Topic June

Dharma - Duty, towards State and God

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

The Purpose of Life

(see also counsellor)

You can listen to all themes here

Duty Towards the State

The fourth aspect of duty is our duty to the state, to the nation, and to all those personalities whom we find therein, above or below; a king, a president, a commander, an officer, a secretary, clerk, porter, or servant; a spiritual source of upliftment, such as a church, a spiritual center and personalities connected with it, priest or clergyman; our counsellor or teacher. Towards all these we have a duty, and in observing this alone we accomplish Dharma, our duty.

Duty To God

And the fifth aspect of our duty is to God, our Creator, Sustainer and Forgiver of our shortcomings. We might say, ‘We have not desired to come here; why were we sent here?’ But it is said in a moment of disturbance of mind. If the mind is still, if a person shows good sense he will say, ‘Even if there were nothing else given to me in life, to be allowed to live under the sun is the greatest privilege.’ We say, ‘I toil and I earn money, and that is my living which I make. Who is to be given credit for it?’ But it is not the money we eat; what we eat is not made in the bank. It is made by the sun and the moon and the stars and the earth and water, by nature which is living before us. If we had not air to breathe, we should die in a moment.

These gifts of nature which are before us, how can we be thankful enough for them? Besides, as a person develops inwardly he will see that it is not only his body that needs food, but also his mind, his heart, his soul; a food that this mechanical world cannot provide. It is the food that God alone can give, and it is therefore that we call God the Sustainer. Furthermore, at a time when there was neither strength in us nor sense enough to earn our livelihood, at that time our food was created. When we think of this, and when we realize that every little creature, a germ or worm that no one ever notices, also receives its sustenance, then we begin to see that there is a Sustainer; and that Sustainer we find in God, and towards Him we have a duty.

In spite of the justice and injustice we see on the surface of this world, a keen insight into our own life will teach that there is no comparison between our faults and our good actions. The good actions, in comparison to our faults, are so few that if we were judged we should not have one mark to our credit. It does not mean that justice is absent there. It only means, what is behind law? Love. And what is love? God. And how do we see God's love, in what form? In many forms; but the most beautiful form of the love of God is His compassion, His divine forgiveness. Considering these things, we realize that we have a duty towards God.

It is these five different aspects of duty that, when we consider them and when we begin to live them, they begin to give us the sense of a religious life. Religious life does not mean living in a religious place or in a cemetery or in a church, a religion that is all outward. The true religion is living and being conscious of the sense of duty that we have towards human beings and towards God.

Someone may say, ‘How is it that a person who lives a life of duty, is often void of love, beauty, and poetry?’ I do not think that duty has anything to do with depriving a person of love, harmony, and beauty. Quite on the contrary, when the real spirit of duty wakens in a person, it is that which begins poetry. If there is a beautiful poem to be found, if there is anyone who has experienced love, harmony and beauty, it is that person who understands the sense of duty.

For instance, a new-born child: he has come from heaven, it is as happy as the angels, it is beautiful in infancy, an expression of harmony, and it is love himself; and yet the infant does not know love, harmony, and beauty. Why? Because he does not yet know duty. But the moment the spirit of duty is wakened in a person poetry begins; and when poetry is begun, then love, harmony and beauty manifest to his view fully.

But we might ask, ‘Duty is responsibility; how can we be delivered from this great load of responsibility?’ In two ways: he is already delivered of this load of responsibility who has no sense of responsibility. He does not want to take it up as his responsibility. He is quite happy; he does not mind what anybody thinks of him; he does not mind whom he hurts nor whom he harms; he minds his own business quite happily. He is delivered already.

And if there is another deliverance, it is attained by living the life of duty; it is by going through it. For going through it will raise a person higher and higher, till he rises above it, and he will be most thankful that he has gone through the path of duty, the sacred path of Dharma; for by this finally he has been able to arrive at a stage of realization in which alone is to be found the purpose of life.


 A good reputation is a trust given to a human being by other people,
so it becomes his sacred duty to maintain it.


Hazrat Inayat Khan: Gayan - Chalas

(Maheboob Khan, Hazrat Inayat Khan‘s brother, has composed music to a row of aphorisms of Hazrat Inayat Khan in the middle of last century, as this ‚Every Step in Thy Path‘. Mohammed Ali Khan, Hazrat Inayat Khan’s cousin, has sung this song around the year 1956 in a concert in Zürich – here you can listen to it)

Gayan as E-book - click here

Vadan as E-book - click here

Nirtan as E-book - click here

(these E-book are free of all charge - use their treasures well!)