Guest: We should have divine love for life...
Prabhupāda: Therefore I say what is divine love?
Guest: What is divine love?
Prabhupāda: That we have to know. Without knowing how to become compassionate... Just like I'll give you a practical example. This is my personal experience. One boy was suffering from some typhoid disease, and he asked his younger brother, "Please give me some biscuit." He is forbidden to take biscuit, because he was suffering from... And he thought, "Oh, my brother is suffering for want of biscuit," so he supplied some biscuit. And the mother, when she learned that this young boy has supplied this diseased boy biscuit, she began to beat him like anything. So he thought that "I'm doing very divine service to my suffering brother." But the result was beating by the mother. Therefore one should know what is service; otherwise he will suffer. Without knowing what is divine service, one cannot be divinely compassionate. First of all one should make his own life divine; then he can make divine compassion.
Guest: Isn't it a simple idea to love life?
Prabhupāda: The same thing. If you do not know how to love, then your love may produce bad result. Just like the same example. The boy, the younger boy, thought that "I am loving my elder brother," and he supplied some biscuit, which was forbidden by the physician. And as soon as the mother heard that he has supplied him biscuit, she began to beat him like anything. Punishment. He thought, "It is very good service. He's in want of..., in need of biscuit. So I am supplying him, stealing from the store. Mother will not know. So I am doing very good service." But the result was beating. Similarly, we may think something that it is divine, but who is judging that this is divine or not divine? Therefore you have to learn how to serve divinely; then you can serve. Without knowing, you cannot. That will be disastrous. Everything requires expert knowledge; otherwise it will be disastrous.
Guest: But isn't the general idea...
Prabhupāda: General idea is very good, but the one who is going to bestow divine service, he must know what is divine service and how to become divine. Lord Caitanya says, āpani ācari prabhu jīvera śikhāya. One has to first of all exhibit himself that he is divine, then he can, I mean to say, serve others divinely. "Physician heal thyself." If a physician is diseased, a patient does not like to go to him: "Well, he is himself diseased." So divine love is very good, but one should understand what is divine love. One should not misunderstand what is divine love. Just like in the material world, lust is accepted as love. A boy is loving a girl, a girl is loving... But it is lust. That is not love. But it is going on in the name of love. The boy wants to enjoy the girl, the girl wants to enjoy the boy, and that is going on in love. Love is not like that. Love means, "I enjoy or not enjoy, I love you." That is love. Just like Cowper said, "England, with all thy fault, I love you." That is love. There is no return. Just like Rādhārāṇī's love to Kṛṣṇa. She does not require any return. You see? Kṛṣṇa left Vṛndāvana, Rādhārāṇī, and their whole life remained simply crying for Kṛṣṇa. Kṛṣṇa never returned. But still, they loved Kṛṣṇa. That is love. That love is being shown by Caitanya Mahāprabhu: "Where is Kṛṣṇa? Where is Kṛṣṇa?" That's Rādhārāṇī's separation, love in separation. So love means without any return, without any sense gratification, without any consideration. That is love. Āśliṣya. That is Caitanya Mahāprabhu's... Āśliṣya vā pāda-ratāṁ pinaṣṭu mām marma-hatāṁ karotu vā adarśanā (CC Antya 20.47). The lover is saying to the beloved, "Either You embrace me with love or You kick me, trample me down under Your feet. And if You make me brokenhearted without meeting me, so whatever You like, You can do. Still I love You." That is love. That is only possible to love Kṛṣṇa. That is not materially possible. Here the so-called love means he or she wants some return for sense gratification. So here the so-called love is lust. It is going in the market in the name of love. There is no love.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Boston, May 4, 1968)