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. Character-Building

The Law of Reciprocity

The Law of Beneficence

The Law of Renunciation




The Music of Life







Humanity in Character





Word of Honor





Vol. 3, Character and Personality

1. Character-Building


Every impulse has its influence upon the word and upon the action. Therefore naturally every impulse exerts its full power through words and deeds unless it is checked. There are two types of persons: those who have learnt to check their word and action when they exert their full power, and express themselves abruptly; the other kind of persons are those who mechanically allow this natural impulse to show itself in their word and deed without giving any thought to it. The former, therefore, is gentle, and the latter is man. Gentleness is the principal thing in the art of personality; one can see how gentleness works as the principal thing in every art. In painting, in drawing, in line and color it is gentleness which appeals most to the soul. The same we see in music. A musician may be qualified enough to play rapidly and may know all the technique, but what produces beauty is his gentle touch.

It is mainly gentleness which is the basis of all refinement. But where does it come from? It comes from consideration, and it is practiced by self-control. There is a saying in Hindustani: "The weaker the person, the more ready to be angry." The reason is that he has no control over his nerves; it is often lack of control over oneself which is the cause of lack of gentleness.

No doubt one learns gentleness by consideration. One must learn to think before saying or doing. Besides one must not forget the idea of beauty. One must know that it is not enough simply to say or do, but that it is necessary to say or do everything beautifully. It is the development of the nations and races which is expressed in gentleness. Also it is the advancement of the soul's evolution which expresses itself in gentleness. Nations and races, as well as individuals, will show backwardness in their evolution if they show lack of gentleness.

At this time the world's condition is such that it seems that the art of personality has been much neglected. Man, intoxicated with the life of cupidity and the competitive spirit, is held by the commercialism of the day, is kept busy in the acquirement of the needs of his everyday life, and the beauty which is the need of the soul is lost to view. Man's interest in all aspects of life, science, art, philosophy, remains incomplete in the absence of the art of personality. How rightly the distinction has been made in the English language between man and gentleman!

There is a tendency hidden behind human impulse which may be called the persuasive tendency. It may manifest itself in a crude form, or it may be expressed in a free form. In the former aspect it is a fault, and in the latter aspect it is a mistake. When crudely expressed, someone urges another to agree with him, or to listen to him, or to do as he wishes by fighting, by quarrelling, by being disagreeable. Often such a person, by the strength of his will-power or by virtue of his better position in life, gets his wishes fulfilled. This encourages him to continue in the same way until he gets a disappointing result by his method, if he ever does.

The other way of persuading is a gentle way, by putting pressure upon someone's kindness, goodness, and politeness, exhausting thereby his patience and testing his sympathy to the utmost. By this people achieve for the moment what they wish to achieve, but in the end it results in the annoyance of all those who are tried by this persuasive tendency. Does it not show that to get something done is not so hard as to be considerate of the feelings of others? It is so rare that one finds a person in the world who is considerate of another person's feelings even at the sacrifice of his own desires. Everyone seeks freedom, but for himself. If he sought the same for another he would be a real freemason.

The persuasive tendency no doubt shows great will-power, and it preys upon the weakness of others who yield and give in to it owing to love, sympathy, goodness, kindness, politeness. But there is a limit to everything. There comes a time when the thread breaks. A thread is a thread; it is not a steel wire. And even a wire breaks if it is pulled too hard. The delicacy of the human heart is not comprehended by everyone. Human feeling is too fine for common perception. A soul who develops his personality, what is he like? He is not like the root or the stem of the plant, nor like the branches or leaves, he is like the flower, the flower with its fragrance, color, and delicacy.