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



1. The Path of Initiation

2. The Meaning of Initiation

3. What is Needed on the Path

4. The Different Steps on the Path

5. Inner Study

6. Three Aspects of Initiation

7. Five Lessons of Discipleship

8. Four Kinds of Discipleship

9. The Attitude of a Disciple




Natural Initiation

Advanced Initiation

Higher Initiation

Vol. 10, The Path of Initiation and Discipleship

6. Three Aspects of Initiation

Advanced Initiation

No doubt there comes a time in a man's life when even if he were initiated a thousand times by nature he still seeks for a guide walking on earth. Many will say, "Why is God not sufficient? Why must there be someone between God and man? Why must it be a man who is just as limited as we are? Why can we not reach the spirit of God directly?" But in a man who is your enemy and who has tortured you throughout your life, in another who is your greatest friend, and in your teacher who inspires and guides you, in all these is to be seen the hand of God. They have all three guided you on the path of inspiration; they are all three needed in order that you may go further in life.

  • The one who has disappointed you, who has harmed you, is also your initiator, for he has taught you something, he has put you on the road, even if not in the right way.
  • And he who is your friend is your initiator too, for he gives you the evidence of truth, the sign of reality; only love can give you a proof that there is something living, something real.
  • And then there is the inspiring teacher, be he a humble man, an illiterate person, or a meditative soul, a great teacher or a humble one, he is what you think him to be, as everyone is to us what we think them to be.

If it were not necessary that man should guide his fellow-men, Jesus Christ would not have been placed among those fishermen who could not understand him; and yet he proved to be their guidance. The presence on earth of personalities such as Buddha and all the other teachers -- many of them not even known to humanity though they have done so much, but who always are and always will be under whatever name and in whatever guise they may work -- gives guidance to individuals and to humanity. God never reaches so directly and so fully as when He reaches through His teachers. The best way for God to reach human beings is through a human being; not through an angel but through man who is subject to birth and death and to all the faults that everyone has.

The way of the teacher with his initiate is strange. The greater the teacher the stranger may be the way. The teacher may test and the teacher may give trials; and the attitude of the teacher can never be understood, for a real teacher never commits himself. Neither his yes nor his no can be understood, for their meaning will be symbolical and very subtle. Perhaps he will speak in parables, perhaps he will teach without teaching, perhaps he will teach more just by a glance than by speaking a hundred words. Perhaps the presence of the teacher is of greater blessing in the life of the pupil than a hundred books he has read. Neither the indifference nor the sympathy of the teacher may be taken for what they appear to be, for in both there is something else. The more one studies the personality of the teacher, the more puzzled one becomes. The teacher is the initiator of life, he is the example of the subtlety of the whole of life.

Some people affirm that they have been initiated by a teacher on the other side. Well, perhaps they have; but are they not then in two worlds, the teacher in one and the initiate in the other? The initiate neither belongs to the teacher's world, nor does the teacher belong to his. This surely gives one less trouble than having to regard the pleasure of a living being; it is easier to feel that one has someone at one's back who is always whispering in one's ear and who speaks to one in dream or vision. It is not wrong and in some cases it is even true; there are souls, there are teachers who have perhaps not given on earth what they had to give, what they had to impart to others. But that is not the normal process. If it were a normal process then all the teachings would have been sent from the other side, but neither Buddha nor Jesus Christ nor Mohammed gave their teachings from there.

Today the prevailing thought is that no man should guide his fellow-men and that there is no virtue in such guidance. This thought is so widespread that it is preventing people from seeking guidance from someone who is facing the same struggles, the same troubles, and who has the same experiences as everyone else. They go on rejecting such a man, as Jesus Christ was rejected, and at the same time they are looking for someone on the other plane! Many societies and groups have puzzled their heads so much over this subject that they have deprived themselves of that living water which follows its natural course through the world of man.

The work of the teacher is most subtle. It is like that of a jeweller who has to melt the gold first in order to make an ornament out of it. It has first to be melted, but once it is melted, once it is not hard metal any more but has become liquid, then it can be made into a crown or a ring or an ornament; then one can make a beautiful thing out of it.