Understand this. A picture of the divine is hidden inside everyone’s heart. We wander, carrying this picture within us, hoping to find someone who resembles it, hoping to find someone on the outside to match this picture, to find the one whose picture it is. Until we meet that beloved of our very soul we will remain distressed, in pain; searching and pining for something. Sometimes you will find a face which, just for a moment, seems to resemble the one you are seeking and you call that love. But when you look more closely, things fall apart again. No, the resemblance was just an illusion. In the dim light, in the darkness, you felt there was a resemblance, but there never really was. You have missed again.
So when you see the lover, the vessel of love, at a distance, everything looks fine. But as soon as you come closer everything begins to go wrong – because no one’s face resembles the divine’s, even though the divine is hidden in all faces. No one’s face resembles the divine’s one hundred percent: perhaps one percent resembles it and the ninety-nine percent does not. It is this one percent that you see at the beginning of love, but then gradually the remaining ninety-nine percent emerge.
It is only through losing out in love again and again that a person enters into devotion one day. The failure of love proves the fact that, “I searched for you outside of myself and didn’t find you. Now I will search within. I searched for you in the body, in matter, in form, in beauty, and you were not there. Now I will search for you beyond beauty, in the formless. I searched for you in the ephemeral and….”
Just imagine: the moon is in the sky, it is night, the full moon is shining and you are sitting beside a lake. The lake is still. You feel that the moon is inside the lake. If you don’t look up, you will believe that the moon is in the lake.
I have heard:
It was the fasting month of Ramadan. Mulla Nasruddin was sitting beside a well. He was thirsty, so he peeped into the well to see how far down the water was. It was a full-moon night, and he saw the moon in the well. “Poor thing,” he said, “How did you get stuck in this well? Someone should get you out!”
There was no one else around. It was a very lonely place. He forgot all about his thirst and threw a rope into the well to catch the moon and to pull it out in some way – because otherwise what would become of the world? The rope became stuck on a rock somewhere in the well, but Mulla thought that things were going well, that the rope had attached itself to the moon, so he pulled with all his might.
The rope broke and he fell on his back with a thud. As he fell, he saw the moon in the sky, “It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I hurt myself a little but you have been rescued, oh Master Moon. That’s enough for me.”