Spread Far and Wide

The Sufi Movement founded by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan is composed of various activities, among them the activity of the Inner School, and the religious or devotional activity called the Universal Worship. One might assume that for the spreading of the Divine Message all over the world, an ideal to which Hazrat Inayat devoted himself, the esoteric teachings of the Inner School should lead the way, but it is not so. In a class for Cherags and Sirajs of the Universal Worship held in July of 1926, Hazrat Inayat Khan made it clear that the work of spreading the message throughout the world belongs not to the Inner School, but to the Universal Worship.

Pir-o-Murshid Inayat told the class, “for the furthering of the Message in the world and for fulfilling that promise and that work which is destined to us, it is not only the esoteric school, because there are other esoteric schools in Persia, Egypt, India, where the initiations are given and where deep esoteric study is done.  But the difference is that this [impulse] is an esoteric school but at the same time the Message, that goes, that spreads out, that reaches all the different parts of the world.  Therefore it is quite a different part again.  Therefore that school, the esoteric school, is the battery, but with that battery the light must be spread all over; with that torch it must be taken.  And that torch is the Universal Worship.”

It is a good time to recall this, as we are approaching the anniversary on May 7th of the first celebration of the Universal Worship service, held in 1921. Our Master’s great emphasis on this particular activity might be puzzling, since we can see that interest in religion is generally declining all over the world, whereas attention is easily stimulated by workshops featuring ‘secrets of the inner centers’ or ‘higher levels of consciousness,’ or ‘esoteric sounds and colours’ or anything of that nature. But the reason for the importance of Universal Worship has to do with the need of the world. There will of course always be sincere seekers who wish a disciplined path to guide them to the goal, and the Sufi path can serve well for those who are called to it, but other schools also fulfil that function. The fading of the religious impulse, though, is a symptom of the present illness of humanity. Worship is only worship when it comes from the heart, and the frozen heart is the common condition of our world today.

For the Universal Worship to really serve the purpose for which it has been given, therefore, it must be presented from the hearts of the Cherags and Sirajs who officiate. The only way to overcome lack of interest and indifference is by the sincere warmth and enthusiasm that these lamps and torches can bring to their service. One of the students in the class in 1926 commented that the Universal Worship had no churches from which to deliver the Message, and Hazrat Inayat Khan replied, “I think our every Cherag is a church himself.  And with that spirit he must go out in the world.  Other religions and different churches are the backbone of the clergy, but our Cherag is a church himself.  And he must know that he is the pioneer of the work.  Therefore his responsibility is great, his difficulties are great.  But at the same time his work is great too.”

When the Message was given in the past, it met with fierce opposition – think of the persecution of the early Christians, for example – but such resistance can also strengthen the resolve of those who are bringing the Word. Now the resistance is not hot but cold – a lack of response which means that those who wish to help must bring their own enthusiasm – they must come with a flame in their heart to warm people up.

As he concluded the class, Pir-o-Murshid Inayat gave his students these stirring words: “But at the same time the lack of [resources] must not take away our enthusiasm, our patience; lack of it must not break our hearts.  We must be as strong and full of enterprise as possible.  You must never think what failure means.  Failure is not for us.  It is the Message of God.  We must do our best.  You must never even use the word failure.  It is not for us.  That is for a business man; for him when there is little money in his pocket there is a failure.  Our success is the Message itself, our service in the path of God is our success.  If we had nothing in the world, in the path of God still we shall go on.  And if no one will hear us, the walls will hear us, in the spheres the Message will remain.  The Truth is victorious.”

3 Replies to “Spread Far and Wide”

    • Nawab Pasnak Post author

      Thank you, dear Hafiz, for your response. If the Cherags are warm and welcoming, the congregation will begin to appreciate what is offered in the service.


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