The ideal of God is a bridge
April 12, 2013 Comments Off on The ideal of God is a bridge
The ideal of God is a bridge connecting the limited life with the unlimited; whosoever travels over this bridge passes safely from the limited to the unlimited life.
Bowl of Saki, April 12, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Commentary by Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan:
There is a side in man’s being – call it spirit – which remains unsatisfied with all that one has attained in one’s lifetime. The satisfaction of the spirit, which is the deepest being of man, lies only in the pursuit of the ideal. With all progress that humanity makes, idealism neglected will show at each step towards progress a great lack, and nothing can substitute that lack. If there is anything that fills the gap, if there is anything that makes a bridge between God and man, it is the ideal.
~~~ “The Message Papers, The Message”, by Hazrat Inayat Khan (unpublished)
An ideal is something to hope for and to hold on to, and in the absence of an ideal hope has nothing to look forward to. It is the lack of idealism which accounts for the present degeneration of humanity in spite of all the progress it has made in other directions. There are many kinds of ideals: principles, virtues, objects of devotion; but the greatest and highest of all ideals is the God-ideal. And when this God-ideal upon which all other ideals are based is lost, then the very notion of ideal is ignored. Man needs many things in life, but his greatest need is an ideal.
If a man is standing on a staircase and remains on the first step, he may be a believer but he is not going up. Thus there are many believers who have a certain conception of God, but they are standing there without moving, while perhaps a person who has no conception of God at all may be moving. There are thousands of people who pronounce the name of God many times during the day, but who are perhaps most wretched. The reason is that they have not yet discovered the purpose of the God-ideal. It is not merely belief; belief is only the first step. God is the key to truth, God is the stepping-stone to self-realization, God is the bridge which unites the outer life with the inner life, bringing about perfection. It is by understanding this that the secret of the God-ideal is to be realized.
The God-ideal is so tremendous that men can never comprehend it fully, therefore the best method adopted by the wise is to allow every man to make his own God. In this way he forms whatever conception he is capable of forming. He makes Him King of the heavens and of the earth; he makes Him judge, greater than all judges; he makes Him Almighty, having all power; he makes Him the possessor of all grace and glory; he makes Him the beloved God, merciful and compassionate; he recognizes in Him providence, support, and protection; and in Him he recognizes all perfection. This ideal becomes a stepping-stone to the higher knowledge of God.
In reality the ideal of God is a bridge connecting the limited life with the unlimited. Whoever goes over this bridge passes safely from the limited to the unlimited life. The bridge may be taken away, it is true, and one may yet swim across the chasm; but one may be drowned too. The ideal of God is a safe bridge, which takes you safely to the goal.