Glimpses : What shall I ask him?

During the Summer School of 1926, in the course of a lecture about mysticism, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan spoke about people seeking answers to their questions, and illustrated his thought with a rather humorous description of a visit to his own Murshid.

People in different ages and in different countries adopted methods such as looking in the scriptures and finding the answer to their question, or seeing it in the cards or looking in the teacup, and such superstitions as hearing the voice of a bird, or looking at a turtle or a snake or something that suggests something to them, looking at a black cat or hearing the sound of a certain bird that tells them about something. The mystic does not need it. Everything, at every moment, is answering his question. The question is, what question has the mystic to ask? The greater the mystic, the fewer his questions. The further one goes in this path, the fewer become his questions, because the more questions one has the more unmystical he seems to be – because the question is the restlessness of the mind. The restless mind wants to find an answer somewhere, and as peace comes, questions become less. The nearer, the closer to the peace you go, the fewer become your questions. By finding peace, by finding light, by finding harmony and joy, questions reduce to nothing. And the moment the mystic has reached this stage when he has no questions, he becomes the answer to every question.

The memorial Makaam in New Delhi to Murshid Abu Hashim Madani, the Murshid of Hazrat Inayat Khan.

One day I took a friend to see my Murshid, a very material man he was, and restless and pessimistic and doubting and sceptical. And every day I told him to come with me and see my Murshid. Oh, he says, but what will he do for me? I said, you can ask him something. He said, I have twenty thousand questions, when can he answer them all? Well, I said, you can ask one or two of the twenty thousand questions, that is something. Well, he said one day, I will see what happens. And I took him. And the moment he reached the Murshid’s presence he forgot every question, and began to ask me, what shall I ask him? I thought in my mind, here he was saying twenty thousand questions he had, and he cannot find one coin in his purse. He was sitting quite spellbound, breathing the atmosphere of the presence of the master. He had no desire to ask a question. After the conversation and after going there, after leaving the house of the Murshid, then he began to feel inclined to ask me twenty thousand questions. I said why did you forget it there? He said, I cannot understand why.

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