Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings
MAN IS generally very ready to pass judgment without any restraint and to express his opinion instantly. He will not stop to think whether he himself has arrived at the same stage as the one whom he is judging or whether he has any right to judge him. Jesus Christ said about judging that he who was without fault should throw the first stone; it teaches a great lesson.
For the Sufi who sees in every form the divine form, in every heart the divine shrine, to judge anyone, whatever be his position, his action, his condition, is altogether against his religion; and in this way he develops the philosophy which he has first learnt intellectually.
Not blaming others is principally a question of self-restraint or self-control, of politeness, kindness, sympathy, and graciousness; of an attitude of worship towards God, the Creator of all beings, and of realizing that all are His children, good or bad. If someone's child happens to be plain in appearance, would it be polite to say before the parents, 'This child is plain'?
The Father and Mother of all beings is there, comprehending and knowing what is going on in every person's heart. He sees all faults and merits before we do, and when we judge so readily it is before that Artist who has made everything, and not behind His back; it is in His presence. If we realized this it would not be difficult to feel the personality of God everywhere.
There comes a time after we have continually practiced the virtue of not judging, when we see the reason behind every fault we notice in anyone we meet. Then we become more tolerant, more forgiving. When a person who is ill makes a fuss by moaning and wailing, it disturbs us at first. We say how wrong it is, how annoying, what a bad nature he has. But the understanding of the reason behind it, that it is not his bad nature but the illness, will make us more tolerant; when we see no reason it makes us only severe with that person, but blind to the light of God, blind to that forgiveness, that unique essence of God which can be found in the human heart.
The difference that exists between man's justice and God's justice can be seen in the following simile. When children are quarrelling over their toys, they each have a reason. The one thinks a certain toy most attractive; why should he not possess it? The other says the toy was given to him and why should he not keep it? Both have their reason and both are right. But the father's justice is different; the father knows what is the nature of each child and what he wants to bring out in the nature of that child. That is why he gave the toys to the children, to bring out something in their nature. The child does not know this and if older would have accused the father of ignoring his wishes. He does not understand the justice of the father; he has to grow to another stage to do that. It is the same with the justice of God and man. Man's justice is obscured by his preconceived ideas of favor and disfavor and by his learning, which is nothing compared to the knowledge of God.
If one ever gets a glimpse of divine justice it is only by constantly believing in the justice of God in spite of all the proofs which seem to contradict His justice. Judging by these one might come to the conclusion that there is no justice, that everything just works mechanically. Ideas such as those of Karma and reincarnation may seem satisfactory, but the fact remains that they have their root in God who is behind all. God could not be all-powerful if every individual were powerful enough to work out his own Karma. And even if everything were working mechanically, there would still have to be an engineer; and is he subjected to his machine? If God is limited He can no more be God. God is perfect in His justice, in His wisdom, in His power. But if we question the cause of all those happenings which do not seem to us to be justified, we then come to another question: can a composer give a definite justification for every note that he has written in his composition? He cannot. He can only say, 'It is a stream which has come from my heart. I have tried to keep to certain rules of composition; but I am not concerned with every note. I am concerned with the effort by which the whole was produced. '
There is the law but there is also love; law is a habit and love is being; law has been created but love has never been created. So love is predominant. As God is beyond the law, so love is above the law. Therefore, if we would find a solution to our ever-recurring question of why it is so, it is not by the study of the law. The study of the law will only give an immense appetite; it will never bring satisfaction. If there is anything that will bring satisfaction it is diving deep into love, and then we shall realize that there is nothing which is not just; we shall never again say that anything is unjust. This is the point the wise reach, and they call it the culmination of wisdom.
There is a saying that God forgives more than He judges, but how do we know that God forgives? In the first place justice is born, and love has never been born; it always has been and will always be. Justice is born of a certain sense in man, the sense of fairness; as this sense matures it begins to seek for evenness, and what is not even it does not like. In order to develop this sense we need inspiration from all that has existed before; justice is the outcome of what we see, but this is not so with love which is spontaneous and always present. As it is said in the Bible, God is love; and therefore, while justice is God's nature, love is God's very being. He forgives because He is forgiveness Himself; He judges because it is His nature to judge.
Justice comes from God's intelligence, and the expression of God's intelligence in this world of illusion is limited. When judging limited things our intelligence becomes limited also; we are as limited as the objects before us. The greater the object, the greater becomes our vision.
There is only one thing that is truly just, and that is to say, 'I must not do this. ' When one says this to another person one may be very wrong. The mystic develops his mind in this manner, purifying it by pure thought, feeling, and action, free from all sense of separateness, only following this one line of thought. Whatever differences in principles of what is right and wrong the Various religious faiths may show, no two individuals will ever differ in this one natural principle: that every soul seeks after beauty, and that every virtue, righteousness, good action, is nothing but a glimpse of beauty.
When once he has made this moral his own, the Sufi does not need to follow a particular belief or faith to restrict himself in a particular path. He can follow the Hindu way, the Muslim way, the way of any church or faith, provided he treads this royal road: that the whole universe is but an immanence of beauty. We are born with the tendency to admire it in every form, and we should not blind ourselves by being dependent on one particular line of beauty.
Forgiveness does not judge; there is only the feeling of love, and therefore, whatever be the other's fault, once a person has forgiven, the resulting happiness and joy are shared by both. Justice does not give that joy. The one who judges too much is unhappy himself, and he makes the one whom he judges unhappy too. The one who forgives is happy; he does not keep any grudge in his heart; he makes his heart pure and free from it. God's greatest attribute is forgivingness.
Man accuses God of having done many things wrong; it is often only out of respect and because of his reverent attitude that he says nothing, but if he felt free he would make a thousand accusations. There is no one who could be accused so often and for so many things as God. The reason is that it is our limited self which judges, though it is quite unable to understand.