Through the ages, philosophers, scholars and thinkers have been writing about love for fellow beings. But even two of them have not been in unanimity in this regard. Each and every one of them had his own view or definition of love. Karl Marx [1818-1863] and his teacher George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel [1770-1831] had two different views of love. They looked at it with two different angles. Those who are familiar with Hegel's views of love they know how confused he was in this regard? Similarly, Karl Marx, despite infinite love of Johanna Bertha Julie [Jenny: 1814-1881] towards him, defined it in different way.
Besides philosophers and thinkers, the founders, pro-founder and preachers
of religious-communities have also talked of love and some of them
at length. They have connected it with high moral values like
human-unity, service, equality and protection. The name of Jesus
Christ, Prophet Muhammad and Guru Nanak Dev can particularly be
mentioned in this context.
Love and affection to all humanity occupies a unique place in ancient Indian
philosophy, spiritual thinking and traditions. It has been defined
excellently and matchlessly there. Especially its sensitivity and
effects, which besides attracting attention has become a subject of
curiosity for so many all over the world, are worth mentioning.
Hence, undoubtedly, love is the vital issue and if we desire to analyze
concepts related to it, or explain its effects and experiences, we
need to produce volumes and that too with all possibilities of not
arriving at any concrete conclusion in this regard. Therefore,
accepting effect, importance and vitality of love, if we analyze the
issue in hand, it will be appropriate.
Like other great men, Mahatma Gandhi also wrote occasionally about love for all human
beings. He did not believe in discrimination on grounds of caste,
color, creed or religion. To him all humans under the sky are
children of God and thus have right to be loved and cared equally.
Moreover, in his writings and speeches, he not only discussed it,
but, side-by-side mentioned its importance in man's life. In this
context in one his inscriptions he went to the extent of saying, "If
you want to give a message to the West, it must be the message of
love." [Harijan, April 20, 1947]
Although the above short statement of the Mahatma is a part of his speech in the
Inter-Asia Relations Conference1, but the way he conveyed the
message of love having equality-based teachings of great men and
particularly those of pro-founders of various religious-communities
was, and is, worth mentioning. He had exhorted people to establish
mutual equality by hearts. He had also called the attention of
people from the West to connect love with wisdom and argument. His
call was a clear expression of his broad-based perception of love.
Not only this, Gandhi's stress on going forward on pathway to love in an atmosphere
of mutual respect for each-other's feelings, explicated his desire
for certainty of love free from egotism, prejudice and selfishness.
He had put forth, 'An atmosphere of mutual respect [of each-other's
sentiments] and trust is the first step in this direction.'
Hence, making equality and mutual respect of one-another's sentiments the basis of
love, Mahatma Gandhi added a new dimension to its practical aspect,
it doesn't matter if we agree to his viewpoint of love or not, or if
it seems us significant and important in current perspective or not.
Also it doesn't matter if Gandhi's views are considered relevant by
us partly only, but, they undoubtedly remind us their minutely study and analysis.
Further, the first aspect of Gandhian concept of love could be traced in its
indivisible association with truth. In other words, truth
unconditionally pervades in love; therefore, it becomes boundless.
To quote Gandhi himself, 'True love is boundless like the ocean and
rising and swelling within one spreads itself out and crossing all
boundaries and frontiers envelops the whole world.' [Young India, September 9, 1928]
Secondly, love of Gandhi's conception is connected to service. In his own words,
'Service is not possible unless it is rooted in love; in Ahimsa.'
In fact, Gandhi stressed on connecting humility with service. As humility itself is
a high moral value and one of the superior characteristics of human
beings, it is necessary that in service through humility love for
all living beings, and particularly for humanity remains intact. It
is also necessary for the reason that sacrifice is inevitable in
love; in it priorities remain for others' pleasure and prosperity,
even readiness to sacrifice one's life for others. Particularly, in
context of humility Mahatma Gandhi has put forth, 'A life of service
must be one of humility. He, who would sacrifice his life for
others, has hardly time to reserve for himself a place in the sun.'2
[India of My Dreams, page 63]
Thirdly, in Gandhism love is the basis of peace. In other words, pathway to
peace goes through love. There is a broad concept in its root and
without a doubt it could be connected to Gandhi's commitment to
Ahimsa. Moreover, those who are familiar with Gandhi's ideas they
well know that he sees Ahimsa in love; for him non-violence and
truth are two sides of the same coin, and reaching the truth is the
ultimate goal of human life.
Hence, love is the ornament of life and simultaneously an unambiguous and practical way
to human unity. Moreover, it is the pathway to peace. That is why;
Gandhi has said, 'We shall go from love to love and peace to peace'.
For, until at least crores from all the corners of the world are
covered with that love and peace for which, the whole world is
hungering. [Young India, November 19, 1931]
Hence, love must multiply many folds, because 'love breeds love'; and leads human
beings towards their true union.