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Love is not natural, Love has to be learnt || Acharya Prashant, at BITS Goa (2023)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
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Questioner (Q): I think this is a follow up question of one of your videos, in which you described physical love, and you concluded with a statement that, “Love has to be learnt”. I wanted to learn more about this and how I can cultivate this kind of love in my own life.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Whatever comes naturally to you must be taken as problematic. I am saying this with a lot of responsibility and intent, instead we have been taught to accept natural things as beneficial as all right just because they are natural. That which is natural that is exactly that keeps you in bondage. That which you usually call love is just a natural attraction, belonging to the domain of attachment, āsakti , lust. One has to look at it with attention, is it love? Real love cannot be something so cheap that it starts coming naturally to you, the day you are fourteen.

“Now I am fourteen, my hormones are active, my glands are overactive, there is puberty, so I am in love.” And I couldn’t have been in love at the age of 10 or 11. Ever seen somebody falling in love at the age of four, six, five or something? Keep medical tragedy aside. You have stuff of that kind, somebody is generating a lot of testosterones even at the age 4, those kinds of cases can be ignored. How is it so that the love of the kind that we know of happens only after you cross a certain age? Obviously, that’s not love, that’s something of the body and if certain hormones are taken away from the body, that kind of love cannot happen right?

What love is that? That’s just iron and magnet? Sodium and water? A chemical reaction? That’s what that love is. But unfortunately, even very, very intelligent people, brilliant in their fields of occupation, brilliant in dealing with the objective world, when it comes to love, they do not know their mind. They do not know what is happening within and then they make disastrous life choices. In terms of choosing a person, choosing a residence, choosing a vocation, those who have researched into it. Those who have known something, they have said please understand what the mind is. They have said the mind is a thirsty entity. The mind is an entity that is always in want. Therefore, what is love? That which quenches the mind’s thirst is love. The mind is always in a state of attraction, it is attracted to something that would bring peace to it.

So, what then is love? Something that would really bring peace to you, that is love. Not hormonal activity, that cannot be love. But what we find is that men are necessarily attracted to women, women are necessarily attracted to men, obviously that as to be hormonal. Even if men are attracted to men, that’s for sexual reasons, so even that is hormonal, that is not love, that is just the jungle. That is just the old natural Prākṛtic game for reproduction, playing itself out. You might say that you have fallen for her eyes or hair or voice or style or knowledge, but ultimately what you get is baby.

And that’s what natural love is for, procreation, nothing else. Take sex out of the equation and tell me will people marry at all? Come on guys, be a bit honest. If it is certain that there is no possibility of sex, would you ever marry? Then you know what you marry for. You can marry if you know no money is involved, you can marry if you know that the right cast is not involved, you can marry even if a lot of other desirable things are not in the picture, you will still somehow tolerate the marriage, but you cannot tolerate the marriage if there is no sex involved. Even the law says, that if there is no sex for a period of X months, then the couple is entitled to be divorced. You can be separated because there is no real action happening. So, you are not man and wife anymore, that’s not love. Nor is it love when you say, oh! I love chicken, right?

Sometimes you want a living body, sometimes you want a dead body and both these things you call love. The thing is that it is your love that turns the living body into a dead body. Because you love the chicken, therefore the chicken is dead. And that defines our love, when you love something, you kill it. The same mind and the same mouth that says, “Oh! I love chicken”, that also says “Oh! I love my kids”, “Oh! I also love my wife”, “Oh! I also love my country”. See what’s your love did to the chicken, that’s what your love does to the country and the family. And now you understand why the family and the country, and the entire world are in such terrible shape, because you love them.

Love means consumption to us, that’s what comes naturally to us. Be very cautious of this word, natural. Never, never use this word to justify what you are doing or feeling, don’t say but it is natural. If it is natural to go to the jungle, all natural things are for that place. Is it natural to sit in this auditorium? Is it natural to be carrying those gadgets? Then why do you keep talking of nature? Is it natural to wear clothes? Is it natural to have thoughts? Is it natural to do whatever, to be educated? Is it natural?

Is it natural to brush your teeth? Then why do you keep saying “You know, but in the jungle the lion kills the deer and eats it, so it is natural to kill animals and eat them?” “I'm a flesh eater, I cannot live without chicken, and it is natural to eat those things. You know I have these two teeth”. Have you heard those arguments? “You know these two teeth, so I'll kill. All right kill but never brush those teeth and kill with those two teeth just as the lion tears into the flesh with its teeth. Do you have that strength?

In the jungle all hunting happens with your hands and claws and teeth, do that and eat raw flesh that's natural. Come on show, why do you keep talking of natural things? In nature there is no husband and wife, why do you marry? Your wife, the neighbor has an equal right over her; that's natural. So, if you say flesh eating is natural, I'll say you know send your wife over, that's natural. In the jungle do you have priests and legal systems and things like marriage? No. So be very cautious of stuff that is natural. “No, now he is 18 so he is falling for girls, all this is natural”.

All this is bullshit! And if you are to do natural things tell yourself I do not deserve to have a b-tech degree, I do not deserve to ride a car, I do not deserve to operate Facebook or Instagram, all I deserve is a cave in the jungle. Go there and do all the natural things, right? Fair enough? That's why I said, “Pyar sikhna padta hai” . Real love has to be learned, it cannot come to you naturally. Don't say I am 18, therefore I have naturally fallen in love. It takes a lifetime to learn love, love is not so cheap that you will just get it the hormonal way. Without doing anything, without putting in any effort, without earning it. Love has to be earned and that's what all spiritual pursuit is about, learning love, learning love.

We do not know love, 99 out of 100 people die without having loved even for a second. See how horrible that is. Is it not? To live for 80 years and not love even for a moment, is that not horrible? That's how most people live no love, loveless lives, loveless, loveless! Just natural and that too distorted kind of nature. In the jungle at least you have pure nature. The rabbits do what they are conditioned to do biologically, that's nature, right for them. We do what the jungle does, but in a distorted way. So, we are far worse than nature.

We have fallen below Prakṛti , whereas the mandate if you are born a human being is to rise above Prakṛti , are you getting it? Oh, the mother loves the child, does she not? Come on. Come on, come on, come on! The mother has the child, right? And the child is like what? Six days old, 10 days old the mother is still in the hospital and then the doctor comes and says, “Unfortunately, you know when the kid was there being treated in the incubator, a lot of kid have to be kept in the incubator for a few days… Oh! your kid got swapped, no, no this is not your kid, that one is your kid.” What happens to this kid then and she loves the kid, what happens to the love? Don't you see this is not love, this is just animalistic attachment, possessiveness, “My baby coming from my body”, this is not love, no.

The mother child relationship is not at all of love. That's why love needs to be learned. Just because you have given birth you will not automatically become loving. That's called ownership, not love, Mamtā . Mamtā is not love. Mama means mine. My relationship with this thing is that, it is mine Mamtā , mine. So, I own it, I possess it, it is mine and that's why I'm taking care of it, because it is mine. Just as I take care of my car, just as I take care of my pots, because they are mine, no that's not love, that's not love. I love my doggies, so I feed a chicken, because I'm an animal lover. Is that love? But that's what you hear all the time, don't you? That's the world we live in. “I love my doggy so much being an animal lover, I feed it the choicest chicken and I get a million likes on Instagram. I just take my doggy and so you look at my doggy, so ill and I'm taking care of it”.

And nobody bothers to ask what really is going on. Nobody bothers to ask because in the jungle that which appears, is the Truth. The animal cannot know beyond the obvious. That's why they are trapped so easily. You know, the animal by definition, has no insight it just believes in what it sees and so do we most of us as human beings. We just believe in what we see, if you believe in what you see you are an animal, Aww! What to do? Insight. What does insight mean? Oh! There is something beyond the obvious, something beneath the apparent and if I can look at it, that's what makes me a human being.

And by the way that is also what is love. To know the reality, you cannot be in love if you do not know what is real. And you cannot know what is real if you are attached to what is unreal. So, the first thing in love is to drop the nonsense, to clear the rubbish, that's what is love. That's the first act of love, I am in love.

So, what do I do? I pick up a broom, clear the rubbish. Love demolishes, love destroys, love clean some, love clears, therefore it is said that love gives clarity. Because love clears, hmm? Something, something related to this somebody? Or we're done with this? (addressing the audience if they they have any questions) People who are in love? How I love it to address the lovers, that's what keeps me going, yes. (smiles)

Q: Sir, an extension of this question is, I think in one of one of those same videos you also said, if there's a mathematician who sits down to, to do some mathematics or if there is a singer who sits don't do his riyaz or any practitioner who does something that they love, that is also a form of devotion.

AP: Obviously.

Q: That is devotion? is that what you meant to say?

AP: Yes, that's very true, but we don't take it that way, we don't take it that way. We are so, so enamored with the sensual objects, that we do not see what is hidden. Something, somebody is prostrating in front of a deity, we'll say this one is a devotee. But a scientist, sincerely committed to the Truth, experimenting in his lab, will never say, no this one is a real devotee.

We talk of devotion as something exclusive to the temples. How is this that is happening here not a religious act? Please tell me. That which is happening here, how is this not meditation, how is this not devotion? At this moment, how is this place not a temple? Please tell me. But it does not occur to us. Sir, how can it be a temple? There is no deity, there is no tomb, we do not see the the formal apparatus here.

Learn to see what is not visible, if you'll see only that which is visible, you will never be able to see beauty You'll only see cosmetics, you understand what is cosmetic? Made up, false, only falseness is visible. The truth has to be seen with insight, insight are you getting it?

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