“The cause of everything that happens to you is in you; you should therefore look within yourself to find the cause.”
My reading of this maxim by Ostad Elahi triggered a number of thoughts that I would like to share by way of this article. A hearty thanks to e-ostadelahi.com for the opportunity to share with their readers.
We tend to spend a lot of time blaming “the world” for our misfortunes. On the other hand, we consider anything good to be the fruit of our own doing. But as always, giving it a little thought can make us realise that reality is a lot more complex.
Ostad Elahi used to define his teachings as a new medicine of the soul: one that is adapted to the true nature of human beings and adheres to the law of causality governing both their spiritual and material lives. The spirituality he practiced was natural spirituality, and he viewed the process of spiritual perfection as a curriculum.
The excerpts presented here are drawn from a lecture given at the Sorbonne in March 2011, in which Prof. Bahram Elahi revisits various aspects of Ostad Elahi’s philosophy. Rephrasing them in a simple and direct manner, he relates these points to fundamental questions and examines them from a rational standpoint.
Every being is created for the purpose of reaching a state of complete fulfilment, i.e., perfection. In order to achieve this goal, all beings must undertake the process of perfection, which provides their lives with ethical and spiritual meaning.
Perfection concerns all beings, without exception. Ostad Elahi divides beings into several categories: minerals (in general, all things said to be inanimate), plants, animals, and human-animals. Every being that exists is a creature inasmuch as it results from a series of causes, the first of which is the Creator. The purpose of creation, according to Ostad Elahi, is the return to the origin. “Everything that exists emanates from Him, and everything returns to Him at the end of its process of physical and spiritual maturation called the process of perfection.” Once it has reached its perfection, a being can fully benefit from the potential for happiness for which it was created.
Generosity, for one who is so inclined by nature or by habit, is relatively undemanding, for it does not require any costly sacrifice. It is quite another matter when ethical concern requires us to renounce a pleasure or craving, or when it runs up against a selfish nature. To overcome such resistance, willpower alone does not always suffice. When self-denial costs us something, we require the aid of a particular type of energy, one that is also known as “grace”.