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Volume XIV - The Smiling Forehead

Part II - The Deeper Side of Life

Chapter II
Man the Seed of God


THERE ARE various ideas and beliefs as to the relation between God and man, and it is natural that there should be various beliefs, for every man has his own conception – his own conception of God. There is no comparison between God and man. The reason is that man, being limited, can be compared with another being; God, being perfect, is beyond comparison. The prophets and masters in all ages have tried their best to give man some idea of God's Being, but this has always been difficult, for it is impossible to define God in words; it is like trying to put the ocean into a bottle. However large a bottle, it can never accommodate the ocean. The words that we use in our everyday language are the names of limited forms, and for our convenience we give a name to God – the one who is above name and form. If there is any possibility of understanding God and His Being – it is only possible by finding the relation between man and God.

Why is this lecture called 'Man the seed of God'? Because it is this picture which gives to some extent that idea of the relationship which exists between man and God. There is a root, there is a stem, there are branches and there are leaves – there comes a flower. But in the heart of the flower there is something which tells the history of the whole plant. One might say that it is for the flower that the plant was purposed, but really speaking it is the seed coming into the heart of the flower which continues the species of the plant. It is that seed which is the secret of the plant, which is the source and the goal of that plant. It is that seed which was the beginning; it is from out of that seed that the root came, that the seedling came out – and so it became a plant. Then that seed disappeared, but after the coming of the leaves and branches and the flowers it appeared again. It appeared again – not as one seed but as several seeds, in multiplicity, and yet it is the same, and it is this seed which told us the story that first was the seed, and then the whole plant appeared. Towards what goal? For what result? In order to come again as the result of the whole plant.

The man of simple belief, the man who believes only in his particular idea – for him there is no relation between God and man. But the man who wishes to understand the relation between man and God – for him the proof of this argument is to be found in everything. It is this idea which is spoken of in the Bible in the words where it is said, 'In Our image We have created man'. If the seed out of which the plant came and which appeared in the result had said, 'Out of my own image I have created the seed which will come forth from the heart of the flower', it would have been the same thing. Only that seed out of which the plant came could have said, 'I shall appear in plurality, although in the beginning I am one grain'.

It is this idea again which tells us the reason why it is said, 'We have created man in Our image ', when the whole of manifestation, the whole of creation has come from God. The leaf, the branch, the stem – all have come out of the seed, but they are not the image of the seed. The image of the seed is the seed itself; and not only this, but the essence of the seed is in the seed. No doubt there is some energy, some power, some color, some fragrance in the flower, in the leaves and in the stem, but at the same time all properties that are in the stem, flower, petal and leaves are to be found in the grain. This shows us the result: that man is the culmination of the whole creation, and in him the whole universe is manifested. The mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom are all to be found in the being, in the spirit of man. It not only means that the different properties such as mineral and vegetable are to be found in the physical body that is made for man, but also his mind and his heart show all the different qualities.

The heart is just like a fertile soil or a barren desert: it shows love or lack of love, the productive faculty or destructiveness. There are different kinds of stones; there are precious stones and there are pebbles and rocks, and so among human hearts there is a still greater variety. Think of those whose thoughts, whose feelings have proved to be more precious than anything the world can offer: the poets, the artists, the inventors, the thinkers, the philosophers, and then the servants of humanity, the inspirers of man, the benefactors of mankind. No wealth, no precious stone, whether diamond or ruby, can be compared with these, and yet it is the same quality. Then there are rocklike hearts: one may knock against them and break oneself – yet they will not move. There is a waxlike quality in the heart and there is the quality of the stone; there are melting hearts, and hearts which will never melt.

Is there anything in nature which is not to be found in man? Has he not in his feelings, in his thoughts, in his qualities the picture of running water, a picture of a fertile soil and a picture of fruitful trees? Is there not in the heart of man the picture of plants, of fragrant flowers? The flowers that come from the human heart live longer, their fragrance will spread throughout the whole world, and their color will be seen by all people. How delicious are the fruits that human hearts can bear; they immortalize souls and lift them up!

There are other mentalities wherein nothing springs up except the desire to hurt and harm their fellow men, thus producing the fruits and flowers of poison, hurting others by thought, speech or action – and they can hurt more than thorns. There are some whose feelings, whose thoughts are like gold and silver and there are others whose thoughts are just like iron and steel. The variety that one can see in human nature is so vast that all the objects one can get from this earth are too small in number if compared with it.

Does man show in his nature, in his qualities, in his body, in his thought and feeling only the heritage of this earth? No, he also shows that of heaven. Man has the influence of the planets, he has the influences of the moon, of the sun, of heat and cold, of air, water and fire: of all the different elements which make this whole cosmic system. All these elements are to be found in his thoughts, in his feelings, in his body. One can find a person with warmth, representing fire; another person is cold, he represents water. There are human beings who in their thought, in their feeling represent the air element; their quickness, their restlessness show the air element in them.

Does not man represent the sun and moon in his positive and negative character, and does not duality of sex show this? Not only this, but in every man and in every woman there is the sun quality and there is the moon quality, and it is these two opposite qualities which give balance to the character of man. When one quality is most predominant, and the other not to be found, then balance is lacking somewhere.

If one goes still further in the thought of mysticism one will find that not only all the visible manifestation is to be found in man, but also all that is invisible. If angels or fairies or ghosts or elementals – anything that man has imagined – can be found anywhere, it is in human nature. In all times one finds pictures of angels in the image of man.

If all that exists in the world and in heaven is to be found in man, then what remains? God Himself has said in the scriptures, 'I have made man in My own image'. In other words, 'If you wish to see Me, I am to be found in man'. How thoughtless on the part of the one who, absorbed in his high ideals, begins to condemn man, to look down upon man, however low and weak and a sinner man may be! Since in man there is the possibility of rising so high as nothing else in the whole manifestation can rise – whether something on the earth or any being in heaven – none can reach that height which man is meant to reach. What point of view, therefore, had the mystics, the thinkers of all ages? One can see their point of view in their manner: a respectful attitude to all men. In the example of the life of Jesus Christ, the master of mankind – what compassion one can see when a sinner was brought before him, someone who had done wrong – what forgiveness the master showed! There was tolerance, there was understanding. A man can be called religious or pious, but he cannot be called truly spiritual or wise when he has contempt towards his fellow man, whatever be his condition.

The man who has no respect for mankind, has no worshipful attitude towards God – he may be the most religious person. The man who has not recognized the image of God in man, has not seen the Artist who has made this creation; he has deprived himself of this vision which is sacred and most holy. A person who thinks that man is earthly does not know where his soul comes from. The soul comes from above; it is in the soul of man that God is reflected. The man who has hatred, contempt, whatever be his belief, faith, or religion, has not understood the secret of all religions which is in the heart of man. And certainly, however good a person, however virtuous he may be, if at the same time he has no tolerance, no forgiveness, if he does not recognize God in man, he has not touched religion.

No doubt there is another side to the question. As man evolves, so he finds the limitations, the errors and the infirmities of human nature, and so it becomes difficult for him to live in the world and to withstand all that comes. Also it becomes very difficult for man to be fine, to be good, to be kind, to be sensitive, and at the same time to be tolerant. What then comes as a tendency is to push away everything, and to find oneself away from everybody and every being. But the purpose of being born on earth is different. The purpose of being born on earth is to find that perfection which is within oneself. And however good and kind a man may be, if he has not found the purpose for which he is born on earth, he has not fulfilled the object of his life.

There are as many different aspects of that purpose as there are people in the world, but behind all these different aspects there is one purpose. It is that purpose which may be called the purpose of the whole creation. That purpose is accomplished when the inventor looks at his invention working. When the great architect builds the house which he has designed, and enters it and sees how nicely it is achieved, the purpose is accomplished. When a producer of a play has produced the play he desired and looks at it, that is the purpose.

Every man seems to have his purpose, but this purpose is nothing but a step to that which is the one purpose, which is the purpose of God. Our small desires, if they are granted today, tomorrow we will have another wish. Whatever be the desire, when it is granted, next day there is another desire. This shows that the whole of humanity, that every soul, is directed towards one desire, and that is the object of God: a fuller experience of life within and without, a fuller knowledge of life, the life above and below. It is the widening of the outlook: that it may be so wide that in the soul, which is vaster than the world, all may be reflected; that the sight may become so keen that it may probe the depths of the earth and the highest of the heavens. It is herein that lies the fulfillment of the soul. And the soul who will not make every effort possible, with every sacrifice for the attainment of this, that soul has not understood religion. What is the Sufi message? It is esoteric training, working and practicing through life towards that attainment which is as the fulfillment of the object of God.


Man the seed of God – it is in this secret that man finds the key that has been lost. This loss shows why the religions of the world seem to be losing their hold upon people, in the Eastern part of the world as well as in the West. Why is there an increasing number of ungodly? Why is materialism ever on the increase? The answer is that man has lost the key which opens the secret of life. It is God who is the key to this secret. During my travelings of some years throughout the Western world I found in every part of the civilized world people getting tired not only of religion but also of belief in God. It seems that the deity's name is repellent to an advanced thinker. He thinks that this is something which was a creed of the past: 'The ancient people who did not know life better had some certain idea and now we are too advanced to hold on to the ideas of the past'. Very few admit it and many will not say it, but almost all know it. In the East perhaps it is different, but the whole world moves on in the same direction. If the direction of humanity is a material one then the whole world goes in this material direction; if it is a spiritual direction naturally the whole world must go in the spiritual direction.

In spite of all material progress which has raised the value of civilization so high in the eyes of the new generation, it could not keep to its pedestal; it fell down during the war. It has made the thinking world consider, at least for a moment, that the civilization it had thought to be the best has not proved to be the best. No just person, a person with some thought, will deny the fact after having reflected upon it. If we ask ourselves, 'Has the world advanced?, no doubt the answer will be, 'Yes'. The new inventions which have brought about the miraculous phenomena that have brought all countries closer in communication by telegraphy, telephone and wireless all show that humanity has progressed – but only progressed in a certain direction, a progress which cannot bring all satisfaction. It can only bring outer happiness and pleasure, but the inner happiness remains to be found. It might seem to be the saying of a simple believer that in belief in God is the remedy of all diseases, but I should declare that even the wisest person can claim the same after having arrived at a certain realization of life's secret.

Now coming to our subject 'Man the Seed of God'. If we ask ourselves what is the definition of the seed, we find that the seed is not only the beginning of the plant, but the seed is the end of the plant's destiny too, because the plant is meant to bring out the seed. When we consider the whole manifestation as a plant then in all the different grades in which it has manifested we find that the final thing was the bringing out of man. One may say in connection with a plant that the stem sprung up first, then the leaves, then came the flower, and from the flower came the seed. One may say the same thing in connection with the whole manifestation: there was the mineral, then the vegetable, then the animal, but in the end it finished in man.

Scientists today say to have discovered that human life comes from the animal life, but hundreds of years earlier, in the scriptures of Persia, we can find statements which give the proof of them having known this idea. What does this idea tell us? It tells us that this whole creation was intended to bring about a certain purpose, one purpose. But because every man is not capable of understanding this purpose this incapability brings about life's catastrophes. If a majority understands the purpose then the minority follows, but if those who know the purpose are in minority then the majority may have their thought.

If I were to explain the picture of the material conditions of the world which directed man to such occupations as war and disasters and bloodshed, besides the hatred between nations and races, one would understand that these all come from the lack of understanding of that one secret. Knowing this the great souls like Buddha and Krishna have all tried their utmost to explain it. For instance in the Lord's Prayer one reads, 'Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'. If only one could understand the meaning behind these words! It is the whole of philosophy, for it makes one know and understand that this only means that, if every man has his purpose separate from that of another, there will always be lack of order and peace, both outwardly and inwardly.

Why do wars come? Why do differences arise? Because of the differences of purpose. When nations have their different purpose, when every individual has his different purpose then there will be no unity. At the same time it is unnatural too, for the purpose of every tree is to bring about the seed, and so the purpose of all nations and of each individual – the final purpose – is to bring about that seed which is the source of this whole manifestation.

It is not the trees which have declared God, nor the mountains; neither have the birds taught the gospel, nor the animals preached religion. If ever this has been taught, if ever God has been brought to the idea of mankind, it has been brought by man. It is not only one man's right, but it is the right of everyone to bring about that source, the source out of which all has come. Do not think that I mean by this that one must not carry out one's occupations in life. What I mean is that one must think with every occupation, everything one does, that the finishing of it is not the only aim. Man's aim is to bring forth in his life that seed which is the source of his whole life.

The modern psychologist says, 'Well, any idea like this is acquired'. It must however be remembered that teaching has made this idea clear, but the God-ideal is the inborn tendency of man. The best explanation of the word God is to be found in the Persian word Khuda, because this is not only a name, but it is the meaning of the idea: it means self-revealing. This itself shows that, if God is self-revealing, then man is not always depending upon the teaching of another; his natural longing is for God.

Very often I have met people without belief in God, but I have always found that there is some craving behind. In spite of their denying it the craving is there all the same. Besides this, man by nature is vain and once his vanity has taken up the idea of disbelief it is very difficult to make his vanity believe what his soul craves for. A person sometimes feels proud to think, 'I do not believe as everybody believes, because I am more intelligent and I am different from others'. At the same time many among those who all their life denied the idea of God, after having a kind of sorrow, a heartbreak, a disappointment, or after having gone through life, in the end have begun to search for something somewhere. I was much interested to see how a great materialistic scientist often depended upon his wife who was a believer in the God-ideal. She was a kind of healing during his illnesses, and during his fits of depression she was a consolation. Whenever she said, 'You do not believe in God, so how can you be happy?', his answer was, 'But you believe in God and I believe in you; so that is the same'.

By this I do not mean that belief in God is sufficient for our lives. Belief in God is only a first step; it is the first step towards the accomplishment of the purpose for which this whole universe is formed. If a person with his belief in God is content – there are millions and millions who believe in God and who are not all saints, nor are they the best of people. One may find perhaps among those who seem to be unbelievers more true and just people than among those who have such belief. Nevertheless, for a thinker, for a wise person, the God-ideal is the key to life's secret. The person who only stands on his belief is like a man standing on a step instead of walking on the staircase. But the person who climbs the stairs is the one who is reaching to a realization which can only come by belief in God. Therefore there are many people whose feet are, so to speak, stuck in the path of truth. Neither are they in the world nor in heaven; they become stuck in their belief and do not move from there.

The first thing we have to learn by belief in God is to know the source. As soon as we know the source we begin to feel differently from the average person. The difference between the person who is wise in God and the person who is worldly wise, if both happen to be good, is this: the person of the world will say, 'If I do good to another it is a pleasure for me and the other one will learn to do good too'. But the man who is wise in God will say, 'When I do good to that person it means that I am doing good to myself'. This makes a great difference, for when a person realizes the source he becomes one with another, and when he does not meet with another in the realization of that source then another person is another. There are two ideas in this: there is an idea of unity and there is an idea of duality. The idea of unity comes from the realization of God which is the ultimate truth. The idea of duality comes from the absence of this knowledge, and if one has not attained, through the idea of God, that idea of unity, one's realization is not complete. If one has belief in God, but has not arrived at the idea of unity, one has not accomplished the purpose of life.

Therefore the destination of the Sufi movement is to serve humanity towards this end. It is not a new religion, it is not a certain cast or creed. It is only awakening people of all different religions or of no religion to the divine ideal; to awaken humanity to the understanding of truth, which is to be learned by the understanding of God – especially after such a time as humanity has gone through, while the hatred that exists in the heart of men for one another is ever on the increase. People know about different diseases, but they do not know that the worst disease of the world is the disease of the heart, and it seems that this plague is vastly spreading: the bitterness in the heart. If one could only think what psychological effect the thought of prejudice, of hatred, of bitterness has on man! It is not only outward reasons that make persons ill, but a great many illnesses come from inner reasons. To take in bitterness and to keep it in the heart is worse than keeping a drop of poison in the body.

Now the time has come that humanity, after its contemplation on material gain, must contemplate on another gain. Material gains are taken away in a moment's time and leave man in his grave alone without any of them. This earth has not even kept the wealth of the Pharaohs, so near to their heart; after so many years the wealth which was buried with them has been taken from them. It shows that this world has never allowed anyone to have his belongings for ever. It is a disappointing world; the true consolation of man does not belong to the earth or its knowledge.

This does not mean that the knowledge of the world is useless, but the knowledge of the world does not suffice the whole purpose of life. There is only one thing from which true satisfaction can come, and that is the knowledge of the deeper side of life, the knowledge of the source and goal of all things. It is the realization of that knowledge which can be called divine light, and if there is any happiness, any peace ever to be found, it is in this; in the absence of it all the good that the earth can offer will not suffice man's life's purpose. Whether a man is young or old, whether he is wise or not, every person's life has a need of spiritual guidance, and the only object that man has to accomplish today is to become acquainted with his own self by knowledge of himself in belief in God.

checked 06-Nov-2006