Hazrat Inayat : The Struggle of Life pt V

Hazrat Inayat Khan now explains that in everyone there is the false self and the real self, and he concludes this passage with a devastatingly clear portrait of the false self. The previous post in the series is here.

The worldly struggle is outward struggle. The struggle on the spiritual path is inward struggle. No sooner does one take the spiritual direction than the first enemy one meets is one’s own self. What does the self do? It is most mischievous. When one says one wants to fight it, it says, ‘I am yourself. Do you want to fight me?’ And when it brings failure, it is clever enough to put the blame on someone else.

Do all those who have failed in life accuse themselves? No, they always accuse another person. When they have gained something they say, ‘I have done it.’ When they have lost something they say, ‘This person got in my way’. With little and big things, it is all the same. The self does not admit faults; it always puts the blame on others. Its vanity, its pride, its smallness, and its egotistical tendency which is continually active, keep one blind.

I remember a Persian verse made by my murshid which relates to the self: ‘When I feel that now I can make peace with my self, it finds time to prepare another attack.’ That is our condition. We think that our little faults, since they are small, are of no consequence; or we do not even think of them at all. But every little fault is a flag for the little self, for its own dominion. In this way battling makes man the sovereign of the kingdom of God. Very few can realize the great power in battling with and conquering the self.

But what does man generally do? He says, ‘My poor self, it has to withstand the conflicts of this world; should I also battle with this self?’ So he surrenders his kingdom to his little self, depriving himself of the divine power that is in the heart of man. There is in man a false self and a real self. The real self contains the eternal; the false self contains the mortal. The real self has wisdom; the false self ignorance. The real self can rise to perfection; the false self ends in limitation. The real self has all good, the false self is productive of all evil. One can see both in oneself: God and the other one. By conquering the other one, one realizes God. This other power has been called Satan; but is it a power? In reality it is not. It is and it is not. It is a shadow. We see shadow and yet it is nothing. We should realize that this false self has no existence of its own. As soon as the soul has risen above the false self, it begins to realize its nobility.

But then there is the practical aspect. How does it show? What form has it? It rises up in support of its own interest. It defends itself from the attacks of others. It feels exclusive towards everyone. It knows itself as an entity separate from friend and foe. It concerns itself with all that is transitory; it is blind to the future and ignorant of the past. It manifests in the form of self-pity. It expresses itself in the form of vengeance. It lives by feeding upon bitterness and its life is always spent in obscurity. Its condition is restlessness and discontent. It has a continual appetite for all that is there; it is never satisfied. It has no trust in anyone, no thought for anyone, no consideration for anyone. It lacks conscientiousness and therefore manners. The little self thinks only of its own advantage and its own comfort. Giving to others, giving to those around it is dreadful to the self, for it knows no sacrifice. Renunciation for it is worse than death. That is the little self.

To be continued…

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