For about 7-8 months in 1989 I was all alone at a place 2000 kilometers away from my family. The first 2-3 months I practiced the repetition of the sweet names of my beloved personal God then I indulged in writing letters to my wife and posting an envelope daily. Out of 24 hours I was devoting at least 5-6 hours to writing and the remaining time to thinking about our pastimes. With three grown up children my wife was aghast at receiving 2-3 fat envelops a day, sometimes, due to postal delays on the way. I was not interested in meeting my wife physically which I could have done easily but I was enjoying the remembrance of our togetherness of roughly the past 20 years. In all, I loved the period of separation and enjoyed it through writing letters and indulging most of the time in thoughts of the bygone 20 years of togetherness.
Here is the point: Is separation necessary for making (real) love deep, mature, self-sufficient and prosperous? And another question is whether someone could wait indefinitely or eternally or till their last breath for the reunion? It may be borne in mind here that I am not talking about physical love which usually diminishes with the passage of time.
Following is an example of love between souls and the Supreme and the role played by separation in making the bond of love as an eternal proposition.
Lord Krishna had passed his childhood in Vrindavan, till the age of 11 years, as a charming prince attracting all, intensely. Then He was leaving for Mathura to start the second phase of his life’s mission. All the inhabitants of Vrindavan were very sad and the young and youthful cow-maids (Gopis) were behaving madly and getting faint due to feelings of separation. Those Gopis tried all possible efforts to stop Him because they felt lifeless without Him. While leaving, Krishna tried to convince them and promised to return from Mathura the day after tomorrow if not by tomorrow. Days turned into months and months into years but He never returned to Vrindavan. However, He met them after many years at a place where people from all over India gather on the day of the sun eclipse for religious purposes.
It might have been a few years after His departure to Mathura that Krishna sent His bosom friend Uddhava to teach the lovelorn Gopis about the formless God, i.e. teaching the knowledge path (God likes intellectual devotees having knowledge and devotion both). Most of the Gopis happened to be well versed in both paths but for the taste of enjoyment of separation they had kept knowledge in abeyance. In reality, the Lord wanted his friend, Uddhava, who was well versed in the knowledge path, to understand the importance of devotion through feelings of love in separation. The Gopis had realized the state when lover and the beloved become one or interchange their roles in the ecstasy of love. They presented the synthesis of non-dualism and dualism and proved that in union the lover is seen as an entity at one place but in separation He is seen in all animate and inanimate objects. They preferred to remain in separation to enjoy the remembrance of pastimes in togetherness and let Krishna complete His mission of incarnation and be always cheerful wherever he resides.
In the world, usually the meeting with the lover is the most desirable and meeting with an undesirable person causes extreme disgust. Also, the union of lovers is not forever; it is a matter of some duration and then separation will occur undesirably. So there is fear of separation in union but in separation at least there is hope to meet again and waiting hopefully is the most satisfying proposition for the one to become self-sufficient in the enjoyment of the divine pleasure of love, eternally.
I really miss some persons very much with whom I have passed time merrily in childhood days. But I don’t feel it necessary to make efforts to meet them again. Those days enjoyed together can never return. However, the memories of sweet days are remembered and shared with present associates. It thrills me if someone happens to convey to me news about the welfare of the beloved ones of the past but I am not hopeful of meeting them again.
Lord Krishna tells in the Srimad Bhagwad Gita that He himself has a sexual desire to produce offspring, i.e., the physical relationship is not for the satisfaction of lust and passion but for the continuing of the human race. In fact, there is no satisfaction in indulging in so-called physical enjoyments. Wise people in olden times refrained themselves by observing celibacy, and mutually agreed to have only a few children, in order to complete the higher objectives of life. The pleasure of self-realization and devotion supersedes all worldly enjoyments and during the ecstasy one forgets one’s body care. Hence, an aspirer of spirituality needs to observe celibacy and maintain a good health through Yoga postures to enjoy super bliss.
Real love is not physical hence there is no need of two physical bodies to remain together always. Even a moment of togetherness could become the source of eternal pleasure.
SP Sharma, India