01 Apr Love is the food of the soul. But you have been starved. (OSHO)
WHAT IS LOVE?
It is unfortunate that we have to ask this question. In the natural course of things everybody would
know what love-is. But I understand that nobody knows – or only very rarely – what love is. Love
has become one of the rarest experiences. Yes, it is talked about, filmed, stories are written about
it, songs are composed about it, films are made, on the TV you will see it, on the radio, in the
magazines – a great industry continuously goes on supplying you with the idea of what love is.
Many people are continuously involved in it, helping people understand what love is. Poets, authors,
novelists – they all go on. But still love remains the unknown phenomenon. And it should be one of the most known.
It is almost as if somebody comes and asks, ’What is food?’ Would you not be surprised if somebody comes and asks, ’That is food?’ If somebody has been starved from the very beginning and he has
never tasted what food is, the question will be relevant. So is this question. What is love?
Love is the food of the soul. But you have been starved. Your soul has not received love at all so you don’t know the taste. Your question is relevant, but it is unfortunate. The body has received food so the body continues; but the soul has not received food so the soul is dead, or is not born yet, or is always on its death-bed.
When a child is born he is fully born; he is fully equipped with the capacity to love and to be loved.
Each child is born full of love and knows perfectly what it is. There is no need to tell the child what
love is. But the problem arises because the mother and the father don’t know what love is. No
child receives the parents that he deserves – no child ever receives the parents that he deserves.
Those parents simply don’t exist on the earth. And by the time this child becomes a parent he will
have lost the capacity to love.
I have heard about a small valley where children are born and within three months they all become blind. It is a small, primitive society. A fly exists there which is poisonous to the eyes, so the whole community is blind. Every child is born with eyes – perfectly functioning eyes – but within three months there is an attack of the fly and the poison enters the system and the eyes go blind. Now, somewhere later in his life the child will ask, ’What are eyes? What do you mean when you use the word ’’eye”? What is vision? What is seeing? What do you mean?’ And the question will be relevant. The child was born with eyes but they were lost somewhere on the way of so-called growth.
That’s what has happened to love. Every child is born with as much love as one can contain, with
more love than one can contain, with overflowing love. A child is born as love; a child is made of the
stuff called love. But the parents cannot give love. They have their own hangovers – their parents
never loved them. The parents can only pretend. They can talk about love. They can say ’We
love you very much’ but whatsoever they do is very unloving. The way they behave, the way they
treat the child is very insulting; there is no respect. No parent respects the child. Who ever thinks
of respecting a child? A child is not thought to be a person at all. A child is thought to be like a
problem. If he keeps quiet, he is good; if he is not a screamer, a primal therapist – good; if he simply
keeps out of the way of the parents – perfectly good. That’s what a child should he. But there is no respect and there is no love.
The parents have not known what love is. The mother has not loved the husband, the husband has not loved the wife. Love does not exist there. Domination, possessiveness, jealousy, and all kinds of poisons are there which destroy love. Just as a certain poison can destroy your vision, so the poison of possessiveness and jealousy destroys love.
Love is a very fragile flower. It has to be protected, it has to be strengthened, it has to be watered;
only then does it become strong. And the child’s love is very fragile – naturally – because the child
is fragile, his body is fragile. Do you think a child left on his own will be able to survive? Just think
how helpless man is. If a child is left on his own, it is next to impossible that he will survive. He will
die. And that is what is happening to love. Love is left alone.
That expulsion is always there, and each parent threatens to expel the child, to throw him out. ’If you
don’t listen, if you don’t behave, you will be thrown out.’ And naturally a child is afraid. Thrown out?
Into the wilderness of this life? He starts compromising. The child by and by becomes a twister. He
starts manipulating. He does not want to smile, but if the mother is coming and he wants milk, he smiles. Now this is politics – the beginning, the ABE of politics.
Deep down he starts hating because he is not respected; deep down he starts feeling frustrated because he is not loved as he is. He is expected to do certain things and only then will he be loved. Love has some conditions; he is not worthy as he is. First he has to become worthy, then the parents’ love will be possible. So he starts becoming worthy and starts becoming false; he loses his intrinsic value. His respect for himself is lost by and by, he starts feeling that he is guilty.
Love grows only in love. Love needs a milieu of love – that is the most fundamental thing to be
remembered. Only in a milieu of love does love grow. It needs the same kind of pulsation around. If
the mother is loving, if the father is loving, not only to the child, if they are loving to each other too,
if the home has a love atmosphere where love flows, the child will start functioning as a love-being,
and he will never ask the question, ‘What is love?’ He will know it from the very beginning, it will
become his foundation.
But that doesn’t happen. It is unfortunate, but it has not happened up to now. And you learn the
ways of your parents their nagging, their conflict. Just go on watching yourself. If you are a woman,
watch. You may be repeating, almost repeating, the ways your mother used to behave. Watch
yourself when you are with your boyfriend or your husband – what are you doing? Are you not
repeating? If you are a man, watch! What are you doing? Are you not being your daddy? Are you
not doing the same nonsense that he used to do? And one day you were surprised – ‘How can
daddy do this?’ – and you are doing the same. People go on repeating; people are imitators; man
is a monkey. You are repeating your daddy or your mummy, and that has to be dropped. Only then
will you know what love is, otherwise you will remain corrupted.
I cannot define what love is because there is no definition of love. It is one of those indefinables like
birth, like death, like God, like meditation. It is one of those indefinables – I cannot define it. I cannot say that this is love, I cannot show it to you. It is not a visible phenomenon. It cannot be dissected, it cannot be analysed; it can only be experienced. And only through experience do you know what it is. But I can show you the way to experience it.
The People of the Path