‘I hope you feel loved and appreciated on Valentine’s Day’
This is the message which people send to their near and dear ones on this special day. It’s a way of expressing the joy of having them in their lives.
How did Valentine’s Day start?
There are various stories associated with various Valentines. One of them being the execution of Saint Valentine. He was a priest in the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II felt that single men made better soldiers. He then banned them from getting married. He wanted the best and vibrant period of health to be utilized for his army. However, Valentine secretly continued to perform marriages for young lovers. When this news reached Claudius he executed the priest on February 14. Centuries later his death day began to be commemorated as a day of celebration of love.
Valentine became a symbol of true/unconditional love. He risked his life so that others could celebrate their love.
Henry Dunant’s love inspired the creation of ICRC
During a business trip, Henry Dunant saw the after-effects of the Battle of Solferino. The pain of the wounded soldiers was heart-wrenching. He started caring for the wounded. This unconditional love and service gave him a lot of contentment. This prompted him to change the course of his life as well. He left his business and started humanitarian activities. This later became The International Committee of the Red Cross.
The philanthropist Alfred Bernhard Nobel
Another glaring example is Alfred Nobel. He held 355 patents. At one point he decided to be a benefactor to fellow human beings. He sold his assets for charity and instituted the prestigious Institute that gives Nobel Prize to great people each year.
History has many such examples of true love.
When the Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16) it uses the Greek word agape which literally means ‘unconditional love’. According to Christ, this is the core quality of God (Mark 10:18). Jesus too displayed such unconditional love. He declared that “My food is to do God’s will” (John 4:34). The Bible also says “God created mankind in his own image” (Genesis 1:27).
Only a heart filled with love can have compassion and mercy. All the benefactory acts performed in the world are out of love and compassion.
We are all children of God and are filled with unconditional love already.
Jesus experienced God’s love during his early hours of meditation. This filled him with the power to serve humanity during the rest of the day. In fact, to the question ‘“Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:28-31)
Radha and Krishna
A constant link with God enables meditators to see life holistically and accept it. They have a delightful disposition towards everything that happens around them. A person with such a mindset is like Radha. When she was with Krishna she didn’t know how time passed. There was no effort involved in being with him.
Radha became Krishna’s best friend during his stay in Vrindavan. They grew up together playing and dancing. Krishna finally left Vrindavan to take his throne and continue with his missions. She delightfully waited for Krishna without complaints. Her love was so great that even today both the names are uttered together.
When Krishna left Radha, he was only 10 years old. She never traveled to Dwarka to see him again.
What Radha really stood for is in the very meaning of the name “Radhe.” It is a combination of Ra (from Ras, which means love or juice of life) + Dhe (the giver).” It means, of all the gopis, Radhe loved him the most. Radha’s love was of the mind, not of the beauty of the body. The love between them is called parakiya, typical of love between friends, not of married persons.
If one operates from such delightful love and views everything that happens pleasantly, what a marvelous life that would be. Nothing to complain about. That means accepting life with pleasantness is the very essence of what Radha is all about.
Conversely, finding faults with happenings of life and not seeing the cause-effect relationship (law of karma) is self-deceptive and even equal to “mocking God,” says Bible (Galatians 6:7).
People love God. But then their love decays into the love for His things. People live in yog (remembrance of God) for some time. Then they slip into forgetfulness, ignorance or egoism. They start thinking in terms of ‘my interest, my family, my country, etc and this leads to viyog (separation) from God.
So, the more you are connected with God the happier your life will be. When you are in love with God you spend hours with Him without being aware of the time. Whatever you do for Him gives you joy and bliss.
If you make God your Valentine, all your days will be like Valentine’s Day.