Love not just ideal people, but also real people

It’s relatively easy to love ideal people: those who have only virtues, no vices. And we do need to love them so that we develop the inspiration and aspiration to become ideal like them.

However, as we live in a world where ideal people are few – even among spiritualists striving to become ideal, we will inevitably find ourselves in a social circle comprising many real people, those who have a blend of virtue and vice, as do we. If we reserve our love and service for a social circle of only ideal people, then we will stay waiting for the rest of eternity; such a circle doesn’t exist in the material world. If somehow we find such a circle, we ourselves won’t gain entry into it due to our not being ideal.

We often long for an ideal person to love. Gita wisdom introduces us to that ideal person: Krishna. It also shows us how Krishna’s pure devotees are ideal people in their exemplary love for Krishna. By offering our love to them, we develop the inspiration and aspiration to become ideal like them, and thereby love Krishna as they do.

While we traverse the path to become ideal, we have to live in a world where ideal people are few, even among devotees striving to become ideal. So, we will inevitably find ourselves in a social circle comprising many real people, those who have a blend of virtue and vice, as do we. If we decide to reserve our love for a social circle of only ideal people, then we will stay waiting for the rest of eternity; such a circle doesn’t exist in the material world. If somehow somewhere we could find such a circle, we ourselves wouldn’t gain entry into it because, whether we admit it or not, we are not ideal.

That’s why we need to learn to love non-ideal people. To get inspiration for this, we need to look no further than our own ideals. Krishna himself doesn’t reserve his love for ideal people alone. He loves everyone, including non-ideal people, so much that he descends repeatedly from the spiritual world to the material world. Why? Just to offer them the highest happiness of eternal love, as the Bhagavad-gita (04.10) indicates. Like Krishna, his pure devotees also love everyone and express that love by helping them learn to love Krishna. By learning how to intelligently love non-ideal people, we will be able to assist Krishna and his devotees, gain their mercy and thereby accelerate our journey to the world of eternal love.

In fact, even Krishna doesn’t reserve his love for ideal people alone; in the Bhagavad-gita (9.30)(09.31), he declares his love for real people, those who are striving to become but have not yet become ideal, and urges us to love them too.

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 09 Text 30

“Even if one commits the most abominable action, if he is engaged in devotional service he is to be considered saintly because he is properly situated in his determination.”

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 09 Text 31

“He quickly becomes righteous and attains lasting peace. O son of Kunti, declare it boldly that My devotee never perishes.”

The Gita centers on neither rituals nor doctrines but on a love affair
We Are Products But Not Prisoners Of Our Past

Author: Chaitanya Charan Das

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