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. Mysticism in Life

2. Divine Wisdom

3. Life's Journey

4. Raising the Consciousness

5. The Path to God

Four Stages of God-Consciousness

6. The Ideal of the Mystic

7. Nature

8. Ideal

9. The Moral of the Mystic

10. Brotherhood

The Ideal of Brotherhood

11. Love

12. Beauty

13. Self-Knowledge

14. The Realization of the True Ego

15. The Tuning of the Spirit

16. The Visions of the Mystic

17. The Mystic's Nature

18. The Inspiration and Power of the Mystic



Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

10. Brotherhood

Brotherhood seems to be an inner inclination of man, although he continually shows the opposite inclination, just as goodness is a natural inclination of man though the opposite of goodness is more frequently to be found. Mysticism need not teach brotherhood, for a mystic becomes a brother by nature; mysticism culminates in brotherhood, a brotherhood which is unlike any other institution of brotherhood in the world.

There are several kinds of brotherhood. First there is professional brotherhood, which is seen in the unionizing of some profession or other. In appearance it is a brotherhood, but in fact the members have become brothers only because of their mutual interest in that profession. One may call them brothers, but they are certainly not twins! They have become brothers for earthly benefit, with the good motive of furthering their particular profession as much as possible. But there is another side to it: that all those who are outside that profession are not brothers; they are only cousins and it would not be wrong to profit by them, and the brothers will meet and find out how best to profit by the cousins. We find this idea in the Mahabharata, the ancient Hindu scripture, where a war is described between brothers and cousins. It is symbolical.

There is another brotherhood which may be called a federation. Those who have the same business will unite in their common interest against all those who depend upon their business or upon what they sell. As long as they can agree among themselves as how to make their efforts profitable they are brothers, but the moment the profit of one is endangered by the other their brotherhood breaks up, for it is only profit which makes them brothers.

Then there is brotherhood in the political field, calling itself one party or the other. And this brotherhood can even be seen in the form of nations. The parties are formed in order to be brothers in the fight against the cousins of the other party. Nations will remain united as brothers as long as their own interest is not harmed by the other nation, but as soon as their interest is interfered with this brotherhood can immediately break up. It does not take long to break the bonds of alliance; as soon as a question of national interest arises there is only their own benefit which comes first. Brotherhood is a word which was adopted in order to strengthen themselves in their own interest.

In still another type of brotherhood people become brothers when they belong to a certain Church, a certain religion. Those who attend that particular Church, those who follow a particular principle which was given to them, are brothers. Any other people who are perhaps following better principles are outcasts, for the very reason that they do not belong to this particular Church. No doubt this brotherhood extends more widely than the other forms.

Maybe there will arise other forms of brotherhood, but as long as a brotherhood is formed by an earthly interest divisions will always arise. It is human nature to divide into sections, into parties, yet at the same time it is the innermost nature of man to unite with others. Thus the brotherhood of the mystic is not limited to a certain section or a certain division. His brotherhood, like the human brotherhood, envelops all. To him it does not matter what Church a person belongs to or what business, what profession a person has or what his political opinion is; he does not mind, for the mystic sees brotherhood in the source of all things. Just as the children of the same parents see themselves united in the parents, so mystics see all as members of one brotherhood above and beyond every section of cast, creed, nation, or religion.

A nation is a family, a race is a family, but the brotherhood of family bonds has diminished in these days. There remain hardly any families now such as there used to be in ancient times. The family bonds were often so strong that feuds developed between rival families. For years and years families caused bloodshed, taking revenge perhaps for some wrong that somebody's grandfather had done, or for what somebody's great-grandfather had said to somebody's great-great-grandfather. We have improved since then, and we have become such a large family that whereas family feuds used to cause three deaths in fifty years, they now cause the death of millions and millions of people; this is because we have advanced in the organization of families, without first knowing how we should form a family.

The loosening of the family bonds is one of the things which make modern life so unnatural, although the word "unnatural" is a very strange word. What is natural and what is unnatural? Natural is that to which we are accustomed; unnatural is that to which we are not accustomed. Sometimes centuries make something natural, sometimes a few years make a thing natural, and sometimes a few months. We call something natural because we are accustomed to see it as it is, but we do not realize that it has taken perhaps many centuries, many years, or many months to make it natural to us.

Moreover, what is natural to us need not be natural to others. The present condition of the world is not to be blamed for the lack of consideration for what is called the family bond. This is a kind of development, and although it does not have perhaps the beauty which the family had, yet it has its own beauty, it has its own ways. Only, too much of any good thing is wrong. When there was such a strong family bond that it resulted in fights going on for many years, this was not a good thing, but now a kind of restaurant life has begun which will end in hotel life, and this also is going too far.

Imagine, thousands of people living in a hotel, their food never of their choice, their living organized by the hotel authorities, and when they are ill they are immediately sent to a clinic; that is their life! When they go out they go out by fifties or hundreds in large cars, and they all travel in the same ship across the sea. There is none of the joy that existed in ancient times for those who travelled in freedom. Even when people travelled in caravans, on foot, on horseback, on a camel, or on an elephant, it was something, it was a different experience. In ancient times a family lived perhaps in a small hut, but they showed one another sympathy in their time of need.

It is not that this or that is not good; it is not that this is beautiful and that has no beauty. Every period has its own conditions. Whether for earthly interest or for spiritual interest, brotherhood is nothing but the forming of a family; it only depends in whose name we form a family. It was for this reason that Jesus Christ always pointed out God as being the father, which means: do not unite because of your earthly forefathers and ancestors and fight with one another because you come from different families, but think of that Father who is the father of all men; unite in Him. No doubt people will establish the same idea in another form, depending on the times.

Mysticism makes the mystic tolerant towards other people's opinions, mysticism makes him rise above divisions, mysticism makes him assimilate all that he sees and hears, and mysticism gives him love for God whom he sees in all beings. Mysticism gives him the sympathy by which he is attracted to every person he meets, and mysticism helps him to understand and to admire all things and to appreciate all beings, and in that way to come nearer to all that exists.