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

Amin, the Faithful Trustee


Scene 1

Cottage in an Arabian village. Amin is in charge of the farm; he is petting a lamb.

AMIN. My little one, you feel drowsy today, don't you? I'll give you a bath in the pool and then take you in the sun, so that you'll feel cheerful.

(Enter several BOYS.)

FIRST BOY. What are you doing, Amin? Always busy with the home and farm, isn't he? We've come to play a game today; now what shall we play?

SECOND BOY. Yes, let's play kus kus.

(BOYS play, AMIN leading. One boy pushes another, who falls down and hits him back. AMIN reconciles them. They continue the game. After it is finished, they rest, sitting on blocks of wood.)

THIRD BOY. Do you know, Amin, what great fun we had on our way here! There was a camel laden with dates. We made a hole in the sack and took out a lot of dates. See, we all have our pockets full. Would you like some? (AMIN smiles.)

FIRST BOY. I'm sure you would; take some!

AMIN. No, I won't take any.

SECOND BOY. Why? Don't you like them?

AMIN. Yes, I like dates, but I don't like this way of taking them. It isn't fair.

SECOND BOY. Fair! Ha! ha! ha! (All the boys laugh.) What is fair and unfair in these few dates? You're a funny fellow, Amin.

THIRD BOY. Do you know, Amin, we've planned to go to town today to have a jolly good time.

AMIN. I'm sorry, I can't come with you today. Halima has been out since morning and she left me in charge of the farm. So you see I can't come.

FIRST BOY. Why must you be tied to home because Halima said so? My mother this morning wouldn't let me go, but do you think I would be detained by her? I simply told her I must go. She grumbled a bit and then quieted down by herself. Why can't you do the same? Halima is not your mother.

AMIN. Halima is my foster-mother and I must listen to her as I would to my own mother. Besides, I am entrusted with the home; therefore I won't leave my charge.

SECOND BOY. Well, then we are going, that's all; please yourself!

(BOYS go off. ? AMIN busies himself with domestic duties. Enter HALIMA.)

HALIMA. My darling sweetheart, what have you been doing? I am so sorry I was detained in town, Amin; there was such a crowd today at the market; I tried to hurry, but I couldn't get back sooner. Look, what I've brought. (Taking out of her basket tomatoes, pineapple, and sugar-canes.) You didn't go with your playmates today?

AMIN. They came to fetch me, but I couldn't go as you had asked me to look after the farm.

HALIMA (kisses his forehead.) My darling, it is so sweet of you to think of your Halima. (She sighs deeply, raising her head, then looking down.) Bless his mother.

AMIN (speaks in a broken voice.) Halima, where has my mother gone? Shall I see her again? ( HALIMA is silent for a moment.) Do you they ever come here again, who have passed away, or do they never return: What is death, Halima? It always puzzles me. Why do people die? Because they're ill, or because they're called away? Are they always lost to the world? Can anyone see them? I should so much like to see mother!

HALIMA (in tears.) Your father was called away first, my darling, even before you were born. It was afterwards that your mother followed him to heaven, peace be on her! How delighted would your father be to see you now, if he were alive; and how much your mother would have rejoiced to watch you grow, sweetheart! It tears my heart to think of it.

AMIN (sadly, looking down.) But what can one do to find those one has lost, Halima? Is there any way of meeting them?

HALIMA. They say those we love are never far away, even if they have gone to the other side of life! Those who really love must someday meet again, even if it is after death. Life is a mystery, my darling child; one cannot say much about these matters. You are too young yet to think of such things. You will know when the time comes.

AMIN. When will that time come, Halima? I should so much like to know all these things.

HALIMA. It won't be long, my child. When one thinks how quickly the days pass, years slip by before we look at them. One day you will be grown up and will think out things as every thoughtful man does. It is only a matter of time. ? Now go and take a look round the farm; see if everything is in order.

(AMIN goes, HALIMA sits down.)

HALIMA. What a privilege it is for me to bring up this orphan! What trust his mother ? peace be on her ? gave me! but it is a responsibility, a great responsibility to bring up this child who is unlike anyone.

(Enter TALIB.)

TALIB. Here I am, Halima. Did you send for me?

HALIMA. Yes, Talib. Come in, sit comfortably.

TALIB. It is long indeed since I saw you last. How are you getting on? Nicely, Halima?

HALIMA. No woman on earth could be as privileged as I am, having charge of this darling child. I have never seen or known a boy like Amin, your nephew, bless him! He is so affectionate and tender, so thoughtful and considerate that never a cross word have I heard from him. At moments I have been impatient with him, but he never talked back at me. He is most affectionate to the children of his age, gentle with all who come here; he has regard for his elders. Young as he is, he thinks like a much older person. Indeed, he is an old soul. His feelings are deep, and yet he is so innocent that very often I notice in him something of his babyhood. I cannot always understand him. Most of the time he is nearer to me than my own heart, yet at times he seems to be so far away in the clouds that I cannot reach him. He is always a mystery to me. Yet he has an acute sense of humor; he is quick to see the comic side of things. He is often energetic and lively. To have him in my home is the greatest joy to me. He helps me to forget life's woes; making my life's burden easy for me to bear.

TALIB. Where is Amin? Please call him.

(HALIMA calls AMIN and leads him to his uncle.)

HALIMA. Do you know who this is, my darling? This is Talib, your uncle. Your mother's last wish was that you should be given into his care. (To TALIB.) This is the treasure that was entrusted to me. Now I give him into your arms, as it was his mother's wish that he should be brought up under your parental care. (Crying.) I don't know what will become of me when he is gone!

(TALIB holds AMIN'S hands and looks at him.)

TALIB. Well, son, are you willing to come with me? Your aunt is eagerly waiting for you at home, and your grandfather has longed to see you ever since you were born. And then, there is your cousin who will be so happy to have you as his playmate.

( HALIMA embraces the child and cries. TALIB takes his hands.)

HALIMA. I give this trust to you. (Turning to AMIN.) God be your protection, my darling child.


Scene 2

TALIB'S house, KARIMA, his wife, sewing, MUTAL, his father, smoking a water-pipe.

Three years have passed.

MUTAL. Amin is so quiet that it does not seem that another boy has come to live in the house. His influence seems to make even Ali quieter.

KARIMA. Though he is so quiet, it seems he has brought sunshine into our home. In spite of his quietness there is something lively in him which makes Ali more bright than he has ever been. No wonder his mother had many wonderful dreams before he was born, giving good tidings. Now that I see him, I begin to see the meaning of her visions, significant in his unfoldment.

MUTAL. His father, peace be on him, was simple and yet so intelligent that he was a glow of which Amin is the blaze. ? Do the boys get on well together?

KARIMA. Father, since Amin has come, Ali has become quite different. Ali follows every turn that Amin takes. Ali seems to be so much more thoughtful and happy since the coming of Amin. They seem to blend with one another as sugar and milk.

MUTAL. Amin, with all his gentleness, is steady and firm, and so Ali, however energetic, responds to his influence.

KARIMA. Father, it is interesting to watch them grow fond of one another, more so every day.

(ALI enters with a lot of leaves.)

ALI ( to KARIMA.) I have found these leaves after all; I had to go far into the forest to fetch them, but I wouldn't have come home without them!

KARIMA. Child, you must not go far into the woods, Very often one meets wild animals there.

ALI. I am not afraid of wild animals. I would fight if I met any.

(MUTAL laughs. ALI busies himself with the leaves. Enter AMIN.)

KARIMA. Where have you been, Amin?

AMIN. I was learning. I have learnt many words today. I am very anxious to learn to speak better. (to ALI.) What are you doing, Ali?

ALI. I am preparing wreaths for the gods of Kaba, for there are very few left before we have the annual celebration of our gods.

AMIN. I don't like to call these idols of stone gods, Ali. I don't know why I have never liked all they make of stone gods. I can't enjoy the feasts. It all seems to me foolish.

ALI. You mustn't say so, Amin. If father hears it, he won't like it. Grandfather told me many times that we must look with reverence on the gods of Kaba.

AMIN. I don't know, Ali, why I feel like this, but I can never feel sympathetic towards these hideous gods, and I feel a kind of revolt against all the fuss that is made of them. I sometimes feel like breaking them into pieces. I can't understand why people go crazy about them by hundreds and thousands.

ALI. I can't understand them either, Amin, but it is our religion; we must not say anything against it.

AMIN. I tell you, Ali, I can't follow such a religion; it only amuses me, it is all so funny.

(ALI laughs.)

MUTAL. What's the joke, boys?

ALI. Amin is wondering about the religious festivals; they amuse him.

AMIN. Yes, I don't feel interested in all they make of the stone gods; it all seems to me childish. People might as well choose to do something else. I should think there is much to be done.

MUTAL. It is a custom, child, our people have observed for ages.

AMIN. Has this custom always been among people, grandfather?

MUTAL. No doubt, in the beginning the stone of Kaba was set there by our ancestor Abraham when he was returning from Egypt after his initiation in the ancient mysteries. He set this stone here as a token of his initiation, making it a center of pilgrimage for the children of Beni Israel. The line of our family, son, is traced back to Ishmael. Neither Abraham nor his son Ishmael worshipped the idols of many gods. It was afterwards, I suppose, in order to draw more people to the Kaba, that these idols were placed there. However, this has long become the religion of our people; they expect to see at the Kaba the gods of their families. If it were not for these festivals, there would be no interest left in our religion.

AMIN. What is meant by religion, grandfather? Isn't it faith rather than form?

MUTAL. It is a most difficult question to answer, my son, Besides, you are yet too young to think about these subjects. There is so little one can say in these matters, and the less said, the better it is.

(Enter TALIB.)

TALIB (to ALI.) Please, Ali, go and tell the man to make the camel ready for me to start on my journey.

(ALI goes.)

TALIB (to AMIN, resting his hands on his shoulder.) I am going on a long journey to Syria, on business, Amin.

AMIN. I will come with you.

TALIB. I would not think for a moment of taking you with me, my son, for it is a long journey, miles of land in the desert to be crossed, all sorts of hardships one goes through, and one meets with many dangers on the way.

AMIN. (embracing his uncle.) Uncle dear, please take me with you on your journey. I do wish to travel. I do not mind what difficulties I may have to experience on the way.

TALIB (looks at AMIN'S eager face for a moment.) I will take you, my child; go and get ready.

( KARIMA takes AMIN to prepare him and brings him back. AMIN and TALIB bid goodbye to all present and depart.)


Scene 3

A bazaar at Jerusalem. A SHAWL-SELLER bargaining with his CUSTOMER. A thief putting his hand into the pocket of the man who is busy purchasing. CUSTOMER examines the quality of the stuff in his hands.

SHAWL-SELLER. It's four dirams a yard. (CUSTOMER throws the stuff at him and goes away. The SELLER follows, pulling his robe.) Two dirams, two dirams a yard.

CUSTOMER. No, no. No, no.

SHAWL-SELLER. All right, one diram; take it.

CUSTOMER (takes the stuff and puts his hand in his pocket.) Someone has taken my money. Police, police!

( An old WOMAN FRUIT-SELLER walking with a basket full of fruit under her arm.)

BOY (to the WOMAN.) How much for a kouri?

WOMAN. One Vazan

BOY. Too dear, too dear! Are these sweet cherries?

WOMAN. Sweet as sugar.

(BOY puts his hand into the basket, takes a cherry and puts it in his mouth. WOMAN looks at him with disgust. BOY puts his hand again into the basket. The WOMAN pushes his hand off. The BOY upsets the basket and all the fruit falls on the ground. Other street-boys come and seize it.)

( A dancing girl comes, scantily dressed, with accompanists. The crowd follows her and gathers around. A musician pushes the crowd back with his instrument, making space for the dance. A spectator, unwilling to be pushed back, shows fight. The musician makes as if to strike him; the man lifts a stone to throw at him. Many bystanders clapping their hands to the rhythm of the dance, the accompanist singing, people merry-making. At the end of the dance many throw kisses to the girl.)

(A MEDIUM standing in concentration with closed eyes by the side of a mosque.)

WOMAN (to MEDIUM.) I beg you, I pray you, will you communicate with my daughter and tell her that from the moment she died, food and drink have become as poison to me. I weep all day and I am sleepless at night. I would like to know how she is over there; is she happy.

MEDIUM (moves his head round and round, raising the pupils of his eyes upwards.) I see, I see your daughter. O, she is happy, more happy than she has ever been.

WOMAN. Do you see? I am so glad. Please ask her, is there anything she is in need of?

MEDIUM. She has everything she wants there. But she is attached to all the beautiful clothes and jewelry she had here, and she wants all that over there.

WOMAN. O, I would be willing to give anything, anything, if I only knew how to send it there!

MEDIUM. I will take things for you if you want me to, when I go there at night; you only have to bring them to me. (The WOMAN goes.)

(Enter YOUNG MAN.)

YOUNG MAN (to MEDIUM.) I had a dream my father, who died recently, is not happy in heaven.

MEDIUM. Wait, I will write a letter to the keeper of the heavens.

YOUNG MAN. Please.

MEDIUM (writes a letter; then reads.) ' Brother Israel, the father of this young man, Faruk ibn Kalil, died on the 5th of Ramadan, and is now in your world. Give him two trees of plums and one tree of pears, a tank of honey and a fountain of milk, with ample supply of bread and meat.' (To YOUNG MAN.) Now what will you pay?

YOUNG MAN. Five dinars.

MEDIUM. No, that is not enough for all I have asked in my letter.

YOUNG MAN. I have only ten dinars.

MEDIUM. Well, then I'll take off two trees from this letter.

( The YOUNG MAN gives the dinars. The MEDIUM seals the letter with his thumb, licking it and pressing it on the paper, and winks while sealing it. ? The WOMAN returns with a box of jewelry and a sack of beautiful clothes. Hands them over to the MEDIUM.)

WOMAN. I have brought not only my daughter's jewels and clothes but all I had, that you may take them from me to my daughter. I want her to be happy. I am so thankful to you for all you are going to do for me.)

(A PALMIST sitting with his astrological chart spread over his lap.)

PALMIST to a YOUNG MAN.) Come here. (The YOUNG MAN comes near.) Sit down. Show me your hand. (Pointing with his finger to his palm.) Very distinct and long line of fortune; but you will not get it yet. And here (Points to thumb.) A beautiful wife; but there will always be a quarrel in the home. (Looks at center.) Some relative will leave great wealth for you. But you will have a hard time in getting it.

YOUNG MAN. But tell me, shall I have good luck in the business I am going to start today?

PALMIST. Pay five dinars, please. (The YOUNG MAN does so.) There are some planetary influences standing in opposition to your work, but I will make things right for you.

( A YOUNG WOMAN, moving about through the crowd, covering her face from a gay WAYFARER, looking at him out of the corner of her eye.)

WAYFARER (pulling the sari from her face.) One, just make it one.

(She looks annoyed. He kisses her and walks away.)

BEGGAR (scantily dressed, with patched sleeves and a tin pot in his hands.) Please one penny; be ye well!

A MAN. Go further!

( A WOMAN selling three slave-girls. A MAN, richly dressed, with his companion, examines the slaves.)

MAN. How much?

WOMAN (shows ten on her fingers. He shows five.) Ten, ten. (He gives ten dinars, takes the slave-girl along with him.)

(Enter two drunken PRIESTS.)

FIRST PRIEST. How many prayers did you say this morning?

SECOND PRIEST. I said only one prayer because he didn't bring me more than one bottle of liquor. I say only one prayer for each bottle.

FIRST PRIEST. That is why you are always drunk.

SECOND PRIEST. You're crazy.

FIRST PRIEST. You're mad.

(They fight. POLICE OFFICER arrests them both.)

FIRST PRIEST (gives the POLICE OFFICER a purse.) Let me go, let me go!

POLICE OFFICER (changes his attitude, bows to the PRIEST who gave him the money. ) High priest! (Goes away with the other one.)

(AMIN with TALIB passing through the bazaar, halting at every step, observes keenly the degenerate condition of the place.)

AMIN. Uncle, does no one tell these people to act differently? Have they always been like this? This life does not interest me; there is something in it, which does not seem to me to be right. Have they never been told to do better?

TALIB. Child, in this world one cannot expect things to be better than they are. People have been taught the way of righteousness by the great souls who have come, time after time, to guide the children of the earth. But when some years pass and the real way is forgotten, then a period of disintegration comes and people become degenerate. It is sad to think that human beings should fall beneath the level of the beasts, and yet there is nothing to be surprised at, for man can rise higher than an angel and full lower than the devil. As it is said, 'When a glimpse of Our Image is caught in man, when Heaven and earth are sought in man, then what is there in the world that is not in man? If one only explores him, there is a lot in man.'

AMIN. But what is this that one dislikes in them, is it evil? Then how does it differ from good?

TALIB. Good and evil are relative terms, my son. Evil is nothing but the lack of good. Nevertheless, good is real and evil is its shadow. When one believes this and tries to bring out in another the good there is in him, one finds that no soul, however, wicked, is void of goodness. To understand all is to forgive all.

(AMIN is deeply impressed by all he sees at the bazaar and by all his uncle says.)