Love, a feeling out of this world!
Love rules the court, the camp, the grove,
And men below, and saints above,
For love is heaven, and heaven is love.
- Sir Walter
Love is a many splendoured thing is the words of the song. Many
people believe that love makes the world go round. It shows that the
power of love does not diminish easily. For instance, almost all of us
want to love and be loved. The feeling you get when you are loved by
someone is out of this world. Love has pervaded every sphere of life and
sometimes we wonder whether there is too much love in the world.
There is a magical quality in love. Therefore, we cannot define or
fathom it easily. Hatfield and Rapson have identified two specific types
of love. One is “passionate love” with which most of us are quite
familiar. Passionate love embraces sexual or romantic love. Writers and
poets are immensely influenced by passionate love. Their work remains
immortal simply because of the passionate love they have depicted.
Whoever would forget the kind of love Romeo and Juliet had for each
Total commitment and
passion found only in
The other type is “compassionate love.” This is the kind of love we
have towards our intimate friends and family members. Compassionate love
is devoid of passion. For instance, our love towards a brother, sister
or grandmother does not involve passion. However, there is a strong bond
of attachment in compassionate love. A father's or mother's love cannot
be compared to a romantic love between two lovers.
Robert Sternberg went to the extent of outlining six forms of love.
In each form he noticed a varying degree of passion or a strong desire
for another person. Sternberg identified the first form of love as
“linking.” In such a relationship there is a lot of intimacy devoid of
passion. The relationship between you and your spiritual guru is an
example. In such a relationship you respect your guru and confide
everything in him. However, you carefully hold back any passion towards
him. Even a teacher's relationship with his pupil falls into this
The second category of love, according to Sternberg, is
“infatuation.” Most of us have been infatuated by someone at some stage
of our life. The attraction is very strong but we do not want to commit
ourselves. After a short time, the whole “affair” fizzles out.
Sometimes, young children are attracted to each other. Adults call it
“calf love” or “puppy love.” When children outlive their childhood, they
forget the whole experience.
Sometimes we are committed to someone without any intimacy or
passion. Some of the arranged marriages fall into this category. Certain
married couples are compelled to live together for the sake of children
or property. According to Sternberg, it is nothing but “empty love.”
Sometimes we call such a relationship a marriage of convenience. The
strange fact is that both parties to the marriage stay together without
Sternberg then turns his attention to a new type of love called
“fatuous love.” Although the term sounds uncommon, it simply means a
high level of commitment with a low level of intimacy or passion. In our
life's journey we are sometimes attracted to someone we have never met.
Young men are attracted to film stars living in a far away country.
Pen-pals develop a close relationship without meeting each other.
Most of us have intimate friends and we are quite proud of them.
However much we are committed to each other, we lack passion. As a
result, the relationship will always remain a friendship. Sternberg
terms it “compassionate love.”
Sternberg says that commitment and passion are found only in
“consummate love.” When two people are involved in this type of love, it
is the be-all and end-all in life. They are real lovers who cannot live
without each other's company. Human history is full of such love
affairs. Saliya-Asokamala is a classic case of consummate love. In this
type of affair, love consumes everything!
It is strange but true that some people never experience consummate
love. Even some married couples live together without an iota of
passion. The root cause of such loveless lives may be traced to one's
Psychologists believe that our romantic relationships are extensions
of our childhood attachments. Children who receive loads of love from
their parents, relations and friends tend to develop strong romantic
If there is no love, the world will come to a virtual standstill.
Love is a strong emotion that generates kindness, compassion and many
other pleasant feelings in the human heart.