Different Kind of Love
"One can hardly imagine what a great influence genuine love, truthfulness and purity of motives exert on the souls of men. But these traits cannot be acquired by any believer unless he makes a daily effort to gain them."
God wishes man to establish just equality, not to transgress laws, to help one another and live together in love. Do what God asks, be the cause of unity and peace—wipe out the horrors of war and hatred!
Be ye capable of all good, eager to work for the cause of unity and peace, sacrificing all for this. Be eager to suffer for such an end. Forget yourself, forget personal danger, personal evil and inconvenience. Have no fear of evil to yourself in the great cause of unity and peace. Be dissolved in love, so that you may lose consciousness of everything except the good of all.
– Abdu’l-Baha, Star of the West, Volume 2, p. 5.
Little Nutbrown Hare, who was going to bed, held on tight to Big Nutbrown Hare's very long ears.
He wanted to be sure that Big Nutbrown Hare was listening. "Guess how much I love you," he said.
"Oh I don't think I could guess that." said Big Nutbrown Hare.
"This much," said Little Nutbrown Hare, stretching out his arms as wide as they could go.
Big Nutbrown Hare had even longer arms. "But I love YOU this much." he said.
Hmm, that is a lot, thought Little Nutbrown Hare.
"I love you as high as I can reach," said Little Nutbrown Hare. "I love you as high as I can reach," said Big Nutbrown Hare. That is quite high, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I had arms like that.
Then Little Nutbrown Hare had a good idea. He tumbled upside down and reached up the tree trunk with his feet. " I love you all the way up to my toes!" he said.
"And I love you all the way up to your toes," said Big Nutbrown Hare, swinging him high over his head.
"I love you as high as I can HOP!" laughed Little Nutbrown Hare, bouncing up and down. "But I love you as high as I can hop," smiled Big Nutbrown Hare - and he hopped so high that his ear touched the branches above.
That's good hopping, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. I wish I could hop like that.
"I love you all the way down the lane as far as the river," cried Little Nutbrown Hare. "I love you across the river and over the hills," said Big Nutbrown Hare. That's very far, thought Little Nutbrown Hare. He was almost too sleepy to think anymore.
Then he looked up beyond the thorn bushes, out into the big dark night. Nothing could be further than the sky. "I love you right up to the MOON," he said, and closed his eyes.
"Oh, that's far," said Big Nutbrown Hare. "That is very very far."
Big Nutbrown Hare settled Little Nutbrown Hare into his bed of leaves. He leaned over and kissed him goodnight.
Then he lay down close by and whispered with a smile, "I love you right up to the moon... AND BACK."
`Abdu’l-Bahá says that love is unlimited. We don't just love those that suit us or are similar to us. There are many ways to express love, it could be love for our family, our city, political party, or nationality but these are all limited. If you are expressing love for your nationality, you are by definition limiting your love. Love as according to `Abdu’l-Bahá is unlimited, it goes beyond family, political party, nationality and so on. Patriotic love is finite, loving onesown country that causes dislike of other nationalities is not perfect love.
Real love must be for everyone.
"When you love a member of your family or a compatriot, let it be with a ray of the Infinite Love! Let it be in God, and for God! Wherever you find the attributes of God love that person, whether he be of your family or of another. Shed the light of a boundless love on every human being whom you meet, whether of your country, your race, your political party,
or of any other nation, colour or shade of political opinion. Heaven will support you while you work in this in-gathering of the scattered peoples of the world beneath the shadow of the almighty tent of unity. You will be servants of God, who are dwelling near to Him, His divine helpers in the service, ministering to all Humanity. All Humanity! Every human being! never forget this!" Paris Talks page 38
In ‘Akka there lived a man who so hated ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that he would turn his back when he met Him, fearing lest he lost his hatred. One day they met in such a narrow street that the enemy was forced to meet ‘Abdu’l-Bahá face to face. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá tapped the man upon the shoulder and said, ‘Wait a few moments until I speak. However great may be your hatred of Me it can never be as strong as My love for you.’ The man was startled, awakened, and made to feel the unconquerable power of love.
(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 102)
"No! Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love. Love is the objective point of peace, and peace is an outcome of love. Until love is attained, peace cannot be; but there is a so-called peace without love. The love which is from God is the fundamental. This love is the object of all human attainment, the radiance of heaven, the light of man."
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all? And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
There was once a lover who had sighed for long years in separation from his beloved, and wasted in the fire of remoteness. From the rule of love, his heart was empty of patience, and his body weary of his spirit; he reckoned life without her as a mockery, and time consumed him away. How many a day he found no rest in longing for her; how many a night the pain of her kept him from sleep; his body was worn to a sigh, his heart's wound had turned him to a cry of sorrow. He had given a thousand lives for one taste of the cup of her presence, but it availed him not. The doctors knew no cure for him, and companions avoided his company; yea, physicians have no medicine for one sick of love, unless the favor of the beloved one deliver him.
At last, the tree of his longing yielded the fruit of despair, and the fire of his hope fell to ashes. Then one night he could live no more, and he went out of his house and made for the marketplace. On a sudden, a watchman followed after him. He broke into a run, with the watchman following; then other watchmen came together, and barred every passage to the weary one. And the wretched one cried from his heart, and ran here and there, and moaned to himself: "Surely this watchman is Izra'il, my angel of death, following so fast upon me; or he is a tyrant of men, seeking to harm me." His feet carried him on, the one bleeding with the arrow of love, and his heart lamented. Then he came to a garden wall, and with untold pain he scaled it, for it proved very high; and forgetting his life, he threw himself down to the garden.
And there he beheld his beloved with a lamp in her hand, searching for a ring she had lost. When the heart-surrendered lover looked on his ravishing love, he drew a great breath and raised up his hands in prayer, crying: "O God! Give Thou glory to the watchman, and riches and long life. For the watchman was Gabriel, guiding this poor one; or he was Israfil, bringing life to this wretched one!"
Indeed, his words were true, for he had found many a secret justice in this seeming tyranny of the watchman, and seen how many a mercy lay hid behind the veil. Out of wrath, the guard had led him who was athirst in love's desert to the sea of his loved one, and lit up the dark night of absence with the light of reunion. He had driven one who was afar, into the garden of nearness, had guided an ailing soul to the heart's physician.
Now if the lover could have looked ahead, he would have blessed the watchman at the start, and prayed on his behalf, and he would have seen that tyranny as justice; but since the end was veiled to him, he moaned and made his plaint in the beginning. Yet those who journey in the garden land of knowledge, because they see the end in the beginning, see peace in war and friendliness in anger.
(Baha'u'llah, The Seven Valleys, p. 13)
When a true seeker determineth to take the step of search in the path leading unto the knowledge of the Ancient of Days, he must, before all else, cleanse his heart, which is the seat of the revelation of the inner mysteries of God, from the obscuring dust of all acquired knowledge, and the allusions of the embodiments of satanic fancy. He must purge his breast, which is the sanctuary of the abiding love of the Beloved, of every defilement, and sanctify his soul from all that pertaineth to water and clay, from all shadowy and ephemeral attachments. He must so cleanse his heart that no remnant of either love or hate may linger therein, lest that love blindly incline him to error, or that hate repel him away from the truth. Even as thou dost witness in this Day how most of the people, because of such love and hate, are bereft of the immortal Face, have strayed far from the Embodiments of the Divine mysteries, and, shepherdless, are roaming through the wilderness of oblivion and error.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 264)
Of old it hath been revealed: "Love of one's country is an element of the Faith of God." The Tongue of Grandeur hath, however, in the day of His manifestation proclaimed: "It is not his to boast who loveth his country, but it is his who loveth the world." Through the power released by these exalted words He hath lent a fresh impulse, and set a new direction, to the birds of men's hearts, and hath obliterated every trace of restriction and limitation from God's holy Book.
(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 95)
CXXIII: The generations that have gone on before you—whither are they fled? And those round whom in life circled the fairest and the loveliest of the land, where now are they? Profit by their example, O people, and be not of them that are gone astray.
Others ere long will lay hands on what ye possess, and enter into your habitations. Incline your ears to My words, and be not numbered among the foolish.
For every one of you his paramount duty is to choose for himself that on which no other may infringe and none usurp from him. Such a thing—and to this the Almighty is My witness—is the love of God, could ye but perceive it.
Build ye for yourselves such houses as the rain and floods can never destroy, which shall protect you from the changes and chances of this life. This is the instruction of Him Whom the world hath wronged and forsaken.
(Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh 216)