As we continue with our series on the topic of the awakening of the soul, Hazrat Inayat Khan gives further insight into the effects of this profound change. The previous post in the series may be found here.
When it was said that upon the descent of the Holy Ghost the apostles knew all languages, it did not mean knowing the languages of all countries. I knew a man in Russia who spoke thirty-six languages, but that did not make him spiritual. The apostles, however, knew the language of the soul; for there are many languages which are spoken in different lands, but there are also numberless languages which are spoken by each individual as his own particular language. And that helps us to realize another idea of very great importance: that the outer language can only convey outward things and feelings, but that there is an inner language, a language which can be understood by souls which are awakened. It is a universal language, a language of vibrations, a language of feeling, a language which touches the innermost sense. Heat and cold are different sensations which are called by different names in different countries, and yet they are always essentially the same sensations. Also love and hate, kindness and unkindness, harmony and disharmony, all these ideas are called by different names in different countries, but the feeling is the same with all men.
When, in order to know the thought of another person, we depend upon his outer word, we probably fail to understand it, for perhaps we do not know that person’s language; but if we can communicate with another person soul to soul, we can certainly understand what he means, for before he says one word he has said it within himself; and that inner word reaches us before it is expressed outwardly.
Before the word is spoken, the expression says it; before the thought has formed, the feeling speaks of it. And this shows that a feeling forms a thought, a thought that manifests as speech; and even before a feeling manifests, it can be caught when one is able to communicate with the soul. This is what may be called communication: to communicate with the innermost being of a person. But who can communicate thus? The one who knows how to communicate with himself, the one who, in other words, is awakened. The personality of an awakened soul becomes different from every other personality. It becomes more magnetic, for it is the living person who has magnetism; a corpse has no magnetism. It is the living who bring joy, and therefore it is the awakened soul who is joyous.
And never for one moment think, as many do, that a spiritual person means a sorrowful, dried up, long-faced person. Spirit is joy, spirit is life; and when that spirit has awakened, all the joy and pleasure that exists are there. As the sun takes away all darkness, so spiritual light removes all worries, anxieties, and doubts. If a spiritual awakening were not so precious, then what would be the use of seeking it in life? A treasure that nobody can take away from us, a light that will always shine and will never be extinguished, that is spiritual awakening, and it is the fulfillment of life’s purpose. Certainly, the things a person once valued and considered important become less important; they lose their value, and those which are beautiful lose their color. It is just like seeing the stage in daylight: all the palaces and other scenery on the stage suddenly mean nothing. But it puts an end to the slavery to which everyone is subjected, for the awakened man becomes master of the things of this world; he need not give them up. Optimism develops naturally, but an optimism with open eyes; power increases naturally, the power of accomplishing things, and he will go on with something until it is accomplished, however small it is.
It is very difficult to judge an awakened soul, as they say in the East, for there is nothing outwardly to prove its condition. The best way of seeing an awakened soul is to wake up oneself, but no one in the world can pretend to be awake when he is still asleep, just as a little child by putting moustaches on its face cannot prove itself to be grown-up. All other pretenses one can make, but not the one of being an awakened soul, for it is a living light. Truth is born in the awakening of the soul; and truth is not taught, truth is discovered. The knowledge of truth cannot be compared with the knowledge of forms or ideas; truth is beyond forms and ideas. What is it? It is itself and it is our self.
Very often people make an effort, though in vain, to awaken a friend or a near relation whom they love. But in the first place we do not know if that person is more awakened than we ourselves; we may be trying for nothing. And the other point is, it is possible that a person who is asleep needs that sleep. Waking him in that case would be a sin instead of a virtue. We are only allowed to give our hand to the one who is turning over in his sleep, who desires to wake up; only then a hand is given. It is this giving of the hand which is called initiation. No doubt a teacher who is acquainted with this path may give a hand outwardly to the one who wishes to journey, but inwardly there is the Teacher who has always given and always gives a hand to awakening souls, the same hand which has received the sages and masters of all time in a higher initiation. Verily, the seeker will find sooner or later, if only he keeps steadily on the path until he arrives at his destination.
To be continued…