Love comes to us from two sources. The result looks practically
the same externally, but internally there’s a fundamental difference.
If love manifests from human lust, it is fraught with contradictions.
This is because any material activity is dual by nature. As much as we’d
like to have good luck, an equal share of bad luck follows. As much
as we’d like Yin to come into our life, it is always accompanied by the
same size Yang. Then, if love comes from spiritual reality, it is bound
to collide with material reality. And again, there’s no way to get around
The desire for eternal love doesn’t match with the impermanence
of this world. Thus, conflict is inevitable. But it doesn’t mean that love
is impossible. Conflict is less of a problem if we realize what’s going on.
The main thing is to understand the inner essence of contradictions.
The duality of this phenomenon can be minimized then. For example,
an experienced housewife knows that hot oil and water come into
conflict. If you pour water into hot oil, the mixture will explode.
However, if you pour oil into boiling water, you’ll only hear a slight
He beats you because he loves you…
These impressive and terrible words came out of the easiest
contradiction that exists in love. That is the contradiction of allpermissiveness
and the desire to protect. If I allow my beloved one
absolutely everything – gratification of any kind, I let him/her get into
a dreadful situation one day. Except joy, they will sooner or later have
to experience the same amount of suffering.
A truly loving person wants his/her beloved to be happy and
doesn’t want him/her to suffer. It requires that we resolve a contradiction
between all-permissiveness and the desire to protect against grief. And
it is resolved by the method of strictness. Strictness is the right balance
between all-permissiveness and prohibition. If we truly love someone,
we have to be strict. If we aspire for true love, we must be prepared to
be strict with ourselves.
We allow swimming in the river but strictly forbid swimming
beyond the buoys. We allow staying out but demand to come back
home before dark. We allow the child to play with friends but insist on
doing homework first. We allow riding a bike but prohibit riding on a
Too much rigor grows into violence; lack of strictness, however,
turns into all-permissiveness. Both these extremes impede love, or, in
other words, neither is the expression of love since the key principle –
the desire to protect – is being lost.
The same principle of strictness reveals itself in spiritual love, as
well. A spiritual person loves God, but instead of all-permissiveness,
this love manifests itself as iron discipline. A believer doesn’t think that
“now that I love God I can do anything I want”. On the contrary, to
protect his/her love, one becomes strict with oneself in desires, when
it comes to mind, senses and body. It’s not that one simply rejoices
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in spiritual happiness – along with that, a spiritual person abides by
all the rules of spiritual development. However, if he/she is too strict,
love for God grows into fanaticism. On the other hand, if one is too
relaxed, it becomes sentimentalism, or sahajiya. Again, these extremes
don’t let divine love develop and cause many types of suffering instead.
Therefore, if one speaks about the Absolute Truth but doesn’t touch on
the topic of strictness of spiritual life, in a befitting way, this is a form of
subtle violence. A listener becomes deceived, being deprived of proper
understanding of love.
Another contradiction of love manifests itself in the relationship
with the seniors. A senior person is the one we should seek good advice
from. As we try to follow this advice, a complex loving controversy
becomes apparent. The seniors invariably possess perfect rightmindedness
concerning the theoretical framework. But when it comes
to practical application, misunderstandings may occur. This is because
life circumstances of those who get advice may be different. Therefore,
whenever we face a contradiction, we must know the rules for proper
behavior. It will help us not to lose our loving relations with the seniors.
And these loving relations are among the most important ones.
Once again, strictness is what is needed. On one hand, we
wholeheartedly value the experience of the senior. We try our best to
grasp the vision of how to act. It is with all our heart that we feel the
desire of the seniors to protect us. We appreciate it and are very grateful
for their advice.
One day people complained to the old sage about all the evil that
came into being together with the so-called technical advancement:
“What’s the use of this technical junk?” they said. “How does it
help people think about the values and sense of life?”
“Anything can contribute to our knowledge.”
“What can we learn, say, from a railroad?”
“That in a moment one can lose everything.”
“What about the telegraph service?”
“That you have to pay for every word you say.”
“How about the phone?”
“That everything we speak here is heard over there…”
On the other hand, we mind our own life principles and strive
to get it done so that there is no contradiction at the end. We are
obliged to accept loving instructions from the seniors. But we are also
responsible for other people we love: the junior ones; those dependent
on us, the equals; and God, after all. If we are not strict with regards to
this situation, love of the seniors won’t bring happiness to us. It won’t
make them happy either. And we have ourselves to blame! To take sage
advice is not enough – one has to put it to work in a proper way. Looks
like a semi-finished product. If it hasn’t been heated, who is to blame?
This is exactly what love for seniors is – we must follow their advice
in such a way that everyone gets happy. Failure to do so will cause
misery to those who have given this advice, after all. This is especially
important to remember, if the advice raises many doubts.
We are talking about it because seniors nowadays stop playing
the role of wise mentors who know the purpose of human life. But it
doesn’t mean we should reject their advice. Disregard for seniors will
destroy our soul; destroy all culture, humanity and spirituality, along
with that. Therefore, we do follow the seniors’ advice, but if it’s not too
spiritual, we make adjustments. In the long run, these adjustments are
beneficial for us, the seniors and all the surrounding people, as well.
For example, if a senior person asks to drink to his/her health,
we are obliged to drink, but it doesn’t have to be alcohol. If you drink
alcohol, it will make you ill, and the seniors who advised it, will also
face the consequences. And so, because we wish the adviser all the best,
we drink juice instead of whiskey, as we follow their advice. By doing
so, we keep ourselves healthy and protect the seniors from negative
consequences. The one who, getting the advice, thinks not whether
it’s proper or improper, but how to follow it so that everyone derives
benefit, is a friend to all living beings. Even if you give such a person
a wrong advice, he/she will follow it in such a way that you benefit
yourself in any case.
The key is not to be afraid to act strictly. Strictness is a mandatory
attribute of a high achiever — a person who wants to do good to others.
Technologies of Success: Living Well Isn’t Against The Law by Vyacheslav Ruzov 78
A low achiever is the one ready to do good to himself/herself only. It’s
common to think that unlucky fellows are those for whom nothing
goes well. But this is not the case. A real loser is the one who benefits
himself/herself only while making others suffer. Therefore, we shouldn’t
be afraid to benefit both individuals and the community as a whole. It
will teach us true spiritual generosity – nobility of a person ready to
undergo hardships for the sake of bringing true spiritual happiness to
others. This is how a man of faith acts, and this is really glorious. Only
those who have no fear can do good and bring happiness to others in
It was right at our subway station that a terrorist attack took place
yesterday, and I’d like to tell a parable in this regard.
Once upon a time a monk wandered the world and met the
Plague. The Plague was making way to his native city.
“Where are you going to?” he asked her.
“The city you lived in,” said the Plague. “I have to claim a thousand
It happened after a while that the monk encountered her again.
“Why did you deceive me?” he reproached her. “You said you
would claim a thousand lives, but you took five thousand.”
“I told you the truth then,” replied the Plague. “I really took a
thousand lives. Others died from fear.”
We shouldn’t be afraid whenever we come up against an obstacle
or get into trouble, or when we receive some contradictory advice. It
doesn’t matter in the least. The main thing is our willingness to make
every effort to dovetail all that with the superior purpose. The purpose
is to gain spiritual understanding since it is only spiritual vision that
can release one from suffering. I must understand that I’m the eternal
soul and being happy is in my nature. Whereas the body is temporary
and it’s always full of anxiety. Only if I manage to understand that,
can I fully focus on the soul and endure bodily problems with dignity,
thereby starting to live like a real sage.
To sum it up, let’s hear another parable.
Once upon a time there lived a very wise sage. People always
turned to him for help, and he always gave good counsel. The fame of
his wisdom spread everywhere.
One day it reached the ears of another man who was also wise
and famous in his neighborhood. He also used to help others. He liked
it that people considered him to be the wisest and put value in his
advice. As soon as this man learnt about another sage, he became angry.
He thought he would lose his fame now. And the man started to think
how to prove to others that he was actually the wisest.
Finally he decided, I’m gonna take a butterfly, hide it in my
hands, approach the sage in front of everybody and ask: “What’s the
thing in my hands?” Naturally, he is a great sage. He’ll twig and say:
“You’ve got a butterfly.” Then I’ll ask him: “Is it dead or alive?” If he says
the butterfly is alive, I’ll slightly press it with my palms. When I let my
hands slacken, everyone will see that the butterfly is dead.
And in case he says the butterfly is dead, I’ll set it free and it will
fly. People will see that he was not right.
So said, so done. He took a butterfly and approached the sage.
“What’s in my hands?” he asked.
The sage looked and said,
“You’ve got a butterfly.”
Then he said,
“Now tell me: is it dead or alive?”
The sage looked into his eyes and thought for a while.
“Everything is in your hands,” — he said.