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

4. Raising the Consciousness

The whole striving of the mystic is to raise his consciousness as high as possible. What this raising of the consciousness means, and how it is raised, can be better understood by the one who has begun to practice it. The best means of raising the consciousness is by the God-ideal; therefore, however much one has studied metaphysics or philosophy intellectually and found some truth about one's being, it does not suffice for the purpose of life; for the culmination of life lies in the raising of the consciousness.

We can see this tendency in the rising of the waves, always trying to reach high and higher still. When they cannot go any farther they fall, but again they rise. The tendency of the animals to stand on their hind legs is also the tendency of rising; fishes enjoy that swing of going up with the waves in the sea; the greatest joy of the bird is to be up in the sky. And man, whose soul is striving to rise, shows in his upright form that among all living beings he is the one who stands upright. All through creation this tendency shows itself; that is why the mystic uses this tendency to work towards the real purpose of life.

There are strivings which pull one down in the eyes of others and in one's own consciousness, and there are strivings which raise one in the eyes of others and in one's own consciousness. By studying this the mystic tries to raise himself in his consciousness instead of falling beneath it. He may go so far that he becomes independent of what others say, for as a man advances in the spiritual life he is less understood by others in his thought, speech, or action; but his striving is to raise himself high in his own consciousness.

One might call it pride, but the proud will inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is the pride in God which makes a mystic feel the emptiness of all other things in this world, the insignificance of all the things to which most people attach such importance. It is this which raises him high in his own consciousness. To a mystic, to fall means to fall beneath his own ideal; and to rise means to climb constantly towards his own ideal. If anything he thinks or does or says brings him lower in his own estimation instead of higher, he struggles against it and calls it a fall.

There is no law governing the mystic's life other than this law, the law of conscience, a constant striving which makes him struggle joyfully against influences that pull him down and keep him beneath his ideal. No doubt once a man takes this path it means that he chooses a path of continual suffering, because everything in the world is pulling him down from that ideal; there is nothing whatever to help him. Therefore to raise oneself above the threads that pull from every side and try to drag one down to the lowest level is a struggle against the whole of life.

So one should not be surprised at the custom of the dervishes, who sometimes in their assemblies, sitting on the ground under the shade of a tree or beside a river, without a mat and without proper clothes, yet address one another as "Your Majesty the King" or "Your Majesty the Emperor." For the moment it might make one laugh, but in reality they are the emperors, they are the kings, for they have striven all through life to raise their consciousness above these influences which continually drag one down to the depths of the earth.

One might think that in a way this is pride. Indeed, it could be a form of pride if it were not offered on the altar of God. It is a pride which is won and held in high honor, and when that honor is offered on the altar of God, then this is the highest possible form of worship. There is foolish pride and there is wise pride. Foolish pride draws one to the depths of the earth and to destruction; wise pride raises one to the highest heaven, and brings upon one the bliss which belongs to the heavens. But besides pride humility has a place in the life of a Sufi, of a mystic. Its place is in willing, loving surrender.

As the Emperor Mahmud Ghasnavi says in a poem, "I, the Emperor Ghasnavi, on whom thousands of slaves wait, have myself become a slave since love. has awakened in my heart."

In devotion or love we cannot humble ourselves too much. The Persian poets such as Hafiz and Jami and many others show us the humble side of the mystic; they show how much he can humble himself. To call himself dust at the feet of the Beloved is the least he can say, to worship the ideal that he loves is the highest worship for him; it is never a humiliation. This shows that the work of the mystic is to expand the scope of life, to make its range of pitch as vast as possible. At one end of it is the greatest pride; at the other end is the greatest humility. Pride and humility are to the mystic the positive and negative forms of sentiment, of feeling. Those who proudly refrain from humility are ignorant of its blessing, for in humbleness there is a great bliss; and those who are fixed in their humility and forget that pride which wilt enrich life do not know what they are losing in their lives. Yet it is the really proud who are humble, and it is the really humble who are proud.

No doubt the raising of the consciousness can also be interpreted differently. One can say that it means raising the consciousness from this earthly plane to a higher plane, and then again to still higher planes, in order to experience the depths and the heights of life. And this gives the mystic a wide horizon in which to experience and to make experiments of all kinds. It opens up many worlds before him, the whole cosmos in which to live and move and have his being; and then to him the ordinary life will seem to be a life in a narrow, small world. It is just like living one's life in the ocean instead of in a small well. The world of the mystic becomes the whole being, the whole existence; it gives him a wide scope to live in, and it gives him the assurance of immortal life.

A man who climbs a steep mountain is always apt to slip. But if this slipping, which is natural, induces him to go down again he will never climb any more. If he slips and then tries to go on he will become more sure-footed, and will learn how to avoid slipping. Perhaps he will slip a thousand times, but a thousand times he will go forward again. It is nothing to be surprised at if a person slips; it is natural. The mountain is steep; it is natural that one should slip. The best thing one can do is to go on after every such slip, without losing courage, without allowing one's consciousness to be impressed by it; to think that it is natural and to continue the ascent.