“I have never said that love is destroyed by marriage. How can marriage destroy love? Yes, it is destroyed in marriage, but it is destroyed by you, not by marriage. It is destroyed by the partners. How can marriage destroy love? It is you who destroy it, because you don’t know what love is. You simply pretend to know, you simply hope that you know, you dream that you know, but you don’t know what love is. Love has to be learned; it is the greatest art there is.
If people are dancing and somebody asks you, ‘Come and dance,’ you say, ‘I don’t know.’ You don’t just jump up and start dancing and have everybody think that you are a great dancer. You will just prove yourself to be a buffoon. You will not prove yourself to be a dancer. It has to be learned — the grace of it, the movement of it. You have to train the body for it.
You don’t just go and start painting just because the canvas is available and the brush is there and the colour is there. You don’t start painting. You say, ‘All requirements are here, so I can paint. You can paint — but you will not be a painter that way.
You meet a woman — the canvas is there. You immediately become a lover — you start painting. And she starts painting on you. Of course you both prove to be foolish — painted fools — and sooner or later you understand what is happening. But you never thought that love is an art. You are not born with the art, it is nothing to do with your birth. You have to learn it. It is the most subtle art.
You are born only with a capacity. Of course, you are born with a body; you can be a dancer because you have the body. You can move your body and you can be a dancer — but dancing has to be learned. Much effort is needed to learn dancing. And dancing is not so difficult because you alone are involved in it.
Love is much more difficult. It is dancing with somebody else. The other is also needed to know what dancing is. To fit with somebody, it is a great art. To create a harmony between two persons… two persons mean two different worlds. When two worlds come close, clash is bound to be there if you don’t know how to harmonise. Love is harmony. And happiness, health, harmony, all happen out of love. Learn to love. Don’t be in a hurry for marriage, learn to love. First become a great lover.
And what is the requirement? The requirement is that a great lover is always ready to give love and is not bothered whether it is returned or not. It is always returned, it is in the very nature of things. It is just as if you go to the mountains and you sing a song, and the valleys respond. Have you seen an echo point in the mountains, in the hills? You shout and the valleys shout, or you sing and the valleys sing. Each heart is a valley. If you pour love into it, it will respond.
The first lesson of love is not to ask for love, but just to give. Become a giver. And people are doing just the opposite. Even when they give, they give only with the idea that love should come back. It is a bargain. They don’t share, they don’t share freely. They share with a condition. They go on watching out of the corner of their eye whether it is coming back or not. Very poor people… they don’t know the natural functioning of love. You simply pour, it will come.
And if it is not coming, nothing to be worried about — because a lover knows that to love is to be happy. If it comes, good; then the happiness is multiplied. But even if it never comes back, in the very act of loving you become so happy, so ecstatic, who bothers whether it comes or not?
Love has its own intrinsic happiness. It happens when you love. There is no need to wait for the result. Just start loving. By and by you will see much more love is coming back to you. One loves and comes to know what love is only by loving. As one learns swimming by swimming, by loving one loves.
And people are very miserly. They are waiting for some great beloved to happen, then they will love. They remain closed, they remain withdrawn. They just wait. From somewhere some Cleopatra will come and then they will open their heart, but by that time they have completely forgotten how to open it.
Don’t miss any opportunity of love. Even passing in a street, you can be loving. Even to the beggar you can be loving. There is no need that you have to give him something; you can smile at least. It costs nothing — but your very smile opens your heart, makes your heart more alive. Hold somebody’s hand — a friend or a stranger. Don’t wait that you will only love when the right person happens. Then the right person will never happen. Go on loving. The more you love, the more is the possibility for the right person to happen, because your heart starts flowering. And a flowering heart attracts many bees, many lovers.
You have been trained in a very wrong way. First, everybody lives under a wrong impression that everybody is already a lover. Just being born, you think you are a lover. It’s not so easy. Yes, there is a potentiality, but the potentiality has to be trained, disciplined. A seed exists, but it has to come to flower.
You can go on carrying your seed; no bee will be coming. Have you ever seen bees coming to the seeds? Don’t they know that seeds can become flowers? But they come when they become flowers. Become a flower, don’t remain a seed.
Two people, separately unhappy, create more unhappiness for each other when they come together. That’s mathematical. You were unhappy, your wife was unhappy and you both are hoping that being together you both will become happy? This is… this is such ordinary arithmetic — like two plus two makes four. It is that simple. It is not part of any higher mathematics; it is very ordinary, you can count it on your fingers. You both will become unhappy.
‘You don’t love me any more?’ asked Mulla Nasrudin’s wife. ‘You never say anything nice to me any more like you used to when we were courting.’ She wiped a tear from her eye with the corner of her apron.
‘I love you, I love you,’ retorted Mulla Nasrudin. ‘Now will you please shut up and let me drink my beer in peace?’
Courting is one thing. Don’t depend on courting. In fact before you get married, get rid of courting. My suggestion is that marriage should happen after the honeymoon, never before it. Only if everything goes right, only then marriage should happen.
Honeymoon after marriage is very dangerous. As far as I know, ninety-nine percent of marriages are finished by the time the honeymoon is finished. But then you are caught, then you have no way to escape. Then the whole society, the law, the court — everybody is against you if you leave the wife, or the wife leaves you. Then the whole morality, the religion, the priest, everybody is against you. In fact society should create all barriers possible for marriage and no barrier for divorce. Society should not allow people to marry so easily. The court should create barriers — live with the woman for two years at least, then the court can allow you to get married. Right now they are doing just the reverse. If you want to get married, nobody asks whether you are ready or whether it is just a whim, just because you like the nose of the woman. What foolishness! One cannot live by just a long nose. After two days the nose will be forgotten. Who looks at one’s own wife’s nose?
I have heard:
A certain ward was staffed completely by nurses who looked as though they were finalists in the Miss World Contest, but every time one of the patients saw them, he stared intently and said, ‘Rubbish! ‘
The man in the next bed could not understand it at all. ‘Gorgeous nurses like these to look after you and all you can say is “Rubbish”. Why?’
‘I was not thinking of the nurses,’ said the other sadly, ‘I was thinking of my wife.’
The wife never looks beautiful, the husband never looks beautiful. Once you are aquainted, beauty disappears.
Two persons should be allowed to live together long enough to become aquainted, familiar with each other. And even if they want to get married, they should not be allowed. Then divorces will disappear from the world. The divorces exist because marriages are wrong and forced. The divorces exist because marriages are done in a romantic mood.
A romantic mood is good if you are a poet — and poets are not known to be good husbands or good wives. In fact poets are almost always bachelors. They fool around but they never get caught, and hence their romance remains alive. They go on writing poetry, beautiful poetry.
One should not get married to a woman or to a man in a poetic mood. Let the prose mood come, then settle. Because the day-to-day life is more like prose than like poetry. One should become mature enough.
Maturity means that one is no more a romantic fool. One understands life, one understands the responsibility of life, one understands the problems of being together with a person. One accepts all those difficulties and yet decides to live with the person. One is not hoping that there is only going to be heaven, all roses. One is not hoping nonsense; one knows reality is tough. It is rough. There are roses, but far and few in between; there are many thorns.
When you have become alert to all of these problems and still you decide that it is worthwhile to risk and be with a person rather than to be alone, then get married. Then marriages will never kill love, because this love is realistic. Marriage can kill only romantic love. And romantic love is what people call ‘puppy love’. One should not depend on it. One should not think about it as nourishment. It may be just like ice-cream. You can eat it sometimes, but don’t depend on it. Life has to be more realistic, more prose.
And marriage itself never destroys anything. Marriage simply brings out whatsoever is hidden in you — it brings it out. If love is hidden behind you, inside you, marriage brings it out. If love was just a pretension, just a bait, then sooner or later it has to disappear. And then your reality, your ugly personality comes up. Marriage simply is an opportunity, so whatsoever you had to bring out will come out.
I am not saying that love is destroyed by marriage. Love is destroyed by people who don’t know how to love. Love is destroyed because in the first place love is not. You have been living in a dream. Reality destroys that dream. Otherwise love is something eternal, part of eternity. If you grow, if you know the art, and you accept the realities of love-life, then it goes on growing every day. Marriage becomes a tremendous opportunity to grow into love.
Nothing can destroy love. If it is there, it goes on growing. But my feeling is, it is not there in the first place. You misunderstood yourself; something else was there. Maybe sex was there, sex appeal was there. Then it is going to be destroyed, because once you have loved a woman, then the sex appeal disappears — because the sex appeal is only with the unknown. Once you have tasted the body of the woman or the man, then the sex appeal disappears. If your love was only sex appeal then it is bound to disappear.
So never misunderstand love for something else. If love is really love…. What do I mean when I say ‘really love’? I mean that just being in the presence of the other you feel suddenly happy, just being together you feel ecstatic, just the very presence of the other fulfills something deep in your heart… something starts singing in your heart, you fall into harmony. Just the very presence of the other helps you to be together; you become more individual, more centered, more grounded. Then it is love.
Love is not a passion, love is not an emotion. Love is a very deep understanding that somebody somehow completes you. Somebody makes you a full circle. The presence of the other enhances your presence. Love gives freedom to be yourself; it is not possessiveness.
So, watch. Never think of sex as love, otherwise you will be deceived. Be alert, and when you start feeling with someone that just the presence, the pure presence — nothing else, nothing else is needed; you don’t ask anything — just the presence, just that the other is, is enough to make you happy… something starts flowering within you, a thousand and one lotuses bloom… then you are in love, and then you can pass through all the difficulties that reality creates. Many anguishes, many anxieties — you will be able to pass all of them, and your love will be flowering more and more, because all those situations will become challenges. And your love, by overcoming them, will become more and more strong.
Love is eternity. If it is there, then it goes on growing and growing. Love knows the beginning but does not know the end