A talk by Bulent Rauf
It is indeed a pleasure for us of Beshara to talk of Union. This is our daily bread and meat since our constant and only aim is to reach that point in the Unity of Existence which we call Union. Consequently, we greet with joy everyone who is sincerely concerned with Union and who wants to promote or establish in this world that Union which is the sole purpose, and the only reason for man on earth.
We ardently believe that there is Only One Indivisible and Unique Existent, and to keep it simple, all the multitude we seem to see is nothing other than the image in relativity of that One Absolute and Complete Being. This is what we call the Unity of Existence.
For centuries man has known, spoken, insisted on this Truth from one end of the world to the other. All whom we know in our common history of mankind as wise men, as prophets, as sages etc. have repeated in different languages this same universal Reality. All religions from the most ancient to the most recent have built their esoteric foundations on the same fundamental Truth which is the Existence of that Unique Being which is the Absolute Ipseity of what we call Tao, God, Eluhim, Allah, etc. etc.
There is in every man a private place in that Ipseity. He who knows his own reality knows his place in the Ipseity. Through Service, Knowledge and Love we strive for the perfectibility of man. The Perfected Man is in Union with the Ipseity. Philo of Alexandria, roughly the contemporary of Jesus Christ, wrote: The Perfect Man is Theos (God) though he is not 'The God'. Man is no other than his reality though he is not the Reality.
It is in every man to strive to reach consciousness of this magnitude. When he consciously reaches it, he is in Union with his Essence which is the Ipseity. For man to be conscious of this possibility, he has only to look around him. It is he alone of all creatures on this earth who can encompass the ideas, make those ideas his own, and call them his facts.
On these facts, like Einstein's e=mc2, or the expanding universe with all its quasars, pulsars, black holes, or nebulae and galaxies etc., he will encompass other equally staggering facts on which to build further worlds. Surely, with such potential, as Sufis have sometimes said, he is the macrocosm, and that which he encompasses with his mind, the Universe, is the microcosm.
Surely it is true that God has made man in His own Image. With such potential, such capacity to circumscribe and encompass universes in his mind, with his ability to reach Union with the Absolute and thereby Unique Being, than which he is no other, surely man is of a superlative magnitude. No other can reach the development and height that man can reach. If man keeps this reality of his magnitude constantly in his consciousness, that man is a Perfect Man. And it is for this Perfect Man that the Universe, which contains his earth, was at all created, so that he can know it, serve it, and love it.
Love is the movement of Beauty, Beauty is the ultimate aim of Love. Where there is no Beauty, there is misery. When the Tibetan Lama Akong came to lecture at our school, one of my co-students asked him why there was so much misery in the world. Akong's answer was a superb as his wisdom. He said, "Why is there I?" The first person singular. The man whose centre is in his first person singular can neither know nor serve, nor can he love. To arrive at Union man must love. If not, then not. If a man's creed is Love he will crave for, strive for, work for and attain Union.
I quote from the twelfth century mystic from Andalusia, Muhyiddin Ibn 'Arabi:
O marvel! A garden amidst flames!
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles
and a convent for Christian monks,
And a temple for idols and the pilgrim's Ka'ba
and the tables of the Tora
and the book of the Koran.
I follow the religion of Love:
whatever way Love's mounts take,
that is my religion and my faith.
In this paper the pronoun 'he' is not gender specific, nor is 'man' which refers, of course, to 'humankind'.
An online Beshara course exploring a spiritual life and unified perspective in the contemporary world. 26 May – 13 August 2020
Listen, O dearly beloved! So starts one of Ibn 'Arabi's best known pieces of writing.