Social Gatheka Number 28
The aim of every individual in the end is the same; in
the beginning, the aim of every individual is different.
In the end, man comes to a stage when his object becomes
the object of his soul, and as long as he has not arrived
at this object, he has several objects before him. But the
accomplishment of any motive is not satisfactory for long.
According to the philosophy of the Hindus there are four
motives in life. One motive is what they call 'Dharma,'
which means 'duty.' There are some who consider that virtue
lies in performing their duty and when they perform that
particular duty, which is before them, they feel that that
is the due accomplishment of their life. But if one duty
is accomplished, another is waiting – life is full of duties.
When a girl is young she says, 'my mother, my father is
my duty.' Then a time comes when the pleasure of her husband
is her duty; and as time goes on there is the duty of the
mother towards the children. But even there it does not
end – there comes the duty of the grandmother. There is
no phase in life in which duty expires; it begins in one
form and goes on in another.
For the one who considers duty a pleasure, for him duty
is a pleasure; for him who considers it a virtue, it is
a virtue; but for one who considers duty a captivity or
a pain, for him it is a pain. For one person it becomes
a virtue, a privilege, for another a crime.
In the Hindu language there exists the word artha which
means the acquisition or collecting of wealth. It begins
with the need of daily bread and it culminates in millions
and is never finished. The more one has; the less one feels
one has. The attainment of wealth is never fully satisfactory
– there is always a lack.
And there comes a third motive which is 'pleasure'. For
this one neglects, one sacrifices – it is the main object
in life. But, at the same time, pleasure is such a thing
that this desire is never satisfied and the more one experiences
the pleasure of this earth, the more there comes the desire
to experience them. This pleasure is not lasting, and costs
more, usually, that it is worth.
And there is the fourth desire, which is of a different
character, and that is for a kind of reward in the hereafter;
for the attainment of a paradise; or reaching some bliss
which one does not know. It is a desire for some kind of
gain or happiness, bliss or exaltation; which one does not
know but hopes to experience one day. But even that, if
it were vouchsafed, would not be fully satisfactory. From this the Sufi deduces, that in all these four different
things that humanity is pursuing after, there is no stage
where he can say it is finished – it has no end. Therefore
his effort is to rise above these four different desires
that humanity has. The moment he rises above these four
desires, there comes only one desire, and that desire is
the search for truth. Not only Sufis but every person disappointed
in this world, who has been through a disillusionment, a
suffering or a torture, has this only desire.
The seeker after Truth goes out into the world and he
finds so many sects and so many different religions, he
does not know where to go. Then the desire is to find out
what is hidden under these sects, these different religions;
and therefore, he begins to seek that object which he wishes
to gain through wisdom. Wisdom is a veil over the Truth;
but Wisdom, even, cannot be called the Truth. God alone
is Truth and it is Truth that is God. And Truth can be neither
studied, nor taught, nor learned; it is to be touched; it
is to be realized; and it can be realized by the unfoldment
of the heart.
For a Sufi belief in God is not sufficient. A belief
which has no foundation underneath is just like a scrape
of paper floating in the air when there is no breeze it
will fall to the ground. How many in this world, with all
their belief, give it up when there is a strong influence
in their surroundings of one who does not believe? If belief
is such a thing which can be erased, then what use can this
belief be really speaking, it is not only belief; the next
step one takes after belief is the love of God. In the one
who only believes in God – in him, God is not living; who
loves God, God is living. But even that is not sufficient.
For what is human love? The human being is limited; his
love is limited.
The more one has seen in the world, the
more one knows of human nature, the more one knows of the
falsehood of human love. The one who cannot be constant
to a human being, who is near him, how can he be true in
his love for the Beloved, whom he as never seen? Therefore,
even what man calls Love of God is not sufficient. What
is necessary is the Knowledge of God. For it is the
Knowledge of God which gives the Love for
God and it is the Knowledge and Love of God
which gives a perfect Belief in God.
No one can have the knowledge of God and have no love for
God; but one can have a love for God and no knowledge of
God. No one can have the knowledge of God, love for God,
and no belief in God; but there can be someone who has a
belief in God, but no love for God.
Therefore, for a Sufi, these three stages are necessary
for the attainment of his aim in life. In the first place,
he attains, by his respect for the belief of others. A complete
believer is he, who does not only believe in himself, but
respects the beliefs of others. For a Sufi, in this world
there is no one, neither heathen nor pagan, who is to be
despised. For he believes in that God, who is not the God
of one chosen sect, but the God of the whole world. He does
not believe in a God of one nation, but of all nations.
To him God is in all the different houses where people worship
Him. Even if they stand in the street and pray, it makes
no difference to Him; that is the holy place – where he
is worshipped. The Sufi leaves sectarianism to the sects.
He has respect for all. He is not prejudiced against any
– does not despise any. He feels sympathy for all.
The idea of the Sufi is that the one who does not love
his fellow man cannot love God. He thinks, as Christ has
said, 'love your neighbor; love your enemy.' And what does
it mean? It means not, 'love him, because you consider him
as your enemy,' but 'love him, because in God you are related
to him.' If humanity had believed in this simple and most
valuable teaching, these wars would not have taken place.
Do you think that all this hatred that exists: one nation
against the other, one party against the other, there seems
to be a conflict everywhere, do you think that this would
have been, if this teaching had been followed? If the world
had believed in this teaching, all this would not have taken
place. Is it the work of political people, to bring this
home to men – or the work of commerce? No, it is the work
of the church, of religion. But as long as the religious
authorities will make of themselves a sect, and divide religion,
and look upon each other with prejudice; this truth, brought
by Christ, is not practices.
We must know that every change that takes place in the
multitude, in time comes among individuals. For instance,
if two nations are against one another, opposed to one another,
working to hurt one another, what will be the consequence?
The result will be, that in the nations, there will be parties
that will oppose each other; and then, there will come the
same opposition – in families; and you will see, that in
time, this spirit will be found in a family of two people
– two people living in one house and both in conflict with
each other. And where will it culminate? It will culminate
in every individual being in conflict with himself.
Where does the Sufi learn this? He learns it in the wisdom
of God. The man who does not recognize God in His Creation
never will recognize God in Heaven! It was all right for
those simple believers in God and Religion, who quietly
went to church and said their prayers, and came back with
a feeling of exaltation, and did not meddle with the world.
But not, the conditions have changed. Now there is a great
battle between Truth and Life. The illusion of matter is
in the fullness of the part it is performing in life. Therefore,
there is a greater battle that life is fighting with Truth
– than religion has ever had to fight. One one side science
cries: matter, matter, matter! On the other side politics
are crying: self, self, self-interest! The religions are
crying: sect, sect, sect! And where could man stop to think
of the ultimate Truth, which is the only thing that the
The Sufi Message, therefore, has its mission, not for
a particular race, nor for a particular nation, nor for
a particular church. It is the call to unite in Wisdom,
which is Sophia in the Greek words and which we call
The Sufi movement is a group of people, belonging to different
religions, who have not left their religions but have learned
to understand them better; and their love is in life, as
the love for God and humanity, instead of for a particular
section. The principle work, that the Sufi Movement has
to accomplish, is to bring about a better understanding
between East and West and between the nations and races
of this world.
And the note that the Sufi message is striking
at the present time is the note which sounds the divinity
of the human soul – to make human beings recognize the divinity
in the human soul. If there is any moral principle that
the Sufi Movement brings, it is this: that the whole humanity
is as one body; and any organ of that body, hurt or troubled,
can cause trouble to the whole body, indirectly. And as
the health of the whole body depends on the health of each
part, so the health of the whole humanity depends upon the
health of every nation. Besides this, to those who are awakening
and feel that now is the moment; when they feel inclined
to know about the deeper side of life, of truth; to them
the Order extends a helping hand; without asking to what
religion, sect, or dogma, they belong. The knowledge of
the Sufi is helpful to every person, not only in living
his life aright, but in his own religion. The Sufi Movement
does not call man away from his belief or church – it calls
man to live it. In short, it is a movement intended by God
to unite humanity in brotherhood, in Wisdom.