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



1. Seeking for the Ideal

2. Love of Life

3. Desire for Exaltation

4. Desire to Probe the Depths of Life

5. Desire to Seek happiness

Belief and Faith

Vol. 9, The Unity of Religious Ideals

Five Desires Answered by Religion

Religion is a need of the human soul. In all periods and at every stage of the evolution of humanity there has been a religion followed by the world. At whatever stage of evolution, and in whatever period, the need for religion has been felt. And the reason is, that the soul of man has five deep desires, and these desires are answered by religion.

1. Seeking for the Ideal

The first desire is the seeking for the ideal. There comes a time when man seeks for a more complete justice than he finds among men, and when he seeks for someone on whom he can rely more surely than he can on his friends in the world. There comes a time when one feels a desire to open his heart to a Being who is above human beings and who can understand his heart. Man naturally desires to meet someone who is greater than he. And when he seeks his ideal in the world of mortality, since the human soul cannot come up to his ideal he is naturally inclined to turn towards Someone who is higher than man. Man wants to feel that there is Someone who comes to his aid, Someone who is near him in his loneliness. He feels the need of asking forgiveness of Someone who is above human littleness, and of seeking refuge under Someone stronger than he. And to all these natural human tendencies there is an answer, and the answer is given by religion, and the answer is God.

2. Love of Life

Every living being on earth loves life above all else. The smallest insect, whose life lasts only an instant, tries to escape from any danger in order to live a moment longer. And the desire to live is most awakened in man. As intelligence wakens in man, he begins to wonder whether life is merely transitory, and if, after this life, all is ended. To him the thought that after his short life the world will end is more terrible than death. And if life had not an intoxicating effect, this thought would kill many people. The man who thinks that after this life there is nothing more, cannot dwell very long on that thought. Dwelling on this thought and contemplating upon it is like what a man feels who is standing on a great height and looks down -- it terrifies him.

The belief that life will continue after we have gone through death is a most comforting idea for every soul. The man who has not received the reward of his efforts, of his goodness; who has not, in his life, met with an answer to the sense of justice in him; who has not found in life a complete satisfaction; the man who has not been able to attain his desire in life, his hope is in what will come after, and this religion promises him.

3. Desire for Exaltation

Man has a desire for exaltation, the exaltation that is afforded him by cleanliness of body and purity of mind. Man longs to feel exalted both by the power of words and by his surroundings. And man strives for exaltation by thought, by action, and by feeling.

The nature of life in the world is such that it constantly drags man to the earth. His senses continually draw him towards the earth: the crudeness of human nature, which jars continually, draws man towards the earth, bearing constantly the heavy burden of human responsibilities, and realizing in the end that these responsibilities are not of great importance. And the only change one can bring about to rid oneself of material responsibilities, is by prayer, either by oneself or joining with others in religious rites and ceremonies that afford man the means of exaltation in answer to his desire.

4. Desire to Probe the Depths of Life

Man, with the maturity of his soul, desires to probe the depths of life. He desires to discover the power latent within him; he longs to know the source and goal of his life; he yearns to understand the aim and meaning of life; he wishes to understand the inner significance of things, and he wants to uncover all that is covered by form and name. He seeks for insight into cause and effect; he wants to touch the mystery of Time and Space, and he wishes to find the missing link between God and man -- where man ends, where God begins. And this desire also finds its fulfillment in the contact with the spirit that religion gives.

5. Desire to Seek happiness

It is a most natural desire of the human soul to seek for happiness and comfort. Man desires principles to guide his life, and he wishes for a moral standard to regulate the life of the community. He wishes for a balance of activity and repose; he desires union with the one whom he loves; he wishes for security of all that belongs to him, a settled reciprocity, a fixed give-and-take, and all things which bring about happiness and peace at home and in the nation.

Belief and Faith

Today, in the world, many people think that one can do without religion, and that they themselves have outgrown religion by reason of their evolution. Many have no religious belief. And therefore the world has never been in a more chaotic condition. No doubt one finds in tradition and in history that in the name of religion the selfishness and ignorance of mankind has played a great part. Therefore man, revolting against this state of things, has forsaken religion, and has forgotten that spirit which, in the name of religion, has also played its part in the world.

And now, in the absence of the influence of religion, the spirit which in the name of religion played a part in history has continued to play its part under the name of modernism. In spite of the separation that man tries to make between himself and others, he has always felt in himself a lack, at home and in his country. And this can be seen, today, among the materialists, who would not for one moment allow themselves to have a religious belief, but yet they are not satisfied. And the reason is that they lack a very great and very important thing, a thing that they cannot attain because they have built a wall before themselves.

There is a desire in every person, be he happy or unhappy. That desire is to live; even if not on the earth, in the hereafter. And the one who looks at it with pessimism and says, "I do not know if there is a hereafter," he also would like to be convinced that there is a hereafter. If that person disputes with you against the possibility of the hereafter, it is only to establish in his mind a conviction that there is a hereafter. He will not admit it, for he thinks it is intelligence to deny it. But he is not willing to die: he is not willing to deny that there is a continual life.

The mission of devotion, of religion, of spirituality, therefore, has been to bring that conviction to man which outer reasoning denies, but belief and faith alone can give. Is there one person in this world who would like that his existence should cease for good? Not one person. But every person seemingly or unseemingly is in the pursuit of finding out, if he can, some thread, some link, in order to be sure that there is a life in the hereafter. It is not true that there is no proof of the hereafter; only, those who want a proof, they look for that proof in a wrong direction. How can a proof of immortality be found in mortal existence? The proof of immortality is immortality itself. As life has no experience, it has no proof. If there is a proof, it is life itself. It is just like wakening from unconsciousness and coming to consciousness; so it is coming to immortality from the limited conception of mortality. Has not every religion tried in its own way, by giving some means or the other, to bring man to realize that there is a life in the hereafter?

It is the present age which objects to believing something which can only be understood in its culmination; and that way it refuses to believe it. Belief, when it is developed, is faith. And it is in that faith that you will find a seal; by opening it, there is a revelation of the continuity of life. No one but one's own self can convince one of the life in the hereafter; but one can give oneself a belief to begin with: the conviction will come by itself. Many have taken wrong methods in order to convince man of the hereafter. And by trying to play with phenomena they have, instead of giving a new belief, taken away the belief of the intelligent and built a wrong belief in the simple ones.

The work of the Sufi Message, therefore, is to use all different methods, devotional, religious, spiritual, which will suit the particular grade of a person's evolution, in order to prepare his heart for that conviction which is called the life immortal.