From An Interview with Shamcher Bryn Beorse
J=Jelaluddin Boru, S=Shamcher
J: I would like you to speak on mediums, as this book is essentially to spread Inayat Khan’s last thoughts on obsession.
S: Among mediums there are many types. there is the type such as Eileen Garrett for example. A very developed spiritual person whose mediumicity was colored and directed by her soul… Or by her mind at least, and most mediums are not of this class. Most mediums are in touch with spirits and departed beings in a way that is not directed, and because of this the things which come from the other side can only mix them up.
It is because of this confusion that Inayat Khan used his last 4 hours to talk to us about mediums and obsession. And one of the things he said was: “The teacher never, never talks to a pupil through a medium. If he wants to reach a pupil he talks to them directly.” He described in some detail the trouble he’d had in his life in dealing with mediums, and he said that they are not usually spiritually advanced people, they are merely people with a certain kind of gift, or which can be described as a gift or a handicap as you choose.
Anyway, the thing about most mediums is that they have no capacity of discrimination, and they believe in everything which comes from the other side. I have met so many people who say. “Oh, I have direct guidance from the other side!” Well…the other side is just as full of cheating and nonsense as this side, even more so.
And you know, after Inayat had warned us, after he had gone to the other side, four of his closest disciples, with high titles, came to Suresnes, and said, “I must tell you that I have been appointed to be the leader of the whole Sufi movement. I have been told by a medium.” One of these was a Norwegian leader that I knew very well, and so I asked her if she didn’t remember what Inayat had said. And she answered, “But the medium told me something that nobody else except Inayat Khan and myself knew, so it must be genuine!” There was no stopping her…
J: From your book Man and the Mysterious Universe: One time you use the phrase “the enemy within”, which you define as “anything which prevents man from becoming master of his own destiny”. Would say that this is precisely what mediums are doing–interfering with capacities to become masters of ourselves, because they initiate us a habit of dependence upon them for our guidance?
S: That is so very true, I very much agree with you. I have seen, unfortunately, several sufis who have gone to seek mediums and fortune tellers. Which of course prevents them from pursuing their own ability. And which, even worse, prevents them from thinking clearly. I have been seeing more and more of this. I had a good friend who finally left the whole sufi movement because she became so dependent on that kind of impulse…
It is strange, in a sense, because the whole of sufi teaching is to develop the direct sides of the person himself.
An illustration of this is the farewell address of the Buddha:
Therefore, o Ananda, be a lamp unto yourself.
Rely on yourself and do not rely on external help,
Holding fast to the truth as a lamp.
Seek salvation alone in the truth…
and look not for assistance to anyone besides yourself!
And how, o Ananda, can a person be a lamp unto himself?
By holding fast unto the truth, holding to the truth as his lamp,
seeking salvation alone in the truth
and not looking to anyone except himself.
And those, who either now, or after I am dead,
shall be a lamp unto themselves, looking only to themselves
and not relying an any external help,
it is they, Ananda, among my bhikkus,
who shall reach the topmost height…
As long as they are anxious to learn.”
Today, Americans, and Europeans too, are too eager to run to a teacher in the sense of a guide, and not to even bother with investigating themselves. Today anyone can turn up and say, “I am a teacher” and he immediately has a following of thousands of people with lots of money to spare.
J: How does one go about this self-investigation?
S: The mind is a good instrument of discrimination, and as Inayat Khan says: “The mind and the heart are as two wheels of a carriage”. We must utilize them both in a process that is balanced.
An example is the story of the yoga aspirant. This one had such a keen mind developed that when a bird disturbed his meditation he was able to send up a flame of fury and the bird was burnt to a crisp…That is a mind without a heart. It is only when the mind and heart are in balance that one can go about the real process of self-investigation. Then you can develop the powers of the mind and direct them with the heart to the area that you want.
If you want to use the mind to understand yourself, then you express it as a desire of the heart. You say “Yes, I want understanding.” But you do it gently, you don’t ask in a fury, that’s not the right way. Anything that your mind wants legitimately, that is, directed by the heart, and which it has a right to want, will come. Either this same second, or perhaps a week later, or even a thousand years later sometimes. You don’t know when… but this doesn’t mean you postpone it by saying, “Oh, it may not come for a thousand years…” You simply say “I want it”. Just say that.
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