As we continue with our series on this theme, Hazrat Inayat Khan describes ways in which the world resists or receives the divine Message. The previous post may be found here.
The message is the answer to the cry of individual and collective souls. The voice of God is speaking all the time, but no one listens; therefore God has manifested as man, that He might speak with a yet louder voice – but even then man does not listen. In the time of Christ the inspiration was there, the voice was there, and the divine power; but how few were those who listened and understood! It has always been so, and it always will be so. It is no wonder that Jesus had so few disciples, and even among them perhaps not one who had a true understanding of the Master. At the hour when Mohammed was passing away, when hundreds of his disciples were there, he pointed out one and said, ‘I am wisdom and Ali is the door.’ Great perplexity has arisen as to why this was so when the Master had the power to make everyone understand. But it was not meant to be so. Each has his own puzzle to solve. How uninteresting the world would be if all men were perfect; it would be like a piano in which all the notes were the same.
Whenever the spirit of God has come forth in its true form, the world has been against it. Why has this been so? It is because man has two sides to his nature, one false and the other real; and before the true messenger can penetrate to the reality of a man’s being, he first touches the false or unreal part, and that part revolts. And in the case of a man who does not revolt, even though the light reaches him his heart is covered, and it only touches the cover. Such a man is attracted, yet he doubts.
There are egos who are not willing and ready to accept all that attracts them. The more something attracts them, the more they rebel against it, suspecting it of being a temptation. Even if they see the reality of something that attracts them, they consider the tendency of being attracted to be a weakness. There are egos who refuse to accept what their friend has accepted, and refuse to admire fully what that friend has admired. And even if they really wish to accept something that their friend has accepted, they will refuse to do so, for the tendency of that ego is to swim against the tide; it is the strength of that ego. Against this strength Christ has said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ It is mostly this same strength of mentality which has stood out against the messengers, building a fortified wall between the messenger and the souls who long for guidance.
There are, however, those who are like lighted candles: they can light other candles and they can inspire others. But the other candles must be of wax; if they are of steel they cannot be lighted. The heart must be like wax; it must melt; if it is like steel, it cannot be illumined.
It is easier for the idealistic devotee to enhance his ideal when the ideal is not present; its presence often hinders the devotee in strengthening his ideal, for the ideal which grows and expands in the imagination of the devotee will always excel the ideal personality who is living the life of limitations on earth.
The souls who believe in a messenger because of his miraculous powers, or because they see the belief of his adherents, are followers; but the souls to whom the presence of the messenger is the evidence, to whom his words are a proof, and to whom their own belief is a conviction, are the foundation of the world’s new temple.
His disciples are to the teacher as all the objects of heaven and earth are to the sun. Some are responsive to the light of the sun, and become hot or cold. Some grow and thrive, and bring out their color and fragrance. Some close their eyes or become blind in the light of the sun. Some begin their life’s activities as the sun rises, and some await the rising of the sun during the dark, depressing night in pain and suffering. Some look forward to the clearing of the clouds and the smiles of the sun. But the stars and planets in heaven are still more responsive and more closely connected with the special current of the sun, and so are the disciples who are close to the spirit of the teacher. They are his special apostles; they give out the light of the sun that is reflected in their heart.
To be continued…