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1923 - Additional Papers (1)

Saluk, Graciousness

No sooner the soul has touched the inner kingdom, which is the divine kingdom, than the true nobility of the soul becomes manifest from that soul in the form of graciousness. The kings and those belonging to the aristocratic families were trained in the manner of graciousness. But it is born in the heart of man. This means every soul shows the aristocratic manner from the moment it touches the inner kingdom. This shows that the true aristocracy is the nobility of the soul, when the soul begins to express in every feeling, thought, word and action that graciousness which belongs to God Himself.

Graciousness is quite different from that wrong manner which is termed in English patronizing. The gracious one, before expressing that noble attribute, tries to hide himself even from his own eyes. The reason why the great ones are gracious, the truly noble people, is because they are more sensitive to all the hurt or harm that comes to them by the unripe. And therefore out of their kindness they try to keep themselves back from doing it to another, however small in position.

There is a story of a dervish who was standing in the royal road at the moment when the procession of the king was passing. Happy in his rags as he was, he did not at all mind who was coming. He did not move an inch on the warnings of the people who were running before the procession, till they pushed him away. Yet he did not move very far, only said: 'That is why.' There came the body guards on horseback; they did not push him but said: 'Away, away, dervish, do you not see the procession coming?' The dervish did not move an inch, but only answered: 'That is why.' Then followed the noblemen. They saw the dervish standing. They did not like to tell him to move; they moved their own horses instead. The dervish seeing that said: 'That is why.' Then arrived the chariot of the king. His eyes fell on the dervish standing in rags boldly in the middle of the road. Instead of waiting for his bow, the king bowed himself, and the dervish answered: 'That is why.' There was a young man standing by his side. He could not understand the meaning of that word: 'That is why,' for every treatment. And when he asked the dervish to kindly explain what he meant by the word, 'That is why,' he said: ' It explains all I mean.'

There is a great truth in what Christ has said in the sermon on the mount, that 'Blessed are the humble, for they will inherit the kingdom of the earth.' This will always prove true whatever be the time and evolution of the world. Be it the time of aristocracy, be it the period of democracy, the value of that nobility of nature which is expressed in graciousness, will always command its price. It is easy to know this word but most difficult to practice it through life, for there is no end to the thought that it needs to be given to every action in life. It wants judgment and the fair sense of weighing and measuring all one does. Besides that it needs the fine sense of art and beauty, for in making the personality finished, one attains to the highest degree of art. making of the personality is the highest art there is. The Sufi whose life's object is to cultivate humane attributes and in which lies the fulfillment of the purpose of his life, considers this as his religion.

A young man one day showed a little impatience to his aged father, who at his age could not hear very clearly, and had asked him three times to tell him again. Seeing the disturbed expression in his face, the father said: 'My son, do you remember that there was a day when you were a little child and asked me what the bird was? And I said to you: 'The sparrow.' You perhaps asked me fifty times and I had the patience to repeat it to you again and again, without being hurt or troubled about it. Only I was pleased to tell you all I knew. Now, when I cannot hear you clearly, you can at least have patience with me if I did not hear you once, to explain to me twice.'

It seems that in order to learn that noble manner of life, what is mostly needed is patience, sometimes in the form of endurance, sometimes in the form of consideration and sometimes in the form of forgiveness.