In this continuation of the series on the Message and the Messenger, Hazrat Inayat Khan briefly describes a profoundly insightful metaphysical framework for those, as he says, ‘whose intelligence asks questions,’ and goes on to comment on expectations that a messenger may come in our time, and how the message comes humbly, without making claims. The previous post may be found here.
There is also the metaphysical side of this, for it is metaphysics which makes things distinct and intelligible to those whose reason asks questions; man and the study of man is the study of the whole universe. As Ali says, ‘Know thyself, if thou wouldst know God.’ The secret of this is the knowledge that when man comes to earth, he is both soul and body, or as others would say, spirit and body, and that the action and reaction of soul and body produce what we call mind. And in the same way it is the action and reaction of God and His creation which have produced the Spirit of Guidance, and it is that spirit which is the soul of Christ.
One may understand this better by an example: in the case of an individual, the affairs of his everyday life bring him to a realization and understanding of what his actions have brought about, and it is this understanding of life which becomes his spirit of guidance, which is called buddhi in Vedantic terms. Again, the Prime Minister of a country stands between his country and the world; his experience guides him to direct the affairs of the nation.
The medium between soul and body is called spirit. In the collective spirit, it is that spirit of the messenger, and that is why the divine message brings an answer to every soul. It is not necessarily a law for the multitude, or a religion for the world, but it brings an answer to every existing soul; and before the soul has expressed its cry it has reached the heart of the messenger.
Can anyone claim the message falsely? How could anyone ever dare to do such a thing! If it is already so difficult for the true messenger of God to stand steadfast in all the winds of destruction, how could falsehood ever withstand such a wind? Only the true messenger can stand firm whenever the message is given to the world. Truth alone is victorious.
There is great expectation all over the world just now that the teacher is coming again. And the expectation seems to be as if the teacher will come direct from the sky, and as if the whole world will accept and expect him, that the lawyers, scientists, materialists, and teachers of the different sects will fall on their knees before him when he comes. But if we only think of the coming of Jesus Christ in that humble garb, and how no one accepted him during his life! In his unassuming life, preaching to simple men, was he accepted as Christ? – or is he not Christ today? If we look at the lives of different prophets and teachers, were they ever accepted at once? Mohammed was three times chased out of Mecca, his own city, and had to flee in the night; and during the life-long struggle of Moses, in the end he could only work because of the permission of Pharaoh. Krishna passed his whole life unknown, until, in the war described in the Mahabharata, Arjuna asked for his blessing and fought; it was only then that the moment of his message came.
In order to recognize a world-message, people in all ages have pointed out and predicted a messenger coming from this or that corner of the world. But can man ever authorize a messenger of God? Has he the power to authorize a man, and say ‘this will be the Messenger of God,’ or, ‘this is the Messenger of God’? God alone can send His messenger. Things are happening now such as have never happened before; people talking so freely about the messenger and the message. They discuss the most sacred things, things that, if one really knew them, would keep one’s lips sealed. There could not be a worse degeneration of religion than this. Has the messenger ever been advertised? Can any man come forward in the world and make a claim of this kind, and also be true? No, the message is like a spring of water: it rises and fails and makes its way by itself, so that no one can make an imitation of it. If the message is true, it will always make its way, to the end of the world. It is always so with the message of God.
But those who wait, may wait. It is their destiny to wait, and one cannot help them. They waited while Jesus Christ came and went, and they still wait, and will wait for ever. And yet he has always come; to the individual, to the multitude, to the nation, to the race. He came, and spoke to the whole world; but did he come with drums and trumpets? No, he came in the humblest guise, in the most unassuming manner; as our brother, our servant, our friend, our equal. Man, because of his devotion, has called him Lord; but he said, ‘Call me not good. I am like unto you.’ It is not his [i.e. the Master’s] absence that keeps man in ignorance; it is man’s own closed eyes. The Master has always been present, but man knew him not.
To be continued…