Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Smiling Forehead
Chapter 6
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


Ideas - Stories - Answers to Questions – Aphorisms


To an angelic soul love means glorification
To a jinn soul love means admiration
To a human soul love means affection
To an animal soul love means passion.


One need not fall in love, one must rise through love.


Pour out floods of love, yet keeping your garment of detachment from being wet.



Question: Can love exceed wisdom or can wisdom exceed love? What happens in either case? Is love measured according to love, or is wisdom measured according to love?

Answer: It is true that wise is loving and loving is truly wise, although in one person wisdom may be predominant and in another love. But both love and wisdom are needed. The cold-hearted man is never wise, and the really warm-hearted person is never foolish. Yet both these qualities, love and wisdom, are distinct and separate, and it is possible that a person may be loving but lacking wisdom, and it happens that a person who is wise may be lacking love to some extent. But no one can be wise if love is absent from his heart - call him clever. And no one will be truly loving if wisdom has not illuminated his heart, for love comes from wisdom and wisdom comes from love.

It is very difficult to say what love is and how one can love. Is it embracing people and running after them and saying sweet words to them? What could one show when one is loving? - for every person has a different way of expressing his love. One person perhaps has love hidden in his heart which does not manifest, and another person's love comes out in his words and actions. The love of one person rises like vapour and charges the whole atmosphere, and another person's love is like a spark hidden in a stone: outside the stone is cold, inside there is a spark.

Therefore to judge who has love and who has not is not in the power of every person, it is a very difficult thing. For instance love is a fire rising from a cracker calling out, "I am love!", but it burns out and is finished. There is also fire in the pebble which never manifests. If you hold the pebble it feels cold, yet at the same time the fire is there. Some day you can strike it and it is there, it is dependable, it lasts. As many people as there are, so many are the different qualities of their love, and one cannot judge.


Question: Is jealousy inseparable from human love?

Answer: It is like asking, "Is the shadow separable from the body?" Where there is form there is shadow; where there is human love there is jealousy.

Love can bring out what is worst and best in man.

Love can take many forms, even that of indifference. I remember I went once for a relative to the house of a physician, an Indian physician who had a very ancient method of writing his prescriptions. Each took him nearly ten minutes. I was shown into a small room where fifteen to twenty people were already waiting, and I sat down among them. He continued to write prescriptions for all who came, and when he had finished with those who were before me he began to write prescriptions for those who had come after me. I had thought that the physician, as a friend of the family, would have seen me first, but he went on until he had seen everyone, and I was the last.

Finally he said to me, "Now tell me what you have to say". I told him, and he wrote out the prescription without any haste, and when I was leaving he said, "I hope you understand that I did not want to see you while all the other patients were still there. I wanted to see you at leisure". He was doing me a favour, and though he tried my patience it was still a majestic sort of favour. It gave me a good example of love in the form of indifference.


With indifference one still must have sympathy and love - be more and more sensitive as one evolves.




The Story of Hatim


The life of Hatim is written by the Persians and many stories are told about him. One of these stories is best known by the people in the East. It tells that a princess who was much renowned for her beauty and greatness had made as a condition for those who loved her and desired her hand that only the one who brought her a certain pearl which she longed to possess would marry her. There was one lover of the princess who really loved her, but did not find the way to obtain that pearl from anywhere.


The work of Hatim was to roam about from country to country and to do what he could for those who needed his services. He met this lover who, roaming about, was most unhappy because he could not find the pearl. Hatim consoled him and said, "Continue in your path of love, even if it be difficult, and remember that I shall not rest until I have brought relief to your heart by bringing you the pearl you are longing for". Hatim then went in pursuit of the pearl and the story tells what difficulties he had in obtaining it. When at last he got it he brought it to the palace, and the princess was won by that pearl. When she consented to accept Hatim as her lover, he then said that this promise should be granted to his friend, who was really her lover, while Hatim was the lover of those who were in need.


In this story the princess is God, and the pearl that she wanted is the knowledge of God. There was a lover of God, but he would not go and take the trouble one has to take to obtain this knowledge. Someone else was ready; his work was to take this trouble to go to the depth - even if it was not for himself but for another - to get the knowledge and to give it to the one who had the love to have it.


This story also explains us that there are two stages of workers. The first stage is that of the one who works for himself; the higher stage of working is to work for others. The one who rises above the stage of working for himself comes to the stage of working for others, bringing in their lives the blessing which is the need of their lives.


To what does the love of God lead? It leads to that peace and stillness which can be seen in the life of the tree which flowers and bears fruit for others and expects no return.


Peace will not come to the lover's heart so long as he will not become love itself.



Question: Why is it that with the growing of love difficulties arise from all sides? Is it not said by the ancients that God is a jealous God?

Answer: This is but a saying; God can never be jealous of His own manifestation. Only before love began one was unconsciously linked with the source alone, but once love has awakened on the physical plane, one is attached to someone on earth. It is like Adam and Eve being exiled from the garden of Eden. This naturally causes every influence to work against that love. Even the throne of God is shaken by love's outburst, because by a sincere link on earth which is power itself every other influence is automatically pulled and pushed, causing thereby a commotion in the world of hearts.

The soul of man is happiness; yet man is never happy since he is occupied with this world of woes. It is only love that can . bring about that happiness of which is spoken in legends, which is beyond all pleasures of this mortal world. Those who consciously or unconsciously see or feel that happiness experienced by the lover and the beloved, naturally either knowingly or unknowingly react against it.

Spiritual love is nectar, but as soon as it is mixed with matter, it becomes a sweet wine mixed with a bitter poison.

If we give ourselves up to the absorbing love of any being, any thing, God becomes jealous and He takes that being from us. Therefore Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his son. This lesson was given: God does not allow another affection to be dearer than His love. If we love our children because they are ours and other children are neglected, God says to us, "These are the beings whom We have given you to love, to take care of them for Us, not to cherish them for yourselves". He takes from us whatever we love most forgetting Him, in order to show us that He is the Lord of the Jalal, Jamal and Kamal. The love of all beings lasts for a season, but it is His love that is always with us, in all forms and beings.

No creature that has ever been born has belonged in reality to any other. Every soul is the beloved of God. Does not God love as we human beings cannot?3

The Maharajah of Jaipur, Ram Singh, was a great lover of music. At his court were marvellous singers and dancers, they were like the Apsaras and Ghandarvas*. From all India beautiful singers and dancers were called there; all the great musicians of India were there, also my grandfather Maula Bakhsh. The Maharajah did not know the secret of holding his wish. If he had known it he might have kept his happiness much longer. But he did not know it, and when everything was perfect he died.

That is why in the East there is a superstition that, if any thing or being belonging to us is much praised or admired, that thing or that person will soon be lost to us. Therefore if someone says, "Your child is very pretty", the parents will say, "No, he is not pretty, he is a plain child". And if the child is fair they make a black mark upon its face, so that it would not be perfectly fair.

Life provides you with a substitute for all you have lost.

Love is the fire that burns all infirmities.


Question: How do we see the love of God in the book of nature? We see all around us fruits and plants and animal life brought to fruition and then to destruction, and among men cruelty, misery, tragedies and enmities everywhere.

Answer: It is a difference of focus. If we focus our mind upon all that is good and beautiful we shall see - in spite of all the ugliness that exists in nature and especially more pronounced in human nature - that the ugliness will cover itself. We will spread a cover over it and see all that is beautiful, and to whatever lacks beauty we will be able to add, taking it from all that is beautiful in our heart where beauty has sufficiently been collected. But if we focus our mind upon all the ugliness that exists in nature - and in human nature - there will be much of it. It will take up all our attention and there will come a time when we shall not be able to see any good anywhere. We shall see all cruelty, ugliness, wickedness and unkindness everywhere.


Question: In focusing our mind on beauty alone, is there not a danger of shutting our eyes to the ugliness and suffering we might alleviate?

Answer: In order to help the poor we ought to be rich, and in order to take away the badness of a person we ought to be so much more good. That goodness must be earned, as money is earned. That earning of goodness is collecting goodness wherever we find it, and if we do not focus on goodness we will not be able to collect it sufficiently. What happens is that man becomes agitated by all the absence of goodness he sees. Being himself poor he cannot add to it, and unconsciously he develops in his own nature what he sees. He thinks, "Oh poor person! I should so much like you to be good", but that does not help that person. His looking at the badness, his agitation, only adds one more wicked person to the lot. When one has focused one's eyes on goodness one will add to beauty, but when a man's eyes are focused on what is bad he will collect enough wickedness for him to be added himself to the number of the wicked in the end, for he receives the same impression.

Besides, by criticising, by judging, by looking at wickedness with contempt, one does not help the wicked or the stupid person. The one who helps is he who is ready to overlook, who is ready to forgive, to tolerate, to take disadvantages he may have to meet with patiently. It is he who can help.

A person who is able to help others should not hide himself but do his best to come out into the world. "Raise up your light high", it is said. All that is in you should be brought out, and if the conditions hinder you, break through the conditions! That is the strength of life.

You are love - you come from love - you are made by love -you cannot cease to love.


Question: Is it a great lack in character when a person cannot give the love which friends require? When one receives love and is not able to return it, when one forgets one's friends being absorbed in one's work and occupation?

Answer: The question is: what work or occupation? There are works and occupations of a higher character which take one's whole attention, one's life. Such works may require renunciation and sacrifice. Then one does not become loveless; there is a duty of which one cannot be regardless. However if one can manage to give and take love at the same time, it is preferable.


Question: Will a person suffer one day through inability to love -merely giving a cold affection?

Answer: Love, whether hot or cold, is love.


Question: Is there cold love?

Answer: Since God is love the whole manifestation is love, the cold water and the hot fire.


Question: By which power does man attract his food and all he needs?

Answer: If there is any mighty power, it is the power of love. All that one desires comes from love. Even if one desires food, it is the love of food, and it is according to the power of his love that man will attract it. The question is only: what does he love most? Does he love something more than the ordinary things of life, then that must be his aim.

Hunger is an aspect of love. Love of the heart is what we call affection. Love of territory has caused many deaths. What man loves he must get. All words as seeking, wanting, requiring, searching, are words for loving. Love is the root of the whole phenomenon of life. Even if a poor man does not find his food, you will see that there is something else he loves more.




God is love and in Him I have my being - and I have no fear.


Let my intelligence shine out as love; let my limited self expand to Thy divine perfection.




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