Word For Peace
“Dare you have the courage to be who you really are?”
— Inayat Khan
The 93rd Urs celebration of Hazrat Sufi Inayat Khan, popularly known as the “Universalist Sufi” of India was held on February 5. The universal message of the Indian musician-turned-mystic — Hazrat Inayat Khan — is more relevant in the current state of affairs, because he taught music with mysticism to the West when it was faced with World War I. He offered the Western masses a spiritual panacea through the Hindustani vocal recital of the sitar and the “violin” to combat “violence”. Therefore, his spiritual discourses and words of wisdom as in “The Bowl of Saki” desperately need to be heeded, especially in India today, in order to rejuvenate the country’s age-old syncretic, pluralistic and mystical tradition.
Hazrat Inayat grew up in an inter-religious atmosphere, and therefore, since his childhood, he lived in a deep conviction, at an experiential level, about the universality of the divine. Thus, through the rest of his life, he showed an inner path towards recognition of the unity of religious ideals, spiritual liberty, mutual respect for fellow human beings, cultivation of the art of personality, and appreciation of the sacred nature of music. This is the essence of all his discourses such as The Bowl of Saki, The Heart of Sufism, The Way of Illumination, The Music of Life and Inner Life.
He had mastered music and poetry in his childhood and would play the vina at the courts of nawabs and princes, and the Nizam of Hyderabad. “My taste for music, poetry and philosophy,” he says, “increased daily, and I loved it more than a game with boys of my age.” His murshid, Syed Abu Hashim Chishti, exhorted him: “Fare forth into the world, my child, and harmonise the East and West with the harmony of thy music.” Thus, Inayat set out on his mystical voyage to the West where he introduced Indian Sufism, sacred music, Hindustani vocal recital mysticism of sound and music; all with an aim to strengthen the unity of religious ideals.
In one of his discourses, The Art of Being and Becoming, Hazrat Inayat relays that “the first sign of realisation is tolerance towards others. There are the words of Jesus Christ: “In the house of my father are many mansions” and those of the Prophet: “Each soul has its own religion”. This is what he means by “spiritual liberty”.
Answering a question on what is the most desirable to seek or to dwell in this changing life, he says that everyone has desire according to his/her evolution. It implies that what we are ready for is desirable for us. For instance — milk is desirable for an infant, because s/he is ready only for that. But grown ups have desire for so many foods. “Every stage in life has its own appropriate and desirable things”, he says. This goes in line with what Rumi refers to in his Masnavi:
Need, then, is the net for all things that exist: A person has tools in proportion to his need.
So quickly, increase your need, o needy one, that the sea of abundance may surge up in loving kindness.