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



Genuine Mysticism

Degrees of Mysticism

The Temperament of a Mystic

The Dream of a Mystic

The Outlook of a Mystic

The Meditation of a Mystic

The Mystic's Realization

Vol. 11, Mysticism in Life

17. The Mystic's Nature

There are five things to consider when one is trying to understand the nature of a mystic: his temperament, his dream, his outlook, his meditation, and his realization.

Genuine Mysticism

It is not easy to find out whether a soul is a mystic or not. But as gilt and gold are two different things, and as imitation gold does not endure when it is tested, so it is with the one who is not a true mystic. It is easy to talk as a mystic, to act as a mystic, but it is difficult to pass the test when it comes.

Once a mystic, walking in a garden, noticed a particularly beautiful rose. Attracted by its beauty he exclaimed, "Praise be to God!" and went and kissed it. His disciples, who were walking behind him, then each picked a flower and kissed it fifty times. The gardener was annoyed and came towards them grumbling, but they said that they had only followed the example of their teacher. The teacher kept silent. But when they had gone a little farther they saw a smith at work, and a hot iron was glowing in the fire. The teacher approached, spoke the same words, "Praise be to God!" and took the hot iron and kissed it. He asked the disciples, "Why do you not follow me in this?" But none of them dared to do it.

In the East when people know that somebody is a mystic, they do not try to pass judgment if he has kissed a flower or if he kisses the fire. They regard it all as belonging to the mystic temperament.

There is another story of a mystic which explains a different side of this temperament. It is about the leader of the Qadiri Sufis in Baghdad, who was one of the greatest of the world's mystics. One day at the time that he was getting ready to eat his dinner a mother came to him, very vexed with the teacher. On his table was a dish of chicken. And she said, "You have given my son a vegetarian diet, and he is becoming thinner and paler every day; and here you are eating chicken." The teacher smiled and said gently, "Good lady, look here," and he took off the cover of the dish and the chicken jumped out. And he added, "The day your son can make the chicken jump out, he may eat it too."

One cannot pretend to be a mystic; one is born a mystic. No doubt a mystic may develop in life, that is another thing, but if one thinks that one can imitate a mystic one is mistaken, one can never do it. Mystics apart, can a person imitate a singer and sing correctly, or imitate a painter and paint well, or a poet and make poetry? Never. Either one is or one is not.

Degrees of Mysticism

As in education, in all different kinds of training, there are certain degrees one reaches as one advances, so in mysticism also there are degrees. Such names as Wali, Ghaus, Qutub, Nabi, and Rasul belong to the different degrees of masters, saints, and prophets.

The Temperament of a Mystic

The temperament of a mystic is a kingly temperament. The difference between a king and a mystic is that the mystic is a king without worry. And his main idea is that whatever happens, happens for the best; in other words, nothing really matters.

For a mystic time does not exist; it is only to be found on the clock. Life for him is eternal, and the time between birth and death is an illusion.

The mystic temperament is adventurous and impulsive. The mystic can readily jump into anything and come out of it again; into the water, into the fire, whatever it may be.

If the mystic thinks that he must go to the south, or if he feels that he must go to the north, he will not trouble his brain by asking himself why he should go. He only knows that there is a call for him to go, and he goes; perhaps he finds the reason there.

Every good and bad experience he accepts as a lesson, and he thinks that all of them lead him onward. If it is a bad experience it is also a lesson; if it is a good experience, so much the better; but they are all leading him towards the purpose of his life.

The quality of the mystic is the outgoing quality, the sympathetic, loving quality; and yet the mystic is detached and indifferent. Deep love on the one side, indifference on the other side; together they make the balance of his life.

In loving another he loves God, in serving another he serves God, in helping another he helps God; and in this way he worships.

In worldly life neither a rise nor a fall is very important to him, but at the same time he may experience all these things. Be not surprised if you see a mystic on the throne, adorned with gold and silver and jewels, and do not feel contempt if you see a mystic clad in rags in the form of a beggar in the street.

In all conditions he is the king, and a king without a worry, a king whose kingdom will endure, a king who is never in danger of losing his kingdom.

The mystic temperament is the same as the temperament of any human being, only perhaps more intense. A mystic can be intensely pleased and he can be intensely displeased. He can feel joy deeply and he can feel sorrow very deeply, much more deeply than the average person, because he lives more and therefore his feelings are more intense.

At the same time it is the self-control of the mystic that balances his pleasure and displeasure, his joy and sorrow. It may be that others cannot realize it or feel it; nevertheless, if the mystic's feelings were not delicate, and if there were no subtlety in him, he could not be a mystic.

On the one hand the mystic is most subtle; on the other hand he is most simple. He can be most wise, and he can be quite innocent. People call the mystic "Pir," which means old, and yet he can be like a child, like an infant. He may control giants, and yet he may be led by a little child.

The words of the mystic may be simple and at the same time full of depth. His every expression is symbolical, for he sees the symbol of life in all names and forms.

The Dream of a Mystic

And now we come to the dream of the mystic. It may be that other people have seen a mystic in a trance, or meditating with closed eyes; but this is not necessary. With open eyes or with closed eyes: the mystic can dream in both ways. He may be in a crowd or in the solitude, in both places he can dream.

To the mystic the dream is reality, although to another it might seem a dream. It is reality to the mystic because of his faith in what is written in the Qur'an, that when God said, "Be" it became, and also in what the Vedanta say, that manifestation is the dream of Brahma, of the Creator.

The mystic, who realizes the Creator within himself, thinks that his dream is the Creator's dream: if the Creator's dream is all this which we call reality, then the dream of the mystic is the same. If it is still in the mental sphere, that does not mean that it will never materialize; it will surely materialize one day.

Yet one often sees that the mystic lives above the world, and many think that he is not conscious of the world. But they do not know that for the very reason that he lives above it he is more conscious of it. One might think that a person who is flying in an aeroplane does not know what is going on in the crowd beneath him because he is in the sky, but this is not so. One who is flying in the air is more capable of seeing what is going on below, for he can see a wider horizon than the one who is standing on the earth.

Very often people misunderstand a mystic. They think that the mystic, who is dreamy, is above the things of the world, above business and industry and politics. But they are mistaken; they do not realize that a clear intelligence can do everything better if it is applied in that direction, although the question remains whether a mystic would think it worth while to put his mind to it.

I was very surprised when one day Mr Ford told me, "If you had been a business-man, you would have made a tremendous success, but I am glad you are not!"

Never, therefore, think that a mystic with his closed eyes or with his head turned away, is not looking at you. The mystic can sometimes be more conscious of the condition of those before him than they are themselves.

The Outlook of a Mystic

Thirdly there is the outlook of the mystic. The mystic not only sees the first reason of everything and anything; he sees the reason behind the reason, and behind that still another reason, until he touches the essence of reason, where what we call "reason" is lost.

As far as we can see, we see only a cause, but what the mystic sees is deeper than a cause; it is the cause of all causes.

And by this his outlook changes from the ordinary outlook. Thus it may happen that the language of the mystic seems gibberish; people cannot understand its wisdom because they only use their reason.

The mystic is the friend of many, but for a mystic to find a friend is difficult. It is difficult enough for anyone to feel that there is even a single person in the world who understands him, so how much more difficult must it be for the mystic! He can only try to understand himself; but if he can do that it is quite sufficient.

The mystic does not concern himself much with what will be the immediate result of anything; he concerns himself with what will be the final result. This makes his point of view different from the worldly point of view.

The outlook of the mystic shows him that the rise is for a fall and that the fail is for a rise; in other words, after the night comes the day, and the day awaits the night.

The Meditation of a Mystic

In regard to the meditation of the mystic one should remember that he is born with a meditative nature as an inner disposition, and every day, even without ever having learned any meditation, he has some way of meditation. No doubt every mystic finds a way and a guide and master who leads him forward, but all the time he is ready for guidance. The mystic never has to say that it is difficult for him to meditate; he is at home in meditation. It is his nature, his pleasure, his joy. Meditation is his life; in meditation he lives. And the meditation which lasts five or ten or fifteen minutes is to the mystic only a kind of winding up. His meditation takes place every moment of the day; there is not one moment when he is not meditating, whatever he may be doing.

In the crowd and in the solitude, on land and on water, in silence, and while working, in all conditions the mystic continues his eternal meditation.

The Mystic's Realization

Lastly there is the mystic's realization. It is the mystic who realizes the latent power in man, and he may realize it even to such an extent that no man could believe it if it were to be put into words.

He realizes the latent inspiration in man, an inspiration which culminates in revelation, when every object and every being begins to communicate with him, when he knows and sees and understands and realizes the essence of the whole of life.

The mystic knows, if anyone knows, what limitation means, for that is wherein lies his suffering, his pain; and the mystic knows what perfection means, for it is in perfection that his joy and his happiness are to be found.