Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

Human Nature
The privilege of being human
The Art of Being
Chapter 4
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


I have seen in my life that it is not difficult to have occult or psychic powers; to be virtuous, to keep our life pure, is not very difficult. To be merciful, to be compassionate, is difficult: it is difficult to be human.


God has many names: the Great, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Sovereign, but he is always called Merciful and Com-passionate. In these qualities we are never perfect, we shall never be perfect. As it has been said, "Go into your room at night and repent of what you have done, of all the thousand bad thoughts you have had of friends and enemies". A Persian poet has said, "The whole secret of the two worlds is in these two words: With friends be loving, with enemies courteous".


If you have understood that this world is nothing, if you have recognized that it is a passing thing, why not let others enjoy while you renounce? Why not let others put on the nice dress while you look at it? Why not let others eat the dinner while you be in the kitchen and cook it? Why not let others sit in the car while you drag it, instead of you sitting in the car and making others drag it?


Keep your life noble; that is: be merciful and compassionate. It is the tendency of everyone to take the best of another. Even in friendship there is this tendency. All are seeking their own enjoyment and leave the worst for another. If you are a seeker of God, take the opposite way. Let all the world go one way, while you go the contrary way.



Since the world always oppresses the good, tramples upon the meek, and robs the generous, what conduct of life would be best?


There are three courses.  This is the way of the saints and sages: to follow the ideal and to accept whatever troubles and sorrows and ill-treatment. The second way is selfishness: to be more selfish than all the rest of the world. The third way is the greatest and the most difficult: it is to have all responsibilities, all the cares of life, to have friends and all, to be as unselfish, as good as possible, and just selfish enough not to be trampled upon.



Life in the world can be pictured as everyone pushing away the other who stands in his way, thus making his way towards his object. Man generally does not mind when he pushes another away, he minds when he is pushed away. When he becomes somewhat considerate then he tries to refrain from pushing others away, and for that very reason he feels hurt when he is pushed away by another.


If a man who is gentle happens to be wise also, he - out of his gentleness - does not push anyone away, nor does he mind being pushed away; he goes on patiently in the pursuit of the object he wishes to accomplish. But when a man who is gentle and kind is void of wisdom, he stands still in life, blocking the way for others and putting himself in a place from where he will always be pushed away.




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