Unconditional Love

Definition - What does Unconditional Love mean?

Unconditional love is a term that describes a selfless, higher form of love than romantic love. In Indian and yoga philosophy, this type of love is considered the highest form of devotion, or bhakti.

In Sanskrit, there are five words that translate as “love.” Prem is typically that word used to describe unconditional love, and atma-prem describes unconditional love of the inner or higher Self. This unconditional love requires nothing in return, leading instead to total surrender and devotion.

Yogapedia explains Unconditional Love

In Bhakti yoga, the five words for love are described as stages that culminate in unconditional love of the universal Self. The four stages that lead to this unconditional love are:

  1. Sensory craving (kama), which describes physical attraction and sexual desire
  2. Rapturous intimacy (shringara), which is romantic, emotional love
  3. Generous compassion (maitra), an uncomplicated love for all beings similar to that of a mother's love for her child
  4. Impersonal devotion (bhakti), which is love of all creation and of God
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