Parable about Love

        There was a man. Once, he heard the words: “God is Love!”
        And he decided to go and search for love. He began to listen to what other people were saying about love.

* * *
        He heard such things:
        … “I love meat!” — one man said. He slaughtered a lamb, roasted it and began to eat its body…
        … “I love hunting!” — another man said. — “I can hit any bird on the wing! And I can find any animal in the thickets, kill it and strip its skin off.”
        … “I love to wear furs!” — one pretty girl says.
        … “And I love flowers!” — another pretty girl adds… She puts bouquets of flowers in vases and looks with delight at how they are withering and dying… And they do not know about her "love" at all! And what a pity that the flowers doomed to die became a symbol of love and beauty!…
        … Another man declares:
        “I love my woman so much and my passion for her is so strong that if she betrays me with another man, I will kill her!”
        … “I love glory more than all women!” — the commander says. — “For the moments of glory I can give everything!” And he chooses enemies for himself and sends his army to die. He takes away others’ lives for the sake of the moment of his glory…
        … “I love power!” — the emperor says. — “I myself create laws for this country! Everyone must be obedient to all my desires! Everything will be at my behest: I will grant mercy or execute, I can establish peace or start a war!”
        … The man also heard:
        “We love God! For our faith we are ready to die! For our faith we are ready to kill!”
* * *
        The man was terrified of what he had heard… And he exclaimed: “This cannot be love!”
        And the mountains echoed: “This is not love!…”
        And the leaves rustled: “This is not love!…”
        And the birds cried: “This is not love!…”
        And the rivers murmured: “This is not love!…”
        And the surf of the ocean roared: “It is not love when somebody wants something for oneself and sheds blood!…”
        And the man went further…
* * *
        … Once he saw a kind child in another country and asked:
        “What do you love?”
        “I love my mom, I love my dad, I love this glade full of flowers! I love this small river and this forest! I love to sing songs and to dance, I love to work and I love to play! Everyone is glad about my love! And they all love me!”
        … The man saw another man in love and asked him too… He answered with the words of love that he had said to his beloved: “I wish you be happy, my be-loved, even though you are with another man now… I repeat again: Be happy, my beloved! Be happy! Know that I am glad for you!”
        … The man saw a grain field and a beautiful garden as if the earth itself blossomed. And he saw the person who had grown all this. The man asked: “What do you love?”
        The person answered: “I love the earth! I grow gardens, crops, and flowers on it, and they give me their fruits, beauty, and fragrance in return. The one who grows a garden and gives one’s love to all receives beautiful fruits!”
       … The man was walking through the country where there was order and peace and saw well-being in human lives.
        The man asked the ruler of this country:
        “What do you love?”
        “I love this country and all the people here!” — the wise ruler replied. — “And I am ready to suffer humiliation in order to avert a war between my country and another one and to ensure peace in it!”
        … And the man went on, listening and observing…
        And he saw a Master of Soul, who loved God with all His heart, and asked him:
        “Please, tell me, what is love taught by God, how to cognize it, and how to distinguish between what is love and what is not?”
        And the Master answered: “In wanting something for oneself — there is no love! There can be only passions, whims, and vicious desires… Love is the foundation of the universe! Love is also the light of the soul!”
        And then the Master taught:
        “The transparent flow of water is streaming and nourishing everyone; this is how God loves!
        “The Earth raises and carries on itself everything living; this is how God loves!
        “The sun shines and gives its light to everything and everyone; this is how God loves!
        “You, too, should love, always giving your care with tenderness to everyone!
        “Love giving itself — this is the light of the soul!
        “Cultivate love inside yourself and you will be able to see and feel God!”

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