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

5. The Life of Thought

God is omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervading, and the Only Being. This suggests to us that the absolute is living being - the Only Being - that there is no such thing as death, that there is no such thing as an end, that every thing, every being, every particle has a continuity, because life is continuous.

End or death is only a change. Therefore every thought that has once crossed the mind, every feeling that has once passed through the heart, every word that is once spoken and perhaps never thought about any longer, every action once done and forgotten, is given a life and it continues to live. It is just like a traveller who is journeying and who on his way has some seeds in his hands which he throws on the ground. When the plants grow in that place, he never sees them. He just threw the seeds and they are there. The earth has taken them, the water has reared them, and the sun and the air have helped them to grow.

This life is an accommodation, and in it everything thought, word, action or feeling - once given birth, is taken care of, is raised, and brought to fruitfulness. One would hardly think that it could be so. One thinks: it is spoken and gone, or done and finished with, or it was felt and now it is no longer there. But it is only a change, and it is the change of which we are conscious. We know of something, and then it is no longer before us. We think it is gone - but it is still there. It remains, and it pursues its course, for it is life. In everything there is life, and life lives. As all is life, there is no death.

No doubt birth and death, beginning and end are the names of the different aspects of this mechanical working of the whole universe. It is a kind of automatic working that gives us an idea of something beginning and something ending. When we ring a bell the action takes only a moment, but the resonance lasts. It lasts to our knowledge as long as it is audible; then it passes on further and is no longer audible to us - but it exists. It exists somewhere, it goes on.

If a little pebble thrown into the sea puts the water in action, one hardly stops to think to what extent this vibration acts upon the sea. What one can see is the little waves and circles that the pebble produces before one. One sees these, but the vibration which has been produced in the sea reaches much further than man can ever imagine. What we call space is a much finer world. If we call it sea, it is a sea with the finest fluid. If we call it land, it is a land which is incomparably more fertile than the land we know. This land takes everything in it and brings it up, it rears it, it allows it to grow - our eyes do not see it, our ears do not hear it.

Does this idea not make us responsible for every movement we make, for every thought we think, for every feeling that passes through our mind or heart? There is not one moment of our life wasted, if we only know how to utilize our activity here, how to direct our thought, how to express it in words, how to further it with our movement, how to feel it, so that it may make its own atmosphere. What responsibility! The responsibility that every man has is greater than a king's responsibility. It seems as if every man has a kingdom of his own for which he is responsible - a kingdom which is in no way smaller than any kingdom known to us, but incomparably larger than the kingdoms of the earth. This teaches us to be thoughtful and conscientious and to feel our responsibility at every move we make. When a man does not feel this, he is unaware of himself, he is unaware of the secret of life. He goes on as a drunken man walking in a city. He does not know what he is doing, either for himself, or against himself.

Now one might ask: "How can a thought live? In what way does it live? Has it a body to live in, has it a mind, has it a breath?" Yes. The first thing we should know is that a breath which comes directly from the source seeks a body, an accommodation in which to function. A thought is as a body. The breath which runs from the source - as a ray of the spirit which may be likened to the sun - makes the thought an entity; it lives as an entity.

It is these entities that are called in Sufi terms muwakkals, which means elementals. They live, they have a certain purpose to accomplish. They are given birth by man, and behind them there is a purpose to direct their life. Imagine how terrible it is if in a moment's absorption a person expresses his wrath, his passion, his hatred! A word expressed at such a moment must live and carry out its purpose. It is like creating an army of enemies around oneself. Perhaps one thought has a longer life than another; it depends on what body has been given to it. If the body is stronger, then it lives longer. On the energy of the mind the strength of the body of that thought depends.

Elementals are created by man. When the winds blow and the storms rage, creating all destruction, one looks on it as a mechanical action of nature. But it is not only mechanical action, it is directed by man's feelings, by the intense feelings of human beings. These feelings turn into huge lives. They push as a battery behind winds and storms, floods and volcanoes.

And so other thoughts which call for blessing, such as rainfall, must bring the mercy of God upon the earth. In the East they call the rain the divine mercy. The sunshine, when the sky is clear, and all other blessings of nature - the pure air that is exhilarating, the spring, good crops, fruits, flowers and vegetables, all different blessings from the earth or heaven which are given to us - are also directed by forces behind them.

As the mechanical working of nature raises the vapors to the sky which all form together in clouds and cause rain, so the thoughts and feelings, words and actions also have their mechanical work to do. That work directs the action of the universe. This shows to us that it is not only a mechanical work of nature, but human intelligence, mechanically working, which directs the whole working of nature. This gives us an idea that man's responsibility is greater than that of any other being in the world.

It is told in the Qur'an that God said: "We laid our trust on the mountains, and they could not bear the load; we laid our trust on the trees, and they were unable to take it; we then laid our trust on man, and it is man who has borne it."

This trust is our responsibility; not only our responsibility to those around us, to those whom we meet in everyday life, or to the work that we are engaged in, or to the interest that we have in life - but our responsibility towards this whole creation: what we contribute to this creation, whether it is something agreeable to bring about better and harmonious conditions in the sphere, in the world, on the earth. If we do so then we know our responsibility. If we are unaware of it, we have not yet learned the purpose of our being here. There is childhood, when a child knows nothing. He destroys things of value and beauty owing to his curiosity, his fancy. But when he grows up the child begins to feel his responsibility.

The sign of maturity is the feeling of responsibility. So when a soul matures it begins to feel its responsibility, and it is from that moment that a person begins his life. It is from that moment that the soul is born again, and so long as the soul is not born again it will not enter the kingdom of God. The kingdom of God is here. As long as man is not conscious of his responsibility he does not know the kingdom of God. It is his becoming conscious of his responsibility which wakens him to the kingdom of God, in which is the birth of the soul.

Furthermore, in support of this idea there is a word that in the Sanskrit language is used for the God-conscious people. That word is Brahman, meaning creator. No sooner has a soul realized this idea than he begins to know that every moment of his life is creative, either automatically or intentionally. And if he is responsible for his creation, he is responsible for every moment of his life. Then there is nothing in life that is wasted. Whatever be the condition of man, however helpless or miserable, yet his life is not wasted, for there is the creative power working through every move that he makes, every thought that he thinks, every feeling that he has. He is always doing something.

There is another word in Sanskrit for Brahman which is Duija, meaning the soul who is born again. For the moment one has realized all this, the soul is born again: one's realization of life is different then, one's plan of life becomes different, one's action becomes different.

Now going a little further, there are sometimes souls who seem to be doing nothing, and one thinks: "Yes; they are most spiritual people, I suppose - but what do they do?" - for what we know about doing is hustling and bustling, being busy all the time. However unimportant, yet that is something done! That is the thought. But when a person is evolved, even if outwardly he may not seem to be doing something, he is doing and can do much greater works inwardly than can be noticed outwardly.

There is a story of a madzub. A madzub is someone who is not considered to be an active person in the world. Many think of him as someone who is not quite balanced. In the East there are some who know about such beings, and they have regard for them. There used to be a madzub in Kashmir some centuries ago, who was allowed by the Maharaja to roam about in the palace and the gardens wherever he wanted to go, and he was given a piece of ground where he could dwell. He used to walk in every corner of the Maharaja's gardens that he was allowed to enter. There was a miniature toy cannon in the garden, and sometimes this madzub got a fancy to play with it. He used to take this gun and turn it, either toward the south or toward the north or elsewhere. Then he would turn it again and make all sorts of gestures. After making those gestures he would be delighted. It seemed as if he were fighting and as if after that fighting he was now victorious and delighted.

It was at such times that the Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to give the order to his army: "Now prepare for fight!", and there was success. The war had been going on for many, many years, and it was going on slowly; nothing had happened, but every time the madzub played with the cannon results were achieved.

I myself have seen in Hyderabad a madzub whose habit it was to insult everybody, to call people such names that they would go away from him. Still one man dared go there in spite of all the insults. The madzub said to him: "What do you want?" He said: "My case is coming on in the court six days from now, and I have no money, no means. What shall I do?" "Tell me what is the condition", said the madzub, "but tell me the truth." So the man told him all. The madzub listened to it; then he wrote on the ground: "There seems to be nothing in this case; so it must be dismissed." Then he said: "Go, it is done." The man went to the court. On the opposite side were many barristers and pleaders; on his part there were none, because he was a poor man. The judge heard the case from both sides, and then spoke the same words that the madzub had written on the ground.

What does this mean? It only explains to us the words that Christ spoke: "Enter the kingdom of God"; meaning that every soul has in himself a kingdom of God. To become conscious of this mystery of life is to open one's eyes to the kingdom of God, and then whatever one does has a meaning, an influence. It is never lost. If it is not materialized, it does not matter: it is spiritualized. Nothing is gone, nothing here is lost. If it has not been produced on this plane, it is produced on another plane - but then it is reflected on this plane, because there is always an action and reaction between both planes. It only means that what one does - if it is not materialized on this plane - is reflected from the other plane on this plane, and then materialized. That is all. If a person thinks: "I have thought and thought on a certain subject, and yet it has not been realized", it only means that the time and the conditions have not allowed it to materialize. But if it is once sent out, it must ultimately be materialized.