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The secret thing about love
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
17 min
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Poem

Love has nothing to do with

the five senses and the six directions:

its goal is only to experience

the attraction exerted by the Beloved.

Afterwards, perhaps,

permission will come from God:

the secrets that ought to be told will be told

with an eloquence nearer to the understanding

of these subtle confusing allusions.

The secret is partner with none

But the knower of the secret:

in the skeptic’s ear

the secret is no secret at all.

~ Saint Rumi

Questioner (Q): (Question read by Acharya Prashant) Acharya Ji, kindly explain this.

Acharya Prashant (AP): It is very clear right in the beginning that, limited or sensory or worldly attraction is not being talked of. The verse begins with a negation, a clarification, a qualification; it says:

Love has nothing to do with

the five senses and the six directions

What are the five senses? The world. What are the six directions? Space. So, we are not talking of mundane, corporal, bodily, brick and mortar love here; we are talking of the very defining property of who you are, we are talking of the essence of who you are. Who you are, is thirsty; the one, who is listening, talking, is seeking, is desirous. He is called living but he is actually dying to quench his thirst. The one that you are, had he been material, then material could have quenched his thirst. To half a circle, add the other half and the circle is complete. It is possible to bring completion to material by adding to it, more material, suitable material. But the thirsty one is not really of this world; his body arises from soil and stone but he is not soil and stone. Soil and stone do not cry out, soil and stone do not suffer; you are somebody else. It should be extremely clear; you cannot be that wall, this table, this tumbler, this handkerchief or this flesh and bone and blood because neither the wall nor the table nor the handkerchief nor flesh nor bone nor blood ever seek union, the way you do, with the intensity you do. Material never experiences that, which you do. You are not material; had you been material, there would have been no problem at all. The problem is that you are not material, because all that you can see and touch and smell and name is material; so, you start in your helplessness, defining yourself as the body. Had you been just the body, then may be food would have sufficed, good food would have completed you. Just as a banana is complete with the peel covering the pulp, similarly you would have been complete with the clothes covering the body. What do you call a complete banana, the peel and the pulp, direct? Had you just been material, then the body and the clothes together would have sufficed. You could have gone shopping, brought new clothes for yourself or brought a new house to encase you, and you would have felt complete; but that doesn’t happen. You may wear a ring on your finger or you may cover your entire body with a palace, the desperation within, the wailing within does not cease or does it? And you have been wearing a lot of things. There are those who wear the sacred thread, there are those who wear rings, there are those who wear concepts, there are those who wear knowledge, there are those who wear attractive bodies; doesn’t suffice. A Rumi, right at the outset is very clear:

Love has nothing to do with

the five senses and the six directions

Love has nothing to do with this body or that body; had you been the body, love would have had a lot to do with the body. When you go to a doctor saying that you are feeling unwell, does the doctor treat the wall? If you go to the doctor and the doctor starts treating the wall, what would be your argument? “I am not the wall, by treating the wall you will not be able to cure me.” If you go to a doctor and the doctor instead starts plastering the wall, what would be your argument? “I am not the wall, so, how would I be healed if you treat the wall?” Similarly, if you are not the body, how would you be healed if the body is treated, but we keep treating the body; we treat the body so much that it gets mistreated. Is that also not how you incidentally use the word “treat”? When you tell someone “Please treat me”, what do you want? Some good food may be, and all that is just mistreatment, is it not?

Its goal (the goal of love) is only to experience

the attraction exerted by the Beloved.

Now, you have problem. On one hand, you are saying love is not worldly, not sensual; on the other hand, you are saying love is the experience of the attraction exerted upon you by the Beloved. What is this Beloved? If the beloved carries a name, he must be somewhere in the universe. If the beloved can be talked of, he must be either here, and if not here, then there, has to be somewhere. So, the English translation has dropped a hint; the word “Beloved” carries a capital ‘B’. So, this is no ordinary beloved. We are not talking of the beloved shopping mall, we are not talking of the beloved man or beloved woman, we are not talking of the beloved designation or mental state or beloved experience; we are talking of something beyond. Now, this beyondness offers you no proof of its being other than your own thirst. Are you getting it? Does this Beloved exist? It can’t be proven. But aren’t you thirsty for the Beloved? May be that is the proof, may be that is an irrefutable proof. And I will take the liberty of jumping right to the end; Rumi says,

The secret is partner with none

But the knower of the secret

If you understand this, then only you know.

In the skeptic’s ear

the secret is no secret at all.

If you are a skeptic, if you are someone who is driven by compulsive suspicion, compulsive faithlessness, then nothing can be proven to you because direct proof of the being of the Beloved are not available. If you are someone who asks for direct and material and tangible proofs, proofs in the language of arithmetic and logic, then you can have your way and your way is that of disappointment. You will succeed in proving that the Beloved does not exist and your success will be your greatest disappointment and defeat. There is no big a loser than the one who has succeeded in proving that the Beloved does not exist. Don’t run after such victories, they are your greatest violence upon yourself.

Its goal is only to experience

the attraction exerted by the Beloved.

That’s one way of saying - “The attraction exerted by the Beloved”, as if the Beloved is deliberately, almost consciously inducing an attraction. The other way is to say “I do not know about the Beloved, what I know is that ‘I am thirsty’. I do not know whether the beloved gave me the thirst or thirst is the proof of the Beloved. I do not know what comes first, but of one thing I know ‘I don’t feel well’.” All spirituality begins from here “I don’t feel well”, but to admit that you don’t feel well, you have to be a little honest and a little humble. If you are someone entirely devoid of sensitivity, then you will not even experience that you are not well and you will keep repeating “It’s not that I am not well, I am alright, all is well”, and there are large number of people of this kind; they don’t even know that they are not well.

And then there are the intellectuals, it is too offensive for them to admit that they are not well because they have done everything possible by their intellect to feel well, they have ticked all the boxes, and if they have ticked all the boxes, then the intellect tells them that they must feel well, and if they don’t feel well, then they tell themselves “I have no right to not to feel well because I have ticked all the boxes. So, I must declare that I feel well.” The intellect for example tells you “Have A, have B, have C and have D;” A, B, C, D need not necessarily be material accumulations, they could also mean travel, knowledge, experience, this or that scholarship. And intellect tells you “Have A, B, C, D and then you will feel well because A, B, C, D are all that there is, there is nothing beyond A, B, C, D.” Now you have A, and you have B, and you have C, and you have D, and all the boxes are ticked; but the fact is that you still don’t feel well. But you can’t even whisper this fact to yourself because you are not allowed to; you are an intellectual, you are not supposed to be honest. And if you try to be honest, then humility is a taboo to you. How can you humbly accept that the intellect does not take you very far, how can you accept your limits, how do you come down to the earth?

“I am not well”, and then begins the search. The search proceeds in two different directions - one direction searches for the One you are thirsty for; the other direction goes towards the One you really are. “I am not well” or “I want Something”, nobody knows what he wants, so, I’m just saying “I want Something.” So, the search proceeds in two directions - one direction is towards the Something that you want and the other direction is towards ‘I’. “I want something” and if you really want to have what you want, you must have either one or both of these - the Something that is wanted and the ‘I’ that wants. There are some who proceed in search of the One who is wanted, Rumi is calling Him as the Beloved; there are some who proceed searching towards the one who keeps wanting. Those who proceed towards the Beloved, they say we are on the path of devotion, bhakti; those who proceed towards the hungry one, the wanting one, they say we are on the path of knowledge, gyān. After travelling a fair distance both these travellers find that, they have come to the same point. As if there were not already enough complications, now we are saying that when you say “I want Something”, this ‘Something’ is the ‘I’ that wants. So, you are hungry, desirous of your own True Self, that’s what you are looking for. So, you are a lover and who is the Beloved, your True Self is the Beloved; the false self is hungry for the True Self. The fake one is so tired of his fakeness, that he is looking for the real One, the original One; that’s what all spiritual seeking is about. Are you getting it?

Its goal is only to experience

the attraction exerted by the Beloved.

Afterwards, perhaps,

permission will come from God:

the secrets that ought to be told will be told

with an eloquence nearer to the understanding

of these subtle confusing allusions.

The secret is partner with none

But the knower of the secret:

in the skeptic’s ear

the secret is no secret at all.

You honestly proceed, finding what is it that you really want and that will be a path of negation. You will not quickly, suddenly discover what is it that attracts you, but you will, in your effort, keep discovering what is it that doesn’t attract you but you are unnecessarily burdened with. You be honest and Rumi says “Later on, permission will come from God.” God is secondary, your honesty towards yourself is primary. Don’t say that you are looking for God, say that “I want peace”; that’s a more truthful statement. Because you don’t even know whether God exists, you do not know who God is, where is He found, what His dimensions are, so, why talk about God? Just say “I am not well and I want wellness;” the wellness, the drive towards wellness comes first and God and other concepts come later.

The secrets that ought to be told will be told

with an eloquence nearer to the understanding

of these subtle confusing allusions.

Confusions, allusions, secrets, confusion, allusions (hints) and secrets all of these apply to the one who says “I want something.” Look at the statement “I want something”, he does not know; had he known what he wants, why would he say ‘something’, he would have directly named what he wanted. So, the Truth might be direct, the Truth might be obvious but when you begin, when you start, then it is not obvious to you. The one who starts is obviously the one who does not know, the one who starts is obviously who is saying “I sense something, I get a hint, there are allusions but no clarity.” How will clarity come? By beginning to see what keeps him in clouds and confusions. Are you getting it? The more you move towards your own disquiet, the more the haze clears. The secret is to not to search for quietude or silence but to fearlessly and honestly come in touch with the noise, with the haze. Our tendencies work differently, even in an opposite way - When we find that we are confused, we search for clarity, don’t we? That’s the mistake. When you are confused, don’t search for clarity; when you are confused, search for confusion. Searching for clarity, you will continue to remain confused; searching for confusion, you will find clarity. And it’s a very common mistake made by the spiritual seeker. Often Gurus also inadvertently make this mistake; they tell the disciples to go after God or Truth or Clarity or Moksha or Freedom or Understanding, they do not tell them to firstly see what all the bondage or falseness is all about. Know your confusions, in that lies Godliness; that is the secret. When you will know your confusions, then there would be clarity and eloquence. Do not ask “What is the Truth?” I will ask you “What is false? Do you know what is false? If you do not know what is false, why are you even talking of the Truth?”

The secret is partner with none

But the knower of the secret

So, do not try to borrow. All knowledge is social, all knowledge is borrowed, all knowledge is collective; you haven’t earned it, you have just heard of it from the other. It’s not a knowledge, Rumi tells “It’s a secret”; knowledge is public, secrets are very-very private. Knowledge can be announced; secrets can only be whispered, not in everybody’s ears, but only in the ears of the one you love. Those little mysterious secrets; when God loves you, He whispers that little thing in your ears. What is that little thing? “I am You, you are not”, “I am You and you are not.” He can’t get this printed in tomorrow’s newspaper, can He? He can’t get this declared on a roadside hoarding, can He? It’s a very intimate thing, no? One of those things that happen in dark and silent nights between two people brought together by nothing but intimacy. It can’t be a road show.

In the skeptic’s ear

the secret is no secret at all.

Oh! He doesn’t have an ear even; Rumi, what are you talking of? Does the skeptic have an ear, can he listen? Rumi says, “In the skeptic’s ear, the secret is no secret at all”, and I am saying he doesn’t even have an ear. He is a self-enclosed box. Does the box have an ear? No. The box only has stuff placed in it by somebody outside of the box. But it is such a stupid box, it keeps saying “I know” and you know, when it is saying “I know”, what is talking? A stuff from outside. A little voice recorder kept inside the box by somebody and that audio player keeps repeating “I know, I am an individual. My liberty, my freedom, my opinions. I have freedom of speech.” Yes, there is freedom of speech, that part in your declaration is alright; when you say “I have freedom of speech”, freedom of speech is alright but where are you? “I have freedom of speech”, the last three words are alright, the first one is not. You do not exist, freedom of speech does exist, but you do not exist. So, there is nobody to enjoy that freedom. Freedom exists, you do not. You are a story, you are a concept, you are a fabrication, you are a fiction, you don’t exist. You are a box; it’s pretty interesting for a box to declare “I have freedom of speech.” And mind you the box has no ears. Before you ask why doesn’t God speak to you, ask “Do I have ears?” Maybe He is whispering all the time but the box cannot listen. Are you listening? Are you? Who knows?

YouTube Link: https://youtu.be/MOP_EvuvlBI

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