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 Early Years

My Study of Religions

I Start on My Indian Tour

My Interest in Sufism

My Initiation in Sufism

My Tour Abroad in the West

East and West

Eastern Training



Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

The Early Years

'Whatsoever road I took, it joined the street which leads to Thee.'--The Dabistan.

I was born in Baroda, India, in the year 1882, when a great religious reform began, not only in India itself, but all the world over, and which was the first source of our present-day awakening. I am sure it was the planetary influence which existed at that time that has kept me busied all my life in seeking the divine truth, which is as the garment of God's glory.

Music and mysticism were my heritage from both my paternal and maternal ancestors, among whom were numbered Maulabakhsh, whom people called the Beethoven of India and whose portrait is in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington, and Jumma Shah, the great seer of Panjab. I have ever felt much embarrassed when I was compared with these masters, and this humility brought the old saying to my mind, "Have pride in thine own merits rather than in those of thy ancestors.'

'I also came out as a brook from a river; and as a conduit into a garden.'--Ecclesiastics.

My curiosity about the hidden secrets of nature was early aroused, and I made frequent inquiries concerning the mysteries of religion, such as, Where does God live? How old is God? Why should we pray to Him? And why should we fear Him? Why should people die? And where do they go after death? If God has created all, who was the creator of God?

My parents, Rahemat Khan and Khatija Bibi, would patiently answer me in the simplest and most plausible manner possible, but I would prolong the argument until they were wearied. Then I would ponder upon the same questions.

'Mankind's great enemy is idleness. There is no friend like energy, and if you cultivate that you will never fail. "--Bhartrihari.

I was sent to school when quite young, but I fear that I was more inclined to play than to study. I preferred punishment to paying attention to those subjects in which I had no interest. I enjoyed religion, poetry, morals, logic, and music more than all other learning, and I took music as a special subject at the Academy of Baroda and repeatedly won the first prize there.

I had so much curiosity about strangers, fortune-tellers, fakirs, dervishes, spiritualists, and mystics, that I would very often absent myself from my meals to seek them out. My taste for music, poetry, and philosophy increased daily, and I loved my grandfather's company more than a game with boys of my own age. In silent fascination I observed his every movement and listened to his musical interpretations, his methods of study, his discussions and his conversation. My attempts at writing poetry without any training in the art of meter and form induced my parents to place me under the tutorship of Kavi Ratnakar, the great Hindustani poet.

I also began to compose, and sang a song of prayer to Ganesh in Sanskrit before His Highness Sayajirao Gaikwar, Maharaja of Baroda, who rewarded my song with a valuable necklace and a scholarship. This encouraged me to advance further in music under the guidance of Maulabakhsh, who inspired me with music from kindred soul to soul.

'He was born the Lord of what is, Who by His majesty is the one King of the moving world that breathes and closes its eyes.'

My kinsfolk were Muslim, and I grew up devoted to the Holy Prophet and loyal to Islam, and never missed one prayer of the five which are the daily portion of the faithful.

One evening in the summer time I was kneeling, offering my Nimaz (prayers) to Allah the Great, when the thought smote me that although I had been praying so long with all trust, devotion, and humility, no revelation had been vouchsafed to me, and that it was therefore not wise to worship Him, that One whom I had neither seen nor fathomed. I went to my grandfather and told him I would not offer any more prayers to Allah until I had both beheld and gauged Him. "There is no sense in following a belief and doing as one's ancestors did before one, without knowing the true reason," I said.

Instead of being vexed Mauhbakhsh was pleased with my inquisitiveness, and after a little silence he answered me by quoting a sura of the Qur'an, "We will show them our signs in the world and in themselves, that the truth may be manifested to them." And then he soothed my impatience and explained, saying, "The signs of God are seen in the world, and the world is seen in thyself.'

These words entered so deeply into my spirit, that from this time every moment of my life has been occupied with the thought of the divine immanence; and my eyes were thus opened, as the eyes of the young man by Elijah, to see the symbols of God in all the aspects of nature, and also in that nature which is reflected within myself. This sudden illumination made everything appear as clear to me as in a crystal bowl or a translucent jewel. Thenceforth I devoted myself to the absorption and attainment of truth, the immortal and perfected Grace.