With this post, we conclude the lecture of Hazrat Inayat Khan on the theme of the inner voice. The first instalment may be found here.
The next step of inspiration after impression is intuition. Intuition is a distinct feeling; it is not only a convinced feeling that perhaps it will happen so, but a distinct feeling that it must happen so. An intuitive person feels if somebody is writing him a letter from a distance. The intuitive person thinks about somebody and meets him in the street – he had thought about him. The intuitive person may feel, when going to table, that fish will be served him; he felt by intuition what was going on in the mind of the cook, and he has foreseen this. An intuitive person becomes a kind of thought-reader, what they call clairvoyant. Although today there seems to be such a lot of that clairvoyance – it has become a business, there are so many clairvoyants! – the most amusing thing is this, that it becomes such an ordinary thing to have clairvoyant power, if you are psychic. It is treated just like asking a person, “Have you a pen or paper?” Neither the one who asks nor the one who answers realizes how sacred the subject is, and how that subject may be treated. It is amusing to see how many people in these days talk so freely about having that power. If they only knew that when there is such a power one has to be modest about it, to close one’s lips and look down.
When, therefore, a man develops, he experiences what is called inspiration. It may come as an inspiration to paint, or music or poetry. The difference between inspiration and the work of a lifetime is that the one has done his work with much thought, but in the case of inspiration, it comes easily; one has only to write it down and it is there. What comes by inspiration cannot be corrected. By wanting to help it or correct it, you only spoil it instead of making it better, because it is not the person who has made it. It has been given him, although a person with materialistic ideas will not be ready to admit the fact. But ask any musician of some depth, or a poet who has really written something, and he will tell you that when he has the intention to write, he cannot; but the moment comes when it is all like rain coming from above.
When a soul develops still further, it not only receives inspiration but it has what is called visions. All that he has to create, all that he produces in the form of music or poetry, it is distinctly given to him. There are visions one sees while asleep – one gets into a condition of being in a kind of half sleep – and there are visions which one gets even when wide awake. When this intuitive faculty fully develops, it becomes like a searchlight. This searchlight is thrown upon a body and not only shows it clearly to man, but he has the power to open that body so that man sees the secret of that body. It is this which is called revelation. Inspiration, intuition, and revelation are grades of the development of this power. You may ask me, “Where does this power come from?” I would answer, “The Divine spirit is hidden in the heart of man, and the more the heart is disclosed, the more the Divine Spirit finds the chance of rising to its fullness.” The great prophets, saints, and sages who have given wisdom to the world have not got this wisdom from intellectual resources, but from the inner voice.
The whole tragedy of humanity today is that lack of the inner voice, and the cause of this is that the soul seems to be buried under matter. A person with a living heart goes with a torchlight to find, somewhere, someone who can understand what he says. What with the condition the world is in, it is hard to find. When one person among thousands comes to some understanding, to more realization of life, the first thing he feels is like running away from the whole crowd and never coming back to it again. For the ignorant, perhaps, life here is a joy, but for a person of understanding, a person of wisdom, it is the greatest tragedy to live.
In this bad condition the Sufi Message comes to humanity as an answer to humanity’s cry. Its main theme is to waken in humanity the idea of the divine, of the human soul. The religion that this Message brings is to tolerate the beliefs of one another; and the moral, or rule, or doctrine that the Sufi Order* has brought to the world is to consider that the whole inner voice is one. As the happiness of the body depends on the health of the organs, so the happiness of the whole world depends on the well-being of all nations. The Sufi Order welcomes such souls who have now arrived to a realization of the truth, the truth which will solve all questions of life, and that truth which alone can be called the ultimate truth.
Thank you for your sympathetic response.
God bless you.
*This was the first name used by Hazrat Inayat Khan for his organised work in the west. The Sufi Order was officially terminated when it was replaced by the Sufi Movement.