The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Questioner (Q): Today we read that loneliness is love and in aloneness, love is gone; only the beloved remains. Doesn’t this boil down to self-love? Are aloneness and self-love different?
Acharya Prashant (AP): Love is not blind. And you cannot love nonsense. To help something is one thing, to purify something is one thing, to be compassionate towards something is one thing; but to love something is an entirely different thing. Love is not something that you can have towards everything and everybody. Love has to be highly discriminatory. Love has to be highly conditional. Do you understand what love is?
Love means, the one I am loving, my beloved, is the one I would want to be absolutely like. I would want to merge into him. I would want to give myself up totally and unite with him. That’s love. Now, if there is somebody who is worthy of your help, surely you do not want to become just like that person and become another candidate to be helped.
If there is somebody, who is not in a healthy state, surely you would want to help him. That’s what you must do. But would you want to become like him? You would not want to become like him. You would not want to unite with him. You would not want to just give yourself up and be him. So, that cannot be love. That can be compassion, which is alright.
So, love is demanding. The one you must love must be very-very worthy of love; not everything, not everyone deserves to be loved. In fact, the quality of a person and his life can be very well determined by the quality of the one he or she is choosing to love.
So now, what is Self-love? Self-love is really possible only when the self is worthy of being loved. For self-love to happen, the petty, and divided, and confused self has to be elevated to the point where it is clean and shining and expansive and fearless. That is real self-love.
Now, you also see the relation between aloneness and Self-love. Aloneness and the state of Self-love are one. In aloneness, you have turned worthy of love. In loneliness, you despise yourself.
What is it that you want to have further clarified?