Forum February

The Awakening of the Soul - 1

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

Sufi Teachings

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There is a process of awakening from childhood to youth, and from youth to maturity; and during this development our point of view, our outlook on life, is changing. We find, too, that sometimes we go through an illness or great suffering, and at the end of it our entire outlook on life has changed. It also sometimes happens that someone who has traveled far returns apparently quite transformed.

Again, there often comes a sudden change of outlook after a person has formed a friendship, or has been somebody's pupil, or has married. There are even some cases where the change is so marked that we can say he has become an entirely new person.

We can divide such changes or developments into three classes,

  • of which the first is connected with the physical development,

  • the second with the development of the mind,

  • and the third with the development of the soul.

Though few will admit it, many people can recollect experiences in their childhood when in one moment their whole outlook on life changed. Ripening is a desirable result, and it is the aim of every object in life to ripen and to develop; therefore in the awakening of the soul we may recognize the fulfillment of life's purpose.

The first sign of the soul's awakening is just like the birth of an infant. From the time of its birth the infant is interested in hearing things, whatever sound may come, and in seeing things, a colour or light or whatever it may be; and thus a person whose soul has awakened becomes awake to everything he sees and hears. Compared with that person, everyone else seems to have open eyes and yet does not see, to have open ears and yet does not hear. Though there are many with open ears yet there is rarely one who hears, and though there are many with open eyes yet there is hardly one who sees. That is why the natural seeing of the awakened soul is called clairvoyance and its natural hearing clairaudience. The simple English word 'seer' conveys that such a human being has eyes, but together with his eyes he has also sight.

The moment the soul has awakened, music makes an appeal to it, poetry touches it, words move it, art has an influence upon it. It no longer is a sleeping soul, it is awake and it begins to enjoy life to a fuller extent. It is this awakening of the soul which is mentioned in the Bible: ‘Unless the soul is born again it will not enter the kingdom of heaven’.

For the soul to be born again means that it is awakened after having come on earth; and entering the kingdom of heaven means entering this world in which we are now standing, the same kingdom which turns into heaven as soon as the outlook of view has changed.

Is it not interesting and most wonderful to think that the same earth that we walk on is earth to one person and heaven to another? And it is still more interesting to notice that it is we who change it from earth to heaven. This change does not come neither by study, nor by anything else but by the changing of our point of view. I have known people seek after truth, study books about it, even write many books on philosophy and theology themselves, and in the end they were standing in the same place as before. That shows that all outer efforts are excuses; there is only one thing that brings us face to face with reality, and that is the awakening of the soul.

All the tragedy of life, all misery and disharmony, are caused by lack of understanding; and lack of understanding comes from lack of penetration. When we do not look at life from the point of view that we should, then we are disappointed because we cannot understand. It is not for the outer world to help us to understand it better, it is we ourselves who should help ourselves.

He is living whose sympathy is awake,

and he is dead whose heart is asleep.


Gayan - Talas

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