Inspiration

Inspiration is God’s gift.  You cannot force inspiration.  You cannot cause inspiration.  Inspiration is a spontaneous occurrence that comes of its own accord at its own time.  As and when God wills.  In the words of the ancient Greek Tragedian Aeschylus “He who learns must suffer, and, even in our sleep, pain that we cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the ‘awful’ grace of God.” 

“When the sun (with its spacious light) is folded up; when the stars fall losing their lustre; when the mountains vanish (like a mirage); when the she-camels ten months with young are left untended; when the wild beasts are herded together (in the human habitations); when the oceans boil over with a swell; when the souls are sorted out (being joined like with like); when the female (infant), buried alive, is questioned for what crime she was killed; when the scrolls are laid open; when the world on high is unveiled; when the blazing fire is kindled to fierce heat; and when the Garden is brought near; then shall each soul know what it has put forward.”
– An Excerpt from Translation of Surah Al- Takwir – The Holy Koran

“Anxiety occurs (only) at the time when that (object of desire) is hidden: this searching is after the unseen.  (If) the throne of the heart has become restored to soundness and purged of sensuality, thereon the Merciful God is seated on His Throne.  Our senses and finite speech (reason) are obliterated in the knowledge and wisdom of our (Divine) King.  Except love of the most beauteous God everything, though (outwardly) it is (pleasant like) eating sugar, is (in truth) agony of spirit.  He that works without tools and without limbs, He that bestows these profitable gifts, causes the intelligence to taste myriads of wines in such wise that eyes and ears are unaware.  Is this an enchantment of the eye? (Or) is it a marvellous hidden grace? On thee is the form of the wolf, and on me is the quality (beauty) of Joseph.  Unless the Watcher open a door, this idea never stirs within.”
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

“You live in a period when virtues recede and evils advance step by step and Satan becomes greedier in his eagerness to ruin human beings.  Today, his equipment has been reinforced, his traps are set in every place and his prey comes easily.  Look around; you will see either a poor man hardly able to breathe in extreme poverty and penury, or a rich man who has transformed Allah’s blessings into his own infidelity, or you will see a miser who makes stinginess in discharging the obligations imposed by Allah a means of increasing his own wealth, or you will find the rebellious whose unruly hearts are deaf to moral admonition.  Where are the virtuous, the righteous among you?  Where are the free men and the magnanimous?  Where are those who avoid every trace of deceit in their dealings and pursue piety and honesty in their ways?”
– An excerpt from Imam Ali’s Sermon 129 – Nahj-ul-Balagha

“Most of us have had the experience, either as parents or youngsters, of trying to discover the “hidden picture’ within another picture in a children’s magazine.  Usually you are shown a landscape with trees, bushes, flowers and other bits of nature.  The caption reads something like this: “Concealed somewhere in this picture is a donkey pulling a cart with a boy in it.  Can you find them?”  Try as you might, usually you could not find the hidden picture until you turned to a page farther back in the magazine which would reveal how cleverly the artist had hidden it from us.  If we study the landscape we realize that the whole picture was painted in such a way as to conceal the real picture within, and once we see the “real picture,” it stands out like the proverbial painful dig.  It must be remembered that the first job of any conspiracy, whether it be in politics, crime or within a business office, is to convince everyone else that no conspiracy exists.  The conspirators’ success will be determined largely by their ability to do this.  That the elite of the academic world and mass communications media always pooh-pooh the existence of the ‘Insiders’ merely serves to camouflage their operations.  These “artists” hide the boy, the cart and the donkey.”
– An excerpt from No One Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen & Larry Abraham 

“These troubles and depressions that come to you are the effect of some injury and wrong you have committed.  Even if you cannot remember in detail what you have done, still from the results you can know the deed.  You may not remember whether it came from your own negligence or ignorance, or because others swayed you into wrongful action.  But look at the results: how much did you fall from grace, or how much has your heart expanded? Certainly a fall from grace is the response of disobedience to God, and expansion of the heart is the reward of obedience.”
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

“You must journey upon this infinite road with the feeble hands and feet that you possess.  We know well that with feet so feeble you can never accomplish this journey.  Indeed, in a hundred thousand years you will not be able to accomplish a single stage of this journey.  But even as you collapse and fall, with no strength left to struggle farther, then Our loving breath will carry you on.  Even a child, so long as it is a suckling, is carried in the arms, but when it is grown it is set free to walk.  Now in this hour when your powers have left you, when your own means fail, behold Our graces, Our gifts and Our love.  You will not witness even an atom of such blessings after a hundred thousand strivings.”
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

“O people what I fear most about you are two things – acting according to desires and the extending of hopes.  Acting according to (personal) desires prevents (the experiential admission of) truth; regarding extensive hope, it makes one forget the next world.  You should know this world is moving rapidly and nothing has remained out of it except the last particles like the dregs of a vessel which has been emptied by someone.  Beware, the next world is advancing and either of them has sons i.e. followers.  You should become sons of the next world and not become sons of this world because on the Day of Judgement every son would cling to his mother.  Today is the Day of action and there is no reckoning while tomorrow is the Day of reckoning wherein there would be no (opportunity for) action.”
– An excerpt from Imam Ali’s Sermon 42 – Nahj-ul-Balagha

“The spirit of philosophy is one of free inquiry.  It suspects all authority.  Its function is to trace the uncritical assumptions of human thought to their hiding places, and in this pursuit it may finally end in denial or a frank admission of the incapacity of pure reason to reach the Ultimate Reality.  The essence of religion, on the other hand, is faith; and faith, like the bird, sees its ‘trackless way’ unattended by intellect which, in the words of the great mystic poet of Islam, ‘only waylays the living heart of man and robs it of the invisible wealth of life that lies within.”
– An excerpt from Iqbal’s Reconstruction of Religious Thought in Islam 

“People convince themselves of their own lies, becoming victims of their own inventions as they begin to direct their lives by standards of behavior, ideas, feelings, or instincts which do not correspond to their inner reality.  What is truly serious in this matter is that the individual loses all points of reference regarding what comprises truth, and what comprises lies.  He becomes used to considering as true only that which is convenient for his personal interests; everything that is in opposition to his self-esteem or in conflict with already established prejudices, he considers false.”
– John Robert Baines ( 20th Century Academic and Egyptologist)

“If the animal sense could see the King (God), then the ox and the ass would behold Allah.  If, besides the animal sense, thou hadst not another sense outside of (unconditioned by) the desire of the flesh,  then how should the sons of Adam have been honoured?  How by means of the common sense should they have become privileged (to know these mysteries)?  Your calling (God) “formless” (transcending forms) or “formed” (immanent in forms) is vain, without your liberation from form (unless you yourself are freed from sense-perception).  (Whether God is) “formless” or “formed,” He is with him that is all kernel and has gone forth from the husk.  If you are blind, ’tis no crime in the blind; (but) if not, go (persevere in purifying yourself), for patience is the key to success.  The medicine of patience will burn the veils over your eye and will also effect the opening of your breast (to Divine knowledge).  When the mirror of your heart becomes clear and pure, you will behold images (which are) outside of (the world of) water and earth.  You will behold both the image and the image-Maker, both the carpet of (spiritual) empire and the carpet-Spreader.  The phantom (seen in mystical vision) of my Friend seemed (to me) like Khalíl (Abraham) — its form an idol, its reality a breaker of idols.”
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

“By the Mount (of Revelation); By a Decree inscribed; In a Scroll unfolded; By the much-frequented Fane; By the Canopy Raised High; And by the Ocean filled with Swell; Verily, the Doom of thy Lord will indeed come to pass.  There is none (that) can avert it.  On the Day when the firmament will be in dreadful commotion.  And the mountains will fly hither and thither.  Then woe that Day to those that treat Truth as Falsehood.”
– An Excerpt from Surah Al- Tur – The Holy Koran

“It is the thought that brings us.  The thought of a garden brings us to the garden.  The thought of a shop brings us to the shop.  However, within these thoughts is a secret deception.  Have you never gone to a certain place thinking it would be good, only to find disappointment?  These thoughts then are like a shroud, and within that shroud someone is hidden.  The day reality draws you and the shroud of thought disappears, there will be no disappointment.  Then you will see reality as it is, and nothing more: “Upon that day when the secrets are tried”.  The many things of this world are a trial appointed by God, for they hide the single reality: “And their number We have appointed only as a trial”.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

“Much blood must flow from your heart and eye that self-complacency may go out of you.  The fault of Satan lay in thinking ‘I am better (than Adam)’, and this disease is in the soul of every (human) creature.  Though he regard himself as very broken (in spirit), know that it is (a case of) clear water (on the surface) and dung under the stream.  When he (the Devil) stirs you in trial, immediately the water becomes dung-coloured.  There is dung in the bed of the stream, my man, though to you the stream appears pure.”
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

“Justice puts things in their proper place and generosity diverts them from their (natural) direction.  Justice is the general caretaker, whereas generosity is a particular reliever. Consequently, justice is the nobler of the two and possesses the greater merit.  The former is a principle, whereas the latter is only a ramification.  The former is a trunk, while the latter is a branch of it.  The former is the foundation of the structure, whereas the latter is an embellishment.  Here is a wide scope and room in the dispensation of justice.  Justice is vast enough to include and envelop everyone; he who [being of a diseased temperament] finds restriction and hardship in justice should know that the path of injustice and oppression is harder and even more restricted.”
– An excerpt from Imam Ali’s Sermon – Nahj-ul-Balagha

A certain foolish person accompanied Jesus (on his way).  He espied some bones in a deep-dug hole.  He said, “O companion, (teach me) that exalted Name by which thou makest the dead to live; Teach (it) me, that I may do good and by means of it endow the bones with life.”  Jesus said, “Be silent, for that is not thy work: ’tis not meet for thy breath and speech.  For it wants breath purer than rain and more piercing in action than the angels.  (Many) lifetimes were needed that the breath might be purified, so that he (its owner) was entrusted with the treasury of the Heavens.  (Suppose that) thou hast grasped this rod firmly in thy hand: whence will accrue to thy hand the cunning of Moses?”  He said, “If I am not one to pronounce (such sacred) mysteries, do thou pronounce the Name over the bones.”  Jesus cried, “O Lord, what are these hidden purposes (of Thine)?  What is (the meaning of) this fool’s inclination (to How has this sick man no care for himself?  How has this corpse no care for (spiritual) life?  He has left (uncared for) his own dead (soul) and seeks to mend (revive) the dead (bones) of a stranger.”  God (answered and) said, “The backslider seeks backsliding: the thistle that has grown (in him) is the retribution for (consequence of) his sowing.”   He that sows the seed of thistles in the world, be warned not to look for him in the rose-garden.  If he takes a rose in his hand, it becomes a thistle; and if he goes to a friend, he (the friend) becomes a snake.
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

“Discrimination is a quality that is always hidden in a person.  Don’t you see that an insane person possesses hands and feet but lacks discrimination?  Discrimination is a subtle essence within you.  Yet, day and night you have been occupied with nurturing the physical form that does not know right from wrong.  Why have you devoted all your energies to looking after the physical, entirely neglecting that subtle essence?  The physical exists through that essence, but that essence in no way depends on the physical.”
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

Eschew all Evil: for man was not created
Without purpose or without respnosbility.
The Day of Account will come, and his own
Coscience bears witness that he
Must walk straight; for he must face
That Day’s Realities.  With patience await
The unfoldment of God’s wise Purpose.  Keep
The Hereafter ever in view.  The faces
Of the Blest will beam whit brightness and beauty.
For the others, Death will be a terror
For duties neglected and sins committed.
Woe unto man that he thinks not now
Of God’s Purpose and noble Destiny
For which God gave him Life and its Gifts.
– Introduction to Surah Al-Qiyyamah by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

So long as you are giving your body greasy (rich) and sweet (food),
You will not see fatness in your (spiritual) essence.
If the body be set in the midst of musk,
(Yet) on the day of death its stench will become manifest.
Do not put musk on your body, rub it on your heart.
What is musk?
The holy name of the Glorious (God).
The hypocrite puts musk on his body and puts his spirit at the bottom of the ash-pit
On his tongue the name of God, and in his soul stenches (arising) from his infidel thought.
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

How can the soul’s self-conviction be fitly
Expressed, except by types of tremendous
Cataclysms in nature, and still more by tremendous
Searchings in the heart of man?
These want deep pondering.
When once the spiritual Dawn
Has ‘breathed away’ the Darkness of the Night,
The Vision Glorious clears all doubts,
And brings us face to face with Truth.
The highest Archangel in heaven is sent
By God to bring these truths to men
Through their Apostle.
God’s Grace flows freely
We have but to tune our will to His
The ever-loving Righteous God.
Introduction to Surah Takwir by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

All mystries, fair or shrouded in gloom,
Will vanish when the full Reality
Stands revealed. If this life is but painful toil
There is hope of the Meeing with the Lord!
That will be Bliss indeed for the righteous,
But woe to the arrogant dealers in sin!
Like the sunset glow or the shades of night,
Or the Moon’s ever-changing light, man’s life
Never rests here below, but travels ever onwards
Stage by stage. Grasp then God’s Message
And reach the Heights, to reap a reward
That will never fail through all eternity!
Introduction to Surah Inshiqaq by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

Whoever is loved is beautiful, but this doesn’t mean that whoever is beautiful is loved.
“There are girls more beautiful than Laila” they used to tell Majnun “Let us bring some to you.”
”I do not love Laila for her form,”  Majnun would reply.   “Laila is like a cup in my hand.  I drink wine from that cup.  I am in love with that wine.  You only have eyes for the goblet and do not know the wine. A golden goblet studded with precious stones, but containing only vinegar, what use is that to me? An old broken gourd with wine is better in my eyes than a hundred goblets of gold.”
A person must be moved with passion and yearning for them to tell the wine from the cup.  This is the same as someone who is hungry, who hasn’t eaten for ten days, and another who has eaten five times a day.  Both see a loaf of bread.  The full one sees only more food, but the hungry person sees life, itself.  To the hungry, this bread is a goblet, and the life it brings is wine.  Such wine cannot be known except through hunger and yearning.  Acquire this appetite so you will not only see the appearances of form, but will find the Beloved everywhere.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

What remains if you deny all Faith
And personal responsibility?
Why then help the helpless
Or teach others deeds of charity?
Vain are worship without heart and soul.
What think ye of men
Who make great show but fail to meet
The simple needs of daily life?
Introduction to Surah M’aun by Abdullah Yusuf Ali

A comrade in the work (of religion) said to an ascetic, “Weep little, lest thine eye come to harm.”  The ascetic said, “The case is not outside of (admits only) two (alternatives): the eye will see, or it will not see, that (Divine) Beauty.  If it sees the Light of God, what is there to grieve about?  How little are two eyes (to him that is) in union with God!  And if it shall not see God, let it go! Let such a miserable eye become blind!”
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

The Jesus of your spirit is present with you: beg aid from him, for he is a goodly aider;
But do not every moment lay on the heart of (that) Jesus the unprofitable work of (providing for) a body full of bones,
Like the fool whom we mentioned in the story for the sake of the righteous.
Seek not you from your Jesus the life of the body,
Ask not from your Moses the wish of a Pharaoh.
Burden not your heart with thoughts of livelihood;
Livelihood will not fail: be (constant in attendance) at the (Divine) Court.
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

Someone said to the Amir: “Our Master loves you very much.”  Rumi replied: Neither my coming nor my speaking is an indication of my love.  I say whatever comes into me.  If God wills, He makes these few words profitable so they will grow within your heart, bringing great rewards.  If God wills not, if even a hundred thousand words are spoken, they will not lodge in the heart but will pass by and be forgotten.  If a spark of fire lands upon a burnt rag and God wills, that one spark will take and engulf the rag.  If God wills not, a hundred sparks will fall on that tinder and leave no mark.  These words are God’s army.  By God’s authority they open and seize fortresses.  If God commands thousands of horsemen to go and show their faces at such and such a fortress but not to capture it, so it will be.  If He commands a single horseman to seize that fortress, that same single horseman will open the fortress gates and capture it. God sent a gnat against Nimrod and it destroyed him. “Equal in the eyes of the Gnostic is a penny and a dollar, a lion and a cat.”  If God bestows His blessing, one penny does the work of a thousand dollars and more.  If God withholds His blessing from a thousand dollars, they cannot do the work of one penny.  So too, if God commissions the cat it destroys the lion, as the gnat destroyed Nimrod.  In short, when we realize that all things are of God, all things become one and the same in our eyes.  Words only reveal what the heart has an ear to hear.  I hope, too, that you will hear these words within your hearts, for that would be profitable.  But if a thousand thieves come from outside, they cannot open the door without some fellow thief inside who can unlock that door.  Speak a thousand words from the outside still so long as there is none to answer from within, the door never opens.  So too with a tree —as long as there is no moist thirst in its roots, even if you poured a thousand torrents of water over it, it would accomplish nothing.  First there must be a thirst in its roots for the water to nourish it.  Although the whole world is ablaze with the sun’s light, unless there is that spark of light within the eye, no one can behold that light.  The root of the matter is the receptiveness within Soul.  Beyond this world is another world for us.  This world and its delights cater to the animal within us.  These pleasures all fill our animal nature, while our real self slowly dies.  They say, “The human being is a rational animal,” yet we consist of two things.  Lusts and desires feed our animality in this material world.  But as for our true essence, its food is knowledge, wisdom, and the sight of God. The animality within us flees away from God, while our spiritual self flees away from this world.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

When Iblis would not bow down before Adam and opposed God’s command, Iblis said, “My essence is spirit, his essence is clay.  Why should the higher bow down before the lower?”  So God banished Iblis for opposing and contending with Divine Law.  Then Iblis argued, “Alas, O Lord! You made all things.  This was Your temptation, and now You are cursing me and banishing me.”  Yet when Adam sinned, God expelled him from Paradise, but Adam said nothing back.  Then God said to Adam, “O Adam, I have held you responsible and punished you for the sin you committed, why did you not argue with Me? After all, you had a perfect case.  You could have said, ‘All things proceed from You and are made by You. Whatever You desire in the world comes to pass, and whatever You desire not will never come to pass.’ You had a clear and valid case, why did you not argue it?” Adam answered, “I knew that well, Lord, but I did not forget courtesy in Your presence.  Because of my love for You I could say nothing.”  Thus Adam’s love stayed firm and was not swayed.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

In all the world there is nothing more difficult than enduring the ridiculous.  Suppose for instance that you have studied a certain book, corrected, amended, and fully recited it.  Then someone sitting beside you reads the book all wrong.  Can you endure that?  No, it is impossible.  However, if you never read the book, it makes no difference to you whether anyone reads it wrong or right—you cannot tell the difference.  So, enduring the ridiculous is a great discipline.  The prophets and saints do not shirk discipline.  Their first discipline is to slay this self that is controlled by desires and lusts.  That is the “Greater Holy War.”  When they achieve this, and establish themselves in the station of security, then wrong and right become revealed to them.  Yet they are still engaged in a great struggle, for these mortals do everything wrong.  The saints see this and must endure it.  If they do not, and speak out declaring those mortals wrong, not one person in Heaven or on Earth will stand beside them.  But God bestows on the saints a great and mighty capacity to endure.  Out of a hundred wrong acts, they mention one, so that it will not become difficult to overcome.  The other mistakes they hide and even praise, saying, “That wrong of yours is right,” so that little by little they can overcome this ignorance.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

The rebellious Pharaoh kept his face towards existence, consequently he was blind to His (God’s) workshop.
Consequently he was wishing to alter the (Divine) predestination, that he might turn back the (Divine) destiny from his door.
Truly the (Divine) destiny every moment was laughing derisively under its lip at the moustache (arrogance) of that cunning plotter.
He killed hundreds of thousands of innocent babes, in order that the ordainment and predestination of God might be averted.
In order that the prophet Moses might not come forth, he laid on his neck (made himself responsible for) thousands of iniquities and murders.
He wrought all that bloodshed, and (yet) Moses was born and was made ready for his chastisement.
Had he seen the workshop of the Everlasting (God), he would have ceased to move hand or foot in plotting.
Moses (lay) safe within his (Pharaoh’s) house, while outside he was killing the infants in vain.
– An excerpt from Mevlana Rumi’s Masnavi

Water that never grows stale – that is what we need.  Water that can cleanse the impurities of the world, and yet they leave no trace in it.  It retains its limpid and clear state, and is never tainted.  This is the Water of Truth.
So, faith is discrimination, distinguishing truth from falsehood and the true coin from the fake.  These words are valuable to everyone possessing that critical perception, but are wasted on those who cannot see the difference.  If these words fall into the hands of those who cannot discern, it is like giving precious pearls to children who do not know their value.  Later, if you offer them apples they will gladly trade them for pearls, since they know no better.
Abu Yazid, when a child, was taken by his father to school to learn jurisprudence.  When he was brought before the schoolmaster he asked, “Is this the jurisprudence of God?” They said, “This is the jurisprudence of Abu Hanifa.”  He said, “I want the jurisprudence of God.” When he was brought before the grammar teacher, he asked, “Is this the grammar of God?”  The teacher said, “This is the grammar of Sibawaihi.”  Abu Yazid said, “I do not want it.”
He spoke this way wherever his father took him.  His father could do nothing with him, and finally let him be.  Later he came to Baghdad upon his quest, and as soon as he saw Junaid he shouted, “This is the jurisprudence of God!”
How could it be that a lamb would not recognize its own mother on whose milk it has been suckled? So, forget the form.
– An excerpt from Fihi Ma Fihi – Discourses of Mevlana Rumi

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