Unconditional love doesn’t mean that whatever we do is loved; it means that whatever we do, we are loved

Some people say, “If God loves us unconditionally, he should let us do whatever we want. But in the Bhagavad-gita, he asks us to do his will by surrendering to him. How, then, is his love unconditional?”

This question reflects a misunderstanding about the nature of unconditional love. God’s love is unconditional in that he always stays in our heart, whatever it be attached to. He is the well-wisher of everyone, not just of the devoted or the pious.

Consider loving parents whose son becomes a drug addict. They won’t love his drug addiction and won’t fund that addiction. Far from it, they may send him to a de-addiction center. Though this may restrict their son’s freedom, it expresses their love for their son.

The same principle applies to Krishna’s guidelines in the Gita. Gita wisdom explains that we are at our core spiritual beings meant to relish eternal joy by loving Krishna, who is the all-attractive reservoir of all happiness. Presently however, we mistakenly seek pleasure in worldly objects that offer only fleeting pleasure. Worse still, such pleasure induces a materialistic obsession that deprives us of the ultimate pleasure of devotional absorption in Krishna. Naturally therefore, Krishna doesn’t love such materialistic actions.

Seen in this philosophical light, his concluding call (18.66) to give up everything else and surrender to him doesn’t imply that his love is conditional. Rather, it conveys his loving eagerness that we redirect our heart towards him by choosing spiritually uplifting actions, not spiritually degrading ones.

When we thus understand how Krishna’s love is unconditional, we won’t demand absolute freedom in the name of love. Instead, we will willingly abide by his guidelines, seeing them as channels for redirecting our love towards him and thereby relishing joy eternal.

Think it over:

  • How is Krishna’s love unconditional?
  • Why doesn’t Krishna love our materialistic actions?
  • What does Gita 18.66 convey about Krishna’s love for us?

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