Concluding his lecture about guidance, begun here, Hazrat Inayat Khan moves from the theme of the spiritual government of the world to a subtle but very helpful explanation of the ways in which the idea of God is seen by believers and unbelievers. In his conclusion he shows how the Sufi brings the strands of idealisation and analysis together.
The Sufi, by being in at-one-ment with the spiritual hierarchy, has considered that belief in Christ is belief in Moses, and in believing in Muhammad he believes in Christ, for one is the successor of the other. But not believing in the successor for the sake of the predecessor is to him a disregarding of the law of hierarchy for one’s personal fancy, which neither pleases the predecessor nor satisfies the successor. No king would like it that for love of him his people should reject his successor.
A keen study of the spiritual government will show to a seer that before the coming of Christ there existed saints and holy beings among the Jews. But after the coming of the Master, the saints of remarkable character were found among Christians. After the coming of Muhammad, a just seeker of truth will without doubt confess that there have been saints in Islam of all grades active among the spiritual government. When people asked Muhammad, “O Prophet, there are still many who have not yet recognized you and your message, waiting for some other master to come,” the Prophet said, “Let them wait, but if any ever came, it will be from among us.”
The idea of God is understood in two ways – God idealized and God analyzed. The former makes a person a believer and the latter makes him an unbeliever. Yet there are two classes of believers and two of unbelievers. Among the believers are: 1) the idealizing believer; 2) the realizing believer. Among the unbelievers are: 1) unbelievers from the lack of idealization; 2) unbelievers from the lack of realization.
The believer who idealizes, believes in God so long as his intelligence is not sufficiently developed, as development of the intelligence dims the idealized belief. A lover would love a beauty as long as its faults are unmanifested, but on closer contact the defects of the beloved become manifest, and thus would dim the love of the lover. But the believer who realizes is one who acts as an extraordinary lover, who, not depending upon the beauty of the beloved, creates the beauty from his loving heart and thus beautifies the vision of the beloved in his view.
One generally finds people who are less responsive to nature’s beauty and less sympathetic, who are prone to criticize rather than to admire. They develop, with age, a non-venerating tendency, and it becomes intolerable for them to see any being in a more exalted position than they are themselves. This in time increases, so that they cannot even bear to believe that there exists any being such as God. Another unbeliever is a person who is born with reason and logic, and who believes in ideas so far as the objective world may prove their identity to his view. In his advancement of intelligence he may arrive at last to a perfect thought; he may realize the changeability of nature and the essence of all as being one and the same. He may even realize that there is an immortal life behind the scene of the visible world. Still, the lack of idealization does not make him believe in the identity of God as an object of worship.
The Sufi – by his experience of idealizing as well as analyzing – becomes balanced. He does not by his analyzing stand against the numberless creatures who have believed in God since ages, but his analysis of God he calls Sufism, the knowledge of purity. He never claims that he is God, neither does he feel that he is a separate identity from Him. His veneration is for the harmony of the world and for the sweetness of personality, and his analysis is to realize the truth of nature and things as they ought to be. His idealization is for love, harmony and beauty, and his analysis is for illumination. He bows before God, not considering Him as a separate Supreme Being, but the Sufi’s homage is to the consciousness, the unmanifested God within, who watches this temporary manifestation which exists for today but tomorrow will be no more. The Sufi, by his bow, trains the world by showing them the right path. At the same time he purifies consciousness from its delusions. The Sufi, by repeating the name of Allah, kindles the fire of his heart that all aspects of the Beloved – God in the manifestation – either good or bad, are beautified, at least for his view. Thus he creates Heaven within himself.
God bless you.