Self-denial is not renouncing things

November 10, 2013 Comments Off on Self-denial is not renouncing things

Self-denial is not renouncing things, it is denying the self; and the first
lesson of self-denial is humility.

Bowl of Saki, November 8, by Hazrat Inayat Khan

Commentary by Hazrat Inayat Khan:

There is a story of a dervish who spoke with a young man who was very
interested in his words of wisdom. The young man said, ‘If I come to your
part of the world, I will come to see you. Will you tell me where you
live?’ The dervish replied, ‘I live in the place of the liars’. … When he
went to that country and asked for the dervish, the people said, ‘We do not
know any place of liars, but there is a dervish living somewhere here’. So
they took him near the graveyard where the dervish lived.

The first question the young man asked was, ‘Why did you give me a name
which is not the name of the place?’ The dervish replied, ‘Yes, this is a
place of liars’. It was the graveyard. He said, ‘Come with me, I shall show
you. This here is a tomb, they say, of a general. Where is his sword, where
is his power, where is his voice, what is he now? Is he a general? Here,
this one was called a prime-minister. Where is his ministry, where is his
office, where is his pen, where is his power? In the same ground! This
person was called a judge. Whom is he judging now? He is in the ground.
Were they not liars? Did they not tell a lie saying I am so and so, and I
am such and such?’

There is a beautiful story told of the King Akbar that when he was grieving
with an almost ungovernable grief over the death of his mother, his
ministers and friends tried to comfort him by influence and power. Akbar
replied, “Yes, that is true, and that only makes my grief greater; for
while I have everyone to bow before me, to give way to me, to salute me and
obey me, my mother was the one person before whom I could humble myself;
and I cannot tell you how great a joy that was to me.”

Think then of the far greater joy of humbling oneself before the
Father-Mother God on Whose Love one can always depend. A spark only of love
expresses itself in the human father and mother; the Whole of Love in God.
In whatever manner a man humbles himself it can never be enough to express
the humility of the limited self before Limitless Perfection. Self-denial
is not renouncing of things, it is denying the self; and the first lesson
of self-denial is humility.


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