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Thread: Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan — a Sufi Master

  1. #471 All the disharmony of the world caused by religious differences is the result of... 
    All the disharmony of the world caused by religious differences is the result of man's failure to understand that religion is One, truth is One, God is One; how can there be two religions?

    God is one, the Truth is one. How can there be two religions? There is one religion, the only religion. ... Yes, we are living in different lands, but under one sky. So, we have many churches, but one God; many scriptures, but one wisdom; many souls, but one spirit, the only Spirit of God.
    The one Spirit of life is given different names, the sacred names. We more easily recognize the [Spirit of life] by the particular name to which we are accustomed. So far we are right, but the mistake we make, and it is to our loss, is to ignore or deny the same truth because it is given to us in another form and under another name. We limit it. We say the truth existed only in that period when certain teachers came to the world, and that after that it stopped. But the spirit of illumination can never stop as long as life goes on. Illumination has continued from the beginning, and will always continue until the manifestation ends; so long will the spirit of illumination continue to spread out its rays.

    We accept some forms and ignore others. It is the natural tendency of mankind. It is this that accounts for so many religions. Even if a person cannot see things in this light, he can at least be tolerant of other people's religions. He can respect the religion because he sees others respect it, even if he himself has no respect for its teacher. After all, spirituality means respect, advancement. Man shows his evolution according to his respect, his consideration, his thoughtfulness. If we could only develop that faculty in our mind, it would not matter not believing or recognizing the Spirit of Guidance shown in different human forms. If we held our own teacher or master in the greatest esteem it would do a great deal of spiritual good. The disharmony of the world is usually caused by religious differences, as were the wars of ancient times. The differences are caused by men failing to understand that religion is one, truth is one, God is one. How can there be two religions?
    God is one, truth is one, and the religion is one. There cannot be two religions; that is the confusion, the illusion of the human mind. When people cannot understand each other, then they say, 'Your religion is different, my religion is different.' But the difference does not belong to God, it belongs to the earth. ... And in the realization of God, in the love of God, what are we expected to do? We are expected to unite with one another in the thought of God, in the love of God. ... All wisdom is from God; from whatever scripture, whatever religion, whatever form, it all comes from one source.

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  2. #472 Words are but the shadows of thought and feelings. 
    Words are but the shadows of thought and feelings.

    Although the elements may be called earth, water, fire, air and ether, this must not be taken literally. Their nature and character, according to the mystics, are different. But, as words are few, one cannot give other names to these elements, although in Sanskrit we have distinctive words for them. 'Ether' is not ether in the scientific sense; it is capacity. 'Water' is not water as we understand it in everyday language; it is liquidity. 'Fire' is understood differently; it means glow or heat, dryness, radiance, all that is living. All of these words suggest something more than is ordinarily meant by them. ... Every activity of the outer world is a kind of reaction. In other words, a shadow of the activity which is behind it and which we do not see.
    A world of idea is hidden in a word. Think, therefore, how interesting life must become for the one who can see behind every word that is spoken to him its length, breadth, height, and depth. He is an engineer of the human mind. He then does not know only what is spoken to him, but he knows what is meant by it. By knowing words you do not know the language; what you know is the outside language, the inner language is known by knowing the language of ideas. So the language of ideas cannot be heard by the ears alone, the hearing of the heart must be open for it.

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  3. #473 The more elevated the soul, the broader the outlook. 
    The more elevated the soul, the broader the outlook.

    Attitude is the principal thing in life. It is not the conditions in life which change life for us, but mostly it is our attitude toward life and its conditions upon which depends our happiness or unhappiness. ... The attitude becomes high and broad when one looks at life from a higher point of view. When the point of view is not high, the range of man's sight becomes limited; man becomes narrow in his outlook on life, and in his feelings, thought, speech and action the same is expressed. Why is God pointed out on high, toward the sky? Why not toward the earth, for God is everywhere? The reason is that within the range of God's sight the whole universe stands as a little grain of corn, as to one that flies in the balloon and looks down from high the whole city comes within the range of his sight, when he stands on earth he sees no further than the four walls which keep the whole world covered from his sight.

    What does it mean to become spiritual, or godly? It means to have a higher view of life, to look at life from a higher point of view. It is the high point of view in life which ennobles the soul.
    The eyes of the man who neglects his duty to his fellow men, absorbed in life's intoxication, will certainly become dazzled and his mind exhausted before the presence of God. It does not mean that any soul will be deprived of the divine vision, it only means that the soul who has not learned to open his eyes wide enough will have his eyes closed before the vision of God. All virtues come from a wide outlook on life, all understanding comes from the keen observation of life. Nobility of soul, therefore, is signified in the broad attitude that man takes in life.
    The process of spiritual development is an expansion, and this expansion is brought about by the widening of the outlook. The outlook depends upon the attitude of mind. If a mind is focused to thinking of small things, then this process of widening the outlook will not be completed. ... Spiritual progress is the lifting of the consciousness in order that the consciousness may expand to perfection. Therefore it is a continual work of trying to look into a wider sphere. By this attitude a person, without learning to be spiritual, will naturally become spiritual; his outlook on life will become different. Little things that people take to heart will seem to him of little importance; things that people become confused with will become clear to him; things that matter so much to everyone will not matter to him. Many things that frighten and horrify people will not have the same effect upon him; disappointments and failures will not take away his hope and courage. His thought, speech and action, as his outlook becomes wide, so everything he says or does will be different. What we call nobleness, that natural nobleness which belongs to the soul, will blossom.

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  4. #474 Forbearance, patience and tolerance are the only conditions which keep two individual 
    Forbearance, patience and tolerance are the only conditions which keep two individual hearts united.

    Love teaches the lover patience, forbearance, gentleness, because he thinks, 'My beloved will be displeased; I will be as gentle as possible in my action and in my movements'. These thoughts are a correction to the lover. With every such thought that passes in the life of the lover he corrects himself. Hope is the only thing in life which keeps us alive, because it feeds on love. Patience is fed by love. We can never have patience with anybody without love. How valuable is patience! As it is said in the Quran, 'God loves the patient'.
    Sacrifice is needed in love to give all there is -- wealth, possessions, body, heart, and soul. There remains no 'I', only 'you', until the 'you' becomes the 'I'. Where there is love there is patience, where there is no patience there is no love.
    The idea of sacrifice has always existed in some form or other, in every religion. Sometimes it has been taught as giving up one's possessions for the love of a higher ideal, which means that when man claims to love his high ideal and yet is not willing to give up something he possesses for it, then there is doubt about his devotion. But sacrifice of a possession is the first step; the next one is self-sacrifice, which was the inner note of the religion of Jesus Christ. Charity, generosity, even tolerance and forbearance, are a kind of sacrifice, and every sacrifice in life, in whatever form, means a step towards the goal of every soul.
    To be today friendly and tomorrow unfriendly cannot for one moment be called friendship; the value of friendship is in its constancy. Forbearance, patience, and tolerance are the only conditions which keep two individual hearts united. There is a saying in Hindustani, by Seman, on friendship, 'Stand by your friend in his time of need, like the reed on the bank of the river.' When a man is sinking in the water and catches hold of a reed, it will save him if it is strong; and if not, it will sink along with him.

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  5. #475 We blame others for our sorrows and misfortunes, not perceiving that we ourselves are 
    We blame others for our sorrows and misfortunes, not perceiving that we ourselves are the creators of our world.

    Externally we are a single being, but internally we are a world. As vast as is the world around us, so vast is the world within. Asif says, 'The limitation of the sky and land cannot be compared with man's heart. If man's heart be wide, there is nothing wider than this.' All can be accommodated in it; heaven earth, sun, moon, all are reflected in it. It becomes itself the whole. This world becomes as one chooses to make it. If man only knew that! But since he does not know that, the world is not heaven, but has become its opposite. We blame others for our sorrows and misfortunes, not perceiving that we ourselves are the creators of our world; that our world has an influence upon our life within as well as upon our life without.
    One learns to understand that there is a world in one's self, that in one's mind there is a source of happiness and unhappiness, the source of health and illness, the source of light and darkness, and that it can be awakened, either mechanically or at will, if only one knew how to do it. Then one does not blame his ill fortune nor complain of his fellow man. He becomes more tolerant, more joyful, and more loving toward his neighbor, because he knows the cause of every thought and action, and he sees it all as the effect of a certain cause.

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  6. #476 Nobody appears inferior to us when our heart is kindled with kindness... 
    Nobody appears inferior to us when our heart is kindled with kindness and our eyes are open to the vision of God.

    We are so situated in life that whatever position we may occupy we are never independent, we are never self-sufficient. Therefore, every individual depends upon others for help, and others depend upon him for help; only the position of the person who is one among many who receive help becomes lower in the eyes of those who count themselves among the few who can help.

    This makes every person a master as well as a servant. Yet everyone, in the intoxication of his mastership, forgets his place as a servant, and looks upon the one who helps him as his servant. The wise, whose feelings are awakened, think on this question deeply, and do their best to avoid every possibility of giving even an idea to a servant of his servantship, far less insulting him in any way or hurting his feelings. We are all equal, and if we have helpers to serve us in life we ought to feel humble and most thankful for the privilege, instead of making the position of the servant humble. ... One cannot commit a greater sin than hurting the feelings of the one who serves us and depends upon our help. Once the Prophet heard his grandson call a servant by his name. On hearing this he at once said to his grandson, 'No, child, that is not the right way of addressing elders. You ought to call him 'uncle.' It does not matter if he serves us, we are all servants of one another, and we are equal in the sight of God.'

    There is a verse of Mahmud-i Ghaznavi: 'The Emperor Mahmud, who had thousands of slaves to wait on his call, became the slave of his slaves when love gushed forth from his heart.' Nobody appears inferior to us when our heart is kindled with kindness and our eyes are open to the vision of God.
    As Christ teaches, 'Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.' What does all this teach us? It is all a lesson in sympathy for one's fellow man, to teach us to share in his troubles, in his despair. For whoever really experiences this joy of life, finds that it becomes so great that it fills his heart and his soul. It does not matter if he has fewer comforts or an inferior position than many in this world, because the light of his kindness, of his sympathy, of the love that is growing, the virtue that is springing up in his heart, all fill the soul with light. There is nothing now that he lacks in life, for he has become the king of it.

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  7. #477 The final victory in the battle of life for every soul is when he has risen above... 
    The final victory in the battle of life for every soul is when he has risen above the things which once he most valued.

    The final victory in the battle of life for every soul is when he has abandoned, which means when he has risen above, what once he valued most. For the value of everything exists for man only so long as he does not understand it. When he has fully understood, the value is lost, be it the lowest thing or the highest thing. It is like looking at the scenery on the stage and taking it for a palace. Such is the case with all things of the world; they seem important or precious when we need them or when we do not understand them; as soon as the veil which keeps man from understanding is lifted, then they are nothing.

    Do not, therefore, be surprised at the renunciation of sages. Perhaps every person in the spiritual path must go through renunciation. It is not really throwing things away or disconnecting ourselves from friends; it is not taking things to heart as seriously as one naturally does by lack of understanding. No praise, no blame is valuable; no pain or pleasure is of any importance. Rise and fall are natural consequences, so are love and hatred; what does it matter if it be this or that? It matters so long as we do not understand. Renunciation is a bowl of poison no doubt, and only the brave will drink it; but in the end it alone proves to be nectar, and this bravery brings one the final victory.
    The real spirit of renunciation is willingness; and willing renunciation comes when one has risen above the thing one renounces. The value of each thing in life -- wealth, power, position, possession -- is according to the evolution of man. There is a time in his life when toys are his treasures, and there is a time when he puts them aside; there is a time in his life when copper coins are everything to him, and there is another time when he can give away gold coins; there is a time in his life when he values a cottage, and there is a time when he gives up a palace. Things have no value; their value is as man makes it; and at every step in his evolution he changes their value.

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  8. #478 When power leads and wisdom follows, the face of wisdom is veiled and she stumbles; 
    When power leads and wisdom follows, the face of wisdom is veiled and she stumbles; but when wisdom leads and power follows, they arrive safely at their destination.

    The head power is not enough to give the Message to humanity. The heart power is needed -- the heart first, the head comes after. If the head is first and the heart follows, then the heart will become weak, the head will get the upper hand. It is the development of the heart quality that will enable us to work in a field of wisdom and to bring to those who come in contact with us the Message we are destined to bring.
    The first thing that is desirable, or that which is most desirable in life, is wisdom. The next is power. As a foolish man would not be able to make good use of his wealth, so a person with psychic power without wisdom is apt to harm himself with his own power rather than to do any good. Every atom in this world has its peculiar charm and attraction, and mankind, so attracted by things that seem for the moment attractive, whether wealth, power, position or a friend, does not necessarily know the outcome of their attainment.

    Every man is as blind in his desire of attainment as a child attracted to anything beautiful, be it a toy or a knife. And when man cannot attain to it he feels as disappointed as a child that is not allowed to play with the knife. And it is keen sight into life that makes man see what is really good for him in his life. Selfish both are, the wise and the foolish; only that the foolish with his selfishness meets with disappointment while the wise with his selfishness gets the benefit. The nature of power is to cover the eyes and hide from one's sight the true nature of the things he wishes to attain. When power leads and wisdom follows, the face of wisdom is veiled and one stumbles; but when wisdom leads and power follows, then they arrive safely at their destination.

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  9. #479 He who can be detached enough to keep his eyes open to all those whom circumstances.. 
    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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  10. #480 True justice cannot be perceived until the veil of selfishness has been removed from 
    True justice cannot be perceived until the veil of selfishness has been removed from the eyes.

    The development of the sense of justice lies in unselfishness; one cannot be just and selfish at the same time. The selfish person can be just, but only for himself. He has his own law most suited to himself, and he can change it, and his reason will help him to do so, in order to suit his own requirements in life. A spark of justice is to be found in every heart, in every person, whatever be his stage of evolution in life; but the one who loves fairness, so to speak blows on that spark, thus raising it to a flame, in the light of which life becomes more clear to him.
    We cannot be a judge of the action of another until we ourselves are selfless. Only then will justice come to us; only then will we understand the nature of justice. Self is the wall between us and justice. There is only one thing that is truly just, and that is to say, 'I must not do this.'
    Real justice cannot be perceived until the veil of selfishness has been removed from his eyes. The least spark of selfishness will prevent man from being just. He will continue to have a partial interest, because he will be looking after his own interest. Whatever furthers his own interests, he will call his right and his justice.

    The prophets and the holy ones have all recognized the justice of God as the only real justice. What is the nature of the justice of God? It can only be learned from the self within after selfishness has been removed. Our limited self is like a wall separating us from the Self of God. God is as far away from us as that wall is thick. The wisdom and justice of God are within us, and yet they are far away under the covering of the veil of the limited self. Whoever has arrived at that realization of the nature of God's justice is able to see things in a different way from others. His whole outlook on life becomes different.

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