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Volume III - The Art of Personality

Part II - Rasa Shastra - The Science of Life's Creative Forces

Chapter IX

Courtship is the foundation upon which married life is erected. Real courtship is in all love that is directed towards an object with the hope of gaining it, and with constancy in the pursuit of it. Belief that the object will be attained some day, and confidence that the desire to attain will not weaken before it is fulfilled, is the spirit of true courtship.

One sees many cases where a young man or girl, from the desire to get all the pleasure possible, is happy with one friend in one season, and with the change of season changes the friend: a kind of restlessness that may increase to such an extent that youth making merry, may seek a new companion, or new face with whom to share every fresh enjoyment. Such as these know only of pleasures that pass, and remain in the same place where they were. And those who seek to recall the first springtime of emotion in many experiences, and so go from one love affair to another until they grow to be more interested in change than in anything else, lose sight of the real beauty of courtship and its real joy. Their loves that change so often make but little difference to them. And their hearts, which have suffered no wound since love has never fully touched them, remain unilluminated.

Then too often one sees that a young man or woman, perhaps from great cautiousness, or a fundamental lack of confidence or trust, will have several love affairs at a time, thinking to choose at last the one that may seem closest to his or her ideal. Although this way may prove successful up to a point, it certainly will prevent ultimate success in life. For love is the power that is the original cause of creation; it is the battery working behind the mechanism of the universe. And this original power is crippled in the individual when he attempts to divide it by directing it towards more than one whom he regards as possible objects of his love.

As to the effect of indecision upon others, changeableness on the part of a man seems usually to have more harmful results than changeableness on the part of a woman. Since a woman's position in life is the more delicate one, whether regarded from the moral, social, or physical point of view, there is more danger that the injury that a man inflicts upon her may prove irreparable. At the same time a woman is perhaps to be more censured than a man is if she proves fickle and changeable, since she naturally possesses greater stability, especially in matters of the heart.

The man or woman, who, out of cautiousness or for whatever reason, has more than one in view in courtship, is not able to give enough to anyone, nor take enough from anyone. He is unable to take for the very reason that he is unable to give. Think then what he loses! If he were able to see those ocean waves that move in his heart, the heart that is vaster than any sea, he would never be deluded into thinking that any price could be too great to pay for the loss of that emotion which comes in the intensity of love.

The right mate comes at the right time, and then indeed all cautious testings seem useless, crackling like straw. As soon as feeling is divided for the sake of any such reason as the testing of the beloved, it becomes a business. One can no longer speak of it as love. And as soon as one's feeling is divided for such a reason one begins to develop deception, and the emotions eventually become obscured by deception. There cannot, indeed, be any sincere love without single-mindedness, nor any fragrant love without sincerity.

A tendency is often seen in young people of wishing to arouse jealousy and of attempting to gain a deeper affection by showing the lover how much others admire them, and therefore how worthy of admiration they are. But these are the wrong tactics, for the current that should flow in a single stream is of necessity disturbed by such a maneuver. A persistent lover will no doubt fight his battle on love's field to overcome his real or supposed rival. But after winning the battle the current of his love will be weakened and may be exhausted. Usually indeed, on account of the conflict and strain sustained, it becomes so attenuated that at any moment the thread can break or wear through.

One also sees young people viewing courtship from a practical standpoint, thinking what practical benefit they may derive. Whether it is money or comfort or position they think of, it is the thing they are looking for that they love and not the person. However loving or affectionate a couple may appear, there can only be disappointment for one of them if their courtship is built on such a basis. For by an inner law of nature, if one of two friends is disappointed the other cannot be entirely happy.

When the stream of love flows in its full strength it purifies all that stands in its course, as the Ganges in the teachings of the ancients purifies all who plunge into its sacred waters. It is more than a wonder, more than interesting or beautiful, to see the devotion of a youth in the presence of the beloved. The pain of his longing in her absence, his effort to come to her, and his planning to communicate with her when there is no channel or means. And his imaginings, what he would like to tell her, how he would like to put it, all are washed away in that moment when he is face to face with her.

Sincere courtship is in itself a religion. Surely no religion can teach more than love can. When the beloved becomes so much the center of life that the lover begins to lose his selfishness through thought for her; when he is so impressed by her beauty that no other beauty, no matter how great, can make him falter in his allegiance to her; when for her sake he becomes gentle and considerate; when he confesses to her what he would not have any one else on earth know; when his desires turn towards honesty and sincerity in all things, through his honesty and sincerity in love, is there not then something in his life greater than the religion that is merely taught? Has he not himself received a direct inspiration from heaven above? A lover thus inspired looks forward with the same hope to his future life with the beloved that the pious do to life in the hereafter. The meeting between two such lovers is nothing less than a divine communion, since God, who is Love, and was asleep in their hearts, is now awakened within them.


Many say, and rightly, that parents should have control in the love affairs of their children, for whose sake they have borne so many troubles and difficulties. And who could enumerate the sacrifices that parents willingly undergo to support their children and to protect them from all hardship? It is undoubtedly hard for any parent to find that the child who was once so helpless and dependent is no sooner grown than he wishes to take a step quite independently of anyone, and a step that will influence his whole future happiness. Besides, as they say in the East, youth is blind, and especially blind when love rises in the heart, covering reason with clouds of emotions, and sweeping away discretion in a storm of feeling. At such a moment it is a third person who can judge of the real state of affairs. Shall the place of this third person be denied to the parents who, in the majority of cases, live their youthful lives again in the youth of their children?

At the same time parents who separate their child from the beloved, whether by force or by influence, are in danger either of driving the child who is courageous and independent away from them altogether, or of crushing the heart of the weak one in such a way as to leave a pain there that is never forgotten. Many a girl comes in her disappointment to look upon her parents, once her friends, as her bitterest enemies. Parents and children live in such different worlds; the temperament, the outlook of the old is so strange to the young.

And is it really possible for any one being to take over the responsibility of the life of another? Can it really be thought that any soul has the right to control another soul by power or force? There is one control: affection, which is the only legitimate deterrent; but affection loses all happiness once it disregards freedom. Freedom of the self and freedom of the loved one, true affection can never lose sight of either. And whether it be through love of mother or father, or of the one who loves in courtship, once the freedom of the beloved has been hindered, a fault against love has been committed.

Where the attentions of love are not acceptable they should be withdrawn. Where the lover finds that the beloved is troubled by the expression of his love, or that the heart of the beloved is changed and bent in a new direction, so that his power is no longer able to keep it in the direction he wishes, then instead of causing harm to the beloved, let the lover (whether father, or mother, or whoever it be) cease to demand a response. He may perhaps become indifferent and erase his love. If so, good. But the real lover accepts the bowl of bitterness from the hands of the beloved as a draught that purifies and strengthens for life, knowing that crucifixion alone is the source of resurrection.

checked 18-Oct-2005