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 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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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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