The four levels of closeness…

The Tamil word ‘anbu’ doesn’t translate well into English. Love is a small word for a feeling that describes the melting of a heart in the presence of the one you love – can be your spouse, your lover, your parents, your children, even nature, or as in Bhakti Yoga – in the presence of God.

Love transcends time – you love people who are living, you love people who have died, and you also love people who are yet to come. Love is what drives us as human beings – the love for our close ones, the love for our work, the love for life – love is eternal. People tend to bracket it into possessiveness and jealousy, which are also extreme forms of love.

But love is freedom, is passion, is emotion beyond the ordinary – for love is not just from the heart, but from the mind, the whole body, the soul.

Such an intense feeling cannot be hidden, and it should not be hidden. Love cries for expression, for the longing of a loved one, for the loving touch, for the feeling of oneness that only true love can bring. It is because of this that Sri Krishna proclaimed that even he can be attained by one who loves him with a pure heart.

People of a newer generation have come to know love as a method to possess, and something that changes with time. Very few of us are able to love unconditionally, with divinity and purity. The first and only divine love that is spoken about even today is of Radha Krishna, the epitome of love and devotion. How many of us can claim to even think of such love, much less feel it? How many of us are willing to give ourselves in the name of love, to melt away like a candle that gives us light, but dies in the process?

Money, fame, prosperity, lands, jewellery, everything materialistic falls away. In time, people also forget your name – how many of us for instance, know the names of our great-grand grandfathers? Even if you do know their names, how much do you know about them? When in a hundred years, even your own family can forget you, what chance does that fickle feeling that we tend to call love really have? How confident are we that our love will transcend time?

There are four levels of closeness – salokya, samipya, sarupya, and sayujya.

You may be in the same city as your beloved – yes, you are close, some people do not even have that opportunity. Maybe you can also meet once in a while – this is salokya. Some may be in the same locality, in the same house even – now you can see each other daily, meet, talk, embrace…this is samipya. Most of us stop here…

But then, there are more levels of closeness. When you and the other are just the same – a third person cannot differentiate between you both…you are him and he is you. You shine like him and he shines like you…you are made for each other in a way that was not even thought possible…you are cast in his mould – sarupya – this level of oneness.

And then there is the stage when there is no differentiation between you and the one you love…no distinct identities…you merge into each other, like the waters of the river merge into the sea, there is no you, no her – just one being which is called love, an embodiment of love. Radha-Krishna…sayujya.

Valluvar speaks of love not just in the context of family, but of love in general. A feeling of love, the concept of being a being filled with love. The emotion that makes us human, fills our life with bliss and helps us attain salvation – just by being loving and caring towards everyone and everything. If there be only one virtue that you have – only one thing that you earn, only one emotion that you feel – let it be love.