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



Unity and Uniformity


The Sufi's Religion

The Aspects of Religion

How to Attain to Truth by Religion

Five Desires Answered by Religion


Aspects of the Law of Religion


The Effect of Prayer

The God Ideal

The Spiritual Hierarchy

The Master, the Saint, the Prophet

Prophets and Religions

The Symbology of Religious Ideas

The Message and the Messenger


The Spirit of Sufism

The Sufi's Aim in Life

The Ideal of the Sufi

The Sufi Movement

The Universal Worship



God is Love

Two Points of View

The Kingship of God

Belief in God

The Existence God

Conceptions of God

Many Gods

The Personality of God

The Realization of God

Creator, Sustainer, Judge, Forgiver

The Only King

The Birth of God

Three Steps

God the Infinite

God's Dealings with Us

Dependence Upon God

Divine Grace

The Will, Human and Divine

Making God Intelligible

Man's Relation to God

Divine Manner

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The God Ideal

God is Love

God and the God-Ideal may be explained as the sun and the light. As there are times when the sun becomes covered by clouds, so there are times when the God-Ideal becomes covered by materialism. But if the cloud for a moment covers the sun, that does not mean that the sun is lost to you; and so, if in the reign of materialism the God-Ideal seems to have disappeared, yet God is there just the same. The condition of the world is like the ever-rising and falling waves. Sometimes it seems to rise and sometimes to fall, but with every rising and falling wave the sea is the same; and so, with all its changes, life is the same.

We find that during the past few years all over the world there has come a phase when the God-Ideal seems entirely forgotten. It does not mean that churches have disappeared, it does not mean that God does not exist, but that a light that once was there has been covered, has ceased to light us. But at the same time, as there is night after the day, so these changes of condition come in life: light and darkness.

In the age of science on the one side and materialism on the other and commercialism on the top, man seems to have blinded himself in acquiring wealth and power, and sees nothing else. It is not that there is not the search for light (it is the nature of every soul to search for light), but the great question is, how can the light come when nation is against nation, race against race, the followers of one religion against the followers of another; how can there be Peace and how can there come Light? The sign of the day is that all things are clear, and the sign of the night is that nothing can be found or seen; there are clouds. The most dreadful nightmare the world has ever seen has just passed away; and, although that wave, that nightmare, seems to have gone, its effect is still here, and the effect that is left is worse than the cause, for prejudice is worse than bloodshed. When man thirsts for the blood of his fellow man, how can we say that there is light? If a man can eat joyfully at his table when his neighbor is dying of hunger, where is the light? That is the condition of humanity today.

And what is the cause? It is because the Light, the God-Ideal, is not there. I was once amused by a very simple answer from a maid when someone came to the door and knocked, and the maid was not free to go at once, but took her time; when at last she came, the man was very angry, and said: "Why did you not open the door quickly?" I asked the maid: "What do you think was the reason for the person's being angry?" And she said, with her innocent expression, "Because there is no God with him."

The word of Christ is that God is Love; and if God is Love, then we, every one of us, can prove God in us by expressing God in our life. Yes, according to the external customs of the different religions, one goes to Church, one to the Mosque, one to the Synagogue, and one to the Temple of Buddha; but the inner Church is neither in the Mosque nor in the Synagogue, but in the heart of man, where God abides and which is the habitation of Christ. With this divine element lighted in man's heart he will go to the House of Prayer, and then his prayer will be heard.

There is a well-known story in India of a girl crossing a place where a Muslim was performing his prayers; and the law is that no one should cross where a person is praying. When the girl returned, the man said to her: "How insolent! Do you know what you have done?" "What did I do?" said the girl. And the man said that no one was allowed to cross. "I did not mean any harm," said the girl, "but tell me, what do you mean by praying?" "For me, prayer is thinking of God," said the man. "Oh!" she said, "but I was going to see my young man, and I was thinking of him and I did not see you; and if you were thinking of God, how did you see me?"

The idea, therefore, is that prayer becomes living if it is offered from a living heart; from a dead heart, prayer has no meaning, and is dead. There is a story of an Arab that he was running to the mosque where the Prayer of God was being offered, but before he could arrive the prayers were finished. On his way he met a man coming from the mosque, and asked him: "Are the prayers finished?" The man replied that they were finished, and the other sighed deeply and said, "Alas!" Then the man asked: "Will you give me the virtue of your sigh in exchange for the virtue of my prayers?" And the other agreed. Next day the simple man saw the Prophet in a dream, who told him that he had made a bad bargain, for that one sigh was worth all the prayers of a lifetime, for it was from the heart.

There are different human beings in different stages of evolution, and it is natural that every human being, according to his particular stage of evolution, imagines God before him when he prays. Is it a question for anyone else to judge the one who prays, and to say, "God is not this or that"? Persons who force their beliefs on others often put them against that belief, even if it were the true belief. It requires a great deal of tact, thought, and consideration to explain the belief, or to correct the belief, of another. In the first place, it is insolent on the part of man to wish to explain God, although man today would like, not only to explain, but even to examine whether the spirit of God exists.

The other day I was much amused to hear that there are people who not only want to take photographs of the spirits, but even to weigh the soul! It was a good thing in ancient times when the state had respect for the God-Ideal and religion, and taught that respect to humanity. Today man wishes to use what he calls "freedom" in religion, even in the foundation of all religions, the God-Ideal! But it must be remembered that it is not the path of freedom that leads to the goal of freedom, but the path of the God-Ideal that leads to the goal of Truth.

Man has a respect for mother or father, husband or wife, or for superiors, but they have limited personalities; where then shall he give most respect? Only to one being--to God. Man can love another human being, but by the very fact of his loving another human being he has no scope; to express all the love that is there, he must love the unlimited God. One admires all that is beautiful, in color, tone, or form; but all that is beautiful has its limitations; when one rises above limitations, there is that perfection which is God alone.

Many people say, "Yes, the perfection of all things, of love, harmony, and beauty, is God; but where is the personality of God?" It is this difficulty which some feel when at a loss to find something to adore or worship different from all they see. In all ages men have, perhaps, worshiped idols, or the sun, or fire, or some other form as God, because they were not able to see farther than their eyes could see. Of course, it is easy to criticize anyone or to look at anyone with contempt, but really that shows that every soul has a desire for someone to admire, to adore, and to worship.

Although there can be no trace of the personality of God to be found on the surface, yet one can see that there is a source from which all personality comes, and a goal to which all must return. And if there is one source, what a great Personality that one Source must be! It cannot be learnt by great intellect, or not even by the study of metaphysics or comparative religion, but only understood by a pure and innocent heart full of love.

The great personalities who have descended on earth from time to time to awaken in man that love which is his divine inheritance found an echo in innocent souls rather than in great intellects. Man often confuses wisdom with cleverness and cleverness with wisdom. But these two are different; man can be wise and can be clever, and man can be clever and not wise; and by cleverness a person will strive and strive, and will not reach God. It is a stream -- the stream of love -- which leads towards God.