The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

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Social Gathekas

Religious Gathekas

The Message Papers

The Healing Papers

Vol. 1, The Way of Illumination

Vol. 1, The Inner Life

Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

Vol. 3, Education

Vol. 3, Life's Creative Forces: Rasa Shastra

Vol. 3, Character and Personality

Vol. 4, Healing And The Mind World

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

Vol. 4, The Mind-World

Vol. 5, A Sufi Message Of Spiritual Liberty

Vol. 5, Aqibat, Life After Death

Vol. 5, The Phenomenon of the Soul

Vol. 5, Love, Human and Divine

Vol. 5, Pearls from the Ocean Unseen

Vol. 5, Metaphysics, The Experience of the Soul Through the Different Planes of Existence

Vol. 6, The Alchemy of Happiness

Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

Vol. 8a, Sufi Teachings

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Vol. 10, Sufi Mysticism

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

Vol. 10, Sufi Poetry

Vol. 10, Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Vol. 10, The Problem of the Day

Vol. 11, Philosophy

Vol. 11, Psychology

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

Vol. 12, The Vision of God and Man

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

Vol. 12, Four Plays

Vol. 13, Gathas

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

By Date



1. Music

2. Esoteric Music

3. The Music of the Spheres

4. The Mysticism of Sound

5. The Mystery of Sound

6. The Mystery of Color and Sound

7. The Spiritual Significance of Color and Sound

8. The Ancient Music

9. The Divinity of Indian Music

10. The Use Made of Music by the Sufis of the Chishti Order

11. The Use Made of Music by the Dancing Dervishes

12. The Science and Art of Hindu Music

13. The Connection Between Dance and Music

14. Rhythm

15. The Vina

16. The Manifestation of Sound on the Physical Sphere

17. The Effect of Sound on the Physical Body

18. The Voice

19. The Influence of Music upon the Character of Man

20. The Psychological Influence of Music

21. The Healing Power of Music

22. Spiritual Attainment by the Aid of Music




Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

4. The Mysticism of Sound

Before its incarnation the soul is sound. It is for this reason that we love sound.

The man of science says that the voice comes from the spine, the diaphragm, the abdomen and the lungs. The mystic says that sound comes from the soul, the heart and the mind. Let us see whether this is true. Before we sing or speak the thought of singing or speaking comes. If we have not the thought we cannot sing or speak, and before the thought there is the feeling that causes the thought. In order to make the thought concrete we must speak.

The sound goes through the ear to the mind, the heart and the soul. When the feeling, when the thought is spoken, its power becomes greater. If a person speaks of his sorrow, if he tells his grief to another, often he may begin to cry. While he kept the feeling in his heart, the thought in his mind, he did not cry, but when he spoke he wept. Sometimes a humorous person, when telling something funny that he has seen, begins to laugh at his own words. While he only thought of it he did not laugh, but when he speaks of it he laughs. If we keep a thought in our mind, it has not the strength that it has when we speak it out.

If you repeat: flower, flower, flower, your mind will be much more impressed than if you only think of the flower. This is why the Sufis repeat the name of God, and do not only think of God. There are Sufis who repeat the ninety-nine names of God. There is the wazifa, the namaz; there are different ways of repeating the name of God. The effect produced is in accordance with the soul and the heart from which the sound comes. If there are four violinists, all of whom have studied for the same length of time, and they all play the same piece of music one after the other, they will each play very differently. Each will play in accordance with his musical temperament, his heart and his soul. Therefore it is very necessary for a musician that his heart and soul should be trained.

The shopman, after he has given us the change, says: "Thank you." That "thank you" is forgotten before we have gone two steps, because it comes from the lips. A grateful person may say, "Thank you", only that, but it goes to the heart, because it comes from the heart. One singer may sing just one note, and all the audience is moved. Another sings dozens of notes, and no effect is made.

The force of the sound is in proportion to its duration. If we strike a stone, it gives out a short sound that has no effect. If we strike a bell, the sound is more lasting and the effect greater. If we prolong a tone the effect is greater, for the life is greater. Sound is breath, the breath which is life. If there is a bell and a stone, and if an organ is played or a piano, the bell will give out a sound, but the stone will not. That which is alive gives out a sound that is alive. That which is dead gives none. The soul which is dead gives no sound. That is why in the ordinary song there are many notes, but not one note that lives. All are dead sounds. The music of the great composers lives still. Its echo has come down to us; the echo of the great souls is still here. Thousands who have never thought of anything but the self have gone, and we do not even know that they have existed. The dead souls, the ordinary people, go to hear that dead song. The living soul hears the music that is alive.

The finer people go to see the tragedy where they are moved and shed a few tears. The ordinary people go to the moving picture where they laugh. The heart finds a joy in feeling, in sorrow. It feels that it is used, and in that there is a happiness. The Sufi trains the heart in feeling. There are assemblies among them where qawl is sung and played, the music of devotion and praise, the music that arouses feeling, the feeling of devotion, of sorrow, of repentance: to think how foolish we are, how stupid we are, how many mistakes we make. Every feeling is practiced. When the heart is made capable of feeling, it can feel the sorrow and joy of others. Every thing touches it, every little sign of mercy, every feeling of admiration. In this there is happiness.

Our feeling must be in our power. A person says: "I spoke like that because I was angry!" -- Yes, but why was he angry? One says: "I cry because I am sad. I cannot help being sad; the sadness comes" -- or: "I laugh because I feel humorous." Sorrow and mirth should be under control. The feeling of kindness must be kept as long as we wish, whatever obstacle we meet with. When this control is learned, then no sorrow can come near.

Then there is the music of the soul. In this there is no feeling, no devotion. There are few words, the syllables have a hidden meaning. It is to awaken the soul, to make the soul conscious of its immortal life.

The longer the thought is kept in the mind, the stronger it becomes. The mystic keeps one thought in the mind for ten minutes, for twenty minutes. He practices this. He practices it with music. First he impresses one Raga upon his mind until it is fixed in his mind like a picture. Then he improves upon the Raga and looks at that picture like a painter who paints and then looks at his picture. Then he practices the sound only, without melody, one sound or - to break the monotony - two sounds, or three sounds. After that he hums. He keeps all feeling away. There is no anger, no bitterness, no prejudice, no attachment, nothing that keeps him bound to the ego. Then there is no outward sound; he keeps the sound in his mind. Then he begins to hear the sound of the breath, the fine sound that the ears cannot hear.

A very materialistic person has a loud breath, audible to all. The finer a person, the finer is his breath. He hears the sound of his heart: what it speaks, and he hears what the heart of another speaks. This is thought-reading. First he must hear what his own heart says; then he hears what is in the heart of others in their presence and in their absence. We are accustomed to call that which our ears hear sound, but there is also the sound of the mind, of the heart, of the soul.

Why do we all like to be alone? We may think that we like to be where we have some company, to talk, to be in the society of others, but we are not happy unless we are alone, away from the town, sitting by some stream or lake. It is because then, unconsciously, we hear the sound of the soul. This sound the Sufi hears in the shaghal, in the qasab. It is very difficult, because for this all the tubes and veins must be open. The soul is a finer essence, and if the veins and tubes are blocked by the fluids, by very much eating and drinking, by alcoholic substances, by very much sleep, by very much comfort and luxury, this sound cannot enter.

The Vedanta speaks of Nada Brahma, the Sound-God, the sound that is God, of which all things are made. Sufis call it Saut-e-Sarmad, the sound that intoxicates man. The Qur'an says: "Kun-fa-yakun -- when God said "Be", it became." Before this world was, all was in sound, God was sound, we are made of sound. That is why we like music. That is why you are listening to this*, because it is your element. Although it has been dimmed by manifestation, your thought, your mind, is made of sound.