Counsellor June


towards children, fellow human beings and elders

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

The Purpose of Life

(see also forum)

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Duty towards Children

One aspect is to think of our duty towards the new generation; towards children, our own children and those of others. To those who are younger in years we have a certain duty. To our friends, our acquaintances who have not yet evolved enough to see things as we do, there is also our duty. And the moment we are conscious of this, we can find many things in life which require our attention, and if they are overlooked we have really neglected our duty.

Whatever be our position in life, rich or poor, we still have a kingdom, and that kingdom is our self. We can help and serve in thought and deed, in word or in action needed at a certain moment. By every attention given to this question, by everything done in this respect, however material it might seem outwardly, a religious action is performed.

Duty towards our Fellow Human Beings

Another aspect of duty is the duty to our fellow-creatures; to our co-workers, to the friends and acquaintances with whom we come in contact in everyday life, with whom we do not have a feeling of older or younger, or any difference. We have a duty towards them. In the first place, to study the psychology of their nature; if we have to teach them, not to teach them as a teacher; if we help them, not to help them as a benefactor; whatever help we give 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.

Duty towards Elders

The third aspect of duty is towards those advanced in years. To have sympathy for them, to have respect for their age, for the experience they have gained; even if they have not that qualification or learning which we have, it does not matter. Perhaps they know something more which we do not know. We cannot learn all things; we cannot know all things. There are things which experience teaches; there are things that age brings to them. If in a person, however intelligent and capable, that sentiment for age, that respect for his elder brother, that consideration for those who are advanced in years, his mother, father, brother or sister, teacher or friend, has not yet been born, he has not yet known religion. For in this is the foundation of religion.

It is said that a child of the Prophet one day called a slave by his name and the Prophet heard it. The first thing he said was, ‘My child, call him Uncle; he is advanced in age.’

Besides, there is a psychological action and reaction; those who have reached the ripened condition of life have arrived at a stage when their goodwill for the younger ones comes as a treasure, a living treasure. Sometimes the intoxication of life, our absorption in worldly activities, that ever-growing energy which we experience in youth, our power and position and knowledge and capability, make us overlook this. But if an opportunity is lost, it is lost; it will never come again. We all are travellers in this world, 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 to think 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 to consider our little obligations in our everyday life which form part of our duty, is like forgetting our religion.


My conscientious self:
Consider duty as sacred as religion.
Use tact on all occasions.
Place people rightly in your estimation.
Be no more to anyone than you are expected to be.


Hazrat Inayat Khan: Vadan - Silver Rules

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