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Books and Documents ( 22 Sept 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

The Sufi Message: Excerpts from Hazrat Inayat Khan’s Discourses on the Unity of Religious Ideals: The Purpose of Life (1) – 40

 

 

By Hazrat Inayat Khan

The first thing that a seeker after truth must realize is the purpose of life. No sooner does a soul begin to feel sober from the intoxication of life, than the first thing it asks itself is, 'What is the purpose of life?' Each soul has its own purpose, but in the end all purposes resolve into one purpose, and it is that purpose which is sought by the mystic. For all souls, by the right and the wrong path, either sooner or later, will arrive at that purpose, a purpose which must be accomplished, a purpose for which the whole creation has been intended […]

The first step on the spiritual path is when a soul realizes its outer purpose in life. For it is not every soul in the world which even realizes its outer mission in life. And the soul who does not realize it, may go on, perhaps, for its whole life and may not realize it even to the end of its life, but the one who cares to realize it, must sooner or later realize it. For the answer to his question is continually being heard in his own heart. As Sadi says, 'Every soul is created for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose has been kindled in that soul.' If there is already a flame lit even before the person was born on Earth, it remains for the person to find out for himself the purpose of his life […]

One may ask, 'What is the best way for a person to understand his life's purpose?' If one follows the bent of one's own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one's own inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, 'There is something waiting for me (which one does not know at the time), which will bring me satisfaction.' Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one's life. For nature has such a perfection of wisdom. One sees that the insects are given the sense to make their little houses and to protect themselves and make a store of their food. The bees, who have the gift of making honey, are taught how to make honey. So nature has taught every soul to seek its purpose. It has made every soul for that purpose, and it is continually calling that soul to see that purpose. If the soul does not hear the call and sleeps, it is not the fault of nature, which is continually calling. Therefore, if I were to say in a few words, how to find one's purpose, I would say: by waking from sleep.

One might ask, 'Would the outer purpose lead to the inner purpose of life?' Certainly it would. Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose, if he can only take it to be so. If he is mistaken, the mistake is in himself; he is working toward the inner purpose just the same. For all is created to work as one scheme, and therefore each individual is acting toward the accomplishment of the divine purpose […]

There are five aspects which give one the tendency toward the accomplishment of the inner purpose: desire to live, desire to know, desire for power, desire for happiness and desire for peace. These five things work consciously or unconsciously in the profound depth of every soul. Working within one, they prompt one either to do right or to do wrong, and yet these five aspects belong to the one purpose in the accomplishment of which the purpose of the whole creation is fulfilled. When the desire to live brings one in touch with one's real life, a life which is not subject to death, then the purpose of that desire is accomplished.

When one has been able to perceive fully the knowledge of one's own being, in which is to be found divine knowledge and the mystery of the whole manifestation, then the purpose of knowledge is attained. When one is able to get in touch with the Almighty Power, then the desire for power is achieved. When one has been able to find one's happiness in one's own heart, independent of all things outside, the purpose of the desire for happiness is fulfilled; when one is able to rise above all conditions and influences which disturb the peace of the soul and has found one's peace in the midst of the crowd and away from the world, in him the desire for peace is satisfied […] It is in the fulfillment of these five desires that one purpose is accomplished, the purpose for which every soul was born on earth.

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The desire to live is not only seen among human beings but it is also seen continually working through the most insignificant little creatures creeping on the earth and living in the ground. When one sees how even the smallest insect wishes to avoid any pursuit after it and how it seeks shelter against any attempt made to touch it, fearing that its life may be taken away from it, that shows that even the smallest creature in the world, in whom man cannot find a trace of mind, has a desire to live. It is this desire that, developing in the lower creation in many and varied aspects, shows in fear, in the tendency to seek shelter, in the intelligent way of looking around as the hare does in the field, and the deer that is continually careful to protect itself from other animals […]

'But,' one may say, 'Is not death an increase of life?' It is another phase of life. The body is a complete instrument; why should we not make the best of it? Why must one hasten death, if one can be here and do something worthwhile? Sometimes one longs for death because one does not know what one is to do here. One is not yet acquainted with the purpose of life. It is that which makes one long for death. Every moment in life has its mission. Every moment in life is an opportunity. Why should this opportunity be lost? Why not use every moment of one's life towards the question of bestirring ourselves to make the best use of every moment of life[?] […]

That must be the attitude. When a person is in his normal condition of mind, his one desire, his innermost desire, is to live. What does this show? It shows that man has acquired all other desires after coming on earth, but this desire to live he has brought with him on earth. Only that, by not understanding the meaning of this desire, its nature and character, its secret, he submits to its being broken by what is called death, by mortality.

[…] One might say, 'If the desire to live is natural, would it not be better to live and prolong the youthfulness of the body. How can that be done? There are three aspects the Hindus have personified: as Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva (Mahesh): the Creator-God, the Sustainer God, and the Destroyer God. In retaining youth there comes the conflict between the two Gods, the Creator-God and the Destroyer-God. Because the Destroyer-God is destroying, the Creator-God is creating. If the Creator-God in you is stronger, then he will win a victory over the Destroyer-God. Nevertheless, there is nothing which is void of beauty in this world. If the soul has received the divine blessing, it will enjoy every aspect of life.

 Infancy is interesting, childhood has a beauty, youth has its spirit, and age has its knowledge and dignity, its wisdom and beauty. There is no note on the piano which has not its particular action, which has not its particular part in the symphony of nature. Whether it is the seventh octave lower or the seventh octave higher, whether it is sharp or flat or natural. Whatever the key is, as soon as the harmonious hand has touched it, it creates harmony, it makes of it a symphony. And so we are all as notes before that divine Musician, and when His blessing hand touches, whatever be ones' life condition, whether child or youthful or young or old, the beauty will manifest and add to life's symphony.

As long as man is striving for power, as everyone is striving in some way or other, without the knowledge of that all-sufficient power, there will always be disappointment. For he will always find limitation. His ideal will always go forward and he will find himself short of power. It is only by getting in touch with the Almighty Power that he will begin to realize the All-powerful and the phenomena of the Almighty.

Now the question is, 'How can one get in touch with that Almighty Power?' As long as one's little personality stands before one, as long as one cannot get rid of it, as long as one's own person and all that is connected with it interests one, one will always find limitations. That Power is touched only by one way, and that is the way of self-effacement, which in the Bible is called self-denial […] Self-denying is to deny this little personality that creeps into everything, to efface this false ego, which prompts one to feel one's little power in this thing or that thing. To deny the idea of one's own being, the being which one knows to be oneself, and to affirm God in that place, to deny self and affirm God. That is the perfect humility. When a person shows politeness by saying, 'I am only a humble little creature,' perhaps he is hiding in his words. It is his vanity, and therefore, that humility is of no use. When one completely denies oneself, there are no words to speak. What can one say? Praise and blame are the same to one; there is nothing to be said. And how is this to be attained? It is to be attained, not only by prayer or by worship or by believing in God. It is to be attained by forgetting oneself in God. The belief in God is the first step. By the belief in God, is attained the losing oneself in God. If one is able to do it, one has attained a power which is beyond human comprehension. The process of attaining this is called Fana by the Sufis. Fana is not necessarily a destruction in God. Fana results in what may be called a resurrection in God, which is symbolized by the picture of Christ. The Christ on the cross is narrative of Fana; it means 'I am not.' And the idea of resurrection explains the next stage, which is Baqa, which means 'Thou art.' and this means rising towards All-might. The divine spirit is to be recognized in that rising towards All-might. Fana is not attained by torturing oneself, by tormenting oneself, by giving oneself a great many troubles, as many ascetics do. For even after torturing themselves, they will not come to that realization if they were not meant to. It is by denying one's little self, the false self, which covers one's real self, in which the essence of divine Being is to be found.

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Happiness, which is sought after by every soul, has its secret in the knowledge of the self. Man seeks for happiness, not because happiness is his sustenance, but because happiness is his own being. Therefore, in seeking for happiness, man is seeking for himself. What gives man inclination to seek for happiness is the feeling of having lost something which he had always owned, which belonged to him, which was his own self. The absence of happiness, which a soul has experienced from the day it has come on earth and which has increased every day more and more, makes man forget that his own being is happiness. He thinks happiness is something, which is acquired. As man thinks that happiness is something which is acquired, he continually strives in every direction to attain to it. In the end, after all his striving, he finds that the real happiness does not lie in what he calls pleasures. Pleasures may be a shadow of happiness. There is an illusion of happiness, because all the illusion which stands beside reality is more interesting for the average man than reality itself.

A happiness which is momentary, a happiness which depends upon something outside of oneself, is called pleasure. Very often we confuse, in our everyday language, the distinction between pleasure and happiness. A pastime, an amusement, merriment, gaiety that take one's thoughts away from the responsibilities and worries and limitations of life and give one a moment's consolation – one begins by thinking that these are the ways of happiness. But as one cannot hold them, and as one often finds that, seeking for what may be called a pleasure, the loss is greater than the gain, then one begins to look for something that will really be the means of happiness.

 It is this, very often, that wakens a soul to look for the mystery of religion, for the sense in philosophy, for the secret of mysticism, in case he can find some happiness there. But even all these things only help one to find happiness. They are not happiness themselves. It is the soul which is happiness itself, not all outer things which man seeks after, and which he thinks will give him happiness. The very fact that man is continually craving for happiness shows that the real element, which may be called man's real being, is not what has formed his body and what has composed his mind, but what he is in himself.

The mind and body are vehicles. Through the mind and body man experiences life more fully, more clearly; but they are not happiness in themselves, nor does what is experienced through them give the real happiness. What he experiences through them is just pleasure, an illusion of happiness for a time. It is not only that the pleasures cost more than they are worth, but very often in the path of pleasure, when a person is seeking after happiness, as he goes further, he creates more and more unhappiness for himself. Very often it happens. Every way he turns, everything he does, every plan he carries out, thinking that this will give him happiness, only produces a greater trouble, because he is seeking after happiness in a wrong direction.

A person might ask, 'Is, then, the secret of happiness in the way of the ascetics, in tormenting and torturing oneself as they have done for ages?' Even that does not give happiness. It is only a distraction from the worldly pleasures which produce illusion. The ascetic shuts himself up in order to have an opportunity of taking another direction. But very often it so happens that the one who lives an ascetic life is himself unaware of what he is doing and what it is intended for. And therefore, even if he lives his whole life as an ascetic, he cannot derive a full benefit from it. His loss is then greater than his gain. For even asceticism is not a happiness. It is only a means of self-discipline. It is a drill in order to fight against temptations which draw one continually in life and which hinder one's path to happiness. Not understanding this, a person may go on living an ascetic life but can never be benefited by it, like a soldier who has drilled all his life and never fought.

 Many have understood self-denial as the way to happiness, and they interpret self-denial in the form of asceticism, to deny oneself all pleasures which are momentary. There is another point from which to look at it: the creation is not intended to be renounced. We read in the Quran that God has made all that is in the heavens and on the earth subservient to man. Wherefore, all that is beautiful and pleasing, all that gives joy and pleasure, is not to be renounced. The secret of all this is that what is made for man, man may hold but he must not be held by it.

When man renounces the path of happiness, real happiness, in order to pursue pleasures, it is then that he does wrong. If in the pursuit of happiness, which is the ultimate happiness, he goes on through life, then for him to be an ascetic and deny himself all pleasures is not necessary. There is a story told of Solomon, that he had a vision that God revealed Himself to him and said, 'Ask what I shall give thee.' Solomon said, 'Give me an understanding heart, wisdom and knowledge.' And God said to him, 'Because thou hast asked this thing and hast not asked long life for thyself, neither hast thou asked riches for thyself, but hast asked for thyself understanding, behold, I have done according to thy word. I have given thee a wise and understanding heart. And I have also given thee that which thou hast not asked, both riches and honor, and I will lengthen thy days.'

This shows that the true way is not the renouncing of things, but it is making the best use of them, making the right use of them. It is not going away from life, but being among the crowd, being in the midst of life, and yet not being attached to it. One might say, that it would be a cruel thing to be detached from anybody who wants our love and kindness and sympathy. You can attach yourself to the whole world if you will not be of the world. If one keeps one's thoughts centered upon the idea of the real happiness which is attained by the realization of the self, and if one does not allow anything to hinder that, then in the end one arrives at that happiness which is the purpose of the coming on earth of every soul.

The life of sensation gives a momentary joy. The life which is the first aspect of life gives peace and culminates in the everlasting peace. The joy, however great, is rising and falling. It must have its reaction. Besides, it depends upon sensation. And what does sensation depend upon? Sensation depends upon the outer life. There must be something besides you to cause the sensation. But peace is independently felt within oneself. It is not dependent upon the outer sensation. It is something that belongs to one, something that is one's own self. If one were to ask someone who lives continually in a kind of excitement of worldly pleasures, whom Providence has granted all pleasures imaginable, if that person were asked, 'What do you wish besides all this that you experience?' He will say, 'To be left alone.' When madness comes, when he is out of balance, he will crave for sensation, but when that passion has gone, what he is longing for in reality is peace.

Therefore, there is no pleasure in the world, however great, no experience, however interesting, that can give one that satisfaction which peace alone can give. A sovereign may be happy sitting on the throne with his crown, with many attendants before him, but he is only satisfied when he is alone by himself. All else seems to him nothing. It has no value. The most precious thing for him is that moment when he is by himself.

Delicious dishes, sweet fragrance, music, all other pleasures of line and color, beauty in all its aspects, which seem to answer one's life's demands, fail in the end when compared with that satisfaction which a soul experiences in itself, which it feels its own property, its own belonging. Something that one need not seek outside oneself, that one can find within oneself, and something which is incomparably greater and more valuable than anything else in the world. Something which cannot be bought or sold, something which cannot be robbed by anyone, and something which is more sacred and holy than religion or prayer. For all prayer and devotion is to attain to this peace.

A man good and kind, a person most learned and qualified, strong and powerful, with all these attributes, cannot be spiritual if his soul has not attained that rhythm, which is a natural rhythm of its being, a rhythm in which alone exists life's satisfaction. Peace is not a knowledge, peace is not a power, peace is not a happiness, but peace is all these. And besides, peace is productive of happiness. Peace inspires one with knowledge of the seen and unseen, and in peace is to be found the divine Presence. It is not the excited one who conquers in this continual battle of life. It is the peaceful one who tolerates all, who forgives all, who understands all, who assimilates all things.

The one who lacks peace, with all his possessions, the property of this earth or quality of mind, is poor even with both. He has not got that wealth which may be called divine and without which man's life is useless. For true life is in peace, a life which will not be robbed by death. The secret of mysticism, the mystery of philosophy, all is to be attained after the attainment of peace. You cannot refuse to recognize the divine in a person who is a person of peace. It is not the talkative, it is not the argumentative one, who proves to be wise. He may have intellect, worldly wisdom, and yet may not have pure intelligence, which is real wisdom. True wisdom is to be found in the peaceful, for peacefulness is the sign of wisdom. It is the peaceful one who is observant. It is peace that gives him the power to observe keenly. It is the peaceful one, therefore, who can conceive, for peace helps him to conceive. It is the peaceful who can contemplate; one who has no peace cannot contemplate properly. Therefore, all things pertaining to spiritual progress in life depend upon peace.

And now the question is what makes one lack peace? The answer is, love of sensation. A person who is always seeking to experience life in movement, in activity, in whatever form, wants more and more of that experience. In the end he becomes dependent upon the life which is outside, and so he loses in the end his peace, the peace which is his real self. When a person says about someone, 'That person has lost his soul,' the soul is not lost; the soul has lost its peace. Absorption in the outer life, every moment of the day and night, thinking and worrying and working and fighting, struggling along, in the end robs one of one's soul. Even if one gains as the price of that fighting something which is outside oneself, someone who is a greater fighter still will snatch it from our grasp one day.

One might ask if it is not our necessity in life that keeps us absorbed in the outer life and does not give us a moment to experience peace. In answer to this I must say: suppose the outer life has taken ten hours of the day, you still have two hours. If sleep has taken ten hours of the day, you still have two hours to spare. To attain peace, what one has to do is to seek that rhythm which is in the depth of our being. It is just like the sea: the surface of the sea is ever moving; the depth of the sea is still. And so it is with our life. If our life is thrown into the sea of activity, it is on the surface. We still live in the profound depths, in that peace. But the thing is to become conscious of that peace which can be found within ourselves. It is this which can bring us the answer to all our problems. If not, when we want to solve one problem, there is another difficult problem coming. There is no end to our problems. There is no end to the difficulties of the outer life. And if we get excited over them, we shall never be able to solve them. Some think, 'We might wait. Perhaps the conditions will become better. We shall see then what to do.' But when will the conditions become better? They will become still worse! Whether the conditions become better or worse, the first thing is to seek the kingdom of God within ourselves, in which there is our peace. As soon as we have found that, we have found our support, we have found our self. And in spite of all the activity and movement on the surface, we shall be able to keep that peace undisturbed if only we hold it fast by becoming conscious of it.

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In the language of the Hindus duty is called Dharma, which means religion. The more one studies the nature and character of what we call duty, the more one begins to see that it is in the spirit of duty that the soul of religion is to be found […] For religion is not in performing a ceremony or ritual. The true religion is the feeling or the sense of duty. Duty is not necessarily the purpose of life, but it is as the lighthouse in the port, which shows one, 'Here is the landing place, here you arrive, here is your destination.' It may not be the final destination, but still in duty one finds a road which leads one to the purpose of life.

Another aspect of duty is the duty to our fellow creatures: to one's co-workers, to the friends and acquaintances with whom one comes in contact in everyday life […] We have a duty towards them […] Whatever help we give to them, to do it in such a way that even we ourselves do not know about it. That is the best way of serving. For even to do good is most difficult if we do not know how to do it. If we were able to win the affection of our fellow men and to do some little service unassumingly, without the thought of appreciation or return, we have certainly performed a religious action […]

We are all in this world travelers, and those near to us or those whom we see, they are the ones we meet on our journey. And therefore, it is an opportunity of thinking of our duty towards them. Neither shall we be with them always, nor will they be with us. Life is a dream in which we are thrown, a dream which is ever changing. Therefore an opportunity lost of considering our little obligations in our everyday life, which form part of our duty, is like forgetting our religion.

And  [another] aspect of our duty is to God, our Creator, Sustainer, and the Forgiver of our shortcomings. One might say, 'We have not desired to come here. Why were we sent here?' But it is said in a moment of disturbance of mind. If the mind is still, if a person shows good sense he will say, 'Even if there were nothing else given to me in life, to be allowed to live under the sun is the greatest privilege'

In spite of the justice and injustice we see on the surface of this world, a keen insight into one's own life will teach that there is no comparison between our faults and our good actions. The good actions, in comparison with our faults, are so few that if we were judged we should not have one mark to our credit. It does not mean that justice is absent there. It only means, what is behind law? Love. And what is Love? God. And how do we see God's love, in what form? In many forms; but the most beautiful form of love of God is His compassion, His divine forgiveness. Considering these things, we realize that we have a duty towards God.

It is these […] different aspects of duty, that, when we consider them and when we begin to live them, they begin to give us the sense of a religious life. Religious life does not mean living in a religious place or in a cemetery or in a church, or in a religion that is all outward. The true religion is living and being conscious of the sense of duty that we have towards man and towards God. Someone may say, 'How is it that a person who lives a life of duty is often void of love, beauty, and poetry?' I do not think that duty has anything to do with depriving a person of love, harmony, and beauty. On the other hand, when the real spirit of duty wakens in a person, it is that which begins poetry. If there is a beautiful poem to be found, if there is anyone who has experienced love, harmony and beauty, it is that person who understands the sense of duty […]

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Man has not been born on the earth only to eat and drink and sleep as all the lower creatures do, rather he has been born on earth to learn how to use this fertile earth to its best advantage, how to appreciate the treasures this earth holds, and how to use them rightly. And it is thus that man becomes connected with the earth.

The soul comes from heaven and its connection with the earth has in it a secret which leads towards the purpose of life. It is easy for a person to say, 'We come from heaven and we are bound for heaven, and while dwelling for some days on this earth, what is there that belongs to us? Besides, is it not all sinful, all that belongs to the earth? It is better to escape from it and leave all this which in the end is worthless.' This is true, but it is not natural. The natural thing is to be able to appreciate all that is created on the earth. We appreciate it by valuing it. The beauty of the mineral kingdom, which one sees in the jewels and gems, each one better than the other, is not something to be overlooked. To see that through a stone the divine light shines, making that stone incomparably greater than the pebbles on the road, to see what a wonderful phenomenon it is that even in a stone, God shows His beauty.

The perfection of flowers, the sweetness of fruits, the delicate flavors of different objects of the earth do not seem to have been created for no purpose. In gold, in silver, in metal, in all objects we see in the world, there seems to be a certain purpose to be accomplished here. And the one who is afraid of it, afraid that it will take hold of him, runs away. And what does he do? He loses both, heaven and earth. He has left heaven already; he is leaving the earth. The one who holds it is buried under it. It grows on him and swallows him. That is another aspect of the earth and its law. But the one who understands the purpose of the earth and of its treasures uses them to the best advantage not only for himself but for his fellow men. That is the person who lives in this world fulfilling the purpose of his life.

Do we only see spiritual persons among those who are sitting in the caves of the Himalayas? Do we not see wonderful personalities in the midst of the world? Very often people say that a person who has struggled along all through his life with business and industry and worldly things has become hardened. But I think that the one who has really gained victory over the earth, who has really made a success which can be called a success, has learned something from it. It is not everyone who becomes successful in earthly affairs. It is one among many. And the one who comes to the top has had his difficulties, has had his problems. His endurance, his patience have been tested. He has gone through a sacrifice. He has understood human nature, standing in the midst of the crowd. If he has not read one book of philosophy, if he has not meditated one day, still he has arrived at a plane, at an understanding, where he knows something worth knowing.

 I considered myself most privileged at times when I had conversations with businessmen, with people who were always busy with the things of the earth and who had really reached the top. I have simply marveled to think that instead of hardening them it has softened their nature to some extent. It has given them a sense which can only come by spiritual understanding, which is a religious sense. It has developed a fairness in them. By having gone through this world of injustice and having seen what one sees in the business world, they have come to a point of honesty where one begins to see life from a different point of view. And besides that, if anyone ever comes forward and says, 'For a philanthropic purpose, for the good of humanity, I give so many millions for education, for the hospitals', it is they who do it. And I would very much wonder if a recluse who has always kept himself away from money, if he had the charge of many millions, would like to part with any. The point is, whether a purpose is earthly or heavenly, to be true to the purpose of life is the first moral we have to learn. For even an earthly purpose, however material it may seem, will prove in the end to be a stepping stone even if one had nothing but that ideal before one.

No doubt all things pertaining to the earth have their influence upon a person. It hardens one, it makes one's heart cold and takes away that tender sentiment that one has towards one's dear ones, towards those whom one loves and on whom one depends, towards one's fellow men. It makes one more and more greedy, and greed makes one unjust. Man becomes covetous, and his cup of desire is never filled; he is never satisfied. The more that comes, the less there seems to be there. A person whom you would otherwise not have understood for ten years, you can understand in one day as soon as there is a question of money. It at once brings out what is hidden in that person.

This shows that it is a great test, a test through which one should go, and one should experience a path which is a part of one's destiny. Therefore the religious or spiritual man, even if he looks with contempt at a person engaged in the things of the earth, should know that it is his path, and a path which is his religion. If he proves to be honest in his business dealings, if he keeps his heart open to those dear and near to him, those to whom he has his obligations, if he keeps the flame of his love of mankind lit in his heart through it all, in the end he will arrive at a stage where he is greater than a saint, because he has kept alive the flame of saintliness through a continually blowing wind.

We must not always try to get away from difficulties, for in the end we shall not manage to get away from them. Life on earth is difficult, and with the evolution of the earth, it will be even more difficult. Every day it will become more difficult. We can picture the world as a human being, a human being making his life from infancy to age. In infancy, however dependent the infant is, yet he is a sovereign, quite happy in the arms of the mother, in the care of the father; nothing to worry him, nothing to trouble him. There is no attachment, no enmity. He is as happy as the angels in heaven. And so was the beginning of the world, the beginning of the human race especially. The Hindus have called it the Golden Age. And then comes youth. Youth with its spring and delicacy and with its responsibility. Youth has its own trials, its own experiences, and its own fears. This unsettled condition of the earth was called by the Hindus, the Silver Age, which means the age with all the treasures, the springtime of youth. But then as life goes forward, the world comes to the stage of what may be called middle age. The age of cares, of worries, of anxieties, of responsibilities. The Hindus have named it the Copper Age. As life advances, so it has much to bear. A fruitful tree, with the weight of fruits, becomes bent, and so it is with progress. With every step forward, there are obligations and responsibilities.

Nevertheless, we must not look forward to difficulties. There is one thing that saves us, and that is hopefulness. All this about which I have spoken is the metaphysical part. What I am speaking about now is the psychological attitude we ought to have. Always hope for the best, and we certainly shall have the best. What we can do is to make ourselves strong enough to go through life on earth. It is only by this strength of conviction that by whatever path we journey, we shall arrive at the spiritual goal. Whatever be our life, professional, industrial, commercial, it does not matter, we shall live religion, Nature's religion, turning our life into a religion, making of our life a religion. And so even with every earthly success, we shall be taking steps towards spiritual attainment.

 [Extracted from Hazrat Inayat Khan, The Way of Illumination (The Sufi Message, Vol. 1)]

URL of Part 39: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/the-sufi-message--excerpts-from-hazrat-inayat-khan’s-discourses-on-the-unity-of-religious-ideals---on-the-five-kinds-of-spiritual-souls-–-39/d/13608

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/books-and-documents/hazrat-inayat-khan/the-sufi-message--excerpts-from-hazrat-inayat-khan’s-discourses-on-the-unity-of-religious-ideals---the-purpose-of-life-(1)-–-40/d/13640

 

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