A Sufi is one who guards one’s knowledge and wisdom and power in humble
guise. A Sufi does not dispute on spiritual subjects with everyone, for this
reason: the spiritual evolution of each one differs from that of the other, the
knowledge of one cannot be the knowledge of the other, nor is the understanding
of one the understanding of the other. A Sufi does not discuss beliefs, for the
Sufi knows that at every step in spiritual evolution a person’s belief changes
until one arrives at a final belief which words cannot explain.
The God of the mystic is to be found in one’s own heart; the truth of the mystic
is beyond words. People argue and debate about things of little importance, but
mysticism is not to be discussed. People want to talk in order to know, and then
they forget all. Very often it is not the one who knows who talks much, but the
one who wants to know. The one who knows, but does not discuss, is the mystic.
The mystic knows that happiness is in his or her own heart. Besides, to put it
into words, is to put the ocean into a drop of water.
The outer life keeps one confused. However intellectual or learned a person may
be, he is never clear. His knowledge is based upon reasons which are founded
upon outer things, things that are liable to change and destruction. That is
why, however wise that person may seem to be, his wisdom has limitations. What
today he thinks right, after four days he thinks, perhaps, wrong. The inner life
make the mind clear. The reason is that it is that part of one’s being which may
be called divine, the essence of life, the pure intelligence.
Intellectual knowledge has much to do with the brain, and wisdom comes from
within the heart; but in wisdom heart and head both work. We may call the brain
the seat of intellect and the heart the throne of wisdom. Wisdom certainly may
be called spiritual knowledge; but the best explanation of wisdom will be
perfect knowledge, the knowledge of life within and without.
And now one may ask, ‘What is that knowledge? How can one attain to it?’ The
first condition is to separate this outer knowledge from the inner knowing.
False and true, the two things cannot go together. It is in separating the real
from the unreal. The knowledge gained from the outer world is the knowledge of
the cover of all things, not of the spirit of all things. Therefore that
knowledge cannot be essential knowledge. It is not the knowledge of the spirit
of all things; it is the knowledge of the cover of all things which we study and
call learning, and to it we give the greatest importance. One may say, ‘What is
one to do when the call of the intellectual reason for knowledge and learning is
such that it threatens one’s faith in the possibility of knowledge by the self?’
The answer is to go on, in that case, with the intellectual knowledge till one
feels satisfied with it or tired of it. For one must not seek after food if one
is not hungry. The food which is sought in absence of hunger will prove to be a
poison. Great as it is, the knowledge of self, if there is not that natural
desire raging like fire, does not manifest.
In order to enrich one’s knowledge, in order to raise one’s soul to higher
spheres, in order to allow one’s consciousness to expand to perfection, if there
is anything that one can do, it is to help oneself in every way to open the
sight, which is the sign of God in man. It is the opening of the sight which is
called the soul’s unfoldment.
Wisdom is a veil over truth, and even wisdom cannot be called truth. God alone
is truth, and it is truth that is God. And truth can neither be studied nor
taught nor learned; it is to be touched, it is to be realized; and it can be
realized by the unfoldment of the heart.
There are five aspects which give one the tendency towards the accomplishment of
the inner purpose: desire to live, desire to know, desire for power, desire for
happiness and desire for peace. These five things work consciously or
unconsciously in the profound depth of every soul. Working within one, they
prompt one either to do right or to do wrong, and yet these five aspects belong
to the one purpose in the accomplishment of which the purpose of the whole
creation is fulfilled. When the desire to live brings one in touch with one’s
real life, a life which is not subject to death, then the purpose of that desire
is accomplished; when one has been able to perceive fully the knowledge of one’s
own being, in which is to be found divine knowledge and the mystery of the whole
manifestation, then the purpose of knowledge is attained; when one is able to
get in touch with the Almighty Power, then the desire for power is achieved;
when one has been able to find one’s happiness in one’s own heart, independent
of all things outside, the purpose of the desire for happiness is fulfilled;
when one is able to rise above all conditions and influences which disturb the
peace of the soul and has found one’s peace in the midst of the crowd and away
from the world, in him the desire for peace is satisfied. It is not in one or
the other of these five desires that there is the accomplishment of the purpose;
it is in the fulfillment of these five desires that one purpose is accomplished,
the purpose for which every soul was born on earth.
Intellect is the knowledge obtained by experience of names and forms; wisdom is
the knowledge which manifests only from the inner being; to acquire intellect
one must delve into studies, but to obtain wisdom, nothing but the flow of
divine mercy is needed; it is as natural as the instinct of swimming to the
fish, or of flying to the bird. Intellect is the sight which enables one to see
through the external world, but the light of wisdom enables one to see through
the external into the internal world. Wisdom is greater and more difficult to
attain than intellect, piety, or spirituality.
It is not necessary that everyone should become religious, or exceedingly pious,
or too good to live. We want wise men in business, in politics, in education, in
all walks of life; those who do not live only on the surface and those who do
not believe only in matter, but who see life both within and without. It is such
souls who will produce beauty; it is such souls who will harmonize the world,
who will bring about the conditions we need today. We do not only need the
knowledge of matter or spirit, we need living in all walks of life, so that in
one’s business, in one’s industry, in every art or science one may practice, one
can use that wisdom which is perfect in oneself. When the individual and the
multitude find beneath their feet a solid foundation on which they can stand,
from that day we may hope for better conditions in the world.