All you need is love….

Barbara Hebert – USA

Theosophy BH 320 b

The Beatles in the studio recording 'All you Need is Love'' on June 25, 1967, during the very first world-wide television broadcast OUR WORLD.

For the "making"of that track and Our World, click on the photo  

Released in the Summer of 1967, the Beatles song “All You Need is Love” …was Britain's contribution to Our World, the first live global television link.... The program was broadcast via satellite and seen by an audience of over 400 million in 25 countries. Lennon's lyrics were deliberately simplistic, to allow for the show's international audience, and captured the utopian ideals associated with the Summer of Love. The single topped sales charts in Britain, the United States and many other countries, and became an anthem for the counterculture's embrace of flower power philosophy.” (Wikipedia) 

Theosophy BH 320 c

John Lennon

A smash hit, it was written primarily by John Lennon with input from the other members of the band. It is a simple song, yet the meaning of its lyrics have been described as complex. The lyrics are filled with double negatives such as “There's nothing you can do that can't be done/Nothing you can sing that can't be sung”. These double negatives require us to consider the true meaning of the lyrics. In the book, Many Years from Now, Barry Miles quotes Paul McCartney saying, “The chorus, ‘All you need is love’, is simple, but the verse is quite complex; in fact I never really understood it, the message is rather complex.” George Harrison perceived the song as being about karma as he explained in the Beatles Anthology. He wrote, “If we weren't in The Beatles, we would have been in something else, not necessarily another rock'n'roll band. Karma is: what you sow, you reap. Like John said in 'All You Need Is Love': 'There's nowhere you can be that isn't where you're meant to be,' because you yourself have carved out your own destiny by your previous actions.” 

Love is also very complex. We love our spouses or partners, we love our children, we love family members, we love our friends, we love nature, we love certain foods or products or television shows and so on. The word "love" is used in all of these contexts, but we certainly don't love a television show like we love a family member. The Ancient Greeks had many different words for love: Eros (romantic or sexual love), Philia (love through deep friendship), Ludus (flirtatious, playful love), Storge (unconditional familial love), Agape (universal, selfless love for everyone), Pragma (longstanding, committed companionate love), and Philautia (love of self). In English, however, we have only the one word, “love,” which can complicate understanding. What exactly is the type of love meant in the song “All You Need is Love”?

If the Beatles were to have used the language of the Ancient Greeks, they would have used the word Agape. Their song encouraged selfless love for all of humankind. This is the type of love that we need in the world right now.

From a more esoteric perspective, we can look at the comments made by G. de Purucker in his book, Golden Precepts of Esotericism. He writes, “Love [agape] is the cement of the universe; it holds all things in place and in eternal keeping; its very nature is celestial peace, it’s very characteristic is cosmic harmony, permeating all things, boundless, deathless, infinite, eternal. It is everywhere and is the very heart of the heart of all that is.”

Theosophy BH 320 d

George Harrison and Paul McCartney in the Abbey Road Studio

In 1981, George Harrison released a song entitled “All Those Years Ago” in which he addresses Lennon and the 1967 song “All You Need is Love”. Harrison sings, “But you point the way to the truth when you say All you need is love.” Harrison is telling us that agape, selfless love for humanity, leads us to Truth.

This brings us to two components for discussion: selfless love for humanity and love that leads to Truth.

Selflessly loving others sounds so simple. In theory, all of us want to love humanity; however, when we are faced with loving specific humans, it isn't so easy. It reminds me of the saying "I love humanity, but it's my neighbor I don't like!"  In that brief sentence, there are three pronouns that are all about the self: "I" "my" and "I".  In order to love selflessly, we must let go of our personal self: our judgments, beliefs, and perceptions. We must stand back and look at others from the perspective of the higher Self, a more universal perspective. In the words of de Purucker, "Impersonal love asks no reward, it gives all and therefore gives itself. Love is an illumination. Love is inspiring; it opens the doors of the mind because it cracks the bonds of the lower selfhood hemming in the god within. When [we] love impersonally then the divine fires flow out..."  

If we look at our world today, we can easily see the divisiveness that exists and the desperate need for allowing “divine fires to flow out”. Today, there is a sense of "other" which emanates from the personality rather than from the universal. Many people dislike or fear others, thinking "They" are not like "me". If we are honest with ourselves, we have likely felt the same way. We may have considered ourselves superior to another person or group of people; we may have felt fearful of another person or group of people. Anytime we have used the words “them and us” or “you and me,” we have separated ourselves from others.

Many years ago, I was providing counseling services for a local agency. The receptionist called me one day and said that a man had contacted the agency because he wanted counseling for his three-year-old daughter. She also told me that she had not followed our procedure of just giving the man my telephone number because the man was "different and scary." She finally gave him my number, and with some trepidation (because he had been described as “different and scary”) I met the man and his daughter for our first counseling session. The man had tattoos on every visible part of his body, including his face and neck. He also had gauges in his ears to enlarge his ear piercings. He looked different than many people, but he was not in the least dangerous or frightening. A very loving father, he was concerned about his daughter's behaviors after the death of her mother. The receptionist had made a judgment based on the appearance of this man that was in complete contradiction to the reality of the situation.

Most of us have likely made judgments based on appearances, behaviors, language, etc.; however, this is in opposition to the spiritual path that we have chosen. As we walk this path, we choose to recognize the innate divinity within each person, rather than the outer appearance, and to treat that individual with the respect that all deserve. 

Learning to love selflessly means learning to take the self out of the equation and to love with agape. Martin Luther King, Jr. writes: "Agape is disinterested love. . . . Agape does not begin by discriminating between worthy and unworthy people, or any qualities people possess. It begins by loving others for their sakes. . . . Therefore, agape makes no distinction between friend and enemy; it is directed toward both."

And this brings us to the second part of our discussion. Love leads us to Truth. Selfless love, or agape, leads us to Truth. Theosophical teachings tell us that we are all One. They tell us that this is Truth. There is no division, no separateness. Division and separation are illusion. We are all aspects of Divinity (whatever one may choose to call it). What happens to one of us, happens to all of us. If one person is discriminated against because of his/her appearance or behavior or language or anything else, then all of us are being discriminated against. 

In The Egg by Andy Weir, we are privy to a conversation between an individual who has recently died (you) and "God" (I/me). This conversation clearly shares the concept that we are all one. God, who is telling the story, has just told the man that he is every person who has ever lived. The man responds by saying, "I'm Abraham Lincoln?"  The conversation continues with God responding,

“And you’re John Wilkes Booth, too,” I added.

“I’m Hitler?” You said, appalled.

“And you’re the millions he killed.”

“I’m Jesus?”

“And you’re everyone who followed him.”

You fell silent.

“Every time you victimized someone,” I said, “you were victimizing yourself. Every act of kindness you’ve done, you’ve done to yourself. Every happy and sad moment ever experienced by any human was, or will be, experienced by you.”

Spiritual teachings tell us that this is Truth. We are all One. Living and acting for the benefit of humanity as a whole rather than for our separate, individual, personal selves is the key to spiritual growth. 

It makes one wonder what would happen if everyone, or even a majority of people, in the world began to practice selfless love, recognizing that we are all one. What would change? On a more personal note: What would you change?

Theosophy BH 320 e gdp 1892

GdP in 1892, 18 years old

De Purucker writes: “[Humanity] will be ruled by fear just as long as they love themselves; for then they will be afraid of everything that is going to happen--afraid to venture, afraid to act, to do, to think, for fear lest they lost. And they will then lose....The strong [person] is one who loves, not [one] who hates. The weak man hates because he is limited and small. He can neither see nor feel the other's pain and sorrow, nor even sense so easy a thing as the other's viewpoint. But the [person] who loves recognizes [our] kinship with all things."

The Beatles were right: All we need is love. All we need is Agape: selfless love for humanity and all living beings. What a difference there would be in the world.

Theosophy BH f

American singer Sherryl Crow with Paul McCartney. Sherryl recorded an amazing version of 'All you need is love' when Beatle drummer Ringo Starr celebrated his 80th birthday. To watch and listen to this interpretation , CLICK ON THE PHOTO. Ringo, though his Peace and Love Fund, reaches out to people, helping them to get over their stress or trauma through meditation 

On our spiritual journeys, as we begin to realize that all others are a part of the Universal, as we begin to recognize that we are all One at the core of our being, as we begin to discern that what happens to others also happens to us, we are moving toward an understanding of Universality, Oneness. N. Sri Ram tells us that "Love is, ideally, the state in which the distinction between self and another has vanished. This does not mean that we abolish individuality, but we learn to regard the happiness, the progress, the interests of another as our own." Or more succinctly, he says, "In a state of spiritual or universal Love, all other persons are but one person--the object of love."

Check our the David Lynch Foundation (Ringo Starr, Peace and Love Fund) CLICK HERE


De Purucker, G. Golden Precepts of Esotericism (3rd Ed.). Grace Knoche (Ed). 1979. Theosophical University Press.

King, Jr., Martin Luther. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches. James M. Washington (Ed.). 1986. HarperCollins: NY.

Miles, Barry. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now. (1997). Holt & Co.: NY.

Sri Ram, N. Thoughts for Aspirants. (1973). Theosophical Publishing House: Wheaton, IL.

Weir, Andy. The Egg. (2009). For the link click HERE

Retrieved August 31, 2020 from Wikipedia, retrieved August 13, 2020.

Text Size

Paypal Donate Button Image

Subscribe to our newsletter

Email address
Confirm your email address

Who's Online

We have 336 guests and no members online

TS-Adyar website banner 150




Vidya Magazine