What is Love to Rumi?
Ishq or Love is the essence of Rumi poetry, and we cannot understand Rumi poetry without understanding what Love is to Rumi. Love is the unity with the beloved. Love is the foundation of Rumi’s beliefs and work. To Rumi, Love is the only pathway to connect to God, and our purpose in life is this unity with the beloved.
Rumi refers to Love as Mazehab Ishq, religious of Love. The pathway to reach the beloved through Mazehab Ishq is long and treacherous; it is like a stair to the roof (source).
Love is the only fuel that takes us to the Pathway of Ishq to join our source and attain that Happiness that we are looking for. Love is about connection.
Rumi says an ongoing fight between love and selfishness (Ego) in our hearts. Attachment to material rises to selfishness or ego. Love and greed both nurture and grow in the Heart. If too much ego fills the Heart, there is not enough room for Love to grow, and when there is not enough love fuel, we cannot travel to the pathway of Love to connect with our beloved.
The purpose of all religions is the connection to God, the ultimate aim of our life on this earth. Rumi sees Love as like any other religion- A pathway to God.
Rumi became discontent with organized religion after meeting Shamis and spent years with him to attain enlightenment. His dislike of organized religion became more apparent in his poems.
He said that religious leaders chain their followers to unnecessary practice, and they believe that following religious dogma is essential to connect with God. I do not want to worship God for fear of punishment or the promise of reward. They block the way to God, not unite you with God. Fear is not an attribute of God’s Love.
Rumi believed that God is not inside a book or a place, God is inside our Heart, and only the religion of Ishq, Love, can take us on the pathway of Ishq to reunite us with our beloved.
Rumi believed that Attachment to things is the root of selflessness. Like Attachment to beauty, wealth, or knowledge. Love helps us let go of Attachment, the illusionary source of Happiness. If we cannot detach ourselves from this illusionary source of joy, we never allow Love to grow in our hearts.
If Love’s true meaning is the connection to the beloved, why do many readers think that Rumi is talking about Human Love? He is known in the west as the poet of Love.
Does Mystical Love or divine Love include human Love?
Rumi says Love is divine regardless of whom it is directed towards. Human love is sacred because it finally leads us to divine Love if it is pure and authentic. Human love is a bridge to heavenly Love. It helps us to grow spiritually and prepares us for divine Love. Human love and Divine Love are in harmony.