Shanti Sadan and Self-Knowledge name
Vol.67 No.3 Summer 2016

The Secret of Inspiration

Everyone has an infinite world of beauty and goodness in his mind. The few who have recognised it call it ilaham or inspiration.
Shri Dada of Aligarh

We tend to think of inspiration in the spiritual sense as something special and beyond the reach of the ordinary person. Followers of the different religions of the world believe that their holy books, whether the Koran, the Gita, the Bible and so on, are inspired; that is, they spring from a source which is divine, pure, wise, benevolent and true. These teachings, or particular parts of them, were revealed to minds that were pure and selfless, and recorded by them in an approachable language and context.

Such is the kind of high inspiration that brought forth deep statements, such as ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,’ or ‘And certainly We created man... and We are nearer to him than his life-vein,’ or ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One,’ or ‘My devotee does not perish.’ We may rightly feel that such utterances spring from a source that is far higher than the unaided intellect of man.

Therefore it may come as a surprise for us to read and hear the words of a relatively unknown holy man, Shri Dada of Aligarh, indicating that hidden deep in the minds of everyone there is an infinite world of beauty and goodness, which, he says, the wise have called inspiration. Shri Dada refers to it by using an Arabic word ‘ilaham’ or perhaps more correctly ‘ilhām’, and this word can mean both inspiration and illumination.

So at once we are alerted to the Yoga teaching that true spiritual inspiration in all its beauty and purity, is within our reach. This is because our innermost being is intrinsically one with the source of inspiration. Shri Dada called it ‘the one universal and eternal fountain of beauty and bliss, the all-pervading spiritual Entity’. The implication is that if we can learn to awaken to this dimension of our nature, our whole life will become illumined and inspired.

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