The status of an ordinary worshipper is better than that of person attached to the world. The former has meditated, has done good works, and has abstained from evil in order to find a place in heaven and to save himself from the fire of hell. But better than a worshipper is a hermit who tries to avoid all evil actions and desires only communion with God. Such a one has sacrificed the world in his desire for heaven, and is engaged in the worship of God. And better than hermits is the status of lovers, who have ascended the steps towards the love of God and have forgotten this world and the next in their love for Him. They have no fear of hell and no desire for heaven. They want to travel only on the Path on which the Beloved takes them.
We have no concern with hell; we have no desire for heaven. We shall go wherever our Beloved will take us.
Bu-Ali-Kalandar Sahib says:
Lovers of God are not afraid of the fires of hell. Nor do they feel tempted towards heaven. They are the lovers of their Beloved. What should they do with the beauties of heaven?
Sheikh Sa’adi says:
Only he who forgets this world and the next is able to taste the wine of union with God.
An ordinary worshipper or hermit desires to go to heaven; but a lover desires only to see the rays of God’s light, for that is his heaven.
This world is really a prison house, and the world hereafter is the place of satisfaction of one’s desires. A lover does not care to purchase either world even for a farthing.
Some people are overwhelmed by worldly troubles, and others are filled with desire for getting the pleasures of the world beyond. A lover is above both of them. He desires neither this nor that.
Sheikh Sa’adi says:
Once a lover was asked if he wanted hell or heaven. He replied, ‘Do not ask me anything about them. I want only that which my God wishes for me’.
The aim of a hermit is heaven. A lover wants only the Lord. Consequently, there is a vast difference between the two. An ascetic is happy in his austerities and rituals, but a lover is absorbed only in the experiences of love.
Hazrat Mohammed Sahib says:
This world is not attractive to those who have the aim of achieving the world beyond; the world beyond is not attractive to those engrossed in worldly pleasures; and both, this world and the next, are not attractive to the lovers of God.
The same idea has been expressed by Muin-ud-din Abdulqadir Jilani.
If a person wishes to reach heaven and enjoy its pleasures, he should turn his attention away form worldly objects and desires. But if a person desires only nearness and communion with God, he should turn his mind away from the desire for heaven.
Hence, one should forget this world in order to get to the world beyond; and he should forget the world beyond in order to divert his attention towards God. One whose mind is happy in the remembrance of God cannot be satisfied with anything else.
A hermit has his mind fixed on the desire for heaven. He may be living in this world but he is not a man of the world. Similarly, a devotee of the Lord may talk about the world beyond but he is above both, this world and the next. He is always absorbed in remembrance of the Lord and has a constant desire for His Darshan (a sight of Him). He has no attachment or desire for the beautiful things of this world such as gardens, palaces, etc.
Hazrat Shah Niyaz Ahmed says:
I have sacrificed the austerities of this world, my meditation, etc., at the Lotus Feet of my God. My religion is love for Him and to be intoxicated in that bliss. I keep myself dyed in the colour of His Love. Oh, you ascetic! Please listen to me in the name of my God! You should discontinue your austerities and rituals, and instead should drink the cup of wine of the Love of God. The intoxication from that bliss is much more exhilarating than any other intoxication. You cannot find such a bliss anywhere else.
Lovers do not believe in salvation by means of reading scriptures alone. They read only the scripture of love. A lover is indifferent to outward praise and talk of his Beloved. His only desire is to merge in Him.
A Faqir says: „Oh my Teacher! please close all the books and teach me a lesson of Love. I have completed this course and now you should show me the face of my Beloved.“
Shah Niyaz Ahmad says:
Oh my Lord! teach us the one word of your love. I do not wish to waste my life in reading stories about you.
Hafiz Sahib has also described the same idea in beautiful words:
This austerity and ritual, whose covering I placed over me, have now been pawned for a cup of the wine of my God’s Love. Detachment and sacrifice are useless. I have drowned them in the pure wine of the love of my God.
Hafiz Farid-ud-din Attar says:
An atheist and a man of the religion of the world may be happy in his atheism and in his religion respectively, but, oh my Lord! grant my heart a particle of the pain of longing for you.
Hazrat Mohammed says:
People of the world are like eunuchs; people who desire the world beyond are like women; but those who want only the Lord are real men.
This shows that the status of a lover is the highest of all. The description of the rituals and austerities, by which one can gain heaven, is given in religious scriptures. But the description of love is confined in the hearts of lovers alone. It cannot be described in any language. „Lover“ is the name of one who has sacrificed his heart.
Shamas-i-Tabriz says: „The giving away of one’s heart means that the lover should go straight to the Beloved and should not conceal himself in any corner.“
Who is a true lover? One who has cleansed himself from the dirt of all worldly thoughts and desires by burning them in the fire of devotion and separation. His mind is always restless to meet the Lord, just as thirst makes a man restless for water. The lover’s mind and body have been pierced by the arrow of God’s Love. His real friend and Beloved is none other than God Almighty.
My mind is restless without the sight of my Lord, just as a thirsty person is restless without water. My mind has been pierced through by the arrow of the Name of God, and no one now resides in my heart except my Lord.
A lover’s attention is withdrawn automatically from this world and the next, and is fixed only in the Lotus Feet of God.
I have given my true love to you by breaking away from all others. My love has now been fixed in your Lotus Feet, because this is the true, complete and pure aim.
A lover’s inner attachment is only for the Lord. Everything else appears to him to be bitter. If he does not have His Darshan (the sight of God within), then every enjoyment of this world appears distasteful.
Guru Amar Das says:
So long as a lover breathes, he seeks the Lord and tries hard to meet his dear Beloved. He keeps awake night after night in devoted attention to this end.
The happiness which a lover gets by meeting his Beloved cannot bed described in any language.
Guru Ram Das says:
When a person has imbibed true love for his Beloved Master, his mind and body both become cheerful by meeting Him, for, a Master who is a manifestation of God has a strong and true attraction for the heart. By having a glimpse of the light of His beauty, one forgets his own self. Such a lover is fully absorbed in that bliss.
The eyes of a lover are always drowned in love, and they see only God and God’s Name. The eyes that see anything else except God should be removed.
Paltu has also described the state of a lover, saying:
Oh my mother! my heart has been so completely given away to my Beloved that I cannot live. I am prepared to sacrifice my life for the sake of my Beloved. This is my ailment and it will cost me my life. There s only one remedy, and that is that my Beloved should meet me. The snare of love has captured my heart and I have become senseless and indifferent to everything about me. Oh Paltu, who can teach us the way without a real physician in the form of my Master! Oh my mother! I have given my heart away and I am restless.
Love is a burning fire, into which everybody cannot leap. That can be done only by a rare lover.
Hafiz was so intoxicated by this fire that he cried out:
Yes, my Master! let the passing round of the cup filled with the wine of God’s love continue. In the beginning this Love appeared to be easy, but it has now become very difficult. Oh my Master! please be kind and show me the path by which the real light of my Beloved can be seen in God’s Truth, for there is no remedy for the pain of Love except the meeting the Beloved and drinking that wine.
Love appears to be a child’s play in the beginning, but it is full of many dangers. To follow this path is not the work of an ordinary person who is given to greed and other worldly temptations. A crop destroyed by water-logging can be revived only by judicious watering. Similarly, the pain of love is removed only by the ecstasy of love. Therefore, we have to pray before our Master, begging Him to take us to the world where we may be free from sin, where we will be free from all anxieties and ties with this world and the next.
We should remember that we are here talking about true love – a love that is not to be found in the satisfaction of the senses or in sensual pleasure.
Maulana Rumi says:
This is not the love which is generally experienced in this world, and brought about the luxurious living and rich food. Here, love means attraction for God, which is the true purpose of human life.
A beloved is loved by the lover, and the lover longs for the beloved. He is the worshipper of is beloved and does not turn his eyes towards anybody else. He is always thirsty for the sight of his Beloved and he cannot live without his beloved even for a single moment. You may give him wealth and all other valuable things of the world, but his hunger or longing will not be satisfied, except by meeting his beloved. Love for his beloved is in every cell of his body and his mind. He cannot be sustained by anything other than the sight of his beloved.
Whatever pleases the Lord brings happiness to the lover. Just as a thirsty man cannot live without water, similarly, the lover cannot live without the Lord even for a moment. Oh my mother! I have no appetite even if you should put all kinds of delicious and tempting food before me. Nothing can sustain my mind except the Darshan (sight) of my Beloved.
He prays for the sight of the Beloved. He even goes so far as to taunt the Beloved and says:
Oh my Beloved! If You are really my true Beloved, then do not conceal yourself from me even for a single moment. My life and my body have been wounded by meeting You (and then being separated). When shall I have a glimpse of You? Oh my Beloved! I have seen and enjoyed the whole world, but there is nobody like You. You should come and let me embrace You so that my mind and body may be happy. You are the only friend in this world. I place my head at your door. My eyes are longing for your Darshan. When shall I meet You? There is a storm of restlessness within me for Your Darshan. Without You all decorations of the body and all pleasures are useless.
A lover is steeped in the love of the Beloved. Where else can he go? Fish cannot bear separation from water and will die without it. The life of a lover is in the Beloved. Without Him, he is dead.
Guru Arjan Sahib says:
Oh my mind! Merge yourself in the Lotus Feet of God, for I am becoming restless and thirsty without His Darshan. Oh my Beloved! how I wish that I might have wings so that I could fly up and be near You.
Guru Ram Das says:
How can they live if they have true love within them and are separated from the Beloved? We have been separated form Him for many ages. Oh Beloved, please make it possible for us to meet Thee! No one can live without his Beloved, once he has been pierced by love for Him. Happiness fills every cell of the body whenever a lover gets even a glimpse of His Light.
Guru Nanak has drawn a beautiful picture of the state of mind of a lover:
A current of deep depression fills the mind of the lover who longs for his Beloved. The Beloved is far off. She sends messages through persons going towards His dwelling and longs to obtain news of her Beloved, and her eyes are full of tears in separation from the Beloved.
A real lover does not see anything except true love. Love is his home, his wealth, his religion and his belief. He is a worshipper of love. He regards places of worship that are filled with worldly activity as being completely empty of love. Love can live only in the Place of Love where there is nothing else.
Bulleh Shah once uttered the following words expressing these thoughts:
In a Dharamsala (a place of worship) live cheats. In temples one finds robbers. Swindlers are to be found in mosques. But lovers of God remain aloof.
The path of a lover is different from the path followed by others. The sky of love’s land is also something different. Love is the pilgrimage of lovers. If places of pilgrimage and worship are devoid of love, then they are useless.
Lovers do not hate anyone. In their eyes there is nothing but love and more love. They seek love and their thoughts are always concentrated on their Beloved. It is there that they pray, and bow their heads. Where does their Beloved live? The reply is: everywhere, in each one of us. God is Love and Love is another name for God. He is in everything and His current is flowing everywhere.
Love is the form of God, just as God is the form of Love. Both of them live as one, like the sun and the sunshine.
When love completely fills a person the limited desires of that lover’s ego are destroyed, and he lives in the boundless love of the Lord, He does not find pleasure in anything of this world that can compare with his attachment for Him. To a lover, the wealth of love makes him look upon all the treasures of the world as mere nothing. He is prepared to sacrifice everything for his Beloved, including his religion, this world and the next.
If my Master should give me the power to control my mind, then I would be prepared to sacrifice this world and the next even for the one black mole on His face.