Leo Tolstoy
· The Circle of Reading
Translated by Dmitry Fadeyev

January 14

You can only love within yourself the one who is the same in all. To love the one who is the same in all means to love God.


“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. A second likewise is this, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”

— Matthew 22:36–40


Humankind is alive not because people think of themselves, but because there is love in people.

It is as if God did not want people to live apart and so did not reveal to them what every one of them separately needs, and instead wanted them to live together, and so revealed to them what both they and everyone else needs.

People think that they live by taking care of themselves, but they live only by love. If there was no love in people, not a single child would grow up, and not a single human being would remain alive.


People live by love; self love is the beginning of death, the love for God and other people is the beginning of life.


God is love, and he who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him. No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us. If a man says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God. He who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.

— 1 John 4:16, 12, 20, 7, 16


If a person cannot forgive his brother, then he does not love him. True love is infinite, and there is no amount of insults which it would not forgive, if it really is true.


To love someone whom you like is not to love them. To love someone truly means to love in another person that same God that is within you. It is not only your relatives for whom you have such a love, not only those who love you back, but also for the people who are unpleasant and unkind, for those who hate you. To love such people you must remember that the person you are dealing with loves himself just as much as you love yourself, and that the same God dwells within him as in you. If you remember this, you will grow to love him, and if you grow to love him this way, you will find that such love will bring you more joy than the love you have for those who love you back.

Love is not the source of our life. Love is a consequence, not a cause. The cause of love is the awareness of the Divine, Spiritual Source within us. This awareness requires love, and it produces love.