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


India, a land of extremes, was once very much engrossed in idealism. Idealism gave to the people Brahmanism, an idealism which had reached its greatest heights, an idealism which made them recognize the Face of God in man, and to experience heaven on earth. And when this touched its zenith, then came another epoch, an epoch of reaction, and that was the period of Buddha. The mission of Buddha was quite peculiar in its character, and therefore it stands quite different from the many different religions of the world. And people sometimes wonder if all religions are one.

They can quite well see a similarity between the Hebrew religion and Islam, also the religion of the Christ; but they cannot understand that there could be a religion of Buddha, and that it could be also a religion, and that it could be one with all others. And the answer is this: that the work of all those who have served humanity in the form of religion has been of great importance--for the first reason, that they had to give the same Truth which every other Server of humanity has given; and for the next reason, that they had to answer the demand of the time in a form suited for that particular time; and in that they differed from their predecessors, who had done the work in other ways. It may not be forgotten that among Hindus idealism had reached its zenith, and it did not remain for Buddha to teach a greater idealism than they already had. In order, therefore, to bring about a balance, he had to give a pill of disillusion.

And in that way perhaps at that time, or even today, he might appear to be a teacher of quite a different philosophy and a religion which is different from all other religions, which are of idealism. And at the same time no one can show one word in the teaching of Buddha where Buddha has opposed any religion. Only his mission was to bring the birds of idealism, flying in the air, nearer to the earth, because the food of their body belonged to the earth.

Buddha, born as a prince, was recognized by the wise of that time as a soul which had the finest feeling that it could have, and the deepest depth in his heart. Being born in a family where he could be taken good care of, naturally they closed all the sorrows and distress and troubles of life away from him, and kept him in a surrounding where no sorrows, distress, and troubles of life could touch him, in order to give this soul the time to develop, without being depressed by worldly troubles. It was not only the love of the parents, but it was the wisdom of destiny, that brought him up in this manner, a soul who was born to sympathize with the world. And when the mind of Buddha, after the best education that he received, came to maturity, then he was one day allowed to go out and look at the world.

This soul, who was not allowed to see much of the world and who had not known pain and distress and trouble, was quite unaware of the experience that the life in the world shows to man. Then he went out for the first time; he looked at a person who was aged and only with difficulty could walk. And he said, "What is it?" They said, "It is age." And he sympathized. And then he saw another person, worn out and tired and downhearted. And he said, "What is the matter?" And they said, "It is illness." And he sympathized, and said, "There is such a thing as illness." There was another person who had lost his money and was in a great despair, and was in poverty. Buddha asked, "What is it?" They said, "It is poverty." And he sympathized, and he felt his condition. In short, this soul, whose heart was open to sympathize with everyone, felt that life has many limitations and every limitation has its despair. And the number of limitations that he saw was so great that he thought what must be the remedy for all these limitations.

In the first place he saw that human nature seeks for happiness. lt is not because happiness is outside of man; it is because happiness belongs to him. Then he saw that all these limitations make a barrier for man, thereby depriving him of the consciousness of this happiness which is his own. He also saw that all the manner of distress, and all the causes of distress, if they were removed, still man would not be free from distress, because the nature of man is to find happiness; he is not looking for distress. For no one in the world is seeking for a distress, and almost everyone in the world finds distress without seeking for it. He saw that the removing of these apparent limitations was not sufficient, but it is the study of life, observation, analysis, that is the most necessary.

He found in the end that it is the analysis of life, a thorough analysis, which clears one's reason from all darkness, and produces in it its own original light. Man is distressed by looking at the distress without having studied it. That is generally the case. Every distress that comes to man he is afraid of, and he partakes of it without first having faced it and studied it analytically. But at the same time Buddha saw that if there was a key to happiness, it came by throwing analytical light upon all the different situations of life. This Buddha taught in the form of religion more than two thousand years ago. And today the reasoning that is looking for a solution in the modern world is now finding the same solution which Buddha found over two thousand years ago; and they call it psychoanalysis. It is the beginning of that something which had reached to its highest top, and this analysis in itself had reached to the highest idealism.

Buddha was the title of Gautama. He was called Buddha because his spirit expressed the meaning of the word Buddh. The word Buddh in Sanskrit means "reason." In the Buddhistic terminology the Spirit of Guidance is named Bodhisattva, which means the essence of reason. Reason in its essence is of a liquid form: it is the cream of intelligence. When it is crystallized, it becomes rigid. Very often intellectuality explains a knowledge formed by reasons, most of them of rigid character. The fine reason is subtle; the finer the reason, the less it can be explained in words. It is therefore that people with fine reason cannot very well put their reason into words. Reason in its essence is the depth of intelligence. The intelligence knows, not because it has learned; it knows because it knows. In this higher reason the Spirit of Guidance is conceived, and from that fountain of reason all the great Prophets have drunk.

In the teaching of true Buddhism, Buddha has never been considered as an exclusive personality. Buddha has been known to the Buddhists who have understood his Message rightly as a man who attained the realization of that essence of reason in which is the fulfillment of life's purpose.

Worshiping Buddha does not mean that the Buddhist worships the personality of his spiritual Master. He only means by this worship that if there is any object that deserves worship most, it is a human being; it is the person from whose heart the essence of reason, Buddhi, has risen as a spring. By this knowledge he recognizes the possibility for every soul, whatever be his grade of evolution, of attaining that bliss, trusting that the innermost being of every soul is divine.

The honey of life is hope. If the knowledge of God does not give hope to attain the divine bliss which is attained in life, that knowledge is of no use. Man may believe in God for years and yet may not be benefited by the spiritual bliss; for the spiritual bliss is not only in believing, but it is in knowing God.

Buddhi, which is subtle reasoning, is the path which leads to the goal. The absence of that keeps a person in obscurity. As the sun is the source of light, which shows outwardly things in life, so Buddhi is the inner source of light, which enables the person to see life clearly, inwardly and outwardly. The true aim of the disciples of Buddha has not been only to adhere to Buddha, his name or his ideal, but, by taking Buddha as an example before him, their idea was to become Buddha some day. And the same idea is the secret of Sufism.