Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings
THE DEEPER SIDE OF LIFE
IN THESE modern times people consider an intellectual life, or a life of manual labor, a normal life. A practical man is considered a man of common sense, and common sense reaches no further than its limited boundaries. A practical man is the one who knows best how to guard his material interests in the continual struggle of life. Some call common sense positivism: believing only in all that proves to be real to our senses and in all that can be perceived, felt, and experienced by our mind. For this reason, in spite of great and unceasing progress in the material world, we have closed the door to another world of progress which can only be entered by opening the door to the deeper side of life. By his form and features, by his physical construction, man looks at one side and covers the other side with his own self. Man sees what is before him, but not what is behind him. As he is made so by nature he cannot look into the deeper side, being absorbed in the life on the surface.
Today there seems to be greater need of the inner life than there has ever been before. It is the head quality which is developed these days, whereas the heart quality needs to be developed in order to bring balance to life. Life, so balanced, can then be prepared for the inner culture or the spiritual life. Many consider sentiment to be quite unimportant, something which should be kept apart from the central theme of life which today is intellectuality. No one who has given a thought to the deeper side of life will deny for one moment the power and inspiration that arise when once the heart is kindled. A person with heart quality need not be simple, he need not discard intellect; only, the heart quality produces a perfume in the intellect like the fragrance in a flower. Morals learnt from logic are dry morals – a fruit without juice, a flower without fragrance. The heart quality produces naturally virtues which no one can teach; a loving person, a person with sympathy in his heart, teaches morals through himself. It is the balance of thought and feeling that makes the soil ready for the sowing of the seed of the inner life.
There are three steps which one must take in order to come to the spiritual life. The first step is the knowledge of the nature and character of man. A seeker takes his first step in the path of truth when he is able to understand his fellow men fully and find the solution to every problem connected with them.
The next step is to have insight into the nature of things and beings, to understand cause and effect and to be able to find the cause of the cause and the effect of the effect; to be able to see the reason of the reason and the logic of the logic. When a person is able to see the good side of the bad and the bad side of the good, and when he is able to see the wrong side of the right and the right side of the wrong, then he has taken the next step on the spiritual path.
The third step is to rise above the pains and pleasures of life, to be in the world and not of the world, to live and not to live at the same time. Such a one becomes a living dead person, a dead person living for ever. Immortality is not to be sought in the hereafter; if it is ever gained, it is gained in one's lifetime. In this third stage of development one is able to attain happiness, power, knowledge, life, and peace within oneself, independently of all things outside.
The spiritual knowledge which has always been sought by awakened souls will always be sought by them. In past ages the seekers looked for a guide on this path, a guide who initiated them into the mysteries of the deeper side of life, and once the secret was revealed it no longer remained a mystery to them. The man who is not yet awakened to the inner side of life has not experienced life fully; he has only seen one side of life, maybe the more interesting side, but the less real. The one who has experienced both sides of life, the outer and the inner life, has certainly fulfilled the purpose of his life on earth.