Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
Man likes complexity. He does not want to take only one step; it is more interesting to look forward to millions of steps. The one who is seeking the truth gets into a maze, and that maze interests him. He wants to go through it a thousand times more. It is just like children. Their whole interest is in running about; they do not want to see the door and go in until they are very tired. So it is with grown-up people. They all say that they are seeking truth, but they like the maze. That is why the mystics made the greatest truths a mystery, to be given only to the few who were ready for them, letting the others play because it was the time for them to play.
For spiritual attainment we do not need to pay a tax, it is ours, it is our self, it is discovering our self, finding our self. Yet what one values is what one gets with difficulty. Man loves complexity so much! He makes a thing big and says, 'This is valuable'. If it is simple he says, 'It has no value'. That is why the ancient people, knowing human nature, told a person when he said he wanted spiritual attainment, 'Very well; for ten years go around the temple, walk around it a hundred times in the morning and in the evening. Go to the Ganges, take pitchers full of water during twenty or fifty years, then you will get inspiration'. That is what must be done with people who will not be satisfied with a simple explanation of the truth, who want complexity.
We read in the Vadan, 'Simplicity is the living beauty.' Man today has made life so complex that whatever he seeks after, he wants to find in complexity. All things in life which have importance, beauty and value are simple; and simplest of all things is the divine truth. ... The truth is not a newly invented theory, not a dogma, not an idea; it is reality itself. At the back of it is the self of man; therefore it is simple. But it is not simplicity that man seeks, he is longing for complexity. Anything which will confuse he is glad to take interest in. If it is simple, he says, 'I know it already.'
Man loves complexity and calls it knowledge. A great many societies and institutions in the world which call themselves occult, esoteric and psychic, and by various other names, knowing that everyone is interested in complexity, cover the truth. Instead of covering the truth with one cover, they cover it with a thousand covers to make it more interesting. ... Therefore, a mystic very often appears to be simple because sincerity makes him feel inclined to express the truth in simple language and in simple ideas. But because people value complexity, they think that what he says is too simple and that it is something which they have always known, that it is nothing new. However, as Solomon said, 'There is nothing new under the sun.'
~~~ Cleverness and complexity are not necessarily wisdom.