When we analyze the word 'reason' it opens before us a vast
field of thought. In the first place, every doer of good and
every evil-doer has a reason to support his doing. When two
persons quarrel, each says he is in the right because each has
a reason. To a third person perhaps the reason of the one may
appear to be more reasonable than that of the other, or perhaps
he will say that both have no reason and that he has reason
on his side. All disputes, arguments and discussions seem to
be based upon reason; yet reason, before one has analyzed it,
is nothing but an illusion and keeps one continually in perplexity.
The cause of all disharmony, all disagreement, is the perplexity
that is caused by not understanding one another's reason.
One might ask, 'What is reason? Where does it belong?' Reason
belongs to both earth and heaven. Its depth is heavenly, its
surface is earthly; and that which, in the form of reason, fills
the gap between earth and heaven is the middle part of it that
unites them. Therefore, reason can be most confusing, and reason
can be most enlightening. In the language of the Hindus, reason
is called Bodhi or Buddhi from which comes the
title of Gautama Buddha. But what reason is this? It is the
depth of reason, the most perfect reasoning, which belongs to
There is another reasoning that belongs to the earth. If
a person says to someone who has taken another person's raincoat,
'Why did you take it?' he may answer, 'Because it was raining.'
He has a reason. Another reason is the need to think, 'Why should
I take another person's raincoat? Although it is raining, it
is not my raincoat.' That is another reason altogether. Do you
think that thieves and robbers, or the great assassins, have
no reason? Sometimes they have great reasons, but reasons that
are on the surface. Can a thief not say in order to justify
his actions, 'What is it to that rich person if he lost so much
money? Here I am, a poor man, I could make better use of it.
I have not robbed him of every penny. I have just taken as much
as I wanted. It is useful, I can do some good with it.'
Besides, reason is the servant of the mind. The mind feels
like praising a person, and reason at once brings a thousand
things in praise of him, in his favor. The mind has a desire
to hate a person, and at once reason brings perhaps 20 arguments
in favor of hating him. So, we see that a loving friend can
find a thousand things that are good and beautiful in his friend,
and an adversary will find a thousand faults in the best person
in the world – and he has reasons.
In French conversation they say, 'Vous avez raison,'
but one can say that everyone has reason. It is not sometimes
that one has a reason, for everyone always has a reason. Only
it depends upon which reason it is. Is it the earthly reason,
or is it the heavenly reason? It is natural that heavenly reason
does not agree with earthly reason.
Now, coming to the essence of things, where do we get reason,
where do we learn it? The earthly reason we learn from our earthly
experiences. When we say, 'This is right, and that is wrong,'
it is only because we have learned on the earth that this is
right and that is wrong. An innocent child who is just born
on earth and who has not yet learned to distinguish between
what we call right and wrong – to that child, it is nothing,
the child has not yet acquired that earthly reason.
Then there is a reason that is beyond earthly reason. The
person who has taken someone's raincoat has a reason – 'Because
it was raining.' But there is a reason beyond that – the raincoat
did not belong to him. He should have gotten wet in the rain
rather than having taken someone's raincoat. That is another
reason that is reason behind reason.
Then there is the essence of reason, which is heavenly reason.
It is that reason which not everyone understands. It is that
reason which is discovered by the seers and sages, by the mystics
and prophets, within themselves. It is upon this reason that
religions are founded. On the ground of this reason, the ideas
of mysticism and philosophy spring up as plants and bear fruits
and flowers. When a pupil is expected to listen to the reason
of his teacher instead of disputing over it, it is in order
to regard that heavenly reason behind it and to know that there
comes a time in one's life when one's eyes are open to the essential
reason. It is that reason which is called, 'Bodhisattva: Bodhi
or Buddhi,' meaning reason, and 'sattva,' meaning essence.
How is one to arrive at that reason? By arriving at that
rhythm which is called, sattva. There are three rhythms:
tamas, rajas and sattva. A person whose
rhythm of life is tamas knows earthly reason. He whose life
is rajas knows beyond earthly reason, a reason that is hidden
behind a reason. The one who begins to see or live in the rhythm
of sattva begins to see the cause of every reason, which is
in the profound depths of the whole being, and that is God's
No doubt, in the present time, education is a great hindrance
to children. The children are taught to reason freely with their
parents. By reasoning freely, when they come to a certain age,
they do not stop to think. Before they think, they argue, they
dispute, and they ask, 'Why not? Why?' In this way, they never
attain to the heavenly reason. For in order to arrive at that
heavenly reason, a responsive attitude is necessary, not an
exacting attitude. What a child learns today is to be assertive,
he learns an exerting attitude. He exerts his knowledge upon
others. Through the lack of that responsive attitude, he loses
his opportunity of ever touching that essence of reason that
is the spirit of Bodhisattva.
Once a Murshid went to the city, and on his return he said
'Oh, I am filled with joy, I am filled with joy! There was such
exaltation in the presence of the Beloved!' Then his mureed
thought, 'There was a beloved and an exaltation. How wonderful!
I, too, must go and see if I cannot find one.' He went through
the city and came back saying 'Horrible! How terrible the world
is! All seem to be at one another's throats! That was the picture
I saw. I felt nothing but depression, as if my whole being was
torn to pieces.' 'Yes,' the Murshid said, 'you are right.' 'But
explain to me,' the mureed said, 'why you were so exalted after
going out and why I should be so torn to pieces. I cannot bear
it. It is horrible!' The Murshid said, 'You did not walk in
the rhythm that I walked in through the city.' This walking
means not only the slow rhythm of the walk, but that rhythm
with which the mind is moving, that rhythm with which the observation
is gained. It is that which makes the difference between one
person and another. It is that which brings about the difference
between the reasoning of one person and another.
The person who says, 'I will not listen to your reason,'
no doubt has his reason, as everybody has a reason. But he could
have a better reason still if he were able to listen, if he
were able to understand the reason of another. The rhythm of
a person's mind is just like making circles. One person's mind
makes one circle in a minute; another person's mind makes a
circle in five minutes; his reason is different. And another
person's mind makes a circle in 15 minutes, and his reason is
different again. The longer it takes, the wider is the horizon
of his vision, and so more keen is his outlook on life.
Reasoning is a ladder. By this ladder, one can rise, and
by this ladder, one may fall. For if one does not go upward
by reasoning, then it will help one to go downward too, because
if for every step one takes upward there is a reason, there
is also a reason for every step downward.
No doubt this distinction is made to enable us to understand
the three different aspects of reason. In reality, there is
one reason. One may divide the human body into three parts,
but it is one body, it is one person. Reason is a great factor
and has every possibility in it of every curse and of every
Question: What may we call the middle part of the reason?
Is it the sense of discrimination?
Answer: Yes. Reason is attached to an impulse, and reason
is attached to a thought. The reason that is attached to thought
is the middle part of reason; the reason that is attached to
impulse is the lower part of reason. But the reason that is
inspiring, that is revealing to the soul, is heavenly reason.
This reason unfolds divine light; it comes by wakening to the
reason that one finds in the heart of God.
There is a story told about Moses (see
Quran 18:60-82). He was passing with Khidr through
a country. Khidr was the Murshid of Moses when Moses was being
prepared for prophetship. Moses' first lesson of discipline
was to keep quiet under all circumstances. While they were walking
through the beauty of nature, both teacher and pupil were quiet.
The teacher was exalted in seeing the beauty of nature, and
the pupil also felt it. So, they arrived on the bank of a river
where Moses saw a little child drowning, and the mother crying
aloud, for she could not help. Here Moses could not keep his
lips closed. He had to break that discipline and say, 'Master,
save him! The child is drowning!' Khidr said, 'Quiet!' and Moses
was quiet. However, the heart of Moses was restless, he did
not know what to think. 'Can the Master be so thoughtless, so
inconsiderate, so cruel, or is the Master powerless?' He could
not understand which was which. He did not dare to think such
a thought, and yet it made him feel very uncomfortable.
As they went farther, they saw a boat sinking. Moses said,
'Master, that boat is sinking, it is going down!' The Master
again ordered him to be quiet, so then Moses was quiet, but
he was still more uncomfortable. When they arrived home, he
said, 'Master, I thought that you would have saved that little
innocent child from drowning and that you would have saved the
boat that was going down in the water – but you did nothing.
I cannot understand, but I should like to have an explanation.'
The Master said, 'What you saw, I also saw. We both saw. So,
there was no use in your telling me because I saw. You did not
need to tell me what was happening, for I knew. If I had thought
that it was better to interfere, I could have done it. Why did
you take the trouble to tell me, and spoil your vow of silence?'
He continued, 'The child who was drowning was meant to bring
about a conflict between two nations, and thousands and thousands
of lives were going to be destroyed in that conflict. When he
was drowned, this averted the other danger that was to come.'
Moses looked at him with great surprise. Then Khidr said, 'The
boat that was sinking was the boat of pirates. It was sailing
in order to wreck a large ship full of pilgrims and then to
take what was left in the ship and bring it home. Do you think
that you and I can be judge of it? The Judge is behind. He knows
what He is doing, He knows his work. When you were told to be
quiet, your work was to keep your lips closed and to see everything,
as I was doing, silently, in reverence.' There is a Persian
verse that says, 'It is the gardener who knows which plant to
rear and which to cut down.'
You might ask me, 'Shall we all take the same attitude? If
a person is troubled or in difficulty, shall we not go and help?'
Yes, you may help – but at the same time, if a spiritual person
does not seem to do what you expect him to do, you do not need
to trouble about it, for you must know that there is some reason.
You do not need to judge him, for the more you evolve, the more
your reason becomes different. So, no one has the power to judge
another, but one may do one's best oneself.
Question: Is that why the great ones have been misjudged,
because the little ones tried to judge them?
Answer: This has always been the great difficulty in the
lives of evolved souls. What happened with Jesus Christ? In
the one place, there was earthly reason; in the other place,
there was heavenly reason.
I shall tell you a story of my insolence that will interest
you. Once I looked at my Murshid, and there came to my restless
mind a thought, 'Why should a great soul such as my Murshid
wear gold embroidered slippers?' I checked myself at once; it
was only a thought. It could never have escaped my lips, it
was under control. But there, it was known. I could not cover
my insolence with my lips; my heart was open before my Murshid
as an open book. He instantly saw into it and read my thought.
Do you know what answer he gave me? He said, 'The treasures
of the world are at my feet.'