Forum May

The Desire for Peace - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

The Purpose of Life

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The secret behind the whole manifestation is vibration, vibration which may be termed movement. It is the differences of vibration which, when divided by lines, form planes of existence, each plane being different in the rhythm of these vibrations. When we take life as a whole we can draw one line, the beginning and the end, or spirit and matter, or God and human being. And we shall find that the rhythm which begins the line is free and without disturbance, and the rhythm which is felt at the end of this line is gross and disturbing. And these two rhythms may be named the life of sensation and the life of peace.

These are two opposite things. 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 ourselves; it is not dependent upon the outer sensation. It is something that belongs to us, something that is our own self.

If we 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 vanished, 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 us that satisfaction which peace alone can give. A sovereign may be happy sitting on the throne with his crown, with many servants 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.

I have once seen the Nizam, a great ruler, in all his grandeur, enjoying the royal splendor around him, and then again I saw the same sovereign sitting alone on a little carpet; and it was at that time that he was himself. It is the same thing with everyone. Delicious dishes, sweet fragrance, music, all other pleasures of line and color, beauty in all its aspects, which seem to answer our 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 we need not seek outside ourselves, that we can find within ourselves, and something which is incomparably greater and more valuable than anything else in the world; something which cannot be bought nor 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 human being, good and kind, a person most learned and qualified, strong and powerful, with all these attributes, cannot be at inner peace 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 us 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.

Verily, the heart that receives the divine Peace is blessed.


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