Welcoming You!

Office of the Secretary 
Brother/Sisterhood Activity for the Western Hemisphere
KarimaGita Erickson and Johara Steingrover, Activity Secretary
Stephanie Nuria Sabato and Mahrani de Caluwé, Assistant Secretary

The purpose of the International Sufi Movement is to work towards unity, [the ideal of Universal Sufism and the Religion of the Heart]. Its main object is to bring humanity, divided as it is into so many different sections, closer together in the deeper understanding of life. It is a preparation for a world service, chiefly in three ways. One way is the philosophical understanding of life; another is bringing about brotherhood and sisterhood among races, nations and creeds; and the third way is the meeting of the world’s greatest need, which is the religion of the day. Its work is to bring to the world that natural religion which has always been the religion of humanity: to respect one another’s beliefs, scripture, and teacher.

The Ego, Part 2, from Johara Steingröver and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


The whole course of life is a journey from imperfection to perfection.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The mist which Hazrat Inayat Khan refers to below, is the cause for why we have trouble connecting to our inner self. When Sufis talk about veils that cover our soul, they are referring to this mist. Our physical and mental appetites are causing this mist and thereby disturb our inner peace, and when our inner peace is disturbed, we cannot experience happiness. You could say that the veils make us lose our way in the mist. But with each veil that we recognize, we come closer to our inner light.

May the inner light shine on your path,
Your sisters Johara and Maharani




Truth is the light which illuminates the whole of life; in its light all things become clear, and their true nature manifests to view.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



The Three Parts of the Ego
Gathas, Volume 13: Morals
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The ego is divided into three parts, the physical ego, the mental ego, and the spiritual ego. The mental ego covers the spiritual ego, and the physical ego is a cover over the mental ego. The ego indeed is one, but these are the three different aspects of the ego.

The physical ego is nourished by the gratification of the bodily appetites. One sees that after a meal or some refreshing drink a sort of feeling of stimulation arises, and no doubt it covers with an additional cover the "I" within.

The gratification of every appetite is a momentary stimulation and rest to the body, but this momentary satisfaction creates a further appetite, and every experience in the satisfaction of the appetites gives a desire for more satisfaction. Thus the ego, the cover over one's mental and spiritual being, becomes thicker and thicker, until it closes all light from within.

This same physical ego gives man pride in his strength, in his beauty, in his power, in his possessions. If there is a spark of light in time it must expand to a shining star, and when there is the slightest darkness, that darkness must expand and put the whole life in a mist.

The Mission of Sufism, Part 2 from KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

Hazrat Inayat Khan was an inspiring Murshid (teacher), who taught that the main objective of Universal Sufism "is the same as which Christ has taught: love your neighbor."

No matter what particular religious tradition or faith we follow, may we be liberated in the truth that unites the "whole humanity as one body" whose spirit is God.

With loving regards and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan




Social Gatheka, No. 6, Part 2- Excerpts, The Mission of Sufism to the World
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Sufi mission looks upon the whole humanity as one body, all races different parts of that body, all nations its organs, the people the particles which make this body and the spirit of this body, God. As the health and happiness of the body depends on each of its particles being in good condition so the happiness and peace of the whole world and the people therein depend on the condition of one another. The Sufi mission does not invite people to believe in superstitions, to take an interest in wonder-working or to increase power or to investigate phenomena. Its main object is the same which Christ has taught: love your neighbour. To individuals, the Sufi mission has a different duty.

The Murshid (teacher)...kindle(s) in the heart...the divine spirit which is man's heritage. There is no particular discipline nor a particular faith which is forced upon [a person]. Every [person] is free to think for himself. Murshid's whole idea is to liberate the soul of the seeker after truth.



Reflection

Hazrat Inayat Khan, our Murshid, kindles remembrance of the divine spirit in our hearts through this universal message, "Love thy neighbor.”

"...each religion, each time it was given, has brought only a message of love, taking a different expression each time. It has been given in different ages and to different people; they have received it according to their evolution; and yet there has really been only the one teaching, that of developing love."
~ Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden, Love, Human and Divine, Hazrat Inayat Khan ~

With reflection on these teachings of Murshid, we might consider the condition of our body, mind and heart, and consciously observe our thoughts and actions towards those dear and familiar to us as well as those who are unfamiliar or uncomfortably different to us.

How does contemplation of this teaching and observation of our self, evolve our understanding of our relationship with others of our human family and our consideration and care towards them.

"...the happiness and peace of the whole world and the people therein
depend on the condition of one another."

May we consider the health and happiness of our self and of others, communing with all those we meet with a manner of friendliness, generosity, respect, and love.

To read The Mission of Sufism, Part 1, click For Archived Messages, below.

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The Ego from Johara Steingröver and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


The more a man explores himself, the more power he finds within.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear sisters and brothers,

At the start of this year we want to focus our attention on our egos.

People talk a lot about egos, but do we really know what we talk about? In general, we become conscious of our ego when it disturbs us. And when does the ego disturb us? Usually when others don’t give us the attention we think we deserve.

In the next months we will share texts of Hazrat Inayat Khan in which he shows us the many ways to cope with our ego. And the better we can handle our ego, the more we are in contact with our true self.

With love and light for the coming year,
Johara and Maharani




Beauty is the object which every soul pursues.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Symbology (Gathas)
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

"Know thyself and thou wilt know God,” said the great Sufi philosopher Ali.

To know the self is the most difficult thing in the world, because what man can perceive first is a part only of the self, a limited part. When man asks himself, "What is it in me that is I?”, he finds his body and his mind, and in both he finds himself limited and apart from others. And it is this conception of his being that makes man realize himself as an individual.

If man dived deep enough within himself he would reach a point of his ego where it lives an unlimited life. It is that realization which brings man to the real understanding of life, and as long as he has not realized his unlimited self he lives a life of limitation, a life of illusion. When man in this illusion, says "I," in reality it is a false claim. Therefore everyone has a false claim of "I" except some who have arrived at a real understanding of the truth. This false claim is called in Sufic terms Nafs, and the annihilation of this false self is the aim of the sage.

But no doubt to annihilate this false ego is more difficult than anything else in the world, and it is this path of annihilation that is the path of the saints and the sages.The finer an ego becomes the less it jars upon others.

If you wish to experience fully the beauty of life you must make your ego as fine as possible.

The Mission of Sufism, Part 1, from KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

The message of Universal Sufism that was brought to the world by Hazrat Inayat Khan upholds the ideal of tolerance for the many faiths that exist worldwide, teaching that these faiths are like the many waves in the sea of one Truth.

May this teaching inspire us to rise above the "distinctions and differences which divide" mankind, that we may grow in greater understanding for all people.

With loving regards and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan




Social Gatheka, No. 6, Part 1, The Misson of Sufism to the World
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The Sufi Movement has two missions to perform in the world, one as a duty to individuals searching after the truth, the next duty, to bring about a better understanding among people. Therefore these two missions depend on each other for their fulfillment. Without the progress of individuals the progress of humanity is difficult, without the progress of humanity in general the progress of the individual is also difficult. The Sufi movement is not political, because beyond the political to a Sufi there exists the mystical idea. In all ages in the past the spiritual message was given by the prophet, for the words of God came to humanity through the medium of a mystic. When the law has fallen in the hands of worldly intellectual people it will always prove imperfect. It wants seeing further than the average eye to see the actual condition of life, which those interested in life cannot see, for they cannot help being partial when there is a question of their own interest.

The principal thing that the Sufi message has brought to the world is tolerance for all faiths existing in the different parts of the world, followed by different people. This can be done by giving the idea of that one truth which stands as the stem of religion, and all different faiths as its branches. The true religion to a Sufi is the sea of truth and all the different faiths are as its waves. The message of God from time to time comes as tides in the sea, but what remains always is the sea, the truth. Those who consider another on the wrong track they themselves are also not on the right track, for the one who is on the right track finds every road leading to the same goal sooner or later. The Sufi mission does not make converts to a certain faith to the exclusion of all faiths. A convert to the Sufi orders means a convert to all faiths in this world and is bound by no particular faith. Faith to a Sufi is a free ideal, not a captivity.



Reflection

The true religion to a Sufi is the sea of truth
and all the different faiths are as its waves.
,
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Hazrat Inayat Khan introduces us to the dual mission the Sufi Movement serves in the world, saying that one is duty to individuals searching after truth, and the other is to bring about better understanding among people. How might we personally develop and bring about better understanding in the world?

With reflection upon the quote above, we may be inspired to be open to people of different cultures and to experience and learn about their customs, beliefs and faith traditions. Practicing this, our consideration naturally grows in understanding “of that one truth which stands as the stem of religion, and all different faiths as its branches.” Hazrat Inayat Khan encourages us to live this ideal by sharing it with others, and so foster better understanding among all people of the world.
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Happiness from Johara Steingröver and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


There is no source of happiness other than the heart of man.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear brothers and sisters,

At the end of the year, we often are in a meditative mood. In the text below Hazrat Inayat Khan shows again how important it is to be conscious that we need to develop our inner happiness. Because he says that if we are happy, our happiness radiates all around and by that atmosphere we attract people. Is this not the most beautiful Christmas thought?

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a lot of happiness for the coming new year.

With lots of love,
Your sisters,
Johara and Maharani




Does not Christ mean when he says to the fishermen,
"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men";
that, "I will teach you those manners of humanity
by which you will win everyone you may come in contact with"?
In an Eastern Rose Garden, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Symbology (Gathas)
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The love of Christ for the lamb symbolically expresses that to the Master that soul made a greater appeal which was simple and harmless as a lamb.

The faith of man is generally dependent upon the faith of the multitude; if the multitude calls the pebble a diamond, then man calls the pebble a diamond, everyone will begin to consider it and say it. And if the multitude thought that the diamond was a pebble then everyone would follow the belief of the multitude.

Christ said to the fishermen, "I will make you fishers of men," which meant, "As you spread the net and the fishes come into it, so by spirituality your personality will spread in the atmosphere, and the hearts of men hungering for love will be attracted to you as fishes."

Happiness, from KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

Hazrat Inayat Khan teaches, "Very often it is the outlook on life which changes the whole life for a person. It can turn hell into heaven; it can turn sorrow into joy." This message offers the insight that happiness is connected to our attitude and response to the conditions in life. We are encouraged to rise above all conditions as if upon wings, so that we might see things from a point of view that can relieve difficulty or suffering. May all beings have Happiness.

With loving regards and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan




Social Gatheka, No. 5, Happiness
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Does happiness depend upon the condition in life or upon an outlook on life? It is a question which is very often asked and it is most difficult to answer. Many with philosophical knowledge will say, this material world is an illusion and its condition a dream, but yet there are very few who can make themselves believe it. To know a thing in theory is different from practicing it. It is most difficult in this world to rise above the effect that conditions produce. No doubt to rise above conditions there is only one thing that helps and that is a change of outlook on life and this change is made practical by the change of attitude.

In the language of the Hindus, life in the world is called samsara. It is pictured as life in a mist. One thinks and says and does and feels, and yet does not know fully why. If a person knows one reason for it, there is another reason hidden behind which he does not yet know. Very often conditions in life show a picture of captivity, often it seems as if one had to walk between the water and a pit, and to rise above conditions one needs wings, which not everybody has. The wings are attached to the will, one is independence the other is indifference. Independence needs a great deal of sacrifice in one's life before one can feel independent in life. Indifference against one's nature of love and sympathy is like cutting one's heart asunder before one can practice indifference through life. No doubt once the will is able to spread its wings then one sees the conditions of life far removed, one stands above all conditions that make man captive. There is no difficulty which cannot be surmounted sooner or later, but even if one has achieved something one desires in life, there is something else in life that seems to be unfinished, and so if one went from one thing to another achieving all he desires, the object of his desire will multiply and there will never be an end to one's desire.

The more one has to do in life, the more difficulties he has to meet with. If one keeps away from the life of the world then his being here is purposeless. The more important the task the more difficult to accomplish it. And so every evening follows the day and goes on till eternity. For a Sufi, therefore, it is not only the patience to bear all things but to see all things from a certain point of view that can relieve him for that moment from difficulty and pain. Very often it is the outlook on life which changes the whole life for a person. It can turn hell into heaven; it can turn sorrow into joy. When a person looks from a certain point of view, every little pinprick feels like the point of a sword piercing through one's heart. If one looks at the same thing from a different point of view the heart becomes sting-proof, nothing can touch it, all things which are thrown at that person as bullets drop down without having touched him.

What is the meaning of walking upon the water? Life is symbolical of water. There is one who becomes drowned in the water, there is another who swims in the water, but there is another who walks upon it. The one that is so sensitive that after having one little pinprick he is unhappy all through the day and the night is the man of the first category. The one who takes and gives back and makes a game of life is the swimmer. He does not mind if he received one knock, for he derives his satisfaction from being able to give two knocks in return. But the one whom nothing can touch is in the world and yet is above the world. He is the one who walks on water. The life is under his feet, its joy and sorrow both. Verily independence and indifference are two things which enable the soul to fly.




Reflection

Does happiness depend upon the condition in life or upon an outlook on life?

Hazrat Inayat Khan presents us this question to reflect upon. He affirms that it is our attitude toward conditions that affects our happiness, saying: “There is only one thing that helps us to rise above conditions, and that is a change of outlook on life.”

Understanding that we may wonder how to accomplish this change of outlook, Hazrat Inayat Khan offers this wisdom: “To rise above conditions one needs wings… The wings are attached to the will, one is independence the other is indifference.”

Verily independence and indifference are two things
which enable the soul to fly.

While contemplating this teaching, we might visualize the Sufi symbol, the heart with wings lifted and spread wide. When a situation arises that we view as unfavorable, difficult, or a cause of unhappiness, we may practice remembering this symbol and this teaching, and reflect on its deeper meaning while observing our outlook on the situation. With awareness, reflection, and patience, we may discover we are guided to look at this situation from a different point of view, and so feel as if we are lifted upon wings.

It is the outlook on life which changes the whole life for a person.
It can turn hell into heaven; it can turn sorrow into joy.


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