The soul on its way to manifestation passes through four
states, Ilm, Ishq, Wujud, Shuhud. Ilm is the original
state of the consciousness, the pure intelligence. Ishq
is love, the next step of intelligence towards manifestation;
therefore intelligence and love are the same in their essence.
Objects, such as rocks and trees, have no intelligence,
therefore they have no love, except a little perception
of love that exists in plant life. But among beasts and
birds intelligence develops, that is why in them love begins
to show itself. Wujud is the objective world, whose
purpose it is to be loved, for love could not manifest unless
there were an object to love. Shuhud is the realization
of love's experience, in whatever aspect it may be.
The word love is derived from the Sanskrit word Lobh,
which means desire, wish. The same word is used in the
Russian language, Liubov. Love may be called in other
words the desire to be conscious of the object of love.
Therefore Shuhud, the realization of love, is the
only object of every soul. It is love in different aspects,
which is known by all such names as: will, wish, desire,
kindness, favor, and so forth.
In love abides all knowledge. It is mankind's love and
interest in things that in time reveals their secret, and
then man knows how to develop, control, and utilize them.
No one can know anybody, however much he may profess to
know, except the lover, because in the absence of love the
inner eyes are blind. Only the outer eyes are open, which
are merely the spectacles of the inner eyes. If the sight
is not keen, of what use are the spectacles? It is for this
reason that we admire all those whom we love, and are blind
to the good qualities of those whom we do not love. It is
not always that these deserve our neglect, but our eyes,
without love, cannot see their goodness. Those whom we love
may have bad points too, but as love sees beauty, so we
see that alone in them. Intelligence itself in its next
step towards manifestation is love. When the light of love
has been lit, the heart becomes transparent, so that the
intelligence of the soul can see through it. But until the
heart is kindled by the flame of love, the intelligence,
which is constantly yearning to experience life on the surface,
is groping in the dark.
The whole of creation is made for love. Man is the most
capable of it. If we have a stone in our house and we like
the stone very much, the stone will not be aware of our
love to that degree to which a plant would be conscious
of it. If we have a plant, and care for it and tend it,
it will respond to our care and will flourish. The animals
feel affection. If we keep an animal in the house, how much
affection and love it can feel! The tame animals in time
grow to be as affectionate as one of the family. It was
Joseph's dog that fed him while in the well until he was
found by travelers passing that way. It is said that the
horse of an Arab who had fallen on the battlefield kept
watch over him for three days, guarding his corpse from
the vultures until his comrades came. But man, having the
largest share of intelligence, has the most love in his
All this shows that creation has evolved from mineral
to plant life, from plant life to animal life, and from
the animal to the human being, showing a gradual development
of love through every stage.
The Sufis say that the reason of the whole creation is
that the perfect Being wished to know Himself, and did so
by awakening the love of His nature and creating out of
it His object of love, which is beauty. Dervishes, with
this meaning, salute each other by saying, Ishq Allah
Mabud Allah – God is love and God is the beloved. A
Hindustani poet says, 'The desire to see the beloved brought
me to earth, and the same desire to see the beloved I am
taking with me to heaven.'
As love is the source of creation and the real sustenance
of all beings, so, if man knows how to give it to the world
around him as sympathy, as kindness, as service, he supplies
to all the food for which every soul hungers. If man knew
this secret of life he would win the whole world, without
Love can always be discerned in the thought, speech,
and action of the lover, for in his every expression there
is a charm which shows as a beauty, tenderness, and delicacy.
A heart burning in love's fire has a tendency to melt every
heart with which it comes in contact.
Love produces such a charm in the lover that while he
loves one all love him. The magnetism of love is thus explained
by a Hindustani poet: 'Why should not every heart be melted
into drops before the flame that my heart has sustained
all through my life? As I have all my life shed tears with
the pain of love, the lovers make pilgrimage to my mournful
grave.' It was to teach this lesson of love that Christ
said, 'I will make you fishers of men.' 'Everyone is drawn
to me, to become my friend, but none divines what it is
in my heart that draws him,' said Jalaluddin Rumi.
Love is inherent in every soul. All the occupations of
life, however important or unimportant, in some way or other
tend towards love; therefore no one in the world can be
called entirely loveless. Love is the one thing that every
soul brings to earth with it. Yet after coming to earth
man partakes of all the qualities of lovelessness. If it
were not so, we would have been as bitter, as jealous, as
angry, as full of hatred when we were born as we are now.
The infant has no hatred. A little child that we have scolded
will in a few minutes' time come and embrace us.
To love, to adore, to worship someone with whom we are
connected neither by birth, race, creed, nor in any worldly
connection, comes from the love of the soul. Sometimes people
fall in love at first sight, sometimes the presence of someone
draws a person like a magnet, sometimes one sees a person
and feels, 'I might have known him all my life.' Sometimes
one speaks with another person and finds an intimacy of
understanding as if the souls understood each other. All
of this is accounted for by the idea of soul-mates.
A heart lightened by love is more precious than all the
gems and jewels of the world. There are as many different
kinds of hearts as there are different substances in the
world. There are hearts of metal which take a long time
and much fire of love to heat, and then once heated will
melt and may be molded as you wish for the moment, but soon
afterwards turn cold. There are hearts of wax which melt
instantly at the sight of fire, and if there is a wick of
ideal, they will keep their flame until they become nonexistent.
There are hearts of paper which are set alight by a slight
touch of the fire and turn into ashes in one moment.
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
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.
The first love is for the self. If illuminated, man sees
his true benefit and he becomes a saint. In the absence
of illumination man becomes so selfish that he becomes a
devil. The second love is for the opposite sex. If it is
for love's sake it is heavenly. If it is for passion's sake
it is earthly. This, if it is quite pure, can certainly
take away the idea of the self, but the benefit is slight
and the danger is great. The third love is for the children,
and this is the first service to God's creatures. To reserve
it for one's children only is like appropriating to oneself
what is given to us as a trust by the Creator, but if this
love expands to embrace the whole creation of the Heavenly
Father, it raises man to be among the chosen ones of God.
The love of the parents for the children is much greater
than the love of the children towards them, for while the
parents' thought is all centered in the children, the children's
thought is for themselves first. Someone asked the Prophet,
'Whose love is greater, the children's love for their parents
or the parents' for their children?' He said, 'The parents'
love is greater, for while they do all things with the thought
that their children may grow and be happy and will live
after them, as if they expect to live in the life of their
children after their death, even worthy children think that
some day the parents will die, and with this thought they
render them what little service they can.' The questioner
asked, 'Of the parents, whose love is greater?' The Prophet
said, 'The mother's. The greater respect and service is
due to her, for heaven lies at her feet.' The love of the
parents is most blessed, for this love is clear as crystal.
There is a well-known story of Shirvan Bhagat, who was
devoted to his aged parents, who had reached the age when
they were helpless and entirely dependent upon the service
of their only son. Shirvan was so devoted to them that he
sacrificed all freedom and pleasure in life in their service.
He gently attended to their calls, and bore with patience
all the difficulties that one finds in association with
The parents one day said that they greatly wished they
had once in their lives made a pilgrimage to Kashi. This
worthy son at once consented to their wish, and, as in those
days there was no other means of traveling, he undertook
to accomplish the journey on foot. He made baskets in which
he placed his old parents and lifted them onto his back,
and thus set out on a journey of thousands of miles, through
many forests and mountains, crossing rivers on his way.
He traveled for months in this way, but before he arrived
at their destination a misfortune happened. Shirvan, at
his parents' request, set down his baskets on the ground
and went to fetch some water. When he drew near to the river
he was stuck by the arrow of Raja Dasheratha, who had aimed
at a deer and by accident hit him. Hearing the deep sigh
of a man the Raja went to him, and was grieved beyond expression.
He said, 'Is there anything that I can do for you, O man?'
Shirvan said, 'I am dying. I have only one desire, and that
is to give my parents this water; they are thirsty in the
heat of the sun.' 'That is all?' the Raja asked. 'I will
do it with great pleasure as my first duty.' Shirvan said,
'If you wish to do anything more, then look after them and
see that they are carried to Kashi, although I doubt whether
they will live any longer after I am gone.'
The Raja went, bearing water in his hands, and gave it
to the old parents without saying a word to them, fearing
they might not drink it, hearing the voice of a stranger.
The parents said, 'O worthy son, all our life we have never
seen you vexed. This is the first time that you have handed
us a bowl of water without your loving word which always
gives us new life.' Raja Dasheratha burst into tears, and
told them of the death of their son. They, hearing this,
could not live to drink the water. They lived only on the
love of their son. Each of them heaved a deep sigh, 'O,
our beloved Shirvan', and passed away.
This story has since become a tradition in India, and
there are followers of this tradition who carry baskets
on their shoulders and travel about, teaching the virtue
of devotion and service to parents.
When love is centered in one object it is love. When
it is for several objects it is named affection. When it
is like a cloud it is called infatuation. When its trend
is moral it is devotion. When it is for God, the omnipresent
and omnipotent, in fact, the whole Being, then it is called
divine love, the lover becomes holy.
There is no greater power than love. All strength comes
with the awakening of love in the heart. People say, 'He
is tenderhearted, he is weak,' but there are many who do
not know what strength springs from the heart that becomes
tender in love. A soldier fights on the battlefield for
love of his people. Every work that one does in love is
done with all strength and power. Fear and reason, which
limit power, cannot stand against love. A hen, timid as
she is, can withstand a lion for the love of her young ones.
There is nothing too strong, too powerful for a loving heart.
The power of love accomplishes all things in life as
does the power of dynamite that conquers the world. But
when dynamite explodes it sets everything on fire, and so
it is with love: when it is too intense it becomes a wheel
of destruction, and everything goes amiss in the life of
the lover. That is the mystery that accounts for all the
pain and misery in the life of a lover. Still, the lover
is the gainer in both cases. If he has mastered the situation
he is a master. If he has lost everything he is a saint.
Love is above law, and law is beneath love. There is
no comparison between them. One is from heaven and the other
from earth. Where love dies law begins. Therefore law can
never find a place for love, nor can love ever limit itself
within law, one being limited, the other being as unlimited
as life. The lover can give no reason why he loves a certain
one, for there is a reason for everything except love.
Time and space are in the hands of love. A journey of
miles will become a few yards in the presence of the beloved,
and yards become miles in his absence. A day of separation
in love is equal to a thousand years, and a thousand years
of the beloved's presence are not even as long as a day.
If there is any protecting influence in the world, it
is no other than love. In all aspects of life, wherever
we find protection, its motive is always love, and no one
can have trust in any protection, however great, except
the protection that love offers. If a giant were to frighten
a child, the child would say, 'I will tell my mother.' The
strength and power of any man is too small in comparison
with love's protection which the mother affords her child.
Love can heal better than anything in the world. There
is nothing like a mother's touch when a child is in pain.
There can be no greater cure than the presence of the beloved
in the illness of the lover. Even cats and dogs are healed
by a little pat of love.
For thought-reading, for sending and receiving telepathic
messages, people try psychical processes in vain. If they
only knew that the secret of all occult and psychical phenomena
lies in love! The lover knows all: the pleasure, the displeasure,
the happiness and unhappiness, the thoughts and imaginations,
of the beloved. No time, no space, stands in his way, for
a telepathic current is naturally established between the
lover and the beloved. The lover's imagination, thought,
dream, and vision, everything tells him all about the object
of his love.
Concentration, which is the secret of every attainment
in life, and the chief thing in all aspects of life, especially
in the path of religion and mysticism, is a natural thing
in love. The loveless will strive for years in this path,
and will always fail to center their minds on one object.
But love compels the lover, holding before his admiring
view the vision of the beloved. Therefore the lover need
not concentrate his mind. His love itself is his concentration
which gives him mastery over all things in the world. The
lover attains the object of his love by the power of concentration.
And if he does not attain the object, then he rises beyond
it. In either case the lover has his reward.