By Hazrat Inayat Khan
We are so situated in life that whatever position we may occupy we are never independent, we are never self-sufficient. Therefore, every individual depends upon others for help, and others depend upon him for help; only the position of the person who is one among many who receives help becomes lower in the eyes of those who count themselves among the few who can help.
This makes every person a master as well as a servant. Yet everyone, in the intoxication of his mastership, forgets his place as a servant, and looks upon the one who helps him as his servant. The wise, whose feelings are awakened, think on this question deeply, and do their best to avoid every possibility of giving even an idea to a servant of his servantship, far less insulting him in any way or hurting his feelings. We are all equal, and if we have helpers to serve us in life we ought to feel humble and most thankful for the privilege, instead of making the position of the servant humble.
There is a verse of Mahmud-i Ghaznavi: ‘The Emperor Mahmud, who had thousands of slaves to wait on his call, became the slave of his slaves when love gushed forth from his heart.’ Nobody appears inferior to us when our heart is kindled with kindness and our eyes are open to the vision of God.
As Christ teaches, ‘Whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.’ What does all this teach us? It is all a lesson in sympathy for one’s fellow man, to teach us to share in his troubles, in his despair. For whoever really experiences this joy of life, finds that it becomes so great that it fills his heart and his soul. It does not matter if he has fewer comforts or an inferior position than many in this world, because the light of his kindness, of his sympathy, of the love that is growing, the virtue that is springing up in his heart, all fill the soul with light. There is nothing now that he lacks in life, for he has become the king of it.