Hazrat Inayat : Aspects of Sufism pt VIII

To illustrate his teaching about the role of the Spirit of Guidance in the care and evolution of the world, Hazrat Inayat Khan now begins to present the following allegory.

There was a man living with his wife and children in a little village. He was called away by the inner voice of his soul, and he renounced his life with his wife and children and went into the wilderness, to a mountain called Sinai, taking with him his eldest son, the only one of his children who was grown up. The children having a faint remembrance of their father wondered at times where he was, and longed to see him; they were then told by their mother that he had gone away long ago, and perhaps had passed from this earth. At times, in answer to their longing she would say, ‘Perhaps he will come or send word, for so he promised before his departure.’ Sometimes the children grieved at their father’s absence, their father’s silence, and whenever they felt the need for him to be among them they would comfort themselves with the hope, ‘Perhaps some day he will be with us as he has promised.’

After some time the mother also passed away, and the children were left with guardians who were entrusted with their care, together with the care of the wealth left by their parents.

After some years, when their brother’s smooth face had become bearded and when his cheerful look had given place to a serious expression, and his fair skin, now in the strong sun for years, had turned brown, he came home. He went away with his father in grandeur; he returns in poverty and knocks at the door. The servants do not recognize him, and do not allow him to enter. His language is changed; the long stay in a foreign country has made him forget all. He says to the children, ‘Come, O brothers, ye are my father’s children. I have come from my father, who is perfectly peaceful and happy in his retirement in the wilderness, and has sent me to bring you his love and his message, that your life may become worthwhile, and that you may have the great happiness of meeting your father, who loved you so greatly.’

They answered, ‘How can it be that thou comest from our father who has been gone so long, and has given us no sign?’ He said, ‘If ye cannot understand, ask your mother. She will be able to tell you.’ But the mother had already passed away; only her grave was left, which could never tell. He said, ‘Then consult your guardians. Perhaps they will be able to tell you from the recollections of the past; or things that our mother may have said to them might bring to their memory the words of our father about my coming.’ The guardians had grown careless, indifferent, blind, quite happy in the possession of all the wealth, and enjoying the treasured gold left in their charge, and using their undisputed power and complete hold over all the children. Their first thought on hearing he had come was of annoyance. When they saw him they were quite heedless, for they found in him no trace of what he had been like before, and as they saw he was without power or wealth, and was altered in looks, in dress, in everything, they cared not for him. They said, ‘By what authority claimest thou to be the son of our father, of our master, who has long since passed away, and may perhaps be dwelling in the heavens by now?’ He then said to the children, ‘I love you, O children of my father, although you cannot recognize me, and even if you do not acknowledge me as your brother, take my helping word for your father’s word. Do good in life and avoid evil, for every work has its reward like unto it.’

To be continued…

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