Hazrat Inayat Khan begins his teaching on the struggle of life by telling us that it is necessary to struggle, that we cannot reach perfection without it, and that we must expect to struggle both with enemies and also with friends.
No one can deny the fact that life in the world is one continual struggle. The one who does not know the struggle of life is either an immature soul, or a soul who has risen above the life of this world. The object of a human being in this world is to attain to the perfection of humanity, and therefore it is necessary that man should go through what we call the struggle of life.
As long as an infant is innocent he is happy; he knows nothing of the struggle of life. The late Nizam of Hyderabad, who was also a great mystic, wrote, ‘What were those days, when my eyes had not seen sorrow! My heart had no desire and life had no misery.’ This is the first stage. From thence we come to the maturity of the intelligence, and then we see that no one can be trusted, neither the friend nor the relation. None can stand the test when it comes, all are false and none is true; and at first a person believes that this is directed specially against him. A dervish once wrote these lines on the wall of the mosque where he had spent the night, ‘The world believes in the ideal of God, yet knows not whether He is friend or foe.’
The waves of the sea go up and down; the atom believes that they rise and fall for it; it thinks, ‘The wave raises me, so it is favorable to me’, or, ‘It lowers me, so it is unfavorable’. In the same way man thinks a friend is favorable or unfavorable to him; but then he realizes that this is the nature of the world. In all of us there is the nafs, the ego, and every ego fights against the others. There is a sword in every hand, both in that of the friend and in that of the enemy. The friend kisses before he strikes; there is no other difference. And then he realizes that nothing else can be expected of the world.
The great Indian poet Tulsidas has said, ‘Everyone does and says as much as he has understood.’ Why should a man blame another for what he cannot understand? If he has no more understanding, from whence can the poor man borrow it? Then a person begins to realize that whatever comes he should take it calmly. If an insult comes he takes it calmly; if a good word comes he accepts it with thanks; if a bad word comes he takes that quietly. If it is a bad word he is only thankful that it is not a blow; if it is a blow he is thankful that it is not worse. He is ready to give his time and his services to all, to the deserving and the undeserving alike, for he sees in all the manifestation of God. He sees God in every form, in the highest, in the lowest, in the most beautiful, in the most worthless.
The Sufi says that if God is separate from the universe, he would rather worship a God who can be seen, who can be heard, who can be tasted, who can be felt by the heart and perceived by the soul. He worships the God who is before him. He sees the God who is in everything.
To be continued…