LOVE THY NEIGHBOR: Why almost all religions emphasize on love?
You may not have thought on the subject and maybe you think loving others will take you to heaven. Maybe that's the sole reason why you are being nice to others. It might also be your personality trait - some people empathize with others without expecting anything.
Anyway, let's see what a Hindu has to say about "Love thy neighbor." I could think of just two reasons (other than heaven and hell concept) for spreading love instead of hate. The first is the karma thing mentioned in scriptures. The second is the advaita philosophy. Let's see them in details.
When you throw a stone with enough force, it will some back to you from the other direction. That is how karma works. You have to enjoy the fruits of what you do - irrespective of whether those fruits are bitter or sweat. I said earlier that God does not interfere with Karma. That means, you have done something - good or bad - you have to bear the karma. The pain, if any, can be reduced by dedicating yourself to God. But no one can kill karma entirely. So, if you hate others, you will get hate or worse in return. Likewise, if you love living beings, the universe will reciprocate that love. The love you give out, comes back to you sooner than later. While we are at it, karma can be avoided altogether by dedicating your actions to God (ref: Bhagwad Gita).
The second concept I could think of was the advaita philosophy. According to the advaita philosophy, God and creation are one entity. That again means two things. When you love others, you are loving God. Since Advaita also means you are God, loving others mean loving yourself. Nothing could be better than that.
Hence "love thy neighbor" is preached in almost every religion. If you have anything to add, please comment.
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