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

Conceptions of God

There are different conceptions of God existing in various periods and known to different people. The people in all ages, seeking for the Deity, have pictured Him in some form or other. It is natural with man. If he is told about someone he has never seen or known, he makes a conception of that person, and he holds his conception as his knowledge of that person until he sees him. There are some who make a conception in their mind of a person whom they have not seen almost as real as the person. The human heart is an accommodation which conceives the idea of God and pictures Him according to man's own mentality.

The Buddha of China has Chinese features, and that of Japan has the eyes of Japan; the Buddha of India has the Indian likeness. Man cannot conceive of an angel being any different from a human being, except that he attaches two wings to the angel in order to make it a little different. If the angel were not pictured as man, it would not be an attraction to a human being; therefore, it is natural that in every period people have conceived of the Personality of God as a human personality. No better conception could they have given, for there is nothing in the world which is a more finished personality than the human personality.

People have called God He, recognizing the might and power of the Deity. People have called God She, recognizing in the Deity the Mother-principle and beauty. It is the differences of conception from which have come the many gods and goddesses. It is true, too, that as many conceptions there are, so many gods are there. And yet many gods mean many conceptions of the One Only God. By ignorance of this truth many have fought over their different gods; and yet the wise man in every period of the world has understood God to be the One and Only Being. For the ordinary mind, to feel the existence of someone in the idea is not sufficient. It is too vague. He wishes to feel the existence of someone with his own hands; then only he can acknowledge something to be existent.

The wise, therefore, have given different objects to such mentalities, and pointed them out to the people as gods. Some said: "See God in the sun"; and the person understood. He was not satisfied to think that God was in the idea; he was much more pleased to know now that God is seen by him, and God is incomparable even as the sun, and that God is not reachable. Some wise men have said: "He is in the fire." Some said, to a simple man who asked to see God: "Go in the forest and find out a certain tree, and that tree is God." The search for that tree gave something for that man to do, which was the first essential thing. And the patience with which he sought the tree also did something in his soul. The joy of finding a rare tree was also a pleasure. And in the end he found, for God is everywhere. Some have made images of different ideas, such as love, justice, knowledge and power, and called them different goddesses, molded them into different images, and have given them to man to worship. Some wise men have said the cow is sacred. Certainly it is sacred for a farmer whose farming depends upon the cow. His life's sustenance comes, in every form, from the cow; it is sacred.

The wise have pointed out different objects to man which will attract man's attention and become objects of concentration for him to still his mind; for in the mind which is still, God manifests. Then, again, the wise have presented the God-Ideal to the people in the form of symbols. To simple beings a symbol was God; and to awakened minds the same symbol of God was a revealing factor of the secret of the Deity. If one could only see how marvelously, in the diversity of the conception of the Divine Ideal, wisdom has played its part, guiding the souls of all grades of evolution towards the same goal, which in the end becomes spiritual attainment!