Sublime Love (Essay and Anthology)

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Item Code: IDJ510
Author: Stuart Rose
Publisher: Indica Books, Varanasi
Language: English
Edition: 2007
ISBN: 8186569685
Pages: 337
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 290 gm
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Book Description

Back of the Book

Sublime Love is an enquiry into the heart of all religions and spiritualities, into that which gives them meaningfulness. In two parts, Sublime Love first meets with and illuminates spiritual love from every angle, and seeks to establish much more precisely than hitherto what spiritual love is, and what it entails. The second part is a comprehensive collection of this love's most important non-mystical writings, which seeks to broaden and extend what has been found in the first part.

In the essay, first many questions are raised and responses given from a personal perspective-the only possible primary 'evidence'. Then three well-known scriptural accounts of spiritual love are given in full with discussion: Krishna, Jesus and the Buddha. Questions were put to authorities on spiritual love (priests, rabbis, monks, and the like), including: Are all neighbors to be loved? Does love always entail suffering? Through literature analysis and more questions, six nuances are explained. Is the experience the same for women and men? Is spiritual love unconditional? And what is the relationship between spiritual love and sexuality? Finally, four vital elements are met: Self, peace, beauty, and bliss. The essay ends with two parts illuminating spiritual love at its very highest.

After a short context setting introduction to each entry, the Anthology presents substantial extracts from 36 writings, including: Aquinas, Aurobindo, Bahya, Dionysius, Fromm, al Ghazzali, Gibran, Gurdjieff, Kierkegaard, Lewis, Maslow, Merton, Mo-tse, Plato, Plotinus, Tolstoy, and Vivekananda.

Stuart Rose has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies, and has lived, traveled and worked in many countries and organizations. He now lives simply, away from the world.


The greatest happiness a person can find in the world is most often through the love of another person, yet there is thought to be an even greater love, one which creates even greater happiness. This love is not necessarily centered on a particular person; according to those who have had the experience, it becomes more clearly apparent once individuality is reduced or, all the more so, if it is lost altogether. This is spiritual love.

Throughout history, many people from Plato to Tolstoy have written that the love of another person can be mentally and physically fulfilling, but only to a certain degree. They feel that spiritual love adds something or is greater and can be even more fulfilling, more all encompassing and that its source may not be of the mundane world. The aim of this book is to illuminate this latter love, to find out something of what it might entail.

As the origin of spiritual love might be beyond this world, so to speak, it is therefore also likely to be beyond full explanation and description through purely rational means. Perhaps it cannot be explained fully at all. What can be said for certain is very little, possibly only that love itself exists; although we cannot prove it conclusively, we just believe strongly that it does through our experiences of it. Beyond this almost wholly agreed fact, what spiritual love- as a type or recognizable encounter with love-might be is the subject of much conjecture and personal interpretation. On the one hand, spiritual love can be thought of as a particular experience of a larger or wider love, while on the other hand it can be thought of as the source of all types and experiences of love. There are, as we will see, no hard and fast certainties about what love is. What seems to be the case is that spiritual love, like all loves, cannot be defined in a way that every person would have a similar understanding of what it might be or might incorporate.

All love, not just spiritual love, can be described as one of the most-if not the most-exceptional human experiences which occur, and one of its particular characteristics is that it is perhaps the most uncontrollable of all our experiences. We cannot choose when to love, nor even who or what to love. Love just comes, or not. It can be continuous and consistent, but more often it has waves or surges whereby it can be described as one of the most-if not the most-exceptional human experiences which occur, and one of its particular characteristics is that it is perhaps the most uncontrollable of all our experiences. We cannot choose when to love, nor even who or what to love. Love just comes, or not. It can be continuous and consistent, but more often it has waves or surges whereby it can be experienced more deeply and fully or less so at any moment in time, and we rarely have any real inkling of why this should be. Understandably, there are occasions which can be created when love might be felt more, although this may not happen without love being felt in the first place, no matter how dimly or in which direction.

The same ups and downs may be true for spiritual love, although it would seem more likely that, for a spiritual person, this love could occur more-more strongly, more deeply or more consistently-than for a non-spiritual person, but this need not necessarily be the case, as anyone, sometimes out of the blue, can experience spiritual person would ever experience spiritual love. There are no incontrovertible rules that can be applied to this or any form of love.

No one has come up with a satisfactory definition or explanation of love that all can agree, nor, I submit, is it likely that anyone ever will. Yet we all experience it to greater or lesser degrees. It is innate. What is more, there is no reason to suppose, nor convincing evidence to show either way, that all life forms cannot have the same experience. Certainly, by observation, we can see that human beings enjoy the experience, and it is also quite possible to interpret that dogs, cats, apes, horses, and many other life forms do, too. Does the blackbird on the garden lawn feeding its fledgling standing beings, or should not a flower, an ocean, a meteor, or space itself, be excluded from some ability to experience love, in that, is love everywhere regardless of physical substance? And can any meaningful answer be made for this question? We will meet with this conundrum again, and others will be explored throughout the course of this questioning of what spiritual love is.

To be sure, some people will see spiritual love as just one of a number of particularly human experiences. Some will see this love to have an opposite, whereas others not. Some will see this love everywhere, infusing everything, and others will say that it does not exist, or that it only exists as a figment of the imagination. However, it is possible, maybe even probable, that all people and all beings experience spiritual love in some form or another, weak or strong, during their lives, and yet so little is known about it. Perhaps through these pages more can be known.




1. Introduction 13
  Explanation of key words 15
  Spiritual love and mysticism 20
  Plan of the chapters 22
  Personal interest 24
2. Questions about Spiritual Love 27
3. Spiritual Love in Religious Texts 46
  Krishna 47
  Jesus 55
  Buddha 62
  Scriptural love 69
  Is there a different between historical and contemporary teachings on spiritual love? 71
4. Questioning the Authorities 75
  What the authorities said 77
  Review of what the authorities 87
5. Features and Nuances of Spiritual Love 90
  The different for women and men 91
  Is ecstasy spiritual love? 98
  Different types of love 100
  Unconditional love 107
  What is not spiritual love 110
  The relationship between spiritual love and sexuality, desire, and passion 114
6. Concluding Strands 123
  Self 126
  Peace 130
  Beauty 133
  Bliss 137
  Ending 142
  Concluding strand 144
7. Anthology 147
  Robert Adams 149
  Thomas Aquinas 154
  Sri Aurobindo 157
  Bahya Ibn Paquda 162
  Dionysius 167
  Emile Durkheim 172
  Leone Ebreo 175
  Victor Frankl 180
  Erich Fromm 184
  Al-Ghazali 190
  Kahlil Gibran 194
  G.I. Gurdjieff 197
  Aldous Huxley 200
  Karl Jaspers 205
  Hazrat Inayat Khan 210
  Soren Kierkegaard 216
  Jiddu Krishnamurti 221
  C. S. Lewis 229
  Gabriel Honore Marcel 233
  Abraham Maslow 237
  Thomas Merton 244
  Mo-tze 246
  Jacob Needleman 251
  Anders Nygren 255
  P. D. Ouspensky 261
  Plato 266
  Plotinus 269
  Max Scheler 274
  Vladimir Solovyov 280
  Benedictus de Spinoza 285
  Rudolf Steiner 290
  Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 294
  Tenzin Gyatso, H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama 302
  Leo Tolstoy 309
  Swami Vivekananda 314
  Alan Watts 320
  List of References Cited 329


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