The Spiritual Message of Hazarat Inayet Khan:
(July 5, 1882 – February 5, 1927)
Side codicil: The substance of Sufism is the Truth and the meaning of Sufism is the selfless experiencing and actualization of the Truth.
One reads in the books from the East about the different miracles performed by great souls, and one wonders if there is some truth in them. One hears that there are people who know what is going on far away. That there are people who can send their thought from a very great distance. That there are people who can create things, produce things in a moment without having any materials. That there are people who can make things disappear. One even reads and hears that there are some who can command the rain to fall and who can make the multitude move according to their command, their will, and who can inspire the multitude in a flash. That there are those who can prevent plagues and who can perform wonders in war.
No doubt there are many jugglers among them, but whenever there is truth, there is falsehood on the other side to laugh at it. Nevertheless, the truth remains just the same. There are stories of the wonder-workings and phenomena which occur in the East. Many of those stories no doubt are of the jugglers who by sleight of hand or by some hypnotic influence can perform wonders. But there are others who are genuine. Wonders are performed during their lives, and people see them performed. But the genuine ones never say that they can perform wonders. Neither do they seek such powers. These powers come naturally. Man generally is not conscious of the power he has. When a man becomes conscious of that power, he is able to do things which people cannot ordinarily accomplish.
There are two powers: one is called in Sufi terms Qaza and the other Qadr. One is individual power and the other is God power. The individual power can work and can accomplish things as long as it is working in consonance with God’s power. But the moment the individual power works contrary to God’s power the man begins to realize that his strength is diminishing that he cannot accomplish anything. Therefore the first thing that masters seek is the pleasure of God, to be in consonance with the will of God. And just as a person who has practiced a gambling game or any kind of sport has learnt the way in which to practice it, so the man who has it continually in mind to do everything in consonance with God’s power is helped by the will of God.
Very often people have misunderstood the will of God. They think that what they consider good is the will of God, and what they consider not good is not the will of God. But their idea of good and wrong has nothing to do with the power of God, because God’s outlook is different from man’s outlook. Man only sees so far and no further, whereas God sees all things.
But one wonders, if we all belong to the body of God, if we are all as atoms of His Being, why do we not understand, why do we not readily know what is in consonance with the will of God and what not? And the answer is that each atom of our body is conscious of itself. If there is a pain in the finger, the ear does not feel it. If there is a pain in the toe, the nose does not feel it; only the toe feels it. But in both cases the man feels it because the man possesses the whole body.
Man lives in a narrow world he has made for himself. According to it he sees right and wrong, and his interests in life depend upon it. Therefore he is not always able to work in consonance with the will of God unless he makes it a habit to work in consonance with God’s will.
What is man? Is man only his body? No, man is his mind, man is the soul. And therefore the power of man is greater than the power of the sun, for the sun we see is only a body, but man is body, mind, and soul. Once man has become conscious of his body, mind and soul, his power becomes greater than the power of the sun. Because the sun is the material manifestation of the light, but man has all light within him. The body of man is radiance; a radiance, which is so great that all the invisible beings which live in space, are hidden by the glow of the human form. Nothing exists which is not visible; only, one thing which is more visible hides the other which is not so visible. It is the glow and radiance of the human body which is so great that it hides the beings in space. In reality they are all visible. But the radiance of man’s form stands out and hides all that is less visible compared with it. When we look at life from this point of view, there is nothing that is invisible. It is only that there are things, which our eyes have no power to see, but this does not mean that they are formless.
Besides man’s mind has a still greater power, and that is the power of will, of mind, that can bring about change in conditions, in environments; it can have power over matter, over objects, over affairs; it can even work so wonderfully that one cannot explain it. The power of mind can work on the multitude, as the following story of Muhammad shows.
In one of the great wars that the Prophet had to fight the whole army was defeated, and there only remained ten or fifteen friends by the side of the Prophet and all the others ran away or were dead or wounded. Then the Prophet turned to his people and saw that they were all downhearted and despairing. So he said, ‘Look, before us there is an army and here are we, fifteen men. You do not see any hope; now you must retreat. But I, I will stand here whether I am to come back victorious or lose my life here on the battlefield. Now you go. Many of you have already left, so you go also.’ They said, ‘No, Prophet, if your life is to be ended here on the battlefield our lives will be taken first. What are our lives after all! We shall give our lives together with you, Prophet. We are not afraid of this enemy.’ And then the Prophet threw away the sword he had in his hand and bowed down and took a few pebbles from the earth and threw them at the army. And the army began to run for miles and miles. They did not know what was behind them. It was only a few pebbles. But what they saw were great missiles and they began to run.
That is called power; that is man’s power. It is not only that man has power over objects, but also man has power over beings. It is only a little touch of power that the master of the circus uses to make the elephants work and tigers and lions dance before him. When his power is greater, he has only to look at them to make them work as he wishes them to.
When it is told in the story of Daniel that he went into the lions’ den and made them all lie tamed at his feet, that is again the spiritual power. It shows what power man has; at the same time, not knowing of it, not being conscious of it, not trying to develop it, he debars himself from that great privilege and bliss that God has given; and with his limited powers he works in the world for money. In the end no money remains with him, nor has he ever known power. Power depends greatly upon the consciousness and the attitude of mind. A guilty conscience can turn lions into rabbits. They lose their power once they feel guilty; and so it is with man. When a man is impressed by what others think, if that impression is of disappointment or distress or shame, his power is diminished; but when he is inspired by a thought, a feeling, an action he performs, then he is powerful.
It is the power of truth that makes one stronger. Apart from those who know truth, even those who do not know truth, if they think rightly will have some power, the power of sincerity. Very few realize what power sincerity carries. A false man, however physically strong he is or however great is his will power, is kept down by his falsehood; it never allows him to rise. It eats into him because it is rust. Those who have done great things in life, in whatever walk of life it be, have done them by the power of truth, the power of sincerity, of earnestness, of conviction; when that is lacking, power is lacking. What takes away man’s power is doubt. As soon as a person thinks, is it so or not? Will it be or not be? Is it right or not right? Then he is powerless. And this is so contagious that every mind catches it. You can go to a doubting person when you have great enthusiasm and hope; and he may so impress you with darkness that you end in the same boat. Doubt takes away courage and hope and optimism.
There are three grades of evolved human beings. In Sanskrit they are called Atma, Mahatma and Paramatma; in other words, a holy person, a divine soul and an almighty soul. In the case of the first, an illuminated soul can show five different powers. These powers are magnetic powers. The first aspect is the revivifying of the physical body. The next is brightening the intelligence. The third is deepening the love-element in the heart. The fourth is etherealizing and deepening insight; and the fifth aspect is uniting with God. With the fifth aspect the illuminated soul shows the greatest power.
The power can also be divided into two parts: one is the power of insight, the other is the power of will. The power of insight does not construct, does not make anything. It only sees; it is a passive power. The one who has the power of insight can see into human nature. He has an insight into the heart of another person, into the soul of another person, into his life, his affairs, into his past, present, and future. What inspires him in this way? What is it that he sees? He seems to understand the language of nature, the language of life. He seems to read the form, the feature, the movement, the atmosphere, the thought and feeling. This is because everything has certain vibrations and a certain tendency. Therefore, to have insight is to know the language of life. And such a one can see to such an extent that the other does not know so much about himself as the one who sees. For everyone is blinded by his own affairs. When he is told he may know it, but if you do not tell him he does not know. It seems as if the knowledge of his own being is buried within himself.
Where does this science come from? Also from the knowledge of insight, at least at the beginning. Other things improve upon it; but this science which begins with intuition is insight. The great inventors of the world have insight into things. They may not believe this, but all the same they have it. They penetrate through the object and its purpose, and they utilize it towards its purpose. In that way they make use of insight for scientific inventions. If they knew, they could make use of the same insight a thousand times better.
The Mahatmas are different. It is not only that they have magnetic power but also they have divine instinct, divine inspiration. Stories are told about the constructive power of Mahatmas; one is very interesting as it shows what this power can achieve.
Once a prince was sent away from his country, his father having disapproved of his conduct. And he went and lived in the forest for a long time under the training of a Guru, a teacher, and developed spiritually. And when the time came that he should be given initiation into the higher power, the Guru asked, ‘My Chela, have you any relatives?’ He said, ‘Yes, my father and mother.’ The teacher said, ‘You must go to them and ask them first if you may take the initiation; because once you take it, you will have to live the life of solitude.’ The teacher thought it was better that he should first go to his people and see all the possibilities of worldly life. Then, if he did not want such a life, he could come back. And the Chela was so developed at that time that he had no desire to go to his parents in that kingdom and see them again. But since the Guru told him to do it, he went. When he reached his kingdom, he went to the garden where he had lived before, and which had been neglected for many years. There was nothing left in the garden. He went there and sat down and was very sorry to see his garden so neglected. He took the water in his pitcher and sprinkled it on both sides; and the garden began to flourish.
And so it was made known to the whole kingdom that a sage had arrived; the place where he stayed for a few days had begun to flourish. The story goes on to relate that the king heard that his son was there; that he came and wanted him to take over the kingdom, to work for the country. But he refused and went away.
This story gives an example of the constructive power of the sage; it shows how constructive the soul of the Mahatma is. It is not true that Mahatmas can only be found in the caves of the Himalayas and that one cannot see them in the midst of the world. They can be found anywhere; they can be found in a palace, in the midst of riches, of comfort, and in remote places. They can be in any situation, in any position. But what comes out of the Mahatmas is a continual spreading influence of construction. They are a protection against illnesses and plagues, wars and disasters. Their constructive power is working and helping people to flourish. Today man is ready to believe that a Prime Minister or a great statesman can be such a help, that he can raise up the country, put the finances of the country in good order or guard the country against other nations. But a hidden soul which is not known can have a greater influence still on the whole country. It has been known and seen by millions of people in the East at different times when divine souls lived, that their influence spread through the whole country and uplifted it.
The third aspect of sages is Paramatma, the almighty one. He is still greater; he is no longer a person, he is God-conscious. We all are that of which we are conscious. A man in prison is conscious of the prison. A person who has a lot of money in the bank and is not conscious of it, is poor in spite of his wealth. We only have that of which we are conscious. Therefore our greatness or our smallness depends upon our consciousness. Even to become an illuminated soul is only a difference of consciousness. It is not how much good a person has done. There are many good people, but they do not always know what they themselves are.
Besides there are some who believe in God and others who love God; and there are others who are lost in God. Those who believe in God, they are on earth and God is in heaven for them. Those who love God, for them God is before them; they are face to face with their Lord. And those who are lost in God have gained their real self. They are God themselves. I know of a God-conscious soul who was once walking in the city of Baroda where the rule was that no one should go about after ten o’clock at night. And this sage was wandering about unconscious of time. A policeman asked him,’ Where are you going?’ But he did not hear. Perhaps he was far away from the place where he was wandering. But when he heard the policeman say, ‘Are you a thief?’ he smiled and said, ‘Yes.’ The policeman took him to the police station and made him sit there all night long. In the morning the officer came and asked, ‘What is the report?’ This policeman said, ‘I have caught one thief. I found him in the street.’ When the officer went and saw this man, he knew that he was a great soul and that people respected him very much. He asked his pardon. ‘But,’ he said, ‘when the policeman asked you that question, why did you say that you were a thief?’ The answer was, ‘What am I not? I am everything.’
We try to become spiritual, to raise our consciousness. But when it comes to an insult, we do not like it. As long as everybody flatters us we are glad to attribute those things to ourselves. But as soon as it comes to an insult, we do not like it; then we say, ‘It is not me.’ The Paramatma, the high soul, is united with God; he is God-conscious, all conscious. Everyone is his own self. Whether he is a good person or a wicked person, whether he is right or wrong, he is his own self; he looks at that person, as his own self. Even if he were given the name of a thief, he could say, ‘Yes. All names are my names.’
In conclusion, spirituality is not a certain knowledge, spirituality is the expansion of consciousness. The wider the consciousness expands the greater is one’s spiritual vision. And when once the consciousness expands so much that it embraces the whole universe, it is that which is called divine perfection.