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 answer to the cry

The message is the answer to the cry of individual and collective souls. The voice of God is speaking all the time, but no one listens; therefore God has manifested as man, that He might speak with a yet louder voice. But even then man does not listen. In the time of Christ the inspiration was there, the voice was there and the divine power; but how few were those who listened and understood! It has always been so, and it always will be so. It is no wonder that Jesus had so few disciples, and even among them perhaps not one who had a true understanding of the Master. At the hour when Mohammed was passing away, when hundreds of his disciples were there, he pointed out one and said, "I am wisdom and Ali is the door." Great perplexity has arisen as to why this was so when the Master had the power to make everyone understand. But it was not meant to be so. Each has his own puzzle to solve. How uninteresting the world would be if all men were perfect; it would be like a piano in which all the notes were the same.

Whenever the spirit of God has come forth in its true form, the world has been against it. Why has this been so? It is because man has two sides to his nature, one false and the other real; and before the true messenger can penetrate to the reality of a man's being, he first touches the false or unreal part, and that revolts. And in the case of a man who does not revolt, even though the light reaches him his heart is covered, and it only touches the cover. Such a man is attracted, yet he doubts.

There are egos who are not willing and ready to accept all that attracts them. The more something attracts them, the more they rebel against it, suspecting it of being a temptation. Even if they see the reality of something that attracts them they consider the tendency of being attracted to be a weakness. There are egos who refuse to accept what their friend has accepted, and refuse to admire fully what that friend has admired.

And even if they really wish to accept something that their friend has accepted, they will refuse to do so. For the tendency of that ego is to swim against the tide; it is the strength of that ego. Against this strength Christ has said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." It is mostly this same strength of mentality which has stood out against the messengers, building a fortified wall between the messenger and the souls who long for guidance. There are, however, those who are like lighted candles: they can light other candles and they can inspire others. But the other candles must be of wax; if they are of steel they cannot be lighted. The heart must be like wax; it must melt; if it is like steel, it cannot be illumined.

It is easier for the idealistic devotee to enhance his ideal when the ideal is not present; its presence often hinders the devotee in strengthening his ideal. For the ideal which grows and expands in the imagination of the devotee will always excel the ideal personality who is living the life of limitations on earth.

The souls who believe in a messenger because of his miraculous powers, or because they see the belief of his adherents, are followers; but the souls to whom the presence of the messenger is the evidence, to whom his words are a proof, and to whom their own belief is a conviction, are the foundation of the world's new temple.

His disciples are to the teacher as all the objects of heaven and earth are to the sun. Some are responsive to the light of the sun, and become hot or cold. Some grow and thrive, and bring out their color and fragrance. Some close their eyes or become blind in the light of the sun. Some begin their life's activities as the sun rises; and some await the rising of the sun during the dark, depressing night in pain and suffering. Some look forward to the clearing of the clouds and the smiles of the sun. But the stars and planets in heaven are still more responsive and more closely connected with the special current of the sun; and so are the disciples who are close to the spirit of the teacher. They are his special apostles; they give out the light of the sun that is reflected in their heart.

There are three stages of action which the sincere followers of the message have to pass through, and the difficulty is that each stage has a tendency to hinder them from going on to the next stage. And the reason is that there is no end of interest and happiness at every stage that they have to go through in their lives. Another reason is that one stage is quite different from another, and therefore each stage has a kind of contrary action to the previous one. These three stages may be called receiving the message, assimilating the message, and representing the message.

  1. For a sincere mureed the first stage can be so interesting that he may think he can never have enough of it, the receiving of that endless knowledge; and the heart of the seeker after truth which is never full may receive it for ages and yet it is never enough. When the receiver of the message is at that stage, then the activity of the further stages remains unaccomplished.

  2. The next stage, which is the stage of assimilation, is most necessary, and very few can imagine how long it takes for the spirit to assimilate knowledge of truth. One assimilates it by the power of contemplation. It is by pondering over the subjects that one has heard, by practicing the teachings in one's life, by looking at the world from the point of view which one has been taught, by observing one thing in its thousand different aspects, that one assimilates.

    Many people before assimilating the knowledge wish to reason about it, wish to discuss it, wish to justify it and see how it fits in with their own preconceived ideas. In this way they disturb the digestive fire of the spirit, for just as the mechanism of the body is always working to help to assimilate food, so the spirit is constantly working to assimilate all that one learns throughout life. Therefore it is a matter of patience, of taking life easily without troubling the mind too much over things, and of allowing the knowledge which one has received as a food of the spirit to have time to be assimilated. By trying to assimilate knowledge too soon, man loses his normal health; it is just like taking drugs to help to digest food, which is not beneficial in the end.

  3. But the third process is also necessary, and those who care little for this stage, the one of representing, miss a great deal in life. A person who, alone, has seen something beautiful, who has heard something harmonious, who has tasted something delicious, who has smelt something fragrant, may have enjoyed it, but not completely. The complete joy is in sharing one's joy with others. For the selfish one who enjoys himself and does not care for others, whether he enjoys things of the earth or things of heaven, his enjoyment is not complete. So it is only in this third stage that the following of the message is fulfilled, when a soul has heard and has pondered upon it, and has passed the same blessing on to others.