Questioner: What is the difference between love and compassion?
Sadhguru: Out of all the emotions that you can nurture within you, compassion is the least entangling and at the same time, most liberating. You can live without compassion also, but since you anyway have emotions, it is better to turn your emotions into compassion rather than anything else. Every other emotion has the capability of getting you entangled. Compassion is one dimension of emotion, which is liberating, does not get entangled with anything or anybody. Generally, your love is fuelled by passion. Whatever you call love initially starts with a certain liking; so it is dependent upon somebody or something that is good for you. You are always counting on the goodness of something or somebody. In other words, the emotion gets limited. Only if the person whom you love is good, you can continue to love him/her. If they turn out to be whatever you think is bad, you cannot love them. The advantage of compassion is that if somebody is very bad, in a pathetic condition or an evil mood, you can have more compassion for him. So compassion is definitely a more liberating emotion than love. It is not limiting you. It is not making distinction between good and bad.
Usually, love is about somebody. It can be beautiful, but it is very exclusive. If two lovers sit together, the rest of the world is excluded from them; they have created their own artificial world of togetherness. Basically, it is like a conspiracy. You always enjoy your conspiracy because in conspiracy, you become special — nobody else knows about it. Usually for most of the people, the joy of love is a conspiracy. They fall in love and enjoy it very much. But when they get married, it is declared to the whole world and suddenly all the fancy stuff goes out of it because it is no longer a conspiracy — everybody knows about it. So there is a conspiracy angle to love, which brings a certain pleasure to people. But in the very nature of this exclusiveness, of excluding the rest of the world, suffering can be brought about. Suffering will be brought about if you exclude the existence from your experience. If it starts as passion and expands into unbounded compassion, that is fine. But if it starts as passion and ends as passion, you are asking for lots of trouble in your life. Compassion means an all-encompassing passion. When it is exclusive, we call it passion. When it becomes all-inclusive, it becomes compassion.