In this instalment, to conclude his thoughts on the aim of life Hazrat Inayat Khan re-emphasizes the need for each person to seek their own goal, and in the final lines points us toward the spiritual ideal in whatever way we may recognise it. The previous post in the series may be found here.
The greatest responsibility we have in life is to find out our own path, our own object in life, instead of bothering about others. Suppose a person has a better object in life, if he happens to be our friend, we need not pull him back. If a person has what seems to be a worse object, let him have it – we need not pull him towards us. If it seems to us at the moment a wrong object, never mind; even from a wrong object, perhaps, he has his lesson to learn. We learn in life much by our faults and mistakes. If a person falls, he learns by his fall. If a person has thought of an object wrongly, if the object is followed sincerely, surely in the end he must arrive at the goal towards which the soul directs every individual.
One thing must be understood. It is that as a rule man shows childishness in his nature. That childishness is dependence. He wants another person to tell him what is his object in life, what is good. In the first place, another person has no right to tell him. And if, by chance, that person happens to be his father, mother, or teacher, then the first duty of that person must be to awaken in him the spirit of realizing what is his life’s aim, instead of telling him, “This is your life’s aim,” for the soul is free. Jelaluddin Rumi says, “The soul is imprisoned in the mortal body, and its constant aim is to be free and to experience that liberty which is its very nature.” And as long as a person in the position of a father, or mother, or teacher, or guardian has not understood this one principle, that every soul must be free to choose, he really does not understand how to help another.
Besides the childish nature, there is another fault in human nature. It seems a natural fault, no doubt. Man generally does not know what is the matter with him. If you ask a physician he will tell you that out of a hundred patients, hardly one knows what is the matter with him. They leave it to the physician to find it out, which is an impossible thing. No other person can know one’s own want, pain, ambition, desire, one’s constant longing. The work of one who helps, advises, guides another must be to make that person capable of knowing himself. A thorough physician will make that person capable of telling, of perceiving, of realizing what is really the matter with him. As long as man has not fully realized what is the matter, he cannot be really helped.
And finally, what does this subject teach and suggest to us? That we must cultivate in ourselves that sense which can realize our need, our trouble, our work, our aim. No doubt the different objects, whether they be good or seem bad, are passing objects. The true object is the one object and goal of all souls, whether they be good or seem to be evil, whether they be wise or seem to be foolish; there is that inward longing and the soul’s impulse towards the one single goal, the achievement of the spiritual ideal. A Hindu poet says, “There is nothing in the world which will satisfy you perfectly, although there are things which will satisfy you momentarily.” Therefore the perfect satisfaction, or the final satisfaction, remains always dependent upon the spiritual ideal. And what does it matter by which name it is called, whether God or Bhagwan? He is the one Spirit, by Whom and in Whom we live and move.
And if we take that spiritual ideal as our recognized aim, that ideal will help us in all our wants and needs and all our troubles, and at the same time it is that ideal that will raise us from the denseness which at times keeps one bound. It does not matter by what way the soul is progressing, whether by devotion, by religion, or by another way; as long as that spiritual ideal is before us, we have really that port before us to which all boats go, that peace, constant happiness, that Friend never separated, that Father, always a Father here and in the hereafter, that Mother, the Mother of all humanity, that Ideal of perfect beauty. And keeping that ideal before us, that in our heart that ideal may be reflected, is really the best method of accomplishing the real object of human life.