Six Distortions of Love

His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
For The Bali Times

If all is God and all is love, why is there imperfection in the world? Because, love has six distortions! Though the creation is all love, it’s influenced by six types of distortions – anger, lust, greed, jealousy, arrogance and delusion.

These six distortions are present in animals also, but they have no way to go beyond these distortions as Nature rules them. But human beings are endowed with discrimination and can move from these distortions to a state of pure love. The purpose of all spiritual practices is to move away from these distortions of creation to a state perfection. There are three kinds of perfection: perfection in action, perfection in speech and perfection in feelings. It is rare, but not difficult, to find all perfections in one person.

Action can never be perfect. Any action will have a flaw, here or there, now or then. Feelings when they become imperfect, it stays for long period and disturbs the innermost perfection.

So when you see any imperfection, injustice done to somebody, how you deal with it? If you boil with the feeling of injustice, then you have become more imperfect. If you protect your inner perfection and ensure perfection in speech, then you are able to deal with the imperfection outside. So the first priority is inner perfection. Usually we go from one imperfection to another imperfection. When someone is greedy, you become angry about his or her greediness. Thus instead of bringing purity in you, you are just changing the flavor of impurity. A change in distortion does not bring perfection, but normally everyone does this. Lust becomes anger; anger becomes jealousy or greed or arrogance or delusion. In that case, one is going from one imperfection to another.

It is important to save your mind at any cost. And the best way to deal with the mind is to see every action as a happening governed by some laws. So when you find imperfections in different actions, don’t allow those imperfections to enter your heart, your being. Normally when we fight to counter one distortion, we are overtaken by other distortions. But know that anger is no better than lust, and jealousy is no better than anger. Don’t think that one distortion is better than the other.

You have to look beyond the perfection of speech, to the feelings beyond the speech. For example, the mother really does not mean it when she tells her child to get lost. So if you can understand the intention behind the imperfection in speech, then you will not become imperfect in your feelings or your inner perfection will remain. Instead if you get angry when you see someone dishonest, then you are doubly imperfect.

Every action has a flaw. Even when you give alms, you give charity, there are some negative points in it. You are hurting their self-respect, self-esteem; so all actions have their own flaws. So perfection in feeling is possible, perfection in speech is possible to a greater extent, and to a great extent, perfection in action is also possible. Humility is the perfection of the soul and the Being. Anger, rage is the distortion of the Being.

The author is an internationally revered spiritual leader from India and the founder of the Art of Living Foundation. You are welcome to send your comments and feedback on the article to

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