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.

Right Understanding by Johara Steingrover and Maharani de Caluwé-Rombout


Each human personality is like a piece of music,
having an individual tone and rhythm of its own.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



Dear brothers and sisters,

It is the season of harvesting. Hazrat Inayat Khan shows us in this text that fruits can be seen as the possibilities in our live. Symbolically we are like that tree that can produce all different sorts of fruit.

Hazrat Inayat Khan also says that when a person seeks for something in the universe and he cannot find it, it is not true that it is not there, the fact is that he does not see it. Or, in other words you underestimate your potential.

We hope this story will entice you to make your dreams a reality.

With lots of love,
Your sisters,
Johara and Maharani




Nothing can take away joy from the man who has right understanding.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan



The Tree of Wishes (Gathas)
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

There is a story about a tree, that a wanderer, while journeying in deserts, by chance happened to sleep under this tree. And when, after a good sleep, he opened his eyes and looked up that tree, he thought, I suppose it must be a pear tree. No sooner had he thought that then two good ripe pears dropped near him. While lying there he picked them up. “Oh,” he said, “what a wonderful tree! If it were a grape tree, what a splendid thing it would be!”

As soon as he said it, the tree seemed full of grapes, and before he raised his hands, the branches bent low and, without any effort, he was able to pick the grapes. But when he thought, “What a wonderful tree,” he wondered if the tree would yield some roses. And no sooner had he given a thought to it than the whole tree seemed to blossom into roses. This man became so surprised, so amazed and perplexed at this magical tree that he wondered if it was true or if it was only a dream. As soon as he thought of a dream and he looked up at the tree, the tree vanished in a moment.

There cannot be a better example to demonstrate the idea behind the symbolical tree than this story. For the tree is this whole universe, the miniature of which is one’s own self, and there is nothing that you ask that this universe will not answer, for it is the nature of the universe to answer your soul’s call. 

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Harmony, Part 3 from KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

The work of the Sufi Message “is to waken the consciousness of humanity to the true nature of love, harmony, and beauty.” To cultivate love, harmony, and beauty, Hazrat Inayat Khan encourages us to not give our attention to the faults of others, reminding us to take notice and charge of the disharmonies that arise within our self.

May the seeds of Love, Harmony and Beauty be cultivated through our thought and action.

With Loving regard and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan




Social Gatheka, No. 4, Harmony, Part 3
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Now the question is what is it that causes disharmony within oneself? It is weakness. Physical weakness or mental weakness, but it is weakness. Very often, therefore, one finds that it is bodily illness that causes disharmony and disharmonious tendencies. Besides, there are many diseases of the mind which the scientist has not yet found. Today in the world there are two things. One thing is that a person, who is too ill perhaps, is considered as an insane person, and then there are all other illnesses which are not counted at all. These people are counted among the sane people and as notice is not taken of the defects which are of the diseases of the mind, man never has a chance to notice them within himself. He is constantly finding fault with others. If he is in an office, if he is in a good position, if he is at home, everywhere he causes disharmony. Nobody knows, for to be treated as insane he must first be called insane.

The health of the mind is a question so little talked about in these days. In fact, as there come more solicitors, more lawyers, more barristers, more courts and more judges, so there come more cases. Consequently, prisons increase, and what is the outcome? After a person has gone to prison and comes back, he has forgotten where he was. He goes again in the same path. For the disease is not found out. In court, a person is judged, but it is not found out psychologically what causes him to do this. One can find in these prisons thousands of people with whose minds there is something the matter. And if for a thousand years they were kept in prison, they would not improve. Nothing but injustice is awarded to them by putting them in prison. It is just like putting a person in prison because his body is ill.

The cause of every discomfort and of every failure is disharmony. And what would be the most useful thing at the present moment in education is to give the sense of harmony, to develop it in children. It will not be so difficult as it appears to bring harmony to their notice. What is necessary is to point out to the youths the different aspects of harmony, in different aspects of life's affairs.

The work of the Sufi Message, a message which is of love, harmony, and beauty, is to waken the consciousness of humanity to the true nature of love, harmony, and beauty. And the training...is to cultivate these three things, which are principle factors in human life.



Reflection

How do we begin to waken our consciousness to the true nature of love, harmony, and beauty? As a first step, Hazrat Inayat Khan taught in Harmony, Part 2:

...one must first practice to stand firm against all that comes from within,
from one's own self.

Noting mankind's tendency toward finding fault with others, Hazrat Inayat Khan presents us the opportunity to practice observing this tendency in our self. When we give attention to the fault of another, we might observe within our self, the disharmony that is in this thought. This returns us to practice standing firm against all disharmony that comes from within ones' self.

Overlook the greatest fault of another, but do not partake of it in the smallest degree.
Gayan, Hazrat Inayat Khan

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Harmony, Part 2 by KarimaGita Erickson and Gayan Galik

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,

Hazrat Inayat Khan encourages us to stand firm against the disharmonies that come from within our own self. As we develop in self-discipline and self-understanding, we are then fortified to withstand the jarring effects of the disharmonies that come from without.

With Loving regard and prayers for an enlightened world,
KarimaGita and Gayan




Social Gatheka, No. 4, Harmony, Part 2
by Hazrat Inayat Khan

By fighting with disharmony one increases it, by not fighting it one does not give fuel to the fire which would rise for destruction and cause destruction. But no doubt, the wiser you become, the more difficulties you have to face in life, because every kind of disharmony will be directed toward you for the very reason that you will not fight it. But at the same time one must know with all that difficulty you have helped that disharmony which would have otherwise multiplied, to be destroyed. It is not without advantage, for every time you stand against disharmony, you increase your strength, although outwardly it may seem a defeat. But one conscious of the increase of his power will never admit that it is a defeat. And as soon as the time is passed the person against whom one has stood firm will realize that it was his defeat.

Life in the world has a constantly jarring effect and the finer you become the more trying it becomes to you. And the time comes that when a person is sincere and good-willing, kind and sympathetic, the worse life becomes for him. But if he is discouraged in it he goes under. If he kept his courage then you find it was not disadvantageous in the end. Because his power will some day increase to that stage, to that degree that his presence, his word, his action will control the thoughts and feelings and actions of all.

For he will get that heavy rhythm, the rhythm that will make the rhythm of everybody else follow it. This is the attribute which is called in the east the quality of the mastermind. But in order to stand firm against the disharmony that comes from without, one must first practice to stand firm against all that comes from within, from one's own self. For our soul itself is more difficult to control than the others. And when one is not able and one fails to control oneself, it is most difficult to stand against the disharmony without.



Reflection

In order to stand firm against the disharmony that comes from without,
one must first practice to stand firm against all that comes from within,
from one's own self.

Contemplating this teaching, we might first practice observing our self, giving attention to our reaction when confronted with an outer disharmony that is directed toward us.

In that moment, what feelings are we experiencing? Is the disharmony we experience caused by the external condition or source or is it a disharmony within that arises when confronted with that condition? With this self-observation we may know and understand our self and life better.

Hazrat Inayat Khan reminds us to stand firm against all disharmonies by not fighting or resisting it. As learned in the previous teaching, Harmony, Part 1, if we tune our thoughts, feelings, and actions to qualities of beauty we create harmony within, and in this, we are encouraged and fortified to withstand the disharmonies that come from without.

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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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