The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

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Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

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Things Necessary for a Mureed

Pir-o-Murshid's Last Words to the Mureeds in Detroit



Things Necessary for a Mureed

My Mureeds,

It is not necessary to explain in words the joy that I feel in coming and seeing you again. For in the initiation we are so linked together that distance in reality is not a distance. Nevertheless, in this physical plane to meet together is also necessary. And now I wish to explain how many things are necessary for a mureed.

  1. The first thing most necessary for a mureed is to try to keep up the spiritual exercises which are given, without any break. If you are tired, if you were occupied too much, if conditions were not favorable, I do not mean that it is urged upon you, but I mean that it is for your betterment to keep those exercises without a gap between them.

    Would you believe, if I may say so, that the effect of certain practices comes even after ten years or twelve years? A person without patience might think, "I did not have immediate results after two, three months." But he may not think so. If they are seeds which you sow in the ground, they take root and a plant comes. But in order for the plant to be fruitful it takes ten years. This is the spiritual sowing. It might take a much longer time in some cases. In some cases the next day the result might show. There are some plants which come quicker, others which take time to bear fruit. But still the spiritual sowing has its result, and a sure result. Never therefore to doubt, to be discouraged, to give up hope; but to continue, persevering in this path.

  2. Now the second necessity for the mureed is the study part. It must not be a study only as the reading of a book: it must be a study of engraving upon one's heart the Gathas, Gathekas, all the literature that is given, however simple it might seem to grasp it. Because you will find that it is creative in itself. It is a phrase just now; after six months the same phrase will flourish, there will come branches, flowers, and fruits in that phrase. It is a simple phrase, but it is a living phrase. The more you study and grasp it, the more your hear will be creative. Therefore do not consider it a study only, but a meditation, even in your studies.

  3. The third important thing in the life of a mureed is to live a life of balance between activity and repose, of regularity. Not too much work, nor too much rest: a balance between activity and repose. Because when we put the idea before the world we shall be responsible to show it in our lives. Therefore our lives must be as balanced as possible. Besides that, in eating, in drinking, there must be a kind of moderation, which I am sure many of us have. And a kind of consideration from the meditative point of view. Because for the spiritual growth a certain food is more recommended than another. Therefore we in the spiritual path cannot always be neglectful of that question.

  4. And now there comes the fourth question, how must our attitude be towards others? Towards the mureeds our attitude must be affectionate sympathy. Towards non-mureeds our attitude must be tolerant sympathy. The best thing in the world is not to force upon others what we understand and what we believe. By forcing it upon others we only spoil them. By discussing, arguing with them, we do not accomplish anything.

    Besides, for a mureed it is most advisable that he must keep his conversation limited so as not to say things which might seem to the others too occult, too mystical, too spiritual. Our conversation must be like an ordinary conversation. Things about spirits and ghosts and elementals, apparitions and all sorts of things -- people like to talk about their past and present and next incarnation, what they were and what they will be. We must not commit ourselves in talking about these things. These things are for every individual to find out for himself. By talking we neither do good to ourselves nor good to the others. If we can only talk about simple things of everyday life, there are so many things that we shall have enough subjects to speak over with others. Ideas of the air must be left in the air. Standing on the earth we must talk of everyday life, leaving every individual free for himself as we like to be left free ourselves.

    Besides, the Sufi does not give a definite idea of these things because Sufism is freedom, freedom of conception, of belief. It does not give people any dogmas: that you must believe this or that. It does not present before humanity particular dogmas, and very often for the same reason Sufism is accused of being against certain dogmas. But it is not so. If we do not speak about them it is not that we are against them, but because we do not like to speak about them. We prefer being silent to talking too much about them.

    These are things of intimate conversation. When a mureed is conversing with his murshid, with his fellow mureed, perhaps one talks about it. These are not the things to talk about at the tea table. It would make the inner laws of life and nature ridiculous. When nature, when life itself covers its laws, then it means that they are best covered. When we uncover them we certainly commit a fault against the hidden nature of things. It is therefore it is called Sufism. By the word Sufism is meant keeping the cover over the hidden laws of nature which are meant to be covered. As soon as one uncovers them it means in the first place one does not know their value. Then he goes no further; he cannot go any further. It is the one who knows their value who will go further. Who has no respect for them, who brings them to the market, cannot go any further; he has a setback.

    As we go further we shall have to face a great trial. As soon as people know that we are interested in these things, they will ask us a lot of questions. They will want us to make a prophecy, want us to say uncommon things that will interest them. We shall be put to test. So you can quite see that it is the path of silence. The more we keep our lips closed the more the way is open, the more doors are open for us. The attitude itself opens them. We do not need to open them. We only need to expect them. What is not common, is not common. When you want to make them common that means putting down Heaven on the earth, instead of raising the earth towards Heaven. Our attitude with others must therefore be humble, unpretentious, and ordinary.

  5. Now the fifth thing. We must not leave our meditation and prayers just to those fixed times when we do, because that is only the winding of the thing. But in our everyday life we ought to bring the sense of it into our action, in everything we do at home or outside. We must use that latent power and inspiration aroused by our meditations; we should make use of it. By practicing to make use of it we shall benefit ourselves and others by all we are doing. Now with these words I close my conversation, and would like you now to ask me any question that you may desire, in connection with your work.

Q. In religion one is taught generally of the God outside -- not quite outside, but outside of us -- and still we have God inside too. Now perhaps a person who does not believe in the God outside, and only in the God inside, will show more confidence and more character because he develops everything of himself. Now the attitude that one has been taught in religion is to be dependent, and that does not give real confidence.

A. Those who think that God is not outside but inside, they are as wrong as those who believe that God is not inside but outside. Really speaking, God is inside and outside both. But in the beginning it is most necessary to begin by believing in the God outside. Because from our childhood we have learned everything from outside. By looking at the eyes of the others we say that is the eye. Everything that we learn from outside we see in ourselves, but we have always learned outside. So even to learn to see God we must begin to see God outside. The Creator, the Judge, the Knower of all things, the Forgiver. And when we have understood Him better, then the next step is to see the God within; that completes. Then that God which we have seen outside, we find inside; that completes the worshipping. But if we only found Him outside then we are the worshippers, but we are separate from Him, and there is no communion. And the purpose is the communion.

Q. In the "Rose garden" it says, "The will of man is the will of God," but our will is not always pure?
A. When we go deeper in the search of the hidden law of life we shall find that there is only one will which is acting behind it all. There are not many wills. We cannot call God all-powerful if there is another one also who is powerful, even to a small degree, besides God. There is one power, life, will, existence; that is God. When we come to that deeper idea we will find that there is one will that is the will of God.

That is a metaphysical, a philosophical idea, not for the common person. An ordinary person will not understand that. "How can it be?" He will doubt. It is not good for him to know it. But for us it is right to know that there is one life, that is the life of God. There is one Being, that is the being of God. As the prophets of old have said, "Not one atom moves without the will of God." Rumi in his Masnavi says, "Even the earth and water and fire which seem to us as dead things, before God they are living beings, obedient to His Will." And therefore behind it all there is only one will. But in order to realize it we must first be responsible for our own action or the action of another, we must forgive, tolerate. In this way we progress. Very often we are too ready to form an opinion about another person's actions and forget our own errors. Therefore the best thing is to take ourselves to task; in that way we improve.

Q. But are there things which are really wrong, of which one cannot be tolerant?
A. The wrong-doer has his own wrong as his worst enemy. Besides us being hard on him, his own wrong is his enemy; he is himself in a trouble, he is his own enemy. The conditions, the circumstances, the people he will meet, from every side he will receive hate sooner or later. We may be making a mistake, we do not know behind a person's action what is hidden. Therefore be tolerant, forgiving. Very often a simple wrong has a hidden right, and very often a simple right has a hidden wrong. Besides, we cannot always judge very well. In order for us to judge in the first place we have no right to judge, unless we have become spectators; then only we begin to learn how to judge. But when we are in the middle of the struggle we cannot judge.

Q. There is really no guilt, but simply responsibility? Whenever an individual has acted he was compelled by circumstances. All these circumstances have compelled that individual to act as he did. I thought an individual really cannot be guilty. He only shows that he was not so wise as we had expected him to be, according to the spiritual evolution. Not really guilty, but simply responsible.
A. Your explanation is very good of it. Quite right.

Q. What should be the attitude of a Sufi towards Catholics in general. There are many Catholics very pious, mystical to a high degree. Would they sympathize with Sufism? It would benefit them to hear of Sufism in general.

A. Sufism is for human beings, if they are Catholic or Protestant, because it brings to humanity no cult of a church, it brings to humanity the culture of humanity, the culture of mankind. It then does not keep them back. The Sufi says, "You are free to do your Catholic practices, or to Protestants, as to Hindus, Jews, Buddhists." If the Catholic says, "You must not go to the Sufi," then the Sufi is not responsible for that. Only this is a culture for humanity; it only gives you a stimulus which is the spirit of all religions, which is the essence of all religions. It is truth itself.

My experience in Italy has been of a great value to me. I have been now visiting Italy twice, Florence and Rome. One might think that Rome is a place where there is a great Catholic influence, and that it might be very difficult to make that mind understand. But it is not so. I have found there some souls who are most interested in the deeper ideas, most open to it.

Yes, there are outward difficulties, but there are no inward difficulties. But that is a great encouragement to me. If there were inward difficulties, that takes my life away from me, that gives me no scope. Outward difficulties are difficulties for me, but still it gives me courage. I can at least talk to souls who understand. I am very pleased, they at least understood it. The one who understands, he values it. Then at least you have found something very satisfactory. The one who does not understand may be very desirous to follow you, but that is a difficulty for me.

I had three open meetings at the University of Rome, crowded audiences, the rector presented me. There was another open meeting at a countess's house where the cultured classes were, and the response was wonderful. Our strength is in the truth; that is our strength. We shall bring truth before humanity; we shall lay it in their presence. Those who neglect it, that is their responsibility. We have done our work.

God bless you.