Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

Chapter 8
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


There is one thing which belongs to human nature the origin of which is in curiosity; curiosity which gives a desire for knowledge. When this tendency is abused it develops into inquisitiveness. It is wonderful to think that at the root of all defects is a right tendency, and it is the abuse of that right tendency which turns it into a defect. If we considered how little time we have to live on this earth, we would see that every moment of our life is precious and that it should be given to something which is really worthwhile. When that time is given to inquisitiveness, wanting to know about the affairs of others, one has wasted that time which could have been used for a much better purpose. Life has so many responsibilities and so many duties, and there is so much that one has to correct in oneself, there is so much that one has to undo in what one has done, and there is so much to attend to in one's affairs to make one's life right, that it seems as if a person were intoxicated when, leaving all his responsibilities and duties, he occupies himself, occupies his mind and engages his ears in inquisitiveness.


Free will is given to attend to one's own duties, to gain one's own objects, to attend to one's own affairs, and when that free will is used in trying to find out about others, the weaknesses of others, the lacks of others, the faults of others, one certainly abuses the free will. Sometimes a person is inquisitive because of his interest in the lives of others, but very often a person is inquisitive because it is his illness. He may have no interest in the matter at all, it is only because he wants to satisfy himself by hearing and knowing about others. Self-knowledge is the ideal of the philosopher, not the knowledge of the lives of others. There are two phases in the development of man: one phase is when he looks at others, another phase when he looks at himself. When the first phase has ceased and the next phase begun, then one starts one's journey to the desired goal. Rumi says, "Trouble not about others for there is much for you to think for yourself".


Besides this, it is a sign of great respect to the aged and to those one wishes to respect to show no tendency of knowing more than one is allowed to know. Even in such close relationship as parents and children, when they respect the privacy of one another, they certainly show there a great virtue. To want to know about another is very often a lack of trust. One who trusts does not need to unveil, does not need to uncover what is covered. He who wishes to unveil something, he wishes to discover it. If there is anything that should be discovered first it is the self. The time one spends in discovering others, their lives, their faults, their weaknesses, one could just as well spend in discovering one's soul.


The desire to know is born in the soul, but one should discern what one must know, what is worth knowing. There are many things not worth troubling about. When one devotes one's time and thought to trying to know what one need not know, one loses that opportunity which life offers to discover the nature and secret of the soul, in which lies the fulfilment of the purpose of life.




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