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



Mastery of the Mystery

Perception of the Mystery

Power of the Spoken Word

Practices with Sound

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

5. The Word

Practices with Sound

While the different schools of Sufism understand all this and use different methods in teaching it, they do not restrict themselves to one particular practice. The Sufi regards practices as prescriptions which are not given indiscriminately to everyone, but are chosen separately, one for this pupil, another for that. These practices are only preparations for receiving the truth. There is no such thing as giving truth to one person, and then his giving it to another, for truth by its very nature cannot be uttered, cannot be given. One cannot give that which cannot be put into speech. So the teacher gives a method for finding the truth, for unfolding it, for unlocking that which seems to be in one's heart. No real teacher, no true mystic, has ever claimed to be able to give one anything like this. It is clearly impossible for anyone to impart his knowledge to another person; he can only show him how to unfold his own knowledge to himself. Everybody possesses a kingdom, but he has to find it. The seeker will find it easy to find the truth when he has the help of someone who has himself trodden the path towards it.

In the story from The 1001 Nights about Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves we find the mystery of the word portrayed by Ali Baba. It was at a time when Ali Baba was in great distress for lack of money; he badly wanted a change of circumstances. He was even wondering whether he should commit suicide, and then he thought he would try to obtain what he needed, try if he could find a place where his desire could be fulfilled. After traveling some time he arrived at a certain place where a dervish was sitting. He began a conversation with him, and the dervish said: "Yes, I will give you the key to what you want. Go to such and such a place, and there you will find a rock. Then, standing in front of this rock, repeat such and such a word." So Ali Baba went to the place indicated by the dervish and, after he had found the rock, he repeated the word before it. Then the rock broke open and revealed a path opening up before him.

The rock is the heart of man. The dervish is the Murshid, the spiritual guide, and the word he gives you to utter is this mystery: that by the help of the word the treasure can be found and a door opened by which one can enter into the kingdom in one's heart.

Self-confidence, faith, trust, perseverance and patience are all necessary. As long as you tell yourself that it is not possible for a dervish to give you a word, or that this word cannot possibly do what he says, then, even though you were to go near that rock, you might just call out the word and find that the rock would not open. So then you might think: "It is no use. I shall go home again", or you might think: "This is a rock. How can it possibly be opened or split?" True, it will never be opened in this case: the word has no power. The word is the sword, and the sword needs an arm to wield it. The arm to wield it is faith. If there is no faith there is no arm either. The sword is there, but there is no one to wield it. Someone must be there to hold the sword, and it is faith that will hold it.

The power of the word has shown itself to me throughout all the experiences of my life. Every moment has been full of wonder; every successive moment a greater and greater wonder. It is true that some people may achieve various phenomena in another way, but this is not the way of the sage. The way of the sage is: to understand for oneself. It is as when a person turns over on to the other side in his sleep - then he wishes to live with a different purpose.

To such a person only the sage might say: "Would you like to observe the phenomena? Then come with me." The sage would never go about indiscriminately saying to people: "Look at these phenomena which I have learned!" No, even to his own pupils he will say: "I will show you how to see for yourself what the phenomena of life can reveal to you. If I were to show you these phenomena it would still not be you who is producing them. Even if my showing the phenomena were to give you faith, it would be a much stronger faith if you could observe the phenomena yourself. If you were only trusting in my phenomena you would only believe it to be true for a few moments." This cannot be spoken of before anyone or everyone; it is only understood in the heart and kept there. That is why it is called mysticism.

So let me impress this on my mureeds: You must all keep in mind during the time of your initiation, when you are practicing your exercises, that you should keep all your experiences to yourself. Whatever you come to understand, whatever you think of during this time, keep all this in your heart. Do not open your heart before persons not capable of understanding, persons who would argue with you, would disapprove of your way of thought and thus hinder you instead of encouraging you. Keep all this close to your heart, and only open your heart to those in need, who are able to understand. Throughout all this you must be patient in your practices, with what you have to learn, and with all that you will have to face in everyday life.

Never expect that the events of life are favorable all through. You will have to make a continual struggle and fight with others, whether you like it or not, whether you love them or not. You will find that this fight must be encountered on every side. So you must face it patiently. Do not turn your back to it. Face the conflict with courage and bravery and tranquillity. Since you know that you are on the path of truth you can go on trustfully.

Although there is a great responsibility in this worldly life, it is through this responsibility that you are enabled to evolve spiritually. In fact your evolution will become much greater even than that of the saints who have renounced the world. The reason for this is that, when you pursue your life's journey steadily and with tranquillity through all the struggles and conflicts you have to undergo, success will surely come in time. This success will perhaps enable you in your turn to bring great success to the lives of many other souls too.