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

Spiritual Healing

All through the long history of the human race there are records of the practice of healing by magnetic, mental and spiritual methods. The great messengers have practiced the art themselves and have enjoined it upon their disciples. Even among the most primitive races we find traces of such ministration.

It is true that there was a time, when to be ill and weak was accounted a sign of saintliness, when those who were seeking to tread the spiritual path neglected and ill-treated their bodies, starved and ill-used them until they were living skeletons, reduced to the lowest possible state of misery and distress, and quite incapable of constructive thought and action. These days are past, wiser counsels now prevail, the mind of man has come to a saner and wiser opinion. He realizes that the body, which is the temple of God, should be a fitting habitation for its heavenly Guest, and that the instrument through which man functions should be as perfect a machine as possible.

The engineer in charge of a delicate piece of machinery sees to it that it is kept clean, well oiled and free from dust in order that it may fulfil his will and carry out his commands. He well knows there is danger unless these conditions are fulfilled; yet man, who is using as his instrument the human body, the most delicate piece of machinery that has come from the hands of the great Engineer, often neglects and misuses it and fails to keep it in good working order.

It is often asked why people are ill. Many answers might be given; probably none of them will satisfy the engineer wholly, until he can hear within his heart the "still small voice" telling him in no uncertain language the cause of the trouble in his own case.

It is certainly true that at the back of every apparent cause there is lack of harmony; some part of man's being is out of tune, and the jarring note sets up vibrations which affect the whole system. It may be that there is some habit or weakness in his life which is poisoning the springs of his being. No one who is holding in his consciousness anything which falls below his own ideal can be in a state of harmony, for all the time - whether he is aware of it or not - the struggle for mastery between the higher and the lower self is going on.

But then it may be asked why people, who are quite frankly living a life devoted to material pleasures, are so often well and happy, while they deny themselves nothing that will minister to their own physical and emotional satisfaction. May not the answer be: because in their case there is no struggle, the soul is not yet awake, the higher consciousness is sleeping. They are travelling along the line of least resistance, there is no conflict as yet for them.

Then again it is asked why so often good people are ill, and we may perhaps answer that question by asking another: What is goodness? Some people who are called good are very negative; they allow their minds and bodies to be open to every sort of influence that comes to them from without. The garden of their soul is not guarded and tended by the wise gardener, and the winds blowing from north and south, from east and west, carry all sorts of seeds: seeds of weeds and thistles and thorns which fall upon the soil, take root and spring up very quickly; often they choke the flowers that are also growing in that garden, and then, in a sensitive personality, there is struggle for mastery. Disharmony results from it and consequently weakness and illness.

Let us strive for wisdom, that we may know what to take in and what to cast out; for when wisdom guards the threshold we shall become strong and steady like the waterwheel which revolves at such a rapid rate that it resists and throws off any object, however heavy, that is thrown against it.

Above the portal of a small convalescent home in an English country village these words are written, so large that all who enter may read them and take heed: "For good may ever conquer ill-health; think with God."

We read in the Christian scriptures: "Whatsoever things are good, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are holy, whatsoever things are of good report - think on these things." Thought is creative, thought has a dynamic power: "as a man thinketh so is he." We are taught that every thought has its birth and death, and that the life of every thought is far longer and more enduring than the life of the human being.

Hundreds of wireless messages are passing by us during every hour of the day, but only the instrument that is tuned to the right note can receive them. The discovery of wireless telegraphy has been to the thinker a most illuminating example on the physical plane of what is always happening in the spiritual spheres. Distance is no longer any obstruction, and just as in the physical world a receiver is necessary, so also in the spiritual world; for the law is universal both in the spiritual realm, the realm of reality, and in the physical world, which is only the shadow of the real one.

Let us see to it that our hearts and minds are tuned to the higher vibrations, so that only those things that are good, pure, holy and of good report can enter and dwell there. Let us keep out the idle thoughts, the unkind thoughts, the envious thoughts that come knocking at the door of the heart and which, if we admit them, will result in speech and action, and produce in our bodies illness, weakness, weariness. Then when this happens, man in his ignorance of the true cause goes to the doctor or surgeon who perhaps performs an operation, and often the patient may be no better but rather worse, for the real cause of the trouble is untouched.

One may ask: is pain always an evil thing? - and I would answer: far from it. Sometimes pain comes to us as a kindly warning. It is the moving finger pointing to us and bidding us to give heed to our ways, to take account of our doings. There are different kinds of pain:

  • pain of the body which is often hard to bear,
  • pain of the mind which is far worse, and
  • pain of the heart, the deepest part of man's being, which may be agony. Yet the cry of agony which comes from the depth of the heart may be a sound of the greatest beauty, for pain has its beautiful aspect. Think of the pain expressed in the most perfect music, the finest poetry.

There are moments of intense feeling when pain and joy meet, and one cannot distinguish where one ends and the other begins; they have their meeting place in the heart of man. Pain is like the herb in the hands of the great Transmuter, the divine Alchemist; failing on the melted silver of the heart it turns it into the purest gold, and renders the heart of man more fitting to be the altar of God.

Who are those to whom people go for sympathy when they are in trouble? Surely to those who have suffered much, those who, having gone through great tribulation, have overcome and have learned by experience that true happiness comes from within and is independent of outward circumstances. They can feel not only for others but with others, and out of the depth of their own experience teach them how to find courage and faith and hope. They can help them to bind up their wounds, and heal their broken hearts. If suffering can develop in us the blessed gift of sympathy, then surely we have not suffered in vain; we may well thank God for every pang which we have endured.

What of the pain endured by all the great Saviours and Masters of humanity? We feel here that we are touching a most sacred mystery which words cannot express - but may we not reverently believe that, by taking to themselves the burden of pain of all the world, they transmuted it by the process of alchemy, and sent it out as a fountain of love and power springing up into everlasting life?

However, while pain is one thing, disease is quite another thing. Disease must always be contrary to the divine Will, and it is our duty to combat it by every means in our power and to order our lives along the lines of sane, healthy living, obeying the laws of health in matters of diet, sanitation and clothing. Disease is largely the product of over-civilization. People of less highly evolved civilization know how to keep themselves in health by simple nature remedies, such as herbs.

It is said that the North-American Indian, when he comes home tired after a long day's hunting, will fling himself down upon the ground, relax every sinew and muscle, and draw into himself fresh stores of energy from the magnetic currents of the earth, so that after an hour's rest he is ready to rise up and to go forth again, if necessary, with renewed strength and vigor.

Among wild animals in their natural state there is very little disease. They die of old age, of accidents, or of the attacks of enemies stronger than themselves.

We in the West have lost the knowledge of the use of simple nature remedies, and there is scarcely one who really knows how to relax. We should do well to try to get back this lost knowledge, for health is more likely to be gained in this way than by the use of drugs or the surgeon's knife.

Man is the microcosm of the macrocosm; every substance in the earth is to be found in the body of man, even to the lately discovered radium. Therefore it is in a very true sense that we speak of Mother Earth, and the closer we live to nature, our great mother, and the simpler we make our manner of living, the healthier shall we surely become.

What is health? Health is surely wholeness of body, heart and mind, complete harmony of the whole being. Wholeness is also holiness. Nothing short of this should content us, if as Sufis we are endeavoring to tread the path which leads to the culmination of love, harmony and beauty - that perfect trinity which is the goal of all life.

God alone is the Healer; those who minister will only truly heal when they keep this truth always before them, for it is not the solid wood that makes the flute, it is the empty reed. The healer is only the instrument which God Himself is using and, only in so far as he can put aside his own lower personality and dedicate and consecrate his life to the great service, will he be successful in the work he has undertaken.

  • He should endeavor to cultivate an attitude of calmness, serenity and poise, of harmony within and without; for just as the waters of a lake, when tossed to and fro and broken up by the winds of a great storm, cannot reflect the clear blue sky, neither can the heart of the one who is disturbed and distracted by the turmoil of the world and confused by the sound of earth's many voices, reflect the will of the God and Father of us all.
  • It has been said that we grow into the likeness of that which we habitually contemplate. Therefore constant and habitual contemplation of the perfect ideal, dwelling in thought upon the attributes of divine beauty, keeping the heart tuned to the note of love and harmony, and making this the practice of daily life, the mind still and calm, the heart pure and open so that it can reflect the perfect Will - this should be the aim of life of the one who aspires to serve humanity as a spiritual healer.

We are told that one of the properties of radium is that, if for a time you shut up certain substances in an appropriate receptacle with even a tiny portion of radium, these substances will acquire some of the properties of the radium and will show its power. After some time they lose these properties and have to be replaced close to the radium in order to be recharged.

We read of the great masters that, when exhausted after days of teaching and ministering to the sick, they retired into the mountains and forests to commune with Almighty God, and came forth again charged with fresh power to resume their work of healing and inspiring. If even for the great ones these times of quiet were necessary, how much more for us. The action of the radium is a parallel of the Almighty Father's power, it speaks to us of the refreshment which comes from quiet communing with the Supreme.

What should be the attitude of the patient? He must have a living faith, he must do his part in the work. We read of Jesus Christ that in one place even he could do no mighty works because of the unbelief of the people, and again in another place people came to him with all manner of diseases and he healed them all. The patient must believe in the power of God to heal and he must have confidence and trust in his healer. God holds His blessings out to us, but we must take them from His hands. If we refuse to co-operate in the work of healing, we cannot receive the blessing; if we set up obstacles, we can obstruct even the river of life itself.

So the patient must have confidence and trust in the healer; he must open himself to receive the healing currents for the conveyance of which the healer is only the channel, for life and health are the gifts of God Himself.