Having recounted a brief moment from the tale of Layla and Majnun, Hazrat Inayat Khan now gives another story, and continues with his explanation of our journey to the Perfect.
There is another story told about a house-wife who was preparing a great feast. When her husband came home he said: ‘My good wife, why have you prepared a feast? Is it a birthday? What is it?’ She said, ‘It is more than a birthday, it is a great day for me.’ But he insisted, ‘What is it?’ She replied, ‘My husband, I never thought that you believed in God.’ He asked, ‘And how did you find out?’ She said, ‘While turning over in sleep you uttered the name of God, and I am so thankful.’ He said, ‘Alas. That which was so sacred and secret in my heart has today been revealed. I can no longer sustain it and live.’ And he dropped down dead. His conception of God was too sacred for him.
There is outer expression and inner expression, and we do not always know which is which. We may think many people are far removed from the God-ideal while they are much nearer to God than ourselves. It is difficult for anyone to judge who is near to God and who is not. It is difficult to know even in our own lives what pleases our friend and what does not please him. The more conscientious we are in wanting to please our friend, the more we find how difficult it is to know what will please him and what will not. Not everyone knows it, but then the light of friendship has not been kindled in everyone. Sometimes it remains a word in the dictionary. One who has learned friendship has learned religion. The one who has learned friendship has attained spiritual knowledge. The one who has learned friendship need learn very little else. Morals in Persian are called friendship.
When we cannot understand the pleasure and displeasure of our own friends in this world, how can we understand the pleasure and displeasure of God? Who on earth can say that God is pleased with this or that? No one could ever have the power of making rules and laws, saying God is pleased with this or displeased with that.
Another aspect of religion is the aspect of the teacher. For instance, Christ. There are those who see divinity in Christ. They say, ‘Christ was God, Christ is divine.’ And there are others who say, ‘Christ was a man, one like all of us.’ When we come to look at this question, we see that the man who says, ‘Christ is divine’ is not wrong. If there is any divinity shown, it is in man. And the one who says, ‘Christ was a man’ is not wrong either. In the garb of man Christ manifested. Those who do not want Christ to be a man, drag down the greatness and sacredness of the human being by their argument by saying that man is made of sin, and by separating Christ from humanity. But there is nothing wrong in calling Christ God or divine. It is in man that divine perfection is to be seen. It is in man that divinity is manifested. There are Christ’s own words, ‘I am Alpha and Omega.’ Many close their eyes to this, but the one who said, ‘I am Alpha and Omega’ existed also before the coming of Jesus, and the one who says, ‘first and last,’ must exist also after Jesus.
In the words of Christ there is the idea of perfection. He identified himself with that spirit of which he was conscious. Christ was not conscious of his human part but of his perfect being when he said, ‘I am Alpha and Omega.’ He did not identify himself here with his being known as Jesus. He identified himself with that spirit of perfection which lived before Jesus and will continue to live to the end of the world, for eternity. If this is so, then what does it matter if some say, ‘Buddha inspired us,’ and millions are inspired by Buddha? It is only a difference of name. It is all Alpha and Omega. If others say Moses, or Muhammad, or Krishna, what difference does it make? Where did the inspiration come from? Was it not from one and the same spirit? Was it not the same Alpha and Omega of which Jesus Christ was conscious? Whoever gives the message to the world, whatever illuminated human beings have raised thousands and millions of people in the world, they cannot but be that same Christ whom the one calls by this name and the other by another name. Yet human ignorance always causes wars and disasters on account of different religions, different communities, because of the importance they give to their own conception, their own corrupted conception which differs from another. Even now, on the one hand there is materialism and on the other there is bigotry. What is necessary today is to find the first and last religion, to come to the message of Christ to divine wisdom, so that we may recognize wisdom in all its different forms, in whatever form it has been given to humanity. It does not matter if it is Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism. It is one wisdom, that call of the Spirit, which awakens man to rise above limitation and to reach perfection.
To be continued…