The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

        (How to create a bookmark)



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 of Krishna is an ideal which gives the picture of the life of a perfect man. The real meaning of the word Krishna is God, and the man who was identified with that name was the God-conscious one who fulfilled His Message in the period in which he was destined to give His Message.

The story of Krishna, apart from its historical value and interest, is of great importance to the seeker after Truth. No one knows of the father and mother of Krishna. Some say he was of royal birth. It means of kingly origin, from that King Who is the King of all. Then he was given in the care of Yeshoda, who brought him up as his guardian mother. This is symbolical of the earthly parents, who are the guardians, the real father and mother being God. In the childhood of Krishna, it is said, he was fond of butter, and he learned, as a child, to steal butter from everywhere. And the meaning is, that wisdom is the butter of the whole life. When life is churned through a wheel, then out of that comes butter; wisdom is gained by it. He was stealing it; which means, wherever he found wisdom he learned it, from everybody's experience he benefited-that is stealing.

Plainly speaking, there are two ways of learning wisdom. The one way of learning wisdom is that a person goes and drinks to excess, and then falls down in the mud, and then the police take him to the police station, and when he recovers from his drunkenness he cannot find his clothes and he is horrified at his own appearance. This makes him realize what he has done. This is one way of learning, and it is possible that he does not learn. The other way of learning is that a young man is going along the street; he sees a drunken man, and sees how terrible it is to be in this position; he learns from that. That is stealing the butter.

But then the latter part of Krishna's life has two very important aspects. One aspect teaches us that life is a continual battle, and the earth is the battlefield where every soul has to struggle, and the one who will own the kingdom of the earth must know very well the law of warfare. The secret of the offensive, the mystery of defense, how to hold our position, how to retreat, how to advance, how to change position, how to protect and control all that has been won, how to let go what must be given up, the manner of sending an ultimatum, the way of making an armistice, the method by which peace is made -- all this is to be learned. In this life's battle man's position is most difficult, for he has to fight on two fronts at the same time: one is himself, and the other is before him. If he is successful on one front, and on the other front he proves to have failed, then his success is not complete.

And the battle of each individual has a different character. The battle depends upon man's particular grade of evolution. Therefore every person's battle in life is different, of a peculiar character. And no person in the world is free from that battle; only one is more prepared for it; the other, perhaps, is ignorant of the law of warfare. And in the success of this battle there is the fulfillment of life. The Bhagavad Gita, the Song Celestial, from the beginning to the end, is a teaching on the law of life's warfare.

The other outlook of Krishna on life is that every soul is striving to attain God, but God, not as a Judge or a King, but as a Beloved. And every soul seeks God, the God of Love, in the form it is capable of imagining. And in this way the story of Krishna and the gopis signifies God and the various souls seeking perfection.

The life and teaching of Krishna have helped the people of India very much in broadening the thought of the pious. The religious man, full of dogmas, is often apt to make dogmas too rigid, and expects the godly, or the God-conscious, to fit in with his standard of goodness. If they do not fit in with his particular idea of piety he is ready to criticize them. But the thought and life of Krishna were used by the artist and the poet and the musician, and out of it was made a new religion, a religion of recognizing the divine in natural human life. And that idea of considering a spiritual person exclusive, remote, stone-like, and lifeless ceased to exist. The people of India became much more tolerant toward all different aspects of life, looking at the whole life, at the same time, as an Immanence of God.

The Worshipers of Krishna

Among Hindus some are called by this name; for all Hindus belong to one religion, and yet there are different gods and goddesses worshiped by different people among Hindus. The worship of Krishna is most prevalent among them, and it is as ceremonial as the ancient Church of Rome, and even more so. This teaches us that ceremony is a concrete expression of thought, and it has suited the masses better than a religion of thought alone.

In the temple of Krishna there is an image of Krishna lying in a cradle. Women who go there for worship will sing lullabies in a prayerful attitude. Then there is an image in the same temple of Krishna grown up, and with him the image of Radha, his consort. Men and women will go there and worship both. They will take flowers and sandalwood and a few grains of rice in order to make an offering to the god. Then there is an image of Krishna with a sword, cutting off the head of Kounsa, the monster. Then there are engravings in the temple of Krishna driving the chariot of Arjuna, the exiled King of India, when going to wage war against the Pandavas, the rulers of the time.

At first sight it surprises a stranger to think that God is worshiped in the man's form, and God is considered so small as to be rocked in a cradle, and to picture God Most High standing with his wife, and then to see God going to war, which any kindhearted person would refuse to do. But to a Sufi it gives a different impression, since he sees God in every form. First, he says that if the worshiper cultivates his patience by standing, in his joy and trouble, before a heedless god of stone that never answers or stretches out a helping hand, he can only be a steady worshiper of the true God, and will not fail, as many do when they have no help given by God, who then begin to disbelieve, or at least to doubt His existence. He thinks that when He is all and in all, what does it matter if one looks at heaven and the other looks at earth? To his mind both are looking at the same thing.

In ancient times many had thought that spirituality means to be alone in a forest, which thought is broken by seeing Krishna and Radha both, which means that both mean God, not one alone.

Many today question: "If there is God, why should wars and disasters take place?" And many give up their belief when they think more about it. The image of Krishna with a sword and going to war shows that it is God Who is in heaven, it is God Who is most kind, but it is the same God Who stands with a sword; that there is no name, no form, no place, no occupation, which is void of God. It is a lesson to recognize God in all, instead of limiting God only to the good and keeping Him away from what we call evil, which goes against the saying that "in God we live and move and have our being."