Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

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


The first thing is to be man. It is not enough to have the form of man, we must be man. If we think that we eat and therefore are men - the animals and birds also eat. If we think that we sleep and therefore are men - the animals and birds all sleep. If we give way to our anger and passions-the animals all have their anger and passions. All that is not enough to make man human.


It is told in India that there were two madzubs at Lahore. Madzubs are those whose interest in spirituality is so great that they quite forget their physical self and even their garb. We in India know them and pay them respect; if they pass, having forgotten their clothes, we just turn our eyes away. These two madzubs were a man and a woman; when they met in the street it was seen that the man tried to avoid the woman, and the woman tried to avoid the man, and they showed signs of confusion while usually they showed no consideration at all. A priest walking behind the man madzub followed him for three days thinking, "I must find out why he behaves thus". At last, after three days, the madzub said to him, "Why do you follow me? What is it you want from me?" The priest replied, "I saw that when you met the woman madzub you covered yourself. Why was it?" The madzub laid his hands upon the priests's head and said to him, "Now go and look at the world; then come back". The priest went into the city and, looking at every person, he saw upon the body of a man the head of a dog, or upon the body of a woman the head of a cat or of a camel or some other animal. Only the woman madzub had a human head. He went back to the madzub and told him what he had seen. The madzub said to the priest, "This must never be told, because the world would be offended. Now you have seen how the world is, and why it does not matter to me to appear as I am before the world. Do you wonder that I cover myself before the madzub only?" This shows us how careful we should be to become at least human first.


If we cannot be trustworthy with our surroundings, with those who rely upon us, we are not human. If we cannot be self-sacrificing with our surroundings, our relations, we are not human. If we compare ourselves keenly with the animals we surely shall see what we must be in order to be human. We must have tolerance; the animal has no tolerance. We must be true; the animal has no truth. We must have shame; the animal has no shame. We must keep our promise; the animal cannot do it. We must share with others; the animal does not share, it sits beside its plate of food and, even if it has eaten enough, it will not let another come near. We must be accommodating; the animal does not accommodate others. We must have sympathy; the animal has no sympathy. We should give up those actions that give us a momentary joy, but of which we repent afterwards. Sometimes we do things of which for the moment we are glad, and then for years we repent. We should check the animal passions that carry us away. There is a great reward for it; for every little attempt to overcome, for every little check, there is a great reward.


How many times do we become troublesome to ourselves and others by our lack of human qualities? How many times are we annoyed with our own self? To become human is the most difficult thing. Hali, a great Indian poet, says, "What can there be easy when it is even difficult for man to become man?" How much do we have to learn before we can say that we are truly human!


It is by his quality of sympathy, by his kindness to others that man becomes human. When the animal-self, which is called nafs is before him, he wants to take everything for his own benefit. When he develops his sympathy, when he can sacrifice his self for the benefit of another, he realizes that moral which the cross symbolizes. Then he becomes farishteh, then he becomes God.




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