Chapter 5: Existence Still Hopes
From him forgiveness comes so fast,
it reaches us before repentance
has even taken shape on our lips.
He is your shepherd,
and you prefer the wolf;
he invites you to him,
and yet you stay unfed;
he gives you his protection,
yet you are sound asleep:
Oh, well done,
you senseless upstart fool!
He heals our nature from within,
kinder to us than we ourselves are.
A mother does not love her child
with half the love that he bestows.
You have broken faith,
yet still he keeps his faith with you:
he is truer to you
than you are to yourself.
He created your mental powers;
yet his knowledge is innocent
of the passage of thought.
He knows what is in your heart;
or he made your heart along with your clay;
but if you think that he knows
in the same way that you do,
then you are stuck like a donkey
in your own mud.
In his presence,
silence is the gift of tongues.
He knows the touch
of an ant’s foot
moving in darkness
over a rock.
He always knows
what is in men’s minds:
you would do well
to reflect on this.
Jesus says, “God is love.” But I say unto you, “Love is God.” Love is a far more important word than the word God; love has existential meaning. The word God is utterly empty; it signifies nothing, it relates to nothing in you. It is a pure word, pure in the sense that it has no corresponding reality in your experience.
Although both words indicate the same truth: Love is the poet’s word, God is the word of the theologian. Obviously the poetic insight is deeper, more profound, and also the poet’s sensibility is far more refined, far more subtle than that of the theologian. The poet’s vision is more aesthetic too, more beautiful, more exquisite; it has more grace, more meaning, more significance. And moreover, the theologian’s choice has been contaminated down the ages by so many people - Hindus, Christians, Mohammedans - by so many churches, so many religions that have pretended to be religious and were not.
Love still remains uncontaminated; it is still virgin.
So let me repeat: rather than saying God is love, say love is God, and you will be closer to the truth. And not only closer, you will be immediately related to truth, because love is your experience. It may not be so profound that it becomes godliness, but still, even unrefined gold is gold. Even the uncut, unpolished diamond is diamond. The diamond may be lost in the mud, but it can be cleaned any moment; the mud cannot enter into its being.
Love is your being. And the moment we use the word God great controversies arise. Use the word love, and theism, atheism, and all kinds of unnecessary arguments are discarded.