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Religious Gathekas

(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)

Religious Gatheka Number 59

Sufi Thoughts (3)

7. There is one Moral, the love which springs forth from self-denial, and blooms in deeds of beneficence.

There are moral principles taught to mankind by various Teachers, by many traditions, one differing from the other; which are as separate drops coming out of the fountain. But when we look at the stream that on falling turns into several drops, we find that there is but one stream. There are many moral principles, as many drops falling from the fountain, but there is one stream that is at the root of all, and that is love. It is love that gives birth to hope, patience, endurance, forgiveness, tolerance, and to all moral principles.

All deeds of beneficence take root in the soil of the loving heart. Generosity, charity, adaptability, an accommodating nature, even renunciation, are the offsprings of love alone. The great, rare, and chosen beings, who for ages have been looked up to as ideal in the world, are the possessors of hearts kindled with love. All evil and sin come from the lack of love.

People call love blind, but love in reality is the light of the sight. The eye can only see the surface, love can see much deeper. All ignorance is the lack of love, as fire when not kindled gives only smoke, but when kindled the illuminating flame springs forth, so it is with love; it is blind when undeveloped, but when its fire is kindled, the flame that lights the path of the traveler from mortality to everlasting life springs forth, and the loving heart, and the secrets of earth and Heaven are revealed to the possessor of the loving heart, and the lover has gained mastery over himself and others, and he not only communes with God but unites with Him.

Hail to thee, then, O love, sweet madness, thou who healest all our infirmities, who art the physician of our pride and self-conceit, who art our Plato and our Galen!


8. There is one Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipper through all aspects from the seen to the unseen.

'God is beautiful, and He loves beauty.' [Hadith]. This explains that man, who inherits the spirit of God has beauty in him and loves beauty, although that which is beautiful to one is not beautiful to another. Man cultivates the sense of beauty as he evolves and prefers the higher aspect of beauty to the lower. But when he has observed the highest vision of beauty in the unseen by a gradual evolution from praising the beauty in the seen world, then the whole existence becomes to him one single vision of beauty.

Man has worshipped God, beholding the beauty of sun, moon, stars, and planets, he has worshipped God in plants, in animals, he has recognized God in the beautiful merits of man; and he has, with his perfect view of beauty, found the source of beauty in the unseen, from whence all this springs and in whom all is merged.

The Sufi, realizing this, worships beauty in all its aspects, and sees the face of the Beloved in all that is seen and the Beloved's spirit in the unseen. So wherever he looks, his ideal of worship is before him. 'Everywhere I look, I see Thy winning face; everywhere I go, I arrive at Thy dwelling place.'

9. There is one Truth, the true knowledge of our being within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom.

Hazrat Ali says, 'Know thyself, and thou wilt know God.' It is the knowledge of self which blooms into the knowledge of God? Self-knowledge answers such problems as: Whence have I come? Did I exist before I became conscious of my present existence on earth? If I existed, as what did I exist? Did I exist as an individual such as I now am or as a multitude or as an insect, bird, animal, spirit, jinn, or angel? What happens after death, the change to which every human creature is subject? Why do I tarry here a while? What purpose have I to accomplish here? What is my duty in life? In what does my happiness consist, and what is it that makes my life miserable?

Those whose hearts have been kindled by the light from above begin to ponder over such questions, but those whose souls are already illumined by the knowledge of the self understand them. It is they who give to individuals or to multitudes to benefit of their knowledge, so that even men whose hearts are not yet kindled and whose souls are not illuminated may be able to walk on the right path that leads to perfection. It is therefore that people are taught in various languages, in various forms of worship, in various tenets in different parts of the world the one and the same Truth in diverse aspects, to suit the people and time. People, not understanding this, mocked at each other's faith, condemning others to Hell, and considering theirs to be the only true faith. The Sufi, recognizing the knowledge of self as the essence of all religions, traced in every religion the same Truth, and has regarded all as one.

The Sufi, by understanding the self, realizes, as Christ did, that; I and my Father are one. The difference between creature and Creator remains on his lips, not in his soul. This is what is meant by union with God. It is in reality the dissolving of the false self in the knowledge of the True self, which is divine, eternal, and all-pervading.

He who attaineth union with God, his very self must lose.


10. There is one Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality, and in which resides all perfection.

'I passed away into nothingness, I vanished; and lo! I was all living.' All who have realized the secret of life understand that life is one, but that it exists in two aspects: first, as immortal, all-pervading and silent life, and secondly, as mortal, active and manifest in variety. The soul being of the first aspect, become deluded, helpless, and captive by experiencing life in contact with the mind and body, which are of the next aspect.

The gratification of the desires of the body and the fancies of the mind do not suffice the purpose of the soul, the purpose of which is undoubtedly the experience of its own phenomena in the seen and the unseen, but the inclination of which is to be itself and not anything else. When delusion makes it feel that it is helpless, mortal, and captive, it finds itself out of place. This is the tragedy of life, that keeps the strong and weak, the rich and poor, all dissatisfied, constantly looking for something they do not know.

 The Sufi, realizing this, takes the path of annihilation, and, by the guidance of a teacher on the path, he finds at the end of his journey that the destination was himself.

I wandered in the pursuit of my own self. I was the traveler, and I am the destination.