There is no stain so great as the stain of hopelessness. Sometimes weakness is the cause of hopelessness. During an illness a person thinks, "I am so weak, I cannot get better". Or weakness is caused by old age; a person thinks, "I am old, there is little left for me to do", and he becomes sad and discouraged. He really may have the strength to do much more, but the loss of hope makes him old. A man may be given to drink, or he may be a gambler, or have any other vice, and may think, "I am too weak, I cannot be cured".
Besides physical weakness or the weakness that comes with old age the hurt of the heart may cause hopelessness. This shows us how careful we should be not to hurt the heart of another and not to let our own heart be hurt. In India we are most careful of this; diljoi, not to hurt the heart of another is taught as the greatest moral: not to hurt the heart of the parent, of the friend, even of the enemy. Also our own heart must be protected by forts around it.
A story is told about a man who went to the Sharif of Mecca and said to him that the camel the Sliarif rode was his and had been stolen from him. The Sharif asked whether he had any witnesses. He had none. Then the Sharif asked, "What proof have you that the camel is really yours? How can you recognize it?" The man answered, "On my camel's heart are two black spots". "On its heart?", said the Sharif, "How do you know that?" The man replied, "The animals feel as we do. My camel - it is a she-camel-had two young ones, and at different times both died. Each time I saw that the camel looked up to heaven and gave a cry like a sigh, a deep great sigh, and that was all. So I know that on her heart are two black spots". The Sharif held out two gold coins and said, "Either take back your camel, or take the price for your discovery". If the heart of an animal can feel like this, how much can the heart of man feel!
Man was made with a most feeling heart. A Hindustani poet has said, "The heart of man was made for feeling. For praise and worship the angels in heaven are many". Man's heart has a great capacity for feeling, it is most sensitive to any touch. How careful we must be to touch it, lest we may wound it. The greatest fault is to hurt the heart of another, the greatest virtue is to please the heart of another. He who has learned this moral has learned all morality.
If we do not protect our own heart from harm, we can be killed at every moment. Amir, the poet, says, "Why did you not kill me before you wounded my heart? It would have been better to kill me first".
We must consider what the world is and what it can give. We must give and not expect to take the same as we give. A kick for a kindness, a blow for a mercy is what the world gives. We must not expect the world to be as we are expected to be. If we receive some good, it is well. If not, it does not matter. The world does not understand in the same way as we do. Material interest has so blinded people that when a question of money comes, of interest, of a share, of a territory, of property, even a child, a wife, a relative, or the closest friend will turn against us. A Sanskrit poem says that, when the question of money arises, no consideration for father or brother remains.
We must fortify our heart, so that we always may be the same, always kind, merciful, generous, serviceable. When a person has understood this, then comes that inner hope which is within every heart, the hope in another life. If one asks anyone why a man must go out and work all day long and have no time to give to what he likes, why a man must leave his parents and go to work, why lovers must part, the answer is always the same: "It is the struggle for life". If this life is so valuable, how great must be the value of that other life. The hope of another life is in man, of a life that is unchanging, immortal and everlasting. It is only because our consciousness is so bound to the self that we are not conscious of it, and it is very bad that the external self always is before us, because it always makes us think, "I have been offended, I have been badly treated, I have been neglected" - always I, I, and I.
There was a dervish who used to say, "Knife upon the throat of man". Man (pronounced as my followed by a nasal n.) in Hindustani means I. People asked the dervish what he meant, and he said, "The goats and sheep' say `man, man, man'. I say: a knife upon their throat for this!" A man who says "I" deserves to be killed like the goats and sheep who are slaughtered because they say "man".
When that "I" is killed, when the consciousness of this "I" is lost, then comes the consciousness that in the whole existence there is only I - no you, no he, no she. The illusion makes us distinguish you, he she and it; in reality there is only I. When the external I is lost, then a fragrance comes into the personality, a beauty, a magnetism. Then he sees in every being the manifestation of God, he bows before every being. In the Sufi poems we may read of the tyranny of the beloved. This is the tyranny of the beloved, the opposition of manifestation. It is the grade of worship. There is still the grade of realization, of merging in God, but that is beyond it. The grade of worship comes first. If a priest sees a foolish person doing something foolish, he may say with authority, "He is a sinner". But the Sufi says, "I am much worse than he, I have no right to condemn him. I am a worshipper, I must see here the manifestation of God. I must worship it; I must revere it, serve it, and therein accomplish my life's purpose".
I have always
hope. Hope is my greatest strength.