So many people think that to be spiritual means to be able to
work wonders, to be able to see strange things, wonderful phenomena; and very
few know how simple it is, that to be spiritual means to be natural.
One must study the nature of life, one must understand the
psychology of this struggle. In order to understand this struggle one must see
that there are three sides to it: struggle with oneself, struggle with others,
and struggle with circumstances. One person may be capable of struggling with
himself, but that is not sufficient. Another is able to struggle with others,
but even that is not sufficient. A third person may answer the demands of
circumstance, but this is not enough either; what is needed is that all three
should be studied and learnt, and one must be able to manage the struggle in all
According to the Sufi idea, the condition of life around one
depends absolutely on the condition of one’s inner self. So what is needed to
change the conditions in outer life, or to tune oneself, is to work with one’s
inner self in order to bring about the necessary balance.
Refrain from doing that which hinders you from accomplishing the
purpose in your inner and your external life. Do not act against your ideal, for
it will never be satisfactory to you; you will not be pleased with yourself and
this disharmony in your inner and your external self will prevent peace, which
is your life’s craving, without which life becomes unhappy. ‘Right’ is the
straight path which the soul is inclined to take in life, but when one walks
astray, leaving the straight path in life owing either to negligence or
ignorance, or by reason of weakness, or by the attraction of some temptation on
the way, one can say that is wrong.
It is when the inner being seeks one thing, and the external
being does something else, that there is disharmony in the self. When the higher
self desires to go one way, and the lower self another way, then there is
disharmony, the result of which is like a volcanic eruption. The two parts of
his own being which should unite together in love, clash together and the result
is fire. What causes people to commit suicide? What brings illness and
depression and despair? Very often the conflict which exists within oneself, and
therefore the attitude towards oneself must first be friendly, kindly, and
The reasoning of one person is not the same as the reasoning of
another; and the reason of one moment is not the reason of the next moment.
Something that is right just now may not be right tomorrow because reasoning
will change. And they who dispute over reasoning do it in vain, for the
reasoning of every person is different, and the reasoning of every person is
good for him at that specific time. To urge and force one’s reason on the mind
of another is useless. The best way to educate a person is to develop his
reasoning instead of urging upon him one’s own reason, which is what many do.
There are two essential duties for the man of wisdom and love;
that is to keep the love in our nature ever increasing and expanding and to
strengthen the will so that the heart may not be easily broken. Balance is ideal
in life; man must be fine and yet strong, man must be loving and yet powerful.
It is always difficult for some mureeds who have once heard from
me the necessity of unlearning in the spiritual path. Unlearning is a process by
which one rises above what one has learned. It does not mean forgetting what one
has learned, it only means rising above what one has learned. What one learns in
life is most useful after having attained spiritual realisation, in order to
express it. But it can only be a hindrance in progression in the spiritual path
if one does not know how to unlearn.
Unlearning is looking at things from an opposite point of view.
In other words, seeing things from another angle, as clearly as one is able to
see from the angle from which one is used to looking at them. It is this
experience that leads one to perfection. The knowledge that keeps man narrow is
the knowledge which is not unlearned. But once one has unlearned, one sees from
two opposite angles everything in life, and that gives one a great mastery.
The only way to live in the midst of inharmonious influences is
to strengthen the will power and endure all things, yet keeping fineness of
character and nobility of manner, together with an everlasting heart full of
When he cannot put up with conditions around him he may think
that he is a superior person, but in reality the conditions are stronger than
he. If we are born on earth, if we are destined to walk on the earth, we cannot
dream of paradise when we have to stand firm in all the circumstances that the
earth presents us with. When a person progresses towards spirituality he must
bear in mind that together with his spiritual progress he must strengthen
himself against disturbing influences. If not he should know that however much
he desires to make progress he will be pulled back against his will by
conditions, by circumstances.
There must be a balance, the balance of the head and the heart,
the balance of power and wisdom, the balance of activity and repose. It is the
balance which enables man to stand the strain of this journey and permits him to
go forward, making his path easy. Never imagine for one moment that those who
show lack of balance can ever proceed further on the spiritual journey, however
greatly in appearance they may seem to be spiritually inclined. It is only the
balanced ones who are capable of experiencing the external life as fully as the
inner life; to enjoy thought as much as feeling; to rest as well as to act. The
centre of life is rhythm, and rhythm causes balance.
Never expect that the events of life are favourable all through.
You will have to make a continual struggle and fight with others, whether you
like it or not, whether you love them or not. You will find that this fight must
be encountered on every side. So you must face it patiently. Do not turn your
back to it. Face the conflict with courage and bravery and tranquillity. Since
you know that you are on the path of truth you can go on trustfully. Although
there is a great responsibility in this worldly life, it is through this
responsibility that you are enabled to evolve spiritually. In fact your
evolution will become much greater even than that of the saints who have
renounced the world. The reason for this is that, when you pursue your life’s
journey steadily and with tranquillity through all the struggles and conflicts
you have to undergo, success will surely come in time. This success will perhaps
enable you in your turn to bring great success to the lives of many other souls
The greatest responsibility we have in life is to find out our
own path, our own object in life, instead of bothering about others. Suppose a
person has a better object in life, if he happens to be our friend, we need not
pull him back. If a person has what seems to be a worse object, let him have it,
we need not pull him towards us. If it seems to us at the moment a wrong object,
never mind, even from a wrong object, perhaps, he has his lesson to learn. We
learn in life much by our faults and mistakes. If a person falls, he learns by
his fall. If a person has thought of an object wrongly, if the object is
followed sincerely, surely in the end he must arrive at the goal towards which
the soul directs every individual.