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Thread: Wisdom of Hazrat Inayat Khan — a Sufi Master

  1. #341 All forms of worship or prayer must draw man closer to God. 
    All forms of worship or prayer must draw man closer to God.

    Man breathes, but he does not breathe rightly. As the rain falls on the ground and matures little plants and makes the soil fertile, so the breath, the essence of all energy, falls as a rain on all parts of the body. This also happens in the case of the mind, but man cannot even perceive that part of the breath that quickens the mind; only that felt in the body is perceptible, and to the average man it is not even perceptible in the body. He knows nothing of it, except what appears in the form of inhalation and exhalation through the nostrils. It is this, alone which is generally meant when man speaks of breath.

    When we study the science of breath, the first thing we notice is that breath is audible; it is a word in itself, for what we call a word is only a more pronounced utterance of breath fashioned by the mouth and tongue. In the capacity of the mouth breath becomes voice, and therefore the original condition of a word is breath. Therefore if we said: 'First was the breath', it would be the same as saying; 'In the beginning was the word'.

    The first life that existed was the life of God, and from that all manifestation branched out. It is a manifold expression of one life: one flower blooming as so many petals, one breath expressing itself as so many words. The sacred idea attached to the lotus flower, is expressive of this same philosophy. It is symbolizing the many lives in the one God, and expressed in the Bible in the words: 'In God we live and move and have our being'. When man is separated from God in thought, his belief is of no use to him, his worship is but of little use to him; for all forms of worship or belief should draw man closer to God, and that which makes man separate from God has no value.

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  2. #342 When one is separated from God in his thought, his belief is of no use, his worship,, 
    When one is separated from God in his thought, his belief is of no use, his worship is of little use.

    God and man are like the two ends of one line. When a believer in God conceives of God as a separate entity and of man as a being separate from Him, he makes himself an exile, an exile from the kingdom of God. He holds fast to the form of God created by himself, and he does not reach the Spirit of God. However good and virtuous he has been in life, however religious in his actions, he has not fulfilled the purpose of his life.


    Those who think that God is not outside but only within are as wrong as those who believe that God is not within but only outside. In fact God is both inside and outside, but it is very necessary to begin by believing in that God outside. From our childhood we have learned everything outside. We learn what the eye is by looking at the eyes of others; everything we see in ourselves we have always learned from outside.

    So even in order to learn to see God we must begin by seeing God outside: as the Creator, the Judge, the Knower of all things, the forgiver; and when we have understood Him better, the next step is that the God that we have always seen outside we now also find within, and that completes our worship. If we have only found Him outside then we are His worshippers, but we remain separate from him and there is no communion, which is the purpose of life.

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  3. #343 VThe source of the realization of truth is within man; 
    The source of the realization of truth is within man; he himself is the object of his realization.

    Men have differed in all ages because they have called their Deity by different names. There have existed wars, fights and family feuds for ages, men dividing themselves merely for the difference of the names they gave to their Deity. Man always sees just what he sees; he cannot see beyond it. With the ideal of his Deity, with the separate names of man's Deities, with all the different attitudes of worshipping his Deity, man remains separate from God, for God is truth and truth is God.

    In past ages people have founded new religions, formed in the name of God; they have built churches, founded in the name of God and Truth; they held their scriptures in esteem and honor, and revered the names of their leaders, of the prophets and seers of the religion to which they belonged. And with all his progress man does not seem to have progressed any further than the religions as known today. Bias and bigotry exist in the followers of different creeds, in their temples and churches, in the houses of their prayers, in their congregations of particular communities. The consequence is that religion and the religious spirit has been enfeebled. This even has reacted upon the minds of others who stay away from religion and yet partake of that tendency towards difference, definition and separation which divides mankind into different sections called nations, races or communities. The reaction culminates into results still worse than the action. All wars, disasters and unhappy experiences that humanity has seen, are the outcome of this spirit of intolerance, division and separation, which naturally comes through lack of wisdom and understanding, and through the ignorance of truth.

    Then the question arises: what is the way to attain the truth? Can it be attained through study? The answer is that the source of realizing the truth is within man - but man is the object of his realization. There are words of Hazrat 'Ali, saying that the one who knows himself truly knows God.

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  4. #344 It is more important to find out the truth about one's self, than to find out... 
    It is more important to find out the truth about one's self, than to find out the truth of heaven and hell.

    The awakened soul looks about and asks: 'Who is my enemy?' While the unawakened soul thinks that it is his neighbor or his relation who is his enemy, the awakened soul says, 'It is my self; my ignorant ego is my enemy; and it is the struggle with this enemy that will bring me light and raise me from the denseness of the earth.'
    When a person really wants to find the way, it is not very far from him. It depends on the sincerity of the desire to find it whether it is far or not. What is necessary for finding it is not much reading, or discussion or argument, but a practical study of self. One questions one's own self: what am I? Am I a material body, or a mind, or something behind a mind? Am I myself or my coat? Is this object "me," or something different? Is this body my cover, or myself?
    What is it then in man which says 'I' and identifies itself with what it sees? It is not our head or foot which says 'I' nor is it in the brain. It is something that we cannot point out which identifies itself with all these different parts and says 'I' and mine.
    There is One Truth, the true knowledge of our being, within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom. Hazrat Ali says, 'Know thyself, and thou shalt know God.' ... The Sufi recognizes the knowledge of self as the essence of all religions; he traces it in every religion, he sees the same truth in each, and therefore he regards all as one. Hence he can realize the saying of Jesus; 'I and my Father are one.' The difference between creature and Creator remains on his lips, not in his soul. This is what is meant by union with God. It is in reality the dissolving of the false self in the knowledge of the true self, which is divine, eternal, and all pervading. 'He who attaineth union with God, his very self must lose,' said Amir.

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  5. #345 Man mistakes when he begins to cultivate the heart by wanting to sow the seed himself 
    Man mistakes when he begins to cultivate the heart by wanting to sow the seed himself, instead of leaving the sowing to God.

    The Sufis have learned the lesson of love, of devotion, of sympathy, and have called it the cultivation of the heart. It is known by the word suluk, which means the loving manner. What we call refined manner is only a manner behind which there is no life. When manner is directed by the heart quality then it becomes loving manner, the manner that comes from love, and all such attributes as kindness, gentleness, tolerance, forgiveness, mercy and compassion -- they all spring from this loving manner. ... One may ask: How to cultivate the heart quality? There is only one way: to become selfless at each step one takes forward on this path, for what prevents one from cultivating the loving quality is the thought of self.
    The question may be asked: Is any effort required for realizing the truth? The answer is yes. There is a work that one can do, which is as the work of a farmer, it is to cultivate the heart. But where man makes a mistake is that when he cultivates the heart he wishes to sow the seed himself instead of leaving the sowing of the seed to God. As to the way how to cultivate the heart, the first condition is explained in a story. A young man went to a great seer in Persia and asked him for guidance on the spiritual path. The seer asked him, 'Have you loved in your life?' 'No' he said, 'not yet.' The seer answered, 'Go and love, and know what love is. Then come to me.'

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  6. #346 What we have to learn is pupilship. There is but one Teacher, God Himself. 
    We start our lives as teachers, and it is very hard for us to learn to become pupils. There are many whose only difficulty in life is that they are teachers already. What we have to learn is pupilship. There is but one Teacher, God Himself.

    In order to know the truth or to know God earthly qualifications and earthly wisdom or learning are not necessary. What one has to learn is how to become a pupil. We often start our lives as teachers, and then it is hard to become a pupil. From childhood on we start to teach our parents. There are seldom souls who have more inclination for pupilship than for teaching, and there are many whose only difficulty in life is that they are teachers already. Man thinks that perhaps his reading or study of different religions and doctrines has qualified him and made him capable to understand the truth and to have the knowledge of God, but he forgets that there is only one teacher, and that is God Himself. We all are pupils, and what we can do in life is to qualify ourselves to become true pupils.
    It should be remembered that all the great teachers of humanity, such as Jesus Christ, Buddha, Muhammad and Zarathushtra, have been great pupils; they have learned from the innocent child, they have learned from everyone, from every person that came near them. They have learned from every situation and every condition of the world. They have understood and they have learned. It is the desire to learn continually that makes one a teacher, and not the desire to become a teacher. As soon as a person thinks, 'I am something of a teacher,' he has lost ground. For there is only one teacher: God alone is the Teacher, and all others are His pupils. We all learn from life what life teaches us. When a soul begins to think that he has learned all he had to learn and that now he is a teacher, he is very much mistaken. The greatest teachers of humanity have learned from humanity more than they have taught.

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