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

3. Life's Journey

It is the coming of the soul from its original place to manifestation and its returning again from manifestation to its original condition that makes life's journey; the meaning of life as we understand it is merely this journey. The condition of the soul before this journey and after this journey is not recognized, not acknowledged by man; in reality before this journey the soul is not a soul, nor does the soul remain as a soul after this journey. But for people who hold on to their personality and who have not yet probed the wider horizon of knowledge, it is very difficult to absorb this knowledge; and as all that they know is themselves, God being no more than an idea to them, they sometimes get disappointed and discouraged. Yet whatever conception may be given to them, it does not take away the fact that a soul only exists as an individual soul from the time it shoots out as a current through the different spheres until the time when it goes back and meets its original Being.

There is a difference between eternal and everlasting. The word "eternal" can never be attached to the soul, for that which has a birth and a death, a beginning and an end, cannot be eternal though it can be everlasting. It is everlasting according to our conception; it lasts beyond all that we can conceive and comprehend, but when we come to the eternal that is God alone.

Different spheres such as the angelic sphere and the jinn sphere are like a clay which is made for the soul to use. In other words, the soul borrows from the angelic sphere the matter of that sphere; it is called matter because there is no other term for it except the matter or substance of that sphere. Then from the sphere of the jinn it gathers the substance of that sphere, and that substance covers the substance which it has already gathered in the angelic sphere; and after this the soul gathers around itself the substance of the physical sphere. By analyzing the substance of the physical sphere we can arrive at a better conception of the idea that the whole of creation was made in order that man might be created, that all that went before was a preparation. Even the angelic sphere and the jinn sphere were preparatory stages for the soul coming towards manifestation.

Thus we come to the analysis of the four different clays of which the body of man is composed. The first clay comes from the mineral kingdom. Rocks and mountains were made first; trees and plants came afterwards; and the third process was that the same substance which first was rock and mountain and then became tree and plant, afterwards became still more living and manifested in the form of animals and birds; and it is from this same substance that the body of man was made. It is as if God had made a clay for man which was first dense in the form of a rock and in the form of a tree, then less dense in the form of an animal, until it was made still finer so that in the fourth stage it might become the substance for the body of man.

It is for this reason that man depends for his sustenance on all these substances. There is mineral substance which is good for his health, there is the vegetable kingdom on which he depends for his food, and there is the animal kingdom which also serves for his sustenance. Because his body is made of these elements it is also sustained by these elements; man is made of these four substances, the flesh, the blood, the skin, and the bone representing the four different clays.

Besides from infancy and childhood man begins to show the qualities which he has gathered from the different spheres. For instance infancy shows the sign of the angelic world; in the form and face of the infant, in its expression, in its smiles, we can see the angelic world. An infant is like an envoy sent from heaven to the earth. And early childhood begins to show the quality of the jinn world: the inquisitive tendency to ask of everything what it is, the love for all that is good and beautiful, all that attracts the senses, these qualities of the jinn world manifest in a child. The child takes such keen notice of everything, the child remembers more than ten trained grown-up persons remember, the child is keen to understand everything that it encounters, eager to learn and happy to remember. All these are jinn qualities; afterwards, with youth, the qualities of the world become apparent.

When man advances in age he shows a return of the same qualities. First the jinn quality; when he has had all the experience of the world and has reached a certain age he becomes most keen to express all that is beautiful. At this age human beings become intelligent, they speak, they teach, they understand things which young people cannot understand; the jinn quality develops. And when he advances further in age, then the angelic quality develops, then innocence comes with its engaging smiles, then all malice and prejudice are gone and a quality of continually giving out begins to manifest. If one does not see these qualities developing in some people this is usually because they are more engrossed in the world, and then the natural development does not show itself.'

In infancy man also shows a mineral quality, and that is the slow perception of everything. An infant is living just like a rock, sitting or lying, and it does not move as quickly as an older child. In seeing, in hearing, in responding, in perceiving, in everything it has a slow rhythm; it shows the rock quality. And with childhood appears the vegetable quality: as vegetables grow so the infant grows, and as trees and plants are responsive to human sympathy so the child begins to respond. With a loving person the plant grows more quickly and flourishes better, and so the child grows up more harmoniously with a loving guardian. But where that love is not given, then just as plants and trees wither so the life of the child becomes ruined.

In youth the animal or bird quality begins to show, and that again demonstrates the continuity of the same process, the process of the angelic sphere, of the jinn plane, and of the physical world. With age it is again the same process, but the other way round: first the vegetable kingdom begins to show, a person becomes milder, more gentle, thoughtful, and considerate, just like trees compared with rocks. And as one advances so one comes closer to the mineral kingdom; then a certain exclusiveness, a remoteness, a wish for retirement, a love of solitude develop which are all qualities of the mineral kingdom.

There is another most interesting side to this subject, and that is the spiritual development. A man who develops spiritually also shows the qualities of those spheres whence he has come, and of those substances on which he has lived. For instance the first quality that a spiritually advanced person shows is that he is more perceptive, more observant, more responsive, more outgoing, more appreciative, more sympathetic, more harmonious. Where does it all come from? It comes from the animal kingdom.

As he goes further man begins to show the vegetable quality: gentleness, mildness, kindness, and above all, the bearing of fruit and giving it to all, to the deserving and to the undeserving alike. The one who can reach the branch of the tree can take the fruit. People throw stones at trees and cut them, but although no doubt this hurts "the tree, the tree does not blame them. It has borne fruit and it is willing to give it to them; and this becomes the condition of the spiritual person: willing to serve all who need his service, bearing fruits and flowers which may nourish and please others.

Afterwards man adopts the stone quality, which is to endure heat and cold and wind and storm and to stand firm through them all. The soul who has advanced further spiritually becomes like this. Everything that falls on him he accepts. He loves retirement, he loves solitude, and at the same time the world may drag him out of it and life may compel him to be in the world. But the rocks always seek the wilderness, they belong to the wilderness, they live in the wilderness; that is their seeking, that is their place.

There have been many kings and rich people in the history of the world, but they have never been so loved and honored and held in so much esteem by human beings as the spiritual souls. Why is this? Because it is out of the rock that the idol of God is made; and when man has become a rock, then he is worshipped, then he becomes a living idol. And if one asks why man has to become a rock in order to be worshipped, the answer is because the rock is not conscious of itself; that is why. People prefer to worship a rock rather than a man, so when the spiritual soul has reached the stage of becoming a rock, no more conscious of his little self, unaware of his limitation, not concerned with anything, detached from all things and beings, then that soul is to be worshipped.

There are three higher qualities which also manifest when a person becomes spiritual. The human quality manifests when he develops personality. This is the first step; when there is spiritual advancement personality blooms. The jinn quality manifests in the next stage when a spiritual man begins to teach, when he shows genius in his inspiration and in his insight into human nature, into past, present, and future. And when he reaches the stage where the angelic quality manifests, then he begins to show innocence, simplicity, love for all, sympathy, and God-consciousness. The angelic quality manifests in the spiritual man when he has withdrawn himself from the world, when he has centered his mind on the cosmos, and when his consciousness is no longer an individual consciousness. By that time he has become God-conscious.