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




The Symbol of the Sun

The Brahman Symbolical Form of Worship



The Story of Lot's Wife

Jacob Wrestling with the Angel

Jesus Walking on the Water

The Symbol of the Cross

The Symbol of the Dove

The Ten Virgins

Tongues of Flame

Shaqq-i Sadr: the Opening of the Breast of the Prophet

Miraj: the Dream of the Prophet

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The Symbology of Religious Ideas

Tongues of Flame

The symbolic meaning of the legend is that there is a period when the soul of the earnest seeker is seeking, when it has not yet found the object it is seeking after. In the lifetime of Jesus Christ, the beauty of the Master's wonderful Personality and the great intoxication of his Presence, and the constant outpouring of the Message that he had to give, was so much for his disciples that it soared beyond what may be called a joy or a happiness, or something which is explainable; and all the blessing that they received and experienced during his Presence was covered by the Master's personality. And the time of realization of that which they had constantly gained came in their lives after that great change when the external Person of the Master ascended, and the capacity of realization became open.

But, after the fifty days following the Crucifixion, when they had had sufficient time to recover from the feeling that had overtaken their hearts, the seeming separation from their beloved Lord prepared them, so to speak, in time, and opened the door of their heart, giving that capacity for receiving the illumination which was constantly pouring out from the Spirit of Guidance, the Alpha and Omega, Who always was and is and will be.

The symbolic interpretation of the tongues of flame rising from the foreheads of the disciples is the light of the Message, the rays of the Christ Spirit in the form of thoughts which were expressed in words. There is a stage in the life of a Seer when the tongue of flame becomes, not only an interpretation of the mystery, but as a reality, as his own experience. The head is the center of knowledge, and, when this organ opens, the light which was covered becomes manifest, not only in idea, but even in form.

And the phenomenon which was shown the next day, when the apostles spoke all different languages, can be rightly interpreted in this sense--that every soul hears its own language. For every soul has its own word, as every soul has its peculiar evolution. And it is therefore that one person cannot understand another person in this world, and it becomes more than a miracle when one finds perhaps one person in the world who can understand one fully, which means that in this world the language of each one is not understood by another; and if someone understands a little, one feels at-one-ment with him. It was the illumination of the Christ Spirit which brought exaltation in the lives of the disciples, so that they began to respond to every soul they met, and they became at one with every soul, inspired by the sympathy and love of Christ. And they understood the souls as they saw them, and could speak with souls whose language had never before been understood. Plainly speaking, they heard the cry of every soul, and they answered every soul's cry. The Message means the answer to the cry of every soul. Every great Prophet or Teacher had in his life many followers, attracted to his personality, to his words, to his kindness and love; but those who became as the instrument of his Message, whose hearts became as a flute for the Master to play his music, have always been some chosen few, as the twelve apostles of Christ.