Sunday, July 21, 2013

Love is not male or female

Radha's superiority is not because she is a woman. And Chaitanya's taking Radha bhava shows what is meant. It is about love. Radha's superiority comes because she is more expert in loving; she is an āśraya, whereas Krishna is the viṣaya, the object of love.

In my experience of my own personal character and observing other men, I think that it is true that men, by virtue of both nature and nurture, tend to be more driven in the direction of being a viṣaya than an āśraya of love.

But it is better to love than to be loved. Better to give than to receive. This is the clichéd truism that lies at the basis of the myth.

At the same time, no woman is free from the desire to be loved. No one is so selfless. And in fact, it is wrong to be selfless in such a way. The normal spiritual state is to experience the reciprocation of God, and all love seeks reciprocation, otherwise it is not in fact love. Love of necessity invites reciprocation, and if it is appropriate, it will be reciprocated. In the case of God, that reciprocation will come is considered to be inevitable as the grace of a loving God.

But women in this world are conditioned souls, just like the men. And no one is free of the kinds of expectations and attachments that confine and constrict love. Our love of God is limited because we limit God. Our love of the Other in human form is similarly limited because we constrict and limit the objects of our so-called love (or cathexis) to our own mundane aspirations. That applies to women as well as men, sometimes even more so.

My point though is that Radharani is not superior because she is in the garb of a woman, but because she embodies the truth of love. And that is our ideal. If we reduce things to sexual politics and who wears the pants, that really goes against the very principal of love. Love is not male or female.

So the fact that the ancient scriptures were written by men, who described the female as coming out of the male, as in the Jewish creation myth, and therefore naturally inferior, is not the point. The question is how did something come from nothing? Or how did duality arise from the fundamental unity? One should not be confused by the difficulties that are imposed by language.

I am taking Love as equivalent of Brahman, that universal impersonal essence that requires expression in duality. If there is no duality, Love cannot be actualized. Therefore the impersonal and the personal are both needed equally and both exist eternally. There is no before and after.

Similarly, since the original duality conceived by the Upanishad is that of sexual polarity, it is not a question of Eve coming from Adam's rib, etc., but of the One becoming Two, locked in embrace. Language and gender prejudice confuse the issue.

Prema: As it is above, so it is below

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