41. My greetings to America
Hazrat Inayat Khan
The desire of all nations and in principle free,
A child, but wide-awake, blessed America be.
Thy heart is open to all, to friend and foe alike;
A high note of brotherhood, indeed, thou dost strike.
Thou hast inherited the sense of nations all,
And thou bestowest the same on those who on thee call.
Ideal of nations, in thee we all meet,
Blessed America, thee I humbly greet.
Beloved ones of God,
My coming to the United States at this time, when the world has not yet arrived at its normal state, after the great strain of war, is to awaken in souls the consciousness of brotherhood, on the principle of which this great nation was founded. The central theme of the formation of the Constitution of the United States of America, and the undertone of Abraham Lincoln’s noble reform, was brotherhood. The nation which was nursed on the milk of the ideal of brotherhood from its infancy, is the one to be attuned to its predisposition at this time of the world’s greatest need.
In spite of the wonderful phenomena that science has produced through the modern civilization, if a sober minded person reflects on the question, if we really are progressing, an answer will come to him, not altogether. If we ask ourselves what is missing, we shall realize without difficulty, that it is the ideal, which expands the limited soul to perfection, which raises the mortal to God. It is the all-pervading materialism and the flood of overwhelming commercialism, which has drowned the ideal.
The nations of today stand in the quest of their own material benefit regardless to other nations in the same way as an individual today, who is called a practical person, proves to be best qualified in guarding his or her interests in life. This has made the world a battlefield of continual struggles, where life is nothing but a chaos in the world which was purposed to be the place of aspiration, rest and peace.
The education today tends to teach the youth the best way to acquire, to own, and to possess all the goods of this earth; and naturally the more souls become qualified by this education, the greater the struggle of life becomes. The competition, which exists today in trade and profession seems to lead people to the tendencies of the primitive human beings. As relations between nations are only based upon material interests, so in the same way relations between individuals exist. It has blunted all the fineness and beauty of unselfish, friendly devotion.
In order to bring humanity to the realization of the law of beneficence, it is not necessary that a new religion be taught. It is the light of truth thrown upon every religion that will bring to human perception wisdom, which is the underlying stream behind the religions of the world.
The good tidings that the Sufi Message brings to the world is the recognition of the Divine in the soul of humanity. The knowledge of living right is the only religion which will answer to the need of the world. The efforts of the Sufi Movement are directed to bring mankind to understand that the real well-being of each depends on the well-being of all. The whole of humanity is as one body, all nations its different members; and the pain and injury caused to one nation in time develops into disorder of the whole. The Sufi Message is the answer to the cry of humanity, for it warns souls to unite beyond all differences and distinctions between caste, creed, nation and religion. May the ideal of liberty expand to the liberty of nations. May your principle of freedom rise to the height of freedom of souls. May the message of God reach far and wide, illuminating and making the whole humanity one brotherhood in the fatherhood of God.
These are the words of Hazrat Inayat Khan after World War I. And yet don’t they seem startling appropriate right now? As primitive hate-filled, frightened rhetoric fills the air, voices of people who feel left out and mistreated shout through the media. These are dangerous emotions, and cannot be easily contained or reasoned with.
And yet we hear the teaching, “The whole of humanity is as one body…” As though your hand or foot is injured and in pain; do you cut it off? Build a wall to separate it from the rest of your body? How can I not be infected by this primitive hate? How can I remember and stay focused on the ideal? One body, one brotherhood and sisterhood, one wisdom that flows through every religion and can be seen when we throw upon it the light of truth. This is the Sufi Message.