Hazrat Inayat : Aspects of Sufism pt IV

Hazrat Inayat Khan continues with his explanation of the Sufi term ‘nur-zahur,’ the light of the spirit of guidance that functions throughout the world. The previous post is here.

The divine light has shone upon the mineral and vegetable kingdoms; and there too it has shown its phenomena, although its full radiance has been reached only in man. It can be seen in the developed intelligence, and this can be observed in the cosmic system as well as in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms. It is the light of the sun which shines upon the moon and the planets; each star is but a reflection of the same light; thus the whole cosmic system is illuminated by the sun alone.

In the vegetable kingdom we see one little plant, a fruit or flower, spreading its influence around it, covering that part of the forest in time with the same sweet fruit or with the same fragrant flower. 

When we watch the animal kingdom closely, we see the special gift of intelligence in some animals. We find that among all birds there is a leader for every flock. Among the elephants of the forest especially, there is the wise elephant who walks in front of the herd, carefully caring the stem of a tree with his trunk. He uses it as a stick, and examines with it the path he walks upon to discover whether there are any pits in the way, for his own safety as well as that of his followers. In the jungle a troop of monkeys can be seen following the command of one among them. After he has jumped, they all jump. The foxes and dogs in the jungle have among them one who is most wary, who gives the alarm before every coming danger. In a flock of birds one wise and courageous bird leads the whole flock. And this is the case with many other birds and beasts also. This faculty of guidance, with the maturity of intelligence, fulfills the purpose of manifestation in the evolution of man.

The Quran tells that man was destined to be the Khalif of all beings, which can be rightly understood when we see that all beings in the world serve man, are being controlled and ruled by him, obeying his command. The secret of their nature is disclosed to him, that he may use them for the purpose for which they are meant. Moreover it is man who may rightly be called the seed of God, for in him alone intelligence develops so perfectly that he not only appreciates God’s works and worships Him, but he is even enabled to attain self-sufficiency and all-pervading consciousness of the everlasting life of God. Man realizes his perfection in God, and God realizes His perfection in man.

We see this tendency of guidance in a small degree in parents, who, whatever their own life may have been, yet wish their children to benefit by their experience – that the children may live rightly. There are some people to be found, in this world of selfishness, who warn their friends against going astray; and we find a leader in a community who sacrifices his own life and welfare for the benefit of his fellow men, uniting them in the bond of love and harmony. The same attribute of self-sacrifice, in its higher grade of evolution, is seen among the Masters of humanity, who act as officials of the infinite government and are known in the world as messengers. Among them are holy beings of different grades, designed by Sufis as Wali, Ghaus, Qutb, Nabi, and Rasul. They differ one from the other in degree, according to the depth to which they penetrate into the world unseen, or to the breadth of the space they occupy in the universal consciousness, and also according to the width of the circle of humanity that is placed in their charge for its guidance. Nabi is the guide of a community, Rasul has a message for the whole of humanity, and each has a certain cycle of time for his message.

This can be seen by an intelligent study of the cosmos. The laws of nature teach us and prove to the knower the influence of each planet upon souls, both individually and collectively, as families, nations, and races; and even upon the whole world, the condition of each and all being in accordance with the nature of the planet under whose influence they are. Over birth, death, and every rise and fall, and over all life’s affairs the planet acts as ruler. If planets, the reflections of the sun, have power upon the external affairs of humanity, how much greater must the power of the God-conscious, the reflections of the divine light, of which the sun is merely a shadow! These are the autads, whom the Hindus call avatars, who are not in power as the earthly kings are, only for the time of their life on earth, but remain in power even after they have passed from this earthly plane. The knower therefore sees in the Masters of humanity, not only the deliverers of the divine message, but also the spiritual sovereigns, controllers of the universe during their cycles.

To be continued…

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