(The principal of a large school in Bombay gave us a list of frequently asked questions by 13 year old children in her school and asked us whether we can prepare answers in the light of a spiritual perspective. When we looked at the question we found that they are not mere “kid-stuff.” Most of them are either fundamental and existential questions related to world and God or psychological problems faced by most of us. This series is an attempt to answer these questions from the children’s perspective in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We don’t know how far we have succeeded in communicating to the children. Nevertheless, we hope these answer may be of some help to teachers and parents who have to deal with children. There are around thirty questions with answers given in the light of a spiritual vision of life. We will post these questions at regular intervals.)
Why does love feel like heaven and hurt like hell?
How can the same thing feel like heaven and hurt like hell? Does it mean when love dawns fresh in the heart it is like heaven and when the expectations of love is not fulfilled or when it is rejected, it hurts like hell? If this is the meaning of the adage then it is a common experience.
When love dawns in the human heart it is like a descent from heaven because it brings a joy and an experience which you never felt before. This is perhaps the deeper significance of the well-known words of English poet Robert Burns, “Whoever has loved, has not loved at first sight.” The first touch of love is like the descent of a god or goddess from heaven into the human heart; it is the touch of a heavenly force on the earthly heart.
But this heavenly force of love is too pure, sacred and subline for our mortal heart to hold for long. The demands and conditions of the Goddess of Love is too difficult to fulfill for the ordinary human being. Sri Aurobindo says that the first touch of pure love is, “a test of the godhead in our parts.” Most of us fail in the test. The goddess of love demands total elimination of the ego, self-seeking and attachment, and a total self-giving to the object of love without seeking for any response. When these conditions are not met she no longer stays in our heart. In most of us, our egos, especially our emotional ego is not able to meet these conditions because the demands or nature of our emotional ego are opposite to that of divine love. Our ordinary emotional being is full of attachment, wants more to possess and dominate its object of love than give itself to it and obstinately craves for response from the beloved. When these demands of emotional being are not satisfied or rejected then it is hurt and angry, love turns into its opposite, hate; it becomes unhappy, resentful, frustrated, jealous, and vengeful. And what else is hell? The Love, which in the beginning felt like heaven now tastes like hell!
If we want to prevent this tragic and dark alchemy, which transforms love into hate and retain the heavenly sweetness of the first dawn of love, we must make a conscious and sincere effort to fulfill the conditions of the goddess of love. This is not easy and the discipline may be sometimes very difficult and painful. But in this world nothing great can be achieved without conquering difficulties, opposition and resistances. And the realisation of true love is one of the greatest of achievement and we must be ready to pay the price. According to The Mother of Sri Aurobindo Ashram, if you have a great potentiality within you, like for example the capacity for true love, you will also have a corresponding shadow, which is something opposite to your potential, which will constantly oppose your aspiration or effort to realize your potential. We have to conquer the shadow to realize the light within us.