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

2. The Phenomenon of Reflection

The phenomenon of reflection differs in its nature and character, especially by reason of the nature of different personalities. In the first place, the person whose thought becomes reflected in the heart of another may have a concrete form in his thought, may be able to hold it as one design or a picture. In that case the reflection falls in the heart of another man clearly; but when the mind is so weak that it cannot hold a thought properly, then the thought is moving and it cannot reflect the mind of another properly. If the mind of the person is not in good condition, then the picture there is not clear. If a person's mind is not clear, if it is upset or too active, then that mind cannot convey the reflection fully.

The mind can be likened to a lake. If there is a wind blowing and the water is disturbed, then the reflection will not be clear; but when the water is still the reflection is clear. And so it is with the mind: the mind which is still is capable of receiving reflection. The mind which is powerful, capable of making a thought, a picture, holding a thought, can project its thought beyond any boundaries that may be standing there to hinder it.

Does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart? In the first place it should be known that the mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore mind and heart are one and the same thing. If you call it a mirror, then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart its depth; in the same mirror all is reflected. "Mirror" is a very good word, because it applies to both the mind and the heart. If the reflection comes from the surface of the heart, it touches the surface; if it comes from the depth of the heart, it reaches the depth. Just like the voice of the insincere person: it comes from the surface and it reaches the ears. The voice of the sincere person comes from the depth and goes to the depth. What comes from the depth enters the depth, and what comes from the surface remains on the surface.

Nothing can separate two minds which are focused on one another. No person with an affectionate heart, with tender feeling, will deny that two sympathetic souls communicate with one another. Distance is never a bar to this phenomenon. Have we not seen in the recent war the womenfolk of the soldiers, their mothers, their wives, their children, linked with their dear ones fighting at the front and feeling their conditions and knowing when a soldier was wounded or killed? Many will say that it is the thought which reaches. But at the same time even the thought vibrations in the profound depth become a picture, a design. One thought, one particular design, one particular picture becomes reflected, and because it is so mirrored upon him, the other person feels it in an instant. Reflection is not like a conversation. In a conversation every word unfolds the idea more, and so the idea gradually becomes manifested; but in the reflection, in one instant the whole idea is reflected, because the whole idea is there in the form of a picture, and it is mirrored in the mind which has received it.

This theory helps to reveal the mystery that lies in the connection between the living and the dead. The idea of obsession may be thus explained, that a reflection of the thought of someone on the other side, held fast by a living creature on the earth, becomes an obsession. Very often it may happen that when a young anarchist has assassinated someone, in the end one finds that there was no great enmity between him and the person whom he killed. The mystery behind it is that some enemy of the person who was killed, on the other side, reflected his thought in the passive mind of this young man, who through his enthusiasm and strength felt inclined to kill someone, himself not knowing the reason. One finds such cases among anarchists especially. Owing to their extreme points of view their heart is in a condition to be receptive; they can receive a good reflection or a bad reflection, and act accordingly.

Is it possible for a person living on the earth to project his thought on those who are on the other side? Every religion has taught this lesson; but the intellectual evolution of these times has not grasped it fully. For instance, among Hindus there is a custom today of offering to the dead all that they loved in the form of flowers and colors, in the form of natural environment, river, stream, mountain, tree. Of all that their dear one loved, they make an offering to him.

Among some peoples there is a custom of making delicious dishes, of burning incense, and preparing flowers and perfume; and then after offering it to the dead, they partake of it themselves. Because, however strange it may seem, if they partake of it, it is their experience which is reflected; and therefore it is right for them to partake of it though it is offered to the dead, because it is through them that the dead receive it; they are the medium for the offering. It is the only way in which they can give it.

This teaches another idea, that those who mourn over their dear ones certainly continue to give pain to those who have departed; because from this world, instead of having a better experience and reflecting it to them, they gather pain and offer it to their dead. The wisest thing that one could do for those who have passed is to project the thought of joy and happiness, of love and beauty, of calm and peace. It is in this way that one can help the dead best. One may ask if one can influence a soul that has passed beyond this world to such an extent as to make him exert a special action on the mind of another person on earth. It is a thing possible in theory, but why trouble that spirit? If you are able to influence that spirit, why not influence this person who is on earth?

At the present time, when materialism is increasingly prevalent, very few recognize the cases of obsession. Very often those who are obsessed are sent to the insane asylum, where they are given medicines or different treatments, the physicians thinking that there is something wrong with the brain of the person, with his mind; that something has gone wrong with his nerves. But in many cases this is not so; it is only the outcome of it. When once a person is obsessed, naturally he has lost his rhythm, his tone, and therefore he does not feel himself, he feels queer. A continual discomfort causes a disorder in his nervous system, causing thereby different diseases. But at the root of it there is obsession.

Obsession can be caused not only by the dead, but also by a living person; in the case of the former it is called obsession, in the case of the latter it is called impression. But what generally happens is that the souls who are attached to the earth are either earth-bound, or the inspirers or the protectors of the earth. The love of those inspirers and protectors of the earth comes like a stream. No doubt it could come to individuals, but actually it is mostly for the multitude; therefore it cannot be classed with what we call obsession; it can be called a blessing. But the other souls, who are earth-bound, when they reflect it is for the reason of a want; and however great a reason or a want may be, it is imperfection, because it is limited. Besides, creation is a phenomenon whereby every individual must have his freedom, to which he has the right. When he is deprived of that freedom by obsession, however much helped, that person remains in a limited condition. Furthermore, it is possible that obsession may become most interesting, and if the obsessed one is cured of his obsession he does not feel himself. He feels that some life that he has experienced for a long time has been taken away from him.

The inclination for automatic writing comes from a mediumistic tendency. A person who has a mediumistic tendency is naturally reclined to automatic writing. The reason is that by automatic writing he begins to feel in connection, he forms a connection with souls floating in the air. It does not matter what soul he contacts, from that soul he begins to take the reflection; and then he begins to put it on paper. There are some who, if once they have become interested in a soul on the other side, focus their attention on this particular soul. Then a connection is formed, and it is natural that day and night, or on many occasions, communication is established. But there is danger in this play. It is interesting to begin with, but later it can be most difficult to get rid of.

The story is known of a person who had put himself in spirit communication so profoundly that the spirits would not leave him alone for one moment. It was just like a telephone ringing at any time of the day. And the most curious thing was that he used to live with them; he used to say, "I don't want you. Go away, go away." But they came again. Day and night the poor man was exposed to the telephone ringing. He could not protect himself once he had laid himself open to them. He had focused himself on the other world, and then he could not close the doors.

Besides this, it is a great strain on the nerves because the nerves must be fine in order to get a communication. The intuitive centers in the body are made of fine nerves, finer than one can imagine. They are not matter, they are not spirit; they are between. When once these fine nerves have become sensitive, then the communication is open with the other side. But then the difficulty is that the gross vibrations of this earth are too hard on the nerves and the nerves cannot answer the demands of this gross world, this material world; they become too fine. The result is a nervous illness.

It was for the benefit of some mediums who were used by the great explorers of spiritualism that I showed my disapproval of that line; not as an unbeliever nor as someone who makes fun of these things, only for the welfare of those simple ones who are made use of, and whose lives are ruined in order that the others may find out some secret of it. But what secret do they find after all? Nothing. It is not the spectator who will find the secret of a play, it is the player himself. That is where the joy is. If they want to experience, they must experience themselves and take the consequences. But this way of taking a young, inexperienced, mediumistic person and profiting by his ruin neither brings a blessing nor does it bring the knowledge which they seek. In short, either a communication between living beings or a communication between the living and the souls who have passed from this earth is in the reflection, a reflection which depends upon the power and clearness of mind.