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



Vol. 2, Cosmic Language

13. Inspiration

Inspiration is a higher form of intuition, for it comes as an idea, as a complete theme with its improvisation, as a phrase creative of a poem. Inspiration is a stream, a stream of wonder and bewilderment. The really inspired person, whether a writer, a poet, a composer, or whatever may be his work, when once he has received an inspiration, has found satisfaction - not with himself, but with what has come to him. It gives his soul such a relief, for the soul was drawing from something and that object from which it was drawing has yielded to the soul, has given it what it was asking for. Therefore inspiration may be called the soul's reward.

It is not by being anxious to receive something that one is able to receive it. It is not by straining the brain that one can write poetry. It is not by worrying for days together that one can compose a piece of music. One who does so cannot receive inspiration. The one who receives inspiration is quite tranquil and unconcerned about what is coming. Certainly he is desirous of receiving something, he is passionately longing to conceive it. And it is by focusing his mind to the divine mind that, consciously or unconsciously, man receives inspiration.

This phenomenon is so great and so wonderful that its joy is unlike any other joy in the world. It is in this joy that the inspirational genius experiences ecstasy. It is a joy which is almost indescribable. It is an upliftment. One feels that one is raised from the earth when one's mind is focused on the divine mind - for inspiration comes from the divine mind. What the great musicians, poets, thinkers, philosophers, writers, and prophets have left to the world is always uplifting, although it is not every soul who comprehends their work fully, and therefore not every soul can enjoy it fully. But imagine their own enjoyment of what came to them; there are no words to express it! It is in inspiration that one begins to see the sign of God, and the most materialistic genius begins to wonder about the divine Spirit when once inspiration has begun to come to him.

One might ask: "Does inspiration come as a finished picture? Does it come as a written letter?" No, it comes to an artist as if his hand was taken by someone else, as if his eyes were closed, his heart was open. He has drawn something, he has painted something, and he does not know who painted it, who has drawn it. inspiration comes to a musician as if someone else were playing or singing, and he were only taking it down: a complete melody, a perfect air. And after he has written it down then it enchants his soul. To a poet inspiration comes as if someone were dictating and he were only writing. There is no strain on his brain, there is no anxiety in receiving it.

It is therefore that many confuse inspiration with spirit communication. Many inspirational people are glad to attribute inspiration to a spirit, knowing that it does not come from themselves - but it is not always spirit communication. It is natural that inspiration should come from a being living just now on earth or from someone who has passed; yet the most profound inspiration comes always from the divine mind, and to God alone the credit is due. Even if an inspiration comes through the mind of a person living on earth or through a soul who has passed on to the other side, it still has come from God, for all knowledge and wisdom belong to God.

It is a fault on the part of mankind to attribute inspiration to some limited being, who is nothing but a shadow covering God. When a person believes that an old Egyptian comes from the other side to inspire him, or that an American Indian comes to lead him on his way, he builds a wall between himself and God. Instead of receiving directly from the source which is perfect and all sufficient, he is picturing his limited idea making it a screen between himself and God.

The best way for the genius is to make himself an empty cup, free from pride of learning or conceit of knowledge, to become as innocent as a child who is ready to learn whatever may be taught him. It is the one who becomes as a child before God, at the same time longing and yearning to express music through his soul, who becomes a fountain of God. From that fountain divine inspiration rises and brings beauty before all those who see the fountain.

There is one step further, and that is when the person no longer remains a poet or a musician or a philosopher, but becomes God's instrument only. Then God begins to speak to him through everything, not only in music or verse, in color or line: he begins to communicate with God in all forms. Everything he sees above or below, before or behind, right or left, either heavenly or earthly is communicative. He then begins to speak with God, and it is this step which is called revelation.

There is a story of Moses which relates that, when he was looking for fire to bake bread, he happened to see a light on the top of a mountain. So in order to take this fire he climbed to the top of the mountain - but there the fire became lightning. Moses could no longer withstand that great flashing and he fell to the ground. When he woke up, he began to communicate with God.

This story is allegorical. The idea is that Moses was looking for light to make it his life's sustenance. But he had to climb on to the higher planes. It was not possible to get it on earth where he stood; it was necessary that he should climb to the top. And then there was not only a light, but it was lightning. It was a light which was beyond the power of Moses to withstand, and he fell down. What is this falling down? To become nothing, to become empty. When he reached that state of emptiness, then his heart became sonorous, and he found communication with God through everything in the world. In the rock, tree or plant, in the star, sun or moon, in whatever he saw he found communication with his soul. So everything revealed its nature and secret to Moses.

It is in connection with this revelation that Sa'adi says that every leaf of the tree becomes a page of the sacred scripture once the soul has learned to read.

Question: I quite understand that inspiration comes from God, but would you kindly explain how one receives inspiration from a person on earth whom one does not know.
Answer: Inspiration comes through the mediumship of a living being in three forms:

  • when you are in the presence of someone who is inspiring,
  • when you are in the thoughts of someone who is inspiring, and
  • when your heart is in a state of perfect tranquillity and inspiration flowing through, the heart of an inspirational genius comes into your heart.

It is just like the wireless: sometimes you connect it with a certain station from which you are to receive the music, and sometimes you do not connect it - but it remains a wireless machine. If anything passing through is not received, it is not heard - but the sound is there just the same. In the same way one receives inspiration from these three different sources.

Question: When inspiration comes originally from the divine Mind, must it always be vehicled by someone who has passed on, or who is on earth.
Answer: There are different processes. It all depends upon how the heart of the person is focused on the divine Spirit. There is a person whose heart is focused directly on the divine Spirit; there is another to whom the divine Spirit it too remote. His heart is focused on a center, and this center is focused on the divine Spirit from where it receives the message. So it all comes from the divine Spirit just the same.