Love is a rare virtue and is the highest form of emotional expression of mankind. The act of love is directed by human heart which is susceptible to the feelings, sentiments, sufferings, miseries of other human beings. Heartless person is not at all a human being. A person may be strong in knowledge or an owner of vast wealth in the world; yet, if one does not have a kind or compassionate or sympathetic heart, one cannot be considered to be a great person. That is why it is said that the greatness of a person lies not in the head but in the heart.
There are many ways by which one shows one's love towards others. There are many versions of love we can come across among the relationships of mankind. Love is such a great power that it is beyond the scope of anyone to fully define what it is with the available words. In fact, love cannot be expressed in words, but it has to be felt by the heart to understand the true nature of this wonderful power in the world.
Nature of Love
From the observation of the life of man, animals, creatures, plants and natural things, it is possible to say that love is the natural concern for the well being of the favorite ones or others. Love gives pleasure, happiness, confidence and courage to the ones who love others. Where there is love, there one can find peace, prosperity and joy. Motherly love, family love, romantic love and friendly love are commonly seen in life and read in literature. But if the love of a person is true one, one is capable of suffering through out one's life or sacrificing one's life for the sake of the loved one. The constant love of a person, in spite of the odd situations, times, circumstances, difficulties and hardships in life, is a noble or a divine one in the world. It is a fact that both in love and war there is no fair or foul means. The end of both is either to achieve success or to meet with death. Therefore both for the lovers and the soldiers the cause is most important and they whole heartedly meet both life and death in the same manner. That is the nature of true human love.
Power of Love
Not only Literature but also Religion and Philosophy exhort and analytically express about love and its supreme power in reality. All religious expressions are meant for the heart and all philosophic expressions are meant for the mind. Religion preaches about faith and philosophy analyses about truth. But the essence or the basis for both is Love only. The Buddhist interpretation of love reflecting all the other religious views about it says that Love is the Greatest Power, the Greatest Justice and the Greatest Knowledge of the World. Therefore this love only is the truth. There cannot be a love without truth. Hence the prevalent expression of all the religions that Love is God is a widely accepted view of all human beings.
The primitive forces that are breeding enmity between man and man and still creating havocs to mankind are fear and hatred. Like the all powerful God, the only supreme force that is still fighting against and containing all oppositions and absorbing everything within itself is love. This is not the preaching of a priest, but a pure fact based on the observation, experience and knowledge of human beings. Therefore it is to be understood that love is most important for everyone and without which the existence of secure and happy life is not possible on the earth.
Practice of Love ' Tolerance, Love for Humanity
It is good to think about how love can be practiced in the world where there are differences of opinions about religions, ideologies, languages, etc. In this respect the essay on Tolerance by E.M. Forster helps much to understand the practical difficulties in the application of love in the world. According to him love may be practiced in private but not in public. Really it is very difficult to show love towards all sorts of men. Hence he concluded that love can be practiced in private and tolerance, a negative virtue though it is very dry and dull, can be practiced in public. In this regard he has quoted personalities like Ashoka, Montaigne, Goethe and so on in that essay in order to show to the reader how they had successfully practiced that negative virtue in life. Therefore it is clear that love can be practiced only when things are personally known.
There is a divine personality to quote as an example to this view. The outstanding personality who had a permanent place in the hearts of all men due to his love for humanity was Gandhi. He considered everyone as human being. He approached every person with human love, which was the only means by which he could settle smoothly all human problems. He got knowledge about various types of men through his own personal experience in South Africa and observations in India. Whether the men were intellectually developed or emotionally attached the only means by which he could control others or make them concede to his view points was human love only.
He successfully practiced love in private as well as in public and had done a most outstanding job in the world which could not be possible by any other person in the world. That is why he was called as a divine person, a sage and a mahatma. Persons of this type are rare in the world. As per the religious utterances they live a simple life relinquishing power, position and possession. These men are free from suspicion, fear, anger, lust and greediness. They are true in their thoughts, words and deeds. Hence their love is really a true one and which is why they are worshipped as gods in the world.
Sex in the West and East
The natural human love is a genuine one. Each and every religion gives its own color to the love under discussion. But though the methods of teaching of all religions may vary, yet the goal or the end of them is Love only. The variations in the means are affected by the culture of different places only. That is why there is contradiction in every matter between the West and the East. In the west they say that there is calm before storm. But in the east it is said that there will be calm after storm.
Besides other things sex plays an important part in love. In the west sex is the first step to love. But in the east sex is the final step to love. That is why sex has become a very common thing in the west, whereas it is a vital thing in the east. Therefore the love that is much talked about in the west is really lust only, whereas it is a noble passion in the east. Hence women are treated as things of entertainment in the west, but they are honored as mothers or sisters or friends in the east. This is due to the fact that west gives more importance to material values than to human values. Wherever this sort of western culture prevails, there the sex behavior of the people is contradictory to the traditional nature of the place. Yet, exceptions would be there on both sides, because no set culture pattern is always a permanent one.
Sexual, Mental and Spiritual Pleasures
Among the kinds of love, the love between man and woman is the most commonly talked about and the strongest one in the world. The fruition of such love for a man and a woman is always marriage only. The socially accepted marriage is a commitment for the couple to lead a disciplined and cultured life in order to maintain the marriage tie, which is accepted whole heartedly by both to the last. After marriage only fulfillment of sexual desire is acceptable and justified so that the morale or harmony of the society can be maintained forever.
The sexual urge is a natural desire for everyone in the world. For a best life, virtue is more important than the life itself. Virtue is attained through knowledge. Only through the path of virtue best things can be done in the world both for the present and for the future. That is why the sexual urge has to be restrained till marriage is over. More than the taste, the food to maintain health and strength is needed for everyone. Mere pleasure will not solve the malaise of men. Without the experience of hardships, the value of happiness cannot be understood and enjoyed in the proper perspective. Without pleasure man cannot have interest in doing anything in the world.
Sex gives pleasure. That is why sex is vital for life and hence it has to be used constructively or creatively in order to achieve better things in life. The physical pleasure that sex gives is a very short and temporary thing. The mental pleasure is attainable whenever possible, if the mind is aesthetically absorbed in the higher order of things. But the spiritual pleasure is enjoyed only by a few who have a pure heart and a noble mind, and is the ever lasting pleasure of man. Therefore the animal pleasure of the body, the aesthetic pleasure of the mind and the mystical pleasure of the spirit are the three stages of pleasure man is capable of enjoying in his life-time.
Love of Man and Woman a Complicated Process
1. Instinct and Intelligence
As Love is the matter of the heart, the great emotional power of it can be realized only when one feels it. To understand this emotional power is one thing and to practice it is another thing, because even to understand what sex is and how it has to be practiced, there is great difficulty among animals and men too. It is scientifically found that the rats automatically indulge in the act of sex without any previous knowledge or guidance, whereas the apes do not indulge in it unless they have seen it in actual practice. This is because the instinct of the rat is very strong, whereas in the case of the ape the intelligence over shadows the instinct because of congenital ignorance. Therefore to know or understand a thing apart from Love both instinct and intelligence are utilized in varying degrees by all living beings. If the power of the instinct is high, then the power of the intelligence is low. Where the intelligence is great, the instinct becomes weak and ineffective there. Unlike the rat, the ape acquires the knowledge of sex-behavior from its fellows only. When that is so, what is the position of man who has six senses?
2. Love in Literature
Indeed, the practice of love between man and woman is a complicated thing. Here it should be remembered of Russell's definition of good life in his book, What I Believe that 'the good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.' The inspiration of good life is obtained by love only. So, the knowledge of love becomes a necessity. Therefore love has to be learned by means of some guidance. Literature imparts the knowledge of love. From literature it is understood that love is the greatest possible expression of human emotion and that it can be better understood or experienced only when it is aptly felt by human heart.
The emotions of other people cannot be sensed by mere appearance. Through the actions and words of the people only this can be understood. From literature one can come across that love is expressed through so many ways such as love letters and even death letters too. This means that love is a thing that should move the heart of man; otherwise, it is not at all love. That is why those who sacrifice, as in stories, their lives for this deep emotional expression are rare. Why should we go to that extent? When the talent for literary expression is rare, the talent to express one's love will be rarest! Therefore it has to be said that the love of man springs forth like a glimpse now and then, when something moves inside the heart.
Love Varies from man to man
For every person love alone gives real comfort, inspiration, encouragement, hope and courage to deal wilt problems successfully in life. Every man needs love and security to lead a fine life. According to the type of life one chooses to live, one needs security and love. Hence the meaning of love also varies from person to person.
The down to earth type of life, a man likes to live would feel secure if he has huge money in the bank, buildings, fields and automobiles. The type of love such men prefer as per their taste would be of the humanized needs of the animal passion.
The men who prefer decent life would have a sense of security in the maintenance of beauty, decency and aestheticism and such men prefer a love of reciprocation in the matters of civilization, human refinement and so on.
The men who are interested in the intellectual type of life would feel secure in search of truth or in some sound philosophy. These intellectuals would find love by surrendering their self to the miraculous power, which is other than human in nature.
Finally the mystical or the spiritual way of life, the people prefer to lead, would find a sense of security by making progress towards the perfection of human nature. For them the pleasure of love will be the mystical communion of human spirit with the Universal spirit.
But whatever be the ideas of love each one has, man lives because he has someone to love or something to love or some higher power to love so that he could get a sense of security or satisfaction in the world.
Blossoming of Love between Man and Woman
Indeed it is impossible to understand how love blossoms between man and woman. The philosopher Godwin's Free Love and the poet Shelley'sPlatonic Love of the Romantic Period in the 18th Century England are quite interesting to read. The romantic poets' theories and practices of love are quite nostalgic and sentimental in nature. This sort of Sentimental Love is entirely different from the desire or favoritism, deep interest or likings of men. Their love did not stand firm because their character and mind were not strong. However their metaphysical utterances clearly defined the weaknesses of every human being in general. But the 16th century Shakespeare's Romantic Love plays are quite fine to think about.
The Shakespearean love starts at the first sight itself, continues in a romantic manner and successfully completes in the marriage or in the tragedy without any change of heart. In this connection the famous love- plays of Shakespeare likeRomeo and Juliet and Antony and Cleopatra could be quoted as examples for the romantic love stories of that time. In the Indian Classical Epics like Ramayana andMahabharata also the love between two youths starts initially with the face to face gaze of eyes and immediately the two sexes become one in opinion both in the heart and in the mind. Then the lovers bear all sorts of agony and ecstasy in the same manner till they get united in the marriage. That is the depiction of the true love of men both in the West and in the East.
Cupid and Manmatha
If one goes still further back the Greek mythological stories and the Indian mythological stories give the answer as to how the love starts between a man and a woman. From these mythologies one will understand that the arrows of Cupid of Greek mythology or the Indian counter part, Manmatha have the power to kindle the passion of love in men, if they hit their hearts. From the books one will get this much of answer only. But these are the inanimate books of nature. The birds reveal what is the source of love and how it all begins from the behavior of the birds it is clear to know that beauty, dance, music and freedom are the source for love and the youngsters who are caught by the spell of this magic begin the amorous affair in no minute and go ahead in their pursuit of the romantic activities till they materialize their object as painted in the romantic literatures of the world! The blind boy Cupid's arrow of love unites two unequal persons as equals irrespective of their differences in position, possession and power in love. That is why it is said that love is blind!
Benefits and Source of Love
Whether love brings happiness or sorrow, man does everything for the sake of love. The beautiful things like temples, monuments, castles, paintings, sculptures and poems men have made are some of the achievements for the sake of their love remain forever talking about then power of human love to the posterity. Only love has such a power and is really a great power in the world.
Who woos who?
Then a great question arises i.e. whether man is after woman or woman is after man? From the readings of G.B. Shaw's works it is clear that the myth that man always goes after woman is wrong and in reality it is the reverse that usually happens! This will remind everyone that the name woman is given to the fair sex because it is the women who actually woo the men! Even the classical poet Milton in his great Epic, Paradise Lost has said, 'He is for God, and she is for God in him.' The first western theory on the creation of man also says that God has first created Man and then only created Woman from the left side rib of the man. Perhaps due to this theory man may be treating woman as his subordinate. In the west, it looks that men treat women in any manner they like even after the world has widely accepted Rousseau's political philosophy based on the idea of 'Liberty, Equality and Fraternity.' In the East, women who were going by the saying that 'Husband is the known God' for a long time are favoring the fact that both man and woman are equal.
Whose Love is Great ' Mother's or Woman's?
But, whatever it is, because women are patient, tender hearted and capable of fostering children with due care by nature, it can be said that that they are born for love and from them only love must have been known to the world and love is existing in the world. And mainly due to such special nature women are capable of changing even bad men into good men and make love prevail in the world forever. Again due to their special nature it is the woman, who first indirectly provokes him to sacrifice everything for the sake of love. Therefore it is to be concluded that through the solace, comfort, inspiration and encouragement of the mother only, man knows about love first; then only he knows about it from his father, brothers, sisters and relatives, from his friends of his age, from his lady love or wife and others; and shows his love to his children and others. Between the love of mother and love of woman, the former one is the greatest and irreplaceable one for man, because even if he loses one lady love or wife, he may get another one but never another mother in life. That is the love of man in the world.