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Religious Gathekas

(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)

Religious Gatheka Number 57

Sufi Thoughts (1)

1. There is One God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none else exists save He.

The God of the Sufi is the God of every creed and the God of all. Names make no difference to Him. Allah, God, Dieu, Khuda, or Bhagwan, all these names and more are the names of his God; and yet to him God is beyond the limitation of name. He sees his God in the sun, in the fire, in the idol which diverse sects worship; and he recognizes Him in all forms of the universe, yet knowing Him to be beyond all form' God in all and all in God, He being the seen and the unseen, the Only Being. God to the Sufi is not merely a religious belief forced upon him but the highest ideal the human mind can conceive.

The Sufi, forgetting the self and aiming at the attainment of the divine ideal, walks constantly all through life in the path of love and light. In God the Sufi sees the perfection of all that is in the reach of man's perception; and yet he knows Him to be above human reach. He looks to Him as the lover to his beloved, and takes all things in life as coming from Him, with perfect resignation. The Sacred Name of Good is to him as medicine to the patient.

The divine thought is the compass by which he steers the ship to the shores of immortality. The God-Ideal is to a Sufi as a lift by which he raises himself to the Eternal Goal, the attainment of which is the only purpose of life.

2. There is One Master, the Guiding Spirit of all souls, Who constantly leads his followers towards the light.

The Sufi understands that although God is the source of all knowledge, inspiration, and guidance, yet man is the medium through whom God chooses to impart His knowledge to the world, through such a man who is man in the eyes of the world, but God in his consciousness. It is the mature soul that draws blessings from the Heavens, and God speaks through that soul. Although the tongue of God is busy speaking through all things, yet in order to speak to the deaf ears of many among us, it is necessary for Him to speak through the lips of man.

This is seen in all periods of history in all ages. Shiva, Buddha, Rama, and Krishna, on the one side, and Abraham, Moses, Christ, and Muhammad, on the other; and many more, known and unknown, have been examples of the Master who lives the life of God in human guise. In other words, their human guises are the various coats worn by the same person, who appeared different in each, yet was one and the same person. Those who saw the person and knew him, recognized him in all his guises. Those who did not see the person, but recognized the coat, went astray.

 As people separated themselves from one another, clinging to the personality of the Teacher, claiming for him superiority over other Teachers, and degrading the Teacher held in the same esteem by others, so all the religious wars and splits among the children of God have been caused.

The Sufi recognized the person and not the guise, and saw one Teacher only in all the different names and forms coming constantly to awaken humanity from the slumber of this life of illusion, and to guide man onward towards divine perfection. As the Sufi progresses in this view, he recognizes his Master, not only in the Holy Ones, but in the wise, in the foolish, in the saint and in the sinner, and has never allowed to disappear from his sight the Master who is one alone, and the only one who can be and who ever will be.

3. There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture, which can enlighten the reader.

The Sufi, when the eye of his soul is opened and his sight is keen, reads in the manuscript of nature the divine law, which has been read from the same source and taught by the Teachers of humanity to their followers. Though language does not suffice to express the inner Truth, yet what little of it could be expressed in words has been inscribed by the pen and handed down to posterity, from time to time, as a sacred book.

Men have fought and disputed over the authenticity of these books, and would not accept any other book of similar character; and clinging thus to the book and losing the sense of it, have formed diverse sects. The Sufi has in all ages respected all such books, and has traced in the Vedanta, Zend-Avesta, Kabbala, Quran, Bible, and all other sacred scriptures, the same truth which he reads in the incorruptible manuscript of nature, the only Holy Book, the perfect and living model that teaches the inner law of life.

All scriptures before nature's manuscript are as little pools of water before the ocean. To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the Holy Book that contains divine revelation, and he is inspired every moment of his life by reading and understanding the holy script of nature.