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



The Secret of Repetition

The Psychological Effect of Our Speech


Names of God

Take the Spiritual Path

Forgetting the False Self

Vol. 2, The Power of the Word

6. The Value of Repetition and Reflection

The Secret of Repetition

For thousands of years the secret of repetition has been known to the mystics. They found that the greatest mystery was hidden in the form of repetition, and on that science mantrayoga was rounded by the Yogis in India, while the Sufis worked for ages in the lands of Syria, Palestine and Egypt with the science of the repetition of words.

What attracts us most is the repetition of any experience that we have had. If you are in the habit of going to the park, you have perhaps made an association with a little bench there, and you will always be attracted to it whenever you go to the park. You have experienced the magnetism of the place. There may be a better place, but on the place you once sat you will sit again, and the oftener you sit there, the oftener you will be attracted to it. Then there are simple songs that you have heard in your childhood; they are already lost from your memory. You have become a great lover of music, but when that song is sung that you once heard in your childhood, it brings you a new joy and a desire to hear it again; you cannot compare it with the best music in the world! There are also things that one eats or smells - that have a perfume, and after having experienced them once, twice or thrice they grow on one. One begins to like them so much that the one who has never experienced them is surprised to think what joy there is in liking such a thing. This also is the effect of repetition.

Friendship, familiarity, acquaintance, all these are repetitions. Sometimes one feels very uncomfortable in the train finding oneself among people one does not know, but after having seen them for a while one becomes so accustomed to their presence that sympathy awakens and one becomes friends. So the whole life is based upon the principle of repetition. Therefore things that help one to be illuminated and to attain spirituality are prescribed by the wise for repetition.

It is through misunderstanding that in the Protestant religion people stuck to that one hint of Christ against "vain repetitions." But this was not meant against repetitions, it was against vain repetitions. The Protestant clergy, however, took this idea up and made out of it a saying against repetition. So in countries like Switzerland, and other places where there is a Calvinistic spirit, people very often do not understand this. Yet on repetition the whole of life is based. Even going to church and saying prayers is repetition.

Nowadays a wave is coming in this material age when people are beginning to recognize from a psychological point of view an idea, as used by [Dr. Emile] Coue, that by repeating: "You are well, you are well, you are well", one becomes well. People come home with this idea about which the mystics of all ages have thought, and they say: "Somehow it is useful." The more they understand it, the more they will find that there is much in repetition, if once they will explore it.

In India there was a maid in our house who got a fancy to sing a song, the words of which were: "How my fate has changed today." During a week she sang it the whole day long, and at the end she fell from the balcony and died. Fate changed for the worse.

There was a Mogul emperor, Bahadur Shah, who was an exquisite poet under the name of Zafar, the greatest poet of his time. He wrote sad poetries and he died in utter sadness.

Then I may tell you about my own experience. While travelling in Holland I went with a friend - a very practical man and wide awake - to have lunch in his country house. In the train I told him how once I had lost my station, and so went away from the place where I should have got down. While telling this we actually lost our station, and instead of arriving for lunch we arrived for dinner. This shows that everything we repeat has a psychological action.

Good omen and bad omen also depend upon repetition. If you tell a person about an accident when he is just getting into his automobile, it means that you put the wheels of his automobile on the track leading to an accident.

Why does success repeat itself, and why does failure repeat itself? There is always success after success, and failure after failure. This is repetition too; it forms a rhythm. There is nothing that succeeds as success, and once you have failed, you will fail again and again. If I were to go deeper into this subject, I would say that the moving of the world is also repetition by which a rhythm is formed. The rising and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, the changing of the seasons, the rhythm that the waves take, and the speed with which the wind blows, all this works according to the law of repetition. Since repetition is movement - a mobile movement because it goes forward - so it is used even by the mystics as the greatest secret for spiritual progress or material success.

There are many ways of concentration, but the best way is the repetition of a word. For instance, if a person wants to concentrate on balance, he cannot make a form of it before his mind because it is an abstraction. But if he closes his eyes from all other things and repeats to himself: "Balance, balance, balance, balance, balance", naturally each time he repeats "balance" it makes a picture in his innermost, a picture of balance, and in everything he does he sees that picture reflected. So his life becomes balance.