Hazrat Inayat : Illusion and Reality pt II

Hazrat Inayat Khan continues his discussion of the need to turn from the false to the true. The previous post is here.

If we call the appearance of what is changeable and what is subject to destruction a reality, then what is illusion, why do we have this word? This word denotes something which is not dependable, which is not constant. We use the words ‘false’ and ‘true’ according to our conception of things. For instance gold metal is called gold, and its imitation is called imitation gold. At the first glance both are the same; it is only by observing them more keenly that we distinguish between gold and its imitation. It is the stability of gold, which makes us call it real; we call it real because it is stable. It is the same when one says that a friendship is real. What is stable is real, what fades away is false. And when we look in this way at the whole of manifestation we see illusion in all things; if there is a reality to be found, it is at the bottom of it all. The illusion is the cover, and reality is the depths of all things. It is just like body and soul: the body is an illusion, the soul a reality. It is the same with the flower and its fragrance: the flower is an illusion, but the fragrance is a reality: it stays as a spirit, it lives.

The longer a thing lives, the greater reality it shows, and yet that which can truly be called reality is still deeper. In our everyday language we use the word reality, but to know what reality is, is a different thing; for to know reality is to know all that is to be known. This knowledge is acquired by finding that one reality which is beyond all things. It is the search for reality which is the true education, the real knowledge, and the learning which is really worthwhile. To appreciate this reality, to admire it, to love it, brings us nearer and nearer towards the goal, which is reality itself.

When we begin to realize that our wish, our desire, the object of our love, and all the we pursue throughout life are illusion, and that we are in pursuit of this illusion day and night, we feel disappointed. We often wonder what there is that can be called reality if all we know, see, and feel is illusion. Not everybody thinks about it in his daily life; but to the wise this thought comes naturally and engages him in the search for reality. In olden times it was the task of religion to awaken the world to reality; but unfortunately today, in the absence of religion, the modern education system awakens interest in all that is illusion instead of promoting the search for reality. Nevertheless, we cannot run away from reality. It draws us, it attracts us. Even through our interest in science, literature, philosophy, art and psychology we are unconsciously searching for reality. But looking for reality in illusions is like trying to see the moon on the earth. People want to see the face of reality with the eyes of illusion, and with the ears of illusion they want to hear its voice. But it is the reality in themselves that finds reality.

There is some purpose in this manifestation which is illusion. If there were no illusion, then reality could not be found, for everything is revealed by its contrast, even reality. We look for reality when we discover illusion; if we had never known illusion we would never have known reality. Reality finds itself.

To be continued…

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