Love is the Path of Surrender and Sacrifice

In love there is no law except the Will of the Beloved. Whatever the Beloved orders or commands, the lover bows his head in obedience. A wealthy man cannot dream of his own commands in the state of love, where one must undertake to be humble and agree to be subservient. Ego and love cannot remain together.

Kabir says:

If you wish to taste the nectar of Love, you cannot be arrogant. Two swords cannot be contained in one scabbard.

A lover prefers to be wounded by the arrows of love than to wound another person with them. Love knows only how to give, its principal characteristic being the surrender of one’s life and breath. Love does not know how to command. A lover considers it to be his good fortune when he is bound by the commands of others.

Real love removes the lover from the worries of pleasure and pain, praise and blame, poverty and wealth, and takes him beyond all such limitations. Love enters every cell of the lover and gives him unlimited power, so that he is never in need of wealth or fame, or honour or name. He has no desire for this world or the next. He is freed from the web of heaven and hell. He is no longer tempted into the snares of rituals or worldly ties.

To demand worldly conveniences from God is to separate oneself from the aims of love. Not to remain in His Will, nor to be contented in happiness or even in pain is to fall down from the heights of devotion. A lover loves only the Beloved, and the Beloved it the be-all and end-all for him. He sees only the light of his Beloved in this world and in the sky above. The Beloved is his real world. Nearness to the Beloved is his heaven, and being away from the Beloved is his hell.

Only the Name and praises of his Beloved are on his tongue – nothing else. The repetition of the same Name is never-ceasing, and sighs of separation – when the Beloved is farther away from him – are wrung from his body as well as his heart. He asks for nothing from the Beloved except the Beloved and longs to surrender himself entirely to the wishes of the Beloved. In the ecstasy of his love and in his complete surrender, he considers poverty or wealth, pain or pleasure, health or illness, and whatever else may happen as gifts from the Beloved. He feels no difference between pleasure and pain. By the Grace of love he rises above these things and remains above the limitations of the body.

Real love demands complete surrender. Not only this, but one must be happy in the happiness of the Beloved, and must not wish to go beyond the Will of the Beloved. To him all worldly things are dead, and he leaves them for the persons hankering after them. He shatters the glass of his own intellect and remains only in the Will of the Beloved. He has only one aim, and that is the remembrance of the Beloved. His life is spent in the Will of the Beloved. He wishes for neither happiness nor sorrow, but is contented in His Will. If a misfortune comes to him, he forgets the pain of that misfortune. People of the world, at one time or another, make demands from God. But a lover asks for the Beloved and nothing else.

Sheikh Sa’adi says:

People tell me to demand something from my Beloved, but I shall demand only Him from Him – nothing more.

Similarly, a disciple bows his head to the Will of his Master in the same way that a dead body lies inert like a mound of earth, without any will of its own. In such a state, one receives the highest type of spiritual wealth.

Another Saint says:

One who has been wounded by the sharp sword of surrender and sacrifice receives every minute fresh life from the secret power of God.

Bhai Gur Das says:

No one has become a disciple by mere lip service. A disciple’s will should be like that of a dead person. He should move as he is moved, work as he is desired to work, and should not work against His Will (Hukam).

We cannot have communion with our Beloved so long as we do not remove our attention from worldly desires and do not go beyond the limitations of our own mind. Love is beyond all limitations. One reaches it only after shedding the dross of mind and intellect. A devotee sees the light of his Beloved only when he forgets himself in the ecstasy of love. Then he sees Him everywhere.

The madness of a lover’s ecstasy brings before his eyes a new world which is beyond this physical region and beyond the region of mind, and he takes every word of the Beloved as a sweet command. To live in Him is the highest and sweetest elixir. It is even dearer than life. The current of love takes one beyond good and evil, belief and unbelief, to a state so sublime that it cannot be described. One who is intoxicated in this unique state of bliss – in which any thought of separation or communion is lost – becomes an embodiment of Love.

Real love will not permit one to follow one’s own bent of mind. Real love is another name for implicitly following the desires of the Beloved and desiring only to please Him by remaining in His Will. In such a state one does not consider his own comforts or discomforts, but effaces his own self for the comfort and convenience of the Beloved. He feels a rare and special bliss or happiness, so great even in discomforts, that the people of the world cannot begin to imagine them.

This does not mean that it is the lover only who suffers. The Beloved suffers much more for the sake of the lover. The moth burns only once and is free from all pain, but the flame burns all the time.

In love, one must sacrifice one’s own possessions and forget the self completely. A spark of real love is eternal, and by it the self or ego is completely consumed or obliterated. Physically, the lover may appear to be suffering, but inwardly he feels a higher type of happiness which no one else can realize.

Real love turns poison into nectar, fire into ice, snakes into garlands of flowers, pain into pleasure, and blame into praise. To a lover, to be flayed alive is no more than a child’s play, for to him, it is simply like removing a garment. It is nothing for him to go to the scaffold smiling and to sacrifice his life. These are all considered blessings in the arena of love. How can anybody describe or understand this?

Kabir says:

Oh Kabir! Death, of which the whole world is afraid, brings happiness to my mind, for Real bliss can be attained only by death.