Hazrat Inayat Khan here gives brief and subtle answers to some questions from his mureeds. The second question refers to a ‘Wali,’ which is one of the degrees of spiritual hierarchy recognised by the Sufis. This hierarchy is discussed in volume IX of the Message series.
Q. If evil is only a shadow, then, in reality, God might be said to be the one thing which is all good and no bad.
A. That is so. God is real, and evil unreal; God is existent, and evil is non-existent; good is real, and evil unreal. God is beyond good and bad, but still you can say that good is reality and evil unreality.
Q. May a soul be serving in the spiritual capacity of a Wali, and yet not be aware of it?
A. No. A soul may be as great, as spiritual, and as evolved as a Wali, and may not be aware of it. But Wali is not a grade of the spiritual hierarchy alone, Wali is a special service. And a servant certainly knows for what work he is appointed; if he were unaware of it, he could not perform his duty. It is the knowledge of the purpose which gives him all the strength with which he stands in the midst of all the opposing forces of life.
Q. Is personality not an illusion? Therefore how can God have a personality?
A. Yes, to the person to whom personality is an illusion, to him even presence is an illusion. But the one who accepts human personality and rejects God’s personality, he does not know what he says.
Q. Personality is distinction, and God has no distinctions. Therefore one can very well say “God is,” but not, “God has.”
A. “God is” is more true than “God has,” because all that God has is God Himself. The only thing is that there is a part of one’s being which possesses, controls and utilizes. Only in that sense one can say, “God has.” But in reality it is true that God is, and that is sufficient.
Q. What is the meaning in the worship of the brahman, of putting rice at the feet of the deity?
A. That all the love and light that they will gain from the deity they will spread in the world, as seeds thrown in a furrow.
Q. What is meant by joy and pain in the presence of God? Why is it?
A. If there were no pain one would not enjoy the experience of joy. It is pain which helps one to experience joy. Everything is distinguished by its opposite. The one who feels pain deeply is more capable of experiencing joy. And personally, if you were to ask me about pain, I should say that if there was no pain life would be most uninteresting to me. For it is by pain the heart is penetrated, and the sensation of pain is deeper joy. Without pain the great musicians and poets and dreamers and thinkers would not have reached that stage which they reached and from which moved the world. If they always had joy, they would not have touched the depths of life. But what is pain? Pain, in the real sense of the word, is the deepest joy. If one has imagination one can enjoy tragedy more than comedy; comedy is for children.
Q. Is there, in relation to Qaza and Qadr, a difference in the path of the saint and the master?
A. Certainly. The saint is resigned to Qaza, and the master has regard for Qadr. Qaza is the will of God, and Qadr free will of an individual.
Q. How do you explain the contradiction between your two sayings, “Creating is more difficult than destroying.” and “Shiva is the destroyer; his power is considered greater than that of Brahma, the creator?”
A. Creating is difficult. Creating takes a great deal of patience and persistence. In order to make a building so many people are busy to make all perfect. For destruction what is needed? Just a little fire, and just put it on, and burn it up. But at the same time, all the courage and the strength and the power that all the people had who have been building, that much power is necessary to destroy. So it is power. Therefore the power of Shiva is greater.