Chapter 4: Burning Up
Only mystics know love. Other than mystics there is no category of human beings who have ever experienced love. Love is absolutely the monopoly of the mystic. If you want to know love you will have to enter into the world of the mystic.
Jesus says, “God is love.” He has been part of a mystery school of the Essenes, an ancient school of mystics. But perhaps he did not graduate from the mystery school, because what he is saying is just not right. God is not love; love is God. And the difference is tremendous; it is not just a change of words.
The moment you say God is love you are simply saying that love is only an attribute of God. He is also wisdom, he is also compassion, he is also forgiveness. He can be millions of things besides love. Love is only one of the attributes of God. And, in fact, even to make it a small attribute of God is very irrational and illogical - because if God is love then he cannot be just; if God is love then he cannot be cruel enough to throw sinners into eternal hell, if God is love then God cannot be the law.
One great Sufi mystic, Omar Khayyam, shows more understanding than Jesus when he says, “I will go on just being myself. I am not going to take any notice of the priests and the preachers because I trust that God’s love is great enough. I cannot commit a sin that can be greater than his love. So why be worried? Our hands are small and our sins are small. Our reach is small - how can we commit sins that God’s love cannot forgive? If God is love then he cannot be present on the last judgment day to sort out the saints and throw the remaining millions and millions of people into hell for eternity.”
The teachings of the Essenes were just the opposite. Jesus quotes them wrongly. Perhaps he was not very deeply rooted in their teachings. Their teaching was “Love is God.” That is such a tremendous difference. Now God becomes only an attribute of love; now God becomes only a quality of the tremendous experience of love. Now God is no longer a person but only an experience of those who have known love. Now God becomes secondary to love. And I say unto you, the Essenes were right.
Love is the ultimate value, the final flowering. There is nothing beyond it; hence, you cannot perfect it. In fact, before you attain to it you will have to disappear. When love will be there you will not be there.
A great Eastern mystic, Kabir, has a very significant statement - a statement that can be made only by one who has experienced, who has realized, who has entered into the inner sanctum of ultimate reality. The statement is: “I had been searching for truth, but it is strange to say that as long as the searcher was there, truth was not found. And when the truth was found, I looked all around.I was absent. When the truth was found, the seeker was no more; and when the seeker was, truth was nowhere.”