The Moral of LoveAug 06, 2020
All Virtues are Made of Love
There is one moral, the love that springs forth from self-denial and blooms in deeds of beneficence.
The orthodox say, “This is good, that is bad; this is right, that is wrong”, but to a Sufi the source of all good deeds is love. Someone may say that this is the source of bad deeds also, but that is not so; it is lack of love.
Our virtues are made of love, and our sins are caused by lack of it. Love turns sins into virtues, and its lack makes virtues meaningless. Christ said when a woman was brought before Him accused of sin, “Her sins are forgiven, for she loved much.” Heaven is made so beautiful with love, and life becomes a hell through the lack of it. Love in reality creates harmony in one’s life on earth and peace in heaven.
A nautch girl [a dancer] was once watching two funerals from her window, and she said to her lover, “The first of those two is a soul that has gone to heaven, the second is a soul that has gone to hell, I am sure.” He said, “How can you, a nautch girl, pretend to know a thing only a saint could know.” She said, “I know it by the simple fact that all the people who followed the first funeral had sad faces, and many had tears in their eyes; and all those who followed the second funeral had dry eyes and their faces were cheerful. The first proved that he loved and won the affection of so many, and therefore surely he was entitled to enter the heavens, and the next cannot have loved anybody, for no one grieved at his departure.”
Therefore, as this world is a hell to the loveless, the same hell will become distinct in the next world. If the soul and heart are incapable of love even a man’s relations and nearest friends are strangers; he is indifferent to them, and dislikes their company.
Continuing to Love
It is easy to begin to love, and this everybody, more or less, does; but it is difficult to continue to love, because love opens the eyes of the lover to see through the beloved, though it closes the eyes of the lover to all else. First, the more the lover knows the beloved, the more he begins to see the defects as well as the merits, which naturally in the beginning of love casts the beloved down from the high pedestal on which the lover had put her.
Another thing is that besides the attributes that attract the lovers to one another, there are inclinations in each which draw them asunder. The ego always plays a trick in bringing two hearts together and then separating them. Therefore in the world nearly everyone says, “I love”, or “I have loved”, but there are rare cases where love has been ever on the increase since it began. To a real lover it is an absurd thing to hear anyone say, “I have loved her, but now I love her no more.”
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. Ideas that come to the mind of a lover such as, “If you will love me I will love you, but if you do not love me I will not love you either”, or “I love you as much as you love me”, and all such declarations are false pretensions of love.
The Part of the Lover
The part that a lover performs in life is much more difficult than that of the beloved. Tyranny on the part of the beloved is taken tolerantly and patiently by the lover as a natural thing in the path of love.
There is a verse of Hafiz on resignation to the will of the beloved: “I have broken my bowl of desire against the rock of the beloved’s will. What may be done when my heart is won by the obstinate beloved, who does her own will and casts aside the desire of the lover?”
This is the study of the lover and of the beloved’s nature, that the beloved will do what she desires, while the lover lives in love; the breaking of it is the lover’s death. Then the only way is resignation, either in the case of an earthly or of the divine Beloved.
The lover never can grudge or grumble about any injustice done to him, and every fault of the beloved he hides under his mantle, as a man in poverty would hide the patch on his garment. The lover takes care not to hurt the feelings of the beloved in anything he does; but as delicate as is the sense of precaution in him, even more delicate is the sensitiveness of the one who is beloved in vain.
Sins Against Love
Though love is light it becomes darkness when its law is not understood. Just as water, which cleans all things, becomes mud when mixed with earth, so love, when not understood rightly and when directed wrongly, becomes a curse instead of bliss.
There are five chief sins against love, which turn nectar into poison.
- The first is when the lover deprives the beloved of freedom and happiness against her desire, because of his love;
- the next is when the lover gives way to a spirit of rivalry and jealousy or bitterness in love;
- thirdly, if the lover doubts, distrusts, and suspects the one whom he loves;
- fourthly, if he shrinks from enduring all the sorrows, pains, troubles, difficulties, and sufferings that come in the path of love; and
- finally, when the lover pursues his own will instead of complete resignation to the beloved’s wish.
These are the natural failings of a loving heart. As maladies are natural to the physical body, as lack of health makes life miserable, so lack of love makes the heart wretched. Only the lover who avoids these faults benefits by love, and arrives safely at his destination.
The Service of Love
Love lies in service. Only that which is done, not for fame or name, nor for the appreciation or thanks of those for whom it is done, is love’s service.
The lover shows kindness and beneficence to the beloved. He does whatever he can for the beloved in the way of help, service, sacrifice, kindness, or rescue, and hides it from the world and even from the beloved. If the beloved does anything for him he exaggerates it, idealizes it, makes it into a mountain from a molehill. He takes poison from the hands of the beloved as sugar, and love’s pain in the wound of his heart is his only joy. By magnifying and idealizing whatever the beloved does for him and by diminishing and forgetting whatever he himself does for the beloved, he first develops his own gratitude, which creates all goodness in his life.
Patience, sacrifice, resignation, strength, and steadfastness are needed in love, and ultimately nothing but hope, until one is united with the beloved. Sacrifice is needed in love to give all there is, wealth, possessions, body, heart, and soul; there remains no “I”, only “you”, until the “you” becomes the “I.” Where there is love there is patience, where there is no patience there is no love. The lover takes hope as the extract of love’s religion, for hope is the only thing that keeps the flame of life alight. Hope to the lover is the rope of safety in the sea. “Brahma collected honey from all things in life, and it was hope.”
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