How should One love?
Love is the inherent quality of the soul. This cannot be described in any language. Even the Saints and other wise men have to explain it by giving examples. Love is the sustainer of life, just as a lotus lives on water, its growth is in the water and it blossoms through the currents of water in it. Similarly, love is the life of the soul, and the existence of the soul is dependent on love of God. The soul becomes happy when love takes hold of it.
Guru Nanak says:
God is the Elixir of our life and you should love Him. As your love for Him increases, your soul will blossom on the water of love like a lotus.
He further states:
Love for the Lord should be like that of the lotus for water.
Water is the sustainer of the life of the fish, which feels happy and comfortable in streams of water. Without water, it feels so much pain that it cannot live. Just as the chatrak (rain-bird) is thirsty only for drops of rain and does not drink the waters of streams and tank; just as the dawn bird (chakwi) longs only for the sun and does not sleep the whole night, because she is always liking for the sun to rise when her mate would come and meet her; or just as water has love for milk and if put on the fire will burn itself first (will evaporate) and will not allow the milk to be burnt, in the same manner you should love your Lord.
Oh my mind! give your love to the Lord just as fish loves the water. If the water is plentiful it is happy and its mind is at peace, but without water it cannot live for a single moment. Oh my mind! have love for the Lord as the rain bird has love for the drops or rain. It will not drink even a drop from the tanks and streams, filled with water before it.
Oh my mind! love your Lord as the water loves the milk. It protects the milk when put on a fire and does not permit it to be burnt. Oh my mind! have love for the Lord like that of a dawn bird for the sun. It does not sleep the whole night, because it longs for the sun to rise to enable it to meet its mate.
Just as a rain bird is thirsty only for the drops of rain, and a fish longs for water, oh Nanak! my thirst will also be quenched by the Elixir of God’s Name.
Guru Ram Das says:
A lover is attached to the beloved just as much as the lotus is to the sun; just as much as a peacock loves the clouds; and whenever the clouds appear the peacock starts dancing in an ecstasy of happiness.
He further says:
Just as the kunj (a bird that flies far and high) keeps its mind always fixed on its little nestlings, even during its distant flights above the earth, similarly you should keep your mind always in the remembrance of God.
Guru Arjan Dev has also given similar examples and has strongly advocated love for the Lord in the following words:
Just as a butterfly is intoxicated with the fragrance of the flower, so much so that it confines itself within its petals and dies rather than come out to save itself; similarly a lover should have an equally great love for the Lord and should attain eternal life by meeting Him.
Just as a deer places its head on a musical instrument or a calf loves to meet its mother; or a wife longs to go to the house of her husband; or as a hungry man longs for food; you should love the Lord with the same intense longing.
In the same manner, many other Saints have given us examples of love for the Lord, all of which are worthy of our attention.
Saints are surging oceans of God’s Love, and they act as lighthouses in our life’s journey in this world. Guru Nanak, Guru Angad, Guru Amar Das, Guru Ram Das, Guru Arjan, Kabir Sahib, Tulsi Sahib, Swami Ji, Lord Chaitanya, Param Hans Ram Krishna, Shamas-i-Tabriz, Maulana Rumi, Hafiz and many other Saints have left their footprints on the sands of time for our guidance. Their lives were oceans of Love. By studying their writings, love for spirituality will be awakened in our minds.
But above all, we should meet a Master who is the manifestation of God, so that we may receive guidance and be able to obtain within, the nectar of love.