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Volume IX - The Unity of Religious Ideals

Part IV


MOSES, the most shining Prophet of the Old Testament, gave to the world the divine law, the Ten Commandments. In reality this was the interpretation of the divine law that he had perceived, expressed in the words of those who stood before him at that period of the world's civilization. It is interesting to notice the ancient Sufi saying, 'Be the follower of love, and forget all distinction'; for in this path of spiritual attainment to claim, 'I am so and so' is meaningless. Moses was found on the riverside by a princess, who knew not what family he came from, nor who were his father and mother. Only the name of God came to the mind of thoughtful inquirers as to the father and mother of Moses.

When people compare the teachings of different religions and readily form opinions about them, they are often mistaken. It is premature to make such distinctions. There comes a stage in the evolution of an illuminated soul when he begins to see the law hidden behind nature, its true psychology. To him the whole of life reveals the secrets of its nature and character, and when he gives an interpretation of these secrets to others they become limited, for they take the color of his own personality and the form of the thought of those to whom the message is given. The story of Moses as told by Sufis is most interesting and helpful to the traveler on the path. Moses has been the favorite character of the poets of Arabia and Persia, and in the poems of Persian Sufis, Moses is mentioned as often as Krishna is in the poetry of the Hindus.

Moses was walking in the wilderness seeking the light when from a distance he saw smoke rising on the top of a mountain. So he climbed the mountain in order to find that fire. But on arriving at the summit he saw a flash of lightening which was so powerful that it went throughout his whole being. Moses fell down unconscious, and when he recovered his senses, he found himself in a state of illumination. From that time he often went to Mount Sinai to communicate with God.

This story is very enlightening for it shows that it can be possible for all the illumination that is desired to come to a soul in a moment. Many think that spiritual attainment can only be achieved by great labor. It is not so; labor is necessary for material attainment, but for spiritual attainment what one needs is a seeking soul like that of Moses. Moses falling upon the ground may be interpreted as the cross, which means, 'I am not; Thou art.' In order to be, one must pass through a stage of being nothing. In Sufi terms this is called Fana, when one thinks, 'I am not what I had always thought myself to be.' This is the true self-denial, which the Hindus called Layam, and the Buddhists annihilation. It is the annihilation of the false self which gives rise to the true self; once this is done, from that moment man approaches closer and closer to God, until he stands face to face with his divine ideal, with which he can communicate at every moment of his life. The law of God is endless, as limitless as God Himself. But once the eye of the seeker penetrates through the veil which hangs before him, hiding from his eye the real law of life, the mystery of the whole of life becomes manifest to him, and happiness and peace become his own, for they are the birthright of every soul.

checked 18-Oct-2005