The Four Stages of Romantic Love – Ishq & Chanakya Sutras

Love encompasses an array of alluring and powerful psychological and emotional states, from an unconditionally positive ideal, the purest form of human caring, the most intense interpersonal bond, to the easiest form of joy. Love has been described as the energy field that surrounds and immerses us in our lives. It is the essence of our being, and defines every relationship. Love transcends the quantitative personality trait of kindness, friendliness, generosity or even a sense of humor, as love transcends these concepts as well. The best definition of love is that it is the unique emotional bond that develops out of our unique personal experiences.


For many centuries, humankind has sought the purpose of love. From the earliest times, love has been linked to sexual desire. Ancient philosophies have associated love with the hunt, and ancient Greek’s believed that love was necessary for human procreation. Modern day philosophers define love to be a desire generated by a deep inner need. The modern individual believes that love is a divine, instinctive motivation, but that humans are capable of expressing this love in healthy and mutually respectful relationships. Some would argue that love is not a motivation at all, but a fleeting mental state that can easily be disrupted by inappropriate behaviors, circumstances and attitudes.

One of the primary definitions of love in the new testament is the “agonizing” power of jealousy. This is the quality of human beings in the presence of others that causes them to feel a sense of insecurity and separation. In fact, according to New Testament writers such as Luke and Matthew, Jesus commanded his apostles not to bear any grudge against a brother or sister. This same commandment sheds light on the primary motivating force behind the practice of love: the desire to be loved.

When we speak of love, most people utilize two verbs, or verb tenses, to describe what they feel; they might say they feel love for their spouse, or they might use the future tense to express the idea that they hope to become a beloved of their spouse. What is lacking in these descriptions of love is the experiential component. This component is what truly defines love. What exactly does it feel like to be loved? Are you able to pinpoint the emotions of love when you receive your partner’s affection?

The main article in this series focuses on what the experience of love entails. When you embrace your beloved and allow him/her into your heart and body, ishq (affection) is experienced. Ishq (affection) is experienced when you give your beloved your time, your undivided attention, your time alone with him/her. This is when the emotions of love begin to surface, because in this moment your loved one is the only thing that truly matters in your life.

The next four stages of romantic love described in the Confucianism and Chanakya Sutra, after you have bestowed your love upon your beloved, are more difficult to attain. The next stage is when you begin to use the language of love, using phrases such as “I am your perfect mate,” “we are one,” and “our love is a light that will unite us.” In these phrases you will want to focus on the present rather than future perfection. You will want to use language that speaks of love for the present moment, not for the future. Lastly, when you are speaking in the language of love it is important that you do not forget the other person.