As I write this blog, I am on my way to Dachau to be part of an honoring ceremony for Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan. Noor was a Special Operations agent during the Second World War and became the first female radio operator sent from Britain into occupied France to aid the French Resistance.
The drive to express ourselves, to create in the world, is an innate need like beauty, love, and the search for truth. It seems almost biological, like the need for food and water. In the Nazi concentration camps of World War II, deprived of nearly every- thing, many prisoners composed songs, wrote poetry, and even found ways to paint. A concentration camp survivor himself, Victor Frankl suggested that these were meaning-making activities but ones that were not so much consciously planned as spontaneous outpourings from that deep current, that creative impulse.
The execution of the Mughal crown prince Dara Shikuh by order of his brother Aurangzib was a crime that sent ripples down through the ages. A religious pluralist with a deep commitment to mystical hermeneutics, Dara Shikuh had the makings of a brilliant ‘philosopher king.’ His religious, cultural, and political outlook was profoundly imbued with the legacy of his great-grandfather Akbar, who elevated the Mughal Empire to the status of a premodern superpower by uniting Hindus and Muslims under the principle of sulh-i kull, ‘universal peace.’ As heir apparent, Dara Shikuh awaited the day when he would mount the Peacock Throne and revive Akbar’s syncretic vision.
Today we are going to continue our Remarkable Minds series with a spiritual ecologist, an earth pilgrim, a vegetarian who led a civil disobedience movement in efforts to restore humanity’s sense of community. He is Satish Kumar and he is one of the few individuals who fully embraces the principles of Mahatma Gandhi, to promote a spirituality opposed to war and ecological destruction.
Continuing our examination of various moral codes, Seven Pillars is pleased to present Pir Zia Inayat-Khan’s talks on the Iron and Copper rules of Hazrat Inayat Khan as an ongoing series. While this material originates from a Sufi context, it can be helpful to anyone who is looking for practical guidance on applying chivalric principles to the conundrums of everyday life. A new rule will be posted monthly until the series is complete.