As we continue our exploration of the topic of initiation, Hazrat Inayat Khan gives us some glimpses of the subtle workings of the mystical teacher in the tuning of the student. The previous post in this series may be found here.
The mystical path is the most subtle path to tread. The relation between the teacher and pupil is too subtle for words to express. Besides, the language of a mystical teacher is always elusive; you cannot, so to speak, pin him to his words, you cannot ask if he will clearly say that it is so and so, or such and such. And if a mystic does do so, he is not a mystic; if he is a mystic he cannot do it, for the mystic may seem to be standing on the earth, but he is flying in the air. Neither can the air be made into a rock nor can a mystic be made into a gross entity. Neither does his ‘yes’ mean the same as the ‘yes’ of the other, nor does his ‘no’ mean the same as the ‘no’ of others. The language of the mystic is not the language of words; it is the language of meaning. It is to the greatest distress of the mystic that he has to use the words of everyday language, which are not his words. He cannot express himself in these words. And the same character, the same manner you will find in the action of the mystic. Every outward action of his will not express to everybody the meaning which is behind it. Perhaps that meaning is much more important inwardly, in comparison with the insignificant action outwardly.
The teacher, therefore, continually tests his pupil. He tells him and does not tell him, for everything must come in its right time. Divine knowledge has never been taught in words nor will it ever be taught. The work of a mystical teacher is not to teach but to tune, to tune the pupil so that the pupil may become the instrument of God. For the mystical teacher is not the player of the instrument, he is the tuner. When he has tuned the instrument he gives it in the hand of the Player Whose instrument it is to play. The duty of the mystical teacher is his service in this direction as the tuner.
“Is dispute any good with a spiritual teacher?” Not at all. For the pupil may be speaking a different language; the teacher speaks another language. If there is no common language how can the dispute be profitable? Therefore, on the path of mysticism there is no dispute. Are there any rules on this path to follow? No fixed rule; for every person there is a special rule. Yes, there is one law, which applies to all things in life: sincerity is the only thing which is asked by the teacher, for truth is not the portion of the insincere.
There may be several initiations given to the pupil that the teacher has taken in hand, but it depends upon the pupil to progress. Just as the parents are anxious, so the spiritual teacher is naturally anxious to see the advancement of his pupil. There is no reason for the teacher to keep any pupil backward, as there is no reason for any parents to keep their child back from success. For, as in the happiness of the child there is the happiness of the parents, so in the advancement of the pupil there is the satisfaction of the teacher.
But then there is another initiation which comes afterwards, and that initiation is an unfoldment of the soul. It comes as an after-effect of the initiation that one had from the teacher. It comes as a kind of expansion of consciousness, and the greatness of this initiation depends on the length and the width of the horizon of the consciousness. Many claim it, but few realize it. Those who realize, they do not claim. As the more fruitful a tree, the more it bends, so the more divine a spiritual realization, the more a person becomes humble. It is the less fruitful who becomes more pretentious. Real initiated ones hardly speak of the word initiation, they do not find profit in making others believe that they are initiated. They possess their gains, so they do not want an outward gain. It is the one who has not got, who wants for outside recognition.
But one might say, “What is the profit of the initiation?” The answer is that –religion, mysticism or philosophy – all that we gain, it must result in one form, and that form is, to be best fitted to serve our fellowmen.