We continue with the important series of teachings on the subject of initiation. In this and in subsequent instalments, Hazrat Inayat Khan considers what characteristics are needed for the journey. The previous post in this series may be found here.
Initiation needs courage and the tendency to advance spiritually, although it may not seem to be the way of life for everyone. Therefore the first duty of a mureed is not to be shaken in his faith by any opposing influence or by anything said against the path he has taken. He should not allow himself to be discouraged by anybody. The mureed must be so firm in his path that if the whole world says it is a wrong path, he will say it is the right path. And if anybody says that it will take a thousand years or perhaps more, the mureed must be able to say that even if it should take a thousand years, he will have the patience to go through with it. As it is said in Persian, it is the work of the baz*, the wayfarer of the heavens.
In this mystical path courage, steadfastness, and patience are what is most necessary, but also trust in the teacher at whose hand initiation is taken, and the understanding of the idea of discipline. In the East, where for thousands of years the path of discipleship has been understood, these things are regarded as most important and acceptable from the hand of the teacher. How few in the world know trust! What is necessary is not trusting another, even the teacher, but oneself, and one is not capable of trusting oneself fully when one has not experienced in life how to trust another. Some will ask, ‘But if we trusted and our trust was in vain, should we not be disappointed?’ The answer is, that we must trust for the sake of the trust, and not for the sake of a return or to see what fruit it brings. The utmost trust is the greatest power in the world. Lack of trust is weakness. Even if we have lost something by trusting, our power will be greater than if we had gained something without developing trust.
Patience is very necessary on the path. After my initiation into the Order of the Sufis I was for six months continually in the presence of my murshid before he said a word on the subject of Sufism; and as soon as I took out my notebook he went on to another subject; it was finished! One sentence after six months! A person would think that it is a long time, six months sitting before one’s teacher without being taught anything; but it is not words, it is something else. If words were sufficient, there are libraries full of occult and mystical books. It is life itself, it is living that is important. The one who lives the life of initiation not only lives himself, but also makes others who come in contact with him alive. Therefore one is initiated into the Sufi Order not especially for study, but to understand and follow what real discipleship means.
With regard to the subject of discipline; anybody without a sense of discipline is without the power of self-control. It is discipline which teaches the ideal, and the ideal is self-discipline. It is the disciplined soldier who can become a good captain. In ancient times the kings used to send the princes out as soldiers, to learn what discipline means. The path of initiation is the training of the ego, and it is self-discipline which is learned on the path of discipleship.
*A Persian word meaning ‘falcon,’ or ‘sun.’
To be continued…