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    Hare Krishna Rsiraja Prabhuji

    Prabhuji, what exactly are transcendental love and mundane love. And what is the difference between the two?


    When the act of pleasing the other itself is my happiness, then that is selfless love. When the act of pleasing the other is different and separate from my happiness, then it is mundane love. Different and separate means I can be happy even when the other person is unhappy, and I may not be happy even when the other person is happy. Essentially, when there is dualism of happiness then it is mundane love. When there is non-dualism of happiness then that is transcendental love.

    Lord Chaitanya describes non-dual love in the Śikṣāṣṭakam as follows:

    āśliya (embrace) vā (or) pāda-ratā (feet’s pleasure) pinaṣṭu (crushing) mām (me)

    adarśanām (being invisible) marma-hatām karotu  (breaking the heart) vā (or)

    yathā tathā (one way or another) vā (or) vidadhātu (arrange) lampao (debauch)

    mat-prāa-nāthas (master of my life) tu (but) sa (He) eva (certainly) nāpara (no other)

    The Lord may embrace me, or He may derive pleasure in crushing me under His feet, or He may break my heart by being invisible, or whatever that debauch may arrange, but there is certainly no other master of my life.

    When Krishna’s pleasure is my pleasure, then it is non-dual happiness, and it is also transcendental love. When my pleasure is different (dualism) from other’s pleasure, that is mundane love. Mundane is dualism and transcendental is non-dualism.


    And can this non-dual happiness exist between two persons in the material world?


    The material world is called duality in Vedic philosophy. It is also called an illusion in Vedic philosophy. If you combine the two, you can say that duality is an illusion. Factually, even the material energy is divine, and a part of God. It is not separate from God, quite like the soul is part of God, and not separate from Him. Nevertheless, it seems that the soul is separate from God, matter is separate from God, material objects are separate from each other, and souls are separate from each other. This idea of separation or dualism is also an illusion, which means that they are not actually separate, but they seem to be separate. They are all parts of God.

    Under the illusion of dualism, the soul thinks that it is separate from other souls, quite like the soul thinks that the material objects are separate from each other. Thereby, there is mostly disunity, selfishness, egotism, and narrowmindedness in this world. There is no love under this illusion. If this illusion is destroyed, then unity, selflessness, humility, and broadmindedness are naturally established, which is also the truth. Under that truth, there is natural love between the souls, between soul and God, and between soul and nature (even inanimate things).

    So, can love exist in this world? Yes, it can, if and only if we are established in truth, which is non-dualism, which connects everything to everything else, without merging them. Since that truth is rare in this world, therefore, true love is also very rare. Hence, it is often said that mundane relationships are selfish, and divine relationships are selfless. Such divine relationships exist among pure devotees of the Lord, because they love the Lord, therefore, they also love all His parts. They don’t see any part separate from the Lord, and hence they cannot stop loving anyone.

    For example, a parent is reminded of the child just by seeing the child’s toys. If a child passes away, the parents feel bad every time they see the child’s room, clothes, toys, etc., because everything is connected to the child, and the parent is reminded of the child by looking at the child’s things. In the same way, when someone develops the love of God, then everything becomes a reminder of God. The devotees of the Lord see ordinary things in the world, and they remember the Lord, because those things have a connection to the Lord, like the toys and clothes of the child.

    Such devotees love everyone purely. And they shower love and selfless grace on everyone. Hence, we can say that pure love exists in this world too.

    That doesn’t mean it can exist between any two individuals in the material world. Those who don’t have the love of the Lord, can never truly love another person, because they always think: This person is not me, he or she is separate from me, my priorities are my self-interest, and because others are separate from me, therefore, their interest is not truly my interest. Considerable effort is required in aligning interests, and those alignments are always temporary and fickle.

    Hence, the distinction between dualism and non-dualism is also the distinction between illusion and truth, and that between selfish and selfless. Non-dualism also exists in the material world, along with the illusion of dualism. Since most people are illusioned therefore love is rare. However, love is established irrevocably when a person becomes perfectly self-realized. That self-realization simply means seeing oneself and everything as a part of God. Thereby, the process of loving and serving God also naturally leads to the love and service of all other living entities.

    There are deeper issues around why the material world is not dualism, and yet seems dualistic. That reason is selfishness, envy, distrust, and fear in the soul which progressively leads to the illusion of duality. When these faults are destroyed in the soul, the illusion of duality is destroyed. Hence, there can be perfect love even in the material world but by and large such things are extremely rare.


    Understood Prabhuji. Thank you so much. Also Prabhuji, one last question: Since pure love can not exist between those individuals who don’t have the love of the Lord, therefore parental love and similar kinds of love are also mundane?


    Yes, parental love is also mundane. There is generally more attachment between parents and children as compared to other relationships. But many parent-child relationships are very painful. God forbid if that is the case.

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