"How the words 'love', 'harmony' and 'beauty' delight the heart of everyone who hears them" is the opening sentence of this volume. The author, Hazrat Sufi Inayat Khan, has labelled his message as the Sufi message of Love, Harmony and Beauty, because in the present world these qualities seem to be underrated if not neglected altogether. Moreover, spirituality cannot exist without these. The first prerequisite, however, even to experience the delight he mentions above, is an open heart.
This book aims at awakening and developing this heart quality, and preparing the reader to be able to face the world's hardships, yet fostering sympathizing warmth for our fellowmen. It covers a marvellous variety of subjects which turn out to be strongly interrelated. In a smooth and unassuming manner the author creates an integrated view of life within and without. He has created a beautiful system of thought and feeling without running into the risks of straightforwardness, simplicity and rigour. Yet his views tend to strike you for their very simplicity, inspired and inspiring as they are.
The present volume is the first of a series including all the works intended for publication of Hazrat Inayat Khan (Baroda 1882-New Delhi 1927), the great Sufi mystic who came to the Western world in 1910 and lectured and taught there until his passing away in 1927.
A new edition of this series, which was published for the International Headquarters of the Sufi Movement in the West in the '60s, is now made available in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. In this way Hazrat Inayat Khan's inspired and universal vision of the Sufi Message returns to his own beloved country, where it originated and where interest in it is growing.
This book and other volumes of this series have not been wri tten down by the author. They contain his lectures, discourses and other teachings as taken down in shorthand and other handwriting. When preparing for publication great care was taken, not only to avoid distortion of their intent and meaning, but also to leave intact, as far as possible, the flow of mystical inspiration and poetical expression which add so much to their spell, and without which a significant part of his message would be lost. Although speaking in a tongue foreign to him, he moulded it into a perfect vehicle for his thought, at times somewhat ungrammatical and unusual, but always as clear and precise as his often difficult and abstruse subjects would allow.
It goes without saying that neither in the present nor in the previous edition anything has been altered which would involve even the slightest deviation from the author's intention and no attempt has been made to transform his highly personal and colorful language into idiomatically unimpeachable English. Already so much is necessarily lost by the transfer of the spoken word to the printed page that every effort has been made, as it should, to preserve the Master's melodious phrasing, the radiance of his personality, and the subtle sense of humour which never left him.
Hazrat Inayat Khan's teaching was nearly all given during the years 1918- 1926. It covers a great many subjects, several of which were grouped in series of lectures and taken up again some years later. Certain subjects may cover nearly the same ground as others; stories and examples which abound in most of his works are met again elsewhere; and much of what he taught one finds repeated in several places. This was intentional, as repetition belonged to Haz rat Inayat Khan's method of teaching; it is for the student to become aware of the subtle differences in each context. For these and other reasons it would be difficult to follow a rigid system in publishing Hazrat Inayat Khan's works; a chronological grouping of his lectures would be very unsatisfactory, and a strmgent classification according to subject-matter hardly feasible.
The complete series contains fourteen volumes. The last volume is the Index. This edition is the first one to present an index to the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Each volume is complete in it, and therefore may be read without any necessity to study following or previous ones. However, one may get a spiritual and mental appetite to continue reading. One will find that a meditative way of reading will convey not only the words but also the spiritual power emanating from them, tuning mind, heart and soul to the pitch which is one's own.
"In an Eastern Rose garden" is a collection of texts by Hazr a t Sufi inayat Khan on various subjects covering both inner life and life in the world. Many of these may serve as an informal guide book through one's life. It opens with a discussion on love, harmony and beauty, qualities which Inayat Khan considered to be the key notes of his practical religious and mystical philosophy.
Sometimes the religious aspect of man's developmentt is stressed. For example in chapters on items like the personality of God, nature's religion, faith, the effect of prayer and the presence of God the need is stressed to create and realize the ideal in one's heart, reflecting the Divine Ideal. Other chapters cover practical aspects of life like magnetism, love, breath, character and fate, power, and friendship. Each time such a quality is treated in a way linking the outer characteristics with the spiritual perspective, thus opening up new avenues to the reader how to conduct one's life.
The mind, a concept containing both thinking and feeling, is essential in Hazrar Inayat Khan's mysticism and is highlighted in a couple of other chapters. The mind is considered as the other vehicle of the soul, besides the body, working through the body as an integrated mechanism. This dimension is discussed in terms of intellect and wisdom, simplicity and complexity, mental creation, the will, will-power, stilling the mind, the master mind. Very often this is done by highlighting the human versus the divine aspects, and then showing how to integrate these. A third group of themes may be presented as the inner aspects of the way to develop these qualities: silent life, intuition, and dependence, sublime knowledge, the freedom of the soul, the ideal life, the journey to the goal. spiritual hierarchy, sublime knowledge, and the paths which lead to the Goal. These chapters at the same time may evoke in the reader the longing for treading this path, to discover the hidden qualities of one's being.
The Sufi way is not one of exclusion of the outer aspects of life. On the contrary, inner life can best be experienced in an active relationship with dally life in the world.
Although both spiritual and realistic, the philosophy of life presented 111 this book, has a yet wider scope. Life in the world is evolving in a process over a wide span of time. I t is the wonderful opportunity (or the human being to be in a position to actively contribute to this evolution. This book touches this subject as it discusses the knowledge of past, present and future, the desire of nations, democracy, the ideal life and human evolution. "In an Eastern Rose garden" presents the reader with' inspiration and hope.
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