Hazrat Inayat Khan now begins to speak of the obligations toward the world and the average person of those who travel the inner path. The previous post is here.
The position of the person living the inner life becomes like that of a grown-up living among many children. At the same time there seems outwardly no such difference as is apparent in the ages of the children and the grown person, the difference lying in the size of his outlook, which is not always apparent. One who lives the inner life becomes much older than those around him, and yet outwardly he is the same as every other person.
Therefore the man who has arrived at the fullness of the inner life adopts quite a different policy from the one who is just beginning to tread that path, and also a different one from that of the man who knows intellectually something about the inner life, but who does not really live it. The action again is different in the world, for the latter person will criticize others who do not know what he thinks he knows, and will look upon them with pride and conceit, or with contempt, thinking that they have not risen to the mystery, to the height, to which he has risen, and which he understands. He wishes to disconnect himself from people, saying that they are backward in their evolution, and that he cannot go with them. He says, ‘I am more advanced; I cannot join them in anything; they are different, I am different.’ He laughs at the petty ideas of those who surround him, and looks upon them as human beings with whom he must not associate, with whom he must not join in all the things they do, because he is much more advanced then they are.
But for the one who comes to the fullness of the inner life, it is a great joy to mingle with his fellow man, just as it is for parents to play with their little children. The best moments of their lives are when they feel as a child with their children and when they can join in their play. Parents who are kind and loving, if a child brings them a doll’s cup, will pretend that they are drinking tea, and that they are enjoying it; they do not let the child think they are superior, or that this is something in which they must not join. They play with the child, and they are happy with it, because the happiness of the children is theirs also. That is the action of the man who lives the inner life, and it is for this reason that he agrees and harmonizes with people of all grades of evolution, whatever be their ideas, their thoughts, their belief, or their faith; in whatever form they worship or show their religious enthusiasm. He does not say, ‘I am much more advanced than you are, and to join you would be going backward.’ The one who has gone so far forward can never go backward, but by joining them he takes them along with him, onward. If he went on alone he would consider that he avoided his duty towards his fellow man, which he should perform. It is the empty pitcher that makes a noise when you knock upon it, but the pitcher which is full of water does not make any sound; it is silent, speechless.
So the wise live among all the people of this world, and they are not unhappy. The one who loves all is not unhappy. Unhappy is he who looks with contempt at the world, who hates human beings and thinks he is superior to them; the one who loves them thinks only that they are going through the same process that he has gone through. It is from the darkness that he has to come into the light. It is just a difference of moments; and he, with great patience, passes those moments while his fellow men are still in darkness, not making them know that they are in darkness, not letting them feel hurt about it, not looking upon them with contempt; only thinking that for every soul there is childhood, there is youth, and there is maturity. So it is natural for every human being to go through this process. I have seen with my own eyes souls who have attained saintliness and who have reached to great perfection; and yet such a soul will stand before an idol of stone with another, with a fellow man, and worship, not letting him know that he is in any way more advanced than other men, keeping himself in a humble guise, not making any pretense that he has gone further in his spiritual evolution.
To be continued…