Note: Click here for quotations on
Guidance in Acrobat format.
The Sufi says this whole universe was made in order that God might know
Himself. The seed wished to realize what it is, what is in it, and therefore
became the tree. Sometimes a person asks someone else for guidance, someone
living on earth or one who has passed to the other side; sometimes he asks a
saint or sage. Whoever is asked can give knowledge only according to the extent
of his knowledge. From that store of knowledge that he has gathered, his advice
is given. When a person turns for guidance to God, to the inner Being, then all
light and all knowledge are his for his guidance. "But," people say, "how can we
attach ourselves with the inner Being, so as to have that guidance?" When the
mind is fixed upon anything, then the person becomes linked to that, a current
is established between him and it. It may be called the guidance of God or the
guidance of the self. If we look within, God is nearer to us than our mind and
our body, because He is that life in which as is said in the Bible, we live and
move and have our being.
The Spirit of Guidance in other words may be called the Divine Mind; and as the
human mind is finished after its coming on earth, so the Divine Mind becomes
completed after manifestation. Plainly speaking, the Creator's Mind is made of
His own creation. The experience of every soul becomes the experience of the
Divine Mind; therefore, the Divine Mind has the knowledge of all beings. It is a
storehouse of perfect wisdom. It is the Soul of Christ, and the Spirit of
prophecy. Intuition, inspiration, vision, or revelation, all have the Divine
Mind as the Source from whence every kind of revelation comes.
The Spirit of Guidance is as the yeast which is used to make bread, to prepare
humanity for the purpose for which it was created. The Spirit of Guidance is a
plant that grows and blossoms when it receives response and care; and when it is
watered by the rainfall of divine inspiration it blooms in the light of the
Divine Sun. The Spirit of Guidance is the Light of God, which may be likened to
a lantern that the farmer carries when walking on the farm in the darkness of
night. The Spirit of Guidance is like a searchlight. Any object on which the
searchlight is thrown, it shows clearly; so the Spirit of Guidance thrown upon
any aspect of life gives one a keen insight into it. In the Spirit of Guidance
one finds a living God active in the heart of every person.
All those who begin to receive inspiration receive it first from outer life. Man
is created in such a way that he first looks outward; and then, when he is
disappointed, when he cannot find all he wants in the outer life, he turns
within. He wants to see if he can find it in the inner life, and thus he becomes
connected with the source of inspiration which is the Spirit of Guidance. And he
who has once found the Spirit of Guidance will always be able to find it again
if he keeps close to it; but when he goes astray, when the way of his life takes
another direction, then he wanders away from the Spirit of Guidance.
Those who are confused, who are constantly hurried, who are changeable in their
nature, who are afraid of death, of disease, of their own actions, of their
enemies, of their surroundings; those who have constant doubt, wondering whether
they can trust this person or that, whether a friend may or may not prove
worthy, and so on—it is all these who have less possibility of intuition. Those
who can trust without troubling themselves, those who have few doubts, are
usually clearer in their perception. Those who trust in the inner guidance, who
understand the secret of the instinct that works through animals and all
creatures, those who are pious, those who wish to walk in the light, who always
prefer the right way of thinking and speaking and acting, it is these who often
Divine guidance can be recognized in five different aspects. One aspect and the
principal aspect is intuition. It comes to the lower creation in the form of
instinct, and to the human race it comes in the form of intuition. Be it
inspiration, be it vision, be it revelation, it is one and the same. It is
intuition, developed in different degrees. From childhood intuitively a child
begins to see what is wrong for it and what is right for it.
And now the other aspect of knowing, of seeing the divine guidance, is in the
form of examples. The one whose faculty of intuition becomes blunted, the next
thing he can do is to observe such examples as will be of use, of guidance in
his life, as they are sent before him. He is sent to such places and brought to
such people or put in such conditions that the example that he may take will be
a source of guidance for him. For instance, a person who has some little
inclination of gambling, when he is brought to Monte Carlo and sees those who
have lost every penny that they had, he has there an example for himself.
And when the keen observation is also blunted, so that he can no longer keenly
observe life, then he turns his back to examples shown before him. Then the
third aspect of divine guidance is to speak. It may speak in the words of a
child, it may speak in the words of a foolish person, it may speak in the words
of a servant, it may speak in the words of a neighbour, it may speak in the
words of a friend, it may speak in the words of a foe. And when the eyes are
closed and when the ears are closed also, then even the third way of divine
guidance also becomes fruitless.
Besides these three ways, there is the fourth way, and that is the way of
temptation, in other words the way of reward. For all the good one does, all
that one does that is right, there comes a reward in some form or other, in the
form of wealth, in the form of fame, in the form of success, in the form of
popularity, in some form or other. In the form of sympathy, friendship, love,
comfort: in some form or the other, reward comes. And that reward teaches you to
keep on that path and not to go astray from there. But at that time reward is
The fifth way of divine guidance is the way of punishment, in the form of a loss
in business, in the form of a loss of friendship, in the form of a loss of
health and strength, in the form of a loss of happiness and joy. Then a lesson
is taught, and that becomes very difficult. Very often a person says, "How cruel
God can be." But one does not know that four methods were used first, and when
all those four methods were not understood by man then the fifth method was
used. It is most kind of God, it is the greatest compassion, that four
opportunities were given, if one would learn, if one would understand.
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
Those who live in the presence of God look to Him for guidance at every move
He who clings to the light from heaven has a light to warn and guard him at
every step, according to his desire for guidance.
No doubt there comes a time in a man's life when even if he were initiated a
thousand times by nature he still seeks for a guide walking on earth. Many will
say, ‘Why is God not sufficient? Why must there be someone between God and man?
Why must it be a man who is just as limited as we are? Why can we not reach the
spirit of God directly?' But in a man who is your enemy and who has tortured you
throughout your life, in another who is your greatest friend, and in your
teacher who inspires and guides you, in all these is to be seen the hand of God.
They have all three guided you on the path of inspiration; they are all three
needed in order that you may go further in life. The one who has disappointed
you, who has harmed you, is also your initiator, for he has taught you
something, he has put you on the road, even if not in the right way. And he who
is your friend is your initiator too, for he gives you the evidence of truth,
the sign of reality; only love can give you a proof that there is something
living, something real. And then there is the inspiring teacher, be he a humble
man, an illiterate person, or a meditative soul, a great teacher or a humble
one, he is what you think him to be, as everyone is to us what we think them to
You need not look for a saint or a master: a wise man is sufficient to guide you
on your path.
The spiritual guide performs the role of Cupid in bringing the seeking souls
closer to God.
Every teaching that a Talib receives from his spiritual guide he must take, not
as a principle, but as an answer to that situation at that moment.
It is not only trust in the spiritual guide and appreciation of his work which a
mureed should cultivate, but he must develop in himself his teacher's outlook on
life, consideration, and charity of heart.
The Sufi...never troubles which path anybody takes... nor does he worry which
way anyone journeys, the way of evil or of righteousness. For every way to him
seems leading to the goal, one sooner and one later, one with difficulty, one
with ease. But those who walk with him willingly, trusting in his comradeship,
are his mureeds and call him murshid, and he guides them, not necessarily
through the same path he has chosen for himself, but through the path best
suited to them.
The murshid is a friend and a guide. He advises, he does not force anything upon
The end and the sum total of all mysticism, philosophy, and meditation, of
everything one learns and develops, is to be a better servant to humanity.
Everything from the beginning to the end in the spiritual path is a training to
be able to serve mankind better, and if one does not do it with that intention,
one will find in the end that one has accomplished nothing. There are many who
seek wonder-working or great power to accomplish things. They may perhaps try
and gain some power or other; but their soul will never be satisfied. The true
satisfaction of the soul is in honest, humble service to another. If there were
two people before me, one with great power of wonder-working who could perform
miracles, and another humble and kind and gentle and willing to do anything he
could for his fellow-men, I would prefer this last man. I would say: the first
is wonderful; but the other is a sage.