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

Drawing room of TEJA'S house. TEJA seated; JOHLA, her maid, in attendance. Thirteen years have passed; AMIN is now twenty-five.

JOHLA. Bibi, I beg your pardon, tell me why for some time I have noticed that you don't seem to be altogether here. You seem to be somewhere else. You don't mind my asking this; but as I feel sad with you, I should like to know what is the matter. Excuse me for asking you.

TEJA. Yes, you are right, Johla. My mind has been in such a condition, I am sorry to say, that I could not very well manage to conceal my feelings. I am not surprised that you have observed the change. There is nothing in my life to make me sad. As you know, I have been blessed by Providence, I am thankful to say; yet I have had a feeling of loneliness, particularly of late. I have tried to get over this feeling, but I cannot always manage it. Knowing how false human nature is, I preferred to live alone, and the independence I experienced in life has taken the place of a companion. Only since I have seen this young nephew of Talib's who has just returned from Syria, I am in a sort of maze. I don't know where I am. He strikes me as a most promising young man and he inspires one with trust, for his appearance says that he is honest. He seems to be so tenderhearted and has such a refined way that one cannot but love him.

JOHLA. Now I remember, Bibi; it is since the time he came you've been like this. If any man made me so miserable, I would give him a good shaking! I would not allow anyone in the world to make my life wretched!

TEJA. Don't talk nonsense! You must learn to keep your mouth shut. Listen. I have engaged him to attend to my business affairs. But oh! It is not business that I care for. It is him.

(TEJA moves restlessly.)

JOHLA. Bibi, do you know, the neighbor's cook was drunk last night, and he fought with his wife until she put him out of the house. Ha! ha! ha! He was lying there in the street, swearing at her all night long. He! he! he!

TEJA. I don't feel like hearing your funny stories. Silly!

JOHLA. Bibi, if you have a fortune, every man will bow his head before you. Do not be sad over nothing!

TEJA. No fortune can be compared to a truly worthy man!

JOHLA. May I bring you the cat for you to play with? Last night it played and played with me until it tore my apron. Where is my darling pet? (Looking around the room.) Puss, puss, puss!

TEJA. Please, Johla, leave me alone! Go and play with your kitten! (Holds her head in her hands.)

JOHLA (retires muttering.) I wouldn't let any man cause me a headache! Puss, puss, where has he gone?

(Exits JOHLA.)

TEJA. (goes to the window; looks out.) I wonder what day it is today. (Walks restlessly about the room.) Is this the last of the month? Why, it's the new moon! Will Heaven grant me my star, I wonder! (Comes back from the window.) I don't know if he has the slightest thought of the feeling I have for him. He seems so shy and reserved that all the time he sat before me his eyes were cast down and there was an innocent expression on his face showing that he was not at all conscious of a woman's presence.

(Knock heard at the door. JOHLA comes in running.)

JOHLA. Bibi. Bibi! The young man about whom you were just talking to me has come. Shall I tell him, Bibi is busy just now, to come some other time?

TEJA. No! Bring him in after a moment. I shall soon be ready.

(Exit JOHLA, TEJA throws a veil over her face. Enter AMIN; he bows.)

TEJA. I was just wondering if you had arrived. Somehow or other I felt that you must be coming today. I hope all went well with you on your journey?

AMIN. Yes, Bibi. It seemed as though every person and every condition was favorable to me: all went well with our business. I have carried out the affair according to your instructions and at the same time to the mutual advantage of all. Therefore the other party is pleased also.

TEJA. I am sure everything you undertake must succeed.

AMIN. Bibi, I should think everyone would succeed in business if they knew the key to its secret. That key is fairness in dealing.

TEJA. I have no doubt about it. And you are the most honest person I have ever had to carry out my business.

AMIN. Bibi, I will try to come up to your expectations. Please do not think too well of me yet, for you don't know me and my work. I only hope I shall not disappoint you.

TEJA. No, I cannot think for a moment that you could be other than I know you to be. No soul in the world have I ever seen who has won my confidence to the extent that you have. I cannot doubt, even if I wanted to. Besides, you will not disappoint me, even if you did not carry out the business profitably, for I do not attach more importance to the qualifications than to the person. In you I see the person who is more precious than the wealth of this earth.

AMIN. Bibi, I have no words to express my gratitude to you for so kind an appreciation of me. I am not yet at all worthy of it.

TEJA. Please take a seat, Amin, and be comfortable; you must be tired after your long journey. ? I must not keep my face veiled before you, for you seem no longer a stranger.

(AMIN takes a seat.)

TEJA. I am thankful, Amin, that you were brought to me. (Puts her hand on the arm of his chair.)

AMIN. Pardon, Bibi, would you allow me to make clear to you the details of the affair, which I have managed for you?

TEJA. No, Amin, you do not need to. I am quite satisfied, as you know. I should like to hear something of your personal life.

AMIN. My personal life: There is not much to say about it. I was the only son of my father who passed away before I was born, and my mother followed him after giving me birth. I was left with Halima, my foster-mother, who then put me in charge of my uncle. I never allowed myself to feel an orphan, for I always had a natural tendency to lean on the Maker of this world, in whom I saw my mother and father both. ? The first journey I made was to Syria. I accompanied my uncle there on business. That was a great privilege for me because it allowed me to become acquainted with the various aspects of life in the world. Though I am most thankful to have seen it all, yet it has left on my mind and impression of sadness, which I cannot easily forget.

TEJA. What did you see that made you sad, Amin?

AMIN. It was the falseness of human nature, playing its different parts under many and varied conditions. By this I do not mean to say I am exempt from it, but it only showed me my own infirmities.

TEJA (touches AMIN'S arm.) No, I do not see in you any infirmities. You seem to be far, far away from them. If all men were like you, the world would be quite different. But when you said: 'It left on me an impression of sadness," what I thought was, a tender spot in your heart is being kept alive by the continual memory of someone you perhaps loved there.

AMIN. No, I never as yet allowed my mind to dwell on that subject.

TEJA. Do you mean to say you have determined to keep your heart free from the love of a woman?

AMIN. No, Bibi, I only meant I have not so far allowed myself to think on the subject.

TEJA. Why did you not think on the subject: Do you consider it a sin?

AMIN. In the first place, I began life as an orphan, and then I felt the weight of every act of kindness done to me. It kept me continually wondering how I could fulfill my obligations to those relatives and friends, to those near and dear to me, who have been so kind. This thought has continually occupied my mind and has never allowed me to think on any other subject. Besides, the poverty of the people in this country takes away every possibility of doing anything for oneself. Frankly speaking, my state is as the saying goes,' Qazi, why are you so thin?' The Qazi said, 'Because of the anxiety about my citizens.' Yet I am not without hope, it is only a matter of time.

TEJA. Amin, you are a dear; the more you speak to me, the more I am won by you. For every word you say goes through my heart. I think it is because you are so sincere. My engaging you to attend to my business was the first step; now I feel as if you were engaged to my soul.

(TEJA gives him her hand; he kisses it and holds it to his heart, his eyes cast down in modesty. Knock heard. Enter JOHLA She looks surprised. TEJA and AMIN separate.)

JOHLA. I beg your pardon for having come in without knocking. Why am I so forgetful!

-Bibi, there is a young soldier who wishes to see Amin.

AMIN. May I take leave of you and see what he wants?

TEJA. Call him here; I will go to my room for a moment.

(TEJA and JOHLA go out. ? Enter SOLDIER.)

SOLDIER. I have come to tell you from the Ministry of War that there is a sudden call to arms. The young men of the country are expected to defend their land against the invasion of a mighty enemy, who with his troops is already approaching the gates of our town. It is the wish of many in charge of affairs that you should take command of the army for the defense of our country.

AMIN. Please thank them all. I feel most privileged to take charge of our troops and nothing would please me more than to render this service to my country, even if it were at the cost of my life.

(The SOLDIER salutes and departs. ? Enter TEJA, who appears nervous.)

TEJA. What did the soldier come to tell you?

AMIN. Bibi, our country is being invaded by a mighty enemy who is quite near our door. So all the country is called to arms. The authorities wish me to lead the first troops going for the defense of our country. I consider it the greatest privilege to fight for my land.

TEJA. My darling sweetheart! You are too precious to be sent into battle. Your life is too valuable to be sacrificed in this way! Oh, I don't know what will become of me when you are gone!

AMIN. I beg your pardon, Bibi, I must hurry now. I am sure your thoughts will be with me; so all will be well.

TEJA (crying.) Know that I shall not feel I am living while you are away. It is you who will bring me to life when you return safe from there.

AMIN. Be sure that no harm will come to me, and soon we shall meet.

(AMIN kisses her hands; she lays her head upon his shoulder. They embrace.)

TEJA (still weeping.) God be with you!


Scene 2

TEJA'S home. TEJA ill, lying in an armchair. JOHLA waving the fan.)

TEJA. Give me some cold water, my throat is dried up. It seems as if flames are rising out of my body, oh! ah!

(JOHLA runs and fetches rose-water; she sprinkles it over TEJA.)

JOHLA. Bibi, Bibi, (She gets no answer.) Are you here, Bibi?

TEJA. No, Johla, I was not here, I was at the front, where the battle is taking place, going over the agonies, sharing the experience of my beloved.

JOHLA. Here is the water, Bibi, you wanted; I have fetched it.

TEJA. Thank you, Johla. (TEJA drinks.) Now I feel cooled, I feel ease through my breath. Something seems to tell me that all is well with him. A feeling comes to me as if I was reading his letter that he is coming back.

JOHLA. Will you eat something, Bibi? It is several days since you really had anything to sustain your body. If not for yourself, then for his sake, to give him pleasure. You must take care of yourself, you must feel well.

TEJA. No, don't mention food to me. I have no mind for it. I shrink even from looking at food.

JOHLA. Bibi, you must make yourself strong.

TEJA. Will you help me, Johla, to get up?

(JOHLA lifts her up. She walks, her head on JOHLA'S shoulder. JOHLA holding her, TEJA looks out of the window; JOHLA looks with her.)

JOHLA. I don't see him yet.

TEJA (resting her hand on JOHLA'S shoulder, cries.) I see him! I see him! He's coming back!

JOHLA. Don't act as if you were delirious! You must not stand here, you have no strength. Come and sit down in this chair.

(JOHLA puts her into the chair and fans her.)

TEJA (still softly crying.) I see him! I see him come!

(Knock at the door. JOHLA runs to see who has knocked. TEJA opens her eyes and sits up.)

TEJA. I wonder!

JOHLA. (entering hurriedly.) Bib, you will be pleased to know that a soldier has come on horseback with a message from Amin.

TEJA. Show him in.

(Enter SOLDIER who salutes and presents the letter to TEJA.)

TEJA ( opens the letter and reads aloud.) 'By the grace of God, the Most Merciful and Compassionate, the battle is won and the enemy has admitted his defeat. The final arrangements are already completed. I am now preparing to come back. I kiss your dear hand, the hand, which I always felt next to my heart.

(TEJA wiping her tears of joy, gives gold coins to the SOLDIER.)

TEJA. Has all gone well?

SOLDIER. Yes, lady. Amin showed great bravery; he fought most courageously and wisely made peace. He has won both the love of his friends and the admiration of his foes. He is the young man of the day; we all are proud of him for proving so worthy of our trust. (Salutes.) I take my leave, lady.

(TEJA wiping her tears of joy. ? As the SOLDIER approaches the door, JOHLA meets him. She acts as if frightened, he as if amazed to see her, both as if they just missed running into each other.)

SOLDIER. Hullo, queen of the kitchen!

JOHLA. Hullo, king of spades.

(They nod at one another and throw a kiss. The SOLDIER goes out.)

JOHLA. Now I am sure you are happy, Bibi, are you not? Now I shall bring you some food, shall I? I am sure you must be hungry.

TEJA. The news is nourishing to my soul; I don't need any food. But prepare some if you like. Amin may come at any moment.

JOHLA. If I had such good news. Bibi, I would have eaten twice as much dinner as usual! I wouldn't have waited for anyone! You think I'm crazy, don't you: But I tell you, I'd rather die than starve.

TEJA (smiles.) You go and eat your dinner; don't wait. You need not starve waiting for me, Johla.

JOHLA. Thank you, Bibi.

(Knock at the door heard.)

JOHLA (returns quickly, exclaiming:) Amin is here!

TEJA. Call him in.

(TEJA gets up from her seat; AMIN enters. TEJA runs to meet him and falls fainting into his arms. ? AMIN kissing her forehead, makes her sit in the chair and sits by her side.)

TEJA. Now tell me, Amin, all that happened. You must have had a terrible time!

AMIN. To tell you all since I left here and have now come back! Where shall I begin the story and where shall I end it? All's well that ends well! It was a dream, a dream of one night, a nightmare rather. It's finished with the breaking of the day, and now there is sunshine everywhere.

TEJA. I heard that you fought very bravely; they all admire your courage so much. You did not only make war bravely, but you made peace so wisely.

AMIN. I tried to do my duty, Bibi; that is all one can do. Success and failure are both in His hands, without whose will nothing moves in the universe. Nevertheless, this experience on the battlefield has been quite an event for me. I will no longer look for war, and will try to bring peace, not after, but before, if I can. Did war have a hardening effect upon my heart? No, it made it much more tender than I have ever known it to be. I was known to be affectionate to my friends, but it was this war which has taught me to love even my enemies. I loved you hitherto, but it is during this war that a longing for you was produced in my heart. It had its disadvantages, yet one cannot ignore the advantages it has. I am glad my people won the victory over the enemy; but this has enlarged my view so that I cannot consider only my countrymen as my people. I am beginning to consider all men in the world as my people.

TEJA. But you did not tell me the pains you have gone through, which I have felt all along through this war.

AMIN. It is both pain and pleasure, which make life complete. If there were no pain, one would not enjoy pleasure. I do not wish to recall to my memory the disagreeable past. Only pleasant memories I allow my mind to hold, which were with you.

TEJA. Now the pain has passed, and pleasure is in store for us. Next week our wedding takes place. My people are busy preparing for it God has heard our prayer, Amin, at last.

(They embrace.)


Scene 3

AMIN and TEJA in their new home. TEJA arranging cushions on the sofa. AMIN busy with a bow and arrow. People bringing wedding gifts. ? A Lady brings flowers and gives them to TEJA.

TEJA. Oh, how beautiful they are. Who has sent them?

LADY. Bibi, your aunt's cousin's daughter, Salima, who is married to Omar Abdullah Hujuri. (She leaves.)

(TEJA brings the flowers to AMIN, kisses him and shows him.)

TEJA. How beautiful they are my darling sweetheart.

AMIN. They were more beautiful on the stem, beloved; are these not plucked in vain. (TEJA looks surprised. He kisses her forehead and laughs.) Don't you think so too? All beautiful things are in their greatest glory when they are in their own place. Arrange them, my sweetest wife. Now that they are brought to us, we may just as well turn our room into a garden.

(Another WOMAN comes, greets TEJA, touching her cheeks with her hand.)

WOMAN. I have made this picture of Amin, Bibi, you will be glad to see it.

TEJA. O, wonderful; he looked like this when he returned from the battlefield. Thank you. I am very glad to have it.

(WOMAN again salutes and leaves.)

TEJA (takes picture and shows it to AMIN.) Do you know this man?

AMIN. I don't know him; who is he?

TEJA. Is it not your beloved image? How well the artist has made it! Now what shall I do with it? Shall I frame it and put it on the wall, or shall I place it on the sandal bracket above the divan? I think that is the proper place for it, don't you think so?

AMIN. Place its front against the wall, showing its back outside, beloved, if you ask my earnest advice about it.

TEJA (looking at him in surprise.) How could I destroy your picture?

AMIN. This is not my picture. The artist who has made it has not seen me, beloved.

TEJA. He has not seen you? You mean to say, he didn't see you?

AMIN. Yes, I mean it, beloved.

TEJA. Then, perhaps I haven't seen you either?

AMIN. I do not think so. To tell you the truth, I do not want anyone to make my picture; I do not wish my picture to be placed on a pedestal; I don not want my picture to represent me after I have gone. This mortal form itself is a shadow of a shadow.

(Knock on the door. Two men enter, the carcass of a lamb hanging on a stick over their shoulders.)

MAN. This is a wedding gift they send you.

TEJA. From where?

MAN. From the community house.

TEJA. How nice! Please give them our thanks and loving greetings.

(The two men take their leave.

TEJA (to AMIN.) Here we have something really good to make a three day's continual feast.

AMIN. Yes, the poor lamb should be asked first how it is to be sacrificed for our feast!

(Enter Dancing-Girls, accompanied by Musicians; they perform the Wedding Dance, wrapped in several veils, which they lift one after the other as they dance.)

TEJA (seeing the performance, takes AMIN'S arm, brings him to the room where the dancers are, while he is hesitating.) Beloved, it is wonderful; these are the best dancers we have in the country. Everyone speaks of their talent. They have trained every muscle, making it supple to twist and turn as they want to, and they move so swiftly to the rhythm of the drum that their graceful movements make a living picture of music.

AMIN. May I request these talented dancers not to remove their veils any more!

TEJA. But it is their dance, beloved, it is their way; how skillfully they unveil themselves!

AMIN. But what do they unveil? The earth, not heaven.

TEJA (gives the Musicians a purse.) Thank you, take no more trouble.

(Musicians salute them and depart.)

AMIN. Do you mind if I ask you something, beloved? (Shyly, looking down.) Ever since I have been in the open country and have observed wide horizons in the war, the wilderness has attracted me. I long to walk in the desert and to dwell in the mountains. If you will permit me, Bibi, I will take a trip through the desert that I may unload my mind from the disturbing impressions of the war.

TEJA. Yes, my darling, you may go to the mountains whenever you desire, if it is not for a long time! While you are away I shall think of you with every breath.

(AMIN kisses TEJA'S hand. They embrace.)