Hazrat Inayat: Sympathy, Antipathy

Hazrat Inayat Khan used the term ‘sympathy’ in the very wide sense, of recognising common feeling with another.  ‘Antipathy’ its opposite, means a strong aversion, which can manifest in such emotions as hatred or disgust.

Q. : Can one develop sympathy in a nature in which it does not exist?

A. : There is somewhere in one’s nature sympathy; either it is buried or it is as a seedling. The sympathy which is buried, it must be dug out.  The sympathy which is like a seedling, it must be watered to rear it as a plant.  For me, if there is any truth anywhere, it is to be found in this one thing which is perceptible as the radiance, which is all-pervading, is to be found in the electric wire.  How true it is that without your speaking one word, without your having done anything, your sympathy speaks aloud, your antipathy speaks aloud. If there is any evidence of truth anywhere to be found, it is to be found in sympathy.

Q. : Is hate strength or weakness?

A. : I should say it is naturally a weakness.

Q.: Antipathy might be drawn out of someone in certain surroundings; in other surroundings it might not be drawn out.  So, it depends upon the people who surround one?

A.: In every case it cannot be called other than weakness.  For it is a lack of self-control.  It is a lack of fuller understanding.  It is a lack of self-discipline that allows antipathy to manifest.  A person who has wakened in his soul, in him antipathy must not even be found.  It must not even be traced there, because antipathy against friend, acquaintance, stranger, even against a foe, it is against oneself.  Yes, if a person says, ‘I have a greater sympathy with one person and a lesser sympathy with another,’ that is all right, for it is natural.  But if a person says, ‘I have sympathy for one and antipathy for another,’ that means to say, ‘I have sympathy for my right hand and antipathy for my left hand.’  Besides, if a person who searches after truth, who seeks after God, if he does not see the art of the divine being in His creation, then what is his worship?  How does he understand his God? However pious a person may be, however spiritual he may seem to be, if he says, ‘I do not love human beings, I love God,’ I will say that his claim is a false claim.  He cannot love God if he does not love His creation.  It is just like the lover saying to his beloved, ‘Beloved, O beloved, I like you so much but I do not like to look at your face.’


4 Replies to “Hazrat Inayat: Sympathy, Antipathy”

  1. Theodorra

    In my opinion this is a difficult text which kept a lot of my attention today, so I need to respond. In my vision, in this time in the world, there are lots of people with power/strenght ánd hatred. look at politics, business, not weak people.
    And of course, we all know hatred and disgust. who does not know about this, let she/he throw the firs stone…
    These feelings take a lot of strenght and power if you need to deny them, and that can weaken a person. Just saying that this is wrong, this should be different, does not work, on the contrary, it causes even more struggle, guilt, fight,humiliation, what ever. And,maby most of all: spiritual correctness,denying, fake holyness and lies.
    Why not, although difficult, being interested, curious in hatred, what is this? what does it do to me? Hating the hatred, denying hatred, enlarges it.
    we are human beings and we can not skip these issues.

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Dear Theodorra,

      Thank you for your thoughts. You raise a number of points – too many for me to respond to here – but I will touch on one or two. It is true that hating hatred does not diminish it – but I do not perceive hatred in what Hazrat Inayat Khan says about antipathies. He is making an observation based on the Sufi understanding (and certainly on his own personal experience) that it is possible to work with our feelings, to rise above them or to modify them. Yes, it takes strength to control ‘antipathies’ (not the same as to deny them, but rather the opposite) but power grows when we exercise it, just as physical strength comes from exertion. And if we do not control our inner world – thoughts, feelings, impulses and so on – then they will control us. And who wants to be controlled by their antipathies?

      With kind greetings,


    • Theodorra

      Dear Nawab,
      Thank you for further explanation of this text.
      I certainly read it different than you read it. Probably here is also an issue of definition: I’m interested in understanding and feeling these feelings ,experience it, and that changes, modify’s it, would Murshid and you call this control?
      If this ”controle” is about working with our feeling, overcome, heal, modify our disgust, hatred than I can connect with this text. and also if controling means not acting-out of course.
      Much more to add, but enough for now!


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