by Periyar E.V.Ramasamy
What is love? What is its power? How does it begin and how long does it exist? When does it blossom and when does it wither? what is the reason for its disappearance? These are some of the questions for which if we try to find answers we will see the hollowness of the word “love” and the folly of the humans in praising it sky-high.
First of all it is better to understand the meaning of the word ‘love’, its usage and the base on which it is founded. Those who talk of love at present say that it is not affection, affinity, longing, dotage or lust but something unique that develops between a man and a woman in an inexplicable way for a specific purpose. They say love is divinely and nothing else could match it. They further say that love blossoms between a man and a woman only once and it remains unchangeable thereafter. According to them if love shifts from one person to another it is not love at all but lust and it is to be branded as “ “whoring”. They believe that true love is fixed and one who loves truly would never think of another with desire,longing or dotage. In the name of love they bind one to another irretrievably.
Whatever be the consequences, I am of the opinion that the champions of love are either ignorant of the reality of life and human nature or feign ignorance for some reason or other.
Most of the couples we see nowadays are brought together by a third party to beget children, to make their domestic life pleasant and to gratify their natural instincts.It is very rare to find a couple who boast of being brought together by love-god Cupid or of having fallen in love impelled by some divine power. Whatever be the reason for their coming together, I dare say that no one has any right to decide, intervene or influence one’s love, lust, desire, affection, affinity, infatuation, yearning, dotage etc. for others. To be frank, I would rather say that nature, experience and human rights vouchsafe that choosing a life-partner is an individual’s privilege as that of his choosing a restaurant or cafeteria to cater to his taste desire or gratification and the interference of a third person is obtrusive and unwarranted.
If we probe into the nature of the word ‘love’ denuded of its paraphernalia, we will find nothing special about it. Whatever may be the language in which the word occurs, it is nothing but a word like `desire’, `affection’,` attraction’ etc that denotes a link between a man and a woman, If we look up the word in a dictionary, its sanskrit root connotes cutting, killing, breaking etc. In Tamil the word refers to sexual gravitation; otherwise it is a synonym with affection, desire, friendship. affinity, etc. There seems to be nothing special about it. If people attribute any special meaning to this word I do not know on what authority or usage they arrive at such a special meaning.
Next let us ask how love evolves between a man and a woman. Does it blossom on its own without any external promptings or does a third person facilitates its origin? If they say it blossoms involuntarily, we have to probe the place and time of its origin.Then we will find that love does not spring from nowhere but only when a man and woman come together or each knows the other’s appearance, character, traits etc through a third person or other sources.
Again there is the possibility of love being one-sided and not reciprocated. I find love to be similar to the desire of a man to possess something he looks at, hears of or comes to know of. The mentality of the lovers makes it clear that their love is self-motivated and seeks gratification in each possessing the other.
Love may be prompted by one’s beauty, youth, intelligence, wealth, education, status, family prestige, or talent in music which is worth possession, enjoyment and gratification. Each loves the other for some trait or other which he or she really finds in the other or presumes or believes to be being misled by appearances.
Let us imagine that a man and a woman meet each other in a garden. Each looks at the other and gets gravitated . The man asks her who she is. She says she is a princess and the man falls in love with her instantly. Now, the princess, in her turn, asks him who he is. He answers that he is the son of a servant in her palace. What will be her reaction? Naturally she will feel disgusted and disgraced. Here what prompted them to love each other? Suppose the man tells her that he is the son of a neighbouring king. How would she react? She would fall headlong in love with him and wish he should continue to be her husband in all her births to come. Suppose she comes to know, after a few days, that her lover is not a prince but the son of a slave. Will her love continue as before or vanish? Suppose one falls in love with a girl presuming her to be all right but later comes to know that she is diseased or that she is a prostitute or that she is a schemer to possess his wealth or that she is contrary to his expectations. Will his love for her remain unaltered? Such questioning will reveal the hollowness of the word ‘love’ and its paraphernalia. Does true love spring up at first sight or does it evolve gradually by knowing each other intimately? Of these two types of love which can be superior? Can we say that Platonic love is superior to physical love? Can true love remain unperturbed even where incompatibility creeps in physically or mentally? Is true love immune to infidelity which is suspected or real? Can love become false if one gets away from the other egged on by suspicion or dissatisfaction?
While falling in love, the lovers might have been at a different level of physical and mental maturity, personal views and aspirations of life but later on changes might occur in their outlook. It we insist that their love should remain constant throughout their lives even in adverse circumstances, love becomes useless and loses its value.
Suppose a couple of lovers get separated from each other in disgust and eventually turn ascetics, shall we call them betrayers of love? Will there be any meaning in their love? Or if one becomes an ascetic and forsakes the other, shall we call it a betrayal of love? Such questions will divulge the hollowness of the word “love”. It is but natural that one’s love flows in diverse ways and one desires to possess many things in life. More often than not man gets dejected with his dear ones, detests them and even gets separated from them. Is it not but natural that one yields to urges at weaker moments and rebounds after sometime? Don’t we see that one gets subjugated as a novice but tries to get liberated after gaining some knowledge of the world?
We see many a young man falling a prey to a courtesan and losing his all for her sake. Shall we call his infatuation for the courtesan love, lust, or loss of senses? At times we find a courtesan hates her profession and decides to live with a man for the rest of her life-time. Does it reveal the courtesan’s love for the man or her preference for a secure life? Without knowing the intention of the courtesan if the man continues to love her, can we call his a true love?
The answers to these questions eventually lead us to the conclusion that love is in no way different form one’s liking, desire, infatuation, lust, craving or inexperience, idiocy, disappointment and deception.
People heap unnecessary and unwanted kudos on love and poison the minds of young men and women who ruin their own lives feigning false sentiments. They resemble those who pose themselves as true devotees, apply ash to their foreheads, go to temples regularly, sing devotional songs fervently, and utter the names of deities as “ Shiv!” or “Ram!”. They are like playful children, who pretend to be asleep and toss their toes if you mention that sleeping children will do so. They are like the women who hear that chaste women always walk with their eyes downcast instantly adopt that gait. Lovers taught the illusory traits of love blindly follow them and try to live like imaginary lovers.
From what we have discussed so far it becomes clear that love is not something unique or different from our day to-day desire, affection, liking, etc. I opine that the so called love starts when two persons come into contact with each other and exchange their views, thoughts needs and desires. These personal traits, needs and desires are not fixed ones. They are bound to change in course of time. So are the changeability of love, affection, attraction, etc. I am not against love while viewed as affection, desire, and a friendly disposition. Love, affection, desire, friendship, etc, are for one’s happiness and gratification and where there is no happiness and gratification it is imposture to pose oneself as a true lover. I have written all this to prevent those who, irresponsibly interfere in the personal happiness and gratification of others by admonishing utterings like “Yours is not love” “It is against love”, “ Yours is lust” “Your love is equivalent to prostitution” etc and make life a hell in the name of the deceptive word “LOVE”
|Thanthai Periyar||Dr Abraham Kovoor|