Hazrat Inayat: Nature’s Religion pt IV

With this post, we conclude Hazrat Inayat Khan’s extensive explanation about the natural origin of religion, begun here and continued here and here.

Did we but study the object of life, we should come to understand the nature of right and wrong; and once we knew the nature of right and wrong we would not need to consult the law of the scripture, for that law itself would then begin to reveal to us its own truth. Nature herself can tell us what is right and wrong for us and for another person.

The secret of it all is found in the answer to the question: why is man here? The answer is, that he is here to attain the satisfaction of his innermost desire. And what is that innermost desire? It is first joy, then peace. But the attainment of each is contrary, because joy comes from activity of life, and peace comes from rest.

All this activity that a person experiences and enjoys by his senses, is a glimpse of joy. The greater joy comes when he can experience through his inner self also, through his mind. For there is another joy, that of the mind when it is delighted with a thing of truth or delicacy, or a beautiful thought. Beautiful music, beautiful verse, beautiful imagination, all bring delight. It is perhaps a greater joy than the joy of a delicious dish, for some persons would give anything for a verse, which they would never give for a delicious dish.

But there is a still greater joy, that of the heart, the innermost being of a person; the joy when this heart can express itself and experience love. There are many in this world who only live in the body; their heart is dead, their mind is dead; they seek their highest joy only in the body. But there are others who live in mind as well as in body. It is like the difference between a thoughtful man and an ordinary man. When a man is thoughtful he has become a different man. This idea is expressed by the word ‘gentleman’. There are very few who could be truly called gentlemen, though many pass for such. The gentleman is he who is beginning to live in his mind, whose mind is becoming alive, who enjoys life too, yet is not delighted merely with the experience of the senses.

Joy is experienced by worldly attainment;
peace is the attainment of heaven.

But he whose heart is awakened is higher than a gentleman. Such a one can sympathize with another; his sympathies are awake to consider another, to think for another, to serve another, to sacrifice for another. He is not merely a gentleman, he is a saint. The power of sympathy and love takes away the gross self which used to demand all for itself. Once that is taken away, man thinks in a far higher way. ‘Whatever I can do for another, that will I do; I will sacrifice all I have; the loss is no matter; it is a satisfaction’. To satisfy the heart, what a thing it is! This also is a part of joy, but it is not peace.

Joy is experienced by worldly attainment; peace is the attainment of heaven. In the ordinary sense we call it peace to be at rest in an armchair, on cushions, or in bed. But when the body is on a comfortable couch, does that mean that the mind is resting on cushions also? Cannot the mind go through torture at the same time? If that be the case, of what benefit is the peace and comfort of the body? The whole being must have peace. The mind must have peace from anxieties, worry, and from the greed that gives us ambitious desires and that we call ‘wrong’ and ‘sin’. When all this has gone, the mind is at rest. Then, when the heart is at peace and has done its work of love, the heart has enough; it ceases to be interested in any particular object in life, but is equal towards all. When there is no demand there is peace, and this peace helps towards peace of the soul.

These are the two desires which we hold. It is when we do not know the manner in which to attain these two desires that sometimes the joy of one part of our being takes away the peace of the other; or the peace of one part of our life takes away the joy of the other part of our being. It is when man once knows this that he is able really to master himself, to manage his life’s affairs as he wishes, to have a better idea of what is right and what is wrong, and of what is sin and what is virtue.

This knowledge is gained through a study of life rather than of books. If we only knew how much the study of life can tell us! One could go into the British Museum and read every book in the building, and yet not obtain satisfaction. It is not study, it is not research, it is not enquiry which gives this knowledge; it is actually going through the experiences of life, witnessing life in its different aspects and in its different phases or spheres; that is what reveals the ideal of life.

A man may know about the whole world’s doings, saying to himself, ‘In the morning I will go from my home to the office, and will find out all about the world from my paper before I go’. But all he has learnt is what the newspapers feed him with; for how often next day is the news of today contradicted! Still he is satisfied, thinking he has learned so much about the world in the morning. And in the evening he is ready to discuss these topics at the dinner-table, and next day there is again something fresh; but is that knowledge?

Life is not a passing show;
it is not a place of amusement …
It is a place for study,
in which every sorrow, every heartbreak brings a precious lesson…

How wonderful is the sight that is given to us, how marvelous is the mind, how great a treasure is the light of the soul! Can these be intended only for things like that? If we only knew the value of our life, the value of our soul, we would give the precious time that is ours to keen observation with calm perception, combining the attitude of a student with the care of a scientist.

Look not on life as a person would watch a play on the stage; rather look upon it as a student who is learning at college. It is not a passing show; it is not a place of amusement in which to fool our life away. It is a place for study, in which every sorrow, every heartbreak brings a precious lesson; it is a place in which to learn by one’s own suffering, by the study of the suffering of others; to learn from the people who have been kind to us as well as from the people who have been unkind. It is a place in which all experiences, be they disappointments, struggles, and pains, or joys, pleasures, and comforts, contribute to the understanding of what life is, and the realization what it is.

Then do we awake to the religion of nature, which is the only religion. And the more we understand it, the greater our life becomes, and the more of a blessing will our life be for others.


One Reply to “Hazrat Inayat: Nature’s Religion pt IV”

  1. Abdel Kabir

    Wow, It’s truly like the Spirit of Guidance manifestation. What a privilege! All the Love and gratitude to the illuminated soul of Hazrat Inayat Khan, to you dear Murshid Nawab and to all the sisters and brothers of this beautiful path. Alhamdulillah!!!


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