I always thought that love is the opposite of hate. Like white is the opposite of black. Here at the Sahaj Marg Ashram in the Himalayas, I am taught differently.

Chariji, the Master, told me that love is absolute. It is not the opposite of anything, like God is absolute.

“What about the Devil,” I asked. “Is not the Devil the opposite of God?”

“No. The Devil is there when God is absent. Same way, hate is there when love is missing,” was his response.

“And why would love be missing?” I asked again.

“Because we are unwilling to love, “ he replied.

“Unwilling to love“ I said sounding surprised. “Why would we be unwilling to love?”

“Because we hate ourselves, we do not love ourselves” was his response.

Hmmmm. This conversation made me think. Hate then is a choice we made. It is not the opposite of love. It raises its head when love is missing, when we chose not to love. So the way to stop hate is by replacing it with love. Not by forbidding, outlawing hate.

But how do you instill love? And by the way what is love anyway?

As I have said in many of my writings and lectures, life is give and take.  Or to be more precise, life should be a give and take. But is that why you take your little children to the circus? So that you can write in your diary:” I took you children to the circus on such and such day. I gave you something. In the future, I expect you to pay me back and take care of me when I am old and feeble.”  Is that why you took them?  Life is give and take, no? God forbid. In the Sephardic tradition to expect from your children is a curse. You give to your children and should expect nothing in return. So why did you take them to the circus? Because you love them and want them to enjoy the show. And what is your reward? Their joy. You are happy because they are happy. So life is give and take but love is where in the giving is the taking.   That is why you should give “ with all your heart,” without doubting your giving. When it is done from the heart, that is when love is expressed. And in the Jewish tradition, giving should be anonymous so that you expect nothing in return. That is how you practice love– in the giving itself you found your reward. That is why in the Buddhist tradition, a Buddhist would  say : “ Thank you for allowing me to serve you.” In his giving he got rewarded.

Next question:” How do you instill love? “ I asked the Master. “By practicing.  Love is like a muscle. You do not use it, You lose it. Start loving.  And it will grow. It will become stronger.  Love should not explained. It should be experienced. Practiced. “

Food for thought, huh?