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



The Message

Free Will and Destiny in the Message

What is the Message?

Lecture for Mureeds and Friends

Wakening to the Message

Aspects of the Sufi Message

The Message

Relationship Between Murshid and Mureed

Personalities of the Servants of God

Our Efforts in Constructing

Teaching Given by Murshid to his Mureeds

Ways of Receiving the Message

The Path of Attainment

Interest and Indifference

The Call from Above

The Message


Spiritual and Religious Movements

Peculiarity of the Great Masters

Abraham, Moses and Muhammad

Four Questions

The Spreading of the Message

Jelal-ud-din Rumi

Peculiarities of the Six Great Religions

Belief and Faith

"Superhuman" and Hierarchy

Faith and Doubt

Divine Guidance

The Prophetic Life

There are two Kinds Among the Souls

The Messenger

The Message Which has Come in all Ages

The Sufi Message

The Message

Questions Concerning the Message

The Inner School

The Duty of Happiness

Five Things Necessary for a Student



Personal or Abstract God

Asceticism or Worldliness

Democratic or Aristocratic

Exotericism or Esotericism

The Message Papers

Four Questions

Asceticism or Worldliness

And now coming to the question of asceticism and worldly life. We cannot be thoughtful of the ascetics -- who have lived in the forests and who have lived in the caves of mountains and who have fasted and who have lived a pure life of many, many years and have meditated and sacrificed all things of life for the pursuit of truth in their devotion to God -- and at the same time say that asceticism is wrong. Although mankind is always ready to form an opinion on everything that seems to be contrary to his idea. How much mankind has learned from their devotion and from their renunciation, and from their sacrifices and from their strict life of discipline.

I do not mean to say that there are no false people. But false people can be in the world as well as among ascetics. A false person will be false everywhere. We are speaking about principles. Besides, great masters, wherever they have been, they had to experience the ascetic life in some form or the other, whether it was seemingly or not seemingly, outward or inward. For a period or their whole life, for a longer or shorter period, they all had that experience in life. And in reality they were born to fight with the tendency of asceticism, and be in the world against their wishes. This constantly has been a fight of the sages and mystics, against ascetic inclinations in order to keep in the world and to serve the world.

But at the same time some of them were destined that they could not guide and serve the world best unless they were ascetics. In that case it was necessary for them to be so. Sufism therefore does not urge asceticism except as a prescription, just as these ten vows have been given. That is a lesson in asceticism in a small way. Each person has to keep a certain principle every day. That is asceticism. One need not go in a cave to be an ascetic. One can live a life of principle; that is asceticism: if not more, less, but still a lesson of asceticism.

But then there is another point of view. If we all left the world and thought that we should reach God without having to do anything with the world, it is a great mistake. Some souls are born to sacrifice their lives for the love and service of humanity. But if every person thought, "This is the best principle, and I must leave the world and live an ascetic life," they will have to come back, because there is much to be done here in the midst of the crowd.

The Sufi therefore says, "No, fulfill your duties, answer your demands in worldly life, consider your obligations toward all those who are connected with you, cultivate your feelings of affection, of devotion, of friendship, of duty. Have regard one for another, those who love you, who depend upon you, who are near you, who wish your help, your service, your protection. And in this way evolve, that you may arrive to that stage where you may be in the world and may not be of the world, a worldly person and an ascetic at the same time." That is the ideal which we all will reach sooner or later, to be in the world and let the world not touch us, just like the drop of oil in the water.