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Thread: Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan — a Sufi Master

  1. #311 Among a million believers in God there is scarcely one who makes God a reality. 
    Among a million believers in God there is scarcely one who makes God a reality.

    If only we could recognize the inner voice, we would see that the different scriptures all contain words spoken by one and the same voice. Some hear the voice, others only hear the words, just as in nature some see only the branches and others the roots of the tree; but all these different scriptures and ways of worship and of contemplating God are given for one purpose: the realization of unity. In unity resides the happiness and illumination of man, and his guidance in life. We all know unity by name, but most of us think of it as uniformity. The Vedanta for thousands of years in all its prayers and mantrams voiced this central theme: unity, the oneness of all. The Qur'an with all its warnings expresses in one essential sura the Being of God: that not only in the unseen, but in all that is seen there is one underlying current; and the Bible says that we live and move and have our being in God.

    Of all the millions of believers in God perhaps only one makes God a reality, and that is because the picture man makes of God is as limited as himself. The knowledge of God is beyond man's reason. Man only perceives things he is capable of perceiving. He cannot raise his imagination above what he is used to, and he cannot reach beyond his imagination to where the being of God is.
    Among millions of believers in God, there is hardly one who makes God a reality. To so many He is an imagination, to many He is in a mosque, a church, or a temple. Many wonder if God is really. Many others think God is goodness, He is a personality separate from us, He is most high, most pure, most beautiful, but He is separate and difficult to reach. Many think that as it takes so long to reach this planet or that, God must be further away still. The purpose of one's whole life is to make God a reality. ... if you will seek for good in everything, you will always find it, for God is in all things, and still more He is in all beings. Seek Him in all souls, good and bad, wise and foolish, attractive or unattractive, for in the depth of each there is God. ... He is all around and about us at every moment, we are living His life, we are breathing His breath, and yet we are ignorant of the perfection of beauty which unites and inspires every soul.


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  2. #312 Understanding makes the trouble of life lighter to bear. 
    Understanding makes the trouble of life lighter to bear.

    We often suffer because we do not understand. Many conditions and many people are difficult to tolerate because we do not understand them, but once we understand we can tolerate almost anything.
    All tragedy of life, all misery and inharmony are caused by one thing and that is lack of understanding. Lack of understanding comes from lack of penetration. The one who does not see from the point of view from which he ought to see becomes disappointed because he cannot understand. It is not for the outer world to help us to understand life better; it is we ourselves who should help ourselves to understand it better.
    What a great thing is understanding! It is priceless. No man can give greater pleasure to his fellow man than by understanding him. The closest friend in life is the one who understands most. It is not your wife, brother or sister, it is the one who understands you most who is your greatest friend in the world. You can be the greatest friend of God if you can understand God. Imagine how man lives in the world -- with closed eyes and closed ears! Every name and every form speaks constantly, constantly makes signs for you to hear, for you to respond to, for you to interpret, that you may become a friend of God. The whole purpose of your life is to make yourself ready to understand what God is, what your fellow man is, what the nature of man is, what life is.

    Now coming to a still greater secret of life I want to answer the question: how can we grow to read and understand the message that life speaks through all its names and forms? The answer is that, as by the opening of the eyes you can see things, so by the opening of the heart you can understand things. As long as the heart is closed you cannot understand things. The secret is that when the ears and eyes of the heart are open, all planes of the world are open, all names are open, all secrets, all mysteries are unfolded.


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  3. #313 The soul feels suffocated when the doors of the heart are closed. 
    The soul feels suffocated when the doors of the heart are closed.

    There is a door to man's heart; it is either closed or open. When he holds a thing and says, 'This is mine,' he closes the door to his heart; but when he shares his goods with others and says, 'This is yours as well as mine,' this opens his heart. We must learn consideration for others; it does not matter whether they are rich or poor. We may have only one slice of bread, but when there is another sitting by our side we share that slice with him. By doing this, even if our bodily appetite remains unsatisfied, our heart is filled with joy to think that we shared our happiness with another. It is this spirit which is necessary just now to change the condition of the world, not political and commercial disputes. We must be awakened to the main truth, that the happiness and peace of each can only be the happiness and peace of all.
    People pursue spirituality with their brain: that is where they are mistaken. Spirituality is attained through the heart. What do I mean by the heart? Is it the nervous center in the midst of the breast, the small piece of flesh that doctors call the heart? No, the definition of the heart is that it is the depth of the mind, the mind being the surface of the heart. That in us which feels is the heart, that which thinks is the mind. It is the same thing which thinks and feels, but the direction is different: feeling comes from the depth, thought from the surface. ... The Sufis have therefore considered the development of the heart quality as a spiritual culture, and have called it the culture of the heart. It consists of the tuning of the heart.

    Tuning means changing the pitch of the vibrations. Tuning the heart means changing the vibrations, bringing them to a certain pitch which is the natural one where you feel the joy and ecstasy of life, which enables you to give pleasure to others even by your presence because you are tuned. When an instrument is properly tuned you need not play music on it; just by striking it you will feel a great magnetism coming from it. If an instrument well-tuned can have that magnetism, how much greater should be the magnetism of hearts that are tuned. Rumi says, 'Whether you have loved a human being or whether you have loved God, if you have loved enough you will be brought in the end into the presence of the supreme Love itself'.


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  4. #314 External life is the shadow of the inner reality. 
    External life is the shadow of the inner reality.

    The outer manifestations of life are so rigid and dense that the secret of their nature and character is buried underneath. Why is the world called an illusion by the mystics? Because the nature of manifestation is such that it envelops its own secret within itself, and appears in such a rigid form that the fineness, beauty and mystery of its character are hidden. Therefore the seekers after the truth of life, the students of life, are of two opposite kinds. The one wishes to learn from outward appearance. The other wishes to find out the secret that is hidden behind it. The one who learns from the external gets the knowledge from the external, which we call science. The one who finds out from the within, from what is hidden in this manifestation, is the mystic. The knowledge he gains is mysticism. ... 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.
    The inner life is not separate from the outer life, but is a fuller and larger life. What is necessary is to put first things first. The mystic does more than quote scriptures; he not only says, 'Seek ye first the Kingdom of God,' his whole life is absorbed in the seeking.


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  5. #315 At the cost of one failure, the wise learn the lesson for the whole of life. 
    At the cost of one failure, the wise learn the lesson for the whole of life.

    It happens very often that we find that a person who has been successful in life goes on being successful, and that one who has once failed goes on failing. Looked at from a psychological point of view, the reason is that the first person was impressed by his success and so he continued to be successful, and the other, who was impressed with his failure, continued to have failures because that impression suggested failure to him. But it is not because of the displeasure of God that unfortunate souls continue to be unfortunate in everything they do. It is that the suggestion of misfortune, of misery, keeps them miserable throughout their lives.
    Reasoning is a faculty which the mystic uses and which he may develop like any man of common sense, any practical man. The difference is only that the mystic does not stop at the first reason, but wishes to see the reason behind all reasons. Thus, in everything, whether right or wrong, the mystic seeks for the reason. The immediate answer, however, will be a reason that does not satisfy him, for he sees that behind that reason there is yet another reason. ... The nature of life is such that it easily excites the mind and makes man unhappy in an instant. It makes man so confused that he does not know where to take the next step. In contrast with this, the mystic stands still and inquires of life its secret; and from every experience, from every failure or success, the mystic learns a lesson. Thus, both failure and success are profitable to him.

    The ideal of a mystic is never to think of disagreeable things. What one does not want to happen one should not think about. A mystic erases from his mind all the disagreeable things of the past. He collects and keeps his happy experiences, and out of them, he makes a paradise. Are there not many unhappy people who keep part of the past before them, causing them pain in their heart? Past is past; it is gone. There is eternity before us.


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  6. #316 The more you evolve spiritually, the further you pass from the understanding of every 
    The more you evolve spiritually, the further you pass from the understanding of every man.

    The average man cannot understand the mystic; and therefore people are always at a loss when dealing with him. His 'yes' is not the same 'yes' that everybody says; his 'no' has not the same meaning as that which everybody understands. In almost every phrase he says there is some symbolical meaning. His every outward action has an inner significance. A man who does not understand his symbolical meaning may be bewildered by hearing a phrase, which is nothing but confusion to him.
    I will tell you something about my own teacher. Once I met a learned man, a doctor of philosophy with a great many degrees. I spoke to him on the deeper side of life and he became so interested in me that he thought much of me. So I thought, 'If I were to tell him about my teacher, how much more interesting that would be for him. If I make such an impression upon this man, how much more my teacher will be for him, and how much will he appreciate my teacher', and I told him, 'There is a wonderful man in this city, he has no comparison in the whole world'. 'Yes?', said he, 'Are there such people? I would so much like to see him. Where does he live?' I told him, in such and such a part of the city. He said, 'I live there too. Where is his house. I know all the people there. What is his name?' So I told him, and he said, 'For twenty years I have known this man, and you are telling me about him!' I thought, 'In a hundred years you would not have been able to know him'. He was not ready to know him.

    If people are not evolved enough they cannot appreciate persons, they cannot understand them, they cannot understand the greatest souls. They sit with them, they talk with them, there is a contact of the whole life, but they do not see. Another person in one moment, if he is ready to understand, makes a benefit out of it. Imagine, the learned man had known my teacher for twenty years and did not know him. I saw him once, and became his pupil forever. One might ask, 'Was this man not learned, not intellectual?' Yes, he was. Then what was lacking? He saw my teacher with his brain, I saw him with my heart. People pursue spirituality with their brain: that is where they are mistaken. Spirituality is attained through the heart.
    The more one evolves the more one will discover the different grades of people, just like the different keys on the piano. One is lower, another is higher. Every person has a different grade of evolution. Also, the higher you evolve the more you will find that you cannot drive everyone with the same whip. You have to speak to everyone differently, in fact in his own language. If you speak a language he does not understand, it will be gibberish to him. ...

    Once when traveling I met a man of a very dense evolution, a soldier who always lived in military surroundings and who had very fixed ideas of his own. And when we were talking together and it appeared that we thought differently about something, I happened to say in order to preserve harmony, 'Well, we are brothers!' He looked at me with great anger, and said, 'Brothers! How dare you say such a thing!' I said, 'I forgot. I am your servant, Sir.' He was very pleased. I could have argued, but this would have created disharmony without reason. The foolishness of that man blazed up just like fire. I put water on it and extinguished it. I did not diminish myself. We are all servants of one another. And it pleased and satisfied him.


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