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



What is the Message?

The way the Message is given

The Messenger

The instrument of the Message

The answer to the cry

The Sufi Message

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The Message and the Messenger

The Messenger

Spiritual means spirit-conscious. There is a line of a song, "The night has a thousand eyes, the day but one." When a person is living in his mind, he is living through the darkness of the night. The moment he rises above his mind and awakens in the light of the soul he becomes spiritual. And if a thousand spiritual people speak, they will say the same thing, perhaps in different words but with only one meaning, for they have one and the same vision. This is why spiritual realization is called the truth. There are many facts but only one truth. The facts can be put into words but not the truth, for God is truth, the soul is truth, the real self of man is truth. Since truth is unlimited and incomparable, it alone knows, enjoys, and realizes its own existence.

The key to the secret of the messenger is given in the Bible, but very few will ponder upon it and reason it out for themselves. The key is in the words, "I am Alpha and Omega", "I am the first and the last." Can that mean, "I came only for a time, and then I was called Jesus, and only then did I give a message; I spoke neither before nor after that time'? Alpha and Omega means First and Last; always, continually present; never absent from the beginning of creation to the end.

A question arises in the enquiring mind: who may this Alpha and Omega be? What was he before Jesus Christ? What would he be after the time of Jesus Christ? For those who put the water of the ocean in a pitcher, that water is from the ocean; but really only the ocean is the ocean. When those of various creeds, who have different dogmas and forms of worship, say that only this or that is the teaching of Christ, it may be partly true; but it is not all the teaching of Christ. It is as true as saying, "This is the ocean", if one brought some water from the ocean in a pitcher.

This shows that there was a personality called Jesus Christ who brought the message; it was the personality that was Jesus. This is the secret of that Alpha and Omega spirit of Christ. If one could only see that spirit hidden behind different personalities one would be constantly in the vision of Christ.

As many souls as there are in the world, so many are their fancies and their phantasies. Many look favorably at a certain teacher, but as many do not. And there has never been one teacher in the world whom everyone regarded with favor. Praise cannot exist without blame, for nothing has existence without its opposite, just as pleasure cannot exist without pain. No one can be great and not small; no one can be loved and not hated. There is no one who is hated by all and not loved by someone; there is always someone to love him.

If one would realize that the world of God, His splendor and magnificence, are to be seen in the wise and the foolish, in the good and the bad, then one would think tolerantly and reverently of all mankind, knowing that it represents the messenger, as the messenger represents God. For no one has seen God at any time, but if there is anyone who represents God, it is the man who speaks His word. God is seen in the one who glorifies Him.

But if our hearts are closed, even if we wait for a thousand years for the messenger to show himself, we shall never find him. For he who is always there has said, "I am Alpha and Omega. I exist every moment. When you call me, I am there. Knock at the door, and I will answer you." And those whose eyes are open do not need to go to a church and look at a picture or statue of the Lord. In the eyes of every infant, in the smile of every innocent child, they receive the blessing of Christ.

It only means changing one's outlook on life, and recognizing the divine in man. But man has ignored the divine spirit that manifests in humanity, and always prefers an idol, a painting, a picture, to the living God, who is constantly before him. For the sage, the seer, the saint, and the yogi who begin to see the master, and see him living, there is no place where he cannot be seen. Then everywhere the beloved master is ready to answer the cry of the soul coming from friend, father or teacher. And if we go a little further forward, we will find that the teacher speaks aloud, not only through living beings, but through nature. If the eyes and ears are open, the leaves of the trees become as pages of the Bible. If the heart is alive, the whole life becomes one single vision of His sublime beauty, speaking to us at every moment.

There is also the metaphysical side of this, for it is metaphysics which makes things distinct and intelligible to those whose reason asks questions; man and the study of man is the study of the whole universe.

As Ali says, "Know thyself, if thou wouldst know God."

The secret of this is the knowledge that when man comes to earth, he is both soul and body, or as others would say, spirit and body, and that the action and reaction of soul and body produce what we call mind. And in the same way it is the action and reaction of God and His creation which have produced the Spirit of Guidance, and it is that spirit which is the soul of Christ. One may understand this better by an example: in the case of an individual, the affairs of his everyday life bring him to a realization and understanding of what his actions have brought about, and it is this understanding of life which becomes his Spirit of Guidance which is called Buddha in Vedantic terms. Again, the Prime Minister of a country stands between his country and the world; his experience guides him to direct the affairs of the nation.

The medium between soul and body is called spirit. In the collective spirit it is that spirit of the messenger; and that is why the divine message brings an answer to every soul. It is not necessarily a law for the multitude or a religion for the world, but it brings an answer to every existing soul; and before the soul has expressed its cry it has reached the heart of the messenger.

Can anyone claim the message falsely? How could anyone ever dare to do such a thing! If it is already so difficult for the true messenger of God to stand steadfast in all the winds of destruction, how could falsehood ever withstand such a wind? Only the true messenger can stand firm whenever the message is given to the world. Truth alone is victorious.

There is great expectation all over the world just now that the teacher is coming again. And the expectation seems to be as if the teacher will come direct from the sky, and as if the whole world will accept and expect him, that the lawyers, scientists, materialists, and teachers of the different sects will fall on their knees before him when he comes. But if we only think of the coming of Jesus Christ in that humble garb, and how no one accepted him during his life! In his unassuming life, preaching to simple men, was he accepted as Christ, or is he not Christ today? If we look at the lives of different prophets and teachers, were they ever accepted at once? Mohammed was three times chased out of Mecca, his own city, and had to flee in the night; and during the long life struggle of Moses, in the end he could only work because of the permission of Pharaoh. Krishna passed his whole life unknown, until, in the war described in the Mahabharata, Arjuna asked for his blessing and fought; it was only then that the moment of his message came.

In order to recognize a world-message, people in all ages have pointed out and predicted a messenger coming from this or that corner of the world. But can man ever authorize a messenger of God? Has he the power to authorize a man, and say: this will be the Messenger of God, or: this is the Messenger of God? God alone can send His messenger. Things are happening now such as have never happened before; people talking so freely about the messenger and the message. They discuss the most sacred things, things that if one really knew them would keep one's lips sealed. There could not be a worse degeneration of religion than this. Has the messenger ever been advertised? Can any man come forward in the world and make a claim of this kind, and also be true? No, the message is like a spring of water: it rises and fails and makes its way by itself, so that no one can make an imitation of it. If the message is true, it will always make its way to the end of the world. It is always so with the message of God.

But those who wait, may wait. It is their destiny to wait, and one cannot help them. They waited while Jesus Christ came and went, and they still wait and will wait for ever. And yet he has always come; to the individual, to the multitude, to the nation, to the race." He came, and spoke to the whole world; but did he come with drums and trumpets? No, he came in the humblest guise, in the most unassuming manner; as our brother, our servant, our friend, our equal. Man, because of his devotion, has called him Lord; but he said, "Call me not good. I am like unto you." It is not his absence that keeps man in ignorance; it is man's own closed eyes. The Master has always been present, but man knew him not.