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In true love, the mind always derives inspiration from something higher. In Sanskrit, it is referred to as Bhakti. For e.g. Desha bhakti, Matru bhakti, Guru bhakti, Eshwara bhakti etc. This love always expresses itself in the form of sacrifice.
Here the concern of the lover is not what he will get, but what he can do for the beloved. His happiness lies in the happiness of the beloved. Such a lover is ever selfless. Moreover, such a love being absolutely unconditional remains ever permanent.
Also, in this love there is no expectation of return from the beloved. The very act of flowing itself fills the heart with joy and peace. True love blesses both the giver and the receiver.
In sharp contrast is the case with lust. Here the mind is instigated and tempted by something low or mean. In Sanskrit, the term normally used is Aasakti.
The love here remains so long as one gets what one needs from the beloved. Once the expectations are not met, the love attains its natural grave.
Though love and lust are characterized by a feeling of liking in the mind, there is a huge difference between the two. Lust follows the principle "I love because I am loved" whereas in true love it is "1 am loved because I love". Lust says "I love you because I need you" but true love says "1 need you because I love you".
Lust makes a person dependent, miserable and weak as'he constantly craves for love, pleasure, consolation etc from the beloved. That may be the reason why the usage 'falling in love' has become so popular as fall is always the end result!
True love raises a man to the status of God making him strong, independent and fearless (difference between love and lust)
A young man fell in love with a young maiden who was very beautiful and equally cruel. Despite his earnest attempts to win her love, she remained indifferent to him. One day, seeing his ardent fervor and intense passion, she decided to tease him.
"Is there no other woman in your life?" inquired the lady. "Only my mother, whom I love dearly." replied the earnest young man. "In that case", said the cruel lady with a bewitching smile on her lips hiding her murderous instincts, "cut your mother's heart and bring it to me as an offering of your love. I promise you, I shall be yours!"
Blinded by passion, the young man set out to fulfill the desire of his beloved. That night, he stole into his mother's room and killed her while asleep with a dagger. Like one possessed by the devil, he cut out her heart. In the dead of the night, he hurried to the house of his beloved, carrying his mother's heart, still warm, in his hands. In the darkness he stumbled on a stone and fell down. The mother's heart dropped down from his hands.
Instantly, out of that heart, came the mother's voice, "My dear child, are you hurt?"
Unmindful of that sweet voice, ,the young man, maddened by lust, quickened his pace, and on seeing his beloved, placed the blood stained offering at her feet. But she rejected his offering saying that she was only testing him as one who could be so cruel to one's own mother could never be trusted.
In true love one wants the other person's good whereas in lust one wants the other person! (difference between love and lust)
In his early days when Tulsidasji approached his wife blinded by lust, she bitterly reproached him saying, "Shame on you that you crave so much for this impure body! If only you had half this longing for the Lord, you would have attained Him long back!!" These words struck him like a thunderbolt, transforming his lust to supreme love for God, and thus making him one of the greatest saints of India.
The law of love works just like any other laws of the universe.
According to Mahatma Gandhi, the person who has discovered and mastered this law of love is far greater scientist than any of our modem scientist!
A famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi goes thus, "0 Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.
May our hearts, now filled with love for power, be replaced with the power of love. Then alone will the world know the blessings of peace.
About the author
This article is written for the Vedanta Vani magazine of Chinmaya Mission.