Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan
Religion in the East is not made into a thing apart from one's life, as in the West where business, profession, and other things on the one side of life, and going to church one day in the week on the other side, together constitute religion, with a prayer before going to rest. But, strictly speaking, life is religion. When one has that ideal before one with whatever occupation one is concerned, business, industry, domestic life, or whatever it is, one carries it out, trying to be worthy of it, that is religion.
In the Hindu language, the same word, Dharma, means both duty and religion. Both are expressed by one word. 'This is your Dharma' means: 'This is your faith.' How beautiful the thought is! Whatever kind of duty it is, so long as you have an ideal before you and are performing that duty, you are walking in the path of religion.
We, with our narrowness of faith or belief, accuse others of belonging to another religion, another chapel or church. We say, 'This temple is better, that faith is better.' The whole world has kept on fighting and devastating itself just because it can not understand that each form of religion is peculiar to itself. Therefore, the ideal life is in following one's own ideal. It is not in checking other people's ideals. If a certain thing is one's ideal, that does not mean that another person will agree that it is best to offer prayers ten times a day. He may be doing better by following his religion in his shop than by going to a mosque and offering up a prayer twenty times a day. Perhaps somebody with that ideal cannot see that the other person's way is an ideal also. Leave everyone to follow his own ideal. ...
We see now that it is all a matter of his ideal whether a man differs from his neighbor, whether he is heavenly or earthly, as high as the Devas, the heavenly beings, or as low as the demons. His ideal makes him as high as the one, or as low as the demons. The greatness of man lies in the greatness of his ideal.
~~~ The perfect life is following one's own ideal, not in checking those of others; leave everyone to follow his own ideal.