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What is difference between love and devotion?

What you call as love, if you are not devoted to the person whom you love, there is really no love; it is only a mutual benefit scheme. When you truly love somebody, you will naturally be devoted; how can you not? One, who does not know devotion to the one he loves, does not know love at all. Then it is just a socially picked up word – because everybody is saying, “I love you,” you are also saying it.

Love has conditions attached to it. Only if your expectations are fulfilled, your love affair will continue, otherwise it will end. Devotion is not like that. It is unconditional. Love also genuinely becomes a fulfilling and life-nurturing process for any one only when it is unconditional. The moment it is conditional, it becomes a transaction. Human transactions at the physical, emotional and intellectual levels are often referred to as love. “You fulfill my need; I will fulfill your need.” It is just useful; it is utilitarian. People do not like to see it that way because it makes their lives ugly. So they want to give it a beautiful name, so they call it `love.’

Observe this at places of worship: What people think is devotion to God might not in fact be so. Here, too, there is a transaction. You do whatever you think God expects you to do, and then God is supposed to do many other things for you. This is deal making, and an unfair one.

Love and devotion, however, are not two different things, but people still do tend to see them as being separate because one is meant for a higher purpose and another is expected to fulfill a daily need. But there is no need to separate the two. Love is devotion and devotion is love. Without love, how can anybody be devout? Just because you have ascribed to yourself a certain religion or faith, you don’t instantly become a devotee – a devotee is just drawn.

A devotee is never thinking in terms of his own well being. Only one who can look beyond his own wellbeing can be a devotee. You cannot cultivate devotion. Cultivated devotion is deception. When you are overwhelmed by something, you will naturally be devoted to it. It takes experience for devotion to be natural. When you plant a rose plant, you don’t try to get a flower out of it immediately. You just nurture it. When it is sufficiently nurtured, it will blossom forth.

So devotion is like a flower. It is not something that you try to do. If you dig into the earth, you will not find a flower or fruit, but it all comes from there; the plant is only a passage from earth to flower. The fragrant flower does not display any trace of soil, manure or water – it is devoid of all that. Devotion is devoid of you. When you become just a conduit for life, you become an outpouring of devotion. No one has ever achieved anything of significance in any sphere of life without being devoted to what he is doing. Devotion is not only the sweetest way to be, but also the most intelligent way to be, as a devotee effortlessly perceives what one of intellect will struggle with for a lifetime.



Lovely Thoughts for Lovely People Just Like You

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