Clarity about Aims and Means
We must be as precise as possible about our project's aim and object. If we do so, we will not fall between the objectives. In our particular service, we must direct our spirits to a definite aim so that our thoughts will not collapse into a whirl of confusion and make us their powerless playthings.
Our objective must be the result of clear thought. We must define our objective clearly so that we will not become lost in a flood of thoughts. So many ambitious ventures failed to bear fruit or benefit, and indeed left behind hatred and rancor, for their aims and means were not clear.
The Exalted Creator and seeking His approval must have the foremost place in every activist's perspective. If not, that which is not God can intervene, falsehood can present itself as truth, and whims can show themselves as real ideas. Although this task is being done in the name of a struggle for faith, such an oversight allows many abuses and crimes to be committed.
As for works undertaken to seek the Almighty's approval—a particle can have the worth of the sun, a drop the worth of the sea, a second the worth of eternity. Therefore, even if the world could be turned into gardens of Paradise by means of which He does not approve, the final result would be as nothing, completely worthless. Moreover, those responsible would be questioned about it.
The worth of means and instruments lie in their ability to realize the desired objective and to do so with ease. Means that do not lead to the objective being reached, and especially those that hinder such progress, are regarded as cursed. Based on this same logic, the world may be cursed insofar as it intervenes between men and women and their real object in life, but loved and applauded for reflecting the grace of a thousand Glorious Names of the Creator and exhibiting His magnificent works.
Truth can be established and supported in many ways. Their worth is proportional to how much they enhance our respect for the Creator, the Truth, and make us consider what is right and truth. If parents educating the children properly, if a place of worship rouses its community with thoughts of eternity, if a school awakens hope and faith in its pupils, they are serving their purpose and therefore are sacred. If this is not the case, they are no more than devilish traps diverting us from the truth. We may apply the same standards to unions, trusts, political institutions, and societies in general.
Founders and directors of institutions should remind themselves frequently of why the institutions were established. Doing so will ensure that their work does not stray from its objective, but remains fruitful. Without this reminder, they begin to forget why the homes, hostels, schools, and other institutes were established, and so work against themselves, just like those who forget why they were created.
Claiming a monopoly on good ideas and asserting that only your side is right are signs of utter dependence on material causality and ignorance of the objective. And feelings of rancor and hatred for those who share the same belief, sentiments, and ideas—is this anything other than a lack of sufficient commitment to the objective and purpose? Ah, those base, self-enslaved ones who imagine that they can administer the universe according to their decayed reasoning! [Criteria or Lights of the Way, Izmir, 1996, Vol.1, (9th edition), pp.36-40]
One should avoid extremes in thought and action, for it is a lethal poison. Just as it is wrong to seek simplicity and sincerity in poor clothing and a life lived in a miserable house with a few, broken old things, it also is wrong to see sophistication, civilization, and prosperity in the modern style of expensive clothes and other luxuries. Criteria or Lights of the Way, Izmir 1998, Vol. 2, (12th edition), p. 113
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