The moment one says to someone – “I love you”, the question arises: What does ‘you’ mean? One cannot assign his/her love to any part of the body or virtue of the beloved, because that will be an insult to her/him (presuming that love exists on the physical level between any two).
One may like to say “I love you” and the next moment one would like to grab for physical pleasure without allowing the so-called beloved to reply or check the genuineness of what is being said. No doubt, physical pleasures in guise of love always affect us in terms of time, money, health, prestige, responsibilities etc. and it is not guaranteed to remain steady.
One is supposed to love in totality, not in fragments, and that too without any condition imposed on the beloved. No particular physical choice will remain as such forever and there may be some vices in the beloved too, (Please see my article: Unconditional Love – not without conditions). Considering this you could only say that I like you as a whole and your company gives me pleasure. In that sense we are posing as companions and our relationships are usually made with some kind of bonds, certainly. However, the duration of the companionship with a physical presence is not always possible between any two. Hence, love is developed without any consideration; it is natural and doesn’t depend on the characteristics and presence of the physical body of the beloved.
In the search of love, first we have to discover through self-enquiry our true self, i.e., the soul, an eternal and integral part of our existence and non-dual in nature. But, in society it is found that this view of non-duality is not possible practically. When there is non-duality who is teaching, guiding, and showing the right path to whom, when only the single self exists? Therefore, a personal God is adopted, who incarnated in the past for the sole purpose of imbibing love and faith among the masses and/or targeted the removal of evildoers from society. Alternatively, a Guru (spiritual teacher) in human form may be adopted. Many people become His disciples and devotees and obey the commandments. Since people desire peace in society, some of them become His associates. In turn, the associates also carry out the same spirit and spread love and righteousness. A true disciple is considered as such when he accepts his Guru (spiritual teacher) at par with God and has full faith in his mission.
Then, there is a true love relationship between the two – the disciple and the Guru or God. The disciple becomes almost the mouthpiece of his Guru, i.e., a firm believer in what he says through self-experiences. Whatever relation the Guru adopts with his personal God (please see the article: The spectrum of the love of God), the same is adopted by the disciple towards the Guru internally. Outwardly the disciple maintains physical distance, respect and obedience.
For establishing the relationship with or devotion to the Guru there are three steps for the disciple: (i) get convinced and surrender to Guru, (ii) develop a relationship (non-physical), and (iii) take up some service to the Guru or make efforts to forward His mission (development of true love) in society. Then the disciple loves all without any distinction, even the ones who are not following spirituality.
So this abstracted pleasure of love, which is the sole purpose of our life, is non-physical. If it is physical then it is observed that in the case of disagreement on some issue, the partnership is broken, and that is considered a worst case on the part of an aspirer.
This is a view of life full of love, and the saints and their disciples display it to society from time to time. There are examples when people left all their belongings, to enjoy the relationship with this living God (a spiritual teacher). Since this love is non-physical, in the due course of time physical presence may not be necessary.
SP Sharma, India