Hazrat Inayat : Sufi Poetry pt III

Hazrat Inayat Khan now explores the need for contemplation in the creation of poetry, and also stresses the importance of balance. The previous post is here.

There is no doubt that in all things there is the real and the false, the raw and the ripe. Poetry comes from the tendency to contemplation. A man with imagination cannot retain the imagination, cannot mold it, cannot build it up, unless he has this contemplative tendency within him. The more one contemplates, the more one is able to conceive of what one receives. Not only this, but after contemplation, a person is able to realize a certain idea more clearly than if that idea had only passed through his mind.

The process of contemplation is like the work of the camera. When the camera is put before a certain object and has been properly focused, then only that object is received by the camera. Therefore, when an object before one is limited, then one can see that object more clearly. What constitutes the appeal of the poet is that he tells his readers of something he has seen behind these generally recognized ideas. 

The prophet goes still further. He not only contemplates one idea, but he can contemplate on any idea. There comes a time in the life of the prophet, or of anyone who contemplates, when whatever object he casts his glance upon opens up and reveals to him what it has in its heart. In the history of the world we see that besides their great imagination, their great dreams, their ecstasy and joy in the divine life, the prophets have also been great reformers, scientists, medical men or even statesmen. This in itself shows their balance. It shows that theirs is not a one-sided development. They do not merely become dreamers or go into trances, but both sides of their personality are equally developed.

It is an example of God in man that the prophets manifest. We can see this in the life of Joseph. We are told that he was so innocent, so simple, that he went with his brothers, yielding to them, and that this led to his betrayal. In his relationship with Zulaikha, we see the human being, the tendency to beauty. At the same time, there is the question he continually asks, ‘What am I doing? What shall I do?’ Later in his life we see him as one who knows the secret of dreams, as the mystic who interprets the dream of the king. Still later in life, we see that he became a minister, with the administration of the country in his hands, able to carry out the work of the state.

Spirituality has become far removed from material life, and so God is far removed from humanity. Therefore, one cannot any more conceive of God speaking through a man, through someone like oneself. Even a religious man who reads the Bible every day will have great difficulty in understanding the verse, ‘Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ The Sufi message and its mission are to bring this truth to the consciousness of the world: that man can dive so deep within himself that he can touch the depths where he is united with the whole of life, with all souls, and that he can derive from that source harmony, beauty, peace and power.

To be continued…

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