Some say that love is the cause of service, but this isn’t true. Rather, the Beloved’s desire is the true source of service. If the Beloved wishes the lover to help, then the lover provides that help. If the Beloved does not want it, then the lover gives it up. Abandoning service is not the abandonment of love. No, on the contrary, even if the lover performs no service, love continues working through the lover’s heart. Therefore, the root of the matter is love, and service is the branch.
When the sleeve moves, this is because the hand moves. But this does not mean the sleeve always follows the hand. For instance, someone has a gown so large that when they move around, the gown does not move. We have all seen that. But what is not possible, is that the gown can move without the person moving.
Some people have mistaken the gown for a person, have considered the sleeve a hand, and imagined the boot to be a foot. Yet this hand and foot are the sleeve and boot of another hand and foot. They say, “So-and-so is under the foot of So-and-so,” and “So-and-so has a hand in so many things.” Surely, when we speak of such a hand and foot we do not mean this hand and foot.
That Prince came and assembled us and then departed. In the same way, the bee unites the wax with the honey and then flies away. This is because our creation was a condition, but, after all, God’s eternity is not a condition. Our mothers and fathers are like bees, uniting the seeker with the sought, and assembling together the lover and beloved. Then one day they suddenly fly away. God has made them a means for uniting the wax and the honey, and then they fly away, while the wax and honey remains. But they do not fly out of the garden. This is not the kind of garden that is possible to leave. Rather, they go from one corner of the garden to another.
Our body is like a beehive, assembled from the wax and honey of the love of God. Although the bees, our mothers and fathers, brought that honey and wax together, yet they too are tended by the gardener, and therefore it is the gardener who also makes the beehive. God gives those bees a form appropriate to the work they are doing, but when they depart into the other world they change garments, for there a different work proceeds. Still, those people are the same as they were in the first place.
For example: a man goes into battle, puts on his battledress, girds on armor and places a helmet on his head to prepare for combat. But when he comes home to the feast he takes off those garments, since food and family are another business. Still, he is the same person. However, if you last saw him in that garment, then whenever you think of him, you will picture him in that shape and dress, even though he may have changed clothes a hundred times.
A woman loses a ring in a certain place. Though the ring has been moved, she still circles around that spot, implying, “It was here that I lost it.” In the same way, a bereaved man circles around the grave, ignorantly circumambulating about the earth and kissing it, implying, “I lost that ring here,” yet how could it still be there?
God performs so many wonderful works to display His omnipotence. It is here, for the sake of Divine wisdom, that He brings together spirit and body for a day or two.
People are afraid of death. They think that by sitting with a corpse in a tomb, even for a moment, they could go mad. Why then, once they are released from the trap of form and the tomb of the body, why would they remain nearby?
God has appointed the sight of a grave to strike fear into our hearts as a token, and to renew that fear of death again and again. In the same way, when a caravan has been ambushed in a certain place on the road, two or three stones are placed together there to act as a waysign, saying, “Here is a place of danger.” Graves are also visible waysigns showing a place of danger.
Fear makes its mark on you, even though it is not always realized. For instance, if people say to you, “So-and-so is afraid of you,” an affection immediately manifests toward them. If, on the contrary, they say, “So-and-so is not in the least afraid of you,” and “They have no worry about you at all,” simply because of these words an anger appears in your heart.
This running about in life is the effect of fear. All the world is running, but each being runs in a different way. The human being’s chasing or running away is of one kind, the pursuit and aversions of a plant are not the same, and the running of spirit is all together different.
For example, the running of the spirit is without visible step or sign. And consider the unripe grape, how much it pursues sweetness until it attains the blackness of the ripe grape. That running is invisible and imperceptible, but when the grape reaches that stage, it realizes what it had been chasing for so long. Similarly, someone enters the water without being seen by anyone, but when that person’s head suddenly sticks out in the middle of the water, then everyone realizes how much swimming has been done to reach that point.