Having discussed the interplay of inspiration, free will and circumstance in the first portions of this series, Hazrat Inayat Khan here concludes with a look at the ultimate destiny of the human being. The previous post may be found here.
I am coming to a still deeper side of metaphysics. We shall find that God Himself, for His own experience, manifests and experiences life through all its aspects, and especially through man. For what is this whole manifestation? This is nothing but the sublime vision of Divine Being. And with all the beauty that one sees in manifestation, the greatest and the most important thing is the fulfillment of this whole creation, and that is to be found in man. And this object is only fulfilled when man has wakened to this part of his being which represents the Master; in other words God Himself. But as long as man is interested in borrowing all that is necessary for this mechanism, which he calls his mind and body, from the external world, he depends upon it and he lives in it.
And since this becomes his occupation, and this becomes his nourishment, this outer world, then he becomes mortal. In other words: the immortal being becomes mortal by borrowing all that he needs from the mortal world. The more he depends upon the external life, the more he forgets the inner life, and there comes a time when he entirely forgets that there can exist a life which is above, which is beyond this external life. We do not need to go very far to see the example of this, when we see just now the condition of the world. We see that, with all this progress, there is materialism every day on the increase, and all the suffering that humanity has gone through, and just now humanity is going through, has been caused by this ever-increasing materialism.
What man believes in is: in all that is external, that which he can touch, which he can see, which he can possess externally. In connection with him it may be said, quite contrary to what is said in the Bible*, that he lives and moves and makes his life with what is in the material world. And when a person will live like this, his eyes will keep closed to that part of mastery which needs blowing, and by that blowing it can be risen to a blaze which can lighten, which can illuminate the path of man’s life.
Therefore, the object of the Sufi Movement just now in this world, and its work, is only to waken in humanity the importance of that side of life which is much more important than the earth-side of life. The Sufi Message, therefore, is not a Message of a particular creed, it is the Message of understanding life better. And the question how can one attain to it, is to be answered that it is not one day’s work, or two days’ work. It is the work of a whole life – as every art and science is the same. If one says that, “In ten years I will accomplish learning music”, he does not know what music means. If a person says, “In ten years I will be a great poet”, he does not know what poetry means. A whole lifetime is not sufficient.
If these things are so difficult to attain, one cannot suppose to attain in one day the knowledge of the deeper side of life, and there are some enthusiastic persons who will talk enthusiasm one day and another day will run away, because they did not see something wonderful. When a person takes the spiritual path he must understand first that he has taken a path for eternity. If eternity he does not know, he should not take his first step, because he is not entitled to take his first step in the spiritual path. And the one who wants to seek that truth, he must not seek it superficially; for truth is not sought, it is discovered. For truth is not something that is to be attained or to be possessed; truth is the self of one’s own being, and it is one’s self that is to develop into truth.
Very often people think that sorrow or pain, that is the sign of spirituality. One must not mistake spirituality for sorrow or pain. Yes, in many cases sorrow or pain becomes a source or a process of quickly attaining spirituality, but for that one must not prescribe to oneself a sorrow or pain, for life has enough sorrow or pain. Why does man seek for happiness? Because in reality his real self is happiness. He has lost that self and therefore is unhappy. The greatest tragedy in life is helplessness, limitedness, and the idea is to rise above this limitation in every way possible. And this rising is climbing towards spiritual ideals from materialism. It is the summit of this spiritual ideal which must be climbed, and in the climbing there is the fulfillment of life’s promise.
*Acts 17:28 ‘For in Him we live and move and have our being.’