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Volume V - Spiritual Liberty


Chapter I

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 nature.

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 any doubt.

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 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.

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 aged.

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.

checked 23-Apr-2006