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Chapter 1: Tale of Love, Untellable

We do not teach him how to love, we teach him how to guard himself against it, how to be wary of it. We tell him that love is very risky, very dangerous. We teach him to be suspicious, to be full of doubt. We tell him it is necessary to be like this, that people will take advantage of him otherwise. We tell him there is much cheating, dishonesty and treachery in the world, that it is everywhere, and that unless he is on guard people will rob and cheat him. We tell him there are thieves everywhere. We are totally unaware of the fact that God is everywhere, yet we never forget that robbers abound! And so we train children to be on their guard against thieves.

If you want to prepare children in this way, then you cannot teach them love - because love is dangerous. Love means trust; love means faith; love means accepting - and being suspicious is keeping a look-out so no one can steal from you; it is being on guard, remaining constantly alert, as if there could be an attack at any moment from any quarter. So, before any attack comes, you yourself become the aggressor. You see this as the best way of protecting yourself. We train our children to be like sentries. And this is how we do it.

When a child learns to behave in this fashion we say that now he has become mature. But by this time his capacity to love is completely lost. Now he begins to see enemies all around him; he looks on no one as a friend. And when he even begins to doubt his own father we say that he is now fit to enter the world. We say that he is now a child no longer and that no one will be able to cheat him. Unfortunately, he will cheat others now.

Kabir has said to be ready to be cheated, but not to cheat. He says that you lose nothing when you are cheated, but that all is lost when you cheat others.

What does Kabir mean by “all”?

As you practice deception your ability to love diminishes. How can you love someone you are deceiving? And if you are afraid of someone then the flower of love will not be able to bloom in you. It cannot happen because fear is poison. If you are full of fear how can you love? Has love ever been born out of fear? Only hatred is born out of fear; only hostility grows out of fear. And it is because of this fear that you begin to protect yourself.

As a child grows he becomes involved in protecting himself - with money, with a house, with all sorts of things. He makes every possible arrangement to secure himself from attack, no matter from which quarter it might come. But in the midst of all these arrangements we forget that we are closing all our doors, that we are even barring the entry of love. Our protection may now be complete, but it is the same security as that of the grave.

A certain emperor once built himself a palace for his safety and protection. Emperors certainly live in greater fear than others - they have such great material wealth, there are many threats against their lives. They have riches, power, authority; it may be stolen at any time - and their fear is in proportion to their wealth. So, in the palace the emperor built, there was only one gate. There were no windows, no doors; there was no way for an enemy to gain entry.

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