THE DETROIT NEWS, SUNDAY, FEBRUARY
A genius of Oriental mysticism, and another
genius, of Occidental materialism, met last Wednesday,
looked earnestly at each other, and talked for an hour
about the First Cause, the world of matter, human
existence, the souls of men, the stretches of eternity
before and after this little span of life. As they
warmed to the themes which have engaged the mind of man
through the ages, each smiled at the other as though he
had encountered a friend of long ago.
"I agree with
you," said Henry Ford.
"And I agree with you," said
Murshid Inayat Khan.
Murshid (teacher) Khan, exponent
of that mysticism which has flourished for centuries in
the dreamland under the shadows of the Himalayas, and
who has been preaching in recent years throughout Europe
his gospel of self-forgetting meditation, is in Detroit,
giving lectures at the Twentieth Century Club.
STUDIES HIS VIEWS.
Murshid Khan waited with his
companions in the library of the offices of the Ford
Motor Company, at Dearborn. While he waited he read the
sketchy account of Mr. Ford's philosophy of religion in
a recent magazine. He had just finished, and had laid
the magazine on the table. He was thinking of Mr. Ford's
statement of his belief that in ages past mankind had
possessed knowledge of spiritual reality which has been
sacrificed in these materialistic, rushing latter days,
with their strife for that which is called progress.
Deliberate always in speech and manner, the elderly
prophet sat quietly thinking, but in the dark eyes was a
query. That sketchy article did not go far into the
With the rapid step of the man of affairs,
Mr. Ford came into the room. Surely, here would be a
clash of minds and theories !
"I have been waiting to meet you," Mr.
Ford said. "You are not really a stranger to me."
shortly appeared that, not being able to attend the
lectures of Inayat Khan, Mr. Ford had been employing a
stenographer to report them verbatim. He produced the
copies which had been delivered to him, but which he had
not had time to read.
"And now," said Mr. Ford,
"let's compare notes. I seldom discuss my own religious
ideas. I think that every kind of religion is doing
"I think so too," replied Inayat Khan, "but I
think we all need breathing space, time to think about
deeper things than—" he hesitated, as a smile played on
A BELIEF IN POWER
automobiles," Mr. Ford said, with a hearty laugh. "But
the power that makes the automobile go is, after all,
invisible. It is so with all things. I think the real
power of human lives is hidden away in the soul, and
farther than that. There are actual entities all about
us, entities of force, intelligence—call them electrons,
if you like. When a man is doing what is right, they
swarm to help him.
"The smallest indivisible reality
which exists is, to my mind, intelligent and is waiting
there to be used by human spirits if we reach out and
call them in. We rush too much with nervous hands and
worried minds. We are impatient for results. What we
need, and might have, is reinforcement of the soul by
the invisible power waiting to be used."
Murshid Khan, "completes the link in my philosophy of
the soul. I think there is One Being, all-embracing,
manifesting the primordial intelligence in every atom in
this universe. And there is a way to approach this
spiritual reality and to become linked with it."
RENEWAL OF STRENGTH
"And yours is the way of
meditation, is it not?" asked Mr. Ford.
yes. Periods of shutting out all of the material
objectivity of the world, with emphasis, again and
again, on the unity of the soul with the Soul of the
universe," replied Inayat Khan.
"That, to my mind,"
said Mr. Ford, "is the heart of personal religion. I
struggled for many years to solve the problem of
religion. But I believe that for mankind, at this stage,
religion opens the doors into unity of the soul with the
real power back of all things.
"But I found, as you
have said, that if I quietly withdrew from the nervous
anxiety over things, inventions, and the business that
drives from every side, there was renewal of strength in
the thought of being a part of the great unseen power,
call it God, Intelligence, what you will, I do not feel
that men can find anything more helpful or satisfying."
"Except," said Inayat Khan,
"if one realizes self-forgetting fully, and unity with
the One, there is surely peace and deep joy in such an
experience, and the human soul at that moment really
"It is like the artist in the
painting of a picture. It is never, when finished, what
he first planned. Creative inspiration comes as he loses
himself in the task. Completely absorbed in his work,
completely forgetful of self, shutting out the rest of
the world, his finished product is, at the last, a truly
creative expression of the self he has completely
"And so, also, with the musician. The
true musician always goes into improvisation. If he is
lost in his theme, immediately the theme grows into
beauty of harmony of which he had not before dreamed.
Whence comes the harmony he had never before heard? The
most beautiful music I ever heard Paderewski play he
improvised one day as I sat alone with him in his
studio. The best music has never been reduced to the
printed sheet, and cannot be, for it is the immediate
creation of the soul that has lost itself in the
contemplation of the beauty of harmony".
SOUL WITH GOD.
"That is the best symbolic
statement I can make of the real unity of the soul with
the Source of all beauty and truth. What the true
musician really experiences is possible for all human
souls in a wider sense, in contact with the Source of
life, power, beauty, truth, peace. But that contact is
made only by the forgetting of self. I know of no terms
in psychology by which the experience can be stated or
explained. But your musician, artist, poet, knows at
least the borderland of that experience."
There was a
moment of silence.
"Murshid Khan," Mr. Ford said, "I
think you are preaching a gospel that men of all faiths
can understand. No matter what form it takes in
doctrine, it is the thing Americans need. We can explain
nothing, really, if we try to follow through to the
final analysis. But I know there are reservoirs of
spiritual strength from which we human beings
thoughtlessly cut ourselves off. And I believe it is
possible for us to put ourselves in vital touch with
BELIEF IN GOD.
"Then you have a
real belief in God, Mr. Ford?"
"Why, of course." was
the quick reply. "Have not things been created, or are
they not being created constantly? I believe we shall
someday be able to know enough about the source of
power, and about the realm of the spirit to create
"I firmly believe that mankind
was once wiser about spiritual things than we are today.
What we now only believe, they knew. But as we became
wiser about the visible world, we lost the wisdom of the
unseen world, or it may be that we are only going back
to that wisdom by another route. I personally do not see
any difference between matter and spirit; they are both
one. I seldom say "spirit," because it seems to
prejudice that expression of it which we call matter.
"Our progress in mastery and use of the material world
need not interfere with our understanding and use of the
spiritual. Perhaps that deeper wisdom is what Jesus
referred to when He told us we must become as little
children if we would enter the Kingdom."
"Do you think the souls of men
"Everything is indestructible,
nothing is ever lost," Mr. Ford replied. "Souls come and
go, and they come again, prepared by past experience for
greater achievement and greater realization of whatever
eternal life holds for them."
"It is a never ending
circle of the life of spirits," said Inayat Khan. "We
say, in the East, there is the Source of all radiating
into manifestations of the One Intelligence in all
things and all souls. There is the realm of the angelic,
nearest the Source. Then there is the realm of genius,
which is manifested in this life in some souls. And
there are yet lower orders of manifestation of the
Source, like the rays of the Sun streaming out to the
farthermost reaches of the universe, attenuated, yet
real. What part the individual soul shall play in this
emanation of the Intelligence depends on the measure of
unity it realizes with its source of existence."
"Still, while I think that if all believe in the never
ending activity of the soul here, elsewhere, or here
again, I think if one meditates too much there is not
likely to be much work done!"
"But if one meditates
somewhat," replied Inayat Khan, "there will really be
much more work done, and better done, and with it will
be happiness and peace. I do not preach the denial of
the things of this world, nor do I condemn worldly
accomplishment. I preach only that with the things we
must do here in the material world there must also be
real attainment in the world of the spirit."
true," replied Mr. Ford. "It is the real religion of
life, and we all need it."
By A. M. Smith.