The Glorious Divine Play
..... and How to Enjoy It
Things are not as they appear...
For most people, the greatest obstacle to discovering true peace is their
feeling of "control"... the false belief that they themselves can really cause
this or that to happen solely by their own personal will.
Alas, there is very little that is solely caused by any person. This is not
meant to suggest that our will is not important, but rather that we can greatly
benefit by learning to recognize the power behind our power, the One who is the
cause behind the cause.
When one thinks deeply about the origin of drama, one finds that
drama belongs to the origin of life itself; not only has man invented dramatic
art, but God has produced a play in the form of this manifestation. Very often,
inquiring souls raise the question of why, if God is kind and loving and
merciful, must there be these tragedies in life — suffering, disappointments,
and failures. And the best answer that could be given to this question is that
He has arranged this play. Would we say that it is unkind to give someone the
part of the victim in a play, or that it is wrong of the producer to give an
actor the part of a murderer? But when we look at it as a play, we see that all
these different parts are given in order to produce one effect, in order to get
to the essence. For every character in the play, from beginning to end, the king
and the slave, the murderer and his victim, the lover and the one who hates, the
cruel one and the one who is kind-hearted, the one who is just and the other who
is unjust — they are all helping to produce one ultimate effect, and it is for
this effect that the whole play has been arranged.
It is the same with God and the Creation. The whole of
manifestation is arranged, with all its desirable and undesirable aspects, with
its right and wrong, and with all the kindness and cruelty that we see on the
surface of this earth; all this produces in the end one single effect for which
the whole play was made. One might say that if this is only a play then it is
nothing, but if this is nothing, then there is nothing else that we can call
anything. If anything exists at all, it is this manifestation; one may call it
everything or nothing, as one wishes. ...
When we consider our own individual life, is it not a drama? In
the dream, a play is performed; for hours on end a certain life is experienced.
But when the eyes are opened, the curtain has fallen and the play is over. That
which was real at that moment becomes a dream, as soon as the eyes are open and
the sun has risen.
from The Sufi
Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume X, Drama
People can certainly cause some small and relatively unimportant
things to happen, but everything that is really important is out of our
control. On a personal level, we are not even in charge of whether or
not we will wake-up in the morning. We are not in charge of whether our
hearts will continue beating. We are not even fully in charge of when we
inhale or when we exhale. And on a spiritual level, we have even less
influence! It is no exaggeration to say that everything really important
is out of our hands.
says, 'I have done this,' or 'I can do it,' or 'I will do it,' the
One perfect in power and wisdom smiles as a grown-up person would
smile at a child saying, 'I will remove mountains.' It does not mean
there is no free will, but if one only knew what is behind one's
free will he would never call it free will, he would call it His
from Sangatha II, by Hazrat Inayat Khan
We are in the midst of a grand creation, a Divine Play which has been
going on for millions of years, in which we are only on the stage of
life for a very brief moment. We have come in to the play very late, the
plot is already well established, and there is really nothing that we
can do to change the plot.... our greatest choice is whether to enjoy
the play and extend the wonderful qualities of love, harmony and
beauty to our fellow participants in this grand play, or to fight and
struggle against the established plot in our own self-centered, futile
Look at life as if it was a play going on on the stage, with the
actors all dressed up as the king, the servant, the minister, the
judge, but when they come away from the stage, they have only
performed their part in the story. They are nothing, but while they
are on the stage it is their duty to perform the role which they are
meant to perform. So one understands that one is performing the role
of a king, of a thief or of a judge, of a servant or of a prince. It
only means that it is meant so; it is written in the story that it
should be performed like this. It is a play that we all perform in
the whole universe, and each takes part in this play, a certain part
which is given to him maybe a desirable part or an undesirable part.
Only the one who sees it in this light sees that it is a stage on
which a play is performed, and the one who does not see it in this
light thinks that it is really like this - his life is most
The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat
Khan, Volume XIV, Points of View
All of the actors in this grand play have some degree of freedom;
they can say their lines in a loud voice or perhaps a quiet voice, they
can stand in whatever position suits the needs of the moment, they can
move about as they play their part, yet the overall plot will remain
unchanged... so why not relax and enjoy the wonder of it all?
This grand play is choreographed by Divine Will. When we act in
harmony with the Divine Will, then all that we have envisioned comes to
pass, and it seems as though our own will is being done. But when we
attempt to act in opposition to the Divine Will, then our plans will not
be successful, and we see that our own will and our petty opinions mean
nothing when they are in opposition to the Divine Will.
Sometimes things are accomplished without the least effort. When
it is the divine will it is like something floating on water; it
advances without effort. Problems and actions may be achieved in a
moment then, whilst at other times the smallest problem cannot be
solved without great difficulty. One finds that some persons are
very clever and experienced in industrial work or in politics; and
they have striven very hard to attain their goal, and yet have
accomplished nothing; they are always a failure. And there are
others who take up a thing, and without much effort, without much
worry on their part they complete it and attain their goal.
All this is accounted for by harmony with the divine will.
Everyone experiences such a thing at some time or other. When things
are in harmony with the divine will, everything is there; we just
glance towards a thing and it is found, as in the saying, 'Word
spoken, action done.' When we strive with all the material in our
hands and yet cannot achieve our desire, that is when the matter is
contrary to the divine will. Our success or failure all depends upon
the harmony or disharmony of our individual will with the divine
The Sufi Message of
Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume VII, The Will
As the Prophet Muhammad said 'Tie your camel, and then put
your trust in Allah', that is, we should do our best, but beyond that,
matters are really not up to us. All of the matters that are truly
important are guided by the hand of The One, the Unlimited One who does
not really need our limited advice. The Almighty One is truly in command
and really does not need our guidance! The realization of this simple
fact is the moment when true submission really begins.
There is really only one thing that we control... and that is how we
react to the present moment. If we react to the present moment with fear
or anger or self-pity, then we are sowing seeds of fear and anger and we
will continue to grow ever-larger crops of fear and anger and
unhappiness until we choose to quit planting such seeds.
On the other hand, if we react to every situation with loving-kindness, then
we are sowing seeds of loving-kindness which will grow into ever-larger crops of
loving-kindness, to be harvested by us and by all those around us.
Look not on life as a person would watch a play on the stage.
Rather look upon it as a student who is learning at college. It is
not a passing show; it is not a place of amusement in which to fool
our life away. It is a place for study, in which every sorrow, every
heartbreak brings a precious lesson. It is a place in which to learn
by one's own suffering, by the study of the suffering of others; to
learn from the people who have been kind to us as well as from the
people who have been unkind. It is a place in which all experiences,
be they disappointments, struggles, and pains, or joys, pleasures,
and comforts, contribute to the understanding of what life is.
Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume VII, Nature's Religion
Many people will readily agree that there is indeed a Creative Intelligence
which has created all of the worlds for some purpose... yet those same people
often act as if the Creator has made some great blunder and that the
Creator should change the circumstances of Life to better suit their own
personal needs or opinions. There is a plan that has been going on for millions
or billions of years without our approval or our corrections or our demands.
Clearly, the Creator does not really need our opinions, corrections or demands.
Free will is an important concept, yet it is a bit of an illusion. Everything
that actually happens is, in some way, in accord with the grand plan of the
Divine Will. Thus, every action that a person can actually carry out must
necessarily fit within the scope of the Divine Plan. Any actions which are not
in accord with the Divine Plan will not be carried out, and no matter how much
one plans or schemes, such plans will be thwarted.
However, this does not imply that one should be passive or inactive.
Indeed, one should be active and enjoy the wondrous benefits of Life.
One should wish for the happiness of others, pray for the happiness of
others, work for the happiness of others, strive in every possible way
for the happiness and well-being of others... but have no expectations
or demands about the results. The results are determined only by the
Divine Will, and none other.
This is the challenge: to do one's work only for the glory of The Lord,
with no expectations, no demands and taking no credit whatsoever for the
When all desires that surge in the heart
are renounced, the
mortal becomes immortal.
When all the knots that strangle the
are loosened, the mortal becomes immortal.
This sums up
the teachings of the scriptures.
Katha Upanishad (II.3.14-15)
We can plant seeds, we can water the seeds, and we can help to make
conditions favorable to their growth... but we cannot actually make them
grow, that is beyond our power. So, we must do our best to plant good
seeds, do our best to help make good conditions for their growth, but
leave the results to The Almighty and none other.
In conclusion we come to understand that there are two aspects of
will working through all things in life. One is the individual will,
the other the divine will. When a person goes against the divine
will, naturally his human will fails and he finds difficulties,
because he is swimming against the tide. The moment a person works
in consonance, in harmony with the divine will, things become
from The Sufi Message
of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume XIV, Destiny and Free Will
We are, as Sri Aurobindo has put it, merely "vessels of the Universal Will" and
our every act must necessarily be in accord with whatever that Universal Will
has decided. Indeed, the fruits of all action are should be dedicated to the
glory of the Divine, not for mankind to gloat over. The path to bliss is to be
in harmony with the Divine Will and unattached to the fruits of any action.
How can we, mere creatures of Earth, ever hope to understand the
Divine Will? Perhaps we will never really understand it, but we can
learn to live in harmony with the Divine Will. In order to learn to live
in harmony with the Divine Will, mankind has been given the glorious
example of Nature and has also been been the magnificent examples of the
lives of the Prophets. The one who studies the ways of the great
Prophets and strives to be in harmony with the ways of their teachings
will be blessed. And the one who studies Nature and strives to be in
harmony with the divine ways of Nature will also be blessed.
To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of the
holy book that contains divine revelation, and he is inspired every
moment of his life by constantly reading and understanding the holy
script of nature.
The Sufi Message of
Hazrat Inayat Khan, Volume I, Sufi Thoughts
There are so many activities going on in one's own life, so many
interests, so many distractions -- how can we decide what is important,
what leads to Divine Harmony, and what should be given lesser priority?
Jesus gave us these glorious ideals:
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou
shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On
these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
And likewise, in the Bhagavad-Gita Krishna tells Arjuna:
Through unfailing devotion you can know Me, see Me and have union
with Me. Whoever makes Me the supreme goal of all his work and acts
without selfish attachment, who devotes himself to Me completely and
free from ill will toward any creature, enters into Me.
Love, compassion, sympathetic joy, equanimity, selfless giving -- these
glorious principles are always in harmony with Nature, with the
Prophets, and with the Divine Will; thus they always lead to
enduring, blissful peace.
Ahhhh... what a delightful and grand play this is.... when in doubt, Love!
posted June 23, 2002... updated 6-Nov-2006