Symbols of the world's religions



Dr. Abdul Ghani, Munsiff

At this stage Baba made me read the relevant passage from Swami Vivekananda: "The only true teacher is he who can convert himself, as it were, into a thousand personas at a moment's notice ... and who can immediately come down to the level of the student and transfer his soul to the student's eyes, and understand through his mind. Such a teacher, and none else, can teach."

Explaining this, Baba said: " A teacher, a master of arts teaching the alphabet to the students, must of necessity bring himself down to the level of his students, and he must read, write and repeat the alphabets — A, B, C ... along with them.

"Only then is such a teacher able to impart his knowledge to bring himself down from the transcendental heights of his own attainments, then the labor bestowed by him will be wasted upon the students. A Salik therefore has to stoop to the ordinary level and talk in the language of the students when occasion demands it.

"Take the instance of the life story of the Arabian Prophet. When persecuted by His enemies, with His life in danger, He actually had to flee from Mecca and take refuge in Medina. Here the greatest spiritual master of the world, by fleeing from the place of His birth, acted after the manner of an ordinary human being when faced with a crisis. He never drew upon His spiritual powers to confound His enemies. Jesus, known for His life-giving miracles, suffered Himself to be crucified with His prayers on His lips for the salvation of the misguided ones.

"It is this ordinary role played by some of the perfect ones in their times that has given rise to misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the relative importance of the pulpit of the mosque and the pulpit of the heart. The religious formalists deny the spiritual status of a saint on observing no ceremonialism around him, and the half-baked Sufis condemn the externalists for their physical acrobatics, and both ignore the fact that the pulpit of the church is a stepping stone to the pulpit of the heart, the seat of the manifestation of divine glory."

Looking in the direction of a Muslim disciple who happened to be extrapunctilious on the point of shariat (externalism), Baba remarked: "Who is there amongst you who knows more about shariat than myself. You won't be able to point to a more true and perfect Muslim than myself today. I am what I appear to you externally. Prayers and forms of worship are only the means for the realization of God, while you are so much lost in the formality of details that instead of God you are worshipping the prayers. By all means, perform your prayers, but do not become an automaton."


1984 © Naosherwan Anzar


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