Saint Kabeer forces us into deep thought:
Without love, how can one’s affection increase?
As long as there is attachment to pleasure, there can be no love.
In daily discourse, “love and affection” are used as synonyms, but Saint Kabeer draws a distinction. A further dimension of “attachment to pleasure” is mentioned, and classified as a distraction. The mother loves her child, and from that unseen quality, affection is born, and seen in the mother’s concern for her child’s welfare. Her affectionate actions arise not from the false base that seeks pleasure, but from the eternal foundation of love.
A person eats a dish, and could go on overeating it only for the pleasure of taste. The same dish can also be consumed for nutrition to the body. In the first case, the slave to taste will become ultimately become unhealthy, but the second person will gain health. We could live a life attached to pleasure, and become spiritually unhealthy, or see it as a tool to another purpose. Saint Ravidas expresses this thought:
The plant of the universe has grown,
It has grown for the purpose of bearing fruit.
The plant does not grow just for itself, which would render its mortal life as being without meaning. But when we say that it has grown for the purpose of bearing fruit, its existence is now given a new and deeper meaning. As life exists and grows, it does so in its love for its true calling, seeking oneness with all. Affectionate acts are performed as expressions of love. Visits to holy places, fasting, lighting of incense – Saint Ravidas sees these as beautiful flowers, which are the evidence of growing affection, and the harbinger of fruit. Guru Granth Sahib guides us that if the purpose of life stems from a universal love, we will be adorned with flowers of affection, and the final fruit of wisdom.