Love is True Prayer
Love is the True Prayer to God. By this kind of prayer the lover is so intoxicated with the ecstasy of love that he cannot even walk with steadiness and staggers. When the flame of love is kindled in his heart, his eyes light up with happiness and joy, and he thrills to the rapturous currents of ecstasy. Such a state of intoxication in the remembrance of the Lord is far better than thousands of other methods of trying to reach Him.
By repeating the Name of the Lord only once, love is felt in every cell of the devotee’s body. In other words, it (repetition) comes from the heart, and tears flow from the eyes in an unending stream.
If you wish to go to Kaaba (the highest place of Muslim pilgrimage), you should go by the path of tears in your eyes. Then you will reach that place in no time. Fasting without devotion and prayer without tears will not bear fruit.
Prayers without tears, the counting of beads without melting of the heart, repetition (of the Name of God) without love, reading scriptures without devotion, are all roads leading towards the door of God. However, in these activities there is no devotion in the heart, not any tears in the eyes, and the road is naturally dry and endless. But if one’s heart is drenched with tears of love flowing from the eyes, communion with God is attained much sooner.
Love is the true form of worship of God. Without it, knowledge and contemplation are useless, and he who remains without love is unable to inculcate within himself the secrets of achieving God-Realization. Prayer and meditation without love will not achieve the desired results, even if performed for years. So long as a person does not kindle the spark of love within himself, he remains without the secret knowledge of God.
Various methods are practised with the aim of attaining communion with the Lord: viz.
- Jap – Repetition or Remembrance,
- Tap – Austerities,
- Bhakti – Devotion,
- Vairag – Detachment,
- Gyan – Knowledge,
- Yog – the practice of Yoga
and many others.
But True Love is a much higher and nobler observance than any one of these. The very basis of all these methods is love. Without love, no method or its practice will take a person to the Court of the Lord. Without love, yogic practices are as good – perhaps as bad – as a disease, because one cannot succeed by such methods.
Guru Arjan says:
Repetition, austerities, pleasures, comforts, arrogance, fame – all these should be sacrificed at the altar of Love, even if only for a second.
Maulana Rumi says:
That eye is fortunate which sheds pearls of tears in the remembrance of its Beloved. That heart is fortunate which is burning in separation from its Lord, because every spell of remorse is accompanied by a unique happiness. A person whose only aim is towards this end is the most fortunate one.
Just as rain is a blessing for the earth and enables it to produce multicoloured flowers and beautiful shrubs and trees, in the same manner when tears from the eyes fall on the earth of the heart, the buds of the secrets of the knowledge of God burst into blossoms. The Path of Love is therefore the highest, so much so that God Himself is Love.
Love is the life and spirit of all practices. No practice can be beneficial without love. Love is a force that has no equal, and its praise is sung in the Vedas, Puranas and other religious scriptures. All Saints, Sages, Fakirs, Incarnations and evolved souls such as Guru Nanak, Kabir, Tulsi Sahib, Swami Ji, Shamas-i-Tabriz, etc., were worshipers at the altar of Love, because it is the easiest and the shortest Path leading to communion with God. Through love alone can God be realized.
Guru Gobind Singh says:
I am telling the Truth to you all and you should listen to me with attentive ears. Whosoever has practised love has achieved communion with God.
Tulsi Sahib says:
Whosoever has loved has found God. Nobody has succeeded in achieving this end without love.
He further says:
A holy person, a thief, a robber – all try to remember God; but He cannot be pleased without the spark of Love.
Kabir Sahib says:
A yogi, a celibate, an ascetic, a philosopher – none amongst them is able to realize God without Love, because the region of Satguru is the most difficult to approach.
All austerities and practices are empty without love. Knowledge and contemplation in themselves are also unsuccessful efforts, but all these practices are performed only to inculcate love. If there is no love, then all meditations are dry and useless.
Love is the most powerful and effective of all practices to meet the Lord. It is the only method by which one can attain communion with Him in an instant.
If the road is lengthy, you should fly on the wings of love. When you unfold the wings of love, you need not ascend by means of the steps.
He further states:
You should ride on the steed of Love and go forward without fear, because that steed is very swift. The Path may have ups and downs, but it will take you to your Goal in no time at all.