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What is the real meaning of ‘self-love?’ || Acharya Prashant (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
5 min
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Questioner: What is the meaning of ‘self-love’?

Acharya Prashant: When it is said, “Love yourself”, then surely there are two. One – who is receiving the instruction. And another one – who is going to be loved.

This has to be understood.

When I say, “Love yourself”, then the two-ness in the instruction has to be appreciated. Who is the one I am advising to be more loving? And who is the one I am asking to be loved? They are not one, they are two.

When it is said, “Love. Go and Love”, then it is being said surely to someone, who does not always love. It is being told to someone who is not a natural lover and therefore is being advised to love.

Who is not a natural lover? The Ego. The Ego is not a natural lover. The Ego by its very constitution remains in fear. And the one who remains in fear cannot naturally or easily love. So, when it is said, “Love” surely someone is being advised or instructed to love.

Surely you cannot advise the True Self to love, because the True Self is not in any need of any instructions or advise, nor is the True Self deficient of love.

Who is being advised to love? The Ego.

So, when we say, “Love thyself”, the ‘Love’ part stands clear now – the Ego is being told to love. And who is this ‘thyself’? This ‘thyself’ God forbid, is not the Ego itself. The Ego is not being told to love itself. This ‘thyself’ is the ‘Real you’. This ‘thyself’ is the only one who is worthy of love. And therefore, is being asked to be loved.

Who is this ‘thyself’? The Real Self, the True Self. So when it is said, “Love yourself”, it is analogous to – Love the True Self, Love God, Love Atman. Who is being told to love? The Ego. And who is going to be loved? The True Self, that you can call as ‘the Heart’, or ‘God’, or ‘the Atman’.

‘Love thyself’ does not mean – love all your stupidities. The Ego is not being advised to love itself, because the Ego cannot love itself. Why? Because the Ego is already in great attachment with itself.

Have you seen how self-attached Ego is? That is called ‘Narcissism’. The Ego is always greatly in self-love, obviously, subject to the constraints of the definition of the love that Ego knows. The Ego knows only little, petty, stinking kind of love. And with that littleness, pettiness, and stink, the Ego does love itself.

The Ego already loves itself. Nobody, therefore in his right mind, is going to advise Ego to further love itself. But the statement has been greatly misinterpreted. And in the name of self-love, people are only furthering their Ego.

‘Self-love’ only means – do not love yourself, love the Truth. ‘Self-love’ does not mean – love the little self, love the petty-self. ‘Self- love’ means – love the best part of yourself. ‘Self-love’ means that even if you are covered with all nonsense, know that there is something venerable, something admirable within you. Love That.

Do not love your rubbish, your nonsense, your trivia, do not love your filth, love that which is precious about you. Now, instead of loving and respecting that which is precious inside oneself, ‘self-love’ is often misconstrued as remaining more and more attached to one’s own rubbish.

Don’t do that.

‘Self-love’ does not mean – Ego loves Ego. ‘Self-love’ does not mean – Ego is to love the Ego. ‘Self-love’ really means – Ego must love only Truth.

I hope it is clear.

Unless the Ego leans towards the Truth it will not even know what ‘Love’ really means. What the Ego has for itself is some rotten variety of attraction and attachment, the Ego has to be a student of Love. And the education of Ego starts when it somehow leans towards the Truth, and then, for the first time, love strikes the Ego. Otherwise, the Ego is very loveless.

If you ever find a loving Ego, rest assured that it has become fond of the Truth. Otherwise, how it would have learnt love? Truth teaches love to the Ego, therefore the Truth is the best Teacher. And therefore, if there is a truthful Teacher, he would teach Love.

Truth and Love, therefore, go together.

Now you see why all the wise ones have said this, “Truth and Love go together”? Because if there is Truth for you, then you will definitely fall in love with it. It is impossible to perceive Truth, in whatever way possible, and not fall in love with it.

Truth has such a unique and wordless beauty about itself that you cannot avoid falling in love with it. In India they have said, “ Satyam Shivam Sundaram (Truth is so beautiful).” You will have to fall in love with it.

That is the meaning of – ‘Love thyself’, or ‘self-love’.

Love the Truth, it deserves your love. Only the Truth deserves your love.

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