Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Palace of Mirrors
Chapter 5
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


The phenomenon of reflection is such that every action, every thought is reflected in oneself and there arises a production. It produces something, something which forms a direction in one's life and which becomes a battery behind everything one does, a battery of power and of thought. There is a saying that a man's real being speaks louder than what he says. It shows that in this phenomenon of reflection every person is exposed to all the mirrors, and there is nothing in the world that is hidden. What one does not say one reflects; so there is no secret.


In the words of Solomon "There is nothing new under the sun", "under the sun" means night and day both. The real sun is the intelligence, and in the light of that sun all mirrors which are human hearts reflect all that is exposed to them without any effort on the part of man. This is the reason why the desire of a person, if it is a real wish, becomes fulfilled sooner or later; for it is reflected and through that reflection it becomes living. That reflection gives it a life, because it is not in a dead mirror, it is in a living mirror which is the human heart. It is nothing to be surprised at that, if the master of the house wishes to eat fish, the cook had the desire to bring it. It is natural. It is nothing to be surprised at if you have just thought of a friend and the friend happens to come and meet you while you are going to do something else. It is unexpected outwardly, inwardly it is arranged, because your reflection rising in the mind of your friend has arranged your meeting.


Someone asked me if in the hereafter we shall meet those around us here. I answered, "Yes, we shall meet in the hereafter those whom we love and those whom we hate". He was rather pleased with the first thing, but much displeased with the other. I explained further, "You think of two persons, the person whom you love most and the person whom you hate most. You cannot help thinking of them. One can either be praying for the friend or cursing the enemy, but one will be thinking of both. So one is naturally attracting them both, and the most wonderful thing is that those whom you love or hate in life you meet unexpectedly. Without any intention on your part you attract them". He asked, "Then what shall we do?" I said, "The best thing is not to hate anyone, only to love. That is the one way out of it. As soon as you have forgiven those whom you hate, you have got rid of them. Then you have no reason to hate them, you just forget.


It is this reflection which we see in the success and failure of business. When a person goes to another on some business, he reflects. If he has failure in his mind, failure is reflected in the other person; from all around, what comes is the condition of bringing about a failure for him. He, so to speak, causes his own failure. If a person goes with success in his mind, he reflects success in the heart of everyone whom he meets, and nothing comes out of it but success. Therefore, it is those who are obsessed by failure that have failures, and those who have the impression of success that have success. We read in history that there have been heroes, generals, kings who had success after success, and there are many examples in our everyday life to be found of those who have failure after failure. There is no end to their failures, everything they touch is shattered. Why? Because destruction is there. They have it in themselves, it is only reflected in all things they touch.


Amir, the great Hindustani poet, says

My eyes, you have the light of the Perfect One
and if you cannot see
it is not the lack of light in you.
It is only because you keep covered.

Man is continually seeking for a clear vision, wanting to see light, and yet he covers his very eyes, the sight in him which has divine Light, by covering his heart. No one can teach anyone, nor can anyone acquire that power of seeing clearly. Man is naturally a seer. When he does not see it is surprising.


The seers do not only see an individual when the individual comes before them. If ten thousand people are sitting before them, they are capable of seeing all as a multitude and each as an individual. The reason is that the larger a mirror becomes the more reflections it accommodates in itself, and so in one person a multitude can be reflected at one and the same time, their hearts and minds and souls and all. No doubt, it begins with receiving the reflection from one; but as the heart expands so it takes the reflection of the multitude.


It is in this that there is the mystery of spiritual hierarchy; it is only the expansion of heart. Do we not see in our everyday life that there is one person who says, "Yes, I can love one person whom I love, but then I cannot stand the others". It is only the limitation of the heart. There is another person who says, "Yes, I can love my friends, those with whom I feel at home and feel a contact, but then as to strangers, I cannot love them. I am closed to them". And he really is closed before strangers. He may be a loving person, but in the presence of strangers his love is closed. As the heart becomes more free from this limitation it naturally becomes larger. For, as Asif has said in his verse, the length of the heart is unimaginably great. Asif says,

If the heart of man were expanded it could accommodate the whole universe in it,
just like a drop in the ocean.


The heart can be larger than the whole universe, it can hold all. And the heart that can hold all can receive the reflection from all, because the whole process of evolution is: getting larger. Getting larger means getting freer from limitations, and the outcome of this evolution is that the vision becomes clearer.


How can the minds of the multitude be reflected in the heart? In the same way that the picture of a group is taken on the photographic plate. There may be a crowd, the photographic plate will take them all. If it cannot take them, then it is not large enough. The heart is capable, as a photographic plate, of taking reflection. If it cannot take it all, it means that it is limited, it is small.


Once I asked my Murshid about the secret of telepathy. He said, "It is not a secret; it is the actual condition. We live in it, we move in it and we make our being in it". The whole of life is an absolute intelligence, it is a mirror-land in which all is reflection. When we think of it deeply, we find that in the daylight we close our eyes and sleep.



Question : When it is in our own hands to have success or failure, wherefore is prayer used?

Answer : It is in our own hands to say a prayer or not to say a prayer. It is doing our work, if we do it. When we pray we are doing it. Prayer is a kind of work. If we did not do it, it would not be.


Question : There are people who have failure after failure and yet they pray.

Answer : Prayer from the depth and prayer from the surface are two prayers. One can do what Christ has called "vain repetitions", just repeating the prayer and not feeling it; one may not fix one's mind on the meaning of the prayer. If the depth of one's heart hears the prayer, God has heard it, because God hears through the ears of man. When man prays, through his own ears God hears it.


Question : If a man is not apt to pray so deeply, how will he come to betterment?

Answer : By practice. A person who is not able to draw a straight line, by drawing a line a hundred, a thousand times will get accustomed to draw it, and so he will learn.


Question : If there is only one mirror in each, does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart?

Answer : In the first place it must be known that the mind is the surface of the heart, the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore, heart and mind are one and the same thing. If you call it a mirror, then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart its depth. In the same mirror all is reflected. Mirror is a very good word, because it applies to both, the mind and the heart.


Question : A reflection coming to us from without, from an ideal we see before us, must it enter the heart by means of the mind which is the surface, or does it come directly to that heart through the one essence?

Answer : It depends. If it comes from the surface of the heart it touches the surface; if it comes from the depth of the heart it reaches the depth. Just like the voice of an insincere person comes from the lips and reaches the ears, the voice of a sincere person comes from the depth and reaches the profound depth of those who hear it. What comes from the depth enters the depth, and what comes from the surface remains on the surface.


Question : Why is it for some so easy to love and difficult to hate, and for others the reverse?

Answer : It is a kind of attitude. A person who takes the right attitude, a harmonious attitude, naturally loves; at least his first desire is to love. And the one who takes a wrong attitude, which means an inharmonious attitude, his first impulse is to hate. Very often such persons hate the best person, the most worthy person in the beginning. Then they may be won, then they can change.


Question : If we wish ardently something from another, do we not deprive that person from his freedom of choice by pulling him into our direction?

Answer : Unhappily .... Yet the whole mechanism of the world is just that this is done, either consciously or unconsciously. The whole mechanism is made like this. One does not know it, but behind all minds there is One Mind, and therefore all these phenomena - it is a kind of puppet show. Outwardly there are dolls dancing, fighting, killing, but behind it all there is one person. The one who is enjoying is the spectator, the one who enjoys most is the one who is making the play.


Question : What is then the secret that the One who is behind all these dolls makes one a sinner and another a saint?

Answer : You may also blame a play-writer who has written in that play one very nice part and another part that is quite different from it, which is not very desirable. If he had not written both parts, the drama would not be complete. What about a musician if from the beginning to the end there were one note? What would it be? There are high and low notes, all these make the picture complete.


Question : But the one who is behind all must be obliged to both.

Answer : Yes, there is no doubt about that, he must be obliged to both. He has the strings of all the puppets in his hands, and so his fingers are testing the joy and sorrow of all. The person who is moving the dolls, in his fingers are all the dolls and while moving his hands he feels them. When we go from this outward picture to reality we see that the dolls are of the same essence as the Player of the dolls. Therefore, the relation is not as that of the player of the dolls and the puppet show. The relation of the Player of the dolls and the dolls is much closer. There is no distance here.

I may perhaps give this example in another way. There are some persons in the East who are qualified in moving their hands before a light and by moving their hands they make pictures, shadows, on the wall. They make all sorts of forms and every form has a significance. Just by the movement of his hands a king or a queen comes. The whole story is performed by that one person. What is it after all? If it is something undesirable he has made, it is his hand. If it is something desirable he has made, it is also his hand. If he had not made the variety there would not be a play. It gives others amusement and to others a great satisfaction. In the end his hands are not affected by it. The shadows are shadows, his hands remain his hands. It is momentary, it passes away.


Question : Why then must we try to become saints?

Answer : Because it is our inner inclination to become a saint. If a person has an inclination to become a sinner, he is not invited there. But it is not his inclination to be a sinner. Even if a sinner had his greatest delight in being a sinner, I would never call that a sin, I would call it a virtue. But it is not so, it is not his delight, his happiness. It is only a passion that comes over him, and through that passion he does wrong. After that he is not happy. No soul continually rejoices in wrong. And if he continually rejoiced in wrong, it would not be wrong. What brings you joy and happiness cannot be wrong.




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