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THE SACRED READINGS
compiled by Rev. Mikail
the Dignity of Others
Hindu: Bhagavad Gita
"Strive constantly to serve
the welfare of the world; by devotion to selfless work one attains the
supreme goal in life. Do your work with the welfare of others always in
mind. It was by such works that Janaka attained perfection; others, too,
have followed this path."
Buddhist: Santideva, Guide
to the Boddhisattva's Life 8.126-128
"If, for my own sake, I
cause harm to others, I shall be tormented in hellish realms. But if for
the sake of others I cause harm to myself, I shall acquire all that is
magnificent. By holding myself in high esteem, I shall find myself in an
unpleasant realm, stupid & ugly. But should this attitude be shifted
to others, I shall acquire honors in a joyful realm."
Zoroastrian: Zend Avesta,
"May generosity triumph
over meanness, may love triumph over contempt, may the true-spoken word
triumph over the false-spoken word, may truth triumph over falsehood.
Taoism: Chuang Tzu, 23
"He who can find no room
for others lacks fellow feeling, and to him who lacks fellow feeling, all
men are strangers."
Judaism: Talmud, Sanhedrin,
"All men are responsible
for one another."
Christianity: I Corinthians
"Everything is permissible,
but not everything is constructive. Let no man seek his own good, but rather
the good of his neighbor."
Islam: The Fortieth Hadith
of an-Nawawi 12.p.505
"Happy is the person who
finds fault with himself instead of finding fault with others."
Gayan of Hazrat Inayat
"My thoughtful self! Reproach
no one, hold a grudge against no one, bear malice against no one; be wise,
tolerant, considerate, polite and kind to all."
"He who makes room in his
heart for others, will himself find accommodation everywhere."
(compiled by Rev. Hamid
There is a humorous story
told by Jallaludin Rumi on this subject;
Four Muslims from India go
to a mosque to say their daily prayers. They begin their prostrations and
are deep in concentration and sincerely when the man who does the call
to prayer walks in front of them. One of the Indians looks up at him and
says, 'Oh, are you going to give the call to prayers now? Is it time?',
thus breaking his concentration and invalidating the power of blessing
of his prayer.
The Muslim next to him says
under his breath, 'You spoke. Now your prayers are invalid.'
The one next to him says,
Uncle, don't scold him! You have done the same thing. Correct yourself!'
The fourth one says out loud,
'Praise be to God! I haven't made the same mistake as these three.'
So all four prayers were
interrupted, with the three fault finders more at fault than the first
Rumi goes on to say, 'Blessed
is one who sees his weakness, and blessed is one who, when he sees a flaw
in someone else takes responsibility for it.
Because, half of any person
is wrong and weak and off the path. Half! And the other half is dancing
and swimming and flying in the Invisible Joy.'
From; 'The Sayings
of Mohammad' by Abdullah Suhrawardy
88. "O Apostle of God ! Inform
me, if I stop with a man, and he does not entertain me, and he afterwards
stops at my house, am I to entertain him or act with him as he did with
me?" Muhammad said, "entertain him."
91. Abuse nobody, and if
a man abuse thee and lay open a vice which he knoweth in thee; then do
not disclose one which thou knowest in him.
'Let your fellow man's honor
be as dear to you as your own (Ethics of the Fathers 2:15). Is it
possible [to be as concerned about anothers person's honor as about one's
own? Rather] this teaches that just as one looks out for his own honor,
so should he look out for his fellow man's honor. Just as he desires that
there should be no smear on his good name, so must he be anxious not to
smear the reputation of his fellow man.'
The Fathers according
to Rabbi Nathan 15:1
of Hazrat Inayat Khan
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 care, fully 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
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.
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