For the young, love is something that they think they must fall into. This is one of the most erroneous thought that one can have. What they refer to is actually not love but romantic love. It is the kind of love that they have seen in movies or read in novels. True love is much beyond and profound than just romantic love.
The quote “Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own” is what love actually means. In every form of love, this is what forms the core. Gurudev Shri Shri Ravi Shankar defines love as, “Love is not an emotion, it is your very existence!”. What binds us is love; it is like the attraction that lies between atomic particles.
Romantic love is not the only love that one should be aware of. One should not restrict one’s life in pursuit of a narrow form of love, which just fulfils the satisfaction of one’s ego. This is the right opportunity to learn how the ancient Greeks and social scientists have classified love. It will open your eyes to the wider aspect of love.
Take a look at the following kinds of Love:
1. Eros or Erotic Love
This is named after the Greek god of love, Eros who is like the Indian god of love, Kaam Deva. This is the most well-known romantic love that young people crave for. This is more of a physical love. It can often lead to pain and heart-breaks for them, because it is concerned with the selfish aspect.
2. Philia or Love for Friendship and Brotherhood
This is the kind of love that exists between equals or friends. It forms a deep bond. It is about the love that amounts to loyalty, camaraderie and a sense of self-sacrifice for friends, team-mates or groups.
3. Storge or Affection for Family and Kinship
Storge is a natural form of affection that exists between parents and their children. It is unconditional and regardless of personal qualities. It is the kind of love that a mother has for her children, even if one of them turns out to be the black sheep of the family.
4. Ludus or Infatuation
It is feeling of crush, infatuation or playful love while growing up. It can be affection among colleagues. It has the symptoms of early stages of falling in love, like a fast beating heart, butterflies in the stomach, euphoric feelings, teasing and flirting etc.
5. Pragma or Pragmatic and Mature Love
It is the kind of mature, understanding and forgiving love that you find among loving couples who have spent decades together in love and harmony. It is a mutual love and commitment in which both parties contribute their love in equal proportions. It has a lot of patience, compromises and tolerance involved with the ultimate aim of keeping the relationship a priority. That is how the fairy tales ends, “… and they lived happily ever after.”
A good example of this kind of love is the famous short story, “The Gift of the Magi”, written by O. Henry.
6. Philautia or Love for the Self
It is the love for self; if you cannot love yourself, you cannot love anyone else. Love thyself is also reflected in many spiritual philosophies. It is also about respecting yourself and having self-belief and motivation. However, there is a flip side too, in the form of “narcissism” which is an unhealthy selfish self-obsession with oneself at the cost of everything and everyone. It can become an extreme form of selfishness and self-gratification.
7. Mania or Obsessive Love
This type of love is very selfish, possessive and obsessive. It lies somewhere between Eros and Ludus in its nature but lack the generosity or freedom of love. It tries to possess or dominate the object of love. Such possessive and jealous lovers can go to any extent to seek what they deem as their love. In case their love interest fails to reciprocate in the same way, the situation can turn ugly. It has been depicted in some Bollywood movies like “Anjaam”, “Agni Sakshi” etc.
8. Agape or Selfless and Universal Love
This is considered to be highest and purest form of love. This is what every philosopher or spiritual teacher talk about. It is neither sentimental nor conditional. This love is given freely without expecting anything in return. The love is given without judging the other. It is a form of kindness and respect for everyone. This is the love that makes world go around.
When wise talk of love in general, they mean the Agape or Selfless Love. This is the love where other person’s happiness becomes more important. This is what always brings happiness and a sense of upliftment. If you have not tried this before, give it a try. This is the kind in which people do not “fall in love”, but they “rise” in love!