The prayers of the Confraternity include Saum, Salat and Khatum, also found in the Universal Worship service, and which could therefore be considered as ‘public,’ and the three devotional attunements, Pir, Nabi and Rasul, which, although they are in no way secret, are perhaps best appreciated by mureeds. These portray in very beautiful terms the response of the seeker to the levels of guidance found in the teacher, the prophet and the messenger. Rasul begins with these words: ‘Warner of coming dangers, wakener of the world from sleep…‘ and sometimes the question comes, asked rather nervously, ‘What dangers? Is there some calamity for which we should be preparing? Are there prophecies we should know about?”
Of course, through the history of the world there have been prophets who spoke about perils lying in wait for their people, usually in highly symbolic forms that sometimes produced confusion as well as clarity. But though Hazrat Inayat Khan came to deliver a message to the whole world he did not feel this method was appropriate for now. We can suppose he foresaw a great deal of which he did not speak, but in any case he made it very clear that the fundamental danger that lies before us today is the consequence of sleeping when we should be awake. One might think of a sleepwalker approaching a cliff, or a driver sleeping at the wheel. For lack of a spiritual ideal, the world has fallen into a dense and snoring slumber, a drugged or intoxicated state one could say, filled with seductive dreams of the material, with the consequent fixation on possession and accumulation, on status and display. (Why do we take so many ‘selfies’?) Even something as pure and simple as friendship is often perverted, when we cultivate an acquaintance for the sake of gain, rather than because we feel something in our heart for that person.
As Hazrat Inayat said, the Message is given as a lullaby to those who are sleeping, and a call to those who are beginning to awaken. For the sleepers, they should rest until it is their time to rouse, that is natural, but at least they may have better dreams, dreams of gentleness, kindness, harmony and beauty. And for those who are struggling to wake up, the Message is there to stir us, to help pull us onto our feet and take responsibility for ourselves Though we seldom consider it, our every deed and impulse is in the service of something. It may be serving an ideal or a selfish desire or a preconceived notion we have picked up along the way, but our every thought, word and deed serves to advance something, and the more conscious we are, the more responsible we become for our service. As an exercise, therefore, we could ask ourselves, as often as we remember to do so, ‘What does this serve?’ And we can be sure that the answer matters. As it says in the Gayan,
Whichever path you choose, the right or the wrong,
know that there is at the back always
a powerful hand to help you along it.