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. Voices

2. Impressions

3. The Magnetism of Beings and Objects

4. The Influence of Works of Art

5. The Life of Thought

6. The Form of Thought

7. Memory

8. Will

9. Reason

10. The Ego

11. Mind and Heart

12. Intuition and Dream

13. Inspiration



The physical heart

Components of the heart

The heart is a lantern

The principal feelings

The diseases of the heart

Know yourself through the heart

The ways of perception

Questions and answers

Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

11. Mind and Heart

The physical heart

People call a part of the breast "heart." The reason is that there is a part in this body of flesh which is most sensitive to feeling, and naturally, as man cannot grasp the idea of a heart outside the body, he conceives this idea of the heart being a part of his physical body.

Components of the heart

Thought, memory, will and reason, together with the ego as the fifth and principal factor, constitute the heart. It is these five things that may be called the heart, but in definitely naming the different parts of this heart we call the surface of it mind, and the depth of it heart.

As the surface of the heart is known by the imagination and thought, so the depth of the mind, which is the heart, is known by feeling.

  • The difference between thought and imagination is that imagination is an automatic working of the mind. If the mind is fine there is a fine imagination; if the mind is gross there is a gross imagination; if there is a beautiful mentality, the imagination is beautiful.
  • Thought is also imagination, but imagination held, controlled, and directed by will. Therefore when we say: "He is a thoughtful person", it means that this person does not think, speak, or act on impulse, but behind everything he does there is will-power which controls and directs the action of his mind.

The ego stands separate from the four faculties of thought, memory, will and reason. It is just like four fingers and a thumb. Why is the thumb not called a finger? Because the thumb is the whole hand. These four are faculties, but the ego is a reality. It holds and accommodates within itself the four faculties, and in order to distinguish it as different from them we call it ego.

The heart is a lantern

If we imagine this heart as a lantern, then the light in the lantern makes it the spirit. We call the heart a lantern when we do not think of the light, but when there is a light then we forget the word lantern, and we call it light. When we call the heart "spirit" it does not mean spirit void of heart, as it does not mean light without lantern, but light in the lantern.

The right use of the word spirit, however, is only as the essence of all things. The essential light and life from which all has come - that is the spirit. But we use the word "spirit" also in a limited sense, just as light is the all-pervading light of the sun, and at the same time the light in the lantern - which we call light also.

The principal feelings

There are nine principal feelings which can be distinguished as mirth, grief, anger, passion, sympathy, attachment, fear, bewilderment and indifference. Feelings cannot be limited to these nine, but when we distinguish numerous feelings we may reduce them to these nine distinct feelings which we experience in life.

The diseases of the heart

There are six diseases which belong to the heart: passion, anger, infatuation, conceit, jealousy and covetousness.

Know yourself through the heart

The more one thinks on the subject of the heart, the more one finds that, if there is anything that can tell us of our personality, it is the heart. If there is anything through which we feel ourselves or know ourselves - know what we are - it is the heart and what our heart contains. Once a person understands the nature, the character and the mystery of the heart he understands, so to speak, the language of the whole universe.

The ways of perception

There are three ways of perception.

  1. One way of perception belongs to the surface: to the mind. It is thought. Thought manifests to our mind with a definite form, line and color.

  2. The next way of perception is feeling. It is felt by quite another part of the heart: it is felt by the depth of the heart, not by the surface. The more the heart quality is wakened in a person, the more he perceives the feelings of others. That person is sensitive, because to him the thoughts and feelings of others are clear. The one who lives on the surface does not perceive feelings clearly. Also, there is a difference between the evolution of the two: of the one who lives on the surface of the heart and the other who lives in the depth. In other words, the one lives in his mind and the other lives in his heart.

  3. There is still a third way of perception, which is not even through feeling and which may be called a spiritual language. This perception comes from the deepest depth of the heart. It is the voice of the spirit. It does not belong to the lantern, it belongs to the light - but in the lantern it becomes clearer and more distinct. This perception may be called intuition; there is no better name for it.

In order to study life fully these three perceptions must be developed. Then alone is one able to study life fully, and it is in studying life fully that one is able to form a judgment upon it.

Questions and answers

Question: Could you explain further how the mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart the depth of the mind.
Answer: There are five fingers but one hand, there are several organs of the body but one body, and there is a universe full of variety but one Spirit. So there is one heart which feels the various thoughts and imaginations which spring up and then sink into it. The bubbles are to be found on the surface of the sea. The depth of the sea is free from bubbles. The commotion is to be seen on the surface, the depth of the sea is still. The mind is the commotion of that something which is within us, that something which we call heart.

The happiness, the knowledge, the pleasure, the love which is stored in our innermost being is in our profound depth; changing emotions and passions, dreams, ever rising thoughts and imaginations all belong to the surface, as the bubbles belong to the surface of the sea.

Question: Can we say that the heart is nearer to the soul, and the mind nearer to the body.
Answer: Yes, in a certain way. But at the same time the soul experiences through the whole being: through the body, through the mind, through the heart, as it happens to be in different planes of existence.

Question: Is the heart one of the soul's bodies.
Answer: Certainly. The heart is one of the bodies of the soul, the finest body. It goes a long way with the soul, even on its return journey.

Question: Is the heart the same as the angelic body?
Answer: Yes, quite true.

Question: Is it therefore that the Catholics have a special devotion for the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Answer: Of course. The heart is the shrine of God. If God is ever to be found anywhere it is in the heart of man, especially in the heart of that man in whom the divine manifests.

Question: Is the heart the home of the soul.
Answer: Yes, one may call the heart a home of the soul, but I would call it a temporary hotel.

Question: Is the world of feelings higher than the world of thoughts?
Answer: Yes.

Question: What is indifference.
Answer: This is a word that I always find difficult to explain, and I have made many people angry by talking about indifference, for they say: "Where is the love which you have come to preach to us? Indifference is quite contrary to love, to the message, to the teaching." And when people read in Buddhism and Yogism about renunciation, nirvana, vairagia - which in the Sufi terms of the Persian poets is fana - they begin to ask: "Have they all taught to become indifferent, have they taught such cruelty?"

But in reality it is quite a different thing. Indifference is not lovelessness nor is it lack of sympathy. Indifference is most useful at the time when a soul has arrived at that sensitiveness when every little thing hurts. Then it is only indifference which keeps it alive.

[Indifference about how others treat you, not indifference about the condition of others. See the topic, "Character, Five Characteristics" ]

You might say that it is not good to be sensitive. Yes, but without being sensitive you cannot evolve. Sensitiveness is a sign of evolution. If you are not sensitive you cannot feel in sympathy with your fellowmen. If you do not feel the feelings of your fellowmen, then you are not yet awake to life. Therefore in order to become a normal human being one has to develop sensitiveness, or at least to arrive at sensitiveness. And when you are sensitive, then life becomes difficult to live. The more sensitive you are, the more thorns you will find on your way. Every move you make, at every turn, at every step there is something to hurt you. It is only one spirit that you can develop, and that is the spirit of indifference - yet not taking away the love and sympathy you have for another: that is the right indifference.

To say to a person: "I do not care for you, because you have been thoughtless", that is not the right kind of indifference, that is not the indifference that mystics relate as being vairagia. The mystical indifference is that a soul retains sympathy and love even at the thoughtlessness of a person, and expresses it as forgiveness.

In the Bible we read the words of Christ: "Turn the other side of your face if a person has struck you on one side."

What else is this than the lesson of indifference? How can a sensitive person, a person of feeling, a spiritual, tenderhearted person live in this world, if he is not indifferent? He cannot live here one moment! There is only this one thing that protects him from the continual jarring influences that come from all sides.

Question: Why not call it detachment.
Answer: Detachment is not really the right word.

We cannot be detached, we are never detached. Life is one and nothing can separate it. Detachment is only an illusionary aspect of life. There is no such thing as detachment in truth. How can there be detachment when life is one!

Often in order to make it clearer I have said: "Indifference and independence": two meanings of that one word vairagia. Indifference alone explains it only by half.