Hazrat Inayat : The Inner Life pt XVIII

As he approaches the conclusion of this series of lectures, Hazrat Inayat Khan now describes the five most usual ways in which the realised souls live and work in the world. The previous post in the series is here.

Those who live the inner life have to adopt a certain outer form of living in the world amidst people of all kinds. There are five principal ways known which the spiritual souls adopt to live life in the world, although there are many more ways. Very often these souls are found in such forms of life that one could never imagine for one moment that they were living the inner life. It is for this reason that the wise of all ages have taught respect for every human being, whatever be his outward character, and have advised man to think who is beneath that garb, and what it is.

Among the five principal characteristics of the spiritual being the first is the religious character. This is he who lives the religious life, the life of an orthodox person, like everybody else, showing no outward trace of a deeper knowledge or wider view, though he realizes it within himself. Outwardly he goes to his temple or his church, like everybody else. He offers his prayers to the Deity in the same form as everybody, reads the scriptures in the same way that everybody else does, receives the sacraments and asks for the benediction of the church in the same way that everybody does. He shows no difference, no special characteristics outwardly showing him to be spiritually advanced; but at the same time, while others are doing all their religious actions outwardly, he realizes them in his life in reality. Every religious action to him is a symbolical revelation; prayer to him is a meditation; the scripture to him is his reminder, for the holy Book refers him to that which he reads in life and in nature. And therefore, while outwardly he is only a religious man like everybody in the world, inwardly he is a spiritual man.

Another aspect of a spiritual man is to be found in the philosophical mind. He may show no trace at all of orthodoxy or piety; he may seem to be quite a man of the world in business, or in the affairs of the worldly life. He takes all things smoothly, he tolerates all things, endures all things. He takes life easily with his understanding. He understands all things inwardly; outwardly he acts according to life’s demand. No one may ever think that he is living the inner life. He may be settling a business affair, and yet he may have the realization of God and truth at the same time. He may not appear at all meditative or contemplative, and yet every moment of his life may be devoted to contemplation. He may take his occupation in everyday life as a means of spiritual realization. No one outwardly may consider for one moment that he is spiritually so highly evolved, except that those who come in contact with him may in time be convinced that he is an honest person; that he is fair and just in his principles and life; that he is sincere. That is all the religion he needs. In this way his outward life becomes his religion, and his inner realization his spirituality.

The third form of a spiritual being is that of a server, one who does good to others. In this form there may be saints hidden. They never speak about spirituality, nor much about the philosophy of life. Their philosophy and religion are in their action. There is love gushing forth from their heart every moment of their life, and they are occupied in doing good to others. They consider everyone who comes near them as their brother or their sister, as their child; they take an interest in the joy and the sorrow of all people, and do all they can to guide them, to instruct them, to advise them through their lives. In this form the spiritual person may be a teacher, a preacher, or a philanthropist, but in whatever form he may appear, the chief thing in his life is the service of mankind: doing good to another, bringing happiness to someone in some form. The joy that rises from this is high spiritual ecstasy, for every act of goodness and kindness has a particular joy which brings the air of Heaven. When a person is all the time occupied doing good to others, there is a constant joy arising; and that joy creates a heavenly atmosphere, creating within him that heaven which is his inner life. This world is so full of thorns, so full of troubles, pains and sorrows. In this same world he lives; but by the very fact of his trying to remove the thorns from the path of another, although they prick his own hands, he rises, and this gives him that inner joy which is his spiritual realization.

To be continued…

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