Heart of the Message - A Journal of Trans-Ethnic Spirituality - click to return to main page
return to library

- Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan

How can we deal with the outrage?
Is there anything that we can do?
What can we do?

We are all emotionally shocked and outraged by the incredible cruelty, the horror, of what has happened: the voice of despair reaching us from the air,
"Oh my God! Oh my God!" as brain-washed kamakazies transformed passenger
aircraft into lethal bombs loaded with human lives, wreaking heartless human
atrocity upon innocent people. The mass destruction will resonate through
history as a portent of the vulnerability of the constructs of our affluent
sophisticated civilizations in the hands of a few brain-washed lost souls,
acting on a faulty interpretation of their religion, who have never heard of
the pursuit of "the awakening of humanity to the divinity of the human
status; the awakening of conscience."

How could a human being ever conceive of inflicting such heartless atrocity
on fellow beings? Imagine people jumping to their death out the window in
despair, being surrounded by flames and smoke, roasted alive, unable to flee.
We could never assess the degree of the wanton destruction of what has been
built by so much care and dedicated work and skill! An affront to civilization! And now: the alarming prospect of the millions of innocent people who may be sacrificed for the retribution. Yet we cannot responsibly allow this diabolical abomination to reoccur.

In the present crisis, in our dismay at a disturbed, faltering world
teetering at the edge of disaster (or is it being afflicted by exceedingly
pernicious and hazardous birth pangs announcing a brave new world?) as we
quiver at the threat of wreaking further unimaginable escalating havoc upon
our erstwhile beautiful planet and killing or causing excruciating pain upon
millions, perhaps billions, of innocent people, our spiritual values are at
stake. We are tested as to whether to retaliate for the atrocious cruelty to
people going about their daily work. Is it helpful to kill masses of other
innocent people who are not responsible for the barbaric act of terror to
assuage our outrage  as vindication? This would be slipping into primitive
feuds, vendettas, where it was customary that an insult could only be atoned
by revenge to indemnify oneís honor.

Hazrat Inayat Khan :
'A person has a natural tendency that if he is insulted, he thinks that the
proper way of answering is to insult the other person still more. Yet he gets a momentary satisfaction to have given a good answer.' 

(The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan - SOCIAL GATHEKAS - Harmony)
Umpteen numbers of lives have been forsaken in past wars motivated by
retribution when they could have been spared by a more civilized sense of
honor. Moreover it rebounds upon the avenger.

Hazrat Inayat Khan :
"A fire thus starts in that mind that had been peaceful and by reacting it too
participates in this fire which will burn oneself. It is giving fuel to the fire that rises for destruction and causes further destruction.By giving way to disharmony, one causes disharmony to multiply."

(The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan -The Alchemy of Happiness - Reaction)
Thus, spurred by our wounded emotion, we tend to react out of anger with
bravado rather than act in a concentrated way to control the situation. Let
us recall an incident in the life of Hazrat Ali who released an enemy who
spat at his face. Whereupon the enemy asked him why he did not kill him.
Hazrat Ali said: "I did not wish to react in anger."

Christís teaching "resist not evil" is a hint not to participate in and be guilty of the same evil.

Christís time honored announcement on the Mount of Olives, valiantly and
bravely challenging the vituperations of the Pharisees marked a radical
turning point in the course of history from the law of retaliation to the
ideal of love. Kabalists had aptly spelled the cosmic antinomy by opposing
Chesed (magnanimity) and Din (the law) in the Sephirotic tree  Ya Rahman
and Ya Wali.

"You have heard that it was said: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.
But I say to you: do not resist an evil doer.You have heard: you should love
your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say love your enemy and pray for
those who persecute you so that ye may be children of your father in heaven."

Matthew 6  38,43
This is the ultimate exhortation  admittedly difficult to follow.

It is non-violence when we love those who hate us. I know how difficult it is
to follow this grand law of love. But are not all great and good things
difficult to do? The objective should not be to punish the opponent or to
inflict injury upon him. We must make him feel that in us he has a friend. It
is a means to secure the cooperation of the opponent consistent with truth
and justice.

How can we be the friend of a ruthless, brutal killer?

They do not know what they do.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
The wise understands; for he knows that the others are drunk and he cannot
expect better of them. 

Vol. 6, Alchemy of Happiness, Life a Continual Battle (2)
During the battle it is an intoxication; [one] is battling but he does not
know where he is going, and at the end of the battle, even if he is
victorious, he will find that his victory is a loss. 
Vol. 6, Alchemy of Happiness, Life a Continual Battle (1)

But we cannot allow them to perpetrate their deadly harm upon innocent people
or besmear the sacredness of our ideal. Therefore we need to intervene with
might as a knight.

And having made a whip out of cords, he chased them out of the Temple. St.
Johnís Gospel

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Love for a devil should be to wish him to become better, but enduring his
mischief is like giving him a hold upon us.

This was precisely the issue I discussed with Noor as the Nazi cannons were
approaching our house. " We have paid lip-service to the Message of unity,
respect of all religions, all races, the sacredness of life. Are these just words? Now comes the acid test: this ideal is being violated and obstructed

what are we prepared to do for it?"

We decided to volunteer, to engage in the struggle heart and soul at the cost
of our lives, but without killing, to save the victims of this violation of the values we stand for. We abandoned our home, our security, but held our heads high.

I do not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer; but I mean the
pitting of oneís whole soul against the will of the tyrant. I do believe that
where there is a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise
violenceBut I believe that non-violence is infinitely superior to violence,
forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Strength does not come from
physical capacity; it comes from an indomitable will.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
He who has enough self-control to stand firm at the moment when the other
person is in a temper will win in the end.But in order to stand firm against
this disharmony that comes from without, one must first practice to stand
firm against the disharmony that comes from within. For oneís soul is more
difficult to control that the others. And when one fails to control oneself,
it is most difficult to stand against the disharmony without.

Vol. 6, Alchemy of Happiness, Life a Continual Battle (1)
So what are we to do? Are we just to sit back, stick together as a family and
listen passively to the news? Fret about the danger or hardships that could
befall us? Try to heal the wounds in our souls? Or are we simply to preach
the unity of religions to people blinded and deafened by despair? This was
precisely what Noor and I were discussing.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Suffering is our first call.

There could be more suffering in store, much more suffering of innocent
people. Are we prepared to help those victims of the situation in whatever
way we can? There will be a need for food against mass starvation, for
clothing and medicines. There will be a need to welcome and adopt distant and
unknown friends, to show love and understanding  as do the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Amnesty International, rescue operations.

Let us laud our heroes: the policemen, the firemen, and the rescue workers
who sacrificed their lives in the brunt of the catastrophe.

We are living the crux of the human drama right here and now. The issue is
what are our values? And are we prepared to uphold them? Rather than fretting
over the sword of Damocles hovering over our own heads or fleeing it to save our lives, we need to involve ourselves by offering a helping hand, to maintain order against abuse with authority but without hate, to affirm authority by our solidarity in service to our cherished ideal of a civilized people inspired by the divine ideal.

Notwithstanding, let our distress not overshadow our faith in a better world and our joy of contributing to it each in our way.

Rev. Martin Luther King:
We must make the pledge that we shall march together.We cannot turn back.No, no! We will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.