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




Physical Condition

Physical Culture

Control of the Body


Balance in Solitude

Balance in Greatness

Life's Mechanism





A Question about Fasting


Physical Control

Questions about Vaccination and Inoculation


The Mystery of Breath

The Science of Breath

The Philosophy of Breath

The Control of the Breath

The Control of the Breath

The Power of Silence

A Question about Feelings

The Control of the Mind

The Mystery of Sleep

Five Stages of Consciousness


Dreams are of Three Kinds

Spiritual Healing



Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

Questions about Vaccination and Inoculation

Question: Will you, please, tell us if vaccination is desirable? Answer: All things are desirable if properly used, and all are undesirable if abused. In fact, the idea of vaccination comes from the same theory which is taught by Shiva - or Mahadeva - as Hatha Yoga.

It is said of Mahadeva that he used to drink poison, and by drinking it he got over the effect of poison. Mahadeva was the most venturous among the ascetics; one can see this by his wearing a serpent around his neck - now, would you like to do that? If one can be such friends with a serpent as to keep it round one's neck, one can no doubt sit comfortably in the presence of someone one does not like. That hatred, prejudice and nervousness, felt in the presence of someone one does not like, will not arise if one can wear a serpent around one's neck, if one can take a bowl of bitter poison and drink it - which is against nature. Once the soul has fought its battle with all that makes it fear and tremble, shrink back and run away, then that soul has conquered life. It has become the master of life, it has attained its kingdom.

No doubt the methods which Mahadeva adopted are extreme methods. No one could recommend them to his pupils and be thought sane in this modern world!

Vaccination is related to fear; fear of germs which might come and enter our body: we might breathe them in or take them in with our water or food. Vaccination is partaking of this poison which we fear and which might come to us some day in some form. Such a method may meet with a great deal of opposition and prejudice, but there is a very strong reason for the principle behind it. This brings us to a higher realization and to a great conception of life. It makes us think that even that which we call death, if it were put into a cup and given us to drink, would bring us to life.

Question: Would you, please, tell us something more of the Shiva aspect in life?

Answer: This is a very vast subject and difficult to explain in two words. However, the aspect of destruction can be easily understood by something we see in science, by the method of inoculation. By putting that destructive element one fears in one's body one makes the body disease-proof. That particular disease is no longer a disease but the nature of that person. This is the method of the mystic, it is destruction from a spiritual point of view.

Death is death as long as man is unacquainted with it. When man eats it up, then he has eaten death, and death cannot eat him; then he is master of death. This is the mystery of the message of Jesus Christ who, from beginning to end, spoke of eternal life. And the mystery of eternal life is that once a person has eaten death, he has eternal life.

In little things one person says, "I do not like to touch vinegar, it harms my health"; another says, "I cannot bear eating cream, I cannot digest it"; yet another says, "I cannot stand sugar in my tea, I do not like it." For the latter sugar is poison. If he took poison and made it part of his nature, the same poison would become sugar. But by making things foreign to his nature a man makes his nature exclusive, and by becoming exclusive he subjects himself to them in a way. There comes a time when they rule him, a situation in which he is in their power may occur. A person may say for instance, "Quinine is too bitter, I cannot stand it." But when he is in a fever the doctor says that he must take it. The patient dreads it, but his condition forces him to take it.

It is for this reason that the way of Shiva was always to work against his weaknesses. He counted these tendencies as weaknesses, he did not count them as his nature. What is nature? All is in our nature. But what we cannot stand we make foreign to our nature when we separate it, and a time may come when we become so weak that we cannot help becoming subjected to our weaknesses. There are snake charmers who, by making snakes bite them a little at a time, have gradually become inured to the poison. They catch the snake in their hand, and if it bites it does not hurt them. It was the same with Shiva who is pictured with a cobra around his neck. Out of death he had made a necklace. There was no more death for him.

One can go to extremes in this way, but still it is a law which should be studied and known. The only mystery it teaches is not to consider anything foreign to our nature: if it was not in us we would not know about it. That is the way to overcome all the destruction which is the source of fear, pain and disappointment.

Question: If nothing is poison, does that mean that there is no good and bad, no moral?

Answer: No, it does not mean that. Good is good and bad is bad. But one can rise above badness or one can be submitted to badness. One can become weak before evil or become strong. The idea is to become strong before evil instead of weak.

Question: How to understand the sentence from the Gayan: The only thing that is made through life is one's own nature?

Answer: One makes one's nature by one's likes and dislikes, by one's favor and disfavor. When a person has said that he does not like a certain edible thing, he has built a nature in himself. If afterwards he would eat such a thing it would disagree with his nature. It is not because it was not meant to agree with him, but because he has built up the idea that it would not agree. It is the same when one says, "I cannot endure it, I cannot stand it."

One makes one's nature either agreeable or disagreeable. Either one makes one's nature so hard as a rock which will not allow anything to enter; or one makes one's nature so pliable as water, through which all boats and ships can pass without hurting it. Water gives way for all to pass, and it is there just the same.

Man, by his thoughts, makes his nature. When he says, "I cannot agree with this", he will not agree with it; he has made a wall before himself. When he says, "I cannot bear that person", once he has said it, he has created something in himself which makes him sick when that person comes to him. That person becomes his master. The man wants to run away from him; wherever that person comes, he makes him ill. It is not because that person brings him illness: the man has brought that illness upon himself.