As Hazrat Inayat Khan continues his discourse on the struggle of life, he now draws inspiration from portions of the Sermon on the Mount. The first post in the series is here.
Christ said, ‘I and the Father are one’. That does not mean that Christ laid claim to Godhood for His own person. It is what the dervishes call ‘hamin ost‘, which means all is He and He is all. There is not an atom in the universe that He is not. We must recognize Him, we must respect Him in every face, even in the face of our enemy, of the most worthless. Knowing that all is God by reading a few books on philosophy is not enough; our pity and our spirituality are valueless if we do only this. To read a religious book and feel pious is not enough. To go to some religious place and be pleased that we are religious is not enough. To give to charity and be conceited, believing that we have done something great, is not enough. We must give our services and our time to the deserving and undeserving alike, and we must be thankful to God that He has enabled us to give, for this is the only opportunity we have of giving. This life is short, and we shall never have the same opportunity to give, to serve, to do something for others.
In the Sermon on the Mount it is said, ‘Whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also’. Someone may say or think that he should hit back; but a Sufi would not hit back. Why? Because he does not want twenty blows instead of one.
It is said that if a man asks you for your coat, you should give him your cloak also. Why? Because neither the cloak nor the coat are yours. If someone thinks, ‘This is mine, I should keep it, I should guard it’, he will always be watching his goods. If they are yours, whose were they before? Whose will they be after you? Someone will take them after you, and all that you value so much will be in the hands of others.
Then it is said that if someone asks you to go with him one mile, you should go with him two miles. That means, if someone makes use of our services, let us not think, ‘Why should I, such an important person, serve another, give my time to another?’ Let us give our services more liberally than we are asked to do. Let us give service, give our time; but when the time for receiving comes, do not let us expect to receive anything. Let us not expect our friend to be as we are to him; that will never be possible. We must then practice renunciation.
We must practice virtue because we like it; do good because we like to do it and not for any return; expect no kindness or appreciation; if we do, it will become a trade. This is the right way for the world in general, and the only way of becoming happy. Its moral is called the moral of renunciation.
There are two different attitudes that people adopt while going through this struggle of life. One struggles along bravely through life; the other becomes disappointed, heart-broken, before arriving at his destination. As soon as a man loses the courage to go through the struggle of life, the burden of the whole world falls upon his head. But he who goes on struggling through life, he alone makes his way. The one whose patience is exhausted, the one who has fallen in this struggle, is trodden upon by those who walk through life. Even bravery and courage are not sufficient to go through the struggle of life; there is something else which must be studied and understood.
One must study the nature of life, one must understand the psychology of this struggle. In order to understand this struggle one must see that there are three sides to it: struggle with oneself, struggle with others, and struggle with circumstances. One person may be capable of struggling with himself, but that is not sufficient. Another is able to struggle with others, but even that is not sufficient. A third person may answer the demands of circumstance, but this is not enough either; what is needed is that all three should be studied and learnt, and one must be able to manage the struggle in all three directions.
To be continued…