“You see,” said the blind man, “I seek to draw closer to God through submission. God has taught that the perfect servant is he/ she who submits totally to the Master’s will. Instead of considering how the performance of a task will benefit his personal position, the good servant is concerned only with the Master’s request.
The Way to God has always been known; it is the path of surrender and God’s Mercy. The servant must work and seek but realizes he/she will never attain without God’s Generosity: because ‘love is not earned, it is bestowed.’ If the servant is to truly serve, the ego must be still and free of personal desire. Total submission is impossible without God’s Grace and Mercy.”
“You mean,” cried the traveler, “I have to give-up my will in order to serve. How can I do that? Won’t I become an automaton? Shouldn’t I use my ability to discern?”
“God does not ask that you abandon your ability to reason,” continued the blind man. “He/she asks that you come to Him out of Love and that if you truly seek to serve, you use the criterion He Has Given. Remember, if the thought or action brings you closer to God, it is of God, and if it distances you, then, it of yourself or the darkness. The Way to God is through submission and service.
Path of Submission
The way of the servants of God is to turn away from the world and to seek the next. The Way (Path) is the Way of Submission which has been revealed through the prophets, saints, and great teachers. Submission and selfless service is the cornerstone of religious instruction and transcend religion. Whether the traveler is a Hindu, Buddhist, Moslem or Jew the goal is the Absolute and selfless service.
It is not the purpose of this writing to individually examine the Unity of the great religions or to compare their varied emphasis upon submission and service. For purposes of this discussion, the proof of the Unity is the mystical experience which transcends all religion. If the traveler is interested in making specific comparisons, they are referred to a work by Frithjoff Schuon entitled: The Transcendent Unity of Religions, Revised Edition, New York: Harper & Row, 1975.
The Foundation of the Way
The Foundation of the Way consists of 3 universal laws which take the form of actions and therefore have direction. These 3 laws constitute the framework upon which the Way is built and include.
1. There is a God/Absolute,
2. He/She Love His creation/family,
3. And has created a Way for humanity to attain unto Him/Her.
While these 3 laws have their origin in Nature of God (Love), for purposes of this discussion, they are multi-directional. Laws 1, 2 and 3 originate in God and imply the action of God toward humanity, while Laws 2 and 3 imply reciprocity. It is by far the former set of actions (God to humanity) that are most important and eventually determine outcome.
If God/Absolute did not love His/Her children, then, God would not have created a Way for travelers to draw closer. Any progress along the Path begins with the realization there is a God who is the Ultimate Reality. This affirmation is the first step and for many the most difficult. O it is so hard to believe and many never take this initial step. When the traveler realizes there is a God, who always was concerned, the traveler is in love, forever. God is the Beginning and End; and when the traveler embraces the Boundlessness of God’s Love and Mercy the journey begins in earnest.
All Paths Lead to God
From the beginning of time, God has revealed the Way for travelers to draw closer. Varied aspects of the Way are revealed through different prophets which over time becomes formal religious doctrine. The prophet is the voice of God, and it is God that instructs humanity in the Way and its current form. Take any of the Books in hand, follow their teaching, and as God wills you will find God waiting. Each of the great religions is but a stroke upon the Divine canvas. Each has its particular form and hue; each originates in God and combines with the others to form one work.
Each of the great religions has its own set of prayers, rituals, and customs that were revealed for a specific population through its inceptor. Although the outer form may vary, the inner core is the same (God). Hence religions are both limited to time and place, and transcendent. Yes, the inner core of religious experience is always the same; the prophet always proclaims God’s Love and Mercy. It is the primary action of God toward humanity that is the basis of religious doctrine and mystical experience. If God did not love His/Her children and seek to lift them out of darkness (spiritual), few would seek to make their lives an hour of service. Although none may attain without God’s Mercy, each traveler must make the effort and follow a Way or religion. Then, as God will, He Reveals himself.
Although none may attain without God’s Mercy, each traveler must work and seek to submit to the Divine. The key is surrender, or submission of self (ego), and each traveler’s action must be directed toward this goal. Finally, it is the fire of love which enables the traveler to reach the goal of submission. As the traveler learns to love God, and burns, God’s will becomes more important. Slowly, Love of God fills the traveler’s consciousness and is best illustrated by the love and devotion of a mother for her child. As the mother loves her infant and willingly sacrifices her own desires and body, so, the traveler willingly submits to God. Each of the traveler’s action stem from love and a need for proximity; and the Way of proximity is through submission and service.
The perfect mystic is neither an ecstatic devotee lost in contemplation of Oneness nor a saintly recluse shunning all commerce with mankind. The true saint goes in and out among the people, eats and sleeps with them, buys and sells in the market, marries and takes part in social intercourse, and never forgets God for a single moment. - Abu Sa’id
It is said that when you take only one step toward Him, He advances ten steps toward you. But the complete truth is that God is always with you. - Prophet Muhammad
** This present writing, The Foundation of the Way, was taken from the author’s unpublished manuscript entitled: The Blindman’s Reality, first appearing in 1980.
Register for a upcoming retreat weekend atop Bangor Mountain, in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Kirkridge Retreat Center on Sufism & Enlightenment, May 30- June I, 2014. For information scroll down to program listing: http://kirkridge.org/programs/upcoming-programs/.
Books by Dr. Stewart Bitkoff: Sufism for Western Seekers: Path of the Spiritual Traveler in Everyday Life and The Ferryman’s Dream. Both books are also in Kindle format and available on Amazon.com or local bookstore.
To contact author visit: StewartBitkoff.com