Alevi cosmology understands the relation between god, the cosmos and humanity as a unity. Hallacı Mansur explains this philosophy as follows,“There is no other being in the universe than God (unity of being). This states that; I am something, when trying to express oneself as something apart from God and that is wrong; therefore one has to only say I am one with God (Ene’l Hakk).”
It is believed that Hace Bektashi Veli determines the principles necessary to become a ma-ture human. He explains it by the statement “the servant is able to reach God through four gateways, forty stations and become his friend.” This gnostic understanding of self-spiritual development is the main task before Alevis, in their relationship with the cosmos. Within this gradual development, we as humans, who come from the essence of Hakk, can develop and show their sacred potential and evolve from the stage of ham (immature) into that of insan-ı kamil (mature). The stages of this process are explained as; şeriat – the way to be born, tarikat – the way to promise, marifet – the way to be self-conscious, and hakikat is the way to find God in one’s own self. These stages are explained with an analogy with the edu-cational system, the development from primary to higher education.
John Kingsley Birge briefly explains the doctrine of the four gateways in reference to Bektashism,“The Şeriat:, (sheriat), orthodox, Sunni religious law, the tarikat or teachings and practice of the secret religious order, the marifet: mystic knowledge of God the hakikat: immediate experience of the essence of reality. A mystic teacher of Islam, one who sought as my mürşit [the spiritual guide] to teach me, explained to me the meanings of these four terms by tak-ing the idea of “sugar” as an example. One can go to the dictionary to find out what sugar is and how it is used. That is the şeriat Gateway to the knowledge. One feels the inadequately of that when one is introduced directly to the practical seeing and handling of sugar. That represents the tarikat Gateway to knowledge. To actually taste sugar and to have it enter into oneself is to go one step deeper into an appreciation of its nature, and that is what is meant by marifet. If one could go still further and become one with sugar so that he could say, “I am sugar,” that and that alone would be to know what sugar is, and that is what is involved in the hakikat Gateway” Birge (1937: 102)