THE AIM OF
I wish to speak on the same subject of which I spoke last evening. The reason is that when a subject is treated before a large public one cannot very well touch upon the intimate points. Therefore I ask your indulgence for some remarks which go rather into the details of the same subject. I had said that there are five aspects in which the appetite of the soul shows itself. Those aspects are the desire to live, the desire for knowledge, the desire for power, the desire for happiness and the desire for peace. One person perhaps shows one desire more than another person. Nevertheless, every person has these five aspects of the soul's appetite just the same.
If we study the desire to live profoundly we shall find that we cannot have a desire if it is not in our nature. If there is a desire there is an answer to it. The desire to live continually is a desire of the spiritual person as well as of the material person. A spiritual person will perhaps hope for the next life and a material person is pessimistic against his own desire, but the desire is there all the same. How does one attain to this continuity of life? It does not only depend upon a belief although belief helps a person to the realization of that experience. When there is no belief a person does not find the way. Nevertheless, the continuity of life is possible logically because every person desires to live. It is natural that no one will desire what is not possible. A natural desire has its possibility there already. If there were no possibility one would not desire. In saying this I do not speak about a mad person. Such a person can desire anything. But a person with reason will only desire what is possible to accomplish.
The secret of this question can be found by analysing oneself. By studying the self one will find that one's body is only a cover over one's real self. But by a still more profound study one will find that even one's mind is a cover over one's real self. As soon as one finds this out, one will become independent of the body to live. Also one will become independent of the mind to live. "But", one might ask, "if there is no body, then what is life"? One asks this because man has limited himself by experiencing life through the body and has not tried to experience life without its help. When man is not conscious of his body, then he is conscious of his mind. When his eyes are open he is looking at things before him. When his mind is closed then he is pondering upon what his mind has gained. In both cases he is dependent either upon his body or upon his mind to experience that he is living. This dependence makes the soul limited. It does not only limit it but it mortalises the soul. I do not mean by this that the soul is mortal, but even for the soul to believe in mortality is like being mortal.
Now there is the question of the desire for power. Man desires power because it is natural for him to gain. Somewhere the power is hidden in him, he cannot help it. Man is powerless, in spite of that power which is hidden in him. The powerlessness, the experience of being powerless is his ignorance of the power which is in him. In order to open the doors, in order to see the power he has in store it is necessary to seek the kingdom of God as it is said in the Bible. Because then he will find his divine heritage which is all power.
Next comes the desire for knowledge. In order to acquire that knowledge which cannot be studied one must try to meditate and to dive into the sea of knowledge. It is by diving deep into the water that one gets that knowledge which cannot be taught by study. In this way one divides two aspects of knowledge, one aspect is intellect, the other is wisdom. Therefore a wise man is not a clever man nor a clever man a wise man.
Coming to the explanation of happiness, happiness comes by digging deep into our own heart. It is a great mistake to look for happiness in the outside world. The true happiness is our own self, our deepest self. The more conscious we become of our real self, the more true happiness comes from that.
Coming to the desire for peace, what happens is that in order to get peace we always blame the other person who walks upon our nerves. But true peace can only come by being so firm against all influences around us that nothing can disturb us.
Question: Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?
Answer. Well, my whole lecture has been on that subject.
Question: On which basis is your belief in the immortality of the soul founded?
Answer. There cannot be a better basis than one's own realization.
Question: I do believe but I want to be fortified in my ideas. I would like to get a reason for the immortality of the soul.
Answer. All the religions of the world support this idea. Therefore for a believer there is everything to support it.
Question: Is there any instruction in Sufism that can fortify that belief?
Answer: Yes, our whole instruction is to realize this, not only to fortify it. Our work, the work of the Sufi philosophy is not only to strengthen a person's belief but to make his belief his conviction. Therefore we do not teach people any belief.
Question: Murshid, how do you propose to realize the knowledge of oneself?
Answer. There are four ways by which one comes to the realization of self-knowledge. By the way of knowledge, by the way of good action, by the way of meditation and by the way of devotion, whatever be the temperament. When one of these four ways is near to your nature, walk on that path and in the end you will find the answer of your soul.
Question: Meditation is the principal I think; the other three are interesting but please give an explanation of the fourth.
Answer: Devotion is the original nature of man. As the Bible says, "God is love", so the person in whom there is love there is God.
Question: If an atheist has devotion, love, how can one reconcile that?
Answer: He cannot be any longer an atheist when he has devotion or love, because that love-principle in its development will make him believe, if not in God, then in a person he loves. If a person truly loves one person, he must in the end love all persons. When a person says, "I love one person but I hate another person", he does not yet know what love is. For love is not limited, it is divine and unlimited. By opening the love-element in oneself one opens a divine element in oneself. When the divine fountain begins to rise from the heart, then all realizations which are divine must rise as a fountain. The great saints, who had love even for the smallest insect and living being, had divine realization without great study or meditation. Only their love taught them so.
Question: How to conceive this divine element?
Answer: Love is divine from its beginning in all its aspects. The great poet of Persia, Rumi, says, "Whether you love a person or whether you love God, if you journey all through the way of love, in the end you will arrive in the presence of the Sovereign of love".
Question: Is the realization of the knowledge of oneself the realization of the spirit or of the soul?
Answer: Self is the soul. Therefore it is the realization of the soul as well as of the body and mind, of the whole being. Even in the realization of the self God-realization comes.
Question: Everyone in life has to have an object, everyone has to find his way and in finding one's way one must put all one's intelligence. Is there a means of finding one's way in life?
Answer: Yes, if one lives a straight life, a natural life intuitively one finds the straight way to go. Beside that, when a person has got his object, which is for him, then he feels himself, he feels at home. Then he feels that everything helps him, he feels hopeful and courageous.
Question: Is there a means to find the object? I have not yet found an object in life.
Answer: One must develop intuition.
Question: How can one develop intuition in somebody who does not possess it?
Answer: Self-confidence. A person must be ready to risk mistakes because he may not always have the right intuition; if he disbelieves the intuition, then he will not have it at all.
Question: Then it is a great risk?
Answer: Nothing is attained without risk. When people say that in something there is a risk, I often tell them that in not taking a risk there is a greater risk still.
Question: Is intuition superior to intelligence?
Answer: Superiority and inferiority are relative terms. Of course, intuition sometimes comes from a deeper source than intellect. By intelligence is meant the capacity of knowing and by intellect what one knows. Intelligence is the capacity, intellect the knowledge. Intelligence is a pure substance, something most pure. Therefore intelligence is the divine substance that one can trace in oneself. If there is any sign of the soul in a person, it is the intelligence. Therefore the more intelligent a person is, the more brilliant a soul that person has. By this I do not mean that an intellectual person has no intelligence.
Question: Is the will not nearest to divinity?
Answer: Yes, if I were to give a definition of will I would call it love. "I will to do it" means "I love to do it", it is poetic.
Question: I have done many things which I did not like to do.
Answer: In that case a person does not will to do them. Then he is a machine, there is no will. When a person wills to do then he loves to do. For me willpower and love-power are one thing.
Question: Is doing what one does not like to do still a way of developing one's will?
Answer. Yes, we develop our power by doing it. We develop power over a part of ourselves which is unwilling. That only means that one part of ourselves does not love to do something which another part of our self loves to do. And therefore we call the part which conquers: the will.
Question: If I give good for bad, the first impulse is not to do it.
Answer. I would call it love, love in the form of forgiveness, of tolerance. If you are not willing to do it, it is another thing. I would rather have a man not practise a certain virtue than to practise it without love. Practising it unwillingly is not good. For instance, someone visits you and upon leaving asks to borrow your raincoat. You say, "all right", but as it happens you have to go out also. Suppose you then say, "What a nasty man, he took my raincoat". I would have preferred you not to have given it but to have said, "I am very sorry, I cannot give it, sir"!
Every good action only has its virtue if it comes by our love. If not, it is a dead action, it is not living.
Question: Does the Sufi philosophy in its essence believe in reincarnation?
Answer: The philosophy of the Sufis does not give any belief and does not oppose any belief. It interprets to its best ability every belief as favourably as its followers do. For instance, if a person asks a Sufi a question about Buddhism, Brahmanism or the Christian religion, the Sufi stands for that person as the lawyer would stand in the tribunal, giving his argument before the law. But Sufism does not give any belief as its own belief. That is why one Sufi perhaps believes in one doctrine and another does not understand that just now. In order to become a Sufi it is not necessary to have this or that belief, this or that doctrine. The Sufi only helps one to rise above things and to look at life from a higher point of view. Sufism follows exactly the idea written in the Bible, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you". Instead of troubling about beliefs the Sufi first goes straight to that central idea and when he stands there he sees the truth of all things. It is the mystery of life that whenever he takes the divine lantern in hand all things become clear. Sufism gives freedom to every adept to believe for himself and to find out things for himself.
Now I wish to say one word and that is that our life's greatest need is God. To our great disappointment we find that this very ideal is lost. Whether it is a spiritual gain or a material gain, all inspiration and power is in the love of God, in the knowledge of God and in the realization of the self and God.