803 – 5 stages of love in Hindu philosophy

Love is the most important emotion, and we cannot survive without it. In Hindu philosophy, we have a description of it and also different kinds of love are connected to many stories. The five stages of love are Kama (Sexual desire), Shringar (Romance), Maitri (maternal love, compassion), Bhakti (Cultivate love for God), Atma Prema (Self-love).

Kama means physical attraction which leads to sensory cravings. Our senses are involved in this strong feeling which develops. It is not sinful to have feelings of passion. It is a joy to experience attraction. The Kama Sutra is a treatise on love. Kama Deva is the God of love. Deva means heavenly. Kama is regarded as one of four objectives in Purushartha. Kama is an essential part of life and procreation.

Shringar is romance. It is the erotic attraction that we feel from Kama. In this stage, we share our secrets, call each other loving names and give gifts.

Maitri is maternal love and it reflects our compassion which is then bestowed on all creatures. It is unconditional kindness and it is shared with one’s partner. Our cat had three kittens during the rainy season. She is a wild cat and lives outside. She has shelter and food in our balcony. When it rained, she would bring her kittens to the balcony. She had to do it thrice. Then when the rains stopped, she would take them back to her hidey hole.

Bhakti according to the saints is love for a higher being, Divinity. The Divinity is not just a deity but the highest form of truth and kindness.

Atma Prema is ultimately about self-love. If one does not love oneself, one cannot love others, whole heartedly. What you see in the other person is a reflection of yourself.

The love story of Krishna and Radha is a divine love that transcends all barriers.

Dear ones, examine your feelings about love and try to achieve the stage of Atmabhava.

Aim Hrim Klim

Photo by Vivek Sharma on Unsplash

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