Hazrat Inayat : Humans are Extremists

In August of 1926, after giving a class to Cherags of the Universal Worship, Hazrat Inayat Khan was asked the following question about one of the sayings of Jesus, as recorded in Matthew 10:34.

Q.: Murshid, what did Jesus Christ mean when he said, I have not come to bring peace, but to bring the sword?

A.: Yes, just like there are people who are war mad so there are people who are peace mad. And sometimes peace mad people can paralyse the world more than war mad people can destroy it. War mad people can destroy the world; peace mad people can paralyse it. The master came to give to humanity balance. In another place he says blessed are the peacemakers; he taught the lesson of peace. At the same time he has given the lesson that when there is need of the sword, then the sword is necessary.

There is a Hindu story which explains it still more – that a chela was impressed by the guru’s teaching of kindness, and the guru’s saying that God must be recognised in all forms. And a mad elephant was coming, and the chela stood before the mad elephant joining palms in all reverence. There were people, they said, ‘Go away, go away from the road, the mad elephant is coming!’ But he was so impressed by the teaching of reverence that he stood there in a religious attitude. The mad elephant soon approached, and lifting him by his trunk, threw him far, and he was hurt and he just escaped death. And they brought him to his guru. When he came to his senses, the guru asked, ‘But why did you go there? How did you happen to stand there when the mad elephant was coming? He said, ‘Guru, it was your teaching. You said in every form there is God. Recognising that, I stood in reverence.’ The Teacher said, ‘Did anybody warn you that there was a mad elephant? That you must go away from there?’ He said, yes, there were some people there. The guru said, did you not hear in their voices the word of God?

Giving up the sword apart, suppose that you made yourself so very fine physically, mentally and spiritually, and went in the midst of Paris to buy something in a shop, or near Place de l’Opéra, and then you came back. Do you think you will not be ill for six months? You will. The reason is that the coarse vibration of the crowd will be most difficult for you to withstand. And so, very often mahatmas, sages who make themselves so fine, they went into the mountains, in the wilderness, in the desert, in the forest, and then they could keep themselves in that condition, tuned to that pitch. But if you have to live in the crowd, you must be armed in order to keep yourself at least able to withstand the jarring influences continually coming upon you. If that is true in the case of the individual, it is then true in the case of the collectivity.

What is war and peace? It is the same thing. Fifty, hundred, thousand, million persons organised together who say, here you must surrender. Well, if you are not organised, you must surrender. And if any prophet said the use of sword is wrong, that means he does not know the world. He does not know the psychology of human beings, for humans are extremists. Sometimes people who think of war, they are war mad, they think we must have war. Others who are for peace, they say, no, at every cost there must be peace. The religion has nothing to teach about it. If it has to each about it, it is these two things: make you soul peaceful, and keep in your arms the sword to defend yourself. It was taught by all prophets – Muhammed, Jesus, even Krishna it was the same thing: balance.

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