In this instalment of our series, Hazrat Inayat Khan focuses on the words ‘Alpha and Omega,’ which teach us that the Messenger is ever-present. The previous post in the series is here.
Spiritual means spirit-conscious. There is a line of a song, ‘The night has a thousand eyes, the day but one.’ When a person is living in his mind, he is living through the darkness of the night. The moment he rises above his mind and awakens in the light of the soul, he becomes spiritual. And if a thousand spiritual people speak, they will say the same thing, perhaps in different words but with only one meaning, for they have one and the same vision. This is why spiritual realization is called the truth. There are many facts but only one truth. The facts can be put into words, but not the truth, for God is truth, the soul is truth, the real self of man is truth. Since truth is unlimited and incomparable, it alone knows, enjoys, and realizes its own existence.
The key to the secret of the messenger is given in the Bible, but very few will ponder upon it and reason it out for themselves. The key is in the words, ‘I am Alpha and Omega’, ‘I am the first and the last.’ Can that mean, ‘I came only for a time, and then I was called Jesus, and only then did I give a message; I spoke neither before nor after that time’? Alpha and Omega means first and last: always and continually present, never absent from the beginning of creation to the end.
A question arises in the enquiring mind: who may this Alpha and Omega be? What was he before Jesus Christ? What would he be after the time of Jesus Christ? For those who put the water of the ocean in a pitcher, that water is from the ocean; but really only the ocean is the ocean. When those of various creeds, who have different dogmas and forms of worship, say that only this or that is the teaching of Christ, it may be partly true; but it is not all the teaching of Christ. It is as true as saying, ‘This is the ocean’, if one brought some water from the ocean in a pitcher.
This shows that there was a personality called Jesus Christ who brought the message; it was the personality that was Jesus. This is the secret of that Alpha and Omega spirit of Christ. If one could only see that spirit hidden behind different personalities, one would be constantly in the vision of Christ.
As many souls as there are in the world, so many are their fancies and their fantasies. Many look favorably at a certain teacher, but as many do not, and there has never been one teacher in the world whom everyone regarded with favor. Praise cannot exist without blame, for nothing has existence without its opposite, just as pleasure cannot exist without pain. No one can be great and not small; no one can be loved and not hated. There is no one who is hated by all and not loved by someone; there is always someone to love him.
If one would realize that the world of God, His splendor and magnificence, are to be seen in the wise and the foolish, in the good and the bad, then one would think tolerantly and reverently of all mankind, knowing that it represents the messenger, as the messenger represents God. For no one has seen God at any time, but if there is anyone who represents God, it is the man who speaks His word. God is seen in the one who glorifies Him.
But if our hearts are closed, even if we wait for a thousand years for the messenger to show himself, we shall never find him. For he who is always there has said, ‘I am Alpha and Omega. I exist every moment. When you call me, I am there. Knock at the door, and I will answer you.’ And those whose eyes are open do not need to go to a church and look at a picture or statue of the Lord. In the eyes of every infant, in the smile of every innocent child, they receive the blessing of Christ.
It only means changing one’s outlook on life, and recognizing the divine in man. But man has ignored the divine spirit that manifests in humanity, and always prefers an idol, a painting, a picture, to the living God Who is constantly before him. For the sage, the seer, the saint, and the yogi who begin to see the Master, and see him living, there is no place where he cannot be seen. Then, everywhere the beloved master is ready to answer the cry of the soul, the answer coming from friend, father or teacher. And if we go a little further forward, we will find that the teacher speaks aloud, not only through living beings, but through nature. If the eyes and ears are open, the leaves of the trees become as pages of the Bible. If the heart is alive, the whole life becomes one single vision of His sublime beauty, speaking to us at every moment.
To be continued…