Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings
THERE IS always a deep meaning attached to the legends of the ancient Greeks, as to those of the Indians, Persians, and Egyptians. And it is also most interesting to see how the art of the Greeks, however beautiful it is, had a far deeper meaning than would appear on the surface; by studying it we find the key to this ancient culture.
An example of this is the symbolic meaning of the story of Orpheus. We learn from the first part of this story that there is no object that a person has once desired from the bottom of his heart which will be lost for ever. Even if the object of love that a person has once desired were in the deepest depths of the earth, where only reason could behold it and not the eye, even then it could be attained if one pursued it with sufficient purpose. The next thing we learn is that in order to attain an object, the love-element is not sufficient; besides love we need wisdom, that wisdom which awakens in harmony and harmonizes with the cosmic forces, helping one to attain one's object.
The wise of all ages and of all countries admit the truth that the one who possesses the knowledge of sound knows the science of the whole of life, and thus the invoking of the gods by Orpheus means his coming into touch with all the harmonious forces which, united together, brought him the object which he wished to attain. But the most fascinating part of the story is the ending, both artistically and on account of its meaning. Orpheus was proceeding with Eurydice following him, and he had promised that he would not look back. The moment he looked back Eurydice would be taken from him. The meaning of this is that the secret of all attainment is faith. If the faith of a person endures for ninety-nine miles, and only one mile remains before the gaining of the object, even then if doubt comes attainment can no longer be expected. From this we can learn a lesson, a lesson which can be used in everything we do in life, in every walk of life: that in order to attain anything we need faith. Even the slightest lack of faith in the form of doubt, will spoil all we have done.
'Verily faith is light, and doubt darkness.'