Caravanserai Magazine Archive

Published 1988-2000 semi-annually on behalf of the Sufi Movement International by the Sufi Movement in Canada.


1988 Volume 1. Ameen Carp. "Brotherhood"

Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan designated the activity of brotherhood as one of the main activities of the Sufi Movement. While the Universal Worship expresses the devotional side of the Sufi Movement, and the universal ideal of one religion with many expressions, and the esoteric school gives the pupil the necessary training in the unfoldment of the spiritual potential within him, the brotherhood is the expression of love and respect for the fellow beings with whom we share our life on earth. Murshid Inayat Khan often said, 'What does it help if we achieve mastery, but keep it to ourselves?' His teaching, like that of the great Sufi masters before him, always was: live in the world, accept life with all its duties and responsibilities, but yet be not of the world. Be part of the world, but be not attached to it.

The vision our Master has given to us is of the brotherhood of man in the fatherhood of God. We are not here on earth by chance and we are not only linked with each other by family relationship and friendship, or perhaps a certain comradeship working for a certain ideal. The concept of brotherhood in the Sufi vision of life goes deeper; the Sufis see life on earth as an opportunity given to the soul to be awakened to full consciousness of its divine origins and divine goal. Whether the soul grasps this opportunity depends on the intensity of its longing for reunion with its maker. The more the light of the soul starts to radiate, the more it will attract other souls. The more it becomes conscious of its task, the more it will be aware of the needs of others, realizing that they are on the same path.

In others the seeker recognizes the same light, the same spirit, the same longing, the same origin, the same goal. And in them he will gradually recognize the same divine manifestation that he himself is. God manifesting in man, as God manifests in animals, plants, minerals, planets, the sun, the moon, the infinite space and the infinitely small.

As love grows in the disciple's heart a need is felt to express it freely to all who are near: wife husband, parents, brothers, sisters, children, grandchildren, friends; then to further acquaintances, sick people, the elderly, those in need, to neighbours, and to strangers. Then even to those who offend us, criticize us, make life disagreeable. Is love not capable of forgiving those who offend? The circle covered by our growing love increases when our love grows.

In the service of brotherhood, one gives of oneself spontaneously, not asking for a return, nor even thinking about it. One gives because the urge is there to give, one gives service because the longing is there to be of service.

What can we do as Sufis to make this activity of brotherhood a reality? While the Universal Worship, the Inner School and the Healing are well defined, the brotherhood does not have a defined structure: the goal is there, the ideal is there, but the path and the duties one must find oneself. Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan often said in his addresses to world brotherhood workers that he wanted his disciples to work for the prisoners, the sick, the people in need, but no outline was given how to deal with it. This is understandable, because in each country the regulations to visit prisoners are different, the rules to visit sick and elderly people are different.

We are left quite free to develop out our own ways of doing this brotherhood work. Our longing to serve will sooner or later open doors. Our willingness to share that which we have found will blossom in beautiful new contacts. Our desire to be of help will overcome barriers, will surmount resistances, will take away reservations.

We should feel the warmth of the familyhood of mankind. Brothers and sisters we are. All hindrances, limitations, imperfections, differences must go and will disappear once we have decided that we wish to serve.

It is good to contact other Sufis on our travels and learn from them how they work. By sharing experiences we benefit from what another has learned and vice versa. Besides, it is good to discover that there is somehow a network of dedicated workers for brotherhood all over the world. We can easily find the names and addresses in other towns and countries, by asking the national or international secretariat.

Then it is good to discover what other people regard as precious, as holy. Their beliefs, their traditions, their goals are as important as ours. Do not stay in your own corner, but discover the world and come and see how many sided God's manifestation is — and how one!
Then, by sharing meals with strangers, by sharing discomfort, by struggling with foreign languages, customs and beliefs, we discover that we are not different, but fundamentally one. That is the path of brotherhood!

In thinking positively of another, by sending loving thoughts, warm kind feelings, by wanting to share, to serve, to give, we contribute to the family of man, God's family.
Brothers and sisters, the more you think about this expression, and experience it consciously, the more the brotherhood of man in the fatherhood of God becomes a reality. You pray for it, you work for it, you find your destination in it.

May the Message of God spread far and wide, illuminating and. making the whole humanity as one single brotherhood in the Fatherhood of God.


Post a Comment

<< Home