"It's not a spectator sport!"


by Hazrat Inayat Khan : typed by Connie Zareen Delaney

1. Belief and Supersition

EVERY country seems to have certain beliefs which are called beliefs by the believers and superstitions by those who do not believe. There are beliefs which arise from some subtle experiences of life, and some which spring from intuition, and they are believed by some who are inclined to believe and they are mocked at by some who cannot understand their meaning, and often by those who do not wish to trouble themselves to investigate the truth in them. It is easy to laugh at things, and it takes patience to endure and tolerate things that cannot appeal to one’s reason. And it is difficult to investigate the truth of such beliefs, for it requires something more than reason to probe the depths of life.

Those, from whom the beliefs come, naturally could not give the explanation of those beliefs to everybody; for the man who is capable of believing a thing is not necessarily capable of understanding it by an analytical explanation. There are natures which would be willing to believe a thing if it is for their good, if it comes from someone whom they trust, but it is too much trouble for them to go deeply into the matter. For some among them it is better that they should not have an analytical knowledge of a belief, for to some the belief is helpful but its explanation confusing. It is a certain grade of evolution that enables man to understand a certain belief, and a man must not be told what he is incapable of understanding, for, instead of helping him, it puts him off.

There is a great deal of psychic law which can be traced in such beliefs, and in time such beliefs turn in to customs. There is a vast field of knowledge in the beliefs of Indians. India has been a country where beliefs have existed for thousands of years unchanged, and some beliefs have become customs. At first sight an intellectual person who cannot look any further than the surface of things is apt to think that people in India are full of superstitions. Their whole life seems based on them; not only in religion do they have beliefs, but even in their domestic affairs. In their everyday life every move they make, every word they say is in accordance with some underlying belief.

No doubt a tendency of taking interest in superstition should always be avoided; for the more thought one gives to superstitions, the more he seems to be drowned in the thought of superstitions. Wherever the superstitious man looks he gets an impression of some fear, some doubt, some suspicion, which generally leads to confusion. But for the wise a disregard of superstitions is not satisfactory, for by wisdom man becomes capable of understanding them, and understanding them is better than to mock at them or even than to believe in them. For the one who believes in superstitions is, so to speak in the water, and knows that he is in the water; but he who mocks at them is in the water, but he does not know that he is in the water. By understanding them man is capable of swimming in the water, and by mastering them he walks on the water. The man who knows all things and acts according to his knowledge becomes the master of life.


By Connie Zareen

No matter how sophisticated we are, we each have an inner being that is like a little puppy needing attention. We are each responsible for keeping our inner essence fed and healthy. The mind can never be a replacement for the heart of compassion, and turning our compassion on ourselves is a kind and generous way to live. This is why it is good to sing a song when we are sad, quote a hero when we are afraid, say a prayer when we need help. To even the most sophisticated person, a peaceful ritual or superstition soothes the frightened animal inside.

We have a natural heart and a natural mind that is hungry to be led by our true self. Existential confusion is not that natural state of a human being! Our inner experience can be a harmonious expression of the outer world. This natural part of our self is already free from ignorance, and awake to the full experience of being human. There is no need to pretend, or think or build stories around this natural self.  It stands on its own in a full state of regal self mastery.

As human beings we can become completely caught in our imagination, and then we are drowned in a sea of ignorance, where an army of fears and desires battle in our being day and night. With courage and determination, however, we can take on our over-active imaginations and realize that the nature of the mind’s interpretation is illusion. We can the gain self mastery.

In every society and group there are a handful of people willing and able to make the ultimate decision to become master of their own experience. These people gain a new perspective that throws a light on the society in which they live. There will also be a group of people who want to be leaders, and put their energy into becoming leaders of others, before they master their own illusions. These leaders can be effective in their society, and use guidance from the past to inform their lives and guide others. This works well in cultures that are not facing new challenges.  But it becomes a difficulty when we are facing the changes that evolution brings to us as a people. Old beliefs and superstitions that used to inform can become a powerful force of resistance to anything new.

The light of truth is one, but its expression needs to be fresh in societies which are experiencing change. In a society that is growing, it becomes a moral imperative for the masters of self to step up and create a new spirit of guidance to inform their culture. Today’s huge populations call for more than individual realization. Fortunately we have the communication tools for groups of illuminated beings to decompress their experience into an expression of truth that is fresh and functional. This will create a revolution in art and culture unprecedented in human history.