At the conclusion of the first instalment of this series, Hazrat Inayat Khan recounts the well-known tale of the blind men examining the elephant to teach something about religious differences, a thought which he concludes here.
Religion is the help to realize the truth, whereas it is made into the truth by people who do not see that the means to attain an object is not the very object itself, that the path cannot be the goal; the goal is further still. The path is the means of reaching the goal. But when people argue over the path they take, and dispute over the differences, when can they reach the real realization? Life is an opportunity, and this material frame is the means which enables the soul to come to a realization of the ultimate truth. If one does not make use of this frame – that is, the human body – for the purpose for which it was created, then whatever one attains by living on this earth will only be an utter disappointment in the end, because that is not reached which the soul has always longed for and searched after. If there be an object to be really called the real object of every soul, it is just this very “seeking after truth.”
Although one cannot explain and point out the truth, at the same time even a faint shadow of the truth makes it appeal to human nature. Think what effect sincerity has upon mankind. The personality of a sincere person, so to speak, emits a fragrance which one can feel, assuring you that “here is a sincere person.” His reliance can give you ease. What is the explanation? It is that we have in him not the ultimate truth, but a shadow of the truth.
Think, too, of what an honest person brings you – the sense of confidence, the desire to trust. It draws out from you yourself something in your nature, namely, the readiness to trust, the willingness to give someone confidence. What an ease then comes into one’s nature, and that is just a little glimpse of “truth.”
That which we call real or imitation simply in regard to objects, for instance real gold compared with imitation gold, a really precious stone compared with an imitation one – think of the difference one experiences in looking at them. What impression a really precious stone makes as compared with the impression on the soul produced by an imitation gem. Can we ever compare an imitation with a real flower? It can never give the same satisfaction because our soul is always seeking for truth, truth in all things, in objects, in personality, in character, in everything.
Consciously or unconsciously, man seeks the reality in all things, and it is the reality that is the only answer to the soul. The man who is insincere, or dishonest or keeps truth far away from him, never gives comfort either to himself or to others. He cannot give ease to others, still less to himself.
This all shows that the secret of happiness, the secret of peace, and the secret of everything that man seeks is “truth.” But the truth which we see in the form of honesty, sincerity, goodness, trustworthiness, is like the horizon: the further we go towards it, the further it recedes. So with ultimate truth, all things which appear as ultimate truth are steps to it only. They lead us to the ultimate truth, but ultimate truth is still greater; it is the greatest of all things.
To be continued…