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. Background on Sufism

2. Sufism--The Spirit of All Religions

3. Sufism--Beyond Religion

4. Sufism: Wisdom Of All Faiths

5. Different Schools of Sufism

6. The Intoxication of Life

8. The Path of Initiation

9. Reincarnation

9. The Interdependence of Life Within and Without

11. The Truth and the Way

12. Sufi Mysticism, I: The Mystic's Path in Life

13. Self-Realization: Awakening the Inner Senses

14. The Doctrine of Karma

15. The Law of Life: Inner Journey and Outer Action

16. Sufi Mysticism, II: The Use of the Mind to Gain Understanding

17. Sufi Mysticism, III: Preparing the Heart for the Path of Love

18. Sufi Mysticism, IV: Use of Repose to Communicate with the Self

19. Sufi Mysticsim, V: Realizing the Truth of Religion

20. Sufi Mysticism, VI: The Way Reached by Harmonious Action

21. Sufi Mysticism, VII: Human Actions Become Divine

22. The Ideals and Aim of the Sufi Movement

23. Working for the Sufi Message

24. The Need of Humanity in Our Day

25. The Duties of a Mureed

26. The Path of Discipleship

27. Divine Manner, I

28. Divine Manner, II

29. Our Sacred Task: The Message

30. Sufi Initiation

31. What is Wanted in Life?



Social Gathekas

6. The Intoxication of Life

There are many different things in life which are intoxicating, but if one would consider the nature of life one would think that there is nothing more intoxicating than life itself. In the first place, we can see the truth of this idea by thinking of what we were yesterday and comparing it with our condition of today. Our unhappiness or happiness or riches or poverty of yesterday is a dream to us, only our condition of today counts.

This life of continual rise and fall and of continual changes is like running water, and with the running of this water one thinks, "I am this water." In reality one does not know what one is. For instance, if a person goes from poverty to riches, and if those riches are taken away from them, they lament; and one laments because one does not remember that before having those riches one was poor, and from that poverty one came to riches.

If one can consider one's fancies through life, one will find that at every stage of development in life one had a particular fancy. Sometimes one longed for certain things and at other times one did not care for them. If one can look at one's own life as a spectator one will find that it was nothing but an intoxication. What once gives a person a great satisfaction and pride at another time humiliates them; what at one time a person enjoys, at another time troubles them; what at one time one values extremely, at another time one does not value at all.

If a person can observe one's actions in everyday life and if one has an awakened sense of justice and understanding, one will find oneself doing something which one had not intended to do, or saying something that one would not like to have said, or behaving so that one asks, "Why was I such a fool"? Sometimes one allows oneself to love someone, to admire someone; it goes on for days for weeks, for months, or years. Then one feels, "Oh, I was wrong," or there comes something that is more attractive; then one is on another road, one does not know where one is nor whom one loves.

In the action and reaction of one's life sometimes a person does things on impulse not considering what one is doing, and at other times, so to speak, one gets a spell of goodness and one goes on doing what one thinks is good; at other times a reaction comes and all this goodness is gone. Then in business and in professions and commerce a person gets an impulse‚ "I must do this," "I must do that"‚ and one seems to have all strength and courage, and sometimes one goes on, and sometimes it lasts only a day or two and then one forgets what one was doing and then one does something else.

This shows that a person in one's life in the activity of the world is just like a little piece of wood, raised by the waves of the sea when the waves are rising and cast down when the waves are going down. Therefore the Hindus have called the life of the world Bawasada, an ocean, an ever-rising ocean. And the life of a person is floating in this ocean of the activity of the world, not knowing what he or she is doing, not knowing where he or she is going. What seems to one of importance is only the moment which one calls the present; the past is a dream, the future is in a mist, and the only thing clear to one is the present.

The attachment and love and the affection of a person in the world's life is not very different from the attachment of the birds and animals. There is a time when the sparrow looks after its young and brings grains in its beak and puts them into the beaks of its young ones, and they anxiously await the coming of the mother who puts grain in their beaks. And this goes on until their wings are grown, and once the young ones have known the branches of the tree and they have flown in the forests under the protection of the kind mother, they never know who is the mother who was so kind to them.

There are moments of emotion, there are impulses of love, of attachment, of affection, but there comes a time when they pass, they become pale and they fade away. And there comes a time when a person thinks that there is something else he or she desires and something else he or she would like to love.

The more one thinks of a person's life in the world the more one comes to understand that it is not very different from the life of a child. The child takes a fancy to a doll and then gets tired of the doll and takes a fancy to another toy. And when the child takes a fancy to the doll or the toy, he or she thinks it the most valuable thing in the world, and then there comes a time when the child tears up the doll and destroys the toy.

And so it is with each person; one's scope is perhaps a little different, but one's action is the same. All that one considers important in life, such as the collection of wealth, the possession of property, the attainment of fame, and rising to a position that one thinks ideal-any of these objects before one have no other than an intoxicating effect; but after attaining the object one is not satisfied. The person thinks, "There is perhaps something else I want, it is not this I wanted." Whatever one wants one feels is the most important thing, but after attaining it, one thinks that it is not important at all, one wants something else.

In everything that pleases one and makes one happy -- one's amusements, one's theater, one's moving pictures, golf, polo, and tennis -- it seems that it amuses one to be in a puzzle and not to know where one is going. It seems that one only desires to fill up one's time and one does not know where one is going or what one is doing. And what a person calls pleasure is that moment when he or she is more intoxicated with the activity of life.

Anything that covers one's eyes from reality, anything that makes one feel a kind of sensation of life, anything that one can indulge in and be conscious of some activity, it is what one calls pleasure. The nature of a person is such that whatever one becomes accustomed to, that is one's pleasure, in eating, in drinking, in any activity. If one becomes accustomed to what is bitter, that bitter is one's pleasure; if to what is sour, then sour is one's pleasure; if one becomes accustomed to eat sweets, one likes sweets.

Once one gets into a habit of complaining about one's life and if one has nothing to complain about, then one looks for something to complain of. Another wants the sympathy of others, to complain that one is badly treated by others, one looks for some treatment to complain of. It is an intoxication.

Then there is the person who has a habit of stealing; one is pleased by it, one gets into a habit; if there is another course before one, one is not pleased, one does not want to have it. In this way people become accustomed to certain things in life which become a pleasure, an intoxication.

There are many with whom it becomes a habit to worry about things. The least little thing worries them very much. They can cherish the least little sorrow they have, it is a plant they water and nourish.

And so many, directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, become accustomed to illness, and the illness is more an intoxication than a reality. And as long as one holds the thought of that illness, one so to speak, sustains it, and the illness settles in one's body and no doctor can take it away. And the sorrow and Illness are also an intoxication.

Then each person's condition in life, every individual's environment and condition of life, create before one an illusion and give one an intoxication so that one does not know the condition of the people around one, the people of the city in which one lives, and of the country in which one lives. And the intoxication not only remains with one in one's wakeful condition but it continues in one's dreams, as a drunken person will dream also of the things that have to do with one's drunkenness. If one has joy, if one has sorrow, if one has a worry, or if one has a pleasure, the same will be one's condition in one's dream. And day and night the dream continues to exist, and the continuation of the dream with some lasts the whole life, with some it lasts a certain time.

But people love this intoxication as much as the drunken person loves the intoxication of wine. When a person is seeking something interesting in their dream and somebody else tries to wake them, even on waking they feel for a moment that they should go to sleep and finish that interesting dream. Knowing that it was a dream and that someone is waking them, they wish to sleep and to finish that interesting dream. This intoxication can be seen in all different aspects of life, even in the religious, philosophical, and mystical aspects of life this manifests.

People seek subtlety, people wish to know something that they cannot understand, they are very pleased to be told something that their reason cannot understand. Give someone the simple truth, they will not like it, they want to find before them something that they cannot understand. When teachers like Jesus Christ came on earth and gave the message of truth in simple words, the people of that time said, "This is in our book, we know it already." But whenever there is an attempt made to mystify people, to tell them of the fairies and ghosts and spirits, they are pleased, they desire to understand what they cannot understand.

But always what one has called spiritual or religious truth has been the key to that ultimate truth which one cannot see because of one's intoxication. And this truth no one can give to another person. It is in every soul, for the human soul itself is this truth. And if anyone can give, they can only give the means by which the truth can be known. The religions, in different forms, have been methods. By these methods people have been taught by the inspired souls to know this truth, and to be benefited by this truth, which is in the soul of each person. But instead of being benefited by a religion in this way, people have taken only the external part of the religion to be their religion, and have fought with others, saying, "My religion is the only right one, your religion is false."

But there have always existed some wise ones, as it is said in the Bible that the wise of the East came when Jesus Christ was born to see the child. What does it mean? It means that at different times the wise have existed whose life's mission has been to keep themselves sober, in spite of this intoxication from all around them, and to help their fellow human beings to gain their soberness. Among those who have been wise by their soberness there have been some who had great inspiration and great power and control over themselves and over life within and without. And it is such wise people who have been called by the name of saints or sages or prophets or masters.

People in the world, through their intoxication, even in following or accepting these wise men, have monopolized one of them as his prophet or teacher and have fought their intoxication and drunkenness. And as a drunken person would without any thought hit or hurt another person who may be different from them, who thought, or felt or did differently, so mostly the great people of the world who came to help humanity have been killed, crucified, hurt, or tortured. But they have not complained against it, they have taken it as a natural consequence. They have understood that they were in a world of intoxication or drunkenness, and that it is natural that a drunken person must hurt or harm. That has been the history of the world in whatever part of the world the message of God has been given.

In reality the message has been from one source and that is God. Whatever name the wise person gave that message it was not their message, it was the message of God. Those whose hearts had eyes to see and ears to hear have known and seen the same messenger, because they have received the message. And those whose hearts have no eyes or ears have taken the messenger as important and not the message. At whatever period that message came and in whatever form the message was garbed, it was only that one message, the message of wisdom.

And it seems that the drunkenness of the world has increased and increased to such an extent that great bloodshed and disaster have come about recently [World War I], the like of which cannot be found in the history of the world. That shows that the drunkenness of the world has reached its summit. And no one can deny that even now the world is not in its sober condition. Even now the traces of that drunkenness can be found in the unrest of the time, even if the great bloodshed, for the moment, is over.

The Sufi Movement originates from the word sophia, wisdom, the message of wisdom. And its aim is the same that was at all periods of the world's history the aim of the message: to bring about that soberness in humanity, to bring about that love for one's neighbor. No doubt, politics or education or business are the means of bringing people of different races or nations in contact with one another, but spiritual truth and the understanding of life is the only means of bringing about that kinship feeling in the world, which nothing else can bring.

This message does not work to form an exclusive community, since there are already so many communities fighting against one another. The object of the message is to bring about a better understanding between different communities in the knowledge of truth. It is not a new religion. How can this be a new religion when Jesus Christ has said, "I am not come to give a new law, I am come to fulfill the religion." This is the combination of the religions.

The chief aim of this movement is to revivify the religions of the world, in this way bringing together the followers of the different religions in friendly understanding and in tolerance. All are received with open arms in the Order of the Sufis; whatever be their religion, to whatever church they belong, whatever faith they have, there is no interference with it. There is personal help and guidance in the methods of meditation. There is a course of study to consider the problems of life. And the chief aim of every member of the Order is to do the best in his or her power to bring about that understanding, that the whole humanity may become one single family in the Parenthood of God.