What Love Is
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Love is something that you do for the benefit of others. And therefore, loving is not getting yourself closer to God, love is not making yourself happy, love is not doing things that work to your own personal advantage. Those may be effects of loving, but they are not what love is. Love is something else.

Love is the honest attempt that people make to make others happy. Love is the honest attempt that people make to be concerned about the welfare of others, and not -- specifically not -- their own benefit.

And so, it's very important just to realize what a lover really does, how it works. You almost invariably find that virtually everything that is really loving tends to conflict with the program of self-interest in some way. This is why a lot of people don't get too far with it. It doesn't take them long to figure out that the whole thing doesn't work for self-interest worth a damn in any immediate reasonable time frame that you could conceive of or look at.

And if that's not acceptable to us, then we immediately default out of the game. It's like saying, "I want to play, I want to play, I want to play." And the guy says, "Okay, you can play." And you say, "So what's the game?" "The game is to take this rock, and drop it on your head." And you go, "What? You know that thing about me wanting to play? Never mind that. I don't think I want to do this."

That's the first confront with the game. "What am I? Stupid?" That guy starts asking the real questions: "What do you think I am?" And people go through this, exactly, with love. It's funny to think about this; but it just turns to tears when you actually realize that, when it comes to love, that exact same confront happens, and that exact same answer is given.

"What are you, crazy? Do you think I'm stupid? Get out! I don't want to play that game. I want to play another game. Is there another game where I get the whole thing and it's nice and stuff? Is there a game like that in any way you can recommend, or some direction? Cause I'd be very interested in such a game, if there was such a game."

"Yeah. Real estate. Used car sales is good. They say there's a lot of money in computers now."

"Oh, I'll be going that way! Thank you very much."

There's one born every minute who's smart enough to figure out that love is not what they want to do. And not quite faithful enough to realize that it's okay to get your reward on the other side. That's all right for it to be inconvenient for a while. It's okay for the thing to be a complete sacrifice. It's okay that a lover is nothing but a living sacrifice. It's okay.

The person who can accept those terms, who could look at that square in the eye, not flinch, get the concept, and live on that basis, is ready for the game, and can play the game elegantly, and can derive all the promised problems that they get for that -- but they do it anyway.

They're like these guys like my father. Great professor, great intellectual, got paid more and more and more the further they figured out how smart he was and how valuable he was. But he would always say, "I would do this whether they paid me or not." Almost everybody who's really good at almost anything always says that, and they always feel that. And a lover feels that more than anybody. "If it was about that I get to go to hell, I'd do it. Because it is the right thing, and I love it. And it doesn't matter. It's not about the money. It's not about the brownie points in Heaven. It's not about the fact that it gets me something, somehow, someday, sooner or maybe later." That's the true lover.

I told you the story about Mahuchma. And I'm going to tell it again. There was a parade through an Indian town. Mahuchma, village idiot, saw the princess and fell in love. It was love at first sight. And he started sitting around singing her praises. And he became so punch drunk and intoxicated with his rapturous love for the princess that he sang her praises all the time.

And it gets back to the king: there's somebody out there that won't quit singing your daughter's name. And he doesn't want anything else, and he doesn't think about anything else. So the king says, "My royal decree has to go out to the kingdom. Send the crier, and say: The merchants have to give this guy whatever he wants. We have to keep this guy alive." He had sympathy for the fact that this guy had basically gone completely over the deep end due to being in love with his daughter.

So, a few scammers got a hold of the idea and they started singing her praises; and then, singing her praises, they would go to the merchants and ask for the things they needed: food, clothing, things. And they got the things. After a while it got back to the king, there were twenty, thirty, now forty, and then a hundred Mahuchmas. All claiming to be the Mahuchma -- all singing all the time, all getting stuff from the merchants for free on the subsidy welfare system was established by the king for any Mahuchma.

So they all took on a name and they all took on a behavior. But when it got up to a couple hundred, the king says, "Well, look. This won't work. Send out a crier, make a world decree: All Mahuchmas, anybody who's singing my daughter's praises, is going to be beheaded at the first light.

So fine. So everybody got the message. Crack of dawn, there's one guy singing the praises. One guy sitting there, just as before. So that was it. So the guy became the Mahuchma; the guy was recognized; the guy was validated.

That's the only Mahuchma there is -- the one who doesn't care about the cost, what the cost is. That's the only lover in the book. There's nobody else competing. You see? This is a weird job. You have to like it. It has to be okay with you when you figure out that if you're going to be a living sacrifice, then the answer is, self-interest is not going to be a determinant of your behavior patterns.

Not everything that you do for the benefit of an ego is going to give you any kind of brownie point with them. You might get a knuckle sandwich, but you're not going to get a brownie point. And so you have to be willing to proceed on that basis. If that's not it, you're out: "Is there another game?"

Well, there is no other game called love. There's no game that's based on self-interest, or that runs on the basis of self-interest, that is love. That game is the one where you have to be on the firing line, you have to take the hit, you have to do the kinds of things that are not collusive, that are going to get you in trouble with people that you are serving, at times.

So think very deeply about benefiting others, and what it would take for their spiritual welfare, over time, and you are thinking in the right direction about love. And then if you're still willing to do that, then you are, in fact, loving.

So when you think of it, and you understand your adversities in your attempts to be a loving person, understand: "Am I staying the course? Has the price gotten too much for me? Have I bailed out of the game, because it got to the part about the rock on the head? I know that somewhere, someone wants to know about me. Someone is looking at me; someone is wondering what I'm going to do, now that they just raised the stakes on me.

Inquiring minds need to know, because inquiring minds are in charge of the universe, which depends upon you, and the relationships and the people whose lives will be changed, in the short run and in the long run, by that particular sacrifice that you have the opportunity to make at your choice points, at every moment that you come to consciousness confronted with the decision: Yes or no? Still playing? Still on?

You've got to feel this thing. Feel what it means to make a sacrifice. Never mind who you are. Never mind where you are. Never mind what your limit is. It doesn't make any difference.

Do it. Not with the idea that it's going to feel good to do that, not with the idea that I'll get my rewards in Heaven when I do that, not with any idea like that, but actually, moment-to moment: "This would benefit that person." That's it.

And if they make the announcement that you're going to get creamed for it, if you're clear that it will benefit them, then you do it anyhow. And then you yourself become a national treasure, and you yourself become a real valued player in this world, and you yourself spread joy wherever you go.

And you get whatever comes from that, and you don't care. And the next time it comes up, if you realized that they would take half of that away from you for doing the next good deed, then that would be fine. Then you would still be Mahuchma. And you would be out there doing the same damn thing at a cut in pay, or even though you had to pay for it -- that you had to pay them to help them, and then you had to be hated in the process. Right? Fine. As soon as it stops working for them, I won't do it no more.

You see how that works? You see how simple that is. It's so simple.

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