Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
People call love blind, but love in reality is the light of the sight. The eye can only see the surface; love can see much deeper. All ignorance is the lack of love. As fire when not kindled gives only smoke, but when kindled, the illuminating flame springs forth, so it is with love. It is blind when undeveloped, but, when its fire is kindled, the flame that lights the path of the traveler from mortality to everlasting life springs forth. The secrets of earth and heaven are revealed to the possessor of the loving heart, the lover has gained mastery over himself and others, and he not only communes with God but also unites with Him.
A heart lightened by love is more precious than all the gems and jewels of the world. ... Love is like the fire; its glow is devotion, its flame is wisdom, its smoke is attachment, and its ashes detachment. Flame rises from glow, so it is with wisdom, which rises from devotion. When love's fire produces its flame it illuminates the devotee's path in life like a torch, and all darkness vanishes.
When the life-force acts in the soul it is love, when it acts in the heart it is emotion, and when in the body it is passion. Therefore the most loving person is the most emotional, and the most emotional is the most passionate, according to the plane of which he is most conscious. If he is most awake in the soul he is loving, if awakened in the heart he is emotional, if he is conscious of the body he is passionate. These three may be pictured as fire, flame, and smoke. Love is fire when in the soul, it is a flame when the heart is kindled by it, and it is as smoke when it manifests through the body.
Love must be absolutely free from selfishness, otherwise it does not produce proper illumination. If the fire has no flame it cannot give light, and smoke comes out of it, which is troublesome. Such is selfish love. Whether it be for man or for God it is fruitless, for though it appears to be love for another or love for God, it is in fact love for the self.
If one asked: Where is the soul? Where can we see the soul manifest to view? Where is paradise? Where is heaven? Where is joy and pleasure? If one asked: Where is love? Where is God? We can answer each of these questions by saying: it is in the heart.
Imagine how wonderful and at the same time how obscure to our view! If we call the heart the spark of fire then we can see its different aspects: as sympathy in the form of heat, as longing in the form of fire, as affection in the form of glow, as devotion in the form of flame, as passion in the form of smoke that blinds the eyes. ... One may ask: How to cultivate the heart quality? There is only one way: to become selfless at each step one takes forward on this path, for what prevents one from cultivating the loving quality is the thought of self.
~~~ Passion is the smoke and emotion is the glow of love's fire. Unselfishness is the flame that illuminates the path.