Hafiz asked Rabia, “O Daughter of God, is hate the opposite of love?” She replied, “No. Love has no opposite.”
Rabi’a, the 7th Century mystic from Basra (not yet Iraq) and founder of the Sufi movement, was voicing the very vision that would be foundational for Gandhi: that the world is based on sat ‘Truth, reality, the good’ so that in the long run nonviolence has got to prevail, and any victory of violence, which denies love, which is the expression of asat or unreality “is out of the question.”
Nonviolence, which in the fullest sense is ultimately rooted in this vision, invites us to take our destinies into our own hands and actively embrace our highest values.
Love, Gandhi found, is a guide. Every moment.
Another Sufi mystic, Ansari of Herat, still centuries before the Mahatma, warned, Watch vigilantly the state of thine own mind, love of God begins in harmlessness. Ahimsa.
This is an extremely high calling; an ideal. But we can work at it daily, moment by moment, trying to be vigilant not toward others, but toward oneself, our own motivations, words and even smallest actions. And when we do, love-energy, nonviolence, can move through us freely. Nothing can stop it. What it can lead to in the end has been described, I think without exaggeration, as becoming love itself, union with what is Real, being completely natural, fully human.
Without letting yourself get too self-conscious, set aside some time to ‘watch vigilantly:’ what were your motivations today?
The Metta Center for Nonviolence, PO Box 98, Petaluma, California 94953 707-774-6299 email@example.com