The Philosophy Of Love

Love is the deepest experience. It transcends time and space, reaches into the deepest corners of our being and touches the core of who we are. To understand the philosophy of love is to embark on a journey of self-exploration and spiritual awakening. In this exploration, we can draw on the wisdom of Hindu scriptures, which provide profound insight into the nature of love and its transformative power.

The Essence Of Love

In its essence, love is a state of being. It is not just a feeling or a momentary feeling but an intrinsic part of our nature. According to the Bhagavad Gita, the central text of Hindu philosophy, love is a divine quality. Krishna emphasises in his discourse to Arjuna that love is an expression of purity of soul and is intertwined with selflessness and compassion (Bhagavata Gita, 12:13-14). True love arises from inner harmony and extends outwardly to all beings.

Self-love And Spiritual Growth

In the philosophy of love, self-love is paramount. However, self-love is often misunderstood. It is not about ego or selfishness but about recognising and honouring the divinity within. The Upanishads, ancient Hindu scriptures, teach that the self (atma) is a reflection of the divine (Brahman). Loving yourself means accepting this divine spark within. As the Chandogya Upanishad says, "tat tvam asi" - "Thou art that" (Chandogya Upanishad, 6.8.7), reminds us that we are inherently divine and worthy of love.

When we cultivate self-love, we embark on a journey of spiritual growth. We shed layers of ego and illusion, revealing our true nature. This process of self-discovery and acceptance leads to a deeper understanding of love as a state of being rather than just an emotion. As we grow spiritually, our capacity to love others expands, because we can only love others to the extent that we love ourselves.

Love And Relationships

In terms of relationships, love is a powerful force for connection and growth. The Hindu epic, the Ramayana, offers a profound lesson in love and devotion through the relationship between Rama and Sita. Their love is characterised by mutual respect, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment. Despite facing many challenges and separations, their love remains steadfast and pure, illustrating the enduring nature of true love (Valmiki Ramayana).

The Bhagavad Gita also highlights the importance of selfless love in a relationship. Krishna advises Arjuna to perform his duties without attachment to consequences, emphasising the principle of Nishkama Karma – selfless action (Bhagavad Gita, 2:47). In a relationship, this translates into love without expecting anything in return. Such selfless love fosters trust, harmony and deep connection, laying the foundation for lasting and meaningful relationships.


The Power Of Compassion

Compassion is an integral part of the philosophy of love. It is the ability to feel and understand the pain of others and to treat them with compassion and empathy. The teachings of the Buddha, revered as an incarnation of Vishnu in Hinduism, emphasise the importance of compassion in attaining enlightenment. The Dhammapada, a collection of the Buddha's sayings, states, "Hate does not end hate, only through love, this is the eternal law" (Dhammapada, 1:5).

Compassionate love extends beyond personal relationships to encompass all beings. The Hindu concept of ahimsa or non-violence is rooted in love and compassion. It teaches us to avoid harming any living being and to treat all living beings with kindness and respect. By practising nonviolence, we develop a heart that is open and loving, able to embrace the entire universe.

Love As The Way To Salvation

In Hindu philosophy, love is also seen as a path to liberation (moksha). Bhakti yoga, the path of devotion, is one of the primary paths to spiritual liberation. It involves surrendering oneself to God and developing a deep, personal relationship with God. The Bhagavata Purana, a revered text in the Bhakti tradition, describes the various forms of devotion and the transformative power of love for God. Through devotion, practitioners experience a deep connection, leading to inner peace and ultimate liberation (Bhagavata Purana, 1.2.6).

The poet-saints of the Bhakti movement like Mirabai and Kabir expressed their love for God through their poems and songs. Their writings reflect the intensity and purity of their devotion, serving as an inspiration to countless seekers. Mirabai's unwavering love for Krishna despite social norms and personal hardships exemplifies the transformative and liberating power of divine love.

Unity Of All Beings

One of the central tenets of the philosophy of love is the recognition of the unity of all beings. The Rigveda, one of the oldest Hindu scriptures, declares, "Ekam sat vipra bihadha vadanti" - "Truth is one, the wise call it by many names" (Rigveda, 1.164.46). This verse emphasizes the interconnectedness of all existence and the inherent unity that pervades the universe.

When we feel this unity, our love transcends personal attachments and priorities. We begin to see God in everyone and everything, growing a sense of universal love and compassion. This realization transforms our interactions with others, because we understand that harming others is, in essence, harming ourselves. Love, therefore, becomes the guiding principle for living in harmony with all creation.


The philosophy of love, as illuminated by Hindu scriptures, provides deep insight into the nature of love and its transformative power. Love is more than a feeling; It is a state of being that arises from recognizing the divine in ourselves and others. Self-love, compassionate relationships, and the practice of bhakti yoga are paths that lead us to a deeper understanding of love. By embracing the oneness of all beings and acting with compassion, we can experience the true essence of love and its ability to bring personal and collective transformation.

In the words of the Bhagavad Gita, “He who sees the Supreme Lord dwelling equally in all beings, the imperishable in the destructible, sees indeed” (Bhagavad Gita, 13:27). This vision of divine love and unity is the ultimate realization of the philosophy of love, which leads us to a life of harmony, peace and spiritual fulfilment.


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