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 Ten Sufi Thoughts

The Objects of the Sufi Movement

The Symbol of the Sufi Movement

The Purpose of the Sufi Movement

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

The Sufi Movement

The Ten Sufi Thoughts

1. There is one God, the Eternal, the Only Being; none else exists save He.

2. There is one Master, the Guiding Spirit of all souls, who constantly leads his followers towards the light.

3. There is one Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the only scripture which can enlighten the reader.

4. There is one Religion, the unswerving progress in the right direction towards the ideal, which fulfills the life's purpose of every soul.

5. There is one Law, the Law of Reciprocity, which can be observed by a selfless conscience together with a sense of awakened justice.

6. There is one Brotherhood, the human brotherhood, which unites the children of earth indiscriminately in the fatherhood of God.

7. There is one Moral Principle, the love which springs forth from self-denial, and blooms in deeds of beneficence.

8. There is one Object of Praise, the beauty which uplifts the heart of its worshipper through all aspects from the seen to the Unseen.

9. There is one Truth, the true knowledge of our being within and without, which is the essence of all wisdom.

10. There is one Path, the annihilation of the false ego in the real, which raises the mortal to immortality and in which resides all perfection.

The Objects of the Sufi Movement

1. To realize and spread the knowledge of unity, the religion of love and wisdom, so that the bias of faiths and beliefs may of itself fall away, the human heart may overflow with love, and all hatred caused by distinctions and differences may be rooted out.

2. To discover the light and power latent in man, the secret of all religion, the power of mysticism, and the essence of philosophy, without interfering with customs or belief.

3. To help to bring the world's two opposite poles, East and West, closer together by the interchange of thought and ideals, that the Universal Brotherhood may form of itself, and man may see with man beyond the narrow national and racial boundaries.

The Symbol of the Sufi Movement

The symbol of the Sufi Movement is a heart with wings. It explains that the heart is between soul and body, a medium between spirit and matter. When the soul is covered by its love for matter, it is naturally attracted to matter. This is the law of gravitation in abstract form, as it is said in the Bible, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." When man treasures the things of the earth, his heart is drawn to the earth. But the heart is subject not only to gravitation, but also to attraction from on high, and as in the Egyptian symbology wings are the symbol of spiritual progress, so the heart with wings expresses that the heart reaches upward towards heaven.

The crescent in the heart suggests the responsiveness of the heart. The crescent represents the responsiveness of the crescent moon to the light of the sun, for naturally it receives the light, which develops it until it becomes the full moon. The principal teaching of Sufism is that of learning to become a pupil, for it is the pupil who has a chance of becoming a teacher, and once a person considers that he is a teacher, his responsiveness is gone. The greatest teachers of the world have been the greatest pupils. It is this principle which is represented by the crescent: the crescent in the heart signifies that the heart which is responsive to the light of God is illuminated.

The explanation of the five-pointed star is that it represents the divine light. For when the light comes, it has five points; when it returns, it has four, the former suggesting creation, the latter annihilation. The five-pointed star also represents the natural figure of man, though that with four points represents all forms of the world. But the form with five points is a development of the four-pointed form. For instance, if a man is standing with his legs joined and arms extended he makes a four-pointed form, but when a man shows activity--dancing, jumping, or moving one leg--he forms a five-pointed star, which represents a beginning of activity; in other words, a beginning of life.

It is the divine light which is represented by the five-pointed star, and the star is reflected in the heart which is responsive to the divine light. The heart which by its response has received the divine light is liberated, as the wings show. In brief, the meaning of the symbol is that the heart responsive to the light of God is liberated.

The Sufi message is the answer to the cry of humanity today; for it is in agreement with science, and it stands in defence of all religions. Our movement renders service to God and humanity, without any intention of forming an exclusive community, but of uniting in this service people of all the different religions. This movement, in its infancy, is only beginning its work, but its culmination will be a world movement. It is the world message, and the religion which will be the religion of the whole of humanity; a religion which does not distract the mind of any person from his own faith, but makes it more firm, more enlightened, more sympathetic to his own religion. It is a religion which teaches tolerance towards the faith of another; a religion which opens the heart to words of wisdom, no matter what direction they come from. This is not only a church, but a school in which to learn a lesson, the lesson of tolerance; to learn to revere all teachers and to respect all scriptures; a lesson which teaches us that we need not give up our own religion, but that we should embrace all religions in order to make the sacredness of religion perfect.

Was it not the wish of Krishna and of Buddha that wisdom in all its aspects should be understood, and was it not the desire of all those who have sacrificed their lives and energies in the service of man that humanity might be blessed and benefited by what they brought? Was it not the wish of Rama that all men in the world should come together in the understanding that there is only one religion? It was the unification of religion that was the dream of Jesus and the inspiration of Mohammed, that was the object of Abraham and the desire of Moses. That which the prophets of the past could not bring about, owing to the difficult conditions in their time, is brought about today as the fulfillment of their prayers offered for thousands of years. The blessing which we receive in this service is the blessing of all the great teachers and prophets and illumined souls, all in one.

The Universal Worship, therefore, is the religion of the future, which brings to humanity the ideal of the unification of religion; the ideal of getting above the sectarianism and the limited outlook of communities and groups. And we must remember that no political or social efforts will be complete without holding fast the ideal of truth, of uniting in God. This is the only source in which ultimately humanity must unite.

The Purpose of the Sufi Movement

The purpose of the Sufi Movement is to work towards unity. Its main object is to bring humanity, divided as it is into so many different sections, closer together in the deeper understanding of life. It is a preparation for a world service, chiefly in three ways.

  1. One way is the philosophical understanding of life;
  2. another is bringing about brotherhood among races, nations, and creeds;
  3. and the third way is the meeting of the world's greatest need, which is the religion of the day.

    The Sufi message is the echo of the same divine message which has always come and will always come to enlighten humanity. It is not a new religion; it is the same message which is being given to humanity. It is the continuation of the same ancient religion which has always existed and will always exist, a religion which belongs to all teachers and all the scriptures. It is the continuation of all the great religions which have come at various times; and it is a unification of them all, which was the desire of all the prophets.

    The Sufi Movement is constituted of those who have the same ideals of service to God and to humanity, and who have the ideal of devoting a part or the whole of their life to the service of humanity in the path of truth. This Movement has its groups, the members of which belong to all the different religions, for all are welcome, Christians, Buddhists, Parsis, Muslims. No one's faith or belief is questioned; each can follow his own church, religion, creed; no one need believe in any special creed or dogma. There is freedom of thought. At the same time personal guidance is given on the path, in the problems of both outer life and inner life.

    Those who belong to the esoteric school of the Sufi Movement, are given besides personal guidance, the studies which are entrusted only to those who are fitted to receive them. There are subtleties of ideas, of spiritual, moral, or philosophical ideas, which cannot be given to everyone at first, but they are given gradually to those who are serious enough to walk in the path of truth. But every seeker after truth must remember one thing: that the first step in the path of truth is to become true to oneself.

    In the service of the Sufi Universal Worship all services -- Christian, Muslim, Hebrew, Zoroastrian, Buddhist, and Hindu -- are included. Therefore the blessing of Christ is given from the altar to the seeker for Jesus Christ's blessing; the one who seeks for the blessing of Moses, to him is given the blessing of Moses; for the one who seeks the benediction of Buddha there is the benediction of Buddha; but those who seek the blessing of all these great ones who have come at different times are blessed by all.

    We do not interfere with anyone's ideal, nor with his devotion to his teacher; it would be as absurd as to think that a child should love another child's mother more than its own. And who has the right to compare and to place the great teachers or the scriptures? No one; it is in our heart's devotion to the ideal we adore that we can place our ideal; and it is our own concern; no one can interfere with it.

    Some girls were playing one day, and each girl said in turn, "My mother is best." The others said, "No, my mother is best." And they were all arguing. But a girl among them who was wiser said, "O, no; it is the mother who is adorable, whether it is your mother or my mother."

    Does the Sufi Movement, therefore, interfere with anybody's devotion to his teacher? Never. But at the same time, it invites souls to see the source and goal of all wisdom to be one, and it is in this truth that all the blessing that the soul is longing for will be bestowed.

    On the altar are placed the scriptures of the religions mentioned above, and there are also candles representing all these religions. The different candles which are lighted mean our adherence and respect to all the different teachers, religions, and scriptures. They teach us that there is one light and many lamps. It is not the lamps which should first be taken to the mind; it is the light which should first be taken to heart.

    It is this religion of unification which Jesus Christ came to teach; the teachings of Moses and the efforts of Mohammed were all towards this one object. All that Buddha has taught, all that Krishna has said, is summed up in one thing: that it is one light that is the divine light, and it is the guidance coming from that light which becomes the path for humanity to tread.

    But although the Sufi ideal is expressed through so many forms, the Sufis also have the formless ideal of worship. The form is to help those who need to see the form, for all education is really an education of names and forms.

    If there were no names and no forms we would not have learned them. But the form is only suggestive of what is behind it, of one and the same truth which is behind all religions. Therefore the Sufi service is also a teaching, yet every Sufi is free either to take up a form or not to take up a form. A Sufi is not bound by any form. Forms are for his use, not to make him a captive.

    In the Sufi Movement there is no priesthood in the ordinary sense, the priesthood is only to conduct the service and to answer the need of a priest which always exists in our everyday life. Those ordained in the Sufi Movement are called Sirajs and Cherags. There is no distinction between women and men. The worthy soul is ordained; this gives an example to the world that in all places -- in the church, in the school, in parliament, in court -- it is woman and man together who make evolution complete. But at the same time every Sufi is a priest, a preacher, a teacher, and a pupil of every soul that he meets in the world.

    The Sufi prayers such as Saum and Salat are not man-made prayers. They have descended from above, just as in every period of spiritual reconstruction prayers were given. And there is every power and blessing in them, especially for those who believe.

    What is real prayer? Praise to God. And the meaning of praise? Appreciating; thus opening the heart more and more to the divine beauty one sees in manifestation. One can never be too grateful. Children, and also the servants in the house, should be taught appreciation, not for one's own sake, but for the benefit they derive from learning to value and to appreciate things. By not teaching them this, one deprives them of a great virtue; for joy and happiness lie in the appreciation of certain things or conditions. Prayer trains the soul to be more appreciative of God's goodness.

    One can pray silently; but sensation is psychological, and saying words aloud penetrates the akashas of the body and reaches to the inner plane of our being. So prayer repeated aloud has a greater effect on the soul than silent prayer. Prayer is offered for our own benefit and not for God's benefit.

    Action is also psychological; it makes pictures in every atom of the body of the thought which is behind it. Every atom of the body prays, even the blood-cells; the whole being becomes a prayer. Thus the movements of the prayer are a psychological action. With every movement, we make as it were a kind of picture which impresses every atom of our body. This affects our circulation, and by the circulation the whole being is affected; it is even registered on the skin.