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




Forms of Hindu Worship

The Basis of the Caste System among Hindus



Forms of Buddhistic Worship








The Duties of the Faithful in Islam

The Four Grades of Knowledge in Islam

The Idea of Halal and Haram in Islam



An Advanced Form of Idolatry

The Higher Form of Idolatry

The Sufi's Conception of God

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Prophets and Religions


The life and teaching of Zarathustra give an example, to those who tread the spiritual path, of the manner in which to begin the spiritual journey. Zarathustra is said to have been born from the Haem-tree. The interpretation of this idea is that the Spirit of Guidance does not come direct from Heaven; he is born from the human family; the tree is the family.

It has been a great error of some religious people that out of their devotion for their Master they placed him, through their imagination, on a pedestal, where they themselves could not ever prove him to be when it came to reasoning. It can only stand in the horizon of faith. No doubt faith is in the foundation. Faith is the lamp which lightens the path, but reason is the globe over it to make its light appear.

The purpose of this whole creation is fulfilled in attaining that perfection which is for a human being to attain. All the Saints, Sages, Prophets, and Masters of Humanity have been human beings, and divine perfection they have shown in fulfilling the purpose of being human.

Zarathustra's spiritual attainment came by his communication with Nature first. He appreciated, adored, and worshiped the sublimity of Nature, and he saw wisdom hidden in the whole creation. He learned and recognized from that the being of the Creator, acknowledged His perfect wisdom, and then devoted his whole life to glorifying the Name of God. To those who followed him in the path of spiritual attainment, he showed the different aspects of Nature, and asked them to see what they could see behind it all. He pointed out to his followers that the form and line and color and movement that they saw before them, and which attracted them so much, must have been accomplished by an expert artist. It cannot all work mechanically and be perfect. The mechanism, however much perfected, cannot run without the help of an engineer. Therefore he showed to them that God is not an object which the imagination has made, though He is molded by man's imagination outwardly. In reality, God is the Being: such a perfect Being that, if compared with other living beings of this world, He is beyond comparison. He is the Only Being.

The Zoroastrian Way of Worship

The way of worship taught by Zarathustra was to worship God by offering homage to Nature. For Nature suggests to the soul the Endless and Unlimited Being hidden behind it all.

The source of Zoroastrianism is the same as the source of Hinduism, although Hinduism has been practiced in India and the followers of Zoroastrianism have been in Persia. The original source of these sister religions of the Aryans was sun worship. These are the direct descendants of the parent religion of sun worship, though this is the ancestor of the religion of the Hebrew prophets also. No religion can escape from this ancestry.

The Symbol of Zunar among Zoroastrians

The Zoroastrians, even today, worship the god Ahura Mazda by looking and bowing to the sun. The symbolical meaning of this is the worship of the light, and especially one Light which has not its like anywhere, which shines upon all things, and by which all things are reflected, and upon which the life of the whole universe absolutely depends. This was the lesson given in ancient times to prepare men's minds to become fond of light, that the soul may unfold some day, and the light from within, the Eternal Sun, the reflection of which on the surface is the sun, may be vouchsafed and be worshiped.

People have called the Zoroastrians fire worshipers. It is a fact. They keep in their place of worship a constantly burning fire, but it is an object they keep before them when thinking of God, as fire purifies all things, and the light within purifies all souls. It is, in fact, a great comfort to have fire in the cold climate, and especially incense burning, which takes away the dampness of the place and gives a facility to the free and deep inhaling and exhaling of breath.

Another thing is that, on earth, it is fire which is the substitute of the sun, for its flame gives light. It is again awakening the mind to the light within.

They worship before the running streams of water and the different scenes of Nature which speak to the hearer of the Divine Immanence in them.

They have in their houses the pictures of Zarathustra, their Prophet, with a torch in his hand, somewhat in the likeness of Christ. The garb is different; it is of old Persia. As the Teacher of every community is pictured in some way, it always inspires those who look at it with that attitude of mind.

Every Zoroastrian woman or man wears in the vest a cord of silk, and considers it the most sacred thing for its religious significance. This is the custom that has been observed by Zoroastrians from the beginning of their religion, as Zarathustra himself wore this sacred thread, and it is seen till now with Parsis -- those that have left Persia, their original land, for ages, and have adopted mostly the customs of India, the land where they took refuge after leaving their country, where a Brahman wears a thread crossways over one shoulder.

This thread they purify with water, fire, and air, and untie and tie it several times during the day, and, every time they do it, they consider it as the most important part of their prayer. It is true that few among them will be found who know the real meaning of this prayer with the thread, but it is mostly so with the followers of different religions.

The moral meaning of Zunar is service. A soldier, a policeman, a postman, or a gatekeeper, when on duty, has a belt on, which expresses that he is on duty--not free to do everything he wishes, but only that which he is appointed to his post to accomplish. This explains that man, as the most intelligent of God's creatures, is not supposed to lead his life as he wishes to lead it, but to consider the duty for which he is born and the service that he must render to God and His creatures. As man is apt to forget all that is not to his immediate interest, the loosing and the tying of the thread reminds him of his duty, as the belt reminds the soldier that he is on service. The idea is that we are all servants of God, and we must do all things for Him, Who has created us, supports us, and has engaged us in His service.

But the mystical meaning of Zunar is still greater. It makes the vertical figure of man, against the horizontally-worn Zunar, a cross. That means, as the Sufi understands, self-denial -- "I am not." When that first "I," the false "I," is so denied, then the next "I," which is the real "I," awakens, when God Himself realizes His Being, and accomplishes thereby the purpose of creation.