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Thread: Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan — a Sufi Master

  1. #291 He who can be detached enough to keep his eyes open to all those... 
    He who can be detached enough to keep his eyes open to all those whom circumstances have placed about him, and see in what way he can be of help to them, he it is who becomes rich - he inherits the kingdom of God.

    Those who are inclined to do kindness in life must not discriminate among the people around them, between those to whom they must be kind and those to whom they need not be kind. However kind and good a person may be to those he likes, to those he wishes to be kind to, he cannot for this be called kind by nature; real kindness is that which gushes out from the heart to the worthy and to the unworthy. ... In the Quran it is said, 'God alone is rich, and everyone on earth is poor.' Man is poor with his myriad needs, his life's demands, the wants of his nature; and when one keenly observes life, it seems that the whole world is poverty-stricken, everyone struggling for the self. In this struggle of life, if a man can be considerate enough to keep his eyes open to all around him and see in what way he can be of help to them, he becomes rich; he inherits the kingdom of God.
    The soul of the spiritually inclined man is constantly thirsty, looking for something, seeking for something; and when it thinks it has found it, the thing turns out to be different; and so life becomes a continual struggle and disappointment. And the result is that instead of taking interest in all things, a kind of indifference is produced; and yet in the real character of this soul there is no indifference, there is only love.

    Although life seems to make this soul indifferent, it cannot really become indifferent. It is this state, working through this life, that gives a man a certain feeling, to which only a Hindu word is applicable, no other language having a word which can render this particular meaning so adequately. The Hindus call it Vairagya from which the term Vairagi has come. Vairagi means a person who has become indifferent; and yet indifference is not the word for it. It describes a person who has lost the value in his eyes of all that attracts the human being. It is no more attractive to him; it no more enslaves him. He may still be interested in all things of this life, but is not bound to them. ... His connection with people in the world is to serve them, not asking for their service; to love them, not asking for love; to be friends with them, not asking for friendship.
    Indifference, however, must be reached after interest has taken its course; before that moment it is a fault. A person without an interest in life becomes exclusive, he becomes disagreeable. Indifference must come after all experience -- interest must end in indifference. Man must not take the endless path of interest: the taste of everything in the world becomes flat. Man must realize that all he seeks in the objects he runs after, that all beauty and strength, are in himself, and he must be content to feel them all in himself. This may be called the kiss of the cross: then man's only principle is love. Vairagya means satisfaction, the feeling that no desire is to be satisfied any more, that nothing on earth is desired. This is a great moment, and then comes that which is the kingdom of God.


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  2. #292 The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom 
    The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom.

    Overlooking the faults of others with politeness, tolerance, forgiveness, and resignation is regarded as a moral virtue in the East. Man's heart is visualized as the shrine of God, and even a small injury in thought, word, and deed against it is considered as a great sin against God, the Indwelling One. Gratitude is shown by the loyalty of the Orient and by being true to the salt; the hospitality of a day is remembered throughout all the years of life, while the benefactor never forgets humility even in the midst of his good deeds. There is an Eastern saying, 'Forget thy virtues and remember thy sins.'

    'Chained with gold chains about the feet of God.' - Tennyson
    Thus the heart, developed by religion and morality, becomes first capable of choosing and then of retaining the object of devotion without wavering for a moment. Yet in the absence of these qualities it remains incapable of either choice or retention.

    There have been innumerable devotees in the East, Bhakta or Ashiq, whose devotional powers are absolutely indescribable and ineffable. To the ignorant the story of their lives may appear exaggerated, but the joy of self-negation is greater than that of either spiritual or material joy.

    Devotion sweetens the personality, and is the light on the path of the disciple. Those who study mysticism and philosophy while omitting self-sacrifice and resignation grow egoistic and self-centered. Such persons are apt to call themselves either God or a part of God, and thus make an excuse for committing any sins they like. Regardless of sin or virtue they misuse and malign others, being utterly fearless of the hereafter. Yet they forget that 'strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life', as the Bible says.

    The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom. Mysticism without devotion is like uncooked food and can never be assimilated. 'I am the heart of my devotees,' says Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita. And Hafiz says, 'O joyous day when I depart from this abode of desolation, seeking the repose of my soul and setting out in search of my Beloved.'


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  3. #293 When love's fire produces its flame, it illuminates like a torch the devotee's path 
    When love's fire produces its flame, it illuminates like a torch the devotee's path in life, and all darkness vanishes.

    As love is the source of creation and the real sustenance of all beings, so, if man knows how to give it to the world around him as sympathy, as kindness, as service, he supplies to all the food for which every soul hungers. If man knew this secret of life he would win the whole world, without any doubt.

    Love can always be discerned in the thought, speech, and action of the lover, for in his every expression there is a charm which shows as a beauty, tenderness, and delicacy. A heart burning in love's fire has a tendency to melt every heart with which it comes in contact. ... Love is like the fire; its glow is devotion, its flame is wisdom, its smoke is attachment, and its ashes detachment. Flame rises from glow, so it is with wisdom, which rises from devotion. When love's fire produces its flame it illuminates the devotee's path in life like a torch, and all darkness vanishes.
    All deeds of kindness and beneficence take root in the soil of the loving heart. Generosity, charity, adaptability, an accommodating nature, even renunciation, are the offspring of love alone. The great, rare and chosen beings, who for ages have been looked up to as ideal in the world, are the possessors of hearts kindled with love. All evil and sin come from the lack of love.

    People call love blind, but love in reality is the light of the sight. The eye can only see the surface; love can see much deeper. All ignorance is the lack of love. As fire when not kindled gives only smoke, but when kindled, the illumination flame springs forth, so it is with love. It is blind when undeveloped, but, when its fire is kindled, the flame that lights the path of the traveler from mortality to everlasting life springs forth.


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  4. #294 Love lies in service; only that which is done not for fame or name... 
    Love lies in service; only that which is done not for fame or name, not for the appreciation or thanks of those for whom it is done, is love's service.

    The lover shows kindness and beneficence to the beloved. He does whatever he can for the beloved in the way of help, service, sacrifice, kindness, or rescue, and hides it from the world and even from the beloved. If the beloved does anything for him he exaggerates it, idealizes it, makes it into a mountain from a molehill. He takes poison from the hands of the beloved as sugar, and love's pain in the wound of his heart is his only joy. By magnifying and idealizing whatever the beloved does for him and by diminishing and forgetting whatever he himself does for the beloved, he first develops his own gratitude, which creates all goodness in his life.
    The Sufi moral is this: Love another and do not depend upon his love; and: Do good to another and do not depend upon receiving good from him; serve another and do not look for service from him. All you do for another out of your love and kindness, you should think that you do, not to that person, but to God. And if the person returns love for love, goodness for goodness, service for service, so much the better. If he does not return it, then pity him for what he loses; for his gain is much less than his loss.

    Do not look for thanks or appreciation for all the good you do to others, nor use it as a means to stimulate your vanity. Do all that you consider good for the sake of goodness, not even for a return of that from God.


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  5. #295 The quality of forgiveness that burns up all things except beauty... 
    The quality of forgiveness that burns up all things except beauty is the quality of love.

    Nature is such that no two things are created alike; and the human being cannot expect his or her mate, whom nature made, to be as docile and flexible as that creature whom his imagination alone conceives. To make a friend, forgiveness is required which burns up all things, leaving only beauty.
    Love is the fire that burns all infirmities. ... By criticizing, by judging, by looking at wickedness with contempt, one does not help the wicked or the stupid person. The one who helps is he who is ready to overlook, who is ready to forgive, to tolerate, to take disadvantages he may have to meet with patiently.
    To resist evil, however, usually means to participate in and be guilty of the same evil. There is a story told of Muhammad, that a man who had always maligned him and behaved as a bitter and treacherous enemy, came to see him. His disciples, hoping for revenge, were disappointed and indignant to find that Muhammad treated his despicable enemy with courtesy, even deference, granting his request. 'Did you not see the gray in his beard?' asked Muhammad after the man had gone. 'The man is old, and his age at least called for my courtesy.' It is forgiveness and that forbearance which is a recognition of the freedom and dignity of the human being, that consume all ugliness and burn up all unworthiness, leaving only beauty there.



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  6. #296 He who with sincerity seeks his real purpose in life is himself sought by that purpos 
    He who with sincerity seeks his real purpose in life is himself sought by that purpose.

    One may ask, 'What is the best way for a person to understand his life's purpose?' If one follows the bent of one's own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one's own inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, 'There is something waiting for me (which one does not know at the time), which will bring me satisfaction.' Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one's life. For nature has such a perfection of wisdom. One sees that the insects are given the sense to make their little houses and to protect themselves and make a store of their food. The bees, who have the gift of making honey, are taught how to make honey. So nature has taught every soul to seek its purpose. It has made every soul for that purpose, and it is continually calling that soul to see that purpose. If the soul does not hear the call and sleeps, it is not the fault of nature, which is continually calling. Therefore, if I were to say in a few words, how to find one's purpose, I would say: by waking from sleep.
    Every being has a definite vocation, and his vocation is the light which illuminates his life. The man who disregards his vocation is a lamp unlit. He who sincerely seeks his real purpose in life is himself sought by that purpose. As he concentrates on that search a light begins to clear his confusion, call it revelation, call it inspiration, call it what you will. It is mistrust that misleads. Sincerity leads straight to the goal.
    That way is best which suits you best. The way of one person is not for another person, although man is always inclined to accuse another person of doing wrong, believing that he himself is doing right. ... That purpose is accomplished when a person has risen above all these things. It is that person then, who will tolerate all, who will understand all, who will assimilate all things, who will not feel disturbed by things which are not in accordance with his own nature or the way which is not his way. He will not look at them with contempt, but he will see that in the depth of every being there is a divine spark which is trying to raise its flame toward the purpose.

    When a person has arrived at this stage, he has risen above the limitations of the world. Then he has become entitled to experience the joy of coming near to the real purpose of life. It is then that in everything that he says or does, he will be accomplishing that purpose. ... We come to understand by this that the further we go the more tolerant we become. Outward things matter little. It is the inward realization which counts. However sacred duty may be, however high may be the hope of paradise, however great the happiness one may experience in the pleasures of the earth, however much satisfaction one may find in earthly treasures, the purpose of life is in rising above all these things. It is then that the soul will have no discord, no disagreement with others. It is then that the natural attitude of the soul will become tolerant and forgiving. The purpose of life is fulfilled in rising to the greatest heights and in diving to the deepest depths of life: in widening one's horizon, in penetrating life in all its spheres, in losing oneself, and in finding oneself in the end. In the accomplishment of the purpose of life the purpose of creation is fulfilled. Therefore, in this fulfillment it is not that man attained, but that God Himself has fulfilled His purpose.

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  7. #297 The worlds are held together by the heat of the sun; each of us are atoms... 
    The worlds are held together by the heat of the sun; each of us are atoms held in position by that eternal Sun we call God. Within us is the same central power we call the light, or the love of God; by it we hold together the human beings within our sphere, or, lacking it, we let them fall.

    A close study of the formation of the sun and of its influence on everything in life will help us to understand the divine Spirit. Heat, gas-light, electric light, the coal fire, the wood fire, the candle, the flame of the oil-lamp, all these different manifestations of light have their source in the sun; it is the sun which is showing itself in all these different forms, although we generally consider the sun to be separate from all other aspects of light. In the same way the supreme Spirit is manifested in all forms, in all things and beings, in the seen and unseen worlds; and yet it stands remote, as the sun stands remote from all other forms of light. The Qur'an says, 'God is the light of heaven and of earth'; and in reality all forms, however dense they may be, are to some degree the radiance of that spirit which is all light. All the different colors are different degrees of that same light.
    The soul becomes like a rose and begins to show the rose quality. The rose holds together many petals, and so the person who comes to the unfoldment of the soul begins to show many different qualities. These qualities emit fragrance in the form of a spiritual personality. The rose has a beautiful structure, and so the personality which proves the unfoldment of the soul has also a fine structure in manner, in dealing with others, in speech, in action. It is like the perfume of the rose that the atmosphere of the spiritual being pervades all.

    The rose has in its heart its seeds, and so the developed souls have in their heart that seed of development which produces many roses. The rose comes and fades away, but the essence that is taken from the rose lives and keeps the fragrance that it had in its full bloom. Personalities who touch that plane of development may live on the earth for a limited time, but the essence which is left by them will live for thousands and thousands of years, ever keeping the same fragrance and giving the same pleasure that once the rose gave.
    Each one has his circle of influence, large or small; within his sphere so many souls and minds are involved; with his rise, they rise; with his fall, they fall. The size of a man's sphere corresponds with the extent of his sympathy, or we may say, with the size of his heart. His sympathy holds his sphere together. As his heart grows, his sphere grows; as his sympathy is withdrawn or lessened, so his sphere breaks up and scatters. If he harms those who live and move within his sphere, those dependent upon him or upon his affection, he of necessity harms himself.
    The worlds are held together by the heat of the sun. Each of us are atoms held in position by that eternal sun we call God. Within us is that same central power, we call it the light of God, or the love of God, and by it we too hold up the human beings within our sphere; or lacking it, we let them fall. So God keeps all, and so we keep our friends and surroundings. With this knowledge life in the world becomes a glorious vision. Not that we are compelled to keep away from sin, but we learn what power virtue has.


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  8. #298 When one dives within, he finds that his real self is above the perpetual motion... 
    When one dives within, he finds that his real self is above the perpetual motion of the universe.

    When one dives within, he finds that his real self is above the perpetual motion of the universe.There is in man a false self and a real self. The real self contains the eternal; the false self contains the mortal. The real self has wisdom; the false self ignorance. The real self can rise to perfection; the false self ends in limitation. The real self has all good, the false self is productive of all evil. One can see both in oneself: God and the other one. By conquering the other one, one realizes God. This other power has been called Satan; but is it a power? In reality it is not. It is and it is not. It is a shadow. We see shadow and yet it is nothing. We should realize that this false self has no existence of its own. As soon as the soul has risen above the false self, it begins to realize its nobility.
    In order to see this question more clearly one must picture oneself as two beings, one the king and the other the servant. When one of them expresses a wish, it is the king who wishes. And the part that says, 'I cannot,' is the servant. If the servant has his way, then the king is in the place of the servant. And the more the servant has his way, the more the servant rules and the king obeys. In this way naturally conflict arises and that reflects upon the outer life; one's whole life becomes unlucky. One may be pious or good or religious, it makes no difference. If man does not realize the kingdom of God within himself nor realize his spirit to be a king, he does not accomplish the purpose of life.
    The soul of man is a dweller in heaven. It is able to see more than the eyes can see. It is able to hear more than the ears can hear. The soul is able to expand further than man can journey. The soul is able to dive deeper than any depths that man can ever touch. The soul is able to reach higher than man can reach by any means. Its life is freedom, it knows nothing but joy and sees nothing but beauty. Its own nature is peace, and its being is life itself. It is not intelligent. It is intelligence itself. It is spirit. Its nature is not human but divine. ... Man is a process, manifestation is a process through which the spirit goes from one condition to another condition, from one pole to another pole. And through this whole process the attempt of the spirit is to find itself. ... The highest perception of freedom comes when a person has freed himself from the false ego, when he is no longer what he was. All the different kinds of freedom will give a momentary sensation of being free, but true freedom is in ourselves. When one's soul is free, then there is nothing in this world that binds one; everywhere one will breathe freedom, in heaven and on earth.
    It is therefore that the Sufi seeks God as his love, lover and beloved, his treasure, his possession, his honor, his joy, his peace; and his attainment in its perfection alone fulfills all demands of life both here and hereafter.

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  9. #299 Every soul has a definite task, and the fulfillment of each individual purpose... 
    Every soul has a definite task, and the fulfillment of each individual purpose can alone lead man aright; illumination comes to him through the medium of his own talent.

    Not everyone knows for what he is really looking. He waits to be told. But when the truth is told him, he has little difficulty in recognizing it. Every soul has a definite task, and the fulfillment of this individual purpose can alone lead him aright. Illumination comes to him through the medium of his own talent. By taking his particular line in life, he fits into the scheme of the whole, and thus attains his own goal.
    It is in unfoldment that the purpose of life is fulfilled, and it is not only so with human beings but also with the lower creation; even with all the objects that exist the fulfillment of their existence lies in their unfoldment. ... We learn from this that every being and every object is working towards that unfoldment which is the fulfillment of its purpose. There is a saying of a Persian poet, Sadi, that every being is intended to be on earth for a certain purpose, and the light of that purpose has been kindled in his heart. In all different purposes which we see working through each individual, there seems to be one purpose which is behind them all, and that is the unfoldment of the soul.
    The ultimate purpose, for which the soul is seeking every moment of our life, is our spiritual purpose. And you may ask how to attain to that purpose. The answer is that what you are seeking for is within yourself. Instead of looking outside, you must look within. The way to proceed to accomplish this is for some moments to suspend all your senses such as sight, hearing, smell, touch, in order to put a screen before the outside life. And by concentration and by developing that meditative quality you will sooner or later get in touch with the inner Self which is more communicative, which speaks more loudly than all the noises of this world. And this gives joy, creates peace, and produces in you a self-sufficient spirit, a spirit of independence, of true liberty. The moment you get in touch with your Self you are in communion with God. It is in this way, if God-communication is sought rightly, that spirituality is attained.
    Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose ... When the desire to live brings one in touch with one's real life, a life which is not subject to death, then the purpose of that desire is accomplished. When one has been able to perceive fully the knowledge of one's own being, in which is to be found divine knowledge and the mystery of the whole manifestation, then the purpose of knowledge is attained. When one is able to get in touch with the Almighty Power, then the desire for power is achieved. When one has been able to find one's happiness in one's own heart, independent of all things outside, the purpose of the desire for happiness is fulfilled; when one is able to rise above all conditions and influences which disturb the peace of the soul and has found one's peace in the midst of the crowd and away from the world, in him the desire for peace is satisfied. ... It is in the fulfillment of these five desires that one purpose is accomplished, the purpose for which every soul was born on earth.


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