Glimpses: The Man in the Street

Hazrat Inayat Khan gave the following account regarding the ‘common’ way of seeing things.

One day I was introduced to a very well-known poet by a friend immediately after I had given a lecture, and this poet asked me, “Is it really true that inspiration is required for poetry?” He, a well-known poet, did not believe in inspiration!

And I met another poet who had made a great name for himself, but neither his expression nor his movements, words, or thoughts showed any sign of his being a poet. Why was this so? Because to become well-known and enjoy momentary success, a man nowadays has to come down to the lowest mentality; that is what makes him a great man in the eyes of people today.

But it is a mistake. Why must one impress common people? It is better to impress the best people, the people with the purest mentality and highest spirit, and let the others appreciate what is shallow. In this way one can raise the ordinary people to a higher standard instead of stooping to reach them on their own level.

In New York a newspaper reporter came to see me and asked questions for half an hour, questions on philosophy and mysticism. I was so interested in the questions he asked that I answered them extensively. Finally the journalist said, “How shall I put all these things that you have told me to the man in the street?”

I said, “If you have come here in order to put these ideas to the man in the street, please do not use any of them; just put what you like.”

And so he did.

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