United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

Love With An Object

by H. P. Blavatsky, 1888

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[Great Crested Grebe, kind courtesy of Glenn Bartley]

The author answers one of the greatest questions in philosophy
“Is the love of individual forms, persons or objects true love?”

Some distinguished contributors to theosophical literature have of late been describing what qualities are necessary to constitute a perfect man, i.e., an Adept. They said that among other things it was absolutely and indispensably necessary, that such a being should possess Love—and not merely Love in the abstract—but love regarding some object or objects. What can they possibly mean by speaking of “love with an object,” and could there possibly be love without any object at all? Can that feeling be called love, which is directed solely to the Eternal and Infinite, and takes no cognizance of earthly illusions? Can that be love which has no object or—in other words—is the love of forms or objects the true love at all? If a man loved all things in the universe alike, without giving any preference to any of them, would not such a love be practically without any object; would it not be equal to loving nothing at all; because in such a case the individuality of any single object would be lost to sight?

A love which is directed towards all things alike, an universal love, is beyond the conception of the mortal mind, and yet this kind of love, which bestows no favours upon any one thing, seems to be that eternal love, which is recommended by all the sacred books of the East and the West; because as soon as we begin to love one thing or one being more than another, we not only detract from the rest an amount of love which the rest may rightfully claim; but we also become attached to the object of our love, a fate against which we are seriously warned in various pages of these books.

The Bhagavad Gita teaches that we should not love or hate any object of sense whatsoever, nor be attached to any object or thing, but renounce all projects and fix our thoughts solely on It, the Eternal, which is no-thing and no object of cognition for us, but whose presence can be only subjectively experienced by, and within ourselves. It says: “He is esteemed, who is equal-minded to companions, friends, enemies, strangers, neutrals, to aliens and kindred, yea to good and evil men”1; and further on it says: “He whose soul is united by devotion, seeing the same in all around, sees the soul in everything and everything in the soul. He who sees Me (Brahmâ) everywhere and everything in Me, him I forsake not and he forsakes not me…. He who sees the same in everything—Arjuna!—whether it be pleasant or grievous, from the self-resemblance, is deemed to be a most excellent Yogin.”2

On almost every page of the Bhagavad Gita we are instructed only to direct our love to that which is eternal in every form, and let the form itself be a matter of secondary consideration. “He must be regarded as a steadfast renouncer, who neither hates nor desires.”… “In a learned and modest Brahman, in a cow, in an elephant, in a dog, and a Swapāka; they who have knowledge see the same thing.”… “Let no man rejoice in attaining what is pleasant, nor grieve in attaining what is unpleasant; being fixed in mind, untroubled, knowing Brahma and abiding in Brahma.”… “He who is happy in himself, pleased with himself, who finds also light in himself, this Yogin, one with Brahmâ, finds Nirvana in Him.”

The great Hermes Trismegistus teaches the same identical doctrine; for he says: “Rise and embrace me with thy whole being, and I will teach thee whatsoever thou desirest to know.” The Bible also tells us that “God is Love,”3 and that we should love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind,4 and while it teaches that we should love nothing else but God,5 who is All in All,6 yet it affirms, that this God is omnipresent, eternal and incomprehensible to the finite understanding of mortals.7 It teaches this love to be the most important of all possessions, without which all other possessions are useless,8 and yet this God, whom we are to love, is not an “object,”9 but everywhere. He is in us and we in Him.10 We are to leave all objects of sense and follow Him alone,11 although we have no means of intellectually knowing or perceiving Him, the great Unknown, for whose sake we are to give up house and brethren, sisters, father, mother, wife, children and lands.12

What can all this mean, but that love itself is the legitimate object of love? It is a divine, eternal, and infinite power, a light, which reflects itself in every object while it seeks not the object, but merely its own reflection therein. It is an indestructible fire and the brighter it burns, the stronger will be the light and the clearer will its own image appear. Love falls in love with nothing but its own self, it is free from all other attractions. A love which becomes attached to objects of sense, ceases to be free, ceases to be love, and becomes mere desire. Pure and eternal love asks for nothing, but gives freely to all who are willing to take. Earthly love is attracted to persons and things, but Divine spiritual love seeks only that which is divine in everything, and this can be nothing else but love, for love is the supreme power of all. It holds together the worlds in space, it clothes the earth in bright and beautiful colours, it guides the instincts of animals and links together the hearts of human beings. Acting upon the lower planes of existence it causes terrestrial things to cling to each other with fond embrace; but love on the spiritual plane is free. Spiritual love is a goddess, who continually sacrifices herself for herself and who accepts no other sacrifice but her own self, giving for whatever she may receive, herself in return. Therefore the Bhagavad Gita says: “Nourish ye the gods by this and let the gods nourish you. Thus nourishing each other ye shall obtain the highest good”13; and the Bible says: “To him who has still more shall be given, and from him who has not, even what he has shall be taken away.”14

Love is an universal power and therefore immortal, it can never die. We cannot believe that even the smallest particle of love ever died, only the instruments through which it becomes manifest change their form; nor will it ever be born, for it exists from eternity, only the bodies into which it shines are born and die and are born again. A Love which is not manifest is non-existent for us, to come into existence means to become manifest. How then could we possibly imagine a human being possessed of a love which never becomes manifest; how can we possibly conceive of a light which never shines and of a fire which does not give any heat?

But “as the sun shines upon the lands of the just and the unjust, and as the rain descends upon the acres of the evil-minded as well as upon those of the good”; likewise divine love manifesting itself in a perfect man is distributed alike to every one without favour or partiality. Wherever a good and perfect human being exists, there is divine love manifest; and the degree of man’s perfection will depend on the degree of his capacity to serve as an instrument for the manifestation of divine love. The more perfect he is, the more will his love descend upon and penetrate all who come within his divine influence. To ask favours of God is to conceive of Him as an imperfect being, whose love is not free, but subject to the guidance of, and preference to, mortals. To expect favours of a Mahatma is to conceive him as an imperfect man.

True, “prayer,” i.e. the elevation and aspiration of the soul “in spirit and in truth,”15 is useful, not because it will persuade the light to come nearer to us, but because it will assist us to open our eyes for the purpose of seeing the light that was already there. Let those who desire to come into contact with the Adepts enter their sphere by following their doctrines; seeking for love, but not for an object of love, and when they have found the former, they will find a superabundance of the latter throughout the whole extent of the unlimited universe; they will find it in everything that exists, for love is the foundation of all existence and without love nothing can possibly continue to exist.

Love—divine love—is the source of life, of light, and happiness. It is the creative principle in the Macrocosm and in the Microcosm of man. It is Venus, the mother of all the gods, because from her alone originates Will and Imagination and all the other powers by which the universe was evolved. It is the germ of divinity which exists in the heart of man, and which may develop into a life-giving sun, illuminating the mind and sending its rays to the centre of the universe; for it originates from that centre and to that centre it will ultimately return. It is a divine messenger, who carries Light from Heaven down to the Earth and returns again to Heaven loaded with sacrificial gifts.

It is worshipped by all, some adore it in one form and some in another, but many perceive only the form and do not perceive the divine spirit. Nevertheless the spirit alone is real, the form is an illusion. Love can exist without form, but no form can exist without love. It is pure Spirit, but if its light is reflected in matter, it creates desire and desire is the producer of forms. Thus the visible world of perishable things is created. “But above this visible nature there exists another, unseen and eternal, which, when all created things perish, does not perish,”16 and “from which they who attain to it never return.” This is the supreme abode of Love without any object, unmanifested and imperishable, for there no object exists. There love is united to love, enjoying supreme and eternal happiness within her own self and that peace, of which the mortal mind, captivated by the illusion of form, cannot conceive. Non-existent for us, and yet existing in that Supreme Be-ness, in which all things dwell, by which the universe has been spread out, and which may be attained to by an exclusive devotion.

Emanuel.  (H. P. Blavatsky)

from Lucifer, January 1888, Vol. 1. pp. 391-94.

The moon, Mercury and Venus
Kind courtesy of Jean Paul Landry, Willington, CT

  1. The Bhagavad Gita, Ch. vi., 14.
  2. The Bhagavad Gita, Ch. vi., 29, 32.
  3. The Bible, 1. John iv., 8.
  4. The Bible, Math. xxii., 37.
  5. The Bible, Math. xx., 37.
  6. The Bible, Ephes. i., 23.
  7. The Bible, 1. Timoth. vi., 16.
  8. The Bible, 1. Corinth, xiii., 2.
  9. The Bible, John i., 5.
  10. The Bible, Rom. xii., 5.
  11. The Bible, Luc. v., 2.
  12. The Bible, Mark x., 29.
  13. The Bhagavad Gita, Ch. iii., 11.
  14. The Bible, Luke xix., 26.
  15. The Bible, John, xiv, 14.
  16. The Bhagavad Gita, Ch. viii. 20.
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