The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

Volume

Sayings

Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

By Date

THE SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

1. Character-Building

The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Beneficence

The Law of Renunciation

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Will-Power

The Music of Life

Self-Control

Harmony

Attitude

Curiosity

Gossip

Generosity

Humanity in Character

Gratefulness

Gentleness

Vanity

Dignity

Word of Honor

Economy

Justice

Refinement

Friendliness

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

1. Character-Building

Will-Power

The will-power plays a great part in character-building. And the will-power becomes feeble when a person yields to every little tendency, inclination, and fancy he has; but when a person fights against every little fancy and tendency and inclination he learns to fight with himself, and in this way he develops willpower. When once a person's inclinations, fancies, and tendencies have grown stronger than his will-power, he experiences in his life several enemies existing in his own self, and he finds it difficult to combat them. For inclinations, fancies, and tendencies, when powerful, do not let will-power work against them. If there is any such thing as self-denial, it is this practice; and by this practice in time one attains to a power which may be called mastery over oneself.

In small things of everyday life one neglects this consideration because one thinks, "These are my tendencies, my fancies, my inclinations, and by respecting them I respect myself, by considering them I consider myself." But one forgets that what one calls "my" is not oneself, it is what wills that is oneself.

Therefore in the Christian prayer it is said, "Thy Will be done," which means, "Thy Will when it works through me"; in other words, "my will which is Thy Will, be done." It is this illusion of confusing one's possession with oneself that creates all illusion and keeps man from self-realization.

Life is a continual battle. Man struggles with things that are outside him, and so he gives a chance to the foes who exist in his own being. Therefore the first thing necessary in life is to make peace for the time being with the outside world, in order to prepare for the war which is to be fought within oneself. Once peace is made within, one will gain by that sufficient strength and power to be used through the struggle of life within and without.

Self-pity is the worst poverty. When a person says, "I am..." with pity, before he has said anything more he has diminished himself to half of what he is; and what is said further, diminishes him totally; nothing more of him is left afterwards. There is so much in the world that we can pity and which it would be right for us to take pity upon, but if we have no time free from our own self we cannot give our mind to others in the world. Life is one long journey, and the further behind we have left our self, the further we have progressed towards the goal. Verily when the false self is lost the true self is discovered.

The Music of Life

In character-building it is most necessary that one should learn how to face the world, the world where one meets with sorrows and troubles and pleasures and pains. It is very difficult for one to hide them from the world, and at the same time a wise person is not meant to show all he feels nor to show at every moment what he feels. The ordinary person, like a machine, reacts in answer to every outer influence and inner impulse; and in this way he very often cannot keep to the law of the music of life.

Life to a wise person is music; and in that symphony he has to play a certain part. If one were feeling so low that one's heart was sounding a lower pitch, and the demand of life at that moment was that one should voice a higher pitch, then one would feel that one had failed in that music in which one was meant to play one's part fittingly. This is the test by which you can distinguish the old soul and the child soul. The child soul will give way to every feeling; the old soul will strike the higher note in spite of every difficulty.

There are moments when laughter must be kept back, and there are times when tears must be withheld. And those who have arrived at the stage where they can act efficiently the part that they are meant to act in this life's drama, have even power over the expression of their face; they can even turn their tears into smiles, or their smiles into tears. One may ask, is it not hypocrisy not to be natural? But he who has control over his nature is more natural; he is not only natural, he is the master of nature, while the one who lacks power over nature, in spite of his naturalness, is weak.

Also, it must be understood that real civilization means the art of life. What is that art? It is knowing the music of life. Once a soul has awakened to the continual music of life, that soul will consider it as his responsibility, as his duty, to play his part in outer life, even if it be contrary to his inner condition for the moment. One must know at every moment in one's daily life: what does life demand of me, what does it ask of me, and how shall I answer the demand of my life? This requires one to be awakened fully to life's conditions. One must have insight into human nature, and one must be able to know one's own condition fully. If one says, "I am as I am; if I am sad, I am sad; if I am glad, I am glad," that will not do. Even the earth will not bear the person who will not answer life's demands. The sky will not tolerate that person, and the sphere will not accommodate him who is not ready to give what life demands of him. If this is true, then it is best when it is easily done and willingly done.

In the orchestra there is a conductor and there are many who play the music; and every player of an instrument has to fulfil his part in the performance. If he does not do it rightly, it is his fault. The conductor will not listen if he says he did not do it properly because he was sad or because he was too glad. The conductor of the orchestra is not concerned with his sadness or his gladness. He is concerned with the part that the particular musician must play in the whole symphony. This is the nature of our lives. The further we advance in our part in this orchestra, the more efficiently we perform our part in life's symphony. In order to be able to have this control over oneself, what is necessary? We must have control over our inner self, because every outward manifestation is nothing but a reaction of the inner condition. Therefore the first control that one has to gain is over one's own self, one's inner self, which is done by strengthening the will, and also by understanding life better.

Self-Control

In everyday life it is most necessary to have control over speech and action, for one may automatically give way to a word, prompted by an inner impulse; afterwards one finds that one should not have said it, or perhaps one should have said it differently. It is the same with action. One feels, "I should not have done so", after having done something; or one thinks, "I should have done differently"; but once it is done it is too late to do it otherwise. In human nature there is an inner urge to express oneself; and that urge pushes a word out of one, so to speak, before one has really thought of it; and all this shows lack of control over oneself.

It is also a sign of nervousness. Very often a person tries to answer somebody who has not yet finished speaking; before a sentence is completed the answer is given. Such an answer given to an incomplete idea is often wrong. What generally happens in such cases is that one takes all that comes from outside in life too much to heart, and allows these outer things and influences to penetrate one more deeply than they should. In this way one becomes sensitive, and out of this arises nervousness.

In order to practice self-control in all one does in everyday life, the best thing is to develop in one's nature a certain amount of indifference. Every word that is said to one need not be taken to be so important that it upsets one's whole being, disturbs one's balance, and robs one of one's will-power. There are things that matter; but there are many things in one's everyday life which do not matter much, and one is often apt to put undue stress upon them.

Independence is achieved by indifference. It does not mean that one should take no heed of what anyone does or says; it only means one should discriminate between important and unimportant things of everyday life; that every necessary and unnecessary thing should not demand so much of one's attention, thought, and feeling. Political economy has become a subject of education, but spiritual economy is the main thing in religion. All one says and does and all that one thinks and feels puts a certain strain upon one's spirit. It is wise to avoid every risk of losing one's equilibrium. One must stand peacefully but firmly before all influences that disturb one's life. The natural inclination is to answer in defence to every offence that comes from outside, but in that way one loses one's equilibrium. Self-control, therefore, is the key to all success and happiness.

Besides, there are many who feel urged and obliged to say or do something because it is asked of them, and in this way they get weaker and weaker. There are others who roughly fight against it; and in this way both are in error. He who is able to keep his equilibrium without being annoyed, without being troubled about it, gains that mastery which is needed in the evolution of life. No principle must be blindly followed. Spiritual economy is not always a virtue, if it disturbs harmony, if it in any way keeps one from progress, or if it places one in a worse condition. However, it is most necessary to know the science of spiritual economy; how to guard against all influences in our everyday life which come to disturb our tranquillity and the peace of our soul.

Harmony

A very important thing in character-building is to become conscious of one's relationship, obligation, and duty to each person in the world, and not to mix that link and connection which is established between oneself and another with a third person.

One must consider that everything that is entrusted to one by any person in life is one's trust, and one must know that to prove true to the confidence of any person in the world is one's sacred obligation. In this manner a harmonious connection is established with everyone; and it is this harmony which attunes the soul to the infinite.

It requires a great study of human nature, together with tact, to keep on harmonious terms with everyone in life. If one has an admiration for someone, or a grudge against someone, it is better to express it directly instead of mixing it up with many connections and relationships in the world. Friends apart, even in an acquaintanceship such consideration is necessary, to guard carefully that thin thread that connects two souls in whatever relation or capacity.

Dharma in the language of the Hindus means religion, but the literal meaning of this word is duty. It suggests that one's relation to every person in the world is one's religion; and the more conscientiously one follows it, the more keen one proves in following one's religion. To keep the secret of our friend, our acquaintance, even of someone with whom for a time one has been vexed, is the most sacred obligation. The one who thus realizes his religion would never consider it right to tell another of any harm or hurt he has received from his friend.

It is in this way that self-denial is learned; not always by fasting and retreating into the wilderness. A man conscientious in his duty and in his obligations to his friends is more pious than someone sitting in solitude. The one in solitude does not serve God, he only helps himself by enjoying the pleasure of solitude; but the one who proves trustworthy to every soul he meets, and considers his relationships and connections, small or great, as something sacred, certainly observes the spiritual law of that religion which is the religion of all religions.

Faults? Everyone has faults. Oneself, one's friend, and one's enemy are all subject to faults. The one who wishes that his own faults should not be disclosed must necessarily consider the same for the others he meets.

The one who knows what the relation of friendship is between one soul and another, the tenderness of that connection, its delicacy, its beauty, and its sacredness, that one can enjoy life in its fullness, for he is living; and in this manner he must some day communicate with God. For it is the same bridge that connects two souls in the world which, once built, becomes the path to God.

There is no greater virtue in this world than proving kind and trustworthy to one's friend, worthy of his confidence. The difference between the old soul and the young soul is to be found in this particular principle. The young soul only knows himself and what he wants, absorbed in his own pleasures and displeasures and obsessed by his ever-changing moods. The old soul regards his relation to every soul, he keenly observes his obligations towards everyone he knows in the world. He covers his wounds, if he happens to have any, from the sight of others, and endures all things in order to fulfil his duty to the best of his ability towards everyone in the world.

Subtlety of nature is the sign of the intelligent. If a person takes the right direction he does good with this wealth of intelligence, but a person who is going in a wrong direction may abuse this great faculty. When someone who is subtle by nature is compared with the personality which is devoid of it, it is like the river and the mountain. The subtle personality is as pliable as running water, everything that comes before that personality is reflected in it as clearly as the image in the pure water. The rocklike personality, without subtlety, is like a mountain, it reflects nothing. Many admire plain speaking, but the reason is they lack understanding of fine subtlety. Can all things be put into words? Is there not anything more free, more subtle than spoken words? The person who can read between the lines makes a book out of one letter. Subtlety of perception and subtlety of expression are the signs of the wise. Wise and foolish are distinguished by fineness on the part of the one and rigidness on the part of the other. A person devoid of subtlety wants truth to be turned into a stone; but the subtle one will turn even a stone into truth.

In order to acquire spiritual knowledge, receive inspiration, prepare one's heart for inner revelation, one must try to make one's mentality pliable like water rather than like a rock; for the further along the path of life's mystery a person will journey, the more subtle he will have to become in order to perceive and to express the mystery of life. God is a mystery, His knowledge is a mystery, life is a mystery, human nature is a mystery; in short, the depth of all knowledge is a mystery, even science or art.

All that is more mysterious is more deep. What all the prophets and masters have done in all ages is to express that mystery in words, in deeds, in thoughts, in feelings; but most of the mystery is expressed by them in silence. For then the mystery is in its place. To bring the mystery down to earth is like pulling down a king on to the ground from his throne; but allowing the mystery to remain in its own place, in the silent spheres, is like giving homage to the King to whom all homage is due.

Life's mysteries apart, in little things of everyday life the fewer words used, the more profitable it is. Do you think more words explain more? No, not at all. It is only nervousness on the part of those who wish to say a hundred words to explain a thing which can quite well be explained in two words; and on the part of the listener it is lack of intelligence when he wants a hundred words in order to understand something which can just as well be explained in one word. Many think that more words explain things better; but they do not know that mostly as many words as are spoken, so many veils are wrapped around the idea. In the end you go out by the same door through which you entered.

Respect, consideration, reverence, kindness, compassion and sympathy, forgiveness and gratefulness, all these virtues can be best adorned by subtlety of expression. One need not dance in thanksgiving; one word of thanks is quite sufficient. One need not cry out loudly, "I sympathize with you, my dear friend!" One need not play drums and say, "I have forgiven somebody!" Such things are fine, subtle; they are to be felt; no noise can express them. Noise only spoils their beauty and takes from their value. In spiritual ideas and thoughts subtlety is more needed that in anything else. If a spiritual person were to bring his realizations into the market-place, and dispute with everyone that came along about his beliefs and disbeliefs, where would he end?

What makes a spiritual person harmonize with all people in the world? The key to the art of conciliation which a spiritual person possesses is subtlety both in perception and expression. Is it lack of frankness, is it hypocrisy to be subtle? Not in the least. There are many people who are outspoken, always ready to tell the truth in a way which is like hitting another person on the head, and who proudly support their frankness by saying, "I do not mind if it makes anybody sorry or angry, I only tell the truth." If the truth is as hard as a hammer may truth never be spoken, may no one in the world follow such a truth!

Then where is that truth which is peace-giving, which is healing, which is comforting to every heart and soul, that truth which uplifts the soul, which is creative of harmony and beauty, where is that truth born? That truth is born in subtlety of intelligence in thought, speech, and action, of fineness which brings pleasure, comfort, beauty, harmony, and peace.

Attitude

There are two attitudes which divide people into two sections. The one is an ever-complaining attitude, and the other is an ever-smiling attitude. Life is the same; call it good, call it bad, call it right, call it wrong; it is what it is, it cannot be otherwise. A person complains in order to get the sympathy of others and to show them his good points, sometimes in order to show himself as more just, more intelligent, and also in the right. He complains about everything, about friends and about foes, about those he loves, and much more about those he hates. He complains from morning till evening, and there is never an end to his complaint. It can increase to such an extent that the weather is not good and the air is not good and the atmosphere is not good; he is against both earth and sky, and everything everybody does is wrong; until it reaches the stage where that man begins to dislike his own works; and it culminates when he dislikes himself. In this way he grows to be against others, against conditions, and in the end against himself.

Do not imagine that this is a character rarely to be found in the world. It is a character you frequently meet with, and certainly the one who has this attitude is his own worst enemy. The person with a right attitude of mind tries to make even wrong right, but the one with a wrong attitude of mind will turn even right into wrong.

Besides, magnetism is the need of every soul; the lack of it makes life burdensome. The tendency of seeing wrong in everything robs one to a great extent of that magnetism which is needed very much in life. For the nature of life is such that naturally the multitude only accepts those who come to it with the power of magnetism, and casts out everyone else. In other words, the world is a place where you cannot enter without a pass of admission, and that pass of admission is magnetism; the one who does not possess it will be refused everywhere.

Besides, you will find many who are always complaining about their health. There may be good reason, but sometimes there may be very little reason, too little indeed to speak of. And when once a person has become accustomed to answer despondently when sympathetically asked, "How are you?" he certainly waters the plant of illness in himself by this complaining tendency.

Our life of limitation in the world, and the nature of this world's comforts and pleasures which are so changeable and unreliable, and the falseness that one finds in everything everywhere, if one complained about it, a whole lifetime would be too short to complain about it fully; every moment of our life would become filled with complaints. But the way out is to look at the cheerful side of it, the bright side. Especially those who seek God and truth, for them there is something else to think about; they need not think how bad a person is. When they think who is behind this person, who is in his heart, then they will look at life with hope. When we see things which are wrong, if we only give thought to this: that behind all workings there is God, who is just and perfect, then we will certainly become hopeful.

The attitude of looking at everything with a smile is the sign of the saintly soul. A smile given to a friend, a smile given even to an enemy will win him over in the end; for this is the key to the heart of man. As the sunshine from without lights the whole world, so the sunshine from within, if it were raised up, would illuminate the whole life, in spite of all the seeming wrongs and in spite of all limitations. God is happiness, the soul is happiness, the spirit is happiness. There is no place for sadness in the kingdom of God. That which deprives man of happiness deprives him of God and of truth.

One can begin to learn to smile by appreciating every little good thing that comes in one's way through life, and by overlooking every bad thing that one does not like to see. Be not troubled too much about unnecessary things in life which give nothing but displeasure. But looking at life with a hopeful attitude of mind, with an optimistic view, it is this which will give one the power of turning wrong into right, and bringing light into the place where all is darkness. Cheerfulness is life, sulkiness is death. Life attracts, death repulses. The sunshine which comes from the soul, rises through the heart, and manifests itself in man's smile is indeed the light from the heavens. In that light many flowers grow and many fruits become ripe.

The best way of working in all ways of life, at home or outside, is noiseless working, a thing which is so little thought of by many and which is so necessary in creating order, harmony, and peace in life. Very often a person does little and speaks much about it. In doing every little thing he makes a noise, and thereby very often, instead of finishing something successfully, he attracts difficulties.

The first thing to be remembered in character-building is to understand the secret and character of human nature. We must know that every person in the world has his own object in life, his own interest and his point of view, and that he is concerned with himself. His peace is disturbed when you wish to interest him in your object of interest. If you wish to force upon him your point of view, however near and dear he may be to you, he is not pleased with it. Very few consider this; and they wish to pour out their own troubles and difficulties upon someone near to them, thinking, "Everyone has the same interest in my subject as I myself and everyone has the same point of view as myself; so everyone will be glad to hear my tale.'

There is a story told that a person began to speak before a new acquaintance about his ancestors. He continued so long that the patience of his hearer was thoroughly exhausted. In the end the acquaintance interrupted the story by asking, "If I do not care to know about my own ancestors, what do I care to know about yours?"

There are many who are very keen to let their neighbors know about every cold and cough they may have; every little gain or loss, however small, they would be glad to announce with drums and bugles. This is a childish quality; this tendency shows a child soul. Sometimes it frightens away friends and helps the foes. People who work noisily accomplish little, for they attract by their noise ten more people who come and interfere and spoil the work which one person could easily have finished.

Noisiness comes from restlessness, and restlessness is the sign of Tammas, the destructive rhythm. Those who have made any success in life, in whatever direction, have done so by their quiet working. In business, in industry, in art, in science, in education, in politics, in all directions of life, a wise worker is the quiet worker. He tells about things when the time comes, not before. The one who talks about things before he has accomplished them is like a cook who is announcing dishes before they are cooked, to the whole neighborhood.

There is a story told in the East of an enthusiastic servant. The master had a headache, and he told the servant to go and fetch some medicine from the chemist. The servant thought it would not be sufficient only to fetch medicine from the chemist; so he also made an appointment with the doctor, and on his way home he visited the undertaker. The master asked, "Why are you so late?" The servant said, "Sir, I arranged everything."

Enthusiasm is a great thing in life. It is creative and it is a key to success, but too much of it sometimes spoils things. The more wise a person, the more gentle he is in everything he does. A gentleman, in the English language, is the quiet man.

There is a fable that a donkey went to a camel and said, "Uncle, we shall be friends, we shall go grazing together." The camel said, "Child, I enjoy my walks alone." Said the donkey, "I am most eager to accompany you, uncle." The good-natured camel consented to it, and they both went together. Long before the camel finished grazing the donkey had finished and was eager to express himself. He said, "Uncle, I would like to sing, if you don't mind." The camel said, "Do not do such a thing. It will be a terrible thing for both you and me. I have not yet finished my dinner." The donkey had no patience, he could not control his joy and began to sing.

A husbandman, attracted by his singing, came with a long bamboo. The donkey ran away, and all the thrashing fell upon the back of the camel. When next morning the donkey went again to invite Uncle Camel, the camel said, "I am too ill, and your way is different and my way is different. From today we shall part."

There is such a great difference between the quiet person and a noisy person. One is like a restless child, the other like a grown-up person. One constructs, the other destroys. A quiet way of working must be practiced in everything. By making too much ado about nothing one creates commotion, disturbance in the atmosphere; useless activity without any result. One also finds noise in the tendency to exaggeration, when someone wants to make a mountain out of a molehill. Modesty, humility, gentleness, meekness, all such virtues are manifest in the person who works quietly through life.

Curiosity

There is something which belongs to human nature, and its origin is in curiosity; curiosity which gives a desire for knowledge. When the tendency is abused it develops into inquisitiveness. It is wonderful that the root of all defects is a right tendency, and it is the abuse of that right tendency which turns it into a defect. If we considered how little time we have to have on this earth, we would see that every moment of our life is precious, and that it should be given to something which is really worth while. When that time is given to inquisitiveness, wanting to know about the affairs of others, one has wasted that time which could have been used for a much better purpose. Life has so many responsibilities and so many duties, and there is so much that one has to correct in oneself, there is so much that one has to undo in what one has done, and there is so much to attend to in one's affairs to make one's life right, that it seems as if a person were intoxicated who, leaving all his responsibilities and duties, occupies himself, occupies his mind with inquisitiveness and engages his ears in it.

Free will is given to attend to one's own duties, to gain one's own objects, to attend to one's own affairs, and when that free will is used in trying to find out about others, the weaknesses of others, the lacks of others, the faults of others, one certainly abuses free will. Sometimes a person is inquisitive because of his interest in the lives of others, but very often a person is inquisitive because it is his illness. He may have no interest in the matter at all; it is only because he wants to satisfy himself by hearing and knowing about others. Self-knowledge is the ideal of the philosophers, not the knowledge of the lives of others.

There are two phases in the development of a man, one phase when he looks at others, and another phase when he looks at himself. When the first phase has ended and the next phase begun, then one starts one's journey to the desired goal. Rumi says, "Trouble not about others, for there is much for you to think of in yourself.'

Besides this, it is a sign of great respect to the aged and to those one wishes to respect, to show no tendency of knowing more than one is allowed to know. Even in such a close relationship as parents and children, when they respect the privacy of one another they certainly show therein a great virtue.

To want to know about another is very often a lack of trust. One who trusts does not need to unveil, does not need to discover what is covered. He who wishes to unveil something, wishes to discover it. If there is anything that should be discovered first, it is the self. The time that one spends in discovering others, their lives, their faults, their weaknesses, one could just as well spend in discovering one's soul. The desire to know is born in the soul. But man should discern what must be known, what is worth knowing. There are many things not worth troubling about. When one devotes one's time and thought to trying to know what one need not know, one loses that opportunity which life offers to discover the nature and secret of the soul, in which lies the fulfillment of the purpose of life.

Gossip

It must be remembered that one shows lack of nobleness of character by love of gossiping. It is so natural, and yet it is a great fault in the character to cherish the tendency to talk about others. One shows a great weakness when one makes remarks about someone behind his back. In the first place it is against what may be called frankness, and also it is judging another, which is wrong according to the teaching of Christ, who says, "Judge not, that ye be not judged." When one allows this tendency to remain in one, one develops love of talking about others. It is a defect which commonly exists, and when two people meet who have the same tendency, they gossip together. One helps the other, one encourages the other. And when something is supported by two people of necessity it becomes a virtue, if only for the time being.

How often man forgets that although he is talking about someone in his absence, yet it is spoken in the presence of God. God hears all things and knows all things. The Creator knows about His creatures, about their virtues and faults. God is displeased by hearing about the fault of His creature, as an artist would be displeased on hearing bad remarks made by anyone on his art. Even though he acknowledged the defect of his art, he would still prefer finding it himself, and not anyone else. When a person speaks against someone his words may not reach the other, but his feelings reach him. If he is sensitive he knows of someone having talked against him; and when he sees the person who has been talking against him, he reads all he has said in his face, if he be sensitive and of a keen sight. This world is a house of mirrors, the reflection of one is mirrored upon another. In this world where so many things seem hidden, in reality nothing remains hidden; everything some time or other rises to the surface and manifests itself to view.

How few in this world know what an effect it makes on one's personality, talking ill of another; what influence it has on one's soul! Man's self within is not only like a dome where everything he says has an echo, but that echo is creative and productive of what has been said. Every good and bad thing in one's life one develops by taking interest in it. Every fault one has, as long as it is small, one does not notice it; and so one develops the fault till it results in a disappointment. Life is so precious, and it becomes more and more valuable as one becomes more prudent; and every moment of life can be used for a much greater purpose. Life is an opportunity and the more one realizes this, the more one will make the best of this opportunity which life offers.

Generosity

The spirit of generosity in nature builds a path to God, for generosity is outgoing, is spontaneity; its nature is to make its way towards a wide horizon. Generosity, therefore, may be called charity of heart.

It is not necessary that the spirit of generosity be shown always by the spending of money; in every little thing one can show it. Generosity is an attitude a person shows in every little action that he does for people that he comes in contact with in his everyday life.

  • One can show generosity by a smile, by a kind glance, by a warm handshake;
  • by patting the younger soul on the shoulder as a mark of encouragement,
  • of showing appreciation, of expressing affection.
  • Generosity one can show in accommodating one's fellow-man, in welcoming him,
  • in bidding farewell to one's friend.
  • In thought, word, and deed, in every manner and form one can show that generous spirit which is the sign of the godly.

The Bible speaks of generosity by the word "charity", but if I were to give an interpretation of the word "generosity" I would call it nobility. No rank, position, or power can prove one noble; truly noble is he who is generous of heart. What is generosity? It is nobility, it is expansion of heart. As the heart expands, so the horizon becomes wide, and one finds greater and greater scope in which to build the kingdom of God.

Depression, despair, and all manner of sorrow and sadness come from lack of generosity. Where does jealousy come from? Where does envy, aching of the heart come from? It all comes from lack of generosity. A man may not have one single coin to his name, and yet he can be generous, he can be noble, if only he has a large heart of friendly feeling. Life in the world offers every opportunity to a man, whatever be his position in life, to show if he has any spirit of generosity.

The changeableness and falsehood of human nature, besides lack of consideration and thoughtlessness for those whom he meets through life, and furthermore the selfishness and grabbing and grafting spirit that disturbs and troubles his soul, all these create a situation which is itself a test and trial through which every soul has to pass in the midst of worldly life. And when through this test and trial a man holds fast to his principle of charity, and marches along towards his destination, not allowing the influences that come from the four corners of the world to keep him back from his journey to the goal, in the end he becomes the king of life, even if when he reaches his destination there is not left one single earthly coin to his name.

It is not earthly wealth that makes man rich. Riches come by discovering that gold-mine which is hidden in the human heart, out of which comes the spirit of generosity. Someone asked the Prophet, whose virtue was the greatest -- that of the pious soul who prays continually or that of the traveller who travels to make the holy pilgrimage, or of the one who fasts for nights and days, or of the one who learns the Scripture by heart.

"None of them", said the Prophet, "is so great as the soul who shows through life charity of heart."

Humanity in Character

There is one thing: to be man; and there is another thing: to be a person, a man, by completing the individuality in which is hidden the purpose of man's coming on earth. Angels were made to sing the praise of the Lord, jinns to imagine, to dream, to meditate; but man is created to show humanity in character. It is this which makes him a person.

There are many difficult things in life, but the most difficult of all is to learn and to know and to practice the art of personality. Nature, people say, is created by God and art by man; but in reality in the making of personality it is God who completes His divine art.

It is not what Christ has taught that makes his devotees love him; they dispute over those things in vain; it is what he himself was. It is that which is loved and admired by his devotees. When Jesus Christ said to the fishermen, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men", what did it mean? It meant, "I will teach you the art of personality, which will become as a net in this life's sea." For every heart, whatever be its grade of evolution, will be attracted by the beauty of the art of personality.

What does mankind seek in another person, what does man expect in his friend? He wants him rich, of a high position, of a great power, of wonderful qualifications, of wide influence; but beyond and above all he expects from his friend the humane qualities which are the art of personality. If one's friend lacks the art of personality, all the above things are of but little use and value to him.

There is a question: how are we to learn it? We learn it by our love of art, by our love of beauty in all its less various aspects. The artist learns his art by his admiration of beauty. When a person gets an insight into beauty, then he learns the art of arts, which is the art of personality. A man may have a thousand qualifications, or rank, or position; he may possess all the goods of the earth, but if he lacks the art of personality he is poor indeed. It is by this art that man shows that nobleness which belongs to the kingdom of God.

The art of personality is not a qualification. It is the purpose for which man was created, and it leads man to that purpose in the fulfillment of which is his entire satisfaction. By this art man does not only satisfy himself, but he pleases God.

This phantom play on the earth is produced for the pleasure of that King of the universe whom the Hindus have called Indra, before whom Gandharvas sang and Upsaras danced. The interpretation of this story is that every soul is destined to dance at the court of Indra. The art of personality is, in reality, learning to dance perfectly at the court of Indra. But the one who says, "But how can I dance? I do not know how to dance," defeats his purpose. For no soul is created to stand aside and look on, every soul is created to dance in the court of Indra. The soul who refuses certainly shows its ignorance of the great purpose for which the whole play is produced on the stage of the earth.

Gratefulness

Gratefulness in the character is like fragrance in the flower. A person, however learned and qualified in his life's work, in whom gratefulness is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character which makes personality fragrant. If we answer every little deed of kindness with appreciation, we develop in our nature the spirit of gratefulness; and by learning this we rise to that state where we begin to realize God's goodness towards us, and for this we can never be grateful enough to His divine compassion.

The great Sufi poet Sa'di teaches gratefulness as being the means of attracting that favor, forgiveness, and mercy of God upon ourselves in which is the salvation of our soul. There is much in life that we can be grateful for, in spite of all the difficulties and troubles of life.

Sa'di says, "The sun and moon and the rain and clouds, all are busy to prepare your food for you, and it is unfair indeed if you do not appreciate it in thanksgiving."

God's goodness is something that one cannot learn to know at once; it takes time to understand it. But little actions of kindness which we receive from those around us we can know, and we can be thankful if we want to be. In this way man develops gratefulness in his nature, and expresses it in his thought, speech, and action as an exquisite form of beauty.

As long as one weighs and measures and says, "What I have done for you" and, "What have you done for me", "How kind I have been to you" and "How good have you been to me", one wastes one's time disputing over something which is inexpressible in words; besides one closes by this that fountain of beauty which rises from the depth of one's heart.

The first lesson that we can learn in the path of thankfulness is to forget absolutely what we do for another, and to remember only what the other person has done for us. Throughout the whole journey in the spiritual path the main thing to be accomplished is the forgetting of our false ego, so that in this way we may arrive some day at the realization of that Being whom we call God.

There is a story of a slave called Ayaz, who was brought before a king with nine others, and the king had to select one to be his personal attendant. The wise king gave into the hands of each of the ten a wine glass and commanded him to throw it down. Each one obeyed the command. Then the king asked each one of them, "Why did you do such a thing?" The first nine answered, "Because your Majesty gave me the order"; the plain truth cut and dried. And then came the tenth slave, Ayaz. He said, "Pardon, sire, I am sorry," for he realized that the king already knew it was his command; by replying, "Because you told me," nothing new was said to the king. This beauty of expression enchanted the king so much that he selected him to be his attendant.

It was not long before Ayaz won the trust and confidence of the king, who gave him the charge of his treasury, the treasury in which precious jewels were kept. This made many jealous, this sudden rise from a slave to a treasurer of the king, a position which many envied. No sooner did people know that Ayaz had become a favorite of the king than they began to tell numerous stories about him in order to bring him into disfavor with the king. One of the stories was that Ayaz went every day into the room where the jewels were locked in the safe, and that he was stealing them every day, little by little. The king answered, "No, I cannot believe such a thing; you have to show me.'

So they brought the king as Ayaz entered this room, and made him stand in a place where there was a hole, looking into the room. And the king saw what was going on there. Ayaz entered the room and opened the door of the safe. And what did he take out from it? His old, ragged clothes which he had worn as a slave. He kissed them and pressed them to his eyes, and put them on the table. There incense was burning, and this that he was doing was something sacred to him. He then put on these clothes and looked at himself in the mirror, and said, as one might be saying a prayer, "Listen, O Ayaz, see what you used to be before. It is the king who has made you, who has given you the charge of this treasure. So regard this duty as your most sacred trust, and this honor as your privilege and as a token of the love and kindness of the king. Know that it is not your worthiness that has brought you to this position. Know that it is his greatness, his goodness, his generosity which has overlooked your faults, and which has bestowed that rank and position upon you by which you are now being honored. Never forget, therefore, your first day, the day when you came to this town; for it is the remembering of that day which will keep you in your proper place.'

He then took off the clothes and put them in the same place of safety, and came out. As he stepped out, what did he see? He saw that the king before whom he bowed was waiting eagerly to embrace him; and the king said to him, "What a lesson you have given me, Ayaz! It is this lesson which we all must learn, whatever be our position. Because before that King in whose presence we all are but slaves, nothing should make us forget that helplessness through which we were reared and raised, and brought to life, to understand and to live a life of joy. People told me that you had stolen jewels from our treasure-house, but on coming here I have found that you have stolen my heart."

Gentleness

Every impulse has its influence upon the word and upon the action. Therefore naturally every impulse exerts its full power through words and deeds unless it is checked. There are two types of persons: those who have learnt to check their word and action when they exert their full power, and express themselves abruptly; the other kind of persons are those who mechanically allow this natural impulse to show itself in their word and deed without giving any thought to it. The former, therefore, is gentle, and the latter is man. Gentleness is the principal thing in the art of personality; one can see how gentleness works as the principal thing in every art. In painting, in drawing, in line and color it is gentleness which appeals most to the soul. The same we see in music. A musician may be qualified enough to play rapidly and may know all the technique, but what produces beauty is his gentle touch.

It is mainly gentleness which is the basis of all refinement. But where does it come from? It comes from consideration, and it is practiced by self-control. There is a saying in Hindustani: "The weaker the person, the more ready to be angry." The reason is that he has no control over his nerves; it is often lack of control over oneself which is the cause of lack of gentleness.

No doubt one learns gentleness by consideration. One must learn to think before saying or doing. Besides one must not forget the idea of beauty. One must know that it is not enough simply to say or do, but that it is necessary to say or do everything beautifully. It is the development of the nations and races which is expressed in gentleness. Also it is the advancement of the soul's evolution which expresses itself in gentleness. Nations and races, as well as individuals, will show backwardness in their evolution if they show lack of gentleness.

At this time the world's condition is such that it seems that the art of personality has been much neglected. Man, intoxicated with the life of cupidity and the competitive spirit, is held by the commercialism of the day, is kept busy in the acquirement of the needs of his everyday life, and the beauty which is the need of the soul is lost to view. Man's interest in all aspects of life, science, art, philosophy, remains incomplete in the absence of the art of personality. How rightly the distinction has been made in the English language between man and gentleman!

There is a tendency hidden behind human impulse which may be called the persuasive tendency. It may manifest itself in a crude form, or it may be expressed in a free form. In the former aspect it is a fault, and in the latter aspect it is a mistake. When crudely expressed, someone urges another to agree with him, or to listen to him, or to do as he wishes by fighting, by quarrelling, by being disagreeable. Often such a person, by the strength of his will-power or by virtue of his better position in life, gets his wishes fulfilled. This encourages him to continue in the same way until he gets a disappointing result by his method, if he ever does.

The other way of persuading is a gentle way, by putting pressure upon someone's kindness, goodness, and politeness, exhausting thereby his patience and testing his sympathy to the utmost. By this people achieve for the moment what they wish to achieve, but in the end it results in the annoyance of all those who are tried by this persuasive tendency. Does it not show that to get something done is not so hard as to be considerate of the feelings of others? It is so rare that one finds a person in the world who is considerate of another person's feelings even at the sacrifice of his own desires. Everyone seeks freedom, but for himself. If he sought the same for another he would be a real freemason.

The persuasive tendency no doubt shows great will-power, and it preys upon the weakness of others who yield and give in to it owing to love, sympathy, goodness, kindness, politeness. But there is a limit to everything. There comes a time when the thread breaks. A thread is a thread; it is not a steel wire. And even a wire breaks if it is pulled too hard. The delicacy of the human heart is not comprehended by everyone. Human feeling is too fine for common perception. A soul who develops his personality, what is he like? He is not like the root or the stem of the plant, nor like the branches or leaves, he is like the flower, the flower with its fragrance, color, and delicacy.

Vanity

The whole of manifestation is the expression of that spirit of the Logos which in Sufi terms is called Kibria. Through every being this spirit is manifested in the form of vanity, pride, or conceit. Vanity expressed crudely is called pride. Had it not been for this spirit working in every being as the central theme of life, no good or bad would have existed in the world, nor would there have been great or small. All virtues and every evil are the offspring of this spirit. The art of personality is to cut off the rough edges of this spirit of vanity, which hurts and disturbs those one meets in life. The person who says "I," the more he does so, the more he disturbs the minds of his listeners.

Many times people are trained in politeness and are taught a polished language and manner; yet if this spirit of vanity is pronounced, it will creep up in spite of all good manners and beautiful language, and express itself in a person's thought, speech, or action, calling aloud, "I am, I am!" If a person be speechless, his vanity will leap out in the expression of his glance. It is something which is the hardest thing to suppress and to control. For adepts the struggle in life is not so great with the passions and emotions, which sooner or later by more or less effort can be controlled; but vanity, it is always growing. If one cuts down its stem then one cannot live, for it is the very self, it is the I, the ego, the soul, or God within; it cannot be denied its existence. But struggling with it beautifies it more and more, and makes more and more tolerable that which in its crude form is intolerable.

Vanity may be likened to a magic plant. If one sees it in the garden growing as a thorny plant, and one cuts it down, it will grow in another place in the same garden as a fruit-tree; and when one cuts it down again, in another place in the same garden it will spring up as a bush of fragrant roses. It exists just the same, but in a more beautiful form which gives happiness to those who touch it. The art of personality, therefore, does not teach the rooting out of the seed of vanity, which cannot be rooted out as long as man lives; but its crude outer garb may be destroyed in order that, after dying several deaths, it may be manifested as the plant of desires.

Dignity

Dignity, which in other words may be called self-respect, is not something which can be left out when considering the art of personality. When one asks what it is, and how this principle can be practiced, the answer is that all manner of light-heartedness and all tendency to frivolity must be rooted out from the nature in order to hold that dignity which is precious to one. The one who does not care for it, does not need to take trouble about it; it is only for the one who sees something in self-respect. A person with self-respect will be respected by others, even regardless of his power, possessions, position, or rank; in every position or situation in life that person will command respect.

There arises a question: has light-heartedness then any place in life, or is it not necessary in life at all? All is necessary, but everything has its time. Dignity does not consist in making a long face, neither is respect evoked by a stern expression; by frowning or by stiffening the body one does not show honor; dignity does not mean being sad or depressed. It is apportioning one's activities to their proper time. There are times for laughter; there are times for seriousness. The laughter of the person who is laughing all the time loses its power; the person who is always light-hearted does not carry that weight in society which he should. Besides light-heartedness often makes a man offend others without meaning to do so.

The one who has no respect for himself, has no respect for others. He may think for the moment that he is regardless of conventionalities and free in his expression and feeling, but he does not know that it makes him as light as a scrap of paper moving hither and thither in space, blown by the wind. Life is a sea, and the further one travels on the sea the heavier the ship one needs. So for a wise man, a certain amount of weight is required in order to live, which gives balance to his personality. Wisdom gives that weight; its absence is the mark of foolishness. The pitcher full of water is heavy; it is the absence of water in the pitcher which makes it light, like a man without wisdom who is light-hearted.

The more one studies and understands the art of personality, the more one finds that it is the ennobling of the character which is going forward towards the purpose of creation. All the different virtues, refined manners, and beautiful qualities, are the outcome of nobleness of character. But what is nobleness of character? It is the wide outlook.

Word of Honor

A noble-minded person shows, as something natural in his character, a respect for his word, which is called his word of honor. For that person his word is himself; and this reality can increase to such an extent that even his life could be sacrificed for his word. Someone who has reached this stage is not far from God, for many times in the Scriptures it is said, "If you want to see Us, see Us in our words." If God can be seen in His words, the true soul can be seen in his word. Pleasure, displeasure, sweetness, bitterness, honesty, dishonesty, all these are to be discerned in the words man speaks; for the word is the expression of the thought, and thought is the expression of the feeling. And what is man? Man is his thought and feeling. So what is the word? The word is man's expression, the expression of his soul.

The man on whose word you can rely, that man is dependable. No wealth of this world can be compared with one's word of honor. A man who says what he means proves his spirituality by this virtue. To a real person to go back on his words is worse than death, for it is going backwards instead of going forward. Every soul is going onwards towards his goal; and the person who is really going onwards shows it in his word.

At the present time it is necessary to have so many courts and so many lawyers, and hence so many prisons which are increasing more every day, that this all shows the lack of that virtue which has been valued by the noble-minded ever since the beginning of civilization; for in this quality man shows his human virtue, a quality which neither belongs to the animals nor is attributed to the angels.

What is religion? Religion in the true sense of the word is beyond explanation. It is a thin thread, too delicate to be touched, for it is too sacred to be touched. It is the ideal, which can be polluted if it is touched; and it can be found in that sensitiveness which in other words may be called spirituality, the regard for the word.

Many in this world have undergone sacrifices; sufferings and pains have been inflicted on them, but it was only to put their virtue of the word to the test, for every virtue has to prove itself by going through a testing fire. When it has proved itself in its trial it becomes a solid virtue. This can be practiced in every little thing one does in one's daily life. A person who says one moment one thing and another moment another thing, even his own heart begins to disbelieve him.

Among the great ones who have come to the earth from time to time, and have shown a great many virtues, this virtue has been the most pronounced. Mohammed, before coming before the world as a prophet, was called Amin by his comrades, which means trustworthy. The story of Haris Chandra is known to the Hindus down the ages, the example he has set is engraved upon the mind of the whole race. The story of Hatim, a Sufi of ancient times, has been a great inspiration to the people of Persia. In whatever part of the world and in whatever period, by the thoughtful and those with ideals the word of honor will be valued most.

Economy

There is a sense of economizing to be found more or less in every soul; and when this tendency works with those around one and those with whom one comes in contact, one develops one's personality. The desire to spare another, to have patience instead of trying his patience to the uttermost, is the tendency to economy, a higher understanding of economy. To try to spare another from using his energy in the way of thought, speech, and action, all saves his energy for the other and for oneself it is adding beauty to one's personality. A person ignorant of this in time becomes a drag upon others. He may be innocent, but he can be a nuisance; for he neither has consideration for his own energy nor thought for others.

This consideration comes to one from the moment one begins to realize the value of life. As man begins to consider this subject he spares himself unnecessary thought, speech, or action, and uses his own thought, speech, and action economically; and by valuing one's own life and action one learns to value the same in others. The time of human life on earth is most precious, and the more one practices economical use of this precious time and energy the more one knows how to make the best of life.

Apart from one's own speech, even hearing another speak is a continual tension; it robs a person of his time and energy. The one who cannot understand, or at least does not try to understand something spoken in one word, and wants to put into a sentence what can be said in one word, certainly has no sense of economy; for economizing with one's money is much less important than the economy of one's life and energy and that of others. For the sake of beauty, grace, and respect, when dealing with others one must go so far and no further.

One cannot drive with the same whip a friend, an acquaintance, and a stranger. There again the question of economy must be considered. Without the sense of economy, one might try the goodness, kindness, generosity, and endurance of others to such a degree that in the end of the trial it would work out to the disadvantage of both. The person who is sensible enough to guard his own interest in life may be called clever, but the one who guards the interests of others even more than his own is wise; for in this way he does things without knowing to his own advantage also. It is the same sense of economy which one uses with little things in one's daily life at home and in business; the same sense used in a higher form, by thoughtfulness and consideration, makes one more capable of serving others, which is the religion of religions.

Justice

After having acquired refinement of character, and merits and virtues that are needed in life, the personality can be finished by the waking of the sense of justice. The art of personality makes a statue, a fine specimen of art, but when the sense of justice is awakened that statue comes to life; for in the sense of justice lies the secret of the soul's unfolding. Eveyone knows the name of justice; but it is rare to find someone who really is just by nature, in whose heart the sense of justice has been awakened.

What generally happens is that people claim to be just, though they may be far from being so. The development of the sense of justice lies in unselfishness; one cannot be just and selfish at the same time. The selfish person can be just, but only for himself. He has his own law most suited to himself, and he can change it, and his reason will help him to do so, in order to suit his own requirements in Life. A spark of justice is to be found in every heart, in every person, whatever be his stage of evolution in life; but the one who loves fairness, so to speak blows on that spark, thus raising it to a flame, in the light of which life becomes more clear to him.

There is so much talk about justice, so much discussion about it and so much dispute over it; one finds two persons arguing upon a certain point and differing from one another, both thinking that they are just, yet neither of them will admit that the other is as just as he himself.

For those who really learn to be just, their first lesson is what Christ has taught: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." One may say, "If one does not judge, how can one learn justice?" But it is the one who judges himself who can learn justice, not the one who is occupied in judging others. In this life of limitations if one only explores oneself, one will find within oneself so many faults and weaknesses, and when dealing with others so much unfairness on one's own part, that for the soul who really wants to learn justice, his own life will prove to be a sufficient means with which to practice justice.

Again, there comes a stage in one's life, a stage of life's culmination, a stage of the soul's fuller development, when justice and fairness rise to such a height that one arrives at the point of being devoid of blame; one has nothing to say against anyone, and if there be anything it is only against oneself; and it is from this point that one begins to see the divine justice hidden behind this manifestation. It comes in one's life as a reward bestowed from above, a reward which is like a trust given by God, to see all things appearing as just and unjust in the bright, shining light of perfect justice.

Refinement

The art of personality is like the art of music: it needs ear training and voice culture. To a person who knows life's music the art of personality comes naturally; and it is not only inartistic but also unmusical when a soul shows lack of this art in the personality. When a man looks at every soul as a note of music and learns to recognize what note it is, flat or sharp, high or low, and to what pitch it belongs, then he becomes the knower of souls, and he knows how to deal with everybody. In his own actions, in his speech, he shows the art; he harmonizes with the rhythm of the atmosphere, with the tone of the person he meets, with the theme of the moment. To become refined is to become musical; it is the musical soul who is artistic in his personality. Spoken in different tones, the same word changes its meaning. A word spoken at the proper moment and withheld at the moment when it should not be expressed, completes the music of life.

It is the continual inclination to produce beauty which helps one to develop art in the personality. It is amusing liow readily man is inclined to learn outer refinement, and how slow many souls are to develop that art inwardly. It must be remembered that the outer manner is meaningless if it is not prompted by the inner impulse towards beauty. How God takes pleasure in man can be learned from the story of Indra, the king of Paradise, at whose court Gandharvas sing and Upsaras dance. When interpreted in plain words this means that God is the essence of beauty; it is His love of beauty which has caused Him to express His own beauty in manifestation, for it is His desire fulfilled in the objective world.

It is amusing sometimes to watch how good manners annoy someone who is proud of his bad manners. He will call it shallow, because his pride is hurt at the sight of something which he has not got. The one whose hand does not reach to the fruit says, when he fails, that the grapes are sour. And for some it is too free to become refined, just as many will not like good music but are quite satisfied with popular music. And many even become tired of a good manner, for it seems foreign to their nature. As it is not a merit to become unmusical, so it is not wise to turn against refinement. One must only try and develop beauty, trusting that the beauty in the depth of one's soul, and its expression, in whatever form, is the sign of the soul's unfoldment.

Friendliness

A friendly attitude, expressed in sympathetic thought, speech, and deed, is the principal thing in the art of personality. There is limitless scope to show this attitude, and however much the personality is developed in this direction, it is never too much. Spontaneity and the tendency to give, giving that which is dear to one's heart, is what shows the friendly attitude. Life in the world has its numberless obligations, towards friend and foe, towards acquaintance and stranger. One can never do too much to be conscientious in one's obligations in life and to do everything in one's power to fulfil them. To do more than one's due is perhaps beyond the power of every man, but in doing what one ought to do one does accomplish one's life purpose.

Life is an intoxication, and the effect of this intoxication is negligence. The Hindu words Dharma and Adharma, religiousness and irreligiousness, signify that one's duty in life is Dharma, and the neglect of the same is Adharma. The one who is not conscientious in his obligations in life towards every being he comes in contact with, is indeed irreligious. Many will say, "We tried to do our best, but we didn't know how", or, "We don't know what is expected of us", or, "How are we to find out what is really our due and what is not?" No one in this world can teach what is anyone's due and what is not. It is for every soul to know for himself by being conscientious in his obligations. And the more conscientious he is, the more obligations he will find to fulfil, and there will be no end to them.

Nevertheless, in this continual strife what might seem a loss to him in the beginning, in the end is gain; for he will come face to face with his Lord, who is wide awake. The eyes of the man who neglects his duty to his fellow-men, absorbed in life's intoxication, will certainly become dazzled and his mind exhausted before the presence of God. It does not mean that any soul will be deprived of the divine vision, it only means that the soul who has not learned to open his eyes wide enough will have his eyes closed before the vision of God. All virtues come from a wide outlook on life, all understanding comes from the keen observation of life. Nobility of soul, therefore, is signified in the broad attitude that man takes in life.

Nevertheless, in this continual strife what might seem a loss to him in the beginning, in the end is gain; for he will come face to face with his Lord, who is wide awake. The eyes of the man who neglects his duty to his fellow-men, absorbed in life's intoxication, will certainly become dazzled and his mind exhausted before the presence of God. It does not mean that any soul will be deprived of the divine vision, it only means that the soul who has not learned to open his eyes wide enough will have his eyes closed before the vision of God. All virtues come from a wide outlook on life, all understanding comes from the keen observation of life. Nobility of soul, therefore, is signified in the broad attitude that man takes in life.