Hazrat Inayat Khan gave this talk in connection with a service of the Universal Worship, and present-day readers might find his reference to ‘military drill,’ and the winding of a clock to be outdated. Soldiers don’t spend so much time marching on the parade ground as they once did, and the once-necessary ritual of winding clocks and watches is practically forgotten. If he were giving the talk today, Hazrat Inayat might choose to speak of the regular discipline of visiting the gym or engaging in some physical training. Nevertheless, the point is clear, and the wisdom is, of course, ageless.
What does this service mean? The service, a religious service, is a drill, a drill before the battle. And what is the battle? Our everyday life. If the service only is the religion, then does it mean that we can only have once a week the religion and six days without it? But that is not the idea. This is the winding; it winds the mechanism of thought, the thought of unity of all religions, of all people. It is for the winding every week that we come to the service; the mind is wound just like a clock, to continue for the whole week. What we receive from here is the idea that God is in us, truth is one, and religion is one. There cannot be two religions; that is the confusion, the illusion of the human mind. When people cannot understand each other, then they say, ”Your religion is different, my religion is different.” But the difference does not belong to God, it belongs to the earth. We are on the earth, but we are not bound to the earth. We are bound to God. And in the realisation of God, and in the love of God what are we expected to do? We are expected to unite with one another in the thought of God, in the love of God.
And how should we derive the greater benefit by this service we attend? By moving the idea all the time, from the time we leave here that idea must continue in our heart. If we are in the office or in the factory or in the market, the idea must be there; the prayer must continue in our heart. And not only the prayer of glorifying the name of God but that lesson that we receive in that prayer, that all wisdom is from God; from whatever scripture, whatever religion, whatever form, it all comes from one source.
And again, remember that a person might ask, how can it be that all the scriptures and religions will be placed in the same place? A Christian might ask, “What I consider of my religion – how can the Buddhist or the Hindu religion or the religion of the Hebrews be in the same place?” But he must first know that the Jewish person is thinking the same way, and the Buddhist and the Hindu also are thinking exactly in the same way, perhaps even more. And the object of this Movement is the object of freedom. It is the democracy of religion, and at the same time not interfering with anybody’s faith, ideal, idea or belief. For instance there is a Christian belonging to this Movement, who thinks most of his religion, of his teacher; and there is a Hebrew who is perhaps thinking most of his religion and he is perhaps belonging to the Sufi Movement; and there is a Buddhist, and he is also considering his religion most. Do you think we have any objection to it? Do we interfere with his ideal, with his devotion to his Teacher?
It would be as absurd as for a person to think that a child should think of the mother of another more than of his own. And who has the right to place the great teachers or the scriptures by comparison in such and such a place? No one. In our hearts’ devotion to the ideal we adore, it is that place where we can place our ideal; and it is our affair, no one can interfere with it. A few girls were playing one day, and each girl said in turn, ”My mother is better.” The other said, “No, my mother is better.” And they were all discussing and arguing. But the girl who was wiser among them said, ”Oh, no, it is the mother that is adorable, whether it is your mother or my mother.”
Does the Sufi Movement, therefore interfere with anybody’s devotion to his Teacher? Never. But at the same time it invites the souls to see the Source and Goal of all wisdom to be one, and it is in this truth that all the blessing that the soul is longing for will be bestowed.
So we need friends to remind us of this way of thinking, probably constantly. When I was a little girl I woke up one morning at my Nana’s house and looked at the blue sky and the lace curtain in the window, and I thought “God is out there” and it was so simple a thought that I have always tried to remember it.
Also the daily prayers help me through the day. At days when I could not find enough time for the prayers, the day is going less smoothly.