Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Symbol of the Cross
The Smiling Forehead
Chapter 50
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


THE CROSS which is usually taken as the symbol of the cross on which Christ died has many mystical meanings. It shows a vertical line and a horizontal line: everything that exists extends vertically and horizontally. This may be seen in the leaf: it has length and breadth. All that exists has come from these two lines, the vertical and the horizontal. The cross therefore, in its first meaning, is the symbol of manifestation.


Then, whenever someone begins to speak, to act for the truth, his way is barred, there is a cross against it. Speak the truth before the nation and there comes the cross, the bar from the nation. Speak the truth in the face of the world and the cross comes from the world against you.


You may ask, "If all comes from the One, the Same, why is one thing truth and one falsehood?" Truth is that which lives, which remains, which stands upright. False is that which falls, which is dead. While we are alive we stand upright; when we are dead we have fallen down. What is dead? This false self, this mortal self. This is fana, destruction. The cross shows that in fana - in the ending of the mortal, of that which is changing, dying every moment, which lives upon mortal food in mortal surroundings -is the immortal life. What is not fani the Sufi calls bagi. This I can explain as ba yaki, oneness. In the death of the mortal there is life, immortality, the one immortal life.


There is another great mystery of the cross which is very little understood. Everywhere without us there is space. We call space that which can accommodate, which can contain. Within us there is space too; the space within extends in another direction. It is always a puzzle for the materialist when he hears of the two worlds, this world and the other, the next world. He says, "This world I know, but the other world I do not know. Where is the other world?" Our eyes can give us an idea, a picture of the other world. These little eyes, not an inch in length, contain so many miles of country, such vast tracts, the sun, the moon, the whole cosmos, millions upon millions of miles. These are not contained in the physical eyes but in the eyes within. The space within is much vaster than the space without; it can contain hundreds and thousands of times all that is in the world without. In this meaning the cross signifies the two worlds.


People have thought that the next world is above the sky, beyond the stars. It is not above but within. This world is contained in it.




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