Unpublished papers from the Nekbakht Foundation Archives
The Way of Attainment
The attainment of every soul is different. One person may say, "I care only to attain to spirituality, to God. That is the only thing that is worthwhile". Another may say, "All I care for is fame, wealth, position, power. That only is worth attaining". One will say, "Money and position is not worth gaining, I desire only spirituality, God". The other will say, "By your spirituality you have nothing yourself and nothing to give to another. You may keep your spirituality in the temple. To gain money is what is of use to humanity ".
One person is content if he has a place and can draw a little money and has a cottage to live in. Another person says, "I will give my life, but I must be secretary of state". Another says, "I must be prime minister". A king may have a slave and may wish to make him minister, and the slave perhaps finds that if he has good clothes and good food and a horse to ride on and can go here and there, that is quite enough, he does not want to be a minister.
Why do not all want fame, why do not all want all the money in the world? Why do not all want to be prime minister? Because each soul's attainment is according to its evolution. Therefore we should never say, "Why does that person strive for that object, which is not worthwhile?" Our work is to be silent and to help by our kindness, by our sympathy each one towards that attainment that he is aiming at, not judging it from our standard, but looking at it from his point of view.
A person may say, "I desire only God", and his hand is held out behind his back; if money comes, he is very glad. Then it is better to desire all the money in the world, because he who desires money and says so, is at least frank and open before the world.
Coming now to my subject of this evening, in Sanskrit, Prakrit and Hindi there is the word Sadhu, which comes from sidhi, meaning mastery, Sadhu is the master, who in Islam is called Wali. Vali comes from Vilayat, which means will, and I should not be astonished if the English word "will" comes from the same root. That may seem curious that in the East, where we read in their literature so much about renunciation and acquiescence in the will of God, that he who attains is called Master, not "renouncer". To renounce what we cannot gain is not true renunciation, it is weakness. When the apples are so high up on the branch of the tree that we cannot reach them, we try to and cannot, if we then say, "The apples are sour. I don't want them", that is not renunciation. If we climb the tree and get the apples and cut them in half, then we may say, "They are sour", and throw them away.
If we say, "I cannot have my wish. It is not intended by the will of God. I am resigned to the will of God", that is not resignation. Why should it not be meant for us to have our wish? Behind our will there is the will of God. God desires it through us. Christ said, "If ye desire bread, He will not give a stone". By this we see that it is natural for us to have our desire, it is natural for us to have health and riches and success and all things. It is unnatural to have illnesses and failures and miseries. But if, after gaining all the wealth in the world, position and titles, then we give it up, then that will be true renunciation.
There are several things by which we prevent ourselves from attaining what we desire.
First, if there are three or four aims before us, if there are three or four thoughts, then we cannot succeed in any one. We must be single-minded. There must be one aim before us.
The second thing is that by doubts and lack of self-confidence we weaken our will and frustrate our attainment. If a person is going to see a friend and he thinks, "Perhaps I shall not find him, perhaps he has gone out", very often, psychically, his friend by that thought is driven out of the house, when otherwise he would have been at home. If someone is going to see an official and he thinks, "Shall I see him? Perhaps I shall not be well received, I have no letters of recommendation", by this he prevents his own success. Reason stands in the way of success. If a person begins to reason, "Perhaps it will be, or it will not be, or if it will be how can it be, or if it can be how should it be", he goes from one reason to ten reasons and to a hundred reasons, and spoils and loses his purpose in the reasons. His mind becomes all reason. Reason is a gift given to us, like any other faculty of mind, like the memory, like imagination. But it is a part of mind. If it becomes all the mind, it spoils all. In the state there are so many different parts, there is the military part, the administrative, the judicial. If the military becomes the whole state, it is harmed. If the judicial becomes all, the state is spoiled. There must be a balance. In a house there is a drawing room, a dining room, a kitchen. If the whole house became a kitchen, it would be terrible. If the whole house became a dining room, it would not be good.
The great minds, the masters think that behind their thought, their will, there is the will of God. They have confidence in that will, and whatever they think is done. I have myself seen this. At Secunderabad there was a dervish living in retirement. In the East you know that they have a great trust in a fakir. Whether they have all other means or none, they go to him in their difficulties and say, "I have all other means," or "I have none," "but your blessing is the greatest source of help in my time of difficulty". There was a man who was to be tried in the law court and he had no money even to pay a lawyer to defend him. He went to this dervish, and said, "I am a poor man, and now my case is coming on. If I am condemned there will be no-one to support my family. Pray help me ".
The dervish wrote a few words on a piece of paper and gave it to him, and said, "Now go home and be quiet". He wrote on the piece of paper, "I have examined the charge against this man, and I find that it is groundless. Therefore I dismiss the case". When the man's case came before the judge, the judge wrote these same words and the man was released. Such is the power of the master mind.
The Masters, the Founders of religions, have been called fanatics. But the words spoken by them are thought by thousands to-day. The words of Moses, of Christ, of Muhammad, after thousands of years, are thought by millions of people. If this is called fanaticism, yet its power is much greater than that of those who reason.
The third thing that prevents our attaining our wish is lack of patience. Very many surahs of the Quran begin, "O men of patience". By this we see what importance patience has. Patience strengthens the will, it makes all attainment possible. The lack of patience makes people commit suicide, it makes them call for death to come, it makes them become lunatic.
Patience is needed in all relations of life, in all things, patience with the servant, with your inferior, with your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter, thinking that he or she may improve and may become your ideal, patience with your friend. And patience is fed on hope. It stands on the feet of hope. As long as there is hope, there is patience, and when hope is gone, then there is no more patience; we say, "I have no more patience, it is finished". Hope is needed in all things, the hope that "If I have not attained my desire now, I shall attain it". We live on hope. In all our affairs hope is the foundation, in our undertakings, in friendship, in love affairs. In the East there is a beautiful saying, "Brahma extracted honey from all flowers and it was hope". That means, Brahma, God, extracted the essence from all things in the world. The essence is wisdom. The things, all objects in the world, are flowers that attract us, and they attract us by hope. Hope is life, and without hope life ends.
A small child, if he is given a sham gold chain is happy with it, an older person is satisfied only with the real gold. The look is the same, the color is the same, the difference is only that the sham gold does not last, the real gold is permanent, it is everlasting. Who has not the value for the permanence, the everlastingness, is pleased with the sham. Of all attainments that only which is everlasting can satisfy us in the end.
Until we attain to that, it is right for us to have all desires, all wishes, and to rise from each attainment to the higher, until we attain to the highest.
It may be asked whether all things cannot be attained by psychic power alone without any physical means. This has been experimented by the ancient Yogis. They left the world and retired to the caves of mountains and to the wilderness and led a life of asceticism. You would be astonished to know what hardships they went through, some of them not sleeping for years, others not speaking for years together. And not only in ancient times, but my father had seen a saint who was standing for years and years, always standing, he never slept or sat. By this they strengthened their will and gained control and what they thought was done.
But, as we exist on the physical plane and have the physical body, it is better to work with the physical means also, to work by the thought and with the body. In this way the aim is attained by all means.
If we can gain what is greatest, we should not content ourselves with little. It would be like someone who might take all the money from the Bank of England, and who takes twenty pounds. If one can take from the Bank of England, he should take millions and millions.
If we wish for a palace and we are sitting in a cottage, we should not think, "How should such a miserable person as I ever have a palace?" We should think that the wish to have it is the sign of our being capable of having it. Behind our wish there is God's wish, Who has all might, all greatness, all wealth.
From the Nekbakht Foundation Archives, courtesy of Sharif Munawwir Graham