I’m having a debate with someone regarding the nature of true love and relationships. This debate traverses turf from the philosophical and the sublime to the practical and the not so sublime. It includes depth of height but also depth of lowest lows. I’ll begin by stating what my personal core values, principles and understanding of what constitutes a relationship is: a couple is just that, one woman with one man (or one pair of men and one pair of women, depending on your preference these days). I am old fashioned in this regard and find the idea of open relationships where multiple partners are involved completely counter-intuitive and downright wrong, even dangerous. This is where I diverge from the ’60s generation and their free-love culture. Both spiritual and emotional (not to mention physical) stability in my view is in monogamy (seriel or unitary) — period! The notion that a person can really love (‘ishq as opposed to mohabbat) multiple people simultaneously just doesn’t make any iota of sense to me. It goes also against everything I have learned and intuited about the nature of ‘ishq/passionate love during my years of spiritual wayfaring (suluk).
From my perspective as a practitioner of an esoteric spiritual path, passionate love qua ‘ishq is ultimately about the realization of the Divine where the female and the male on every level (whether physical or spiritual) become preceptors or mirrors to each other’s souls, and as a result of their union realize within each other the Divine Unity both in flesh and in spirit — or rather, through each other, flesh and spirit become One. A Sufi master, who shall remain unnamed for the present purposes, once said to me “when Light (nur = male) and Passionate Love (‘ishq = woman) unite and become one, there is Haqiqat (Ultimate Reality). But in order for that to happen the heart of both the woman and man must be completely united/singular (yeganeh) one for the other. In the absence of this, there is neither Light (nur) nor Passionate Love (‘ishq), but rather there is multiplicity (kasrat) and delusion (vahm.) Certainly every individual can hold and show forth love (hobb/mohabbat) towards infinite persons and objects. But true passionate love (‘ishq-e-haqiqi) can only ever be about One, or one to one, since true passionate love (‘ishq-e-haqiqi) is really about the Divine Unicity (tawhid-e-elahi). So be careful in not confusing these two, hobb/mohabbat with ‘ishq. These are two different things. She/he who doesn’t have a singular/united heart (del-e-yeganeh) has no true passionate love (‘ishq-e-haqiqi), whatever they call it or think it is. So make your heart singular/united (delat-ra yeganeh kon) so that you will know true passionate love (‘ishq-e-haqiqi).”
I want comment from people regarding this, especially what their views (from a cultural and a personal point of view) is regarding such notions that people can passionately love (as in eros and ‘ishq) multiple people at the same time. Where I come from this is called confusion. Could it be that folks who insist that true passionate love (‘ishq) can have multiple persons and objects simultaneously simply do not know what ‘ishq is and as such have never really been passionately in love (‘aashiq) before (whatever they tell themselves)?
Please comment, and post as much quotations from poetry as you wish where available.