Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Story of Orpheus
The privilege of being human
The Art of Being
Chapter 49
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


Hazrat Inayat Khan was asked to give an interpretation of the story of Orpheus before a musical performance of Gluck's opera Orpheo ed Euridice.


There is is always a deep meaning in the legends of the ancient Greeks, as in those of the Indians, Persians and Egyptians, and it is most interesting to watch how the art of the Greeks, with its beautiful structure as well as with its legends, had a much deeper meaning than would appear on the outside. Seeing and studying this art we find the key to the ancient culture, and the further we explore it the more we shall be acquainted with its depth and its profound meaning.


From the first part of the story of Orpheus we learn that no object a person has once desired from the depth of his heart will ever be lost. Even if the object of love that a person has once desired is in the deepest depth of the earth - where reason, but not the eye, can see it - even then it can be attained if he pursues it sufficiently.


The next thing we learn is that in order to attain an object the love element alone is not sufficient, but besides love wisdom is necessary. It is wisdom, which awakens in harmony and harmonizes with the cosmic forces, which helps one to attain one's object. There is a saying that the one who possesses the knowledge of sound knows the science of the whole life, and this will be admitted by the wise ones of all ages and of all countries. The invoking of the gods by Orpheus was his coming in touch with all the harmonious forces which, united together, brought him that object which he wanted to attain.


But the most fascinating part of the story is the last one, both as a picture and as to the sense. As Orpheus was proceeding, Euridice following him, the promise was that he was not to look back. The moment he would look back Euridice would be taken away from him. The meaning of this is that the secret of all attainment is faith. If the faith of a person endures as far as ninety-nine miles and one mile remains before gaining the object, even then, if doubt comes, attainment is no more to be expected.


From this we learn a lesson, a lesson which can be used in everything we do, in every walk of life: in order to attain anything we need faith, and if faith is lacking - even if there is the slightest lack of faith in the form of doubt - it will spoil all we have done.

"Verily faith is light and doubt darkness".




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