Hazrat Inayat Khan here gives an account of something that happened while he was living and working in London. This was during the First World War, and it was a very difficult time for the Master and his family. The nation was intoxicated by bellicose patriotism, and the gentle tones of the Message were often taken as an unacceptable call to pacifism. At the same time, the political situation in India had an effect: what the British called the ‘Indian Mutiny’ of 1857 was still a vivid memory, while the Indian desire for independence remained unsatisfied. As a result, the British authorities tended to view Inayat Khan, a magnetic celebrity, as a potentially dangerous organiser of his people, while the expatriate Indians looked at his non-political stance with disappointment. In addition, there were orthodox Muslims who felt that his teaching of Sufism was too far outside of their religion. To add to the difficulties, and perhaps as a consequence of all these various currents, the family was desperately poor. Characteristically, though, Hazrat Inayat does not name the group that opposed his work; indeed, to have done so would be to destroy the indifference he wished to show.
There was a small group in London who were working along spiritual lines. They felt a sort of rivalry against my little society, and they began to try to do us harm by telling stories against us and by setting others against us. My helpers came to tell me how we were being damaged in this way and asked if they should not do something to stop it. But I answered, “The best way to treat this is with indifference. Tale no notice.”
And when they insisted that these doings would do us great harm I said, “Not at all. The only harm it could do would be if we allowed this harm to enter our circle. Let them do as they like and let us go on going what we are doing!”
As the years went by they never heard us say a word against them; on the contrary, we welcomed them, we helped them, we served the in whatever way we could. In time, the resistance completely vanished. We have been going forward, and they still stand where they were. Just a little indifference was enough!