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. Man, the Purpose of Creation

2. Character-Building

3. Human Nature

4. Self-realization

5. The Art of Personality

6. Man is likened to the Light

7. Truth

8. Selflessness - Inkisar

9. Indifference - Vairagya

10. Independence and Indifference

11. Overlooking - Darquza

12. Graciousness - Khulq

13. Conciliation - Ittifaq

14. Consideration - Murawwat

15. Tact

16. Spirituality

17. Innocence

18. Holiness

19. Resist not Evil

20. Resignation

21. Struggle and Resignation

22. Renunciation

23. Sacrifice

24. Ambition

25. Satisfaction

26. Harmlessness

27. A Question about Vegetarianism

28. Unselfish Actions

29. Expectations

30. Be a Lion Within

31. Humility

31. Moral Culture

33. Hope

34. Patience

35. Confidence

36. Faith

37. Faith and Doubt

38. The Story of Orpheus

39. Happiness

40. The Privilege of Being Human




Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

33. Hope

The word hope to those who are broken-hearted is startling, to them it is poison. If you speak of hope to the brokenhearted they say, "Do not speak of it, I do not wish to hear of it!." The state of the broken-hearted is worse than death; they are without ambition, without hope, without life. The one who is broken-hearted is dead while he is alive; the breath is still there, but his heart is dead, life has gone with the hope that was lost. He may not be old in years, but he has become old.

To him who is heartless hope is a ridiculous word. The heartless, he whose heart is incapable of feeling, will say, "Hope? What is it? See what you can do, and do it. Do not dream." This is the material person who can see no further than the material possibilities.

In the life of Christ we see that enemies, difficulties and helplessness were all around - and confidence in the truth of the message gave hope to carry it through. If there had not been hope, the thought "I will bring the message", what material possibility was there of spreading the message? This whole manifestation has hope as its underlying motive. Nature first hoped to produce the world and then produced it.

In the Orient people have the habit of depending upon kismet, fate, and this is a source of weakness. If an astrologer tells a Brahmin, "After so many years such and such a calamity will come upon you", the Brahmin does not even make an effort to fight against misfortune; he awaits it and accepts it. If a man is told, "In such a year you will become very ill", he does not even try to avoid the illness. They do not consider that hope can avert misfortune and can turn aside even the influence of the planets. Where no possibility of attaining the object is given, a strong hope can attain it.

Without going to the mystics this can be seen in the history of kings. Mahmud Ghaznavi was a slave. What possibility was there for him to become a king? With only hope he started from Turkistan and founded a kingdom in Afghanistan.

Of Timur it is told that once he was lying asleep in the jungle. He was going through such a hard time that he did not even have a place to lie down, hardly any clothes, nothing. A dervish happened to pass that way and saw Timur lying in the hot sun where not even an animal would lie. He went nearer and saw about this man some signs of greatness. He also saw a sign of bad luck, and that sign was that Timur, while asleep, was lying with his legs crossed. He saw that this man himself was the hindrance to his undertakings. The dervish had a stick and hit him so hard that the bone of his leg broke.

Timur woke up feeling a great pain. He said, "O dervish, this is very unkind! I already have such hard luck, and you break my bone." The dervish replied, "My son, your bad luck is gone. You will be emperor."

There seemed to be no possibility for it; Timur had no army, no clothes even, and now his bone was broken. But after great striving and after many years he became the emperor Timur Leng.

All works that have been accomplished have been accomplished by hope. Without hope the engineer could not have built a bridge across the Thames; he hoped, and then he built it. Without hope the Suez Canal, a thing that seemed impossible, could not have been cut.

One may ask, "How long shall I hope? I have hoped once and I have been disappointed; I have hoped a second time and I have been disappointed; I have hoped a third time and I have been disappointed." I will say "Hope until the last breath. While there is breath in the body, hope."

A person may lose hope in his profession or trade. For instance he may have gone to a singer to take singing lessons for one or two months, or for one or two years, and then he may think, "I am not getting on with this, I should stop singing. I believe I have no voice." Or he may think, "I am not getting on in my business. I cannot make it a success, I should give it up." The ill is not changing of profession or business, but giving up altogether. If the person thinks, "Now I wish to be a poet", and becomes a poet, then he is not hopeless; or if he thinks, "Now I wish to compose", and old age the hurt of the heart may cause hopelessness. This shows us how careful we should be not to hurt the heart of another and not to let our own heart be hurt. In India we are most careful of this; diljoi, not to hurt the heart of another is taught as the greatest moral: not to hurt the heart of the parent, of the friend, even of the enemy. Also our own heart must be protected by forts around it.

A story is told about a man who went to the Sharif of Mecca and said to him that the camel the Sharif rode was his and had been stolen from him. The Sharif asked whether he had any witnesses. He had none. Then the Sharif asked, "What proof have you that the camel is really yours? How can you recognize it?" The man answered, "On my camel's heart are two black spots." "On its heart?", said the Sharif, "How do you know that?" The man replied, "The animals feel as we do. My camel - it is a she-camel - had two young ones, and at different times both died. Each time I saw that the camel looked up to heaven and gave a cry like a sigh, a deep great sigh, and that was all. So I know that on her heart are two black spots." The Sharif held out two gold coins and said, "Either take back your camel, or take the price for your discovery." If the heart of an animal can feel like this, how much can the heart of man feel!

Man was made with a most feeling heart. A Hindustani poet has said, "The heart of man was made for feeling. For praise and worship the angels in heaven are many."

Man's heart has a great capacity for feeling, it is most sensitive to any touch. How careful we must be to touch it, lest we may wound it. The greatest fault is to hurt the heart of another, the greatest virtue is to please the heart of another. He who has learned this moral has learned all morality.

If we do not protect our own heart from harm, we can be killed at every moment. Amir, the poet, says, "Why did you not kill me before you wounded my heart? It would have been better to kill me first." We must consider what the world is and what it can give. We must give and not expect to take the same as we give. A kick for a kindness, a blow for a mercy is what the world gives. We must not expect the world to be as we are expected to be. If we receive some good, it is well. If becomes a composer; or "I should be a teacher", and becomes a teacher, then he is not hopeless.

People say that doctors now have found remedies for so many diseases, but I say that the cause of most illnesses is loss of hope. In the pharmacy there is no such great remedy for all diseases as hope is. Even when the disease is incurable, hope cures it.

The question arises: What hope is right, and what hope is not right? A wise person will never hope for what is impossible. Hoping to be a queen, when there are no means of being a queen, is hoping the impossible. First we must know what is possible - this is wisdom - and then we must hope. The Quran speaks of khawf, hope with consideration. This word does not mean fear, as it has sometimes been translated, but consideration, conscientiousness. Hope with the consideration of the purpose for which the manifestation was made, with the consideration of God - that hope is always right. Hope without consideration is wrong.

Why with consideration? Because we must not hope for what is wrong, for what is bad. We must hope with the fear of God before us. The hope must be so strong that, if to-day we are penniless, we must think that there is every possibility that tomorrow we may be a millionaire. If to-day our own relations do not know us, we must think that there is every possibility that tomorrow we may be known to the whole world.

There is no stain so great as the stain of hopelessness. Sometimes weakness is the cause of hopelessness. During an illness a person thinks, "I am so weak, I cannot get better." Or weakness is caused by old age; a person thinks, "I am old, there is little left for me to do", and he becomes sad and discouraged. He really may have the strength to do much more, but the loss of hope makes him old. A man may be given to drink, or he may be a gambler, or have any other vice, and may think, "I am too weak, I cannot be cured."

Besides physical weakness or the weakness that comes with not, it does not matter. The world does not understand in the same way as we do. Material interest has so blinded people that when a question of money comes, of interest, of a share, of a territory, of property, even a child, a wife, a relative, or the closest friend will turn against us. A Sanskrit poem says that, when the question of money arises, no consideration for father or brother remains.

We must fortify our heart, so that we always may be the same, always kind, merciful, generous, serviceable. When a person has understood this, then comes that inner hope which is within every heart, the hope in another life. If one asks anyone why a man must go out and work all day long and have no time to give to what he likes, why a man must leave his parents and go to work, why lovers must part, the answer is always the same: "It is the struggle for life." If this life is so valuable, how great must be the value of that other life. The hope of another life is in man, of a life that is unchanging, immortal and everlasting. It is only because our consciousness is so bound to the self that we are not conscious of it, and it is very bad that the external self always is before us, because it always makes us think, "I have been offended, I have been badly treated, I have been neglected"- always I, I, and I.

There was a dervish who used to say, "Knife upon the throat of man." "Man" in Hindustani means "I." People asked the dervish what he meant, and he said, "The goats and sheep say 'Man, man, man.' I say: a knife upon their throat for this! A man who says 'I' deserves to be killed like the goats and sheep who are slaughtered because they say 'man'."

When that "I" is killed, when the consciousness of this "I" is lost, then comes the consciousness that in the whole existence there is only I - no you, no he, no she. The illusion makes us distinguish you, he she and it; in reality there is only I. When the external I is lost, then a fragrance comes into the personality, a beauty, a magnetism. Then he sees in every being the manifestation of God, he bows before every being. In the Sufi poems we may read of the tyranny of the beloved. This is the tyranny of the beloved, the opposition of manifestation. It is the grade of worship. There is still the grade of realization, of merging in God, but that is beyond it. The grade of worship comes first.

If a priest sees a foolish person doing something foolish, he may say with authority, "He is a sinner." But the Sufi says, "I am much worse than he, I have no right to condemn him. I am a worshipper, I must see here the manifestation of God. I must worship it; I must revere it, serve it, and therein accomplish my life's purpose."


I have always hope. Hope is my greatest strength. I do not require that my hopes are filled, as fuel is needed to keep the fire burning. My hopes are kept alive in my faith.