Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Art of Personality
Chapter 11
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


A friendly attitude, expressed in sympathetic thought, speech and deed, is the principal thing in the art of personality. There is a limitless scope to show this attitude and, however much the personality is developed in this direction, it is never too much. The spontaneity, the tendency to give, giving that which is dear to one's heart - in this one shows the friendly attitude. Life in the world has its numberless obligations, towards friend and foe, towards the acquaintance and the stranger. One can never do too much to be conscientious in one's obligations in life and to do everything in one's power to fulfill them. To do more than one's due is perhaps beyond the power of everyone, but in doing what one ought to do one does accomplish one's life's purpose.


Life is an intoxication, and the effect of this intoxication is negligence. The Hindu words dharma and adharma, religiousness and irreligiousness signify that one's duty in life is dharma and the neglect of the same adharma. The one who is not conscientious in his obligations in life towards every being he comes in contact with is indeed irreligious.


Many will say, "We try to do our best, but we did not know", or "We do not know what is our due", or "How are we to find out what is really our due and what is not?" No one in this world can teach what is anyone's due and what is not. It is for every soul to know for himself by being conscientious in his obligations. And the more conscientious he is, the more obligations he will find to fulfil, and there will be no end to them. Nevertheless, in this continual strife, what might seem a loss to him in the beginning, in the end is gain. For he who is wide awake will come face to face with his Lord.


The one who neglects his duty to his fellowmen, absorbed in life's intoxication, his eyes will become dazzled and his mind exhausted before the presence of God. It does not mean that any soul will be deprived of the divine vision, it only means that the soul who has not learned to open his eyes wide enough will have the vision of God before him while his eyes are closed. All virtues come from the wide outlook on life, all understanding comes from the keen observation of life. Nobility of soul, therefore, is signified in the broad attitude that man takes in life.



Question : How can one work unconsciously for the personality?

Answer : The best thing is to develop in nature love for beauty, and that can be developed by admiration for beauty. Beauty is best expressed in human nature, and if we learn to appreciate and to admire the beauty of human nature and we are impressed by all we admire, then all with which we come in contact becomes our property. In that way we can make a beautiful collection of what every person has to offer. It is the critical tendency and lack of appreciation which keeps the personality back from progress. For the best opportunity that life offers to get all good from every person is lost by seeing the bad side and overlooking the good side. But if we saw some good in every person, we could take it and collect it, and in this way we would develop love of art.


It is like did a man who went from here to China and to different other countries and found the best pieces of art. He collected them and then made a museum in Paris, the "Musée Guimet". When a person can do this in a material way, in a higher way it can be done also. By taking the good of a person one does not rob that person of the good. We only appreciate it and come closer to that person, and by that we become richer and richer with beauty. Beauty so collected in the end results into a beautiful personality. It never ends. In the most ordinary person there is something to be found, we can learn something from every person if only we have the desire to appreciate and to find the good in that person. And if the good is hidden, we should try to draw it out. To draw out good from a person, what does it need? It needs the currency. What is this currency? The goodness we have in ourselves. We give that currency, and get back what is hidden there.




Retour au texte en français


Présentation La Musique du Message Accueil Textes et Conférences Lexique