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





Scene Two

Scene Three

Scene Four

Vol. 12, Four Plays



Una's studio

Enter Una, who has been long absent

Una. It is a breath of joy indeed to be once again in my studio, away from all the turmoil of life. It is a joy, which is beyond words. It is a happiness, which cannot be found anywhere else. – My studio has been neglected for such a long while. I have been occupied with no end of things, busy answering life's unceasing demands. But whenever I find time, my one and only thought is to come here and be myself again. Home has no joy for me, nor do I find happiness anywhere else. No one understands me, and all those whom I know are absorbed in their own lives. – Every step I take I am drawn back, and all that I try to hold breaks, for it is rotten; the rock I seek to rest upon crumbles, for it is made of sand. In the world's fair everything I purchase costs more than it is worth, and if I have anything to sell I get nothing for it. By the continual pinpricks that I feel through life, my heart is riddled. O life, you are indeed a puzzle; the only solace I have is in my art. (Takes one of her tools in her hand.)

My tools, you are the companions of my solitude! (Looks up at the glass roof.)

The sun, the glorious sun, is sending its rays to lift my heart to cheerfulness.

(Begins to work at the unfinished statue.)

My statue, how long it is since I have touched you!

(A knock is heard at the door.)

Here is someone calling already before I have even begun to work!

(Opens the door. Helen enters.)

Helen My dear Una, I have been looking everywhere for you! Where have you been all this long time? Were you hiding from your friends? If so, be sure we shall find you in the end. You can't run away and hide from us!

Una I did not mean to hide. After a long time I just had a moment to come to my studio. I have not even begun to work yet.

Helen (looking at the half-finished statue) Is this something that you are working at? Dear me, what a dull occupation! Can't you find anything else to do?

Una (perplexed and speechless)

Helen (continues) Una, dear, you spend hours at this useless work in this solitary studio. I can't understand how you can do it!

Una (after a moment's pause) My dear girl, when have I any time to work? All day I am busy at home. At night I lie awake for hours, thinking how to make both ends meet. You know that my parents are no longer able to be responsible for the household? They have both aged very much, and it is upon me alone that the care of the house depends. Yet whenever I have a moment I come here and try to find oblivion in doing this work, the only thing I really care for.

Helen You simple girl, is this the work you live for! I wouldn't give that much (snapping her fingers) for work that brings nothing better. It is simply a waste of time! Excuse me for telling you so.

Una Art seldom brings any material returns. Besides, to expect any would be to me like offering beauty in the marketplace.

Helen I can't understand how you can shut yourself up in this solitary place! If I had no one round me to talk to, life would become so monotonous that I should not know what to do with it.

Una Well, I am happy only when I am by myself. I don't want anyone to talk to. Silence is never long enough for me.

Helen Well, you certainly are a riddle! Now tell me the truth, Una, did you read the Daily Gossip this morning?

Una You know quite well that I don't read the papers. I have too much to do. And besides, I am not particularly interested in the sensational stories in the newspapers. They generally say one thing in the morning and quite the opposite in the evening.

Helen Do you know the rate of exchange today?

Una Whether money goes up or down does not make much difference in our lives when we live from hand to mouth day by day. Moreover, the idea of profiting by the loss of another has always been foreign to my nature.

Helen Do you know the name of the new mayor who has just been elected?

Una No, indeed I don't. My dear girl, I live in quite another world from yours.

Helen You certainly are behind the times. Last night I was at a ball given by Mrs. Wilkins. Everybody in the town who is anybody was present. There was music and dancing all night and great fun. There is a Founders' Ball coming off next week, and Auntie is on the committee. She has asked me to help her. Everyone has been asked to come disguised as someone they think they were in their past lives. Won't that be amusing?

Una (smiles)...

Helen You will come, Una dear, won't you? Though I know that you always avoid social functions. But all the local papers are talking about this. Do come, please.

Una Society life is for people like you, Helen, not for me.

Helen Una, I really wish you were not living such a retired life. What is the good of life if you don't live it?

Una I am not at all interested in society. I prefer the life of a humble artist.

Helen It seems that no one can change your ideas, Una. I must be going now. I'm sorry to have kept you so long from your work. Now be sure and come to the ball. Au revoir.

(They kiss. Exit Helen.)

Una. I don't know why people can't leave me alone! They live their own lives; why can't they let me live mine? (Sighs) Well, I suppose that is the way of the world.

(A knock at the door.)

Una. (opens the door) Father, is that you! Yes, I'm here. I had a spare moment, so I thought I would come and try to finish some work I was doing here. (Leads her father in, holding his arm, and seats him in an armchair.) Well, Father, what have you come to tell me?

Father. My dear child, you are wanted at home, as your mother is not well. When you are out everything goes wrong. Besides, I have never liked the idea of your being an artist. In our family, as you know very well, we have never had any artists; and there has never been any wish for any of the family to become artist. Our people look upon it quite differently from you. As for myself, I never could have imagined you an artist.

Una. Dear Father, those are the old ideas. Now science and art are the great qualifications of the age. And you know, dear Father, I do not do this as a profession; it is my love for art, which makes me take it up.

Father. Una, my child, though we have been for some time in straitened circumstances, yet we have always considered our dignity. Your mother is depressed, and very often feels sad to see you so unlike the other girls in our family, who go into society.

Una. Father, my society consists of the little works of art which are round me in this studio. I feel at home here, and every moment while I am working here I am happy.

Father. My dear child, there are many things in the world besides art which are to be sought in order that one may be really happy. If you never see anyone, no one will ever know you. There are many other things in life, if you will seek for them. Art is all very well to amuse oneself with, but it is not everything that one needs in life.

Una (remains silent. After a moment) All I need, Father, is to make you and Mother happy in every way I can. That is the only thing that interests me in life; and if I have any personal interest, it is in my art.

Father. My child, I must go home and look after your mother. She is not at all well. Come as soon as you can.

Una. Yes, Father dear, I will.

(They kiss, and the Father goes out.)

Una. Never a moment have I to concentrate on my work! How true it is that the world of every soul is different; for the life of one is not the life of another. I wish I could be here and continue my work, but life in the world has so many duties that one cannot ignore them and at the same time live happily.

�� Well, I must hurry, or I shall keep poor Father waiting. My work, when shall I be free to come to you again, especially now that I have to make preparations for this ball? (Puts away her tools and leaves for her home.)