The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

        (How to create a bookmark)



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








Eternal Love

Love is Truth


Love of the Formless

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

11. Love


Mystics of all ages have been known not for their miraculous powers or for the doctrines they have taught, but for the devotion which they have shown throughout their lives. The Sufi in the East says to himself, Ishq Allah, Ma'bud Lillah , which means, "God is love, God is the Beloved"; in other words, it is God who is Love, Lover, and Beloved. When we hear the stories of the miraculous powers of mystics, of their great insight into the hidden laws of nature, of the qualities which have manifested through their beautiful personality, we realize that these have all come from one and the same source, whether one calls it devotion or calls it love.


When we look at this subject from a mystic's point of view, we see that love has two aspects: love in itself, and the shadow of love fallen on the earth. The former is heavenly, the latter earthly. The former develops self-abnegation in a person, the latter makes him more selfish than he was before. Virtues such as tolerance, forgiveness, mercy, or compassion rise of themselves in the heart which is awakened to love; and infirmities such as jealousy, hatred, and all manner of prejudice begin to spring up when the shadow of love has fallen on the heart of the mortal. The former love raises man to immortality, the latter turns the immortal soul into a mortal being. A poet has said that the first step in love teaches selflessness; and if that is not experienced then one has taken a step in the wrong direction, although one calls it love. For man has learned from the moment he is born on earth the words "I am", and it is love alone that teaches him to say, "Thou art, not I"; for no soul can love and yet affirm its own existence.


Love in its first stage may be called affection, a tender feeling towards someone, be it mother or father or child or brother or sister, be it friend or mate. It is in affection that love begins to show itself; and even in that first awakening one will see the phenomenon of selflessness. When an innocent child comes with a sweet to its mother and offers it to her, its delight is to see the mother take it instead of itself. There we begin to see love in its incipient stage, and also selflessness taking the first step on the path of self-abnegation. One sees it in the form of the mother's compassion for her child; the self-sacrifice that she shows, staying up all night, sharing the pain of her child, being anxious every moment when the child is away, rejoicing in its pleasures and sorrowing over its troubles. In this love which is without passion, a love which only desires the child to grow and flourish and prosper while the mother's self is merged in seeing this happen, in this love there is self-abnegation.


There is the love of a friend for his friend, the only reason for which is the admiration that one has for the other; but when there is real friendship between two people it gives them the experience of divine perfection, as in the Persian saying, "When two hearts become one they can remove mountains." To feel that there is someone in whom we can place our confidence, that there is someone who understands us, whom we can trust, upon whom we can lean and rely, to whom we can open our heart, to know that someone will sorrow in our pain more than he will sorrow for his own troubles, to know that there is someone in the world who will share all that is good and beautiful with us, imagine what a feeling it is! If we put this friend on one side of the scale and on the other side the whole world, the side where that friend is will weigh more than the other.


And then there is the love of one's beloved mate, a beloved in whom one can see the beauty of God and hear the voice of God; one can long for that beloved, one can yearn all the time to attain to the presence of that beloved. When there is someone to long for, to think about, then one begins to realize the truth of the saying that pain is preferable to pleasure. When one begins to feel the thought of one's beloved, to feel the feelings of one's beloved, to overlook all the wrong that the beloved may have done, when one begins to see that all is right and beautiful and good in one's beloved, then one is raised to experience the paradise of which the legends speak.

Rumi says, "Whether you have loved man or whether you have loved God, if you have really loved you are brought in the end before the throne of love."

All the different aspects of love and devotion in their beginning may appear wrong or right, but if there is real love and devotion one arrives in the end at that stage which sages and masters have experienced; for love is purifying, love is strengthening, love is uplifting, and love gives life.

Eternal Love

The one who says, "I love someone, but I hate someone else," does not know what love means. How can one who loves hate? It is impossible. The heart that is tuned to love is incapable of hate, it cannot hate. If it is capable of hate it cannot love, it has never loved. The person who says that he did love his friend once, but that he no longer loves him, has never known the light of love, real love. Love is living and therefore growing; love is growing and therefore expanding; there is no limit to the expansion of love, for its source is divine and thus its expansion is perfect.

Passions that arise in their various aspects are like smoke; it is affection, it is emotion which is the glow of love, and devotion is the flame that rises out of love, that lightens the path of the seeker. As God is eternal, so love is eternal.

Love is Truth

If there is truth in anything it is in love; if there is no truth in love there is no truth in anything. If there are any morals or principles they all arise from love, for that is the only principle and moral which is real. There are many doctrines and principles made by man, but these are simply laws; love has its own law and it adheres to the law of no one.

Can a person reach perfection by love alone, without meditation? Man meditates because he cannot really love. The word love is misinterpreted, misunderstood; we use it in everyday life without knowing what it means. When once the soul begins to understand what it means, it is a word too sacred to utter; no one can profess to love, for love should make us just and able to see our shortcomings and infirmities. Once the flame of love is kindled in the heart one feels so ashamed of oneself that one can no more say, "I love." People mostly fall in love, as one says in English; but they never rise, though what is intended is to rise through love, not to fall. All inspirations are revealed and the mysteries and secrets of life manifest to the view of the one whose heart is prepared by love; all kinds of virtue spring from it.


People talk of ecstasy. Some say that visionary people or those who see spirits and ghosts have ecstasies; but they do not know what ecstasy means. Ecstasy is a feeling that comes only when the heart is tuned to that pitch of love which melts it, which makes it tender, which gives it gentleness, which makes it humble.

Love of the Formless

When someone says, "I love the formless", he professes something which is inaccurate. He cannot love the formless without first having given his love a form. If he has not recognized the formless in form he has not arrived at the love of the formless, and when the beginning is not right the end cannot be right. When one has recognized the formless in form and has loved the formless in a form so that one has experienced what self-abnegation means, when one has lost oneself, then the next step is the love of the formless. And what is this love? How does it manifest?

It manifests in the love of all, making a man a fountain of love, pouring out over humanity the love that gushes from his heart, and not only to mankind; it may even reach all living beings.