Hazrat Inayat : Sufi Poetry pt II

Hazrat Inayat Khan continued the theme, begun in the first instalment, of the relationship between poetry and prophecy.

The sacred scriptures of all ages, whether of the Hindus or of the Parsis, the race of Beni Israel or of others, were all given in poetry or in poetic prose. No spiritual person, however great, however pious and spiritually advanced, has ever been able to give a scripture to the world unless he was blessed with the gift of poetry. 

One may ask if this would still be possible nowadays, when sentiment takes second place in life’s affairs and people wish everything to be expressed plainly, ‘cut and dried’ as the saying goes. They have become so accustomed to having everything, especially in science, explained in clear words. It must be understood that facts about the names and forms of this world may be scientifically explained in plain words, but when one wishes to interpret the sensation one gets when looking at life, it cannot be explained except in the way that the prophets did in poetry. No one has ever explained, nor can anyone ever explain the truth in words. Language exists only for the convenience of everyday affairs. The deepest sentiments cannot be explained in words. The message that the prophets have given to the world at different times is an interpretation in their own words of the idea of life that they have received.

Inspiration begins in poetry and culminates in prophecy. One can picture the poet as a soul who has, so to speak, risen from his grave and is beginning to make graceful movements. However, when that same soul begins to move and dance in all directions and to touch heaven and earth in its dance, expressing all the beauty it sees – that is prophecy. The poet, when he is developed, reads the mind of the universe, although very often the poet himself does not know the real meaning of what he has said. Very often, one finds that a poet has said something, and after many years there comes a moment when he realizes the true meaning of what he said. This shows that behind all these different activities, the divine spirit is hidden, and the divine spirit often manifests through an individual without his realizing that it is divine.

In the East, the prophet is called Payghambar, which means ‘The Messenger.’ He is the one who carries someone’s word to someone else. In reality, every individual in this world is the medium of an impulse that is hidden behind him, and that impulse he gives out, mostly without knowing it. This is not only so with living beings, but also with objects. Every object has its purpose; and by fulfilling its purpose, the object is fulfilling the scheme of nature. Therefore, whatever be the line or activity of a man, whether it is business, science, music, art or poetry, he is a medium in some way. There are mediums of living beings, and there are mediums of those who have passed to the other side. There are mediums who represent their country, their nation and their race. Every individual is acting, in his own way, as a medium.

When the prophet or the poet dives deep into himself, he touches that perfection which is the source and goal of all beings. As an electric wire connected with a battery receives the force or energy of the battery, so the poet who has touched the innermost depths of his being has touched the perfect God. From there, he derives that wisdom, that beauty, and that power which belong to the perfect Self of God. 

To be continued…

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