By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 30 January, 2015
Dear Spiritual Explorer: What does it mean to have unconditional love? Sam P., San Diego, CA
Madonna & Child Pendant
Dear Sam: When I think of unconditional love, I think of the Madonna, the mother of Christ. You can see the devotion and love she is giving to her child in the Madonna and Child Pendant at Ma’s India. Devotees have always looked to the Madonna as the representation of unconditional love.
Catholic friends of mine, mostly of the female persuasion, tell me when they go to Mass in the mornings, they are seeking the Madonna’s love and protection. Ultimately, isn’t that what we all look for, especially if those needs have been unfulfilled for us by either mother or father?
If we were to look at humanity as a whole and their manifested respective religions or beliefs, we would see that people have looked towards religion to manifest those feeling of unconditional love as represented by the Madonna. Unfortunately, what they sometimes receive is dogma and love that calls for surrender and faith in outmoded, restrictive and fundamentalist beliefs.
Sometimes in relationships people make unreasonable requests for unconditional love from someone who is quite incapable of it. When we meet somebody we suddenly project upon them the mother and father feelings of love that are unfinished and incomplete in our lives. Frankly, it becomes an unreasonable request, especially if one does not give to oneself the consideration, respect and love that one desires. It is a hard task indeed.
For me, the Madonna represents someone who realized early in her life that she had a role to play in history, and that the role included ultimately sacrificing her son for the sake of mankind. The love of the mother as represented by the Madonna is also the great mother love expressed in different forms by the female Hindu, Zoroastrian and Tibetan goddesses also, to name a few lineages.
When we look towards these representations of unconditional love, such as the Madonna, we are seeking a source that is always present for us, that inspires us to open our hearts to many peoples and situations, and that allows us to feel divine love dwelling within us no matter what dire circumstances present. The Madonna represents the unconditional love that can be available to us as opposed to looking towards our families, friends or spouses.
When I asked my guru Ma Jaya about what love was, she told me that if I merely looked to my physical heart for those feelings, they were ones of sentiment and attachment. But if I were to look towards the “heart space” that resided above my head, that would add to my sentiment a necessary detachment. That loving detachment would be the wisdom and compassion I could give to the world. It is noteworthy that many eastern religions do not even address the concept of unconditional love. For them, the compassion of the Buddha suffices, for it combines both love and detachment.
When I look at the Madonna and Child pendant, I feel a feeling of peace and serenity and can imagine for myself what it is to be loved by a divine mother who desires nothing else but the well being and comfort for her child.
This Madonna and Child Pendant is truly lovely, cast by hand out of an extremely strong and warm ivory substitute material.
May we all find the love in ourselves and for ourselves that we seek in the Madonna!
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