfils the need of belongingness.


In first type of love there is a need that something should belong to me. In third type of love there is a need that I should belong to somebody, some institution, ideology, philosophy or God. Third category of love can be called 'MOHA' and ‘MAMTA’, attachment and belongingness born out of fear and insecurity.



Fourth Expression: Emotional Love


The fourth is what we normally call emotional love or PREETI at the level of the heart, ANAHAT Chakra. It can be kept in the middle, on the fourth level, because there are three colors below and three shades above it. So let's call this kind of love HUMAN LOVE. Feelings and sentiments become important from this point onwards. Lower three levels are subhuman, animalistic.


A person can be called really human if he knows emotional love and is full of commitment, authentic respect and compassion for the other.


This can be divided further into several subtypes, for example: affection or VATSALYA for those younger to us, compassion or KARUNA for those weaker than us, PREM for equals, reverence or SHRADDHA for elders, parents, guides, gurus; and GAUNI-BHAKTI or lower type of devotion for God in any form.


Fifth Expression: Friendliness


The fifth kind of love arises from very deep psychology, which we call 'MAITRI' or friendship. Neither the material attraction nor physical relation is relevant; neither fear-based nor emotion-based attachment exists. If the thinking process of the two people matches then friendship happens. That happens at the level of conscious mind or intellect. It is above emotional, security, sexual and material needs. It belongs to the fifth center VISHUDDHA Chakra. When it is not addressed to someone particular, but becomes part of our very being, not merely a relation with somebody but an attitude towards whole world, then it is called friendliness or ‘MAITRI-BHAV’. Osho says that friendliness is a higher value than love.


Sixth Expression: Meditation


There is a kind of love above friendliness too. And that is at the level of AJNA Chakra, the center of super-consciousness. Up to fifth, love is other-oriented. When the love turns upon one-self, the consciousness becomes conscious of itself; it is called Self- Love, Meditation or DHYAN. This is much higher than the love expressed in five previous categories. Meditation is 180 degree turning of energy from outer to inner, from other to one-self. Reality of “ATMA” or ‘SELF’ is realized. Lower three categories are animalistic, fourth and fifth are human, sixth is superhuman and seventh kind of love is divine.


Seventh Expression: Divine Love


The love arising from the seventh center, SAHASTRAR Charka, is toward PARAMATMA- the Ultimate Self. When we get acquainted with any internal manifestation of ‘Brahma', for example: divine light, divine sound, divine fragrance, nectar, or divine energy; Samadhi dawns at this level. This is Supreme-Love…… Extremely pure! No more bound to material, physical, emotional or psychological phenomenon. Here we go beyond matter, thinking and feelings. So we may call it PARABHAKTI or higher type of devotion for formless Godliness. This is the highest peak of love.


God is also called BRAHMA, which means ‘The Expanding One’. Expansion of consciousness is felt in Samadhi; that is the experience of BRAHMA. In Sanskrit there is one more word for God: HARI, which comes from HARAN, which means stealing. HARI OM TATSAT means the divine sound is the ultimate truth, which will steal you from yourself. Nothing will be left behind. Falling in love with the divine sound is divine love, PARABHAKTI or Samadhi.


Transcendental Love


Beyond seventh love is transcendental love. Kabir says: PREM GALI ATI SANKARI, TA MEIN DO NA SAMAYE. This means that the path of love is so narrow that two cannot walk in it. He is talking about ADWAIT, the oneness. Here duality is not possible. When oneness dawns there remains neither 'I' nor 'You', neither God nor devotee, neither BHAGWAN nor BHAKTA. Nothing remains. That's the crescendo of love, love transcending itself.


So try to understand this rainbow of seven shades of love. The first is greed or LOBHA towards things; the second is sex…love for the body; third is attachment or MOHA originating from fear; fourth is PREETI at the level of feelings and emotions; fifth is friendship or MAITRI at the level of conscious mind; sixth is meditation or DHYAN at the level of soul or consciousness; seventh is called devotion, PARABHAKTI, or SAMADHI. Beyond the rainbow is the experience of all the colors mixed in one, called ADWAIT. This is being in union with the whole existence.


ADWAIT is the crescendo of love. This is the final destination of love, where all duality disappears, the two-ness vanishes. Don’t stop at any point before you reach this target. The rest are just steps towards this final goal. Until you reach the crescendo of love, don’t stop anywhere.




This journey is from KAAM or desire to RAAM or divinity. Love is at the mid-point, on the fourth step. It has three extensions below and three above it. If it goes downwards, it becomes belongingness, libido or greed. If it rises upwards, it becomes friendliness, meditation, Samadhi and ultimately the dissolution into non-duality.


After understanding the rainbow of love, now it will be easier to answer your question: WHAT IS RELATION BETWEEN LOVE AND HATE? The more you go to lower realms of love, hate increases and the amount of love decreases. The more you rise in love, the amount of hate decreases, and love increases. Love keeps getting purified on each higher ladder.


Both love and hate are a play of the same energy. At the first level love is only 1% present, almost missing. There is 99% hatred, possessiveness, attachment, jealousy, sexuality, manipulating and using the other. The more you rise, hate disappears completely, and only love remains, almost 99% pure.


And in the middle, at the fourth level, what we normally call love is indeed a mixture of the two. Both love and hatred are there 50% each.


Everything depends on what you consider yourself to be! Do you think of yourself to be a physical body? Then your love would be lust. You will get connected to the other at same level as you consider yourself to be. If you consider yourself heart-centered, in the middle, then you will connect at the level of feelings. If you think of yourself as conscious mind or intellect, then your relation will be that of friendship. If you consider yourself witnessing soul, then you will be meditative and start loving your self-the formless inner space. If you consider your self as pure consciousness, then you will see in others what you are able to see within yourself.



If you, yourself are sex-centered, then it’s not possible for you to perceive the other as consciousness. You will be able to feel the consciousness in the other only if you have felt it within yourself. Then your love will go on rising higher.


When you find the divinity, the PARAMATMA, within yourself, you will be able to see it in each and every particle on this Earth. Then your love becomes divine. And one day the ultimate happening ‘enlightenment’ will happen to you, where the duality even between the worshipped and the worshipper dissolves.


Then BRAHMACHARYA happens to you. You start living like God. I want to add two new words here: AHAMCHARYA, that means living at the level of ego, and PREMACHRYA, that means living at the level o heart, at the level of feelings. You can behave in three ways or live at three levels at AHAMCHARYA, PREMACHRYA or BRAHMACHARYA. And they are not opposite to each other. They are connected to each other like the steps of a staircase. We have to climb up the ladder from the bottom and reach to the top.

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