To attain to perfection, Hazrat Inayat Khan now tells us, we must go beyond religion and philosophy to discover the unword-able truth. The previous post in the series is here.
And now the question arises: how does one arrive at this perfection? Religion, philosophy, and mysticism will all help one, but it is by the actual attainment of this knowledge that one will arrive at this satisfaction.
Life can be pictured as a line with two ends. One end of the line is limitation, and the other end of the same line is perfection. As long as one is looking at the end which is limitation, however good, virtuous, righteous, or pious one is, one has not touched what may be called perfection. Are there not many believers in religion, in a God? There are many worshippers of a deity, and more among simple people than among the intellectuals and the educated. Do they all arrive at perfection before leaving this earth, by their belief in a deity or by their worship?
There are others who learn from books. I have known some people who had written perhaps fifty or a hundred books themselves, and had read maybe a whole library, yet they still remained standing in the same place where they were. As long as one’s face is not turned away from that end which is the end of limitation, and as long as one does not look towards that ideal of perfection which is the real Kaba or place of pilgrimage, one will not arrive at that perfection.
What keeps this perfection, which belongs to his own life, which is his own being, hidden from man? A screen put before it, and that screen is one’s self. The soul, conscious only of its limitation, of its possessions with which it identifies itself, forgets its own being and becomes so to speak the captive of its limitation. Religion or belief in God, worship, philosophy, and mysticism, all help one to attain this. But if one does not search for perfection through these, even they will only be an occupation, a pastime, and will not bring man to the right goal.
Is there any definition of this perfection? What sort of perfection is it? Can it be explained in any way? It is only perfection itself that can realize itself. It cannot be put into words, it cannot be explained. If anyone believes that truth can be given in words he is very much mistaken. It is just like putting sea-water into a bottle, and saying, here is the sea! Very often people ask, ‘But what is the truth? Can you explain it?’ Words cannot explain it. Often I thought it would be a good thing to write the word TRUTH on a brick, and give it into the hands of such a person, and say, ‘Hold it fast, here is the truth!’
To be continued…