Continuing with his explanation of mastery, Hazrat Inayat Khan makes clear that each person needs spiritual training suited to their own nature. His reference to ‘yoga’ is not meant as a dismissal of yogic science, but only of the over-simplified, mass-market presentation of it. The first post in the series is here.
It is better to receive personal help than to practice yoga; there can be no system of training in which each pupil receives the same, for each needs a different method which is adapted to his condition of life, his type of mind, his environment, his age (young or old), his education, the spiritual development to which he has attained, and his devotional tendency. Is devotion the best method, or is study, or is a practice best? This depends on the pupil’s needs and capabilities. It is exactly as when a physician prescribes for a person; he must use different medicines according to the individual type and personality. Patent medicines will not do!
Man must realize that he has a power in him which is greater than all other powers – and this power is his will. Anger is a power, for it is a part of the energy that manifests as anger. Excitement, passion, and other emotions are manifestations of one energy, yet all such powers are in the hands of one single power – namely the will. They are ruled, controlled, and utilized by it. A person cannot be angry unless his will is at the back of it. He has to have the willpower to defend himself, otherwise the anger would be helpless. The anger is there, but the willpower is greater. If the willpower is not behind it, the faculty will not work, even if not suppressed. As long as the willpower does not help, the faculty, though present, is ineffective.
This one power, the willpower, is within. Should the power work with the consent of wisdom, everything becomes allowable – anger, calmness, war, fighting, peace, love, hate. For instance, there is a time when anger helps; there is a time when peace helps, when calmness helps. We have to understand the rhythm, for, as in music, if we do not keep the time right, it is because we do not understand the rhythm. But when we understand that, it will not matter what we do, things will come out all right. All is right when wisdom, counsel, and willpower are harmonious.
But if the will is under the control of anger, passion, etc, so that they manifest regardless of wisdom, and come into play at their own time (which depends on the person’s habit), then a person will get cross every day! He gets cross because he has made it a habit, and his will has submitted. If this happens every day for eight days, it will happen on the ninth, or else perhaps he may fall ill. The power which should be obedient to the will controls it instead, and so the will works without wisdom in spite of the fact that wisdom is the only reliable power which God has given man.
There is a passage in the Quran which says: “Awake in the midst of the night, before the dawn, or at the dawn when the sunrise is not near, and repeat the name of the Lord. Then the word will be taken and thy enemy will be crushed. Thou wilt then be taught that which thou hast never before known.” What speculation this passage has aroused!
The solution of its mystery is this: desire for comfort controls the will so much. The willpower has become so subjected to the desire for comfort that comfort controls the will. The will is a slave to the experiences of the joy and pleasure that we obtain out of all kinds of comfort. The joy and sense of pleasure make the will into a slave. For instance, there is no greater comfort than sleep. So when you have to get up before dawn, you do not wish to get up to repeat the name of the Lord; you fight the greatest comfort you can experience each day. Once you begin to fight you begin to crush the power (that is, pleasure, comfort) on the surface. It is this ego, fed on pleasures and comforts of all kinds which is your enemy. Therefore, once you crush this ego, your will becomes the ruler over your pleasures, and when the will is master, you are master. The variety of your past life is now submitted to the unity of your being. There is one part of your being which you can call “myself,” and that one part must control the many beings – the nose, eyes, ears, etc – which belong to you. Once they have come under control you can proceed without interference by them; you can keep them out whenever you please. From that time, light comes, and you come to know and understand all the things you never knew before. The light has become disclosed to you by God!
To be continued…