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Biography, Autobiography, Journal and Anecdotes

Part III - Journal and Anecdotes


There has been no end to my difficulties in the organization. Many I found willing to follow the Message, but not to belong to an organization, and I throughout my life had constantly to answer on that question to every newcomer, agitated against the idea of an organization. It is natural that people who would be attracted to my ideas should not necessarily be attracted to the organization. Besides many organizations have failed and many have brought discredit upon the members and many organizations are in competition with one another, ignorant of the idea for which the organization stood. It is true that in time the idea becomes lost and the organization remains as a body without a soul. But the consequence is that after seeing dead bodies, many become afraid of the living body, thinking that it also may be an apparition of the dead.

I had to answer them that an organization is like a ship which is built for a purpose, to carry the people and things from one port to another. If there was no organization, the home could not exist, there would be no defense for the country, in all works of life organizations are necessary to make things easy and life convenient. Many who disapprove of an organization, are ready to take the benefit that comes out of it. For them to say "We do not care for an organization" is like saying, "I like to eat, but I do not think about the kitchen."

Then many thought that they could tolerate me as the head of an organization, but not anyone else, who was different. It was like accepting the head and rejecting the body, which cannot be detached one from the other so long as life connects them both. And I had to tell them that I could not make of myself many, and if I could ever make myself into many parts, still each part of myself must be different, and the lesson that they had to learn was tolerance. Many said they could tolerate me, but I told them that it was not sufficient, they must tolerate others too, who are given a certain work to perform in the organization. Human nature always proves like a child, especially in the working of the organization, which is not necessarily spiritual. It gives them a worldly impulse and once it is aroused, the spiritual ideal for which the organization stands, is forgotten.

In the administration of the work I had no end of trouble and difficulty, caused by some of my helpers, who for some reason or other worked for the Cause without my point of view and my outlook on life. They very often through the lack of patience left their work and made things disagreeable, which thing one sees in all different activities. And yet I found that without the organization it was impossible to carry the work through, and especially in the West. For in the beginning I had tried to do so, on the same principle as in the East, but could not succeed. Many became interested in the idea, in the Message, most drawn to it, but in absence of organization there was nothing to keep them together; so disappointed many dropped away and became scattered. You cannot collect flowers without a basket, so is the organization for the ideal. For me who was born with a tendency to be away from all worldly activities and who grew every day more apart from all worldly things, to have an organization to make, to control, and to carry out has been a great trial and any disturbance in carrying it out made my position very difficult, and my spirit disturbed. If it had not been for the Cause, which is worth every sacrifice in life, I would not for one moment have troubled about the organization.

My great difficulty has been to find sufficient workers to answer the demand of the Cause. Some good ones seemed to lack the enthusiasm for going forward and standing for the Cause, and some who had the same, wanted tact and the wider point of view, that all embracing spirit which is the key to all success.

Some had not enough confidence in themselves, some did not endure sufficiently the difficulties which come as a natural course of the affair, some owing to their strong likes and dislikes did not get on very well with their fellow-workers; in some perhaps without their knowledge, remained a grain of nationalism or a spark of religious bigotry; in the heart of some a shadow of racial feeling; and in some the thought of their kind. Some mureeds whose help I anticipated to further the Cause, said "My people are not yet ready for your Message", which I interpreted as meaning that they themselves were not yet ready to work for the Message, the Message which is to the whole world. Some said, on my requesting them to work for the Cause, "Murshid you yourself are your best propaganda", which did not flatter me, it only showed me that they would rather have me work than trouble themselves.

Some came to me with goodwill and every desire to help but with their own ideas and plan of working. They wanted me immediately to change the whole organization, by taking away the different works which have been given to certain mureeds who voluntarily rendered service out of their devotion to the Cause. They wanted to change, according to their plan, everything which I had made after the work and experience of years. It seemed to me like a person coming and seeing a new building made, and offering his service to complete it, but on condition that the whole foundation must first be dug out. Not only that, but the one who was working alone in making the foundation of the building and those who came to help when there was no-one else to assist, must be told to go out from there when most of the foundation is completed, because someone else more capable wishes to assist. My very sense of reason could not find out justice in it. Often when this question was raised before me it dumbfounded me, I had no words then to discuss the matter. When the gulf is too vast between two ideas it is difficult to meet, and to my very great disappointment I had to refuse their offer of service.

On my part a continual conscientiousness to consider everybody's feeling, and on the part of some of my co-workers disregard of this principle, made me at times feel so sensitive as if a peeling had come off from my heart.

Some workers came to me promising me aid most eagerly, not because they wanted to help the Sufi Movement, only that they wanted to do something; if it was not to be the Sufi Movement, they would have chosen something else to do. I sometimes accepted their help, though not often. It has never proved to be satisfactory, for the reason that it is not their devotion for the Sufi Message that prompts them to work, it is their restless spirit which cannot remain still; they want to be doing something all the time.

Many wished to be benefitted by the Sufi teachings and my help on the path, but would not be willing to sacrifice for this what they consider their best principle, and that is to join nothing, for they were afraid they would become limited, but they did not know that they limited themselves by their own principle by not being able to join, for they were not free. This showed the injustice of human nature, even of those seeking after Truth, the most precious thing that could be sought. Even in the search of Truth they are not ready to sacrifice their little principle.

Some did not want to label themselves with the name of a certain organization and they refused to join the Order in spite of their keen interest. But the true reason of their refusal always is that they are not yet free from some label they have put upon themselves, of which they themselves are unaware. For once a soul is free, it is also free to join anything it likes, nothing binds it. For a free soul shows openness to all things.

Some workers complained about the difficulties in working, and brought before me as news something which I have always known, the solution of which difficulties could be found in themselves, nothing else would answer. Some workers said "People say this or that against the Murshid, or workers or the way it is worked out, or against the teaching." I found that the worker was not yet wakened to find the answer and was affected by what was said to him and he only wanted a force to strengthen his belief against what has been said. Some critical souls put all that came through their mind as said by someone else, as something told by someone else, and in this way they got relief by giving an outlet to it. My adversaries always took advantage of a mureed's weakness of faith, a worker's feebleness of mind and tried to do so either by showing sympathy with the work or the person and through sympathy saying, "What a great pity it is so badly done" or by frightening them, making a bhau [terror, dread] either of my person or of my work, saying, "It is political, there may be some danger behind it", or that it is anti-religious, or something to bring a slur upon my life. Those who could not resist long enough gave in to such influences and suddenly left me and my work Those wanting to create a discord among mureeds and workers found it easy to accomplish their aim (even with most devoted mureeds), and succeeded in doing so in influencing the most devoted workers and mureeds by appealing to them, touching their religious, national, or racial pride. And it was interesting for me to notice how this produced a barrier immediately in their minds, without them knowing.

I was thrown into the same battle unavoidably, which many others seek eagerly. Some think it does not matter if they are against Murshid, as long as they work for the Cause. But they forget that Murshid is the first Cause.

Some came to me, telling me, "I like your ideas but not the religious form of it." Some said, "I would like an initiation but no discipline." Some said, "It must be all impersonal, it must not be anything personal." Some said, "The spiritual personality is the only thing that gives me the proof of the Truth you have brought, though I care little for the Order." Some said, "The idea of brotherhood appeals to me very much, but I cannot believe in any mysticism." Some said, "In mysticism I am quite interested, but I do not care at all for the religious part of it." Some said, "It is the most beautiful thing I have ever heard, but I wonder if it is Christian?" Some said, " It is an Eastern idea, which is foreign to the Western mind." Some said, "It is not unfamiliar to us Western people. We know our religion, what we would like to know is something of the East." Some said, "I can join if only I knew that you believed in the doctrine of karma and reincarnation, which has been the basis of my knowledge." Some asked if the learning of wisdom that Sufism teaches would take away their faith in their own religion. Imagine if faith, a thing which belongs to oneself, which no one in the world has power to touch, would be affected by the light of wisdom; and if the light of wisdom ever affected their faith it would only light it up!

In order to answer the question what people want and what they do not want, dogma, form, priesthood, creed, if one summed it all together, the sum-total would be zero.

This certainly caused more or less difficulties, which added to the troubles already existing in my work. But I took it as a natural course of things and tried not to mind, except when I happened to have a worker whose tendency was to hold the Movement by its neck, who was thankful to have had that chance given to him and who held the Movement back by the power of his office from letting it flourish. It has not happened once, but many times, and has not only showed the tyranny of human nature, but the absurdity of trying to tread a spiritual path and yet feeding that egotism as a thorn in one's soul. I pitied them more than I despaired over my affairs. I found some working in the Movement who extended their social influence among mureeds of value and importance, in order to make an impression upon me that it is they who are holding the members, and that, if I did not agree with them, they would make all those in their influence disagree with me. The troubles which came to me from friends and helpers were sometimes harder to bear than the difficulties caused by my opponents.

It is the work of the organization that made me realize a side of human nature which I did not expect in a spiritual cause. I was amazed beyond words to find some workers who would either be my friends if I followed their advice, or otherwise they would act as my adversaries. It is like saying, "Either we will be your friends or we will be your foes, nothing between." That made me feel sore, yet I pitied them for their loss in their fruitless effort more than myself.

Many, not only strangers, but also friends, mureeds and workers, told me that they were afraid that this, our Sufi Movement, might become in time a creed; and some of them did not feel inclined to further the Cause for the same reason. I quite see their point of view, as clearly as they themselves see it, but yet I dare say that a creed which holds a divine Message freshly given, works like the heart that circulates the blood throughout the body, which is the world. It is the creeds which have lost that magnetism after having finished their period of mission in the world, that live in this world just like dead blood cells in the body. The one who sees it rightly need not compare the heart with the dead blood cells. Besides, it is like telling the Creator God, "Make not a physical body for the soul which is divine; this body will be passionate, will make man material, will make him lose his way, will make him forget God, will cause him to shed blood. These bodies will fight and quarrel and create floods of blood in the world, and all sorts of sins these bodies will commit. There is so much disadvantage in creating these bodies." And the Creator would give one answer, that "You see the disadvantages and I see the advantage beyond them all. You know not, who criticize. I know, it is my affair."

There is sometimes a tendency of mureeds, especially of workers, who are capable of interesting themselves more on things of organization, thinking that Murshid is from the East and therefore unaccustomed to Western way of organization, taking this as a good excuse for their discontent, which caused more trouble and confusion than necessary in an organization which is neither economical nor political.

One thing, I observed everywhere I went and it amused me every time. My friends in the East and West both spoke to me as to a child, in regard of my work; in spite of knowing that I had already worked and had some experience I always heard from them: "The character of our people is different from that of every other people." It was like saying: "The sky of our country is quite different from the sky of all the rest of the world, where our own sun shines and a particular moon beams." However, I learned from this how everybody, being conscious of his own particular section of humanity, ignores the common principle of human nature working in all places in the same way as under many and varied forms.

There has always been the financial problem before me to solve, and it still remains unsolved. If it had been a religion that made a certain creed proud of its spread, or if it had been a patriotic Movement which made a race or a nation interested in its furtherance, I would have had no end of help from all sides, but this being something which was neither in the interest of a particular creed, nor did it bring success or credit to any nation in particular but was in the interest of the whole humanity, naturally no particular section of humanity took any special interest in the Movement, though many admired its object; and therefore it always suffered financially. And now I got so accustomed to this condition that I feel it is natural for it to be so. But nothing in the world would discourage me. If there were not one single coin towards carrying on the work, if there was not one soul standing by my side to assist me in my work, I would still work to my last breath. For my entire strength comes from that Source, Whose Message it is, which I am destined to give. My only satisfaction, therefore, is in having done my best, and it does not matter under what circumstances.