Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan

Deity and divinity
The unity of religious ideals
Part I, Book 2, chapter XV
(London, 1921)
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan


When giving the distinction between these two words I should say: Deity is God idealized and Divinity is God personified. Deity has never been manifest on the physical plane except hidden in the heart of man, but Divinity has manifested in physical form. Therefore, the secret of Deity can be sought in the heart of Divinity. Divinity is reduced God and enlarged man. The whole difficulty, that has occurred in all periods of the world's history, is the difficulty of understanding Divinity, of comprehending the mystery of Divinity. Man cannot think of man being God, nor can man think of God being man. Therefore, the claimant of Divinity has been called God, but has been kept remote and aloof from human beings. Sometimes the claimant of Divinity can be brought to the earth and has been called by no better name than man.

In reality Divinity is the expansion of the human soul; plainly speaking, Divinity is human nature in God. Therefore, God is One and the Only Being, but Deities are as many as there are human beings, for the Deity is the enshrined God, whom man has conceived by his thought and idea. God is enshrined in his heart, therefore the ideas of Deity differ. Some say God is the Judge and some say God is the Father. Some say God is the Creator, to others He is the Sustainer. Some say that God has three aspects, a Trinity makes God. Some say that gods are many. Hindus have conceived thirty-three scores of devatas, divinities. The Chinese have perceived numberless gods. The believers in one God have ridiculed them, but by looking at it from a right point of view it is one and the same conception, looked at from different points of view.

A person can be praised by one and be hated by another, and ten people around him may each have a different idea of the same person who is before them, because each understands him according to his state of evolution. Each sees that person according to his point of view, each looks at him through his own eyes, and so in each being the same person is different. In the mind of one person he is a sinner, in the mind of another the same person is a saint. The same person who is considered gentle and good is considered by another the contrary. If that can be so in connection with a living being who is before you, it is quite possible that various ideas of the Deity should be formed in each heart, and that each soul must mould his own Deity according to his own evolution and to his way of idealizing and understanding.

Therefore, the Deity of every heart is different, it is as that person has imagined it, but the God of every soul is One, and the same whom they imagine. It is the same God they imagine, but their imaginations are different, and it was lack of this understanding which made the different religions.

We read in the history of the past that there used to be blood-feuds, family feuds, for the reason that one family believed in one God, and another family had another God. They called Him a family-God, and these families used to fight one another because of their separate Gods; they gave their lives for their God. It is not very much different even now, when nations fight against nations. For the time being the God of each becomes different, or they think at least that the hostile country is not doing the will of their own God. Man is the same down the ages, only he shows his evolution in degrees.

The Deity is sometimes pictured as a spirit, sometimes as a person, sometimes as a king, sometimes as a master. The picture of Deity according to the Hindus is as the Creator, as the Sustainer and as the Destroyer.

According to the terminology of the Vedanta the word divine comes from Deva, and the word deva comes from Vedanta which means light. Every soul is a light itself, but the light is surrounded by clouds - clouds which have risen from the earthly impressions which surround the human hearts. These clouds keep the soul covered. But Divinity or Deva, which means light, is there, and one reads in the Bible that no one should keep his light under a bushel. The hint to raise the light high shows that Deva, or the divine spark is within man; that Divinity is human in a finite form and only its expansion and the disclosing of this light is necessary.

The prophets and great Avatars, the Messengers, who have come to the world from time to time, have been the examples of the expansion of this divine spark, and what has come to the world has been the outcome of that Divinity. Divinity is like the seed that grows in the heart of the flower. It is the same seed which was at the root of the plant and comes again in the heart of the flower. In the same way it is the same God who was an unmanifested God who, as the seed of the plant of His creation, rises again to the fulfilment of this creation, and in the fulfilment He gives the seed in the heart of that flower - that flower which is Divinity.

Some religious authorities, who wish to recognize the Divinity of Christ but ignore the Divinity of humanity, tried to make Christ different from what may be called human. By doing so they have not been able to keep the flame alight, because they have covered the main truth that religion had to give to the world. That truth was that Divinity is in humanity, that Divinity is the outcome of humanity, that humanity is the flower in the heart of which Divinity is born as a seed. By covering this truth they have not done good to religion, they have harmed religion, trying to make man something else, not knowing that all is in man: angel is in man, djinn is in man and God is in man.

There is no thing which is not in man. Earthly properties such as metals, gold and silver and iron, are all to be found in the body and mind of man. The one who knows alchemy can make use of it. He can make of man the man of flesh, he can make of man a man of gold. That is what Christ wanted to do when he said to the fishermen, "Come with me, I will make you fishers of men". He wanted to perform that alchemy. What they call the philosopher's stone, what stone is it? It is the heart of the divine man; whomever it touches, it turns into gold.

All living beings, creatures higher and lower, creatures of the water, creatures of the forest, creatures that fly in the air, insects, germs and worms, their nature, their character, their form, all can be found in man. The character of the bull, the character of the fish, the character of the insect - the character of all animals can be seen in man. Think then that what you can find by going hundreds of miles through the forest, you can find in one human personality. All is there, it only wants to be seen, and he can see it, whose heart's eyes are open.

Many in this world have their external eyes open, but the person is asleep. They are moving about and think they are living, but there is something which is asleep, which is not awake, and if they cannot see, they cannot see what a great treasure is hidden in man. All jewels, precious minerals and pearls can be found in him; in his character, in his external and inner being all this is hidden. You can see a pearl in a person, you can see in the heart of man a diamond, you can see an emerald, all the jewels of the world are there if you can see. And not only that, not only earthly treasures, but all heavenly things. Man represents the planets, represents the sun and the moon, he represents Heaven and its angels. What does he not represent! He represents God.

Man is a miniature God, and it is the development of humanity which culminates in Divinity. Christ is the example of the culmination of humanity. It would be hiding the human virtue by hiding this secret which is the key to the mystery of the whole universe. Of course, compared with God, Divinity is the imperfection of God, but the perfection of man. A drop of water is entirely water, it is absolutely water, and yet it is a drop in comparison with the ocean. The ocean is God, but the drop is divine. If man had known this secret of life, no wars, no differences would have come among the followers of the different religions. No prophet or master at any time would have been rejected or tortured or refused, if the world had only known that God always comes, that He always shows Himself, through the heart of the godly.

Comparing the divine with God is like placing the burning glass before the sun. The burning glass partakes of the heat of the sun and drops the heat on to the earth. So the divine man, the Messenger, in all ages comes and partakes of the rays from God and drops them down on the earth in the form of the divine Message.

There are ages of aristocracy, there are ages of democracy in all forms. Not only in the form of the state, but in the form of religion. As it is natural that aristocracy should be misunderstood, so it is natural that democracy should be demoralized by the ignorant who cannot understand.

The aristocracy of religion is belief in God, worship of God in a certain form, in the form of prayer and service, in the form of a religious ceremonial or ritual, whatever form it may be, and the recognition and acceptance of it, when it is given by an actual man; not only this, but the recognition of that illumination which completes its development in the heart of man. As the Zoroastrians taught in the ancient ages by their sun-worship that the sun represents the light of the Spirit, so the son of God represents the light of God. But others have misunderstood it, they have taken it differently. The son of God is he who finds out, who is conscious that his inheritance is from God - not from man. The one who is conscious of his earthly origin is the earthly man; the one who is conscious of his heavenly origin is the son of God.

Man is what he is conscious of. Man's grade of evolution depends upon the pitch he has attained. It is a certain pitch which makes you conscious of a certain phase of life. A person standing upon the earth cannot enjoy the fineness of the air on the top of the mountain; in order to enjoy it you must be there. An insincere claim has no effect. When a man stands upon the earth and talks about the air on the mountain, it is nonsense. It will have no effect, because he does not know what is in the air. He must go to the mountain, have the experience of the air and then talk about what he has experienced. Then it will have an effect, because then his word is sincere. It is not by theory that a person can trace his origin, it is by practice; it is not only to know a thing, but to live it and to be it, and it is not easy.

There is no need to divide Christ from man for the reason that one man is so far above another. There is such a great gulf of difference when one can compare the evolution of one soul with that of another, that it would be quite right to say that one is standing on the earth and another is in the sky. But, of course, this aristocracy in religion is misused. The religious authority has made it as a means, as an instrument to keep the people under a certain law, and so they used the religious authority of aristocracy for the sake of worldly purposes. Then, naturally, that aristocracy breaks and the time of democracy comes.

It is necessary that religious democracy should come, because the fulfilment of the religious ideal is in religious democracy. Religious democracy is that no soul should ever think, "I am human, and someone else was divine. God is in Heaven, and unattainable, imperceptible and far away from our soul". No, he must realize, "Divinity is in my soul. God is within me. I am linked with God, and God is linked with me. My soul can expand, for I am not different from God, nor is God different from me".

But the danger of democracy is that, when it comes too soon, before people are ripe, it brings disaster, because man's natural progress is in following his highest ideal. And when, blinded by the spirit of democracy, he becomes so agitated that he wishes to break that ideal, he works to his own disadvantage. He comes down instead of going upwards. And so it has happened in all ages and in different nations and races.

The ideal must be before one, the main purpose of life is the ennobling of one's soul. Religion has to observe, to appreciate, to recognize, to respect and to follow the ennobled soul. Not with the thought of following, but with the ideal of being that which your soul sees as the lofty and beautiful, realizing the possibility of touching that spot which is attracting your soul, as the light in the port attracts those who travel on the sea. It gives you hope, it invites you and tells you that the port is there.

The more we think of the present condition of the world, the more we realize that from the religious and spiritual point of view it seems to be going from bad to worse. Religion, which is the first necessity for the improvement of humanity, seems to be sinking down, and we can only ask what the reason is. The reason is that religion is a kind of negative current of electricity. Charged by the positive current it goes on for some time as the magnetism would go on, and then the time comes when the positive current should touch it to make it alive again. But the difficulty is that man shows his childish nature at all times. The thing he once held in his hands, he thinks belongs to him. So those in authority of religion, once they have the charge of a certain church or community or religion or have a certain authority, would like to keep it. Even it it were the positive current that came, they think it had better be kept away. And that has always been the fight with the prophets and teachers of humanity. With Muhammad, with Buddha, with Moses, with Christ, with Rama, with Krishna the fight has always been of the same character. The holders, those in charge of the negative current of electricity, have covered it when the positive came to touch it and to make it alive. And what happened is that religion remained only in name. The life-giving force, which came from time to time and wanted to make it alive, had to be disappointed.

But the positive can create its negative. It is symbolically expressed in the Bible, when you read of Eve coming from the side of Adam. When the Message comes, it does not come to make a religion, but it makes a religion from necessity. If the existing religion would have taken the Message, the Message would not have formed a new religion. Christ never said, "I have brought a new religion", he said, "I have come to fulfil the law" - in other words, "I have come to give you the same Message". But those who had the religion hid it. What Christ gave was the living religion, but they hid their religion and it became dead, and so it has been in all ages. The Golden Temple of Solomon is gone, but the words that Jesus scattered on the river bank are living today. It always has happened and always will be so that the real is not only real through its genuineness, but it is real through its power. If there is no negative to respond to it, the real will create a negative for its manifestation.

Divinity is not only the expansion of the human soul, but it is an illumination of the human soul. It takes time, it works gradually, it works directly or indirectly, it works with difficulty or with ease, but it works and it must work. The phenomenon of Divinity is not a miracle, the phenomenon of Divinity is the enlightenment of humanity.




Divinity is human perfection and humanity is divine limitation.





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