The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

        (How to create a bookmark)



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 Palace of Mirrors

2. The Phenomenon of Reflection

3. Wazifa

4. Reflection upon the Mind

5. Reflection

6. Heart Reflections

7. The Mirror of the Heart

8. Soul Reflections

9. Reflection in the Hereafter

10. Reflection of Ancestors

11. Reflection of a Teacher

12. Reflection of Others

13. Reflection of God

The Story of Una



Vol. 4, The Mind-World

1. The Palace of Mirrors

The mind-world in the terms of the Sufi poets is called Aina Khana, which means the Palace of Mirrors. One knows very little of the phenomena that this Palace of Mirrors has in it. Not only among human beings, but also in the lower creation one finds the phenomena of reflection. In the first place, one wonders how the small germs and worms, little insects who live on other small lives, reach their food and attract their food. In fact, their mind becomes reflected upon the little lives, which then become their food. The scientist says that the animals have no mind. It is true up to a certain point. They have no mind, not what the scientist calls mind, according to his terminology; but according to the mystic, the same intelligence which is in man is to be found to a lesser degree in the lower creatures. They have a mind, but not such a clear one; and therefore, comparatively speaking, one might say it is the same thing as having no mind. But at the same time, for the mystic, who calls the mind a mirror, it may not be so clear, yet i: is a mirror.

Friendship, hostility, the fights which take place among birds and animals, their becoming mates, all this takes place not as thought or imagination, but as reflection from one mirror to the other. What does it show? It shows that the language of the lower creation is more natural than the language man has made, and he has gone far away from that natural intuitive way of expression. You may ask any rider about the joy of riding, which he considers greater and better than any other form of sport or enjoyment. He may not be able to give the reason for it, but the reason is this phenomenon of reflection--when the reflection of his thought has fallen upon the mind of the horse, when the two minds are focused on each other and the horse knows where the rider wishes to go; the more sympathy there is between the rider and the horse, the greater joy one experiences in riding. After riding on horseback, instead of feeling tired one feels exalted; the joy is greater than the tiredness. And the greater communication there is between the mind of the horse and the rider, the greater the joy the rider derives from it, and so does the horse. The horse begins to feel sympathy with his rider in time.

A story is told of an Arab rider who fell on the battlefield. There was no one near to take care of his dead body, and his horse stood there for three days in the scorching sun without eating, till people came and found the dead body. The horse was guarding its master's body from vultures. There is a story of a dog that howled for three days after the death of its mate, and died at the end of the third day. That is the reflection by which they communicate with one another.

Often one sees circus horses and other animals working wonderfully according to the commands given to them. Is it their mind; have they learned it? No, they have not learned it, it is not in their minds. It is at the instant when the man stands there with his whip that the reflection from his mind is mirrored upon their minds. If they were left alone they would not work, they would not think about it. The reason is as it is said in the Qur'an, that man has been made chief of creation. This means that all creatures around him, large or small, are attracted to his magnetism; they are all attracted to him, they all look up to him, for he is the representative of the divine, and they unconsciously know it and surrender to it. Elephants in Burma work in the forests, carrying logs of wood, but it is the thought of the man who trains them, mirrored upon them, that makes them do the work. When one studies it minutely one finds that it is not a training, it is a reflection; that what man thinks in his mind, the animals do. They, so to speak, become the hands and legs of their master. Two beings become one in thought; as the Persian verse expresses it, when two hearts become one, they make a way through mountains. A relationship can be established between a man and an animal, but it is difficult to establish that oneness among human beings.

There is the story of Daniel, who entered the den of lions, and the lions were tamed instantly. Did he will them to be so? No. It was the calm and peace of the heart of Daniel reflected upon the lions that made them quiet like him. His own peace became their peace; they became peaceful. One might ask if after Daniel had left the lions" den, they remained the same. It is open to doubt, though this does not mean that something was not left there; but the predisposition of the lions remained, and no sooner was Daniel out of the den than the lions woke to lionhood again.

Very often birds and animals give warning of death in the family. One might think that they know from somewhere, or that they have a mind that thinks about it. The condition is reflected upon them. The condition of the person who is dying, the thought of those who are around him, the condition of the cosmos at that time, the whole environment, everything there is reflected on their mind. And they know, they begin to express their feeling, and they become a warning of the coming death.

Do animals project their thought and feeling upon the human being? Can man reflect the feeling of an animal? Yes, sometimes human beings who are in sympathy with a pet animal feel its pain, without any other reason. The animal cannot explain its pain, but they feel how the animal is suffering. Besides, the most curious thing is that on farms one sees shepherds, reflecting the feelings of the animals; they make noises, sing, or dance in a way that resembles animals" sounds and movements, and show in many ways the traits of animals.

It is most interesting to watch how the phenomenon of reflection between animals and man manifests to the view of one who observes it keenly; and it explains to us that language is an external means by which we communicate with one another, but the natural language is this reflection which is projected and reflected from one to another. And this is the universal language; and once this language is understood not only can one communicate with human beings, but even with the lower creation. It was not a fantasy when people said that the saints in ancient times used to speak with animals and birds; it was the truth. Only, they did not speak with them in language such as we use in our everyday life; they spoke in that natural language in which all souls communicate with one another.

Other instances are to be found in the bull-fights that take place in Spain and the elephant-fights that are known in India. It is not often that elephants fight in the forest. It is the mind of the spectators, who wish the elephants to fight, which gives a stimulus to their fighting nature; and that desire reflected upon the animals makes them inclined to fight, the instant they are free. Thousands of persons who watch these sports all expect them to fight, and the expectation of so many minds being reflected upon these poor animals gives them all the strength and desire for fighting.

There are snake-charmers who are supposed to attract snakes from their holes. Indeed, it is the music of the flute; but it is not always the music, it is the mind of the snake-charmer reflected upon the snakes that attracts the snakes out of their holes. The music becomes an excuse, a medium.

There are men who know a magic to drive certain flies from a house or from a garden; and it has been known to happen that one of these men was able to drive all the flies from a place in one day. It was his mind reflecting upon their little insignificant minds. The power of affecting the mind of insects is an evidence of power, not a peculiarity. No doubt the human mind is incomparably greater in power and concentration, and naturally it projects its thought upon the objects it chooses to project upon. It is only the one who knows how to focus his mind who can do so. If a man drives away flies from a place, it does not mean that he has in his mind a fly element; only that he can focus his mind upon flies, which another man would not be able to do, because a person does not generally give his thought to it. He does not imagine that such a thing could happen; and as he does not believe it, he cannot concentrate his mind on it. And even if he did reflect just for an experiment, he would not succeed.

The will-power develops by focusing one's thought on a certain object of one's concentration; and therefore one can develop that particular thing better than any other thing by one's willpower. For instance, those who play brass instruments in a band naturally develop the power of blowing instruments, and they will also be able to play the wood instruments, clarinet or flute; but at the same time if they have practiced the horn, they can play the horn yet better than the flute; because, although there is blowing in both, they are accustomed to that special instrument.

So with concentration. For instance, if a snake-charmer with all his power of attracting snakes went near the bank and wanted to attract a purse, he could not very well do it. He can attract snakes, but he cannot attract a purse. At the same time, once the will-power is developed in any direction, it will prove to be useful in all things one does.

There have been cases of horses having been able to give the answer to complicated mathematical problems to which those who put the question to them did not know the answer. It is the reflection of the teacher's mind projected upon the mind of the horse, for the horse is not capable of doing mathematics, nor can it be made to be. In a kind of mediumistic process, a mathematical idea is projected upon the mind of the horse. It is possible that even the person who does it does not know it; but his very effort to make the horse do mathematics has produced the result. The power of projection can be increased with the increase of will-power. It can be developed by the development of will, of thought, of feeling. There is so much that we could learn in little things, which can reveal to us the greatest secret of life, if only our eyes were open and if we were eager to observe the phenomena.