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 Bogey-Man



Amin, the Faithful Trustee





Vol. 12, Four Plays

The Bogey-Man


Scene 1

A Serai. The MODERNIST, seated on a stool, is reading a newspaper. The SPECULATOR enters and goes up to the MODERNIST.

SPECULATOR. What's the rate of exchange today?

MODERNIST. (looks at him and then down at his paper). I haven't come to it yet.

SPECULATOR. Then what have you read? That's the first thing one must read.

Yesterday money had gone down and I made a profit. The other day I bought some shares, which I sold, and I got four times the amount.

MODERNIST. I'm not at all interested in speculations; I'm looking for what the papers say about the new Cabinet that is to be formed. I'm wondering who are to be elected to sit in Parliament. If the Labor Party gets the upper hand, the state of affairs will change; conditions will improve.

SPECULATOR. It doesn't matter a bit to me, which party comes up and which goes down. 'God save our bread.' What I'm concerned about is if the money market rises or falls. What difference does it make if one party goes and another comes? It is always like this with the government.

(Enter LOVER)

LOVER. Oh, oh, she never did care for me. She never did love me. I now realize how she has treated me... I never thought she could be so heartless. Day after day I have followed her, and night after night I have dreamed of her. I thought of her at every moment of the day... It is of her that I have spoken, if ever I have spoken... Woman, woman! I wish I could die!

SPECULATOR (hastens towards him). What's the matter with you?

LOVER. O, it is she, it is she who is the cause of it all! Now I am good for nothing: why should I live any longer?

SPECULATOR. You fool, think of something else. If you get money, you have everything you want in the world.

LOVER. I have failed... I have failed in life.

SPECULATOR. Have you lost your money? Are you bankrupt? How have you failed?

LOVER. No, my only love has disappointed me.

SPECULATOR. Make money, and the world will be yours. It is no use dying because a woman turns away from you.

LOVER. My love, my love!

SPECULATOR. Love money, the only object worthy of love.

LOVER. I've never thought of money in my life. I only lived for love.

SPECULATOR. How silly you are! If you haven't learnt how to make headway in the world, you have wasted your life. Time is money. If you have money, everybody is drawn to you: if you're poor, no one cares for you. (Goes to the MODERNIST.)

MODERNIST. What's the matter with that fellow? Is he lovesick? He, he!

SPECULATOR. He's got inflammation of the heart. Ha, ha, ha!

MODERNIST. Science has proved today that love is a convulsion of the brain.

(Enter LADY, fashionably dressed.)

LADY (speaking to herself.) I hate; I hate the sight of woman. I don't mind men.

SPECULATOR. (looks at her with surprise.)

LADY. Turn away your evil eye, you ugly fellow!

SPECULATOR. What did you say?

LADY. Why did you look at me? How dare you look at me? (To the MODERNIST)

Why are you hanging your head? Why don't you look at me? You insult me!

Am I not dressed in up-to-date fashion?

MODERNIST. (looks up and down.)

LADY. Disgusting (Sits down.)

MODERNIST. (glances at her out of the corner of his eye, then looks down, whispering.)

Silly woman!

(Enter SAGE, simply clad. He looks at no one, but sits down for a rest. The others look at him astonished)

SPECULATOR. Who's this?


SPECULATOR. What did you say?

MODERNIST. A freak. Someone who wanders about, with nothing to do.

Fools his time away.

LADY (laughs, looking at him.) Bogey-man!

SPECULATOR (to MODERNIST.) I think there's something in this man.

You never know. Sometimes such men can tell you your fortune.

MODERNIST. Nonsense!

SPECULATOR. Well, I'll go and speak to him and see what he says.

(He goes to the right and greets him. The SAGE, absorbed in his thoughts, does not see him.

He goes to the other side, winking at the MODERNIST, and greets him. The SAGE remains absorbed in his thoughts. Then the SPECULATOR goes in front of him and greets him. The SAGE responds by nodding)

SPECULATOR (sits down.) Excuse my asking you, but I think men like you can tell many things. What do you think: will money rise or fall?

SAGE. What will rise must fall, and what will fall must rise. Rise and fall are natural to life. No rise is permanent, or fall lasting. It is reality behind it all which is steady and dependable.

SPECULATOR. (closes one eye and scratches his head.) Well, can you tell me if I shall make some profit next week?

SAGE. There is only one profit, which is worth striving after. That profit is to gain what no one can take away from you.

SPECULATOR (points with his finger to his forehead.) Thank you.

(Goes away, laughing, to the LADY who is seated there.) Where did you get that precious necklace? (touching the necklace.)

LADY (strikes him on the shoulder.) Go away! Don't touch my necklace with your awkward hands. I have many rings and necklaces. I am a lady. How dare you touch my necklace? Can't you talk from a distance? Keep to where you belong!

SPECULATOR (rolls his eyes and retreats, rubbing the place where she has struck him.)

MODERNIST. What did he say?

SPECULATOR. Who? That funny lady?

MODERNIST. No, no, that strange-looking man.

SPECULATOR (laughs.) He told me a lot, but I did not understand one word. He is not all there; he seems to be floating on air. When I talk to him about the South, he tells me about the North.

MODERNIST. Let me go and see what he says. (Goes near the SAGE, greets him and sits.) Excuse me asking you a few questions.

SAGE (looks at him.)

MODERNIST. I suppose you don't interest yourself in the present political situation? But I should like to know what you think. Do you think the Labor Party will win the election?

SAGE. Whichever party comes to power, it certainly fulfills the law from above. The various parties seem different to our eyes, but there is His Will that is done, and His will that will be done. When we show preference for one party over the other, it is our limitation. Men group themselves into parties: when we see behind all different  parties there is one perfect whole, working out its destiny toward the fulfillment of the purpose of life.

MODERNIST. What do you think of the great wrong done the people by those at present in power?

SAGE. Those who wish to better conditions by fighting against all that is wrong often do a greater wrong. The more parties there are, the greater the disharmony. It is dividing one into many. It is by unity that the purpose of life in achieved.

MODERNIST. But what do you think of the people who have held wealth and high position for generations whilst depriving others of them?

SAGE. You are right. Every man must have his chance of attaining all that is good and worthwhile. But there are two ways of attaining. One way is to rob, and the other way is to earn. One earns by deserving it; one robs without deserving it. There must be a mutual goodwill on the part of those who possess something and of those who do not possess. Those who do not possess must deserve and earn it. Those who possess must make all sacrifices possible, in order that every man in the world may have his chance of prospering and rising in life. The undeserving one by robbing will never be able to enjoy and use his possession fully. For to possess and enjoy something one must earn it and deserve it.

MODERNIST. Do you think a sense of mutual goodwill can be aroused among the people in high position without strong measures?

SAGE. Every hurt and harm caused to another rebounds. Any slight destruction results in greater destruction. Man is born with a sense of justice in his innermost being. And if a just proposition is brought before him, sooner or later he must respond to it. Harmlessness is the principal thing in religion. Disharmony causes greater disharmony; it is harmony that results in peace.

MODERNIST. Thank you. I shall reflect upon it. (Gets up and goes.)

SPECULATOR. What did the fellow tell you?

MODERNIST. He does not speak my language. While we are thinking of fighting, he is thinking of peace.

SPECULATOR. Now, I'll have some fun. I'll take this lady to that fellow and see what he says. (Goes to the LADY and puts his arm in hers.) Come along, old girl, if you want your fortune told.

LADY. (strikes his arm and pushes him away.) Why do you touch me, rude man? Can't you keep at a respectful distance?... Will he tell me my fortune?

SPECULATOR. Yes, he will.

LADY. I'll come.

SPECULATOR (brings her to the SAGE) This noble lady wants to talk to you.

LADY. Will you read my hand and tell me my fortune?

SAGE. No, Madam, I do not tell fortunes.

LADY. No? They all say you can tell fortunes. Won't you tell me? I am an unhappy woman.

SAGE. Why are you unhappy, Madam?

LADY. The troubles at home. The servants these days have become so neglectful, so independent and rude that you can't expect them to do one thing properly.

SAGE. Madam, that is the phenomenon of the time. It is the weather of the season. The best thing is to take everyone as he is, and to know that he cannot be any better. Appreciate all that he can do, and overlook all he does not do. It is with kindness that you must treat those who depend upon you. It is kindness alone that can move rocks.

LADY (wiping her eyes.) Servants apart, even my friends have turned away from me. One day I think I can have trust and confidence in a friend. Next day the same person betrays my trust. I am so disappointed in people that now I cannot say whom I can call my friend.

SAGE. Madam, do not expect much from friends. Why must they be as you want them to be? They are not made by you. They are as they are. You must try to be for them what they expect you to be. It matters little if your friend proves to you to be a friend. What matters is, if you prove to be a friend.

LADY. No, I don't want even to look at friends who have once turned away from me. Even my husband is unsympathetic to me.

SAGE. What do you do about it?

LADY. I have told him so very often.

SAGE. There you are. Instead of kindling the fire to his heart by blowing, you pour water upon it.

LADY. Now my heart is closed.

SAGE. Is not your heart your self? Or is it a door that is jammed and cannot be opened?

LADY. When he comes home from his work, he is as cold as a lump of ice.

SAGE. Madam, ice melts in a moment by heat. If your heart is glowing with love, blazing with devotion, no ice can stay unmelted. Madam, do not even acknowledge all that seems undesirable to you. The best way to right the wrong is to look at it in the right light. It is we who cause our unhappiness, and it is we who, if we happen to know the key to life, can find happiness.

LADY. Thank you, it is all too high for me. I'm going.

SPECULATOR. (comes behind her, as if he was taking her back. She pushes him away with her elbows; he walks behind her, with outspread arms and bent knees as if protecting her.)

LOVER. My love, my love, I wish I could die. (LADY and the two men rush towards him.)

SPECULATOR. Let's bring him to the Bogey-man and tell him that there is a soothsayer sitting here: that we shall have his fortune told. (He brings him to the SAGE.) This man is lovesick, He said he had a disappointment and his heart is broken. We can't find where the pieces of his heart have dropped.

MODERNIST. Now, we shall leave him to tell you his love-story. (To the others.) Let's go out of the serai.

(SAGE and LOVER are left alone.)

LOVER. Please give me something that I may die instantly.

SAGE. Why do you want to die?

LOVER. I failed in love. She has abandoned me. Now there is nothing for me to live for...I want to die.

SAGE. How have you failed in love? Love is the only thing in life. For love is all that is. Love lives and all dies. If all failed you in life, love will not fail you. Perhaps you have not understood the meaning of love. Love that depends on being answered by the beloved is lame; it does not stand on its own feet. Love that tries to possess the beloved is without arms; it can never hold. Love that does not regard the pleasure and displeasure of the beloved is blind. Love that is demanding and self-asserting is dead. If you have love, you have all. What more do you want? – Learn my boy, to know what love is before you profess to be a lover.

LOVER. Then what am I to do? I am most unhappy. Life is unbearable.

SAGE. Your unhappiness comes from self-pity. Love is neither joy, nor pain; it is both. If it is pain, it is as sweet as joy. If it is joy, it is as deep as pain. It is above both joy and pain. Love is the ladder by which you reach the highest ideal. Loving is living. (Remains in abstraction.)

LOVER. No, no. I am most unhappy...I cannot endure it any longer...I will die, I must die. (He puts poison in his mouth and falls dead near the feet of the SAGE.)

SAGE. Ram, Ram, Ram, Ram.


Scene 2

Before the hut of the SAGE. The CHELAS are beginning to gather. FIRST CHELA is already sitting in silence, Enter SECOND and THIRD CHELAS.

SECOND CHELA. He is always engaged in meditation, poor man.

THIRD CHELA. Perhaps he will hurry up his spiritual journey. There is a time for everything.

SECOND CHELA. Even God must get tired of hearing his continual prayer.

THIRD CHELA. He listens to the Guru very much. For him every letter of the Guru is law. I suppose he's very good.

SECOND CHELA. Yes, too good to live: I can't be so good! – I wonder if the path we have taken is the right one.

THIRD CHELA. There is no doubt about the path being the right one, but it is difficult to have patience to keep to it.

SECOND CHELA. I can't go on much longer, for there are many other things to accomplish in life, not only this.

THIRD CHELA. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, as is said in the Scriptures. This is the principal thing to accomplish, and all other things are secondary. If you take it as anything else, then you can be sure that you will never accomplish it.

SECOND CHELA. Yes, I suppose it is the work of such patient people as this one (Pointing to FIRST CHELA)


FOURTH CHELA. (hastily.) Has the class begun? Has the class begun? Has the Guru come?

SECOND CHELA. The Guru has not yet arrived; perhaps he has forgotten the time. There is no such thing as time.

FOURTH CHELA. The later the better. I'm only sorry I've left my notebook at home.

THIRD CHELA. Do you have to write down what is being taught here? Can't you take it all in?

FOURTH CHELA. Oh no, I can't do it. I must have it all on paper, for I need to chew the cud leisurely at home. (He goes to the FIRST CHELA.) Will you tell me please about something I cannot understand: I have puzzled every day over it.

FIRST CHELA. You must ask the Guru.

FOURTH CHELA. I dare not trouble the Guru with my questions. Won't you tell me what it is? The Guru said: All is one. If it is one, how can it be all? Because all denotes plurality.

FIRST CHELA. All sums up in unity.

FOURTH CHELA. Oh, this I cannot understand.

FIRST CHELA. You will understand one day.

FOURTH CHELA. No, never. I can't. I can't be a hypocrite to my own self by imagining two to be one: two is two, one is one. I have read hundreds of books on the occult sciences. And I have written fifty books on philosophy myself. I have gone from one occult school to another, till I passed through perhaps twenty schools, but I have not yet got to the bottom of the thing I seek.

FIRST CHELA. You will not get to the bottom as long as you feel you can't get to the bottom.

FOURTH CHELA. Explain to me, please, how many inner bodies there are. One school says there are five, another school says there are seven. What I see is only one, the physical body (pointing to his body.)

FIRST CHELA. This you must realize by meditation.

FOURTH CHELA. I get tired of sitting quiet, even for three minutes. – And tell me how many more times we have to come back here on earth. Shall we be born in other planets, and then what will happen in the end?

FIRST CHELA. You need not worry about the end, for the end is the same as the beginning.

FOURTH CHELA. What do you mean by beginning? Birth?

FIRST CHELA. Whatever you imagine.

FOURTH CHELA. That's what makes my head go round and round. It is like beating about the bush. You never come straight to the point. Everybody here complains of this.

FIRST CHELA. Even if everybody did, I suppose you don't.

(FOURTH CHELA gets up annoyed and moves away. Enter FIFTH CHELA.)

FIFTH CHELA (goes to FIRST CHELA.) To me it is all vague and in a mist. Will you please explain something about the strange ways of the Guru?

FIRST CHELA. The ways of the Guru are many, each subtle and incomprehensible. His moral conceptions, his philosophical thoughts, his lofty ideals, his realization of God, his wide horizon of vision, and the flight of his consciousness in the higher spheres, all these cannot be put into words. He notices all things, whether he sees them or not; he feels all conditions, whether he knows them or not. He gives a bitter pill to one, and a delicious sweet to another. He looks at one and thinks of another; he teaches one in words and the other in silence; he speaks to one and inspires another by his piercing glance. It is all his love, whether it comes in the form of heavy rain or bright sunshine.

FIFTH CHELA (to FOURTH CHELA.) The method that our Guru gives us must be shaped according to the times. The times demand something quite different.

FOURTH CHELA. I think you are right. But how do you think it must be done?

FIFTH CHELA. Everything should be explained in words. Why is there any need for secrecy? What is there to be kept secret in truth? If we know truth we can declare it to everyone. What people are looking for is truth. And if we have it, we can answer all they ask of life.

FOURTH CHELA. I quite agree with you. It must be modified and made to suit the modern world, so that no scientist or literary person can find any ground for criticizing it.

(The other CHELAS come nearer to hear the talk. The GURU enters and sees them conversing. They all greet him.)

SAGE. What discussion is going on?

SECOND CHELA. My friend asks why truth cannot be given in a frame that may be accepted at the present time.

SAGE. In the first place, truth is vaster than any frame we can make to put it in. Besides, no matter what frame we make for truth to be presented in, an unawakened soul will never see it, but will only see the frame.

FIFTH CHELA. But why must we keep it secret?

SAGE. God Himself conceals all beauty from the eyes of the unevolved. Beauty covers itself, or the unevolved close their eyes to it. In both cases beauty remains veiled – and truth is the supreme beauty.

FIFTH CHELA. Why must we not systematize spiritual knowledge?

SAGE. What can be systematized cannot be spiritual knowledge. This is beyond all classification. It is the earthly things that can be made cut and dried. The farther you go on the spiritual path, the finer becomes your perception. Truth is most simple and most subtle. It is grosser than mountains and finer than atoms.

FOURTH CHELA. Then how can we know occult laws?

SAGE. By mystical perception.

FOURTH CHELA. How can it be developed: It is twenty years since I began reading occult books. Every day I have written down what you have said, and yet I do not find I have got any nearer.

SAGE. It is not study alone that brings you to the realization of truth. It often wraps your soul in many more covers. What gives you an insight into the hidden laws of nature is meditation.

THIRD CHELA. That requires patience.


SIXTH CHELA. (greets the Teacher.) Excuse me for being late, Guru. I want to tell you, last evening I went to a seance, and heard a spirit talk through the trumpet. He told me so many things about what will happen in my life. Do you think all he said is true?

SAGE. You are the one who must know that.

SIXTH CHELA. I have seen such a wonderful vision of you, Guru! You were all clad in blue, and then you turned red. Then your whole appearance became scarlet, and in the end it was a golden light; then your face disappeared altogether from my sight.

SAGE. You may have seen someone else, not me.

SIXTH CHELA. The other day I saw a lady who psychometrized things and told all their history. It was wonderful. When shall I develop clairvoyance? I have been your Chela for several years. Now I ought to be able to work wonders.

SAGE. I have not yet arrived at that stage myself.


SEVENTH CHELA. Guru, when first I came to you things seemed to change, but now everything seems to go wrong with me. I have not been well for some time; money affairs have gone wrong, and people make me agitated. Prayers annoy me; I cannot put my mind to meditation. I think there is no hope for me, Guru; and as my friend has left you, I feel I cannot go on any longer. Now I must attend only to my own business, instead of going after such things.

SAGE. It is one's attitude that changes life, but it is by patient pursuit that one arrives at the desired goal.


CANDIDATE. (greets.) Will you take me as your Chela, Guru? I have heard of you from my friend, who said many good things about you. I have read much about these things and I have talked with many occultists. I think I am quite ready to take the spiritual path, don't you think so? I am sure you will not have much difficulty with me, because I am mature. Do you really think there is a soul or a hereafter?

SAGE. This I suppose you already know.

CANDIDATE. Yes, but I should like to know what you think about it (Short pause.) I will not belong to your group, excuse me for saying so. I don't wish to be bound by any vows, nor shall I make any promises: for I know if ever I did so I should not be able to keep them. I don't want this to be known by my people, and especially not by those with long robes. I shall be your Chela, for I like you, but I hate to be among other Chelas.

SAGE. You do not need to be a Chela, as you already know so many things.

CANDIDATE. No, I have come to be your Chela. Only I cannot have any discipline. Besides, I wonder if you agree with all I believe.

SAGE. You keep on believing as you believe, and go on the way you wish to tread. For this path is most difficult: it needs self-abnegation.

(CANDIDATE takes his leave. Enter EIGHTH CHELA.)

EIGHTH CHELA. When I am with you, Guru, your inspiring presence gives me enthusiasm and faith. But as soon as I leave you I lose it all. When you speak to me I believe it without any doubt, but when I am among my friends and hear them talking, then my mind becomes thoroughly confused – I get discouraged when people speak against these things, and doubt begins to creep into my mind.

SAGE. The brick has to go through fire in order to become hard. You must learn to depend upon your own feelings. It is then that belief becomes faith.


FIRST POLICEMAN. Isn't this the Bogey-man of whom people told us?

SECOND POLICEMAN. I suspect this is the murderer of the young man at the serai.

FIRST POLICEMAN. Ha, ha ha! And here he is preaching the Gospel. Come along, Bogey-man, you are wanted at the police-station.

SECOND CHELA (to THIRD CHELA.) Look, here is an example of what is said in the Scriptures: Ye shall know them by their fruits.

THIRD CHELA. It is also said in the Scriptures: Judge not, that ye be not judged. We know not whether this is cause or effect. Sometimes what appears as effect may be the cause, sometimes what seems to be the cause may be the effect.

FOURTH CHELA. I thought so; nowhere in the world is any good to be found. I now understand why there was all this talk of secrecy.

FIFTH CHELA. This is the outcome of all that vagueness. If he had any truth, he could have put it in plain words. Look, even now he does not admit simply that he has killed the man.

FIRST CHELA (to himself.) How time changes people...True it is that no one stands by you in your worst hour. Prosperity gathers friends, adversity scatters them.

(SAGE stands up.)

FIRST CHELA. Guru, I will come with you.

SAGE. No, you must not follow me in my disgrace. I must face it alone.

(FIRST CHELA is most unhappy.)

SAGE (turning to all his Chelas.) My blessed Chelas, allow me to thank you most heartily for your response. Providence has brought us together here, while I was on my way to the solitude from where I come. I have learnt more from you than you from me; and still you called me your Guru. Will you remember these as my last words: observe God in His manifestation, worship God in man, admire God in nature, and love God in loving all living beings. Efface yourself continually, and what will appear to you in the end will be God.

FIRST POLICEMAN. Cut short your sermon.

SAGE: Continue to strive in the path of truth and be not satisfied with less than truth. In the light of truth you must see God and man; in the spirit of truth you must realize self and all.

SECOND POLICEMAN. Now, that's enough.

SAGE. I will go where destiny will take me. Truth is victorious. God bless you!

(Departs; all are impressed and many sad.)