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.

Harmony, Part 1 by KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the midst of a manifest world with its apparent discord and disharmony, let us be as great light-houses upon a rock of the shore of a choppy sea, standing steady and firm, radiating the light of love, harmony and beauty.

Loving regards and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan


KarimaGita Erickson, Activity Secretary, USA
Gayan Galik, Assistant Activity Secretary, USA




Social Gatheka, No. 4, Part 1, Harmony
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

It seems that that which makes beauty is harmony; beauty in itself has no meaning. A certain object which is called beautiful at a certain place and time is not beautiful at another place or at another time. And so it is with thought, speech and action. That which is called beautiful is only so at a certain time and condition, which makes it beautiful. Therefore if one could give a true definition of beauty it is harmony. Harmony is the combination of colours; harmony is the drawing of a design or line, that is called beauty. At the same time a word, a thought, a feeling, an action that creates harmony, is productive of beauty.

Now the question is from where comes the tendency to harmony and from where comes the tendency to disharmony? The natural tendency of every soul is towards harmony and the tendency towards disharmony is an unnatural state of mind or affair. And the very fact that it is not natural makes it void of beauty. The psychology of man is such than man responds both to harmony and disharmony. He cannot help it, because naturally he is made so, mentally and physically he responds to all that comes to him, be it harmonious or inharmonious.

And the teaching of Christ, "resist not evil," is a hint not to respond to disharmony. For instance a word of kindness, of sympathy, an action of love and affection finds response, but at the same time a word of insult, an action of revolt or hatred, that creates response too, and that response creates more disharmony in the world. By giving way to disharmony one allows disharmony to multiply. At this time when one sees in the world the greatest unrest and discomfort pervading all over, where does it come from? It seems that it is from the ignorance of this fact that disharmony creates disharmony, and will multiply disharmony.

A person has a natural tendency that if he sees he is insulted, he thinks the proper way of answering is to insult the other person still more. By this he gets a momentary satisfaction, to have given a good answer, but he does not know what he has done by his good answer. He has given response to that power which came from the other and these two powers, being negative and positive, create more disharmony.

"Resist not evil," does not mean receive evil onto yourself. "Resist not evil," only means this: do not send back the disharmony that comes to you, just as the person playing tennis would send back the ball with his racket. But at the same time, it does not suggest that you should receive the ball with open hands. The tendency towards harmony may be likened to a rock in the sea and each wave comes with all force and yet the rock is still, stands, bears it all, letting the waves beat against it.




Reflection

The tendency towards harmony may be likened to a rock in the sea and each wave comes with all force and yet the rock is still, stands, bears it all,
letting the waves beat against it.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

During daily activity, we might turn our awareness to those moments when we are awakened by a quality of beauty. As we are enlivened by the beauty we contemplate, beauty tunes our being and radiates from one’s being. With deeper contemplation, we may notice feelings of love awakened, feelings of calm and balance, an inner stillness, a quality of harmony within.

We may also take notice of conditions and feelings of disharmony we experience. Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us, “By giving way to disharmony one allows disharmony to multiply.” Therefore, he gives us insight into the meaning of “Resist not evil” and encourages us to not return disharmony with disharmony.

When we are in the midst of disharmonious circumstances, we may practice consciously tuning to the qualities of beauty and harmony. With this love, harmony and beauty within, our being stands balanced and still, radiating love, harmony and beauty, and the waves of disharmony cannot disturb it.

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Optimism & Pessimism, Part 4 by KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik


Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

We greet the gift of a new day and the opportunity to practice tuning to the Divine spirit of optimism which Hazrat Inayat Khan encourages will instill in us a hopeful, positive attitude and promise success in the face of disappointment and difficulties in life.

May all beings be filled with the life giving spirit of optimism.

With Sisterly Love and prayers for an enlightened world,
Nuria and KarimaGita


KarimaGita Erickson, Activity Secretary, USA
Gayan Galik, Assistant Activity Secretary, USA




Social Gatheka, No. 3, Part 4, Optimism and Pessimism
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

A man with optimism will help another drowning in the sea of fear and disappointment; but on the contrary a pessimistic person if to him some one goes ill, or downhearted he will pull him down and make him sink to the depths with him. On the side of the one is Life, on the side of the other death.

One climbs to the top of the mountain, the other descends to the depth of the earth. Is there any greater helper in sorrow or misfortune, when every situation in life seems dark, than the spirit of optimism that knows that all will be right? Therefore it is no exaggeration if I say that the very spirit of God comes to man's rescue in the form of the optimistic spirit. Friends, it does not matter how hard a situation in life may be, however great the difficulties, they all can be surmounted; but what matters is if one's own pessimistic spirit is weighing one down low when already a person has come to low waters. Death is preferable to being weighed down in misery by a pessimistic spirit. Therefore the greatest reward there can be in the world is the spirit of optimism, and the greatest punishment that can be given to man for his worst sin is pessimism. Verily the one who is hopeful in life, he will succeed.



Reflection

…it is love trusting love which is optimism.
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Returning to the words above from Hazrat Inayat Khan on Optimism and Pessimism from Social Gatheka, Part 1, we are given a key to understanding how “the very spirit of God comes to man’s rescue in the form of the optimistic spirit.” May we turn within to our heart’s ideal of love and place our trust in that Divine spirit of love which is optimism. With daily contemplation upon this ideal, we might observe and realize how this affects our view of difficulties or challenges we face in life.

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The Glance by Johara Steingrover and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


The eyes are two windows through which the soul looks out.
Vadan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear brothers and sisters,

Did you ever look deep into the eyes of a baby and feel like you were looking into the light of the soul?
But as we grow up, the light of our soul is hidden beneath the veils of our experiences.
By making eye contact with all and everything we meet, we are able to connect on the level of the soul.
By contacting the soul we mean to look beyond the veils.
If we use our eyes as an instrument of our heart, we can truly connect with the other person.

With lots of love,
Your sisters,
Johara and Maharani




Beauty lies in the eye of the beholder.
Plato



The Glance (Gathas)
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

The eye is superior to every other organ of the body, it is the expression of the beauty of body, mind and soul. Through the eyes the secret hidden in man's heart is reflected into the heart of another. However much a person may try to conceal his secret, yet the reader can read it in his eyes, and can read there his pleasure, his displeasure, his joy, his sorrow.

One sees in everyday life that a person who is laughing in his mind with his lips closed can express his laughter through his glance, and the one who receives the glance at once catches the infectious mirth. Often the same happens through looking in the eyes of the sorrowful, in a moment one becomes filled with depression. And those whose secret is God, their contemplation is the perfection of beauty, their joy is endless in the realization of everlasting life, and from their heart the spring of love is ever flowing.

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Optimism & Pessimism, Part 3 by KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik


Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us, “The whole nature is made by God, so the nature of each individual is made by himself. And as the Almighty has the power to change His nature, so the individual is capable of changing his nature….”

We are therefore encouraged to remain optimistic in all circumstances and in all conditions of life.

With Sisterly Love and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan


KarimaGita Erickson, Activity Secretary, USA
Gayan Galik, Assistant Activity Secretary, USA






Optimism and Pessimism, Social Gatheka, No. 3, Part 3
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Very often the wise have seen that cleverness does not reach far, it goes so far and then it stands; for cleverness is knowledge which belongs to earth, and as to experience, what is man's experience, one is only proud of one’s experience until one has seen how vast is the world. In every line of work and thought, there is no moment of experience that is not needed, but the further man takes the experience the more he sees how little he knows. The psychological effect of optimism is such that it helps to bring success. For it is by the optimistic spirit that God has created the world. Therefore optimism comes from God and pessimism is born out of the heart of man.

What little experience of life man has, he learns this will not succeed, that will not go, this will not come right. For the one who is optimistic, if it does not come right in the end, it does not matter, he will take his chance. And what is life? Life is an opportunity, and to the optimistic person this opportunity is a promise, and for the pessimistic person this opportunity is lost. It is not that the Creator makes man lose it, but it is himself who fails to seize the opportunity.

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Water and Spirit from Johara Steingrover and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


The water that washes the heart is the continual running of the love-stream.

Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear sisters and brothers,

Our body consists of more than 65% water. As important as water is for our physical bodies, so spiritual nourishment is essential for our wellbeing. When we are thirsty we all know that we have to drink, but if we feel low we don’t always realize that we need to connect with our inner being. And if our inner life is not sustained, you could say we slowly die a symbolical death. 

With lots of love, 
Your sisters,
Johara and Maharani




My life is running towards Thee, O divine Ocean, as the river flows to the sea.

Vadan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



WATER, Gathas, Volume 13, Symbology 2.4
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

In the old scriptures such as the Vedanta and the Old Testament, spirit is symbolized as water. One wonders why something which is near to the earth, as water is, should be considered symbolically as spirit. The nature of water is to give life to the earth, and so the nature of the spirit is to give life to the body. Without water the earth is dead, so is the body without soul. Water and earth both mix together, so the spirit mixes with matter and revivifies it, and yet spirit stands above matter, as water in time lets the earth sink to the bottom and stands itself above the earth.

There is no place where water does not exist, [although] there are places where earth is not to be found. So there is nowhere in space where spirit is absent; only the absence of matter is possible.

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Optimism & Pessimism, Part 2 by KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik


Beloved Brothers and Sisters,

May our hearts be open to receive the spirit of optimism which comes from God, that we may seize the opportunities and experiences that help us to "know and understand life better."

With sisterly love,
KarimaGita and Gayan


KarimaGita Erickson, Activity Secretary, USA
Gayan Galik, Assistant Activity Secretary, USA






Optimism and Pessimism, Social Gatheka, No. 3, Part 2
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Very often the wise have seen that cleverness does not reach far, it goes so far and then it stands; for cleverness is knowledge which belongs to earth, and as to experience, what is man's experience, one is only proud of one’s experience until one has seen how vast is the world. In every line of work and thought, there is no moment of experience that is not needed, but the further man takes the experience the more he sees how little he knows. The psychological effect of optimism is such that it helps to bring success. For it is by the optimistic spirit that God has created the world. Therefore optimism comes from God and pessimism is born out of the heart of man.

What little experience of life man has, he learns this will not succeed, that will not go, this will not come right. For the one who is optimistic, if it does not come right in the end, it does not matter, he will take his chance. And what is life? Life is an opportunity, and to the optimistic person this opportunity is a promise, and for the pessimistic person this opportunity is lost. It is not that the Creator makes man lose it, but it is himself who fails to seize the opportunity.

Learn More