Hazrat Inayat Khan now makes clear that both inner and outer struggle are unavoidable in life, and that the Sufi uses the benefit of the spiritual struggle to console and benefit others. The previous post is here.
The Sufi looks upon the struggle as unavoidable, as a struggle through which he has to go. He sees from his mystical point of view that the more he takes notice of the struggle the more the struggle will expand; and the less he makes of it the better he will be able to pass through it. When he looks at the world what does he see? He sees everybody with his hands before his eyes, looking only at his own struggles which are as big as his own palm. He thinks, ‘Shall I also sit down like this, and look at my struggles? That will not answer the question.’ His work therefore is to engage in the struggle of others, to console them, to strengthen them, to give them a hand; and through that his own struggle dissolves and this makes him free to go forward.
How does the Sufi struggle? He struggles with power, with understanding, with open eyes, and with patience. He does not look at the loss; what is lost is lost. He does not think of the pain of yesterday; yesterday is gone for him. Only if a memory is pleasant does he keep it before him, for it is helpful on his way. He takes both the admiration and the hatred coming from around him with smiles; he believes that both these things form a rhythm within the rhythm of a certain music; there is one and two, the strong accent and the weak accent. Praise cannot be without blame, nor can blame be without praise. He keeps the torch of wisdom before him, because he believes that the present is the echo of the past, and that the future will be the reflection of the present. It is not sufficient to think only of the present moment; one should also think where it comes from and where it goes. Every thought that comes to his mind, every impulse, every word he speaks, is to him like a seed, a seed which falls in this soil of life, and takes root. And in this way he finds that nothing is lost; every good deed, every little act of kindness, of love, done to anybody, will some day rise as a plant and bear fruit.
The Sufi does not consider life as different from business, but he sees how real business can be achieved in the best manner. The symbol of the mystics of China was a branch laden with fruit in their hand. What does it mean? It means that the purpose of life is to arrive at that stage where every moment becomes fruitful. And what does fruitful mean? Does it mean fruits for oneself? No, trees do not bear fruit for themselves, but for others. True profit is not that profit which one makes for oneself. True profit is that which one makes for others. After attaining all that one wants to attain, be it earthly or heavenly, what is the result of it all? The result is only this, that all that one has attained, that one has acquired, whether earthly or heavenly, one can place before others. Propkar, which in the language of the Vedanta means working for the benefit of others, is the only fruit of life.
The only difference between spiritual attainment and the continual struggle of life is that in worldly life one struggles in another direction. In worldly life, be it in business or politics or industry or whatever be life’s path, if a person proves to be lacking in that power which enables him to struggle along, he meets nothing but failure. He may be a good person, a saintly person, a spiritual person, but that does not count. It is for this reason that many in the world lose faith in goodness and in spirituality, when they see that this goodness does not seem to count in life. It is absurd for a spiritual person to say that by spirituality, goodness, and piety one’s worldly struggle will be helped. One should have the inspiration and power to answer life’s demands in life’s struggle. The seeker on the spiritual path should not forget that floating in the air is no good; standing on the earth is the first thing necessary. There are many who dream, who live in the air, but that does not answer our purpose. When they complain that they are doing spiritual work, yet are in bad circumstances, they forget that the language of these paths is different, the law of these paths is different. That is why I distinguish between these two paths, in order to make it clear that the one has little to do with the other. This does not mean that the wicked person will succeed or that success is gained by evil; if it were so, it would only be a mortal success. Nevertheless one should not blame the spirit for failure in worldly things, for worldly things belong to another inspiration; if it were not so all great sages would be millionaires.
To be continued…