Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Palace of Mirrors
Chapter 6
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


The heart which is called a mirror in Sufi terms has two different actions which it performs. Whatever is reflected in the heart does not only remain a reflection but becomes a creative power, productive of a phenomenon of a similar nature. For instance, a heart which is holding in itself and reflecting a rose will find roses everywhere. Roses will be attracted to that heart, roses will be produced from it and for it. As this reflection becomes stronger, so it becomes creative of the phenomenon of roses. The heart that holds and reflects a wound will find wounds everywhere, will attract wounds, will create wounds; for that is the nature of the phenomenon of reflection.


Very often people have a superstition about a lucky or an unlucky person coming to the house. A lucky person brings good luck, an unlucky person brings bad luck. What is it? It is only that the one who reflects bad luck creates bad luck. Wherever he goes he produces bad luck in his environment. I have heard a mistress of a house say, "Since this maid has come in my house, every day glasses break, saucers break and things become spoiled and destroyed". I could see the reason of it, I said, "As long as she will live in your house that will continue". There are many instances where one finds that a person joins a business, an industrial office, and perhaps he has not much means but he has himself and, since he has joined it, there is every day greater and greater success in that business, that industry. Outwardly this person has perhaps brought nothing, but inwardly he has that reflection which is a greater phenomenon than what he would have brought outwardly.


The more we think of this phenomenon the more we find that, if there is anything that is reflected in our mind, we reflect it on the outer life, and every sphere that our heart has touched, it has charged that sphere with that reflection. A man whose heart is reflecting joy, everywhere, wherever he goes, he will make people happy. The sorrowful, the troubled ones, the disappointed, those heartbroken, they will all begin to feel life; food will be given to their souls because this person is reflecting joy. The one who reflects pain and depression will spread the same in his environment, giving pain and sorrow to others. Life is such that there is no end of pain and sorrow and trouble, and what we need is the souls that will reflect joy in order to liberate those in trouble, sorrow and pain.


There is another aspect of this reflection and that is: what one thinks one becomes. One becomes identified with it, and therefore the object which is in one's thought, that object becomes one's own property, one's own quality. A child who from childhood is impressed by soldiers acts like a soldier. When he is grown-up he becomes a soldier, the quality of a soldier is developed in him. The child who has thought of an artist and has been impressed by an artist, by his art, his personality, that reflection has grown in him, and as he grows up that quality of the artist develops and he turns into an artist. When you read the history of great poets, philosophers, musicians, their rare merit has not only come by their practices, by their exercises, by the gift that is in them; very often it has come by the impression they have received of someone. A reflection which has been in their heart, developing gradually, has produced in their soul the qualities which belonged to the one they are impressed by.


There are numberless examples to be found in the history of the world, but especially in spiritual work, a work which cannot be accomplished by a whole life's study, nor can it be finished by the meditation of a hundred years in the solitude. To try and attain to spiritual knowledge by meditation or by learning only is like saying, "I will make a language in my lifetime". No one has been able to make a perfect language in his lifetime. It is the tradition which makes a language, it is during centuries that people have developed language. It cannot be made by one person alone, it is something that each person has inherited, acquired. And so it is in reflection that a person develops the attribute belonging to the object which he holds in thought.


There are examples to be found in the world of people who by retaining a thought have created on the physical plane its manifestation, its phenomenon. The reason is that the reflection is not only a picture as produced in the mirror, but that reflection in the heart is the most powerful thing. It is life itself and it is creative. Therefore, the person who has understood the secret of reflection has understood the mystery of life.



Question : About that person who was breaking many things, can anyone be able to stop a person who has such a reflection in his heart breaking things?

Answer : The first problem before us is of ourselves, the next problem is about other persons. If we are able to clear reflections from our own heart, then the next thing is to clear the reflections from the heart of another. What we must first accomplish is to clear the reflections from our own heart, the reflections that hinder our path.

For instance, a business man came to me and said, "I cannot understand. There is some sort of bad luck with me so that I always fail. Why did I fail? I cannot understand it. I went to some spiritualists, to some clairvoyants, to people who make horoscopes. One says one thing, another another thing. I cannot make out what is right". I said, "The right and wrong is in yourself. First find out what is going on in your mind. Is it not the memory of the loss you have had? It is a kind of continual voice going on in your heart. The astrologer will say it is something that is around you, the spiritualist will say that some ghost or spirit is behind you. There may be ghosts or there may not be, but the real thing is that in your heart a voice is saying, You have failed, you have failed, you have failmed. Can you make this voice be silent? As soon as you get rid of this reflection, all will be well". He said, "What must I do? How can I do it?" I said, "By determination. Promise me that from now on you will never give a thought to your past failures. Past is past, the present is before you. Pursue with hope and trust and courage. All will be well".

You will always find that those who say, "Everything is going wrong with me" are hearing the voice aloud, their own failure that is talking to them. As soon as they are able to make this voice silent the failure is ended, a new page is turned in the book of life and they can look forward to their life with a greater courage and a greater hope. I call that person brave who in the face of a thousand failures will say, "Now I am not going to fail. The failure was only a preparation for my success". That is the right spirit.


Question : Would you kindly give your interpretation of the word reflection? In the ordinary sense it means thinking.

Answer : The best example of the word reflection would be in the projection of a picture from a magic lantern upon a curtain; the curtain reflects the picture which the magic lantern has thrown upon it. So the whole life is full of reflections; from morning till evening we are under reflections. Association with the restless one gives us restlessness. That person may not speak to us, but because he is restless our heart reflects it. And so the contact with a joyous person makes us reflect joy.

Once I had an amusing experience when I went to see the footman of a king. When I went in the house of the king's footman I was surprised to see that it was arranged on the model of the palace. The way how the footman came, how he spoke, how he made me sit, every manner and every word he spoke were kingly. What was it? Being the whole day in the presence of the king he was reflecting the king.

The whole day reflection goes on with us. We do not know it. Sometimes the person whom we reflect has gone from our sight but we are still reflecting that person. That is the reason we can give for some tendencies to hum or to laugh or to cry without reason. It is all from reflection.


Question : Is a reflection a conscious action on the part of the reflector or does it work subconsciously?

Answer : It works both ways. It works sometimes by a conscious action on the part of the reflector, and it always works subconsciously. For instance, there is a person with a pious mind, good thoughts, a peaceful spirit; his spirit, without his trying to reflect, is reflected in those who come in contact with him and they take the reflection with them. Some absorb it and keep it and others lose it. But the idea is that when a person is not conscious of which reflection to keep and which reflection to give away, he will take perhaps a reflection of sadness or sorrow and all undesirable reflections and keep them within him because he receives them. And, therefore, one must know that the whole of life is a life of reflections. From morning till evening we receive reflections, from those near and dear to us, from those who dislike and hate us, and from those on the other side who have passed. We are always exposed to reflections.


One might ask, "Is it a good thing to receive them?" But you cannot help receiving them. You may consider it a good thing or a bad thing, but it is there. We all receive it. If our heart is clear we receive it consciously, the reflection is distinct. If our heart is not clear we receive it unconsciously and the reflection is not clear. But we cannot help receiving it. For instance, if there is a gong and a piece of wood, both will receive vibrations. One is sonorous and will resound, the other will not resound, but at the same time both are affected just the same. If he heart is clear enough to receive reflections fully and clearly, one can choose oneself which to retain and which to repel.




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