Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Art of Being
Chapter 5
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


When looking at the world with the eyes of the seer, we shall see that people who are called wise and people who are called foolish are much nearer to each other than they are ordinarily thought to be: because of their unbalanced state their different occupations are much nearer to each other than they usually appear. The person who sees the good in others will see more and more good. The person with a fault-finding tendency will see so many faults that at last even the good seems bad in his eyes; the eyes themselves are bad.


There is much more chance of a fall for a person who is running than for one who is walking. The activity itself brings about a fall; the activity tends to grow more and more, and by this balance is lost. Sometimes a person has no balance in telling the truth. He says, "I tell the truth", and he is regardless of whether it is harmonious with his surroundings, whether people are prepared to receive it. He says, "I tell the truth, and I want to fight with everybody because I tell the truth!" Therefore the lesson of repose is the most important one to be learned.


Philosophy itself - the greatest, the highest thing in the world, the knowledge of God - has often been lost through lack of balance. This is why in the Bible, in the Vedanta, in the Qur'an the truth, told so plainly, is nevertheless told in a veiled manner. If the prophets, the masters had spoken the truth in plain words, the world would have gone to the left instead of to the right. It has been my own experience that philosophy, when plainly expressed, is understood quite differently than when it is expressed in a veiled manner.


When we speak we become inclined to speak more and more, and we become so fond of speaking that we speak regardless of whether anyone wishes to listen. We say what we do not really wish to say; afterwards we think, "Why did I insult that person? Why did I tell my secret to somebody else?" Sa'adi the great Persian poet, says, "O, intelligent one, of what use is thine intelligence, if afterwards thou repentest?"


Whatever we do, whether good or bad, increases in us more and more. If one day a person thinks about music for five minutes, the next day that thought will continue for half an hour. If one day he thinks about poetry for ten minutes, the next day that thought will continue for an hour. If a person has a little thought of bitterness, unconsciously the thought will grow until his mind is full of bitterness. Every sin comes about in this way. Zarathustra distinguishes three kinds of sin: the sin of thought, the sin of speech and the sin of action. To have a thought of bitterness, the thought of evil, is like doing evil; to speak evil is like doing evil, and when a person commits an evil action, then the evil is concrete.


We have balance of thought, when we can see things not only from our own point of view, with the ideas and the feelings in which we are trained, but from all sides.


The one-sided person has no balance. Suppose you are very patriotic and see everything from the point of view of patriotism, and you go to an ironmonger and demand that he should sell you some things at a certain price. But the ironmonger is a poor man and, even for a patriotic purpose, he cannot sell the things at that price. After all he is an ironmonger and he thinks of his trade; he cannot be expected to see with your patriotic eyes. One person thinks only of patriotism; another says, "God save the trade". A third, who is a musician, says, "They are mad, crazy! Music is the only thing that matters". The poet says, "Poetry is the only thing in the world". Each thinks only of that in which he is active. A pious person exaggerates his piety so much that there is nothing in him but piety, which at last becomes hypocrisy.


One will ask: What is balance, and how can we achieve it? First there is the balance of activity and repose, of sleeping and waking. If a person thinks that by sleeping very much he will become great and so sleeps very much, he will become a monster instead of a man, because the body, which is given in order to experience the world, is not used. If one does not sleep at all, in a few days one will have a nervous break-down. If one fasts very much, certainly one will become very ethereal, one will see into the other world, into the other planes; if one has learned the way of inspiration, inspiration will come. But this body, these senses will become weak, so that one will not be able to experience the world for which they were given.


Extremity is undesirable in everything, whether good or evil. The madzubs in India are those mystics who go to the extreme of spirituality. Their external self is so much forgotten that they leave the experience of the world altogether. To sleep and wake, to eat and fast, to be active and to be still, to speak and to be silent - that is to have balance.


The Sufi teaches control of the activity of the body, the balance of the body, by pose, posture and movements, which include namaz, wazifa and dhikr. He teaches the balance of the mind by concentration. To sit at home and close the eyes is not concentration. Though the eyes are closed, the thoughts go on. The right object of concentration must be chosen.


By concentration and meditation a person experiences ecstasy, the greatest happiness and bliss. Guidance of the Murshid is needed for this, otherwise the balance will be lost. A disciple was taught a practice by the Prophet Muhammad through which he experienced ecstasy. After some days he came bringing fruit and flowers which he offered to the Prophet, thanking him greatly and saying, "The lesson that you taught me has been of such great value to me; it has brought me such joy. My prayers, which used to last a few minutes, now last all day". The Prophet said, "I am glad that you liked the lesson but, please, from today leave it".


By control of the self a person experiences the higher plane in which all beings are one. The guidance of the teacher, the Murshid, is needed; no one can accomplish this by himself. And if anyone could, he would become so much interested in what he experienced there, that he would become absent from this world; absent-mindedness, even lunacy and many other evil consequences would result.


Ecstasy is the greatest happiness, the greatest bliss. A person always thinks, "I am this which I see; this small amount of flesh and blood, bones and skin is I". By ecstasy the consciousness is freed from this body, from this confinement; it experiences its true existence above all sorrow, pain and trouble. That is the greatest joy. To experience it, and to keep control of the body and the senses through which we experience all the life of this world - that is to have balance. That is the highest state.



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