Love is like a wrack spurt, elusive and hard to catch. But when it lands on you, it’s like a charm that envelops your whole being, filling your heart with a warm glow and making you feel like you’re floating on a cloud. When you look at the person who loves you, you witness a constellation of stars in your eyes, each one shining brighter than the last. You compare your love’s laughter to the chorus of Nargles, mischievous but oh-so enchanting.
However, do you know that the definition and feeling of love have been described in four parts in the world’s oldest surviving documented records? I have those records in front of me right now, and let me share them with you.
According to ancient Hindu philosophy, the journey of love can be divided into four stages: Kama, Prema, Bhakti, and Moksha. Let us explore each of these stages in-depth.
The first stage of love is Kama, which refers to the initial attraction or infatuation. This stage is characterized by physical desire, intense emotions, and a sense of urgency to be with the loved one. It is said to be the most superficial stage of love and is often driven by physical beauty and lust.
Kama is not considered negative in ancient Hindu philosophy, but it is also not considered the ultimate goal of love. It is seen as a necessary first step on the path to deeper levels of love. It usually peaks in the first few months.
The second stage of love is Prema, which is a deeper and more meaningful form of love. Prema is characterized by a stronger emotional connection, a deeper sense of intimacy, and a greater appreciation for the inner qualities of the loved one.
In Prema, the focus shifts from physical attraction to emotional and spiritual connection. This stage of love is said to be marked by the development of compassion, understanding, and selflessness. It is a stage where the lovers begin to understand and appreciate each other on a deeper level. This feeling goes on for many decades
The third stage of love is Bhakti, which is a spiritual form of love that is directed towards the divine. In Bhakti, the focus shifts from the love between two individuals to the love between the individual and the divine.
Bhakti is characterized by a deep sense of devotion, surrender, and reverence towards the divine. This stage of love is said to be marked by the development of humility, gratitude, and a deep sense of peace.
The final stage of love is Moksha, which is the ultimate union with the divine. In Moksha, the individual is said to experience a state of complete and permanent liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
Moksha is characterised by a deep sense of oneness with the divine and the dissolution of all sense of individuality. It is said to be a state of pure consciousness, where the individual is one with the ultimate reality.