Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Struggle of Life

Hazrat Inayat Khan
Paris, 12th December 1922

No one can deny the fact that life in the world is one continual struggle. The one who does not know the struggle of life is either an unmatured soul, or a soul who has risen above the life of this world. The object of human being in this world is to attain to the perfection of humanity, and therefore it is necessary that man must go through this, what we call struggle of life.

Now there are two different attitudes that one shows while going through that struggle of life. One struggle along bravely through life, the other becomes disappointed, heart-broken, before arriving at his destination. No sooner man gives up his courage to go through the struggle of life, the burden of the whole world falls upon his head. But the one who goes along struggling through it, he alone makes his way. The one whose patience is exhausted, the one who has fallen in that struggle, he is trodden upon by those who walk through life. Even bravery and courage is not sufficient to go through the struggle of life. There is something else which must be studied and understood.

One must study the nature of life, one must understand the psychology of that struggle. In order to understand this struggle, one must see how many sides there are to this struggle. There are three sides to this struggle: struggle with oneself, struggle with the others, and struggle with circumstances. There is perhaps one person who is capable of struggling with himself, but that is not sufficient. There is another person, who is able to struggle with others, but even that is not sufficient. There is a thrid person who answers the demand of circmstances, but even that is not sufficient. The thing is that all these three things must be studied and known, and one must be able to manage the struggle in all these three directions.

And now the question is where should one begin, and where should one end? Generally one starts by struggling with others, and he struggles alng all his life, and he never comes to an end. And if the person is wise, he struggles with conditions, and perhaps he accomplishes things a little better. But the one who struggles with himself first, is the wisest, because once he has struggled with himself, which is the most difficult struggle, the other struggle will become easy for him. It might seem i in the beginning and in its outward appearance that it is cruel to have to struggle with oneself, especially when one is in the right. But the one who has reached deeper into life, will find that the struggle with oneself is the most profitable in the end.

Now coming to the question, what is the nature of the struggle with oneself? There are three aspects: to make our thought, speech and action answer the demand of our own ideal, while at the same time to give expression to all the impulses and all desires which are there as one’s natural being. The next aspect of the struggle with oneself is to fit in with others, with their various ideas and with their various demands. For in this, one has to make oneself as narrow as the accommodation, and as wide as the accomodation that demands one to be, which is a delicate manner, difficulty for everybody, even to comprehend, to practise it. And the third aspect of the struggle with self, is to give accommodation to others in one’s own life, in one’s own heart, large or small, as the demand may be.

When we consider the question of the struggle with the others, there are three things to think about: how to control and govern people and activities which happen to be our duty, our responsibility. Another aspect is how to allow ourselves to be used by the others under different situations and positions in life. To what extent or where comes the line of limit where one should allow others to make use of our time, our energy, our work or patience, and where to draw a line. And the third aspect is to fit in with the different forms of conception that different personalities have, who are of various stages of evolution.

Now coming to this third aspect of that struggle, which is conditions: there are conditions which can be helped, and there are conditions which cannot be helped, before which one is helpless. And again there are conditions that can be helped, and yet one does not find in oneself that capability, that power and that means to change the condition.

The Sufi looks upon the struggle as an unavoidable struggle, and a struggle which must be gone through. 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 becomes easier and that makes him free to go forward.

Now the question is, how does he struggle? He struggle with power, with understanding, with open eyes and patience. He does not look at the loss; that which is lost, is lost. He does not think of the pain of yesterday; yesterday is gone for him. Yes, if there is a pleasant remembrance, he keeps it before him, for it is helpful on his way. He takes the admiration and the hatred coming from those around him both, with smiles. He only thinks that these both things from rythm in the rythm of a certain time of music; there is one and two, strong accent and weak accent. Praise cannot be without blame, nor blame can be without praise.
Every thought comes to his mind, every impulse, every word he speaks, to him is 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 little good deed, every little act of kindness, of love, done to anybody, it will someday rise as a plant and bear fruit.

The Sufi does not consider life any different from a business, but he sees in the best manner how the real business can be achieved.

The symbol of the mystics of China was a branch of fruit in their hand. What does it mean? It means the purpose of life is to arrive to that stage when every moment of life becomes fruitful. And what does fruitful mean? Does it means fruits for oneself? No, the trees do dnot 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.[]

The Sufi Symbol

By Hazrat Inayat Khan

"A symbol is the ocean in a drop"

The symbol of the Sufi Movement is a heart with wings. It explains that the heart is between soul and body, a medium between spirit and matter. When the soul is covered by its love for matter, it is naturally attracted to matter. This is the law of gravitation in abstract form, as it is said in the Bible, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." When man treasures the things of the earth, his heart is drawn to the earth. But the heart is subject not only to gravitation, but also to attraction from on high, and as in the Egyptian symbology wings are the symbol of spiritual progress, so the heart with wings expresses that the heart reaches upward towards heaven.

The crescent in the heart suggests the responsiveness of the heart. The crescent represents the responsiveness of the crescent moon to the light of the sun, for naturally it receives the light, which develops it until it becomes the full moon. The principal teaching of Sufism is that of learning to become a pupil, for it is the pupil who has the chance of becoming a teacher, and once a person considers that he is a teacher, his responsiveness is gone. It is this principle which is represented by the crescent: the cresecent in the heart signifies that the heart which is responsive to the light of God is illuminated.

The explanation of the five-pointed star is that it represents the divine light. For when light comes it has five points; when it returns, it has four, the former suggesting creation, the latter annihilation. The five-pointed star also represents the natural figure of man, though that with four points represents all forms of the world. But the form with five points is a development of the four-pinted form. For instance, if a man is standing with his legs joined and arms extended he makes a four-pointed form, but when a man shows activity-dancing, jumping or moving one leg - he forms a five pointed star, which represents a beginning of activity; in other words, a beginning of life.

It is the divine light which is represented by the five-pointed star, and the star is reflected in the heart which is responsive to the divine light. The heart which by its response has received the divine light is liberated, as the wings show.

In brief, the meaning of the symbol is that the heart responsive to the light of God is liberated.[]