Free love is a self-contradiction
Some people advocate sexual licentiousness by touting it as free love. As we cherish both freedom and love, their combination sounds irresistibly appealing. Consequently, we often don’t realize that the idea of “free love” is a self-contradiction – love by its very nature binds the lover to the beloved.
No doubt, we can freely choose whom to love. But once we choose, love by its very nature centers on committing ourselves to acting for the pleasure and the welfare of our beloved – and that implies losing the freedom to act in ways that displease or harm the beloved. Of course, we won’t even feel the desire to act in such ways when our love is deep; we will be happily absorbed in expressing and deepening our love by appropriate actions. However, when our love is superficial, we will feel as if we have lost our freedom, and may become campaigners for free love.
But free love frequently boils down to no love. The so-called free lovers are often among the loneliest people in the world – though they may bring their bodies in contact with many other bodies, their hearts stay isolated and desolate, due to their love-stifling aversion to commitment.
The impossibility of free love doesn’t mean, however, that our twin aspirations for freedom and love can never be reconciled and fulfilled – they can be, at the spiritual level. When we realize our identity as souls and commit ourselves to loving the supreme soul Krishna, we ultimately attain his eternal abode. There, our love becomes truly free – free from distraction by self-centered impurities; free from interruption by worldly anxieties; and free from termination by death.
So, when Krishna invites us in the Bhagavad-gita (18.65) to love him and assures that by so doing we will attain his abode, he is calling us to authentic free love.
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