Man the Seed of God (1)
There are various ideas and beliefs as to the relation between God and man, and it is natural that there should be various beliefs, for every man has his own conception -his own conception of God. There is no comparison between God and man. The reason is that man, being limited, can be compared with another being; God, being perfect, is beyond comparison. The prophets and masters in all ages have tried their best to give man some idea of God's Being, but this has always been difficult, for it is impossible to define God in words; it is like trying to put the ocean into a bottle. However large a bottle, it can never accommodate the ocean. The words that we use in our everyday language are the names of limited forms, and for our convenience we give a name to God - the one who is above name and form. If there is any possibility of understanding God and His Being -it is only possible by finding the relation between man and God.
Why is this lecture called "Man the seed of God"? Because it is this picture which gives to some extent that idea of the relationship which exists between man and God. There is a root, there is a stem, there are branches and there are leaves - there comes a flower. But in the heart of the flower there is something which tells the history of the whole plant. One might say that it is for the flower that the plant was purposed, but really speaking it is the seed coming into the heart of the flower which continues the species of the plant. It is that seed which is the secret of the plant, which is the source and the goal of that plant. It is that seed which was the beginning; it is from out of that seed that the root came, that the seedling came out -and so it became a plant. Then that seed disappeared, but after the coming of the leaves and branches and the flowers it appeared again. It appeared again -not as one seed but as several seeds, in multiplicity, and yet it is the same, and it is this seed which told us the story that first was the seed, and then the whole plant appeared. Towards what goal? For what result? In order to come again as the result of the whole plant.
The man of simple belief, the man who believes only in his particular idea -for him there is no relation between God and man. But the man who wishes to understand the relation between man and God - for him the proof of this argument is to be found in everything. It is this idea which is spoken of in the Bible in the words where it is said, "In Our image We have created man". If the seed out of which the plant came and which appeared in the result had said, "Out of my own image I have created the seed which will come forth from the heart of the flower", it would have been the same thing. Only that seed out of which the plant came could have said, "I shall appear in plurality, although in the beginning I am one grain.
It is this idea again which tells us the reason why it is said, "We have created man in Our image ", when the whole of manifestation, the whole of creation has come from God. The leaf, the branch, the stem - all have come out of the seed, but they are not the image of the seed. The image of the seed is the seed itself; and not only this, but the essence of the seed is in the seed. No doubt there is some energy, some power, some colour, some fragrance in the flower, in the leaves and in the stem, but at the same time all properties that are in the stem, flower, petal and leaves are to be found in the grain. This shows us the result: that man is the culmination of the whole creation, and in him the whole universe is manifested. The mineral kingdom, the vegetable kingdom, the animal kingdom are all to be found in the being, in the spirit of man. It not only means that the different properties such as mineral and vegetable are to be found in the physical body that is made for man, but also his mind and his heart show all the different qualities.
The heart is just like a fertile soil or a barren desert: it shows love or lack of love, the productive faculty or destructiveness. There are different kinds of stones; there are precious stones and there are pebbles and rocks, and so among human hearts there is a still greater variety. Think of those whose thoughts, whose feelings have proved to be more precious than anything the world can offer: the poets, the artists, the inventors, the thinkers, the philosophers, and then the servants of humanity, the inspirers of man, the benefactors of mankind. No wealth, no precious stone, whether diamond or ruby, can be compared with these, and yet it is the same quality. Then there are rocklike hearts: one may knock against them and break oneself - yet they will not move. There is a wax-like quality in the heart and there is the quality of the stone; there are melting hearts, and hearts which will never melt.
Is there anything in nature which is not to be found in man? Has he not in his feelings, in his thoughts, in his qualities the picture of running water, a picture of a ,fertile soil and a picture of fruitful trees? Is there not in the heart of man the picture of plants, of fragrant flowers? The flowers that come from the human heart live longer, their fragrance will spread throughout the whole world, and their colour will be seen by all people. How delicious are the fruits that human hearts can bear; they immortalize souls and lift them up!
There are other mentalities wherein nothing springs up except the desire to hurt and harm their fellow-men, thus producing the fruits and flowers of poison, hurting others by thought, speech or action - and they can hurt more than thorns. There are some whose feelings, whose thoughts are like gold and silver and there are others whose thoughts are just like iron and steel. The variety that one can see in human nature is so vast that all the objects one can get from this earth are too small in number if compared with it.
Does man show in his nature, in his qualities, in his body, in his thought and feeling only the heritage of this earth? No, he also shows that of heaven. Man has the influence of the planets, he has the influences of the moon, of the sun, of heat and cold, of air, water and fire: of all the different elements which make this whole cosmic system. All these elements are to be found in his thoughts, in his feelings, in his body. One can find a person with warmth, representing fire; another person is cold, he represents water. There are human beings who in their thought, in their feeling represent the air element; their quickness, their restlessness show the air element in them.
Does not man represent the sun and moon in his positive and negative character, and does not duality of sex show this? Not only this, but in every man and in every woman there is the sun quality and there is the moon quality, and it is these two opposite qualities which give balance to the character of man. When one quality is most predominant, and the other not to be found, then balance is lacking somewhere.
If one goes still further in the thought of mysticism one will find that not only all the visible manifestation is to be found in man, but also all that is invisible. If angels or fairies or ghosts or elementals - anything that man has imagined - can be found anywhere, it is in human nature. In all times one finds pictures of angels in the image of man.
If all that exists in the world and in heaven is to be found in man, then what remains? God Himself has said in the scriptures, "I have made man in My own image". In other words, "If you wish to see Me, I am to be found in man". How thoughtless on the part of the one who, absorbed in his high ideals, begins to condemn man, to look down upon man, however low and weak and a sinner man may be! Since in man there is the possibility of rising so high as nothing else in the whole manifestation can rise - whether something on the earth or any being in heaven -none can reach that height which man is meant to reach. What point of view, therefore, had the mystics, the thinkers of all ages? One can see their point of view in their manner: a respectful attitude to all men. In the example of the life of Jesus Christ, the master of mankind - what compassion one can see when a sinner was brought before him, someone who had done wrong -what forgiveness the master showed! There was tolerance, there was understanding. A man can be called religious or pious, but he cannot be called truly spiritual or wise when he has contempt towards his fellow-man, whatever be his condition.
The man who has no respect for mankind, has no worshipful attitude towards God -- he may be the most religious person. The man who has not recognized the image of God in man, has not seen the Artist who has made this creation; he has deprived himself of this vision which is sacred and most holy. A person who thinks that man is earthly does not know where his soul comes from. The soul comes from above; it is in the soul of man that God is reflected. The man who has hatred, contempt, whatever be his belief, faith, or religion, has not understood the secret of all religions which is in the heart of man. And certainly, however good a person, however virtuous he may be, if at the same time he has no tolerance, no forgiveness, if he does not recognize God in man, he has not touched religion.
No doubt there is another side to the question. As man evolves, so he finds the limitations, the errors and the infirmities of human nature, and so it becomes difficult for him to live in the world and to withstand all that comes. Also it becomes very difficult for man to be fine, to be good, to be kind, to be sensitive, and at the same time to be tolerant. What then comes as a tendency is to push away everything, and to find oneself away from everybody and every being. But the purpose of being born on earth is different. The purpose of being born on earth is to find that perfection which is within oneself. And however good and kind a man may be, if he has not found the purpose for which he is born on earth, he has not fulfilled the object of his life.
There are as many different aspects of that purpose as there are people in the world, but behind all these different aspects there is one purpose. It is that purpose which may be called the purpose of the whole creation. That purpose is accomplished when the inventor looks at his invention working. When the great architect builds the house which he has designed, and enters it and sees how nicely it is achieved, the purpose is accomplished. When a producer of a play has produced the play he desired and looks at it, that is the purpose.
Every man seems to have his purpose, but this purpose is nothing but a step to that which is the one purpose, which is the purpose of God. Our small desires, if they are granted today, to-morrow we will have another wish. Whatever be the desire, when it is granted, next day there is another desire. This shows that the whole of humanity, that every soul, is directed towards one desire, and that is the object of God: a fuller experience of life within and without, a fuller knowledge of life, the life above and below. It is the widening of the outlook: that it may be so wide that in the soul, which is vaster than the world, all may be reflected; that the sight may become so keen that it may probe the depths of the earth and the highest of the heavens. It is herein that lies the fulfilment of the soul. And the soul who will not make every effort possible, with every sacrifice for the attainment of this, that soul has not understood religion. What is the Sufi message? It is esoteric training, working and practising through life towards that attainment which is as the fulfilment of the object of God.