VOLUME I - Part IV: The Purpose of Life
THE WAY OF ILLUMINATION
by HAZRAT INAYAT KHAN
THE PURPOSE OF LIFE
The first thing that a seeker after truth must realize, is the purpose of life. No sooner does a soul begin to feel sober from the intoxication of life, than the first thing it asks itself is, “What is the purpose of life?” Each soul has its own purpose, but in the end all purposes resolve into one purpose, and it is that purpose which is sought by the mystic. For all souls, by the right and the wrong path, either sooner or later, will arrive at that purpose: a purpose, which must be accomplished, a purpose for which the whole creation has been intended. But the difference between the seeking soul and the soul who blindly works toward that purpose is like that between the material and the maker of it. The clay works toward the purpose of forming a vessel, and so does the potter. But it is the potter’s joy and privilege to feel the happiness of the accomplishment of the purpose, not the clay’s. And so it is with the beings who are unconsciously striving towards that purpose and the souls who are consciously striving towards it, both in the end coming towards the same accomplishment; the difference is the consciousness.
The first step on the spiritual path is when a soul realizes its outer purpose in life. For it is not every soul in the world which even realizes its outer mission in life. And the soul who does not realize it, may go on, perhaps, for its whole life and may not realize it even to the end of its life, but the one who cares to realize it, must sooner or later realize it. For the answer to his question is continually being heard in his own heart. As Sa’di says, “Every soul is created for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose has been kindled in that soul.” If there is already a flame lit even before the person was born on Earth, it remains for the person to find out for himself the purpose of his life, although everything outside himself points to that purpose.
One may ask, “What is the best way for a person to understand his life’s purpose?’ If one follows the bent of one’s own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one’s own inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, “There is something waiting for me (which one does not know at the time), which will bring me satisfaction.” Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one’s life. For nature has such a perfection of wisdom. One sees that the insects are given the sense to make their little houses and to protect themselves and make a store for their food. The bees, who have the gift of making honey, are taught how to make honey. So nature has taught every soul to seek its purpose. It has made every soul for that purpose, and is continually calling that soul to see that purpose. If the soul does not hear the call and sleeps, it is not the fault of nature, which is continually calling. Therefore, if I were to say in a few words, how to find one’s purpose, I would say: by waking from sleep.
One might ask, “Would the outer purpose lead to the inner purpose of life?’ Certainly it would. Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose, if he can only take it to be so. If he is mistaken, the mistake is in himself; he is working toward the inner purpose just the same. For all is created to work as one scheme, and therefore each individual is acting toward the accomplishment of the divine purpose. If there is a difference, the difference is of that particular individual.
There are five aspects which give one the tendency toward the accomplishment of the inner purpose: desire to live, desire to know, desire for power, desire for happiness and desire for peace. These five things work consciously or unconsciously in the profound depth of every soul. Working within one, they prompt one either to do right or to do wrong, and yet these five aspects belong to the one purpose in the accomplishment of which the purpose of the whole creation is fulfilled. When the desire to live brings one in touch with one’s real life, a life, which is not subject to death, then the purpose of that desire is accomplished. When one has been able to perceive fully the knowledge of one’s own being, in which is to be found divine knowledge and the mystery of the whole manifestation, then the purpose of knowledge is attained. When one is able to get in touch with the Almighty Power, then the desire for power is achieved. When one has been able to find one’s happiness in one’s own heart, independent of all things outside, the purpose of the desire for happiness has been fulfilled. When one has been able to rise above all conditions and influences which disturb the peace of the soul and has found one’s peace in the midst of the crowd and away from the world, in him the desire for peace is satisfied. It is not in one or the other of these five desires that there is the accomplishment of the purpose. It is in the fulfillment of these five desires that one purpose is accomplished, the purpose for which every soul was born on earth.
The desire to live is not only seen among human beings but it is also seen continually working through the most insignificant little creatures creeping on the Earth and living in the ground. When one sees how even the smallest insect wishes to avoid any pursuit after it and how it seeks shelter against any attempts made to touch it, fearing that its life may be taken away from it, that shows that even the smallest creature in the world, in whom man cannot find a trace of mind, has a desire to live. It is this desire that, developing in the lower creation in many and varied aspects, shows in the tendency to seek shelter, in the intelligent way of looking around as the hare does in the field, and the deer that is continually careful to protect itself from other animals. This desire developed in man shows greater phenomena of intelligence. War and peace are brought about with the desire of living. The cause behind war is the desire to live. The cause of peace is also the desire to live. There is not one normal soul living on Earth who has not the desire to live. Yes, a person most distressed, in a mood of unhappiness, will say at the moment, “I would rather not live; I seek death.” But it is not the normal condition. One may say, “Why is death not a desirable thing since it is only a getting rid of the dense body?” But can we not turn the dense body into a light body? Even matter can turn into spirit. If the divine blood begins to circulate through the veins of a person, this body is no longer a heavy body; it becomes as light as vapor. It is heavy when the weight of the Earth has fallen upon it, but when the weight of the Earth is taken away from it, it is lighter than the air.
“But,” one may say, “Is not death an increase of life?” It is another phase of life. The body is a complete instrument; why should we not make the best of it? Why must one hasten death, if one can be here and do something worth while? Sometimes one longs for death because one does not know what one is to do here. One is not yet acquainted with the purpose of life. It is that which makes one long for death. Every moment in life has its mission. Every moment an opportunity. Why should this opportunity be lost? Why not use every moment of one’s life towards the question of bestirring ourselves to make the best use of every moment of life. That itself will give such a happiness to the person that he will not wish to go. Even if the angels of death came and were dragging him towards death, he will say, ‘let me stay here awhile longer; let me finish something which I would like to finish.’
That must be the attitude. When a person is in his normal condition of mind, his one desire, his innermost desire, is to live. What does this show? It shows that man has acquired all other desires after coming on earth, but this desire to live he has brought with him on earth. Only that, by not understanding the meaning of this desire, its nature and character, its secret, he submits to its being broken by what is called death, by mortality.
If the desire to live is his innermost desire, if it is a divine substance in him, then there is the answer to this desire. But when one does not dive deep into the secrets of life, without knowledge of life and death, one becomes subject to disappointment. And that disappointment is death. One might say, ‘If the desire to live is natural, would it not be better to live and prolong the youthfulness of the body. How can that be done? There are three aspects the Hindus have personified: as Brahman, Vishnu, and Shiva (Mahesh): the Creator-God, the Sustainer God, and the Destroyer God. In retaining youth there comes the conflict between the two Gods, the Creator-God and the Destroyer-God. Because the Destroyer-God is destroying, the Creator-God is creating. If the Creator-God in you is stronger, then he will win a victory over the Destroyer-God. Nevertheless, there is nothing, which is void of beauty in this world. If the soul has received the divine blessing, it will enjoy every aspect of life. Infancy is interesting, childhood has a beauty, youth has its spirit, and age has its knowledge and dignity, its wisdom and beauty. There is no note on the piano, which has not its particular action, which has not its particular part in the symphony of nature. Whether it is the seventh octave lower or the seventh octave higher, whether it is sharp or flat or natural. Whatever the key is, as soon as the harmonious hand has touched it, it creates harmony, it makes of it a symphony. And so we are all as notes before that divine Musician, and when His blessing hand touches, whatever be ones’ life condition, whether child or youthful or young or old, the beauty will manifest and add to life’s symphony.
The mistake is that man wishes to live through the mortal part of his being; that is what brings disappointment. For he knows only that part of his being which is mortal, and he identifies himself with his mortal being. Hardly one among thousands realizes that life lives and death dies. That which lives cannot die, what dies will not live. It is only a phenomenon of life that makes even that which is not living, for the moment, a kind of illusion of life. When we study the dead body, the greatest study we can make, we see that no sooner has life left it than the whole charm of the body has gone. Why is there not that attraction which has always been there? Why is the body void of all beauty, magnetism and attraction? Why do those who loved that person retire from his dead body? Why do they wish to remove it? What has gone from it, what is dead in it? The part, which is subject to death, is dead; the life, which lived in it, is still alive. This body was only a covering of life. Now that life has left. But the living being is not dead. It is that mortal cover which was covering that life that is dead. Is it not, then, the absence of this knowledge, which gives a person the fear of death?
What is death after all? There is the saying of the Prophet that the illuminated souls never fear death. Death is the last thing they fear. And yet, one does not fear for anything more than for one’s life. One could sacrifice anything in the world, wealth, rank, power or position, if one could live. If living is an innate desire, then it is most necessary to find the process, the way how to get in touch with that real part of ourselves, which may be called our being, our self, and thus to become free from what is called mortality. It is the ignorant one who knows only the ground floor of his house. By going to the first floor of his house, he thinks that he is dead. He does not know that he has only left the ground floor and is going to the first floor. Why does this ignorance exist? Because he never tried to go to the first floor. The ground floor is quite enough for him. The first floor does not exist for him, though it is a floor in his house.
Is immortality to be gained, to be acquired? No, it is to be discovered. One has only to make one’s vision keener, in other words, to explore one’s self. But that is the last thing one does. People are most pleased to explore the tomb of Tut-ank-Amen in Egypt, in order to find mysteries, regardless of the mystery hidden in their own heart. Tell them about any mystery existing outside themselves: they are delighted to explore it. But when you tell them to see in themselves, they think it is too simple. They think: ‘I know myself, I am a mortal being. I don’t want to die, but death awaits me.’ Difficulties they make, complexities they raise by their own complex intelligence. They do not like the straight way, they like the zig-zag way. They enjoy puzzles. Even if there is a door before them, they say, ‘No, I do not look for it.’ If a door opens before them, they do not wish to go out by that door. They prefer to be in a puzzle. It is a greater joy not to be able to find the door for a long time. One who is thus enjoying the puzzle, is horrified when he sees the way out. The saying of the Prophet is, ‘Die before death.’ What does it mean? It does not mean commit suicide. It only means: study the condition of death. One need not die, play it; one should play death and find out what it is. The whole mystical cult is that play, playing death. That play becomes the means by which to understand the mystery hidden in life.
Man constitutes in himself spirit and matter. What is matter? Crystallized spirit. What is spirit? The original substance. Spirit may be likened to running water; matter to ice. But if there is water and ice, the water will run, the ice will stay where it is. It does not mean that ice will not return to its original condition. It will. But its time has not yet come. Therefore, the water will proceed first, and the ice will stay where it is. The substance stays where it is, but the life, the spirit, passes away. What is necessary, before, for a person, is to make the spirit independent of the mortal covering, even if it be for a moment. By that the fear of death naturally vanishes, because then one begins to see the condition after death here on earth. It is this physical cover which has imprisoned, so to speak, the soul in it. And the soul finds itself in a prison and cannot see itself. What it can see is the cover. Rumi explains it most beautifully in a poem, which he has written on sleep, because it is in sleep that the soul naturally becomes independent of this mortal garb. He says:
Every night Thou freest our spirits from the body
And its snare, making them pure as raised tablets.
Every night spirits are released from this cage,
And set free, neither lording it nor lorded over.
At night prisoners are unaware of their prison;
At night kings are unaware of their majesty.
Then there is no thought or care for loss or gain;
No regard to such a one or such a one.
And the continual longing of the soul is for freedom from this imprisonment. Rumi begins his book, the Masnavi, with this lamentation of the soul, to free itself. But is it to free the soul by actual death, by suicide? No! No mystics have done it. It is not meant. It is by playing death that one arrives at the knowledge of life and death, and it is the secret of life, which will make the soul free. The different planes of existence, which are hidden behind the cover of this physical body, then begin to manifest to the person who plays death. All different ways of concentration, of meditation, which are prescribed by the teacher to the pupil, are all that process of playing. In themselves they are nothing; they are all a play. What is important, is what one finds out as an outcome of that play: what one discovers in the end. Of course, the play begins with self-negation. And a person who likes to say twenty times a day, ‘I,’ does not like to say, ‘I am not, Thou art.’ But he does know that this claim of ‘I’ is the root of all his trouble. It is this claim that makes him feel hurt by every little insult, by every little disturbance. The amount of pain that this illusion gives him is so great that it is just as well he got rid of it. But that is the last thing he would do. He would give up his last penny, but not the thought of ‘I.’ He would hold it; it is the dearest thing. That is the whole difficulty and the only hindrance on the spiritual path.
Very often people ask, ‘How long has one to go on the spiritual path?’ There is no limit to the length of this path, and yet if one is ready, it does not need a long time. It is a moment and one is there. How true it is, what the wise of past ages said to their followers, ‘Do not go directly into the temple; first walk around it fifty times!’ The meaning was, first get tired and then enter.’ Then you value it. One values something for which one makes an effort. If it comes without effort, it is nothing to one. If a government should ask a tax for the air one breathes, people would protest against it. Yet they do not know that there is no comparison between the air and the money they possess. The value of the one is incomparably greater than the other. And yet the most valuable things are attained with the least effort. But one does not realize their importance. One would rather have something, which is attained with a great effort and in the end may prove to be nothing.
It is very simple to think, ‘Why should every being have that innate desire to live, if continual life is impossible?’ For there is no desire in the world which has not its answer. The answer to every desire is somewhere. The fulfillment of every desire must come one day. Therefore, without doubt this desire of living must be fulfilled. And the fulfillment of this desire is in getting above the illusion, which is caused by ignorance of the secret of life.
The desire for knowledge can be traced in all living beings, in the lower creation as well as in mankind. If one notices the movements of the birds and animals in the forest, one sees that besides seeking for their food, playing with their mates, protecting themselves from their enemy, they are also interested in every situation that comes to them through their five senses. Sound, color, touch, scent, every sensation, has an effect upon them. One can trace in the animals the natural desire to know something, and it is this desire, which in human evolution can be recognized as curiosity. From childhood this tendency seems predominant, and the more a child shows this tendency, the more promising the child is, because that shows that the soul part of the child is so much more to the fore. Among grown up persons, what strikes us most in their personality is that brilliance of intelligence, apart from all their goodness and virtue. If this is such an important thing in life, it must achieve a most important result. And what is that achievement? It is the knowledge of the ultimate truth, which fulfills the purpose of life.
A curious soul begins by trying to know everything that it sees that it comes in contact with. What it wants to know first is the name of an object: what it is called, what it is for, what it is, what it is used for, how to use it, how it is made, how to make the best of a thing, how to profit by it to the utmost. This knowledge is what we call learning. The different divisions of learning, called by different names, are the classification of this knowledge, which one gains by study of the outside world. But life is so short and the field of this knowledge is so vast, that a person may go on and on studying. He may perhaps study one branch of knowledge, and he may find that even one life is not sufficient to be fully acquainted with that one particular branch of knowledge. And there is another person: he is not satisfied with only touching one branch of knowledge. He wants to touch many branches of knowledge. He may become acquainted, to a certain degree, with different aspects of knowledge. It may, perhaps make him, if he reaches somewhere, what may be called an all-round man. Yet that is not the thing, which will fulfill the purpose of his life. Farabi, the great Arabian scientist in ancient times, claimed that he knew many sides of knowledge. But when it came time to showing his equipment in the knowledge of music, he proved to be lacking in the essential part, which was not the theory of music but the practice of music.
But knowledge can be divided into two aspects: one aspect is the knowledge which we call learning. The other aspect is knowing. Learning comes from the reason: ‘It is so, because of this or that,’ that is knowledge. But there is a knowing, which cannot be explained by ‘because.’ It can only be said that it is so. It cannot be anything else. The knowledge with its ‘because’ attached, is contradicted a thousand times over. One scientist, one inventor, one learned person has one argument. Another comes and he says, ‘This is not what I think. I have found out the truth about it, which the one who looked before did not perceive rightly.’ It has always been and will always be so with the outer knowledge. But with that knowing, which is the central knowledge there has never been a difference and there will never be. The saints, sages, seers, mystics, prophets of all ages, in whatever part of the world they were born, when they have touched this realm of knowing, have all agreed on this same one thing. It is, therefore, that they called it Truth.
It was not because this was the conception of one person, or the expression of another person, or the doctrine of a certain people, or the teaching of a certain religion. No, it was the knowledge of every knowing soul. And every soul whether in the past, present, or future, whenever it arrives at the stage when it knows, will realize the same thing. Therefore, it is in that knowledge that there is to be found the fulfillment of the purpose of one’s coming to the earth.
And now one may ask, ‘What is that knowledge? How can one attain it?’ The first condition is to separate this outer knowledge from the inner knowing. False and true, the two things cannot go together. It is in separating the real from the unreal. The knowledge gained from the outer world is the knowledge of the cover of all things, not of the spirit of all things. Therefore, that knowledge cannot be essential knowledge. It is not the knowledge of the spirit of all things. It is the knowledge of the cover of all things, which we study and call learning, and to it we give the greatest importance. One may say, ‘What is one to do when the call of the intellectual reason for knowledge and learning is such that it threatens one’s faith in the possibility of knowledge by the self? The answer is to go on, in that case, with the intellectual knowledge till one feels satisfied with it or tired of it. For one must not seek after food if one is not hungry. The food, which is sought in absence of hunger, will prove to be a poison. Great as it is, the knowledge of self, if there is not that natural desire raging like fire does not manifest.
One might ask, ‘Then why should we not try to get to the bottom of all outside things. Shall we not by this way reach the same knowledge?’ That is not possible. The easiest way and the possible way is to attain to the knowledge of the self. It is the after-effect of this attainment that will give one keen sight into outside things, into the spirit of outward things. The question is about oneself, the knowledge of oneself, what that knowledge is. Do we know ourselves? None of us, for one moment, will think that we do not know ourselves. That is the difficulty. Everyone says, ‘I know myself better than I know anybody else. What is there to be learned in myself? Is it the anatomy of the body?’ Yes, the first thing is to understand the construction of the body. That is the first lesson.
By the study of this one will find that there are five different aspects, which constitute our physical body. The mystics, for convenience, call them earth, water, fire, air, and ether. But these must not be compared with the scientific terms. It is only for the convenience of the mystic. Then one will see the different senses the organs of the senses. Each sense represents one of these elements. And coming to the natural tendencies and needs of life, every action one does has a relation to one of these five elements. This study of the mechanism will make a person understand that something, which he always called himself, is nothing but a mechanism; a mechanism made of the five elements, the elements, which are borrowed from the outer world. And he will find that his mind, which experiences through all organs of the senses, still remains aloof as a spectator who conceives and perceives the outside world through the mediumship of this mechanism, which he calls his body. This knowledge will waken a deep thinker to the fact that he is not his body. Although, consciously or unconsciously, there is perhaps one among a million persons, who clearly realizes, ‘My body is my instrument. I am not my body.’ The one, who has come to realize, ‘My body is my instrument,’ is the controller of this prison. He is the engineer of this machinery.
And then there comes the next stage of knowing oneself, and that is to explore what one calls the mind. By a minute study of the mind, one will find that the different qualities such as reason, memory, thought, feeling, and the ego, all these five things constitute the mind. One will find that there is a surface to this and there is a depth to it. Its depth is the heart. Its surface is the mind. Each quality of mind represents one of these five elements. This again takes us to the thought that even the mind, which is above the physical body, is a mechanism. And the more one is acquainted with the mechanism, the more one is able to manage it to its best advantage. It is the ignorance of the secret of this mechanism that keeps man unaware of his own domain. This knowledge makes one think, ‘I am neither my body nor am I my mind; I am the engineer who has these two possessions, these two machineries, to work with to the best advantage of life.’ Then one begins to ask, ‘What am I?’ For to a certain degree, even the mind is a mechanism, which is borrowed from the outer sphere, as the body is a mechanism, which has been borrowed from the physical plane, which has been gathered together and constructed. Therefore, neither mind nor body is the self. One thinks, ‘It is myself,’ only because one cannot see oneself. And so one says of everything one sees, ‘This is myself.’ The self becomes acquainted with everything but itself. So that mind, which the self has used, has become a kind of cover upon the light, which fulfills the purpose of life.
When this is intellectually realized, although it does not fulfill the purpose, it begins one’s journey in the search of truth. This must be realized by the process of meditation, the process by which the self can separate itself from the body and afterwards from mind. For the self, deluded all through life, is not ready to understand, is not prepared to understand truth. It rejects truth. It fights truth. It is like the story, told in my Divan, that a lion once saw a lion cub wandering through the wilderness with the sheep. The lion was very surprised. Instead of running after the sheep, he ran after this lion cub. And the little lion was trembling and very frightened. The father lion said, ‘Come, my son, with me. You are a lion.’ ‘No,’ said the cub. ‘I tremble, I tremble, I am afraid of you. You are different from my playmates. I want to run with them, play with them. I want to be with them.’ ‘Come, my son, with me,’ said the lion, ‘you are a little lion.’ ‘No,’ said the cub, ‘no, I am not a lion. You are a lion. I am afraid of you.’ The lion said, ‘I will not let you go. You must come with me.’ The lion took him to the shore of the lake and said; ‘Now look in it and see with your own eyes if you are a lion or if you are a sheep.’ This explains what initiation means and what the initiator teaches to his disciple as meditation. Once the image is reflected in the lake of the heart, self-knowledge comes by itself.
It is the desire for all one wishes to achieve that gives one the desire for power. One desires power in order to hold something, to make something, to attain something, to work out something, to attract something, to use something, to rule something, to assimilate something. If it is a natural desire, there is an answer to this. For there cannot be a desire to which there is no answer. The answer to the desire is in knowing that desire fully. Whatever power is gained by outside efforts in life, however great it may seem for the moment, it proves fatal when it comes to be examined. Even such great powers as the nations, which existed just before the war, took no time to fall to pieces. There was an army, there was a navy, there was property, and a state. An empire such as the Empire of Russia, how long it took to build it! But it did not take one moment for it to break up. If the outer power, in spite of its great appearance for the moment, proves fatal in the end, then there must be some power hidden somewhere, a power that may be called worthwhile. And that power is hidden in man.
A person in the intoxication of outer power that he possesses overlooks the cultivation or the development of inner power, and, depending upon the power that does not belong to him, one day becomes the victim of the very power that he holds. Because, when the outer power becomes greater, and the inner power smaller, the greater power eats up the inner power. So it is that the heroes, the kings, the emperors, the persons with great powers of arms, wealth or outer influence, have become victims to the very power upon which they always depended. So one thinks, ‘If the outer power is not to be depended upon, then where is that power to be found upon which one can depend?’ And that power is to be found in oneself. What power is it? In the terms of the Sufis, that power is called, Iman, conviction. And how is that power built? That power is built by what the Sufis call Yaqin, which means belief. It is belief that culminates in conviction. The one who has no inclination to believe, will never arrive at a conviction.
But now there is a question. Is even a power developed in one’s personality not a limited power? True, it is a limited power. But by following that teaching which Christ has given in the words, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all things shall be added unto you,’ that power is gained, which is unlimited power. If not, there is no meaning in calling God ‘Almighty.’ The benefit of this word, ‘Almighty’ is in its realization. This teaches us in the first place that all might is one might. Although outwardly we see different powers, one greater than the other, either in harmony or in conflict, limited powers working for or against one another, yet by inward realization one finds that there is but one power. In support of this the Qur’an says, that nothing is powerful except it shows the same one power, the power of the All-powerful. In other words, in the limited aspect, which we see, and in its absolute being, there is only one power. It is, therefore, that there is no might to stand against that power we call Almighty Power, that there is no power to work against it; that all aspects of strength and power are from it, and in it, and will be assimilated by it in the end.
As long as man is striving for power, as everyone is striving in some way or another, without the knowledge of that all-sufficient power, there will always be disappointment. For he will always find limitation. His ideal will always go forward and he will find himself short of power. It is only by getting in touch with Almighty Power that he will begin to realize the All-powerful and the phenomena of the Almighty.
Now the question is, ‘How can one get in touch with that Almighty Power?’ As long as one’s little personality stands before one, as long as one cannot get rid of it, as long as one’s own person and all that is connected with it interests one, one will always find limitations. That Power is touched only in one way, and that is the way of self-effacement, which in the Bible is called self-denial. People interpret it otherwise. Self-denial, they say, means to deny oneself all the happiness and pleasures of this earth. If it were to deny the happiness and pleasures of this earth, then why was this earth made? Only to deny? If it was made to deny, it was very cruel. For the continual seeking of man is for happiness. Self-denying is to deny this little personality that creeps into everything, to efface this false ego, which prompts one to feel one’s little power in this thing or that thing. To deny the idea of one’s own being, the being, which one knows to be oneself, and to affirm God in that place, to deny self and affirm God. That is the perfect humility. When a person shows politeness by saying, ‘I am only a humble little creature,’ perhaps he is hiding in his words. It is his vanity, and therefore, that humility is of no use. When one completely denies oneself, there are no words to speak. What can one say? Praise and blame are the same to one: there is nothing to be said. And how is this to be attained? It is to be attained, not only by prayer or by worship or by believing in God. It is to be attained by forgetting oneself in God. The belief in God is the first step. By the belief in God, is attained the losing oneself in God. If one is able to do it, one has attained a power, which is beyond human comprehension. The process of attaining this is called Fana, (annihilation). It means ‘I am not.’ And the idea of the resurrection explains the next stage, which is Baqa, which means ‘Thou art.’ and this means rising towards All-might. The divine spirit is to be recognized in that rising towards All-might. Fana is not attained by torturing oneself, by tormenting oneself, by giving oneself a great many troubles, as many ascetics do. For even after torturing themselves, they will not come to that realization if they were not meant to. It is by denying one’s little self, the false self, which covers one’s real self, in which the cause of divine Being is to be found.
Happiness, which is sought after by every soul, has its secret in the knowledge of the self. Man seeks for happiness, not because happiness is his sustenance, but because happiness is his own being. Therefore, in seeking for happiness, man is seeking for himself. What gives man inclination to seek for happiness is the feeling of having lost something which he had always owned, which belonged to him, which was his own self. The absence of happiness, which a soul has experienced from the day it has come on earth and which has increased every day more and more, makes man forget that his own being is happiness. He thinks happiness is something, which is acquired. As man thinks that happiness is something, which is acquired, he continually strives in every direction to attain to it. In the end, after all his striving, he finds that the real happiness does not lie in what he calls pleasures. Pleasures may be a shadow of happiness. There is an illusion of happiness, because all the illusion, which stands beside reality, is more interesting for the average man than reality itself.
A happiness, which is momentary, a happiness which depends upon something outside oneself, is called pleasure. Very often we confuse, in our everyday language, the distinction between pleasure and happiness. A pastime, an amusement, merriment, gaiety that take one’s thoughts away from the responsibilities and worries and limitations of life and give one a moment’s consolation – one begins by thinking that these are the ways of happiness. But as one cannot hold them, and as one often finds that, seeking for what may be called a pleasure, the loss is greater than the gain, then one begins to look for something that will really be the means of happiness. It is this, very often, that wakens a soul to look for the mystery of mysticism, in case he can find some happiness there. But even all these things only help one to find happiness. They are not happiness themselves. It is the soul, which is happiness itself, not all outer things which man seeks after, and which he thinks will give him happiness. The very fact that man is continually craving for happiness shows that the real element, which may be called man’s real being, is not what has formed his body and what has composed his mind, but what he is in himself.
The mind and body are vehicles. Through the mind and body man experiences life more fully, more clearly; but they are not happiness in themselves, nor does what is experienced through them give the real happiness. What he experiences through them is just pleasure, an illusion of happiness for a time. It is not only that the pleasures cost more than they are worth, but very often in the path of pleasure, when a person is seeking after happiness, as he goes further, he creates more and more unhappiness for himself. Very often it happens. Every way he turns, everything he does, every plan he carries out, thinking that this will give him happiness, only produces a greater trouble, because he is seeking after happiness in a wrong direction.
A person might ask, ‘Is, then, the secret of happiness in the way of the ascetics, in tormenting and torturing oneself as they have done for ages?’ Even that does not give happiness. It is only a distraction from the worldly pleasures, which produces illusion. The ascetic shuts himself up in order to have an opportunity of taking another direction. But very often it so happens that the one who lives an ascetic life is himself unaware of what he is doing and what it is intended for. And therefore, even if he lives his whole life as an ascetic, he cannot derive a full benefit from it. His loss is then greater than his gain. For even asceticism is not a happiness. It is only a means of self-discipline. It is a drill in order to fight against temptations which draw one continually in life and which hinder one’s path to happiness. Not understanding this, a person may go on living an ascetic life but can never be benefited by it, like a soldier who has drilled all his life and never fought. Many have understood self-denial as the way to happiness, and they interpret self-denial as the way to happiness, and they interpret self-denial in the form of asceticism, to deny oneself all pleasures, which are momentary. There is another point from which to look at it. The creation is not intended to be renounced. We read in the Qur’an that God has made all that is in the heavens and on the earth subservient to man. Wherefore, all that is beautiful and pleasing, all that gives joy and pleasure, is not to be renounced. The secret of all this is that what is made for man, man may hold but he must not be held by it.
When man renounces the path of happiness, real happiness, in order to pursue pleasures, it is then that he does wrong. If in the pursuit of happiness, which is the ultimate happiness, he goes on through life, then for him to be an ascetic and deny himself all pleasures is not necessary. There is a story told of Solomon, that he had a vision that God revealed Himself to him and said, ‘Ask what I shall give thee.’ Solomon said, ‘Give me an understanding heart, wisdom and knowledge.’ And God said to him, ‘Because thou hast asked this thing and hast not asked long life for thyself, neither hast thou asked riches for thyself, but hast asked for thyself understanding, behold, I have done according to thy word. I have given thee an understanding heart. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, and I will lengthen thy days.’ This shows that the true way is not the renouncing of things, but it is making the best use of them, making the right use of them. It is not going away from life, but being among the crowd, being in the midst of life, and yet not being attached to it. One might say, that it would be a cruel thing to be detached from anybody who wants our love and kindness and sympathy. You can attach yourself to the whole world if you will not be of the world. If one keeps one’s thoughts centered upon the idea of the real happiness which is attained by the realization of the self, and if one does not allow anything to hinder that, then in the end one arrives at that happiness which is the purpose of the coming on earth of every soul.
The secret behind the whole manifestation is vibration; vibration, which may be, termed movement. It is the differences of vibration, which when divided by lines, form planes of existence, each plane being different in the rhythm of these vibrations. When we take life as a whole we can draw one line, the beginning and the end, or spirit and matter, or God and man. And we shall find that the rhythm, which begins the line is fine and without disturbance, and the rhythm, which is felt at the end of this line is gross and disturbing. And these two rhythms may be named the life of sensation and life of peace.
These are tow opposite things. The life of sensation gives a momentary joy. The life, which is the first aspect of life gives peace and culminates in the everlasting peace. The joy, however great, is rising and falling. It must have its reaction. Besides, it depends upon sensation. And what does sensation depend upon? Sensation depends upon the outer life. There must be something besides you to cause the sensation. But peace is independently felt within oneself. It is not dependent upon the outer sensation. It is something that belongs to one, something that is one’s own self. If one were to ask someone who lives continually in a kind of excitement of worldly pleasures, whom Providence has granted all pleasures imaginable, if that person were asked, ‘What do you wish besides all this that you experience?’ He will say, ‘To be left alone.’ When madness comes, when he is out of balance, he will crave for sensation, but when that passion has gone, what he is longing for in reality is peace. Therefore, there is no pleasure in the world, however great, no experience, however interesting, that can give one that satisfaction which peace alone can give. A sovereign may be happy sitting on the throne with his crown, with many attendants before him, but he is only satisfied when he is alone by himself. All else seems to him nothing. It has no value. The most precious thing for him is that moment when he is by himself.
I have once seen the Nizam, a great ruler, in all his grandeur, enjoying the royal splendor all around him, and then again I saw the same sovereign sitting alone on a little carpet. It was at that time that he was himself. It is the same thing with everyone. Delicious dishes, sweet fragrance, music, all other pleasures of line and color, beauty in all its aspects, which seem to answer one’s life’s demands, fail in the end when compared with that satisfaction which a soul experiences in itself, which it feels its own property, its own belonging. Something that one need not seek outside oneself, that one can find within oneself, and something which is incomparably greater and more valuable than anything else in the world. Something, which cannot be bought or sold, something, which cannot be robbed by anyone, and something, which is more sacred and holy than religion or prayer. For all prayer and devotion is to attain to this peace.
A man good and kind, a person most learned and qualified, strong and powerful, with all these attributes, cannot be spiritual if his soul has not attained that rhythm, which is a natural rhythm of its being, a rhythm in which alone exists life’s satisfaction. Peace is not a knowledge, peace is not a power, peace is not a happiness, but peace is all these. And besides, peace is productive of happiness. Peace inspires one with knowledge of the seen and unseen, and in peace is to be found the divine Presence. It is not the excited one who conquers in this continual battle of life. It is the peaceful one who tolerates all, who forgives all, who understands all, who assimilates all things. The one who lacks peace, with all his possessions, the property of this earth or quality of mind, is poor even with both. He has not got that wealth, which may be called divine and without which man’s life is useless. For true life is in peace, a life which will not be robbed by death. The secret of mysticism, the mystery of philosophy, all is to be attained after the attainment of peace. You cannot refuse to recognize the divine in a person who is a person of peace. It is not the talkative; it is not the argumentative one, who proves to be wise. He may have intellect, worldly wisdom, and yet may not have pure intelligence, which is real wisdom. True wisdom is to be found in the peaceful, for peacefulness is the sign of wisdom. It is the peaceful one who is observant. It is the peace that gives him the power to observe keenly. It is the peaceful one, therefore, who can conceive, for peace helps him to conceive. It is the peaceful who can contemplate properly. Therefore, all things pertaining to spiritual progress in life depend upon peace.
And now the question is what makes one lack peace? The answer is, love of sensation. A person who is always seeking to experience life in movement, in activity, in whatever form, wants more and more of that experience. In the end he becomes dependent upon the life which is outside, and so he loses in the end his peace, the peace, which is his real self. When a person says about someone, ‘That person has lost his soul,’ the soul is not lost. The soul has not lost its peace. Absorption in the outer life, every moment of the day and night, thinking and worrying and working and fighting, struggling along, in the end robs one of one’s soul. Even if one gains as the price of that fighting something, which is outside oneself, someone who is a greater fighter still will snatch it from our grasp one day.
One might ask if it is not our necessity in life that keeps us absorbed in the outer life and does not give us a moment to experience peace. In answer to this I must say: suppose the outer life has taken ten hours of the day, you still have two hours. If sleep has taken ten hours of the day, you still have two hours to spare. To attain peace, what one has to do is to seek that rhythm which is in the depth of our being. It is just like the sea: the surface of the sea if ever moving. The depth of the sea is still. And so it is with our life. If our life is thrown into the sea of activity, it is on the surface. We still live in the profound depths, in that peace. But the thing is to become conscious of that peace, which can be found within ourselves. It is this, which can bring us the answer to all our problems. If not, when we want to solve one problem, there is another difficult problem coming. There is no end to our problems. There is no end to the difficulties of the outer life. And if we get excited over them, we shall never be able to solve them. Some think, ‘We might wait. Perhaps the conditions will become better. We shall see then what to do.’ But when will the conditions become better? They will become still worse! Whether the conditions become better or worse, the first thing is to seek the kingdom of God within ourselves, in which there is our peace. As soon as we have found that, we have found our support, we have found our self. And in spite of all the activity and movement on the surface, we shall be able to keep that peace undisturbed if only we hold it fast by becoming conscious of it.
In the language of the Hindus duty is called Dharma, which means religion. The more one studies the nature and character of what we call duty, the more one begins to see that it is in the spirit of duty that the soul of religion is to be found. If duty was not so sacred as to play such an important part in one’s life; a form of religion would be nothing to a thoughtful soul. It was, therefore, wise on the part of the ancient people who called religion duty, or duty religion. For religion is not in performing a ceremony or ritual. The true religion is the feeling or the sense of duty. Duty is not necessarily the purpose of life, but it is as the lighthouse in the port, which shows one, ‘Here is the landing place, here you arrive, here is your destination.’ It may not be the final destination, but still in duty one finds a road which leads one to the purpose of life.
It seems that, though the knowledge of duty is acquired after a child has come into the world, yet the child has also brought with him into the world, the sense of duty. And according to the sense of duty, which the child shows, he gives promise of a good future. A person may be most learned, capable, qualified, powerful, influential, and yet if he has no sense of duty, you cannot rely upon him. As soon as you find out that there is a living sense of duty in a person, you at once feel confidence. You feel you can depend upon that person. And this feeling that you get is greater than any other impression a person can make upon you. In this is all virtue and strength and power and blessing. You value a friend whom you can trust. You value a relation in whom you can have confidence. Therefore, all the qualifications that man possesses seem to be on the surface, but beneath them there is one spirit, which keeps them alive and makes them really valuable, and that spirit is the sense of duty. Those who have won the confidence of the whole nation, and there have been a few in the history of the world who have won the trust of a multitude, those have proved to be really great; and it was accomplished by developing a sense of duty.
Now there are five different aspects in considering the question of duty. One aspect is to think of our duty towards the generation, towards the children, our own children and those of others. To those who are younger in years we have a certain duty. To our friends, our acquaintances who have not yet evolved enough to see things as we do, there is also our duty. And if once we were conscious of this, one would find many things in life, which require one’s attention, and if they are overlooked, one has really neglected one’s duty. Whatever be our position in life, rich or poor, we still have a kingdom, and that kingdom is our self. We can help and serve in thought and deed, in word or in action needed at a certain moment. By every attention given to this question, by everything done in this respect, however material it might seem outwardly, a religious action is performed.
Another aspect of duty is the duty to our fellow creatures: to one’s co-workers, to the friends and acquaintances with whom one comes in contact in everyday life, with whom one does not have the feeling of older or younger, or any difference. We have a duty towards them. In the first place, to study the psychology of their nature, if we have to teach them, not to teach them as a teacher, if we help them, not as a benefactor. Whatever help we give to them, to do it in such a way that even we ourselves do not know about it. That is the best way of serving. For even to do good is most difficult if we do not know how to do it. If we were able to win the affection of our fellow men and to do some little service unassumingly, without the thought of appreciation or return, we have certainly performed a religious action.
The third aspect of duty is towards those advanced in years. To have sympathy for them, to have respect for their age, for the experience they have gained; even if they have not that qualification or learning, which we have, it does not matter. Perhaps they know something more, which we do not know. We cannot learn all things. We cannot know all things. There are things that experience teaches. There are things that age brings to them. If in a person, however intelligent and capable, that sentiment for age, that respect for his elder brother, that consideration for those who are advanced in years, his mother, father, sister, brother, teacher, or friend, has not yet been born; he has not yet known religion. For in this is the foundation of religion.
It is said that a child of the Prophet one day called a slave by his name and the Prophet heard it. The first thing he said was, ‘My child, call him Uncle; he is advanced in age.’ Besides, there is a psychological action and reaction. Those who have reached the ripened condition of life have arrived at a stage when their goodwill for the younger ones comes as a treasure, a living treasure. Sometimes, the intoxication of life, one’s absorption in worldly activities, that ever growing energy, which one experiences in youth, one’s power and position and knowledge and capability, make one overlook this. But if an opportunity is lost, it is lost, it will never come again. We are all in this world travelers, and those near to us or those whom we see, they are the ones we meet on our journey. And therefore, it is an opportunity of thinking of our duty towards them. Neither shall we be with them always, nor will they be with us. Life is a dream in which we are thrown, a dream, which is ever changing. Therefore, an opportunity lost of considering our little obligations in our everyday life, which form part of our duty, is like forgetting our religion.
The fourth aspect of duty is our duty to the state, to the nation, and to all those personalities whom we find therein, above or below; a king, a president, a commander, an officer, a secretary, a clerk, a porter, or servant; a spiritual source of upliftment, such as a church, a spiritual center and personalities connected with it, priest or clergyman, one’s counselor or teacher. Towards all these we have a duty, and in observing this alone we accomplish Dharma, our duty.
And the fifth aspect of our duty is to God, our Creator, Sustainer, and the Forgiver of our shortcomings. One might say, ‘We have not desired to come here. Why were we sent here?’ But it is said in a moment of disturbance of mind. If the mind is still, if a person shows good sense he will say, ‘Even if there were nothing else given to me in life, to be allowed to live under the sun is the greatest privilege.’ One says, ‘I toil and I earn money, and that is my living which I make. Who is to be given credit for it?’ But it is not the money we eat; what we eat is not made in the bank. It is made by the sun and the moon and the stars and the earth and the water, by nature, which is living before us. If we had not air to breathe, we should die in a moment. These gifts of nature, which are before us, how can we be thankful enough for them? Besides, as a person develops spiritually he will see that it is not only his body that needs food, but also his mind, his heart, his soul; a food which this mechanical world cannot provide. It is the food that God alone can give, and it is, therefore, that we call God the Sustainer. Furthermore, at a time when there was neither strength in us nor sense enough to earn our livelihood, at that time our food was created. When one thinks of this, and when one realizes that every little creature, a germ or worm that no one ever notices, also receives sustenance, then one begins to see that there is a Sustainer; and that Sustainer we find in God, and towards Him we have a duty.
In spite of the justice and injustice we see on the surface of this world, a keen insight into one’s own life will teach that there is no comparison between our faults and our good actions. The good actions, in comparison with our faults, are so few that if we were judged we should not have one mark to our credit. It does not mean that justice is absent there. It only means, what is behind law? Love. And what is Love? God. And how do we see God’s love, in what form? In many forms; but the most beautiful form of love of God is His compassion, His divine forgiveness. Considering these things, we realize that we have a duty towards God.
It is these five different aspects of duty, that, when we consider them and when we begin to live them, they begin to give us the sense of a religious life. Religious life does not mean living in a religious place or in a cemetery or in a church, or in a religion that is all outward. The true religion is living and being conscious of the sense of duty that we have towards man and towards God. Someone may say, ‘How is it that a person who lives a life of duty, is often void of love, beauty, and poetry?’ I do not think that duty has anything to do with depriving a person of love, harmony, and beauty. On the other hand, when the real spirit of duty wakens in a person, it is that which begins poetry. If there is a beautiful poem to be found, if there is anyone who has experienced love, harmony and beauty, it is that person who understands the sense of duty. For instance a newborn child. He has come from heaven, he is happy as the angels, he is beautiful in infancy, he is an expression of harmony, and he is love himself. And yet he does not know love, harmony, and beauty. Why? Because he does not yet know duty. But the moment the spirit of duty is awakened in a person, poetry begins. And when poetry is begun, then love, harmony and beauty manifest to his view fully.
But one might ask, ‘Duty is responsibility; how can we be delivered from this great load of responsibility?’ In two ways: he is already delivered of this load of responsibility, who has no sense of responsibility. He does not want to take it up as his responsibility. He is quite happy. He does not mind what anybody thinks of him. He does not mind whom he hurts nor whom he harms. He minds his own business quite happily. He is delivered already. And if there is another deliverance, it is attained by living the life of duty. It is by going through it. For going through it will raise a person higher and higher, till he rises above it. And he will be most thankful that he has gone through the path of duty, the sacred path of Dharma, for by this finally, he has been able to arrive at a stage of realization in which alone is to be found the purpose of life.
Man has not been born on earth to eat and drink and sleep, as all the lower creatures do. But he has been born on earth to learn how to use this fertile earth to its best advantage, how to appreciate the treasures this earth holds, and how to use them rightly. And it is thus that man becomes connected with the earth. The soul comes from heaven and its connection with the earth has in it a secret, which leads towards the purpose of life. It is easy for a person to say, ‘We come from heaven and we are bound for heaven, and while dwelling for some days on this earth, what is there that belongs to us? Besides, is it not all sinful, all this, which is worthless.’ This is true, but it is not natural. The natural thing is to be able to appreciate it by valuing it. The beauty of the mineral kingdom, which one sees in the jewels and gems, each one better than the other, is not something to be overlooked. To see, that through a stone, the divine light shines, making that stone incomparably greater than the pebbles on the road, to see what a wonderful phenomenon it is that even in a stone, God shows His beauty.
The perfection of flowers, the sweetness of fruits, the delicate flavors of different objects of the earth do not seem to have been created for no purpose. In gold, in silver, in metal, in all objects we see in the world, there seems to be a certain purpose to be accomplished here. And the one who is afraid of it, afraid that it will take hold of him, runs away. And what does he do? He loses both, heaven and earth. He has left heaven already; he is leaving the earth. The one who holds it is buried under it. It grows on him and swallows him. That is another aspect of the earth and its law. But the one, who understands the purpose of the earth and of its treasures, uses them to the best advantage not only for himself but for his fellow men. That is the person who lives in this world fulfilling the purpose of his life.
Do we only see spiritual persons among those who are sitting in the caves of the Himalayas? Do we not see wonderful personalities in the midst of the world? Very often people say that a person who has struggled along through his life with business and industry and worldly things has become hardened. But I think that the one, who has really gained victory over the earth, who has really made a success, which can be called a success, has learned something from it. It is not everyone who becomes successful in earthly affairs. It is one among many. And the one who comes to the top has had his difficulties, has had his problems. His endurance, his patience have been tested. He has gone through a sacrifice. He has understood human nature, standing in the midst of the crowd. If he has not read one book of philosophy, if he has not meditated one day, still he has arrived at a plane, at an understanding, where he knows something worth knowing. I considered myself most privileged at times when I had conversations with businessmen, with people who were always busy with the things of the earth and who had really reached over the top. I have simply marveled to think that instead of hardening them it has softened their nature to some extent. It has given them a sense, which can only come by spiritual understanding, which is a religious sense. It has developed a fairness in them. By having gone through this world of injustice and having seen, what one sees in the business world, they have come to a point of honesty, where one begins to see life from a different point of view. And besides that, if anyone ever comes forward and says, ‘For a philanthropic purpose, for the good of humanity, I give so many millions for education, for the hospitals’, it is they who do it. And I would very much wonder if a recluse, who has always kept himself away from money, if he had the charge of many millions, would like to part with any. The point is, whether a person is earthly or heavenly, to be true to the purpose of life is the first moral we have to learn. For even an earthly purpose, however material it may seem, will prove in the end to be a stepping stone, even if one had nothing but that ideal before one.
No doubt all things pertaining to the earth have their influence upon a person. It hardens one, it makes one’s heart cold and takes away that tender sentiment that one has towards one’s dear ones, towards those whom one loves and on whom one depends, towards one’s fellow men. It makes on more and more greedy, and greed makes one unjust. Man becomes covetous, and his cup of desire is never fulfilled. He is never satisfied. The more that comes, the less there seems to be there. Nevertheless, if one does not go through this experience, which is man’s test, and one travels by another way, then one has given up a great experience, an experience, which really makes the soul noble. A person, whom you would otherwise not have understood for ten years, you can understand in one day, as soon as there is a question of money. It at once brings out what is hidden in that person.
This shows that it is a great test, a test through which one should go, and one should experience a path, which is a part of one’s destiny. Therefore, the religious or spiritual man, even if he looks with contempt at a person engaged in the things of the earth, should know that it is his path, and a path, which is his religion. If he proves to be honest in his business dealings, if he keeps his heart open to those dear and near to him, those to whom he has his obligations, if he keeps the flame of his love of mankind lit in his heart through it all, in the end he will arrive at a stage where he is greater than a saint, because he has kept alive the flame of saintliness through a continually blowing wind.
We must not always try to get away from difficulties, for in the end we shall not manage to get away from them. Life on earth is difficult, and with the evolution of the earth, it will be even more difficult. Every day it will become more difficult. We can picture the world as a human being, a human being making his life from infancy to age. In infancy, however dependent the infant is, yet he is a sovereign, quite happy in the arms of the mother, in the care of the father; nothing to worry him, nothing to trouble him. There is no attachment, no enmity. He is as happy as the angels in heaven. And so was the beginning of the world, the beginning of the human race especially. The Hindus have called it the Golden Age. And then comes youth. Youth with its spring and delicacy and with its responsibility. Youth has its own trials, its own experiences, and its own fears. This unsettled condition of the earth was called by the Hindus, the Silver Age, which means the age with all the treasures, the springtime of youth. But then as life goes forward, the world comes to the stage of what may be called middle age. The age of cares, of worries, of anxieties, of responsibilities. The Hindus have named it the Copper Age. As life advances, so it has much to bear. A fruitful tree, with the weight of fruits, becomes bent, and so it is with progress. With every step forward, there are obligations and responsibilities.
Nevertheless, we must not look forward to difficulties. There is one thing that saves us, and that is hopefulness. All this about which I have spoken is the metaphysical part. What I am speaking about now is the psychological attitude we ought to have. Always hope for the best, and we certainly shall have the best. What we can do is to make ourselves strong enough to go through life on earth. It is only by this strength of conviction that by whatever path we journey, we shall arrive at the spiritual goal. Whatever be our life, professional, industrial, commercial, it does not matter, we shall live religion, Nature’s religion, turning our life into a religion, making of our life a religion. And so even with every earthly success, we shall be taking steps towards spiritual attainment.
There are two different temperaments that we generally wee in the world. One says, ‘I will not hear music on Sunday, it is a religious day. The liking for colors is emotional. Do not look at pictures, it excites.’ To enjoy any perfume, to like fragrance, he thinks is sensual. And then there is another temperament that feels the vibrations of the colors, that enjoys delicious food, that admires the straight line and the curve, that is touched and moved by music, that feels exalted by the beauty of nature. And what difference do we find in these two temperaments? The difference is that one is living and the other lacks life. One is living because he is responsive to all the aspects of beauty, whether the beauty appeals to his eyes or ears, or to his sense of taste or touch. The other one is capable of enjoying it.
Man in his innermost is seeking for happiness, for beauty, for harmony. And yet, by not responding to the beauty and harmony, which is before him, he wastes his life, which is an opportunity for him to experience and to enjoy. What self-denial is it to deny the divine beauty, which is before us? If we deny ourselves the divine beauty, which surrounds us, then the beauty, which is within, will not unfold itself. Because the condition is that the soul is born with its eyes open outwardly; it does not see the life within. The only way of wakening to the life within, which is the most beautiful, is first to respond to the beauty outside. This world with all its unlimited beauty, nature with its sublimity, personalities with divine immanence, if we ignore all this then why have we come? What have we accomplished here? The person who ignores it turns his back on something, which he is continually seeking for. He is his own enemy. By this way we cannot be spiritual, he cannot be religious. By denying himself all that is beautiful around him, he cannot be exalted. For if beauty within was the only purpose of life, God would not have created man and sent him on earth.
Besides this, it is the vision of the beauty on the earth, which awakens the vision of the beauty, which is in the spirit. Some say that it is sensuous and that it deprives one of spiritual illumination. It would, if a person were to be totally absorbed in it and were to live only in it, and did not think that there was something else besides. Because the beauty, which is outside, no doubt has a transitory character; it is passing and therefore, is not dependable. For the one who depends upon this beauty and has become absorbed in it and by doing so, has turned his back on that beauty, which is everlasting. For that person, this is certainly wrong. But at the same time, no soul has ever arrived at beholding the vision of the spiritual beauty, which is to be found within, without being awakened to the beauty, which is external.
One might think that a child who dies very young cannot come to that spirituality through the beauty of life. I will say that the child is sometimes more responsive to beauty than a grown up person, because a grown up person has developed in himself a pessimistic attitude, a prejudice. And by that prejudice, he is incapable of seeing that beauty, which a little child can see and appreciate. For instance, when we look at a person we make a barrier of our preconceived idea before we look at him. A child, an angel on earth, looks at him as it would look at its best friend. It has no enmity, no preconceived idea about anyone, and therefore, the child is open to beauty. A child does not know that the fire burns. The child only knows that the fire is beautiful. And therefore, the child is so blessed that every moment of its life, it lives in a complete vision of beauty. And so long as that state lasts, a soul is in the Garden of Eden. It is exiled from that day when the soul has touched the earthly human nature. Someone may say, ‘If within the soul there was not the capability of appreciating beauty, how would it be able to perceive the external beauty first?’ The soul has, born in itself, a natural craving for beauty. It is a lack in the person if he does not seek it rightly. Is there any person, who is not a lover of beauty, who is not capable of appreciating it? He denies himself that beauty, which he could have admired freely.
One may ask, ‘Is the quality of appreciating beauty more spiritual than the craving for knowledge?’ I would say, in answer, where does knowledge come from? Knowledge comes by observation. Observation comes by love of beauty. The first thing is that the flower attracts one’s attention, and then one begins to find out where the flower comes from. What is its nature and character, what benefit it has how to rear this plant? The first thing is that one is attracted by its beauty. The next thing is, one wants to find out its nature. From this comes all knowledge.
There is a kind of artificial learning, not a natural learning, which may be called time saving. Someone says, ‘Now people have learned in their lives and they have discovered things for us and written about them in books. I must learn that by reading the book.’ But he does not know that he has not learned what the person who has written the book has learned. For instance, someone, who has read the books of Luther Burbank, if he has read fifty books on horticulture, has not learned what Luther Burbank has learned. For he had made experiments for himself. He had been in the garden; his joy was such that he could not explain. No doubt another person will benefit by what he has given. But another person cannot enjoy what he has enjoyed, unless he pursues the same course.
In my explanation, spiritual means living. A spiritual person, who is awakened to the beauty of poetry, who is quick to admire the subtlety of the poetry, who is appreciative of the beauty of melody, of harmony, who can enjoy art and be exalted by the beauty of nature, who lives as a living being, not as one dead, it is that person who may be called spiritual. And you will always find the tendency of spiritual personalities to be interested in every person in their lives. That is the sign that they are living. A person, who is shut up in himself, closes himself. He has made four walls around himself. That can be his grave. He is buried in it. The person, who is living, naturally sees all. And, as he sees all, he sympathizes with all, he responds to all, he appreciates all in everybody. And in this way he awakens in himself, the sublime vision of the immanence of God.
There is a continual desire working in every soul to see things perfect according to one’s own conception of perfection. As one goes on with this desire, observing, analyzing and examining things and beings, one becomes disappointed and disheartened, and besides one becomes impressed with the lack one sees in conditions, in persons, in beings. No doubt there is one thing that keeps one alive, and that is hope. If it is not right today, tomorrow it will become right. If it is not perfect just now, after some time it will be perfect. And so, on this hope one lives, and if one has given up this hope then life ends. If one is disappointed in one person, one thinks that in another person one can find all that one expects. If under one condition one is disappointed, one hopes for another condition, which will bring about the fruitfulness of one’s expectations. The teachers and the prophets have pointed upward. That symbolically teaches us that it is in looking forward to something more hopeful that one lives, and that is the secret of happiness and peace. But once a person develops one idea that there is nothing to look forward to in life, he has finished living.
You will see around you that those who live and those who help others to live, are the ones who look forward in life with hope and courage. It is they whom one can call living beings. But there are others who do not live, for they do not look forward to the life before them. They have lost all hope. In order to be saved, they will cling to the hopeful, but if the hopeful also had a limited hope, then they would sink with them. Such souls are as dead. Those who lack hope and courage in life lack a sort of energy of spirit. The standard of health as the physician understands it today, is an energetic, robust body. But the standard of real health is the health of the spirit. Not only the body is living, but also the spirit is living. The one who is open to appreciate all, to feel encouraged to do all that comes his way, who feels joyful, hopeful, ready to accomplish his duty, ready to suffer pain that comes to him, ready to take up responsibility, ready to answer the demands as a soldier on the battlefield, this one shows the spirit hidden within the body. If that condition is lacking, then a person is lacking perfect health and must be helped to gain that energy.
Hopelessness can be overcome by faith. In the first place by faith in God. At the same time, knowing that the soul draws its power from the divine source. Every thought, every impulse, every wish, every desire comes from there, and in its accomplishment there is the law of perfection. And in that way a person feels hopeful. But when one thinks, ‘What shall I do? What am I to do now? How am I to do it? I have not got the means. I have not got the resources. I have not got the inspiration to do it. When one is pessimistic about things, one destroys the roots of one’s desire; because, by denying one casts away that which could otherwise have been attained. For in recognizing the divine Father in God, one becomes conscious of one’s divine heritage, and that there is no lack in the divine Spirit, and therefore, there is no lack in life. It is only a matter of time. If one builds one’s hope in God, there is an assured fulfillment of it.
It is very interesting to study the lives of the great in the world. We find that some great people have almost arrived at the fulfillment of their undertakings and just before they had reached the goal they have lost it. And there have been some great people who have attained the ultimate success in whatever they have undertaken. You will always find that the souls of the former kind are the ones who were gifted with great power and yet lacked faith, while the others were gifted with the same power, and that power was supported by faith. A person may have all the power there is, all the wisdom and inspiration, but if there is one thing lacking, which is faith, her may attain to all ninety-nine degrees of success and yet may miss that very one whose loss in the end takes away all that was gained previously. There is a saying in English, ‘all’s well that ends well,’ as the Eastern people say in their prayers, ‘make our end good;’ for if there be a difficulty just now we do not mind, because there will be success, the real success, in its completion.
It is in this outlook that we can find the secret of the idea of Paradise, the paradise which has been spoken of by the elevated souls of all times, and in all scriptures you will find a reference to paradise is a hope in the hereafter, a hope in the future. When someone finds that there is no justice to be found in life or beauty is lacking, or wisdom is not to be found anywhere, and goodness is rare, then he begins to think that justice must exist somewhere. All beauty, wisdom, goodness must be found somewhere, and that is in paradise. He thinks, ‘It exists somewhere. I shall find it one day. If not in this life, I shall find it in the hereafter. But there is a day when the fulfillment of my hope, my desire, will come.’ This person lives, and this person lives to see his desire fulfilled. For in reality the lack that one finds in a person, in a thing, in an affair, in a condition, will not always remain. For all will be perfect, all must be perfect. It is a matter of time. And it is towards that perfection that we are all striving, and the whole universe is working towards the same goal. It is in that perfection that the thinkers and the great ones of all times have seen their paradise, because through man it is God who desires. Therefore, it is not the desire of man, it is the desire of God, and has its fulfillment.
Life on the physical plane is limited. But the power of desire is unlimited. If desire finds a difficulty in fulfillment on the physical plane, yet it retains its power just the same. And the desire is powerful enough to accomplish its work, rising above or freed from this physical plane of limitations. It is therefore, that a hope in paradise has been given by the great ones. In the Bible, it is said in the Lord’s prayer, ‘Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven,’ which means that there is a difficulty even for the will of God to be done on earth, because of limitations. Therefore, there is a difficulty for the fulfillment of everyone’s wish, even though in the wish of every person there is the wish of God. Though there is a difficulty in the physical world, because this is the world of limitations, yet the desire knows no limitations. But desire becomes beaten up, enfeebled, worn out, by continually facing the limitations of this physical plane. If hope sustains and faith cherishes it, there is no desire, either smaller or greater, which will not be fulfilled one day, if not on earth, in heaven. It is that fulfillment of desire, which may be called paradise.
‘Heaven is the vision of fulfilled desire, and hell the shadow of a soul on fire.’ Someone went to Ali and asked him, ‘you tell us about the hereafter and the granting of desire there. What if it be not true? Then all our efforts on this earth would be wasted.’ ‘Nothing will be wasted,’ said Ali. ‘If it were not fulfilled, then you and I would have the same experience. But if it be true that there is a paradise, then you will be the loser and I shall gain, for I have prepared for it and you have scoffed at the idea.’
But those who wait for a paradise in the hereafter, or for all things to come true in the hereafter, may look at it differently: that the power of desire is so great that one must not allow it to wait for the hereafter. If there is something that can be accomplished today, we need not wait for it to be accomplished tomorrow. For life is an opportunity, and desire has the greatest power and perfection is the promise of the soul. We seek perfection, because perfection is the ultimate aim and the goal of creation. The source of all things is perfect. Our source is perfect, our goal is perfect. And therefore, every atom of the universe working towards perfection, and sooner or later it must arrive at perfection consciously. If it were not so, you would not have to read in the Bible, Be ye perfect, even as your Father, which is in heaven, is perfect.’
A person who is conscientious in his duty, who attaches great importance to his ideal, is apt to say to the person who is engaged in money making, ‘You are striving for earth’s treasures, I am performing what I consider my duty.’ The person who is making his way to heaven, who is holding paradise in his expectations, is inclined to say to the pleasure seeker, “you are absorbed in life’s momentary pleasures, I am working for the life to come.’ But the person who is busy money making can also say to the one who is conscientious of duty and the one possessing the high ideal, ‘If you had to go through the experience which I have to, you would see in this too, something worthwhile.’ And the seeker after paradise may also be answered by the pleasure seeking soul, as Omar Khayyam said:
Oh my Beloved, fill the cup that clears
Today of past regrets and future fears.
Tomorrow? Why, tomorrow I may be
Myself with yesterday’s seventy thousand years!
This shows that all these seekers after different things, seekers after wealth, seekers after ideal, seekers after pleasure, and seekers after paradise, must have their own ways. They will at the same time have their own reasons. One may contradict another, although they are all making their way to the goal. Sooner or later, with more or less difficulty, they must arrive at the purpose of life.
One may ask, ‘Which of these four ways is the best way of arriving at the purpose of life?’ That way is best which suits you best. The way of one person is not for another person, although man is always inclined to accuse another person of doing wrong, believing that he himself is doing right. In reality, the purpose is beyond all these four things. Neither in paradise nor in the ideal, neither in pleasures nor in the wealth of this earth is that purpose accomplished. That purpose is accomplished when a person has risen above all these things. It is that person then, who will tolerate all, who will understand all, who will assimilate all things, who will not feel disturbed by things which are not in accordance with his own nature or the way which is not his way. He will not look at them with contempt, but he will see that in the depth of every being there is a divine spark, which is trying to raise its flame toward the purpose.
When a person has arrived at this stage, he has risen above the limitations of the world. Then he has become entitled to experience the joy if coming near to the real purpose of life. It is then, that in everything that he says or does, he will be accomplishing that purpose. Whether outwardly, to the world, it would seem the right thing or the wrong thing, he is accomplishing his purpose just the same. For instance, I have seen holy souls taking part in a religious procession, which was made perhaps by the ordinary people. Thousands of people making a kind of fete day, playing music and dancing before the procession, singing and enjoying themselves. And among them, most highly developed souls, who might be called saints, doing the same thing, all following the procession. One might wonder if they needed it. Is it good for their evolution, or by this do they gain any satisfaction? No. And yet it does not hinder their progress. They are what they are. They know what they know. A grown up person, by playing with the children, does not become a child. He only adapts himself for the time being to the party or children.
Did not Solomon sit on a throne and wear a crown? Did it make him less wise, or did it rob him of spirituality? No, for he was above it. For him the throne or crown was nothing but acting in a play for the time being. It was a pastime. We read that Krishna took part in the battle described in the Mahabharata. A self-righteous man would look upon it as a cruel thing and would be ready to condemn Krishna for this. But behind that outward appearance, what was there? There was the highest realization of love, of wisdom, of justice, of goodness. The soul had reached its culmination. An ordinary person, even today, will judge it. He would ask how it could be, a great Master, who led the army of Arjuna.
We come to understand by this that the further we go the more tolerant we become. Outward things matter little. It is the inward realization, which counts. However sacred duty may be, however high may be the hope of paradise, however great the happiness one may experience in the pleasures of the earth, however much satisfaction one may find in earthly treasures, the purpose of life is in rising above all these things. It is then that the soul will have no discord, no disagreement with others. It is then that the natural attitude of the soul will become tolerant and forgiving. The purpose of life is fulfilled in rising to the greatest heights and in living to the deepest depths of life: in widening one’s horizon, in penetrating life in all its spheres, in losing oneself, and in finding oneself in the end. In the accomplishment of the purpose of life the purpose of creation is fulfilled. Therefore, in this fulfillment it is not that man attained, but that God, Himself has fulfilled His purpose.
If a Sufi is asked what was the purpose of this creation, he will say that the Knower, the only knower, wanted to know Himself, and there was only one condition of knowing Himself, and that was to make Himself intelligible to His own Being. For Intelligence itself is a being, but Intelligence is not known to itself. Intelligence becomes known to itself when there is something intelligible. Therefore, the Knower had to manifest Himself, thus becoming an object to be known. And by this knowledge the Knower arrives at perfection. It does not mean that the Knower lacked perfection, for all perfection belonged to the Knower. Only He became conscious of His perfection. Therefore, it is in the consciousness of perfection that lies the purpose of this whole manifestation.
The Sufis say, ‘God is Love.’ That is true, but the Love was not sufficient. The Love had to make an object to love in order to see its own mystery, to find its own joy. For instance, the seed has in it the leaf and the flower and the fruit. But the fulfillment of the purpose of that seed is that it is put in the ground, that it is watered, that a seedling springs up and is reared by the sun. It brings forth its flowers and fruits. This is the fulfillment of that seed, which already contained in itself the fruit and the flower. A person who does not see the reason of all this is in the seed state. His mind is in the state of a seed, which has not yet germinated, which has not yet produced its seedling, which has not yet experienced the springing of the plant.
No sooner does the soul begin to unfold and experience in life the purpose, which is hidden within itself, than it begins to feel the joy of it. It begins to value the privilege of living. It begins to appreciate everything. It begins to marvel at everything. For in the every experience, good or bad, it finds a certain joy, and that joy is in the fulfillment of life’s purpose. That joy is not only experienced in pleasure, but even in pain, not only in success, but also in failures, not only in the cheerfulness of the heart, but even in the breaking of the heart there is a certain joy hidden. For there is no experience that is worthless. Especially for that soul, who is beginning to realize this purpose, there is no moment wasted in life. For under all circumstances and in all experiences that soul is experiencing the purpose of life.
This may be understood by a little example. A jinn wanted to amuse himself, but when about to do so, he brought upon himself a problem. For the jinn was powerful, and he said to himself, ‘Be thou a rock;’ and the jinn turned into a rock. But by becoming a rock, he began to feel solitary, left in the wilderness; he felt the loss of action, loss of movement, lack of freedom and lack of experience. This was a terrible captivity for the jinn. For many years, this jinn had to have patience, to change into something else. It did not mean that through the rock he did not realize life. For even the rock is living, even the rock is changing, and yet a rock is a rock. A rock is not a jinn. It was through the patience of thousands of years that the rock began to wear out and crumble into earth. And when, out of that earth, the jinn came out as a plant, he was delighted that he had grown out as a tree. The jinn was so pleased to find that out of a rock he could become a plant, that he could enjoy the air more fully, that he could swing in the wind. He smiled at the sun and bathed happily in the rain. He was pleased to bring forth fruits, to bring forth flowers.
But at the same time his innate desire was not satisfied. It kept him hoping some day to break through this captivity of being rooted in a particular place and of this limitation of movement. For a long, long time the jinn was waiting to come out of this limitation. This was better, yet is was not the experience the jinn desired. But at last the fruit became decayed and part of that fruit turned into a little worm. The jinn was even more delighted to feel that he could move about. Now he was no longer rooted to one place and unable to move. As this worm breathed and was in the sun, it grew wings and began to fly. The jinn was still more delighted to see that he could do this. From one experience to another he flew through the air and experienced the life of a bird, now sitting upon the trees, now walking on the earth. And as he enjoyed life on the earth more and more, he became a heavy bird. He could not fly, he walked. And this heaviness made him coarse, and he turned into an animal. He was most happy, for then he could oppose all other animals that wanted to kill birds, because he was no longer a bird.
Through a process of gradual change, the jinn arrived at becoming man. And when a man, the jinn looked around and thought, ‘This is something that I was destined to be. Because, now, as a jinn, I can see all these different bodies that I have taken in order to become more free, in order to become perceptive, sensitive, in order to know things, in order to enjoy things more fully. There could not have been any vehicle more fitting than this.’ And yet, he thought, ‘Even this is not a fitting vehicle, because when I want to fly, I have no wings, and I feel like flying also. I walk on the earth, but I have not the strength of the lion. And now, I feel that I belong to heaven, and where it is I don’t know.’ This made the jinn search for what was missing, until in the end, he realized, ‘I was a jinn, just the same, in the rock, in the plant, in the bird, in the animal. But, I was captive and my eyes were veiled from my own being. It is by becoming man that I am now beginning to see that I was a jinn. And yet, I find in this life of man, also a great limitation, for I have not that freedom of expression, that freedom of movement, that life, which is dependable, that knowledge, which is reality.’ And, then, this thought itself took him to his real domain, which was the jinn life. And there, he arrived with the air of a conqueror, with the grandeur of the sovereign, with the splendor of a king, with the honor of an emperor, and realizing, ‘After all, I have enjoyed myself, I have experienced though I have suffered, and I have known Being, and I have become what I am.’
The Knower manifested as man in order that He might become known to Himself. And now, what may man do, in order to help the Knower to fulfil this purpose? Seek continually an answer to every question that arises in his heart. Of course, there are different types of minds. There is one mind that will puzzle and puzzle over a question, and trouble himself for something, which is nothing, and will go out by the same door, which he has come in. That person will trouble himself and will wreck his own spirit, and will never find satisfaction. There is no question, which has not its answer somewhere. The answer is nothing but an echo of the question, a full echo. And, therefore, one must rise above this confused state of mind, which prevents one from getting the answer from within or from without to every question that arises in one’s heart. In order to become spiritual, one need not perform miracles. The moment one’s heart is able to answer every question that rises in one’s heart, one is already on the path. Besides, the thing that must be first known, one puts off to the last, and that must be first known, one puts off to the last. And that which must be known at the last moment, one wants to know first. It is this, which causes confusion in the lives of many souls.
The words of Christ support this argument: ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added unto you. This is the very thing one does not want to seek. One wishes to find anything else but this. And where is it to be found? Not in the knowledge of another person. In the knowing of the self. If a person goes through his whole life most cleverly judging others, he may go on, but he will find himself to be more foolish at every step. At the end, he reaches the fullness of stupidity. But the one who tries, tests, studies and observes himself, his own attitude in life, his own outlook on life, his thought, speech, and action, who weighs and measures and teaches himself self discipline, it is that person who is able to understand another better. How rarely one sees a soul who is able to understand another better. How rarely one sees a soul who concerns himself with himself through life, in order to know! Mostly, every soul seems to be busily occupied with the lives of others. And what do they know in the end? Nothing. If there is a kingdom of God to be found anywhere, it is within oneself.
And it is, therefore, in the knowledge of self that there lies the fulfillment of life. The knowledge of self means the knowledge of one’s body, the knowledge of one’s mind, the knowledge of one’s spirit; the knowledge of the spirit’s relation to the body and the relation of the body to the spirit; the knowledge of the body’s wants and needs, the knowledge of one’s virtues and faults; knowing what we desire and how to attain it, what to pursue and what to renounce. And when one dives deep into this, one finds before one a world of knowledge, which never ends. And it is that knowledge, which gives one insight into human nature and brings one to the knowledge of the whole creation. And in the end one attains to the knowledge of the divine Being.
The purpose of life, in short, is that the only Being makes His oneness intelligible to Himself. He goes through different planes of evolution, or planes through which he arrives at different changes, in order to make clear to Himself, His oneness. And as long as this purpose is not accomplished, the one and only Being has not reached His ultimate satisfaction, in which lies His divine perfection. One may ask, ‘Is man the only organ through which God realizes His oneness?’ God realizes His oneness through His own nature. Since God is one, He realizes His oneness through all things. Through man He realizes His oneness in its fullness. For instance, in the tree there are many leaves. Although each leaf is different from the other leaf, yet the difference is not great. Then, coming to worms and germs and birds and animals, they are different one from another, and yet the difference is not so distinct as in man. And when one thinks of the great variety of the numberless human forms, and it seems that there is not one form exactly like another, this by itself, gives us living proof of the oneness of God. In order to show this, Asaf Nizam made a very beautiful verse: ‘You look at me with contempt. Yes, granted; I am contemptible. But will you show me such another contemptible creature?’ Which means: even the worst person is incomparable; there is none like him. It is a great phenomenon, the proof of oneness, the proof of unity, that in the creation of God, there is no competition, no one competes with the Creator. In other words, it would be unworthy if the only Being felt, ‘There is another like Me, even in the world of variety.’ He retains His pride even in the world of variety: ‘No one is like Me.’ Even in the worst guise He stands alone without comparison. One may ask, ‘Before man appeared on earth, did God realize His oneness?’ But who can say how many times man appeared on the earth and disappeared from the earth? What we know is only one history of the planet. But how many planets exist? In how many millions of years have how many creations been created and how many withdrawn? All one can say is this: one cannot speak of God’s past, present and future. One can only give an idea, which is the central idea of all aspects of truth; that is the only Being who existed, who exists and who will exist; and all that we see are His phenomena.
There is a story that can explain the mystery of life’s purpose. A fairy had a great desire to amuse herself, and she descended on the earth. And there, children had made a little doll’s house. She wanted to enter this doll’s house, but it was difficult for her to enter into the space where only a doll can go. ‘Very well,’ she said, ‘I am going to try a different way. I will send one finger by this way, and another finger by another way, and each part by different ways.’ And she separated into different bits, and each bit of herself went through the different parts of the dollhouse. And when one part met the other part, they rubbed against one another and that was very unpleasant. And there was a fight among different parts: ‘Why are you coming my way? This was my way; why do you come my way?’ Each part of the fairy’s being interested itself in something, in some part of that doll house. When that moment of interest passed, a certain part of her being wanted to go out of the doll’s house. But then there were other parts of the being, which were not willing to let it go. They were holding it: ‘You stay here; you cannot go out.’ Some parts of her being wanted to push out another part, but there was no way of putting it out. So, it was a kind of chaos all through, one part not knowing that the other part belonged to the same fairy, and yet one part being attracted unconsciously to another part because they were all parts of the same body. In the end the heart of the fairy moved about also. This heart soothed every other part, saying, ‘You have come from me. I wish to console you, I wish to serve you. If you are troubled, I wish to take away your trouble. If you are in need of service, I wish to render it to you. If you lack anything, I wish to bring it for you. I know how much you are troubled in the dollhouse.’ But some said, ‘We are not troubled at all. We are enjoying ourselves. If we are troubled, it is by the wish to remain here. Those who are troubled are others, not we.’ The heart said, ‘Well, I shall look at you, and I shall enjoy myself too. I shall sympathize with those who are troubled, I shall help those who are enjoying themselves.’ This was the one part of the fairy’s being, which was conscious of its atoms scattered all around. But the atoms were hardly conscious of it, although, since they belonged to the same body, they were attracted to the heart, knowingly, or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously. Such was the power of the heart. It was just like the power of the sun that turns the responsive flower into a sunflower. And so the power of the heart of the fairy turned every part of its being that responded, into a heart. And as the heart was light and life itself, the doll’s house could no longer hold the heart. The heart was experiencing the joy of the doll’s house, but was at the same time able to fly away. The heart was delighted to find all its atoms belonging to its body, and it worked through all and through every part of its organs. So, in time, it turned every part of its organs into a heart also, by which this phenomenon was fulfilled.
God is love. If God is love, love is most sacred. To utter this word without meaning, is a vain repetition. The lips of a person to whom it means something, are closed. He can say little. For love is a revelation in itself. No study is necessary, no meditation is needed, and no piety is required. If love is pure, if the spark of love has begun to glow, then there is no need to go somewhere to gain spirituality. Then spirituality is within. One must keep blowing the spark till it turns into a perpetual fire. The fire worshippers of old did not worship a fire, which went out. They worshipped a perpetual fire. Where is that perpetual fire to be found? In one’s own heart. The spark that one finds glowing for a moment and that then becomes dim, does not belong to heaven, for in heaven all things are lasting. It must belong to some other place. Love has become a word from a dictionary, a word, which is used a thousand times a day, which means nothing. To the one who knows what it means, love means patience, love means endurance, love means tolerance, love means sacrifice, love means service. All things such as gentleness, humility, modesty, graciousness, kindness, all are the different manifestations of love. It is the same to say, ‘God is all and all is God,’ as to say, ‘Love is all and all is love.’ And it is to find it, to feel it, to experience its warmth, and to see in the world, the light of love, and to keep its glow, and to hold love’s flame high, as the sacred torch, to guide one in life’s journey. It is in this that the purpose of life is fulfilled. According to the common standard of life, a man with common sense is counted to be a right and a fit person. But, by a mystical standard, that person alone can begin to be right, who is beginning to feel sympathy with his fellow man. For by the study of philosophy and mysticism, by the practices of concentration and meditation, to what do we attain? To a capability that enables us to serve our fellow men better.
Truth is simple. But for the very reason that it is simple, people will not take it. Because our life on earth is such that for everything we value, we have to pay a great price and one wonders, if truth is the most precious of all things, then how can truth be attained simply? It is this illusion that makes everyone deny simple truth and seek for complexity. Tell people about something that makes their heads whirl round and round and round. Even if they do not understand it, they are most pleased to think, ‘It is something substantial. It is something solid. For, it is an idea we cannot understand, it must be something lofty.’ But, something, which every soul knows, proving what is divine in every soul, and which it cannot help but know, that appears to be too cheap, for the soul already knows it. There are two things: knowing and being. It is easy toknow truth, but most difficult to be truth. It is not inknowing truth that life’s purpose is accomplished. Life’s purpose is accomplished in being truth.