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 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

10. Reflection of Ancestors

There is little consideration given at this time of the world's evolution to what may be called inherited qualities. It is partly because individual progress is lacking, and partly because of materialism growing every day more and more. If it is a question of buying a dog, purchasing a horse, one gives thought to its ancestors because one attaches value to the dog or horse according to its origin; but in man one is apt to forget it. As the days pass, less and less consideration is given to this.

No doubt it has its advantages. Nevertheless there remains the fact that the qualities of the ancestors on both sides are manifested in the child. Therefore upon what the child inherits from its parents and from its forefathers the building of its life and of its life's career is placed; that is the foundation of its life. And if upon a weak foundation a large building is erected, that foundation will prove in the end to be not strong enough to hold the building; and if upon a good foundation a building is erected, you can always be sure that it is secure.

How does a child acquire its qualities? If the child is like one of its parents or its relations on its mother's side or on its father's side, one sees the reason, but with the mind of the child one is apt to forget the question as to how a mental quality appears. But it must be understood that the body is the expression of the soul; and if the body expresses the parents and the ancestors, the mind also represents them; for the body is the outcome of the essence of mind. Besides, the image that a child shows of its parents or of ancestors is not physical, it is mental. If the mental image is outwardly manifested in the visage of the child, certainly the qualities of the parents and of ancestors are also reflected in the mind of a child.

What about the qualities a child shows which are quite different from the qualities possessed by its parents or ancestors? In the first place, one knows so little about one's genealogy, as far as one can trace back; also, very few people know more than five generations of their family. But a child may inherit qualities of his ancestors six or seven generations back, which are not known to the family; and those may manifest in quite a concrete form.

Another way of a soul's inheriting qualities, which do not belong to its parents and ancestors, is the reflection that a soul has brought with it before it has come to this physical plane. Those qualities may be even more clear in the life of a soul on earth than the qualities it has inherited from its parents or ancestors. It is for this reason that one sometimes finds a hero, a king, a poet, a general, a great politician, born into a most ordinary family when there is no trace of such knowledge to be found among his ancestors or in his parents. Nevertheless, he may be a representative of Shakespeare, or of Alexander the Great, from the higher sphere; but still he has some property in his body and his mind inherited from his parents and ancestors, which also remains as a reflection fallen upon his soul.

Which quality is greater in a soul, the quality of the ancestors and of the parents, or the quality that the soul has brought with it from the higher spheres? In the depth of that soul there is the quality which it has brought with it; on the surface is that quality which the ancestors have given. If that innate quality is greater, then it may also manifest on the surface, covering that quality which the parents and ancestors have given. But if that quality is not profound enough, then the outer qualities which manifest on the surface will be the principal qualities showing as the characteristics of that person.

Often a child is very like its mother in face and like its father in character; for this there are many psychological reasons. In short, it may be said a child is an outcome of reflections of both the mother and father. It is on the greater or smaller degree of concreteness of the reflections, and also on the greater and smaller degree of conceiving those reflections, that the face of the child depends.

Does the soul consciously and intentionally choose its parents? Yes, according to its consciousness at that time. It may consciously enter a burning fire, but it is not conscious of its result yet; that consciousness comes afterwards. Are children responsible for the sins of their parents? Not at all. But suppose a child is entitled to inherit the wealth of its father; if that is so, he is entitled also to the debts that the father has incurred, to pay them back.

Are children who live apart from their parents and are brought up by spiritual guardians, free from the influence of a parent whose nature is not a good one? Spiritual influence is unlimited. It can bring about any desired results, it can turn a thorn into a flower. For all these influences of parents, or ancestors, or inner influences which a soul has brought with it, are reflections, shadows.

The real is in the depth of every soul, however high or low; and if a real soul meets with these children, or if they are brought in contact with a real soul, that real soul will sooner or later penetrate through all reflections which cover the real that exists in every soul.

That is the meaning of Christ's constantly pointing out to humanity the Fatherhood of God; to see the Father in God, and so inherit the qualities of God, which are great and superior and kingly and noble, and which are divine, and which no one in the world, or of those whom one has met on the way, possesses. The Sufis call these qualities Akhlak Allah, which means the manner of God, or divine manner. A seeker after truth, a worshipper of God need only believe in one Father, and that is God; and not only believe, but know and be conscious of One, and inherit from that perfect source, perfecting one's life with it; and it is that heritage which is called divine.