Affection – Love

The Sanskrit word Bhav and the Punjabi word Bhau mean confidence, faith, love, affection, respect or desire. They mean love which is mingled with respect and is full of reverence. In ordinary love, the quality of respect for the beloved is sometimes overlooked; but Gurus emphasize only that love which is full of affection and respect and which recognizes the sublimity of the Beloved. Such devotion is true.

Guru Nanak Sahib says that without such affection, eating and drinking is useless and life is unfruitful. All repetitions, austerities, fasts, self-discipline and baths in sacred waters are of no use if they are performed without affection and devotion to the Lord.

What is the use of human birth if there is no devotion or love for the Lord? Eating and wearing fine clothing is useless if the feeling of otherness is in the mind.

Salok M1, 1411-7

What is the use of repetitions, austerities, Self-discipline or fasts, if one does not know how to have love and devotion for the Lord.

Kabir, Gauri, 337-13

In order to experience God in action it is necessary to possess such affection. This body is the field of actions, and the Gurmukh churns it to find the Reality. The diamond of Naam shines within it, and Reality is in the vessel of love.

Belawal M4, 834-15

Such affection is an aspect of the Lord Himself, and it is experienced when it pleases Him. All ignorance and illusion then leave the devotee and he sees the Lord face to face. Such devotional affection can come only from the Lord Himself.

You are Yourself devotion and love; You unite us to Yourself. Oh Nanak! forget not His Name, if you wish to live within His will.

Sri Rag M1, 62-2

When He wills it, one loves Him; doubts and superstitions then take their departure.

Kabir, Sri Rag, 92-3

Devotion and love spring from You; it is You who make the Gurmukh remember the Name of the Lord.

Ramkali M1, 906-5

When we are in this gross body, we become one with it. We cannot see the Lord, who is extremely fine and unknowable. How can there be affection for someone whom we have not seen? He shows a glimpse of Himself in the person of Saints and holy men.

My consort is very wise and He alone is called a Saint.

Kabir, Asa, 476-14

He appears in the form of Saints.

Maru M5, 1005-8

When one finds a Master and is accepted by Him, and when the Master is pleased with him, he receives looks of affection.

From the Master he gets the food of love; he loses his taste for all else, and the Lord's love dwells in his mind.

Majh M3, 115-14

It is the real food of affection which is revealed by the Master, and by taking it the truth appears.

Nanak knows the truth to be the truth.

Sri Rag M1, 15

This devotional affection cannot be revealed except by a true Master. The Master revealed the true food of love; by loving the Lord the truth is realized.

Bajwar M1, 146-12

Sometimes a devotee becomes intoxicated with love and begins to dance with joy. This is not affection. Affection is mingled with awe and this awe can only be generated by affection for the Master. Those only who stand in awes can have true affection.

Dancing and gesturing are the play of the mind; oh Nanak! only those who fear can love.

Asa War M1, 465

It is said that Majnun used to bow to each footprint made by Laila, his Beloved. Oh seeker, your Beloved pervades every particle of the land and the skies.

You should take each step with respect and bow to the Beloved. You should walk with the feet of awe and with eyes of affection and keep your attention fixed on the Beloved, so that you may merge in Him. (See chapter on Satguru).

Walk in awe with eyes of love, keep your attention fixed; oh Nanak, the wise will in this way find the Lord.

Magh War M2, 139

Hafiz Sahib also hints at this. He says, "As long as traces of your Name and company remain with me, my head will remain bowed on your path. Oh Master, the places which have your footprints become the places of worship for the illuminated ones." As long as any traces of wine or the wine-shop remain, My head will remain bowed towards the footprints of the Master. The ground bearing his footprints will remain a place of worship for years for those of illuminated mind. Awe is inspired only by meeting a true Master. (See chapter on Awe)

This awe, created by the Master's extraordinary beauty and magnetism, gives rise to pangs of love. One feels a peculiar sensation of love and abandon. When the devotee is in front of the Master both his heart and soul are attracted to him. In that state, under the influence of awe, the eyes get filled with tears, but the devotee cannot go beyond the limit of propriety. He cannot remain quiet and yet he cannot speak. He becomes tongue-tied. This state defies description. A lover may be in the room of the Beloved, but he cannot utter a syllable.

Lovers are killed by the Beloved; no sound can come from the dead.

Sri Rag M3, 788

One can only attain such a condition of affection by standing in awe of the Master. That one is rare who finds love in awe and enjoys the divine intoxication".

Kabir, Kedara, 1123-27

When a devotee attains this state of affection, the fear of death and rebirth is dispelled and because of him all of his family gains salvation. Fear and ignorance are destroyed and one becomes fearless. The devotee enjoys a real holy bath and gains everlasting life. By having affection for the Master he realizes the Name as a reality. The entire world rises higher because of his affection.