With this instalment, Hazrat Inayat Khan concludes his teaching about interest and indifference. In the second paragraph below he refers to a ‘majzub’, a person so lost in divine consciousness that ordinary life has no meaning, and who is often believed to be insane. The previous post in the series is here.
Besides this there is the stage of indifference where even rank and position and honor and power do not matter very much, for all these are also false claims. In order to occupy a certain position, one has to deprive others of it, but when a position or rank no longer makes any difference, then one has reached a still higher stage. And when one arrives at the stage where even paradise has no more attraction for one, when one is willing to meet whatever the hereafter may bring, then one’s point of view becomes the point of view of the sage, of the master.
A great Persian poet has said, ‘Be thou a friend within, and indifferent without.’ This manner is very becoming and yet very rare. It really is the manner of the majzub, but one need not go as far as the majzub to find this manner. Very often one finds it among friends and relatives. There may be a father, full of affection for his children, with great kindness and love, but yet without any outward expression of it. It is never expressed in a form one recognizes. One often finds this manner too among friends, who may feel great friendship and warmth but yet it is never apparent.
The question arises, how can one learn indifference? By learning interest. If in our life we do not learn interest, we cannot learn indifference. A person who is born with no interest in life is only an idiot. The child which does not hold on to the toy in its hands gives no promise of progress. It is natural for the child to hold on to the toy and claim it as its own. That is the first lesson it should learn. It is normal for a child to say the toy belongs to it and to hold on to it. In that way one develops interest, interest in one’s wellbeing and in one’s progress in life, so that one can accomplish one’s purpose in life. All this is natural and normal. It is interest in other people, in their affairs, in those one loves and likes, which develops the character.
By interest in things of the world one helps the world. By interest one contributes one’s service to the world. If one had no interest one would not do so, one would not render service to the nation or to the cause of the world.
Evolution goes on step by step, not hurrying. Indifference is attained by developing interest, and by developing discrimination in one’s interest. Instead of going backward one should go forward in one’s interest. Then one will find that a spring will rise naturally in one’s heart. When the heart has touched the zenith in the path of interest, then the fountain of interest will break up gradually, and when this happens, one should follow this trend, so that in the end one may know what interest means, and what indifference means.