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

Two Points of View

There are two points of view from which one sees the God-Ideal. One is the point of view of the imaginative, and the other the point of view of the God-conscious. The former is the point of view of the minor soul, and the latter is that of the soul which is major. For the one thinks that there is a God, and the other sees God. The believer who adorns his God with all that the imagination can supply, sees God as all beauty, as all goodness, and as the most merciful and compassionate God, and recognizes Him as the Almighty, the Supreme Being. He sees in God the true Judge, and he expects one day to receive justice from Him.

He knows that in God he will find at last the perfect love on which he can rely entirely. He sees in God the Friend to Whom he can turn in sorrow and in joy. He calls Him his Father and his Lord, his Father and Mother; and all that is good and beautiful he recognizes as coming from God. Really speaking, he makes an intelligible form of God, that being the only condition by which he can see God. And the believer who has imagined God as high as his imagination will allow him to, he adores Him, asks His forgiveness, looks for His help, and hopes one day to attain to Him, and he feels that there is Someone nearer to him than anyone else in life, Whose mercy is always with him.

It is this point of view that is called monotheism--believing in the personality of God, a Personality which man makes to the best of his ability. Therefore the God of the monotheist is within him, made by his mind. But it is the form of God that he makes. The spirit is always the same, hidden behind the form that man has made because he needs a form. No doubt at this stage the God of the believer is the form made by Him, the form of a human being. God is behind that form, and He answers His worshiper through that form. Someone once said to a Brahman, "O ignorant man, you have worshiped this idol for years. Do you think that it can ever answer you?" "Yes," said the Brahmin, "even from this idol of stone the answer will come if the faith is real. But if you have not real faith, you will have no answer even from the God in Heaven." Man, who knows and sees all things by his senses and his feelings, and who tries to picture everything by his imagination--things that he has neither seen nor known, such as spirits, angels, fairies--it is natural that he should make God intelligible to himself by means of his imagination.

The other point of view, which I have called the major point of view, is perhaps less interesting to some and more interesting to others; for this is the true point of view. When a person begins to see all goodness as being the goodness of God, all the beauty that surrounds him as the divine beauty, he no doubt begins to worship a visible God, and no doubt, as his heart constantly loves and admires the divine beauty in all that he sees, he begins to see in all that is visible one single vision; all becomes for him a single vision--the vision of the Beauty of God. His love for beauty increases his capacity to such a degree that great virtues, such as tolerance and forgiveness, spring naturally from his heart.

Even things that mostly people look upon with contempt, he views with tolerance. The brotherhood of humanity he does not need to learn, for he does not see humanity, he sees only God. And as this vision develops, it becomes a divine vision that occupies every moment of his life. In nature he sees God, and in man he sees His image, and in art and poetry he sees the dance of God. The waves of the sea bring him the message from above, and the swaying of the branches in the breeze seems to him a prayer. For him there is a constant contact with his God. He knows neither horror nor terror, nor any fear. Birth and death are to him only little changes in life. Life is for him a moving picture which he loves and admires, and yet he is free from all. He is one among all the world. He himself is happy, and he makes others happy. This point of view is the pantheistic point of view.

In reality, these two points of view are the natural consequences of human evolution, and really one cannot separate them. No one reaches old age without having passed through youth, and no one attains to the pantheistic point of view without having held the monotheistic. And if anyone arrives at the pantheistic point of view at once, without holding the monotheistic, it would be like a person becoming a man without having been a child, which is void of beauty.

There are, certainly, two possibilities of error. One is that made by the monotheist when he continues to adore the God he has made, without allowing himself to see the point of view of the pantheist. In order to love God, he limits his own God, which does not mean that God is really limited, but He is limited for that person. The ways of childhood are charming in a child, but a grown-up person with the characteristics of a child is absurd. When man begins his belief in God by monotheism, it is the best way, but when he ends his life without having made any progress, he has lost in his life the greatest opportunity. The man who makes this mistake separates man from God, who, in reality, cannot be divided. For God and man are as the two ends of one line. When a believer in God conceives of God as a separate entity and man a being separate from Him, he makes himself an exile--an exile from the Kingdom of God. He holds fast the form of God created by himself, and he does not reach the Spirit of God. However good and virtuous he has been in life, however religious in his actions, he has not fulfilled the purpose of his life.

A mistake is made by the pantheist when he holds the idea that all which he can conceive of and all that answers to his five senses, he believes alone exists. For by this mistake he holds to the form of God and loses His Spirit. All that we can comprehend in man is not all there is to be comprehended. There is something which is beyond all our comprehension. And if the depths of man are too far to be touched by man, how can he hope to touch the depths of God? All that is visible is in reality one body, a body that may be called the Body of God; but behind, there is the Spirit of God. What is behind this Body is the Source and Goal of all beings. And, of course, the part which is the spirit is the most important part. The pantheist who recognizes the divinity only of that which is comprehensible to him, although pantheism may be to him a great ideal, is yet one groping in the dark. All that is subject to change, all that is not constant, all that passes through birth and death, may also some day be destroyed. The man who limits the Divine Being to something that is subject to destruction, the man who cannot feel the trace of the Divine Being in something that is beyond his comprehension, that man is astray. True pantheism is: God is all, and all is God, the known and the unknown; all that exists within and without; God is all that exists, and nothing exists save He.

The beginning of monotheism may be called deism, a belief in Someone higher than oneself. And for the souls who have reached this stage of evolution, for these souls many lessons have been given by the Sages. The Sages have taught them to adore the sun, fire, water, certain trees, and many idols. And no doubt, behind all these teachings there is always the wisdom of the Masters. The lessons given to certain peoples were not for others, as what is suitable for one period is not suitable for another. And for teaching pantheism there were also elementary lessons, such as the idea of many gods, as among the ancient Greeks and the ancient Hindus and the old Egyptians. All these peoples believed in many gods, and this lesson was given to them to see in different things the same Spirit of God. Every god had as his characteristics certain human traits, and by this means man was taught to become capable of recognizing God in his fellow man, to become tolerant and forgiving; also he was led to concentrate and meditate on certain human characteristics, considering them as something divine. Consideration and respect for humanity was taught by meditation on certain traits.

Man without knowledge of these two different points of view, and strongly impressed by materialistic ideas, often looks upon God as a force or an energy, but he denies forcibly that God can have a personality. No doubt it would be a great mistake to call God a personality, but it is a still greater mistake when man denies the Personality of God. And if you ask this person: "What is your source? What is your goal? Are you yourself a personality? Is it possible that you should be a personality yourself when the Goal and the Source from which you come is not a Personality?", he has no answer.

It is the seed, which is the origin of the flower and the fruit, that is also the result of the flower and the fruit. Therefore man is the miniature of the Personality of God; God is the seed from which comes the personality. Man, in the flowering of his personality, expresses the Personality of God. It is a subject that cannot be discussed because one is able to distinguish all things by comparison, and, because God is the Only Being, He cannot be compared, and even to use the word personality in speaking of God would be a mistake. There cannot be a better way of looking at the God-Ideal than to consider Him as being perfection in the widest and fullest meaning of the word.