Thursday, July 13, 2017

Peace Ideal by Hazrat Inayat Khan

An ideal is beyond explanation./ To analyze God is to dethrone God./ Belief is like a staircase./ Each step takes one higher, but when one remains standing on a certain step of the staircase one does not progress./ Belief may nail the feet to the ground and keep one there standing on a certain spot on a staircase. /As a person evolves so his belief evolves, until he comes to that stage where he harmonizes with all the different beliefs, where he is no longer against any belief./ Then he is not nailed down any more; he is above all the different beliefs. Very often a person says, 'I cannot understand what God is. /Can you explain God to me?/ But if God were to be explained He would not be God. /To explain God is to dethrone God./ God apart, can one explain anything fine and subtle such as gratitude, love, or devotion, in words? /How much can be explained? /Words are too inadequate to explain great feelings, so how can God be explained in words?/ Since to analyze God means to dethrone God, the less said on the subject the better. / Everyone has his own imagination of God. /It is best if everyone is left to his own imagination./ However religious or pious, he cannot explain God; not even a mystic or philosopher can explain Him./ The ideal of God is the first lesson that must be learnt; and it cannot be learnt by analysis. /Therefore the intellectual mind which seeks for an analysis of God is always sure to be disappointed. /The philosopher spoke truly when he said, 'To analyze God is to dethrone God.' /Analysis can never portray even the ideal of God. /That is why every messenger, Muhammad, Christ, Moses, Abraham, emphasized the one word: faith. / It is the same with every ideal, even with the ideal of God. /An ideal is beyond explanation./ Where the flame of love rises, the knowledge of God unfolds of itself./ In love abides all knowledge. /It is mankind's love and interest in the things that in time reveals their secret, and then man knows how to develop, control, and utilize them. /No one can know anybody, however much he may profess to know, except the lover, because in the absence of love the inner eyes are blind. /Only the outer eyes are open, which are merely the spectacles of the inner eyes. /If the sight is not keen, of what use are the spectacles? / It is for this reason that we admire all those whom we love, and are blind to the good qualities of those whom we do not love./ It is not always that these deserve our neglect, but our eyes, without love, cannot see their goodness. /Those whom we love may have bad points too, but as love sees beauty, so we see that alone in them./ Intelligence itself in its next step towards manifestation is love. /When the light of love has been lit, the heart becomes transparent, so that the intelligence of the soul can see through it./ But until the heart is kindled by the flame of love, the intelligence, which is constantly yearning to experience life on the surface, is groping in the dark. / 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. /If this love expands to embrace the whole creation of the Heavenly Father, it raises man to be among the chosen ones of God./ Peace is perfected activity; that is perfect which is complete in all its aspects, balanced in each direction and under complete control of the will./ It is useless to discuss the peace of the world. /What is necessary just now is to create peace in ourselves that we, ourselves, become examples of love, harmony and peace. /That is the only way of saving the world and ourselves. Peace is independently felt within oneself./ It is not dependent upon the outer sensation. /It is something that belongs to one, something that is one's own self. / Peace is not a knowledge, peace is not a power, peace is not a happiness, but peace is all these./ And besides, peace is productive of happiness. /Peace inspires one with knowledge of the seen and unseen, and in peace is to be found the divine Presence. /It is not the excited one who conquers in this continual battle of life. /It is the peaceful one who tolerates all, who forgives all, who understands all, who assimilates all things./ The one who lacks peace, with all his possessions, the property of this earth or quality of mind, is poor even with both. /He has not got that wealth which may be called divine and without which man's life is useless. /For true life is in peace, a life which will not be robbed by death. / The secret of mysticism, the mystery of philosophy, all is to be attained after the attainment of peace./You cannot refuse to recognize the divine in a person who is a person of peace. /It is not the talkative, it is not the argumentative one, who proves to be wise./ He may have intellect, worldly wisdom, and yet may not have pure intelligence, which is real wisdom. /True wisdom is to be found in the peaceful, for peacefulness is the sign of wisdom. /It is the peaceful one who is observant. /It is peace that gives him the power to observe keenly. /It is the peaceful one, therefore, who can conceive, for peace helps him to conceive. /It is the peaceful who can contemplate; one who has no peace cannot contemplate properly./ Therefore, all things pertaining to spiritual progress in life depend upon peace./ And now the question is what makes one lack peace?/ The answer is, love of sensation./ A person who is always seeking to experience life in movement, in activity, in whatever form, wants more and more of that experience./ In the end he becomes dependent upon the life which is outside, and so he loses in the end his peace, the peace which is his real self. / The first thing is to seek the kingdom of God within ourselves, in which there is our peace. /As soon as we have found that, we have found our support, we have found our self. /And in spite of all the activity and movement on the surface, we shall be able to keep that peace undisturbed if only we hold it fast by becoming conscious of it./ Do not limit God to your virtue. /He is beyond your virtues, O pious ones!/ There is no such thing as impossible. /All is possible./ Impossible is made by the limitation of our capacity of understanding. /Man, blinded by the law of nature's working, by the law of consequences which he has known through his few years life on earth, begins to say, 'This is possible and that is impossible.' /If he were to rise beyond limitations, his soul would see nothing but possible./ And when the soul has risen high enough to see all possibility, that soul certainly has caught a glimpse of God./ Many have been resentful towards God for having sent them misery in their lives, but misery is always part of life's experience. /Some may become very angry and say, 'This is not just', or 'This is not right, for how could God who is just and good allow unjust things to happen?'/ But our sight is very limited, and our conception of right and wrong and good and evil is only our own, and not according to God's plan./ It is true that as long as we see it as such, it is so for us and for those who look at it from our point of view; but when it comes to God the whole dimension is changed, the whole point of view is changed./ It is for this reason that the wise in all ages, instead of trying to judge the action of God, have so to speak put aside their sense of justice for the time being; and they have tried to learn one thing only, and that was resignation to the will of God. / The Being of God is recognized by His attributes. /Therefore man speaks of God as the just God./ He sees all power, all goodness in God; but when the situation is changed, when he sees God as injustice, he begins to think that God is powerless, and to judge the action of God. /But one must look at this from a different point of view. /Human beings are limited, imperfect, and yet we try to judge the perfect Being, or His perfect action, from our own imperfect standpoint./ In order to judge, our vision must become as wide as the universe; then we might have a slight glimpse of the justice, which is perfect in itself./ A man's inclination is the root of the tree of his life./ The real inclination of every life is to attain to something which cannot be touched or comprehended or understood. /The hidden blessing of this knowledge is the first step to perfection. /Once awake to this fact, man sees there is something in life that will make him really happy and give him his heart's desire./ He can say, 'Though there are many things in life which I need for the moment, and for which I shall certainly work, yet there is only that one thing, around which life centers, that will satisfy me: the spiritual attainment, the religious attainment, or, as one may even call it, the attainment of God.'/ Such a one has found the key to all happiness, and has found that all the things he needs will be reached because he has the key to all. /'Seek, and ye shall find: knock, and it shall be opened unto you. /Seek first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you.' /This kingdom of God is the silent life; the life inseparable, eternal, self-sufficient, and all-powerful. /This is the life of the wise, whatever be the name given to it; this is the life which the wise contemplate./ It is the face of this life that they long to see; it is the ocean of this life that they long to swim in; as it is written: 'In Him we live and have our being.'/ Yes, teach your principles of good, but do not think to limit God within them. /The goodness of each man is peculiar to himself./ What is man to judge the doings of God from his limited standard of good and bad? /He knows not beyond what he knows. /He says he knows if he knows one cause, but there is cause after cause, hidden one behind another; and when once the soul perceives the Cause of all causes, he then realizes that all other causes are as illusions./ There is one single Cause behind all things./ One sees different desires in different people, yet when one studies them keenly one finds they are all different paths leading to one common goal. /When one realizes this one's accusations, complaints, and grudges cease at once. /However, there is also a natural tendency in man to find the easiest and quickest path to reach the desired goal, and there is also the tendency to share his pleasure, happiness, or comfort with others, and it is this that prompted the prophets and reformers to help mankind on its journey to the goal./ Those that follow in their footsteps, forgetting that moral, drag people by the neck to make them follow them, and this has brought about the degeneration of religions./ Christ said, 'In my Father's house are many mansions.' /The Prophet has said, 'Every soul has its peculiar religion.' /There is a Sanskrit saying, which perhaps deludes those who do not understand it, but which yet means the same thing: 'As many souls as there are, so many gods are there.'/ The God of each is the God of all, but in order to comprehend that God we each have to make our own God. /Some of us seek justice, we can seek for God Who is just. Some of us look for beauty, we must find it in the God of beauty. /Some of us seek for love, we must find it in the God of mercy and compassion./ Some of us wish for strength and power, we must find it in the God Almighty. /The seeking of every soul in this world is different, distinct and peculiar to himself, and he can best attain to it by finding the object of his search in God./ To learn to adopt the standard of God, and to cease to wish to make the world conform to one's own standard of good, is the chief lesson of religion./ When people came to Christ accusing a person of doing wrong, the Master could not think of anything else but forgiveness./ For he did not see in the wrongdoer what the others saw. /To distinguish between right and wrong is not the work of an ordinary mind, and the curious thing is that the more ignorant a person is, the more ready he is to do so./ The religious man full of dogmas is often apt to make these too rigid and he expects the godly or God-conscious to fit in with his standard of goodness. /If they do not fit in with his particular idea of piety he is ready to criticize them. /But the thought and life of Krishna were used by the artist, the poet and the musician; and out of this came a new religion, a religion of recognizing the divine in natural human life./ Every mind has its particular standard of good and bad, and of right and wrong. /This standard is made by what one has experienced through life, by what one has seen or heard; it also depends upon one's belief in a certain religion, one's birth in a certain nation and origin in a certain race./ But what can really be called good or bad, right or wrong, is what comforts the mind and what causes it discomfort. /It is not true, although it appears so, that it is discomfort that causes wrongdoing./ In reality, it is wrongdoing which causes discomfort, and it is right-doing which gives comfort./ The discrimination between good and evil is in man's soul. /Every man can judge that for himself, because in every man is the sense of admiration of beauty. /Happiness only lies in thinking or doing that which one considers beautiful. /Such an act becomes a virtue or goodness./ Thought draws the line of fate./ As mind is naturally impressionable, that means that man is naturally impressionable too./ Most often his illness, health, prosperity, failure, all depends upon the impressions on his mind. /They say 'Lines of fate and death are on the head and palm,' but I would say that it is the impressions man has on his mind which decide his destiny./ A person thinks, 'Someday I should like to build a factory.' /At this time he has no money, no knowledge, no capability; but a thought came, 'Someday I should like to build a factory.'/Then he thinks of something else. /Perhaps years pass, but that thought has been working constantly through a thousand minds, and a thousand sources prepare for him that which he once desired./ If we could look back to all we have thought of at different times, we would find that the line of fate or destiny, Kismet as it is called in the East, is formed by our thought. /Thoughts have prepared for us that happiness or unhappiness which we experience. /The whole of mysticism is founded on this./ One must always say every word with consideration, and should not say what one does not wish to happen. /Those who do not understand the value of suggestion walk after their own fate with a whip in their hand, and those who understand its value and control their word and use it rightly, they are a bliss to themselves and a source of happiness to others./ Misbelief alone misleads; singlemindedness always leads to the goal./ 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./ Many are the paths that lead to success. /The difficulty lies in keeping strictly to the chosen path, or in other words in retaining singleness of mind. /There is one means only by which man can attain to a realization of the religious ideal of the Godhead, and that is through sincerity and singlemindedness in the conduct of everyday life./ A person with the tendency to respond will succeed in all walks of life; a person who is not responsive will become disappointed in all affairs of life./ Responsiveness comes by interest, also by concentration, also by power of one's mind. /Responsiveness may be explained as faith, trust, concentration, singlemindedness, a living interest, contemplation, and love. /To respond means to give full attention and not divided attention but single attention./ Responsiveness is focusing one's whole being to something of interest. /When a person, even in his interest in worldly affairs, has so developed his faculty of responsiveness, then it becomes easy for him to respond to the call of the Spirit./ The mystery of responsiveness is that the responsive one must forget himself in order to respond; and the same mystery may be called the path to perfection. /A person who is not capable of forgetting himself, however good, pious, or spiritual, will always prove imperfect in his life. /All misery comes from the consciousness of the self. /The one who does not forget is constantly called by his own limited life, which enslaves him constantly. The one who forgets himself receives the call of God./ A king is ever a king, be he crowned with a jeweled crown or clad in beggar's garb./ Those crowned with beauty are always kings, even if they are in rags or sold as slaves. /A true king is always a king, with or without a throne./ I arrived at a cemetery where a group of dervishes sat on the green grass, chattering together. /They were all poorly clad, some without shoes and others without coats; one had a shirt with only one sleeve and another lacked them both./ One wore a robe with a thousand patches and the next a hat without a crown./ This strange group attracted my attention and I sat there for some time, noticing all that was going on yet feigning to be utterly indifferent. / When the Murshid arrived at the assembly of his disciples each one greeted the other, saying, 'Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Allah!—God is love and God is the beloved! . /The solemnity of the sacred words they uttered found their echo in my soul, thereupon I watched their ceremonial with still greater attention. /The queer patches on their garments reminded me of the words of Hafiz, 'Do not befool thyself by short sleeves full of patches, for most powerful arms are hidden under them.'/ The dervishes first sat lost in contemplation, reciting charms one after the other, and then they began their music. /I forgot all my science and technique while listening to their simple melodies, as they sang to the accompaniment of sitar and dholok the deathless words of the Sufi Masters such as Rumi, Jami, Hafiz, and Shams-i Tabriz. / The most amazing part of the proceedings came when the assembly was about to disperse./ For one of the dervishes arose and, while announcing Bhandara or dinner, addressed them in the following terms, 'O Kings of Kings! O Emperors of Emperors!' /This amused me greatly at the time, while I regarded their outward appearance. /My first thought made them merely kings of imagination, without throne or crown, treasury, courtiers, or dominions—those natural possessions and temporal powers of kingship./ But the more I brooded upon the matter, the more I questioned whether environment or imagination made a king. /The answer came at last: the king is never conscious of his kingship and all its attributes of luxury and might unless his imagination is reflected in them and thus proves his true sovereignty./ And it also reveals how fleeting time and the changes of matter make all the kings of the earth but transitory kings, ruling over transitory kingdoms; this is because of their dependence upon their environment instead of their imagination./ But the kingship of the dervish, independent of all external influences, based purely on his mental perception and strengthened by the forces of his will, is much truer and at once unlimited and everlasting. /Yet in the materialistic view his kingdom would appear as nothing, while in the spiritual conception it is an immortal and exquisite realm of joy./ Verily, they are the possessors of the kingdom of God and all His seen and unseen treasure is in their own possession, since they have lost themselves in God. / Thus I compared our deluded life with the real, and our artificial with their natural being, as one might compare the false dawn with the true. /I realized our folly in attaching undue weight to matters wholly unimportant. /I felt that we were losing the most precious moments and opportunities of life for transitory dross and tinsel, at the sacrifice of all that is enduring and eternal./ To treat every human being as a shrine of God is to fulfill all religion./ Where is the shrine of God?/ It is in the heart of man. /As soon as one begins to consider the feelings of another, one begins to worship God. /There is a story of a murshid who was going with his mureeds to visit some village, and he was keeping a fast. /The mureeds also had taken a vow of fasting. /They arrived at the peasants' home where there was great enthusiasm and happiness and where a dinner was arranged for them./ When they were invited to the table, the murshid went and sat down; but the mureeds did not dare because they had taken a vow of fasting. /Yet they would never mention it to the murshid./ They thought, 'Murshid is forgetful; Murshid has forgotten the vow.' /After dinner was over and they went out the pupils asked, 'Did you not forget the vow of fasting?' /'No,' was the murshid's answer, 'I had not forgotten./ But I preferred breaking the fast rather than the heart of that man who with all his enthusiasm had prepared the food.'/ The thirst for life makes us overlook little opportunities of doing good./ Every moment of life brings an opportunity for being conscious of human feeling, in prosperity, in adversity, in all conditions. /It costs very little; only a little thought is necessary. / There is no greater religion than love./ God is love; and the best form of love is to be conscientious regarding the feelings of those with whom we come in contact in everyday life./ How beautiful are the words of the Prophet: 'The shrine of God is the heart of man.' How true that is! . /He who understands this can worship God even in man. /For when he abides by this philosophy he will always be aware that in every aspect and at every moment he may be injuring or hurting the feelings of God, that he is in danger of breaking the shrine of God in breaking the heart of his fellow man. / 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./ ~~~ Hijrat Day (Departure Day) -- The day that Inayat Khan departed from India, headed for America, September 13, 1910./ ‘Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune, but great minds rise above them.’ Washington Irving