The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

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Volume

Sayings

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

THE SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

Unity and Uniformity

Religion

The Sufi's Religion

The Aspects of Religion

How to Attain to Truth by Religion

Five Desires Answered by Religion

Law

Aspects of the Law of Religion

Prayer

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

Sufism

The Spirit of Sufism

The Sufi's Aim in Life

The Ideal of the Sufi

The Sufi Movement

The Universal Worship

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Three Paths

The Master

The Saint

The Work of the Master

The Work of the Saint

The Prophet

The Work of the Prophet

Prophet: Nabi & Rasul

The Spirit of Guidance

The Form of the Message

The Nature of the Prophetic Soul

The Attunement of the Prophet

The Prophetic Claim

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The Master, the Saint, the Prophet

Three Paths

There are three roads to spiritual attainment, which meet in the end at one junction. One road is of the Master; another comes from quite a different point, and is the road of the Saint; and the middle path between the two is of the Prophet.

The Master

The path of the Master is a path of war -- war with outer influences which prevent one from making one's way through life. The path of the Master wants self-discipline and will-power to make headway through life. He conquers himself; he battles with life; he is at war with destiny; he crusades against all that seems wrong to him; he finds the key to the secrets unknown to him; he turns all conditions, all things, all people, into the shape that he wishes, and molds as he likes the personalities that come in touch with him; he tunes personalities to the tone which would suit his orchestration.

It is a path of accomplishment. All that the Master takes up, he accomplishes; all that the Master desires, he attains sooner or later. Yet the Master's one desire is spiritual attainment at its fullest. Therefore all other attainments, spiritual or material, are nothing before him other than many steps on a staircase.

The struggle in the path of the Master is great; he has struggle all along. Every condition that meets him on the way to accomplishment is harder to get through than the condition before. No doubt, as he proceeds on the path of attainment, he gains power through struggle. The greater the struggle through life, the greater his power. He has command over objects; he produces effects in objects, which are not there naturally.

He can even rise to a state where he can command Nature, and the spiritual hierarchy is made of the Masters. For the world is ruled; it is governed. Although outward governments are different, inward government is the spiritual hierarchy. In the East such are called Wali, whose thought, whose feeling, whose glance, whose impulse, can move the universe. And the Master may advance gradually through the five principal stages of attainment, and may even arrive at the stage of Rasul in the end.

The Saint

The path of the Saint is one of love, harmony, and beauty; ready to give, ready to sacrifice, ready to renounce, ready to give in and to yield. The saintly soul takes all insults as one would take something as a purifying process. He is resigned to every loss, for there is no loss without some gain and there is no gain which is without any loss; there is always a hidden loss in the gain and a gain in the loss. Renunciation is not difficult for that soul, for in renunciation that soul finds its freedom. No sacrifice is too great for the saintly soul, for it gives him happiness. Generosity that soul need not learn: it is its nature, its character. Modesty, humility, tolerance, forgiveness, are part of his being; he cannot do otherwise, for he knows no differently.

Through this path, no doubt in the beginning the saintly soul finds difficulty. The path of the Saint has a constant battle with the self, for there is no end to the world's demands; in this world no one can be too good or too kind. The better one is, the more good is asked of one; the kinder one is, the more kindness is expected from one; and so it goes on through life. The happiness a saintly soul finds, through all the continual sacrifices that he makes as he goes through life, is in his will gradually becoming harmonized to the Will of God, so that God's Will and his will in time become one. And that happiness no one can imagine except the souls who have experienced the feeling of resignation through all the crosses that one has to meet in life. The spirit of a Saint results in being tuned to the whole universe.

He is in tune with the climates, with the weather, with nature, with animals and birds; he becomes in tune with the trees and plants, in tune with all atmospheres, with all human beings of various natures, because he becomes the keynote to the whole universe. All harmonize with him; the virtuous souls, the wicked souls, angels and devils; all become in tune. He becomes in harmony with every object, with every element; with those who have passed from this earth he is in tune; with those in the atmosphere he is in tune, and in tune with those who live on earth. The moral of a Saint is very difficult, but the spirit of the Saint is a benediction to himself and blessing to others.

The Work of the Master

The work of the Master is to protect individuals and protect the world. The work of the Master is to keep away all disasters that might come about, caused by the inharmony of the nature of individuals and of the collectivity. The work of the Master is not usually to heal the feeble or right the weak, but just when that person is in a situation where he is opposed by a powerful enemy and needs the help of a Master.

The Work of the Saint

The work of the Saint is to console the wretched, to take under the wings of mercy and compassion those left alone in life, to bless the souls that come in his way.

The Prophet

The way of the Prophet is a more balanced way, for in the life of the Prophet there is a balance of these two attributes -- the power of attainment and the patience to resign to the Will of God. So the Prophet is a warrior and a peacemaker, both at the same time. This line is called kemal, the perfect, or balanced.

The Work of the Prophet

The work of the Prophet is not only his own spiritual attainment, but he has some certain service of great importance to perform. As the Prophet goes through the above said five stages, he acts on his way towards the fulfillment of his life's mission as a warner, as a healer, as a reformer, as a lawyer, as a teacher, as a priest, as a preacher.

Therefore such service keeps the Prophet away from what his soul always craves for, and that is the solitude in the wilderness. He longs for one place, and he is put in another place. The soul who yearns constantly to fly away from the crowd is put, owing to his mission, in the very midst of the crowd. In this way the work of the Prophet in the world becomes as hard as if a person were asked to jump into the water and then come out dry. He must live in the world and not be of the world. However, it is the prophetic soul whose life's mission very often is to serve humanity in the time of its need, and it is the fulfillment of this service which makes him Rasul, the Messenger.

The Prophet is the Message bearer; the Prophet is master and a servant at the same time; the Prophet is a teacher and at the same time a pupil, for there is a great deal that he must learn from his experience through life, not in order to make himself capable to receive the Message, but in order to make himself efficient enough to give the Message. For God speaks to the Prophet in His divine tongue, and the Prophet interprets it in his turn in the language of men, making it intelligible to them, trying to put the finest ideas in the gross terms of worldly language.

Therefore all that the Prophet comes to give to the world is not given in words, but all that cannot be given in words is given without words. It is given through the atmosphere; it is given by the presence; it is given by the great love that gushes forth from his heart; it is given in his kind glance; and it is given in his benediction. And yet the most is given in silence that no earthly sense can perceive. The difference between human language and divine words is this: that a human word is a pebble; it exists, but there is nothing further; the divine word is a living word, just like a grain of corn. One grain of corn is not one grain; in reality it is hundreds and thousands. In the grain there is an essence which is always multiplying, and which will show perfection in itself.

The Prophet is the manifestation of the same Spirit who can rightfully be called Alpha and Omega in its fullest expression, although the spirit of Alpha and Omega is in all beings -- "in a loving mother, in a kind father, in an innocent child, in a helpful friend, in an inspiring teacher." [from the prayer "Salat"] The Prophet is a mystic, and greater than a mystic; the Prophet is a philosopher, and greater than a philosopher; the Prophet is a poet, and greater than a poet; the Prophet is a teacher, and greater than a teacher; the Prophet is a seer, and greater than a seer. Why greater? Because he has a duty to perform, together with the blessing that he brings upon earth.

Prophet: Nabi & Rasul

In the terms of the Eastern people, the Prophet is termed Paghambar. There are also two other names, Nabi and Rasul; and although each of these names is expressive of the Prophet, yet each name is significant of a certain attribute of the Prophet: also each of those words denotes a certain degree of his evolution.

Paghambar verbally means "the Message bearer", and this word is used for the Holy Ones who from time to time brought a Divine Message to a certain community, nation, or race, whenever there was need of wakening a certain people. The Paghambar has worked as an alarm to warn people of the coming dangers; the Paghambar has brought reforms to improve the condition of his people.

There are two steps in the life of the Messenger, one minor and the other major. One stage is when he begins to give the Message; the next stage is when the Message is fulfilled. Nabi, therefore, is the one who begins to give the Message; Rasul is the one who fulfills the Message.

Nabi is the Prophet who is not only for a certain section of humanity. Although he may live and move only in a limited region of the world, yet what he brings has its bearing upon the whole of humanity. It may not be fulfilled in his lifetime, but a day of fulfillment comes some time, even if it be in some centuries, that all he brought reaches the whole of humanity.

Rasul is a term which denotes an advanced degree, where the Prophet has not only brought a Message to the world, but fulfilled his task during his lifetime, through all tests and trials that a Prophet is meant to meet in life.

Rasul is a term which denotes an advanced degree, where the Prophet has not only brought a Message to the world, but fulfilled his task during his lifetime, through all tests and trials that a Prophet is meant to meet in life.

The Prophet is an interpreter of the divine law in human tongue. He is an ambassador of the spiritual hierarchy, for he represents to humanity the illuminated souls who are known and unknown to the world, who are hidden and manifest, who are in the world or on the other side of the world. The Prophet is an Initiate and initiator, for he is an answer to the cry of humanity, of individuals, and of the collectivity; the one who sympathizes with those in pain, guides those in darkness, harmonizes those who are in conflict and brings peace to the world, which always, when excited with its activity of centuries, loses its equilibrium.

The Prophet can never tell the ultimate Truth, which only his soul knows and no words can explain. His mission is, therefore, to design and paint and make the picture of the Truth in words that may be intelligible to mankind. The bare Truth not every man can see. If he can see, he needs no more teaching. The Prophet, so to speak, listens to the words of God in the language of God, and he interprets the same words in the human tongue. He speaks to every man in his own language; he converses with every man, standing on his own plane. Therefore he has little chance to disagree, unless there were someone who wanted disagreement and nothing else; there he cannot help.

Besides the words which even an intellectual person can speak, the Prophet brings the love and the light which is the food of every soul. The very presence of the Prophet may make a person see things differently, and yet he may not know that it was because of the Prophet. He may only think that that which was not clear to him, or for a moment seemed difficult to him, is now right and clear. For the Prophet is a living light, a light which is greater in power than the sun, for the light of the sun can only make things clear to the eyes, but the light that the Prophet brings to the world makes the heart see all that the eyes are not capable of seeing. The Prophet brings Love -- the Love of God, the Father and Mother of the whole humanity: a Love that is Life itself. No words or actions can express that Love. The presence of the Prophet, his very being, speaks of it, if only the heart had ears to listen. Verily, to the believer all is right, and to the unbeliever all is wrong.

The principal work of the Prophet is to glorify the Name of God, and to raise humanity from the denseness of the earth, to open the doors of the human heart to the divine beauty which is everywhere manifested, and to illuminate souls which are groping in darkness for years. The Prophet brings the Message of the day, a reform for that particular period in which he is born. A claim of a prophet is nothing to the real Prophet. The being of the Prophet, the work of the Prophet, and the fulfillment of his task, is itself the proof of prophethood.

The Spirit of Guidance

The Spirit of Guidance in other words may be called the Divine Mind; and as the human mind is finished after its coming on earth, so the Divine Mind becomes completed after manifestation. Plainly speaking, the Creator's Mind is made of His own creation.

The experience of every soul becomes the experience of the Divine Mind; therefore, the Divine Mind has the knowledge of all beings. It is a storehouse of perfect wisdom. It is the Soul of Christ, and the Spirit of prophecy. Intuition, inspiration, vision, or revelation, all have the Divine Mind as the Source from whence every kind of revelation comes.

There are some who receive the knowledge from the Divine Mind indirectly, and some receive it directly. Souls who happen to receive the central current of the Spirit of Guidance, in such souls the spirit of prophecy is conceived. The Messengers of all times, of whom we hear in the histories and traditions of the world, have been souls in whom the central current of the Divine Light has functioned. In other words, the Prophets of all ages have been the reflections of the Divine Mind on earth.

No one has ever seen God, and if the evidence of God has ever been manifested, it was in man who reflected God. Besides all the Prophets have taught, it was the personality of the Prophets which proved their prophecy. In their thought, speech, and word they reflected God, which was more than morals, doctrines, and teachings could do.

Every inspired person reflects in his own way some divine spark hidden in his soul, which wins the world. A musician may show his inspiration in music; a poet may show it in his poetry; an artist may show his inspiration in his art; but the central ray of light which the Prophets reflect, falling upon every plane and every aspect of life, makes all things clear to their sight. Therefore their presence clears away perplexity from the minds of the confused ones.

A person in the presence of the Prophet can feel and think more clearly, even without having spoken to the Prophet. Many forget their questions when before a Prophet, for the light, falling upon their hearts, brings them the answer, and they find out that the answer was in themselves, something that they had already known. No doubt it is true that the question and answer both are in the soul.

The first step of the soul's progress raises questions, and the second step is the answer. It is, therefore, that a prophetic soul is a physician at the same time; a prophetic soul is a scientist, an artist, is capable of commerce, industry, and business, qualified in warfare and competent in peacemaking.

  • The Spirit of Guidance is as the yeast which is used to make bread, to prepare humanity for the purpose for which it was created.
  • The Spirit of Guidance is a plant that grows and blossoms when it receives response and care; and when it is watered by the rainfall of divine inspiration it blooms in the light of the Divine Sun.
  • The Spirit of Guidance is the Light of God, which may be likened to a lantern that the farmer carries when walking on the farm in the darkness of night.
  • The Spirit of Guidance is like a searchlight. Any object on which the searchlight is thrown, it shows clearly; so the Spirit of Guidance thrown upon any aspect of life gives one a keen insight into it.
  • In the Spirit of Guidance one finds a living God active in the heart of every person.
  • One who depends upon the Spirit of Guidance to guide his life is guided aright.

We always have a counsel within, but the one who ignores the existence of such a thing as the Spirit of Guidance is left alone for some time by the Spirit of Guidance to look out for himself. It is like the mother and the dependent child, who tries to hold the hand of the mother at every step it takes; so the mother's whole attention is drawn to every step of her child. But when the child tries to move about by his own will, and tries to keep away, then the attention of the mother, to some extent, becomes released. This does not mean that the mother gives up entirely the care of the child; it only means that the mother allows the child to have its own way to some extent, and feels sorry when the child falls and hurts itself.

In point of fact, all souls are children of God, but such souls as are conscious of their relation to God, as between a child and his parents, certainly deserve to be called the children of God. They are especially cared for; they are always guided, because they ask for guidance. The soul of the Prophet, therefore, shows the innocence of the child.

Of what is known about Jesus Christ and His life to the world, the most lovable attribute of the Master was His innocence in spite of His perfect wisdom. Certainly He deserves to be called the Only-Begotten Son Who has all His life depended for everything He said or did upon the guidance from God.

The Form of the Message

This is a question which is always asked: how the prophetic soul receives the Message of God: in what form? Does the Angel Gabriel bring this, as it is said in the scriptures of Beni Israel? Does it come as a voice? Does it come in a form which is visible? And the answer is that everything which has been said in the ancient scriptures regarding it has so much truth in it, though very often some symbolical ideas are misinterpreted by the uninitiated. Gabriel as a Messenger is, in part, imagination.

The real Gabriel is that Spirit of Guidance which is the soul of the Prophets. Its voice is intuition, but to the attentive mind of the Prophet sometimes this voice is so distinct that it becomes much louder than what one hears through the ears. For in their hearts a capacity is produced; in other words, their hearts become as domes which give echo to every word. The heart of the ordinary person does not give that echo; so the inner voice becomes inaudible to one's own soul. As a voice is necessary, so hearing is necessary also; without the hearing the voice is inaudible. The hearing is the capacity in the heart. When the heart becomes as an ear, then it begins to hear the voice that comes from within.

And now the question comes whether a Gabriel manifested to the Prophets in a certain form. That is true also. There is nothing in this world which is void of form, except God, Who is formless. The form of some things is visible, and of other things invisible. Even thoughts and feelings have forms. You may call them results, but form is always a result. The heart which can hear the inner voice louder than the spoken words can certainly see the form, even the form which is not seen by every soul.

The question: "Do the eyes of the Prophet see a form?" -- may be answered: "Yes." For what the heart sees fully, that becomes reflected in the eyes also. It is not seen from without, but from within, and yet it is seen. Every person cannot conceive of such an idea as this: one who is accustomed to see and hear all that comes from outside. But it is as clear as the day for the wise to know that the eyes and the ears are not only the organs in which the impressions from the outer life are reflected, but even the impressions from the life within are also reflected in them.

It matters little to a Prophet whether his ears hear or his heart hears, whether his eyes see or his heart sees. He knows that he hears and sees, and that is sufficient evidence for him of a living God. One may ask: do you mean by this that God is so personal as to speak and manifest as a phantom to a certain soul? If it were so, it would be nothing but limiting God! In answer to this, I would say that the limitless God cannot be made more intelligible to our limited self unless He was first made limited. That limited ideal becomes as an instrument, as a medium of God Who is perfect and Who is limitless.

The Nature of the Prophetic Soul

The soul of the Prophet represents both the human and the divine. His feet on the earth and his head in heaven, he has to journey on the path of life, to respect and regard reason, and yet to cling to that rope which hangs down from heaven, which he calls faith--one thing contrary to the other. The world of variety, with its numberless changes, compels him to reason out things, and the world of unity promises to his unwavering faith the answer to every demand of life. In the Sufi terms there is a word called Akhlak-iAllah, which means "the Manner of God." This Manner is seen in the prophetic soul. For no one knows the Manner of God, as God is not seen by all; and if there is any sign of God seen, it is in the God-conscious one; and it is the fullness of God-consciousness which makes a prophetic soul.

The life of the Prophet is like that of someone walking upon a wire -- matter on one side and spirit on the other, heaven on one side and earth on the other -- with the imperfect self journeying towards perfection and at the same time holding upon itself the burden of numberless souls, many among whom have not yet learnt to walk even upon the earth.

In the history of the Prophets, in whatever time they have come on earth, one reads of their struggle being fourfold:

  1. struggle with self,
  2. struggle with the world,
  3. struggle with friends, and
  4. struggle with foes.

And yet many wonder, why should a Prophet be a warrior? Many know of the Prophet Muhammed being a warrior, but are ignorant of the fact that Moses had the same experience. And very few know the lives of the Prophets of India, Rama and Krishna, whose whole lives were nothing but warfare from the beginning to the end. Their scriptures are full of the wars and battles through all their lives, and if some apparently did not have a war, they had some other form of warfare to go through. The blood of the martyrs was the foundation of the church.

The Seers and Saints, who live a life of seclusion, are happy when compared to the life of the Prophet, whose life's work is in the midst of the crowd. When he is known to be a Prophet, jealousy and prejudice arise; if he is not known, he can do but little. When he goes into the world, the world absorbs him; when he thinks of God, God attracts him -- one spirit pulled from both sides; and it is this that the picture of the cross signifies. The Prophet, representing God and His Message, is tested and tried and examined by every soul; a thousand searchlights are thrown upon him; and he is not judged under one judge, but numberless judges; every soul is a judge, and has his own law to judge him with. The mystic is free to speak and act; what does he care what people think of him? The Prophet must care what they think of him--not for himself, but for those who follow him.

Besides all difficulties, in the end he finds no comprehension of his ideal or service in the world, except in God, Who alone is his consolation. Many follow the Prophet, but very few comprehend his ideal. It is this that made Muhammed say, "I am knowledge; Ali is the door." In the first place, to express a high thought in words or action is the most difficult thing, because what is expressed in words and actions is the thought on the surface;" to express deep feeling in words and action is, in the same way, difficult. And so is the Message of the Prophet; it is often difficult to be put into words.

The best way of following a prophetic Message -- which has been known to very few -- is to adopt the outlook of the Prophet; for the point of view of every person one can fully understand by seeing from that person's point of view.

We find in the traditions of the ancients that there were many among the Prophets of the past who, in a worldly sense, were not educated, among them the Prophet Muhammed, who was given the name Umrni, by which many called him, which means "unlettered"; although, according to the idea of that time, the Prophet was very well-versed in the Arabic language. This shows that worldly education does not make the Prophet. No doubt it helps to express the spiritual Message which his heart receives in a more intelligible form.

We see in the world's scriptures four different forms in which the prophetic Message was given:

  1. the ancient Hindu form, which can be traced in the scriptures of India and which was continued by Buddha;
  2. then the form of Beni Israel, which is to be found in the Old Testament, from the time of Abraham to the time of Muhammed;
  3. the third form is the form of Zarathustra, which shows two aspects--the one aspect is the Gayatri of the Hindus and the other aspect is the prayer of Beni Israel;
  4. and the fourth form is the form of the New Testament, which gives the legend and interpretation of the teaching of Jesus Christ, and which was made, at every new version, more intelligible to the mind of the people in the West.

But the moment a soul dives deeper into these scriptures it begins to realize the One Voice within all these outer forms, and that it is the same Voice that has adopted these different forms, to answer the need of every age.

What the Prophet says is much less than what he really hears, and the sense of what he says is much deeper than what his outer words mean. For the work of the Prophet is a most difficult one; it is trying to present to the world the whole ocean in a bottle. No one has ever been able to do it; yet They have all tried, for that has been their destiny. People have taken these bottles given to them, and have said, "See, here is the ocean; I have the ocean in my pocket!" But, by what the Prophets have taught in the scriptures, they have only tried to point out the way; but they have not pictured the Goal, for no one can put the Goal into a picture. The Goal is above all form and beyond the power of words to explain.

Those who have benefited by the life and the Message of the Divine Message Bearers are not necessarily the followers of their Message, but the imitators of their life; for they have not followed the teaching only, but followed the Teacher, who is the living example of his teaching. All the ancient traditions of the religious evolution tell us how those around the Prophets have benefited by the imitation, rather than by following the strict laws and by arguing upon the differences between the laws. There is no scripture in which contradiction does not exist. It is the contradiction which makes the music of the Message. The Message would be rigid, like pebbles, if there were no contradiction. Even all pebbles are not alike; how can all words mean the same? The Message is nothing but an answer to every question, every need, every demand of the individual and collective life.

Rumi has tried to explain in the Masnavi, from the beginning to the end, the nature and character of the heart of the Prophet, and by this he has given the key to the door which opens to the prophetic path. Therefore in reading any scripture we must remember first that it is not the words we read which are so important as what is hidden behind. To the ordinary mind, that only sees on the Surface, the words of the scriptures are nothing but simple phrases, and sometimes the ideas appear simple, even childish. But the one who tries to know what is behind them will find out in time that there is a vast field of thought hidden behind every word that has come from the lips of the Prophets.

Verily the words of the Prophets are as seals upon the Secret of God.

The Attunement of the Prophet

What is asked of a Prophet? The prophetic soul must of necessity rise so high that it may hear the Voice of God, and at the same time it must bend so low that it may hear every little whisper of human beings. Every little lack of consideration or regard for all those who wish to call the attention of the Prophets has been noticed and remarked in the lives of the Prophets. It means to live in heaven and to live on the earth at the same time. The heart of the Prophet is meant to be the harp, every string of it to be tuned to its proper pitch, so that God may play upon it His music. And it is that celestial music which is called the Divine Message. It is therefore that all the ancient scriptures were named Githas, or Gathas, which means the same thing: "music." The Song Celestial of Krishna is called Bhagavad Gita, which means the "Song of God"; and the Parsis call their sacred scripture Gatha. The Jewish scriptures are chanted when recited; also the Qur'an is recited in the form of singing.

Every musician knows how difficult it is to keep his violin in tune, especially when it is shaken wherever he has to move in the crowd. The heart, therefore, is incomparably more susceptible to get out of tune. It is therefore that the seers and mystics sought solitude, and kept themselves away from the crowd; but the Prophet, by his natural mission, is placed in the midst of the crowd. It is the problem of life in the crowd which he has to solve, and yet not solve it intellectually, as everyone wishes to do, but spiritually, by keeping that instrument, the heart, in proper tune to the Infinite, that he may get the answer for all questions arising at every moment of the day.

It is therefore that even the presence of the Prophet is the answer to every question: without having spoken one word, the Prophet gives the answer; but if a mind, restless and confused, cannot hear it, then that mind receives the answer in words. The answer of the Prophet uproots every question; but the answer always comes from the heart of the Prophet without his even having been asked a question. For the Prophet is only the medium between God and man; therefore the answer is from God. It is not true that the Prophet answers a question because he reads the mind; it is the mind of the one who asks the question that strikes, in the inner plane, the divine bell, which is the heart of the Prophet; and God, hearing the bell, answers. The answer comes in a manner as if words were put into the mouth of the Prophet.

The Prophet, therefore, need not think on the question he is asked; it is all automatic, so that the question draws out of him the answer. This rule is not applied only to individuals, but to the multitude. A. thousand people listening to a Prophet at the same time, and each having a different question in his mind, the question of every one of them has been answered. So the true character of the sacred scriptures is that even the book answers the question, if a person opens it automatically in order to find out a solution to a certain problem. Imagine, if the book answers, then one could expect more from the Prophet; for the soul of the Prophet is the living book: his heart is the sacred scripture.

What is religion? In the outer sense of the word, a form given to worship God and a law given to a community to live harmoniously. And what does religion mean in the inner sense of the word? It means a staircase, made for the soul to climb and reach that plane where Truth is realized. Both these aspects of religion may be found in the words and in the soul of the Prophet: his words, the law; his Message, the wisdom; and his being, that peace which is the seeking of every soul. God has never manifested as Himself in this world of variety, where every thing and every being is a divine expression, yet with its limitations. And if the world has been able to believe in God and to recognize God in a being, it is in the godly, it is in the soul which reflects God. With all the arguments for and against the divinity of Christ, no sincere believer in God can deny that God reflects through the Personality of the Master.

The Prophetic Claim

  • Abraham was called Habib Allah, the Friend of God;
  • Moses was distinguished as Kalim Allah, a Communicator with God;
  • Jesus was called Ruh Allah, the Spirit of God;
  • Mohammed was called Rasul Allah, the Messenger of God.

    The difference between the Prophets among the Hindus and among the Beni Israel that can be noticed, is one: the Hindu Prophets claim to be God themselves. The reason was that the people in India, owing to their philosophical evolution, were ready to accept the divine in man; but, on the contrary, in Arabia and Palestine even the prophetic claim aroused such opposition against the Prophets that their lives were in danger and their mission became most difficult for them to perform.

    After the claimants of Godhead there have been many reformers in India, to whom people responded without much difficulty, but in the Near East it has always been difficult, and will always be so. It is for this reason that the ancient school of esotericism, the ancient Order of the Sufis, found it difficult to exist under the reign of orthodoxy. The lives of many great Sufis have been made victims of the orthodox powers which reigned.

    Sufism, therefore, which was as a mother of the coming reform in the religious world, was protected by Persia, and, in the end, found a greater freedom in the land of India, where the Hindus respected it and Muslims followed it without the slightest hesitation. In the houses of the Sufis the followers of all religions met together in friendliness and in the feeling of brotherhood.

    The Sufi Message which is now being given in the Western world is the child of that mother who has been known for many years as Sufism. The Sufi Message which is being given to the world just now, therefore, connects the two lines of the prophetic mission, the Hindu line and that of Beni Israel, in order that they may become the medium to unite in God and Truth both parts of the world, East and West.

    It is the same Truth, the same religion, the same ideal, which the wise of all ages have held. If there is anything different, it is only the difference of the form.

    The Sufi Message given now has adopted the form suitable for the age. It is a Message without claim; and the group of workers in this Message, and those who follow it, are named the Sufi Movement, whose work it is to tread the spiritual path quietly, unassumingly, and to serve God and humanity, in which is the fulfillment of the Message.