The Supplementary Papers
How to Treat the Wounded
Death and wounds we receive on the battle field are called in the East Shahadiat, that means that a higher degree of piety or virtue was given to them. It may surprise a spiritual person who is kind, mild, good, that a higher degree of virtue should be given to one who wishes to kill another. The mystic does not look at it in that way. He looks upon it with the consideration that he who gives his life in battle, gives it not for his individual self. Man usually gives his life for his own purpose, for his own benefit. All his life he is striving to accomplish his own aim. He may commit suicide, he may die with the vision of the self-benefit before his eyes. The one who gives his life in battle, gives it, not for himself, but for those for whom he has fought, that means for the whole nation. Therefore for many, and where there are many, there is the thought of God. He has given his life for God.
This is Shahadiat, and the greater the number for whom he has given his life, the greater is his Shahadiat. It would be better if it were given for all, for humanity. We may remember the life of Christ, that was given for the truth, for humanity. This is the greatest Shahadiat. The wound, though it is not death, may be a great loss. We can see what the loss of one tooth is. The dentist may put in a new tooth, but there will never be the same joy as the own tooth. That is gone. Or if a man has lost his leg, however well made the artificial leg may be, it will never be as good as his own leg. The wounded man may have lost what can never be replaced. If all the territory is gained, it can never be given back to him. Our appreciation should be so great that it is enough to make up to him whatever he has lost.
Coming now to the question how to treat the wounded. In the West the medical treatment, the surgical inventions, the appliances have advanced so much that in this there is no more to be done. There remains to train the women how to receive, how to treat the wounded. What is learnt is the medical, the surgical work. Besides this we should know how to treat the wounded not physically only but spiritually. For this the first thing needed is sympathy. The consolation that the woman gives should be so great as to make up, to compensate the wounded for all he has lost, for all he has suffered.
Then hope. However bad the condition of the patient may be, she should give him hope. Even if there is no hope of improvement, for the time, at least, it should seem that he is better. Then it should be remembered that he has come from the noise, the stress and strain of the battlefield, that he has seen his friend to whom he was speaking, killed a moment later, he has seen those who were all around him, all killed in a moment. He must not be considered as another. His annoyance, his pain must be tolerated and consoled. If we go to Fleet Street only, how tired we are by the noise and busy life. When we come home afterwards, it is difficult to be calm. He has had great, very great shocks. He must be considered as a child under the care of his mother. What he says must not be taken seriously. It will be a very, very long time before he has recovered himself.
Sometimes sympathy is shown in such a way that the patient is made more ill. I have always seen that the children of grand people are more subject to illness than others, because for the slightest indisposition there is the doctor, and the treatment, and the remedies and the bed prepared and also the nice dishes. If we say to a wounded or sick person, "How ill you are. How very bad your condition is," his thought is drawn to his bad state, and he becomes worse. Whatever his condition is, we should say, "It is nothing very bad. It will be better." This is psychologically.
Mystically, when we go into the presence of a wounded or sick person, we should think that by our presence alone he will be healed much more than by all the medicines, for they are drugs and we are the living soul, the higher beings. For this healing-power three things are necessary. The first is confidence. If we think, "Perhaps I am a soul, or perhaps not. Perhaps I can have a healing influence, or perhaps not," then we have no confidence. We have no healing power. The next is purity of life. To be pure in every respect is the greatest strength. From the presence of such a person an influence spreads.
The third thing necessary is concentration. When we go to a wounded person or a sick person all our thoughts should be fixed on him, on the healing. If such thoughts come as: "I must go to the office for such a work, or I must go to the Holborn restaurant for luncheon," or, "My aunt said she would write a letter, and she has not written," then we have no concentration and we shall not heal the patient. We must develop the will by concentration.
This healing is usually done by the eyes or by the fingertips. There is a better way than this of healing, that is, to heal by your kindness. But this cannot be learned. If a person is not kind, he cannot learn to be so. The only thing is to practice kindness, to do kind actions, and so to develop the quality. Looking at the world we shall see that, besides these wounded, there are many other wounded. We shall see that the world is full of wounded and among thousands we shall find scarcely one healthy person.
There are the wounded by life and the wounded of the self. We should know how to treat these wounded also. There is a verse by a Hindustani poet: "First help into port the small boat, and then your own ship will come safely to harbor." This means: Stop in order to help another in his difficulty, and there will be every promise of your own undertaking being successful. But we can heal another only if we forget our own wounds. If these are always before our view, we cannot help others and we shall never be healed ourselves.
The wounded by life are those who have suffered hard knocks and blows in the struggle for life. Everyone has some purpose to accomplish in life, some object for which he strives. And in this pursuit he experiences the opposition of others, the hardness of the struggle of life. The wounded of the self are those who are wounded in the struggle with the self, those who have given way to the habit of some drug or of alcohol, or the habit of bitterness of the mind. They may not wish to have this habit, but their weakness keeps them bound to it.
There are also those who are wounded by the disappointments, the discouragements that they have experienced in life, those who have lost hope. To heal this third sort of wounded, what is needed is knowledge. And the knowledge that is needed is God-consciousness. The mind must be focused together. It is the mind that we wish to heal. If I have a wound on my hand, and I am always conscious that I have this wound it will never heal.
Shams Tabriz, a very great Sufi, was once called upon to make alive a king's son who had died. He said to him first, "Kun bi ism-i Allah," that is, "Arise in the name of God." The prince did not arise. It is a long story but I am telling it in short. Then he said, "Kun bi ism-i," that is; "Arise in my name." The prince arose and was alive. For this Shams Tabriz' skin was taken off by order of the king. They said that "in my name" was the claim of being God, and the punishment for that was that the skin was taken off. And he very willingly let them take it off. The first command was "Arise in the name of God." For one who had attained to God-consciousness this was not a fitting command, because it meant that God is a separate being. The second command was "Arise in my name." This was a right command, because a person who has God-consciousness knows that he is not separate from the Divine power. This story has a great moral, that, no matter how good, how pious, how virtuous we may be, unless we realize our at-one-ment with the Divine Being, we cannot have healing power. God bless you.
Muruwwat is a virtue, most delicate to express in words. It is refraining from any action in respect for another, be it in consideration for someone's age or position or knowledge, goodness or piety. Those who practice this virtue they do not need to have that respect only for someone with position or piety, but one develops this quality which manifests in his dealings with all. Muruwwat is contrary to what one calls in English bluntness. Muruwwat is not necessarily respect; it is something more delicate than respect, it is consideration and respect both together. This virtue in its full development may even rise to such an extent that a person out of consideration and respect may try and sustain the lack of the same coming from another. But when one arrives at this stage then human manner finishes, and saintly manner begins. Man in this world is not born only to eat, drink and make merry. He is born to arrive at the fullness of humane character. And he realizes that by greater thoughtfulness and consideration. If not, with power, position, wealth, learning and all good things in the world, he remains poor, without this richness of the soul which is good manner. All beauty around one is something which is outside one. And the only beauty which is dependable is to be found and developed in one's own character.
A person may show lack of Muruwwat, if not in words, in his glance. One does not need to speak in order to be rude. In one's look, in one's turn or twist, in one's standing up or walking, in closing the door after leaving the room, one can show one's feeling. If man does not speak he makes the door speak. It is not an easy matter to manage oneself, when one's mind has escaped his hands. Plainly speaking Muruwwat is an action out of consideration and respect for another under a situation when a rude impulse is called out, in other words, controlling ourselves from committing insolence out of respect for another.
It is such delicate ideas which are most difficult to learn and to practice in life. Many today may wonder if it cannot be a weakness. But nothing in the world can prove to be a weakness which can only be practiced by mastering oneself. There is no loss if thought or consideration was given to someone who did not deserve it; for if such an action did not bring any profit, still it was a practice; for it is practice which makes man perfect. God bless you.
One's Attitude Towards Those with Whom One Has to Work
The question arises what may be done if one is tied to another in business or in a tie of relationship or in a certain enterprise where both have the same interest, the same destiny, and to a certain extent the same goal. This is most difficult to answer in a few words for in the first place one must know the reason why another person does not act as one wishes him to act, and then one must remember one's own position in connection with the person. There are situations where one has perhaps more experience of life and more responsibility in life than the other and one has more right to be different from what is expected than the other.
It is well to realize in what capacity one stands in considering this question, for it is more the work of the elder and superior in position to think why the younger one or the one who assists him in the work acts differently from what is expected, instead of the younger one and the one who assists to think why the one whom I assist acts differently from what I expect of him. However, whatever be one's position in connection with another in life, there is one principal thing to be remembered, that is by judging, by complaining, by criticizing, most often one turns things from bad to worse.
Do not think that another person wishes to be corrected by you, be he wise or foolish, older or younger, as soon as one takes the step to correct a person one so to speak does violence to his pride, his ego, and by doing so upsets his right thinking. There are ways of doing things the wiser. The more beautifully he accomplishes his purpose, if one has to be humble in doing it beautifully, if one has to bend instead of wishing the other person to bend it really matters very little. Criticizing a person, accusing a person of his fault is no less than slapping him in the face, perhaps worse.
In all cases it is consideration which is needed, a respectful attitude towards the human being, whatever be his position in life; it is that which gives you a complete victory. The great kings of this world very often have been pulled down from their thrones by those who for years bowed and bent and trembled at their commands, but the Christ-like souls who have washed the feet of the disciples are still held in esteem, and will be honored and loved by humanity for ever. Their example is the example to follow in life's path, which is full of thorns, and those who have followed this principle even in the smallest degree, they have arrived safely at their destination.
God bless you.