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. The Power of the Word

2. The Power of the Sacred Word

3. The Word that was Lost

4. Cosmic Language

5. The Word

6. The Value of Repetition and Reflection

Phrases To Be Repeated




Truth and Fact

The Development of Creation

Searching for The Word

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

3. The Word that was Lost

Searching for The Word

Souls at different stages of evolution wish to search after this word that was lost, in the form in which they are accustomed to search. Ways have been made to search for this word which have become right ways and wrong ways, sins and virtues. It is therefore that the wise are tolerant to all, for they see that every soul has his own way to follow, his own purpose to accomplish. But in the accomplishment of all these purposes is the one purpose, and that is the finding of the word that was lost. No soul, however, will obtain satisfaction unless he touches that perfection which is spoken of in the Bible: "Be ye perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect." This means that the Spirit of God itself has gone through different phases to realize that perfection which has limited the perfection of God's own Being, but which is intelligible. Therein lies the satisfaction.

Now one may ask: "What explanation can be given of this perfection? What is it? What experience is it?" This perfection is what words can never explain, except by saying that the eyes of the soul become open, and that from all sides that word which was lost comes to the ears of this soul. The poets of the East have pictured it in a beautiful imagery in the stories like that of Rama and Sita. They have explained the joy of this perfection as a lover who, having lost his beloved, has found her again. No imagery can better explain this idea than this picture of a man who has lost his soul, and has found it again.

Wisdom cannot be called truth. Wisdom is a form in which the souls who have realized have tried to perceive the word in life, or to interpret it to themselves. It is this wisdom which is called in the Greek language "sophia," and in Persian "Sufi."

Wisdom is the interpretation of life made by someone whose point of view has become different by looking at life in the sunlight.

By "Sufi Message" is meant the message of wisdom. It is more a point of view than any teaching or dogma or theory. One arrives at this point of view not only by study, but by association with those who have that particular point of view. Besides, by diving deep into life one comes to the realization of truth and for diving deep into life there is a way or a process.

It is possible that either with some difficulty or with ease one may find a place one is looking for in a town. One may look for it in different directions, and at last find it. But by asking one who knows one can find it sooner.

The Sufi Movement therefore gives the facility of studying, of coming into contact with those who have the same point of view, and of knowing the ways through which one comes to the realizations that are necessary on the path.

The idea of the word that was lost belongs to the inner cult and the secret teaching of all ages. Very few at present know, or at least seem to know, the meaning of it. There is not much difference in belief between the mystic and the materialist, but there is very much difference in their ideal. For instance, a materialist who seeks for the source of the whole creation comes to the same conclusion as the mystic: that there is only one source of the life of variety. And both mystic and materialist come at the end of their path to the same thing: truth.

It is chiefly in their ideal that they differ. The materialist thinks that all the consciousness and intelligence that one sees in man is the natural development of life. The mystic says that this consciousness or intelligence is the same as the unlimited consciousness or intelligence which is put into different channels, and that from this intelligence that existed in the beginning all manifestation has come. Picturing the unlimited consciousness or intelligence as the ocean, the consciousness or intelligence of man is like a drop. Thus the materialist sees the intelligence of man as the natural development of humanity, while the mystic sees it as the divine essence, as one, as the source of all things.

In the belief of the mystic it is not only man who is seeking for something; plants, animals, even rocks and mountains, are all looking for something. Man who analyses life, distinguishes one object as a thing, another entity as a being. In this way he divides life into so many aspects, so many things, but in reality life is one. Therefore he sees intelligence only in living beings. Although intelligence is especially developed in man, there is mind also in animals, in plants, in trees; each mind is a particle of the unlimited intelligence. Often an animal thinks more than a man; one can only say that the animal is not as much developed as man. According to the mystic, mind exists also in plants and trees; in rocks and mountains mind is hidden somewhere. Mind is working imperceptibly in all things, in things that man only recognizes as objects.

Comparison between two minds shows that there is a vast difference between them, but it is difficult to define it. Some persons may have experienced in life how plants often respond to influences, especially to the human beings around them, how they often wither in a home where there is distress, disturbance, or disharmony, and how they often live longer where there is harmony. When their owners understand plants they become responsive to love, harmony and sympathy; often plants feel the absence of these qualities. The condition of a person's mind can be seen in its effect on the plants in his surroundings.

The human being is so much absorbed in his own affairs that he sees no further than he can see. Generally mankind is too unaware of the condition of others; often man does not even know the condition of those who are near and dear to him. If it were not so, some nations could not be happy and comfortable while people in other countries are starving and dying by millions. Man is unaware of the secret of his own being. What he needs is to interest himself in the life of beings in another phase of evolution, before he can come to the fundamental basis, the consciousness of his own being.

If you have ever been far away in the forests or the mountains, far away from all population, you will know that there comes, consciously or unconsciously, a feeling of romance. The wind that repeats the sound coming from the trees, the rocks, the murmur of water running - all tell you that they are wanting to get back something that has been lost. This feeling comes to human beings even during the pleasures of everyday life, for then there is a joy that opens up something in them, and then comes this yearning, and this yearning one feels on every side, in the wilderness, in the forest. There comes a feeling of longing, of deep yearning of the heart, the searching for something that has been lost. When we look at the beings living around us we see the same thing. For instance, look at the birds and contemplate their restless flight, the ceaseless roaming of animals in the forest. The first thought that might come is that they are searching for food, but he who has a deeper insight into nature will certainly feel their restlessness, their searching for that which is lost.

There is the same tendency in human beings, although the human being has much interest in life through his various occupations and moods. He finds a thousand and one excuses for his restlessness, for his depression, and illusion is so much developed in man that a reason always comes at his command. There is always someone who will say to a poor man: "It is sad for you that you are not rich", or someone comes and says: "You look depressed; I know there is so much sorrow, that is the reason." But reason is always at man's command and is applied outwardly, so man cannot find the real reason which is within. That reason is suppressed beneath all the reasoning, and man seeks - more than the animal kingdom does - to get back something that has been lost. Nowadays life never gives man a moment in which to be quiet, to ponder upon the true cause of his constant unhappiness. Also it keeps him in an illusion; always looking outwardly he can never find the cause outside himself. It is as if he were looking for the moon on the earth!

Now you may ask: "What has man lost?" The answer is: God himself, that perfect intelligence that is in every being, that intelligence that the Vedanta calls light. In the Qur'an it is said that God is light, which means that the light of God is immanent in the world of names and forms, in all that exists in this world of variety. In this world of variety different forms of activity are producing different results. Yet man in this life of illusion has the same intelligence, the perfection of which he can realize in that state of consciousness where he is aware of his own perfection.

The religions, the mystics, the philosophers of all ages have given the key to this secret, and that is what the Sufi message is bringing back to humanity. Christ has said it so beautifully: "Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect." The yearning of every soul is for the realization of that perfection; that is the longing, consciously or unconsciously, of every thing, of every being in this world. There is something in the whole creation which is like an alarm-clock set for a certain time to make a sound, so that one may awaken. That clock sounds through all the activity of evolution, and when a certain point of evolution is touched man is awakened by the alarm: that is the word that was lost. It has its echo in the longing.

Now you may ask: "How can one listen, how can one find that word?" That word rises from one's own heart, re-echoing in everything in this universe. If it does not rise from one's own heart it cannot be heard in the outer world. You may ask: "What is the sign? What makes it rise? Who can hear it?" The answer is: as soon as this word rises in your own heart, you touch God, you touch perfection, and then you begin to understand the divine tongue, and the secret that was closed for so long seems to be revealed.

Ancient stories, stories in the Bible, tell of men speaking with trees, with running water, of sounds coming from the rock. A man without patience will not stop to listen, he hurries on. He is ready to laugh at such things, but there is nothing surprising or impossible in it. This world which is around us sounds continually; the word re-echoes in all things. Only man must be aware of his privilege, of this underlying oneness of all life. The whole treasure of the universe is in the understanding of the mystical idea. This lack of religion of today, this increasing materialism - what is its cause? It is caused by the lack of knowledge of religion; it is the spirit of religion that is lost.

Mankind cannot all be turned one way. Form does not matter; form is nothing without spirit. What is needed is the understanding of each other's faith, respect for each other's ideal, regard for that which is dear to our fellow-men and other creatures. The attempt to make the whole world believers of one faith would be - if it could succeed - as if all men had the same face. It would become a very uninteresting world.

The work that the Sufi message has therefore to accomplish is to bring forward this idea of the mystics that it is the spirit, not the form, that matters; that one should understand the belief of others, and come to the realization of the word that was lost, which is the seeking of every soul; that one should reflect that picture of oneness in order to hear again the word that was lost, to hear it sounding in one's own heart.