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

The Symbol of the Cross

The symbol of the cross has many significations. It is said in the Bible: first was the word, and then came light, and then the world was created. And as the light is expressed in the form of the cross, so every form shows in it the original sign. Every artist knows the value of the vertical line and the horizontal line, which are the skeleton of every form. This proves the teaching of the Qur'an, in which it is said that God created the world from His own light. The cross is the figure that fits to every form everywhere.

Morally the cross signifies pain or torture. That means that in every activity of life, which may be pictured as a perpendicular line, there come hindrances, which the horizontal line represents. This shows the nature of life, and that, as it is said, man proposes and God disposes. Somebody asked the great Master, Ali, what made him believe in God, Who is beyond human comprehension. Ali said: "I believe in God because I see that when I alone wish, things are not accomplished." According to the metaphysical point of view, this shows the picture of limitation in life.

The symbol of the cross in its connection with the life of Christ not only relates to the crucifixion of the Master, but signifies the crucifixion that one has to meet with by possessing the Truth. The idea of this Hindu philosophy is that the life in the world is an illusion, and therefore every experience in the life and knowledge of this life is also illusion. The Sanskrit word for this illusion is Maya; it is also called Mithea, from which the word myth comes. When the soul begins to see the Truth, it is, so to say, born again; and to this soul all that appears truth to an average person appears false, and what seems truth to this soul is nothing to that average person; all that seems to that average person important and precious in life has no value nor importance for this soul, and what seems to this soul important and valuable has no importance nor value for the average person.

Therefore he naturally finds himself alone in a crowd which lives in a world quite different from that in which he lives. Imagine living in a world where nobody uses your language. Yet he can live in the world, for he knows its language. And yet to him the life in the world is as unprofitable as to a grown-up person the world of children playing with their toys. A human being who has realized the Truth is subject to all pains and torture in the same way as all other persons, except that he is capable of bearing them better than the others. But, at the same time, while in the crowd everyone hits the other and also receives blows, the knower of Truth has to stand alone and receive them only; this is in itself a great torture. The life in the world is difficult for every person, rich or poor, strong or weak, but for the knower of Truth it is still more difficult, and that in itself is a cross.

Therefore for a spiritual Messenger the cross is a natural emblem, to explain his moral condition. But there is a still higher significance of the cross which is understood by the mystic. The significance is what is called self-denial; in order to teach this moral gentleness, humility and modesty are taught as a first lesson. Self-denial is an effect of which self-effacement is the cause. It is that a man says: "I am not; Thou art." For instance, an artist, looking at his picture, says: "It is Thy work, not mine," or a musician, hearing his composition, says: "It is Thy creation; I do not exist." Then that soul is in a way crucified, and through that crucifixion resurrection comes. There is not the slightest doubt that when man has had enough pain in his life, he rises to this great consciousness. But it is not necessary that only pain should be the means. It is the readiness on the part of man to deny his part of consciousness and to efface his own personality which lifts the veil that hides the Spirit of God from the view of man.