Indians rejoice! In these days of shouting slogans like: “Jai Ho!” and “India A global superpower in the making”, we have to learn one more important lesson. And that is to learn how to express love. Yes, you guessed it right we did not have Valentine’s Day celebrations until now. But the situation has changed for the better.
What did you say? You have never heard of this day before! How much India is lagging behind the developed countries can be safely judged by this one criterion alone. Let me tell you the story (or the myth, if you prefer) behind this day.
One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. Some say that there were two Saint Valentines, and both achieved martyrdom.
Whatever may be the story (or myth), this day is certainly a favorite of today’s merchants of consumerist culture. It just makes good business sense. Just read this according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion Valentine cards are sent each year in the USA, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending this year is estimated to top $16.90 billion, with the average consumer spending nearly $120 on the holiday. And with the growing clout of the fast-growing Indian middle-class it is high time that Indians needed to be taught a lesson or two in the fine art of expressing love.
Of course, not everybody is fooled by this hype. Some have started an anti-commercially oriented Valentine’s Day celebration which does not have any purchasing involved.
How was love originally expressed? As the boyfriend-girlfriend culture tries to make inroads in the Indian psyche, one wonders if there is any allowance for it in Vedic culture. The Bhagavad-gita states that Krishna is the origin of everything everything emanates from Him alone. Thus original love is also to be found in Him. How does He express that love? Krishnadoes not need to seek out a female partner. He exchanges that love with His own spiritual counterpart Radha. Radha and Krishna are like the sunshine and the sun one is the potency while the other potent (possessor of the potency). Great devotees and learned scholars have given their decision that the loving affairs of Krishna and the damsels of Vrindavana are situated on the highest spiritual platform. Understanding this love constitutes the pinnacle of spiritual evolution. How does this make any sense? To begin with, this material world is described as a reflection of the spiritual world as a real tree is reflected in a lake of water. The roots of the real tree are downwards and the branches grow upwards but in the reflection the roots are up while the branches are down.
In the spiritual world the topmost part is this conjugal love, and here, the same thing, when pervertedly reflected, is the lowest abominable thing. In the spiritual world, to remain as girlfriend and boyfriend, that is the topmost pleasure, but in the material world, the same thing is the most abominable thing. We cannot imitate the loving affairs of Krishna and Radharani unless we understand the real fact.
We have to understand that unless the loving propensity is there in the Supreme, how it can be reflected? Because this is perverted reflection only, so there must be an origin. Therefore those who say that God is impersonal or He has no form or His activities are illusory indirectly give encouragement to indulge in material sensory activities, which end in horrible misery. Vaisnava philosophy states the prime effect of understanding Krishna’s loving affairs is that our material lusty desires will vanish. Here we are all afflicted by lust, but in the spiritual world there is not a tinge of lust. Indeed the great saint Yamunacharya said, “So long I have been engaged in the service of Krishna and I am rendering more and more service and getting spiritual pleasure, since then, as soon as I think of sex life, I immediately spit upon it and I hate to think of it.”
Lord Krishna is described as the source of brahmananda or that pleasure sought by completely renounced rsis and munis. These personalities sacrifice everything, not just sex life, but even the most mundane pleasures for the sake of brahmananda. How absurd to think that the person who is the source of that brahmananda will stoop down to the gutters of the material world and engage in so-called sex enjoyment.
To conclude, instead of buying that valentine’s card and allowing yourself to be manipulated by corporate barons or see them laughing all the way to the bank, why not chant Hare Krishna and send an “I want to love You” card to Lord Krishna?