Hazrat Inayat: Mastery in the World

If you are the master of a great factory and all the machines go by your will – when you come home, are you happy, restful and peaceful? You may be the master of a whole army, or of a whole nation, or of many nations – when you are at home, are you peaceful and happy? No. This shows us that another mastery is needed. One man may be the master of a whole army, and if he has a stroke of paralysis, all his command is gone and he can do nothing. This shows us that this dominance is very passing. The mastery of the self is needed. It is not more difficult than the other. But as much will, as many years as a man gives to be master of a factory, he will never give to this, because the results are much less tangible. A factory means so many pounds tomorrow. The results of the other are much subtler, much less perceptible.

The mastery is taught, to those who are born to be masters, to those who are inclined for this way, by repose and by the control of the activity which keeps every thing in this universe in movement. This mastery is very difficult to gain in the world. At every step it becomes more difficult. But you cannot run away to the caves of the mountains. You must stand where you are. If you ran away and lived in the caves of the mountains, the attractions of the world would draw you back again. The taste which has been used to different food and nice food would not be satisfied with the leaves and fruits.

If you read the life of Shiva, the lord of all the yogis, you will see that after a long, long time – sixty years of yoga – he was tempted. Rich Vishvamitri, after forty years of yoga in the wilderness, was tempted by the fair ones from Indra, the decree of whose court has always been to hinder the advancement in spirituality of the rare ones. Though Machandra was a very great yogi, he was tempted and taken away from the desert by Mahila, a Hindu queen, to her court, and there he was married and made a king, and among the flattering surroundings and luxurious environments he lost all his great powers achieved in the heart of the wilderness.

 It is easier to gain mastery in the wilderness, away from all temptations, but the mastery that you gain in the world is of much more value. The former can be upset by a slight blow, while the latter, achieved in the crowd, will last forever. It is very difficult. When you are thinking of God, someone comes and says, “You did not come to my birthday party yesterday. That was very bad. Now tomorrow there is the wedding of my brother, and you must come.” Now you are wanting to think of God, and the thought comes, “What present could I take?” You are sitting in your meditation, and someone comes and says, “You must come to the dinner at the club. Many interesting people will be there, and you must come.”

The world will always be calling you away, because whatever a person does, he wants to take his friend with him. If he gambles, he will say, “Come, we will gamble, we will enjoy it together.” If he drinks, he will say, “Come on, drink with me.” If he goes to the theater, he will say: “Come with me. We will go to the theater. We shall enjoy it.” So the world, busy with its selfish, unimportant occupations, will surely drag one toward itself. This can only be overcome by the will. A person must have a will, and he must have confidence in his will.

You recognize another than God, you do not recognize God.
You do not think that whatever comes before you
is God and nothing but God…

This idea is pictured by Hindu poets as a swimmer swimming against the tide. They picture the world as bhava sagara, the sea of life. And the swimmer in it is the mystic who attains to perfection by swimming against the tide and arriving in the end on the shore of perfection. In all our business and occupations we should keep our thought fixed on God. In Italy you will see that at every corner of the road there is a statue or a picture of Mary with Christ. It is put there to remind people, to keep their thought on God. In Russia I have seen in every house the picture of Christ and Mary. In India I have seen a merchant sitting in his shop with his goods and his money and his accounts about him, and in some place there is a little statue of a god or goddess. In the Islamic countries, where there are no pictures, they perform the nimaz five times a day, bowing to the ground and repeating the names of God.

Someone once came to a friend of my murshid and said to him, “Every time that I am at my practices and I wish to think of God, a thousand thoughts come and I cannot think of God.” He said, “Why is that?” He said; “Because I cannot control my thoughts.” He said, “You recognize another than God, you do not recognize God. You do not think that whatever comes before you is God and nothing but God, but you think that only God is God and all other is other. But you do not know there is no other than God. Whatever comes before us we should recognize as God. Whatever thought comes, we should say that it is nothing but God. Then in all our business, whatever it is, we shall see only God.”

Our mistake is that we take the responsibility for the sake of the responsibility, and recognize our cares and our business, losing the thought of God. The Sufis, in order to awaken their group to this idea, considering their life as a journey toward the spiritual goal, recite Hosh bar dam, nazur ba qadam, khilvat dar anjuman,* meaning, “Let the breath be God-conscious at each swing; watch thy steps and realize who walks, keeping thine eyes lowered that the tempting world may not attract them; realize thyself alone amidst this crowd of the world of variety.”

Q. Is a busy life in the world a hindrance or a help on the path towards spiritual perfection?

A. The life in the world, which brings a person into contact with all sorts of undesirable people and affairs, makes spirituality more difficult; but at the same time it affords a test of the will and the spirituality. You may be more spiritual in a cave in the mountains, in silence and in solitude, but there you will never be able to test your spirituality, whether it is strong enough to bear the contact of the contrary vibrations.

To be ready for all responsibilities and all activities, to have family and friends and cares, to pay attention to friends, to serve friends and enemies, to say to the worldly person, “I can do all that you do, and more than all that you do,” and at the same time to remain spiritual, this is the greatest spirituality. To be without cares or occupations may make spirituality easier, but when the mind is not occupied, very undesirable thoughts and desires come. It is mostly those who have no work and no occupation who lead an undesirable life. Those who have an occupation or who have a master whom they must please have less opportunity of following what is not desirable.

*Persian: literally, ‘keep your mind on your breath; keep your eye on your step; keep your solitude in the crowd.’

2 Replies to “Hazrat Inayat: Mastery in the World”

  1. Inam

    ‘Hosh bar dam, nazur ba gadam, khilvat dara anjuman’
    Literally: ‘Keep your mind on your breath, keep your eye on your step, keep your solitude in the crowd’
    Literalmente: ‘Mantén la mente en tu respiración, mantén la mirada en tus pasos, mantén tu aislamiento en la multitud’
    Hazrat Inayat: “Que la respiración sea consciente de Dios en cada ciclo; vigila tus pasos y date cuenta de quien camina, manteniendo la mirada baja para que el mundo seductor no pueda atraerla; entre la multitud de este mundo de diversidad, sólo se consciente de tu ser”.


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