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



Superstitions, Customs, and Beliefs





Everyday Life




1.1, Belief and Superstition

1.2, Belief

1.3, Customs (1)

1.4, Customs (2)

1.5, Hanuman

1.6, Bells and Gongs

1.7, The Custom of Drinking the Health of Friends

1.8, The Origin of the Custom of the Seclusion of Women

1.9, The Custom of the Seclusion of Women (1)

1.10, The Custom of the Seclusion of Women (2)

2.1, "Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood"

2.2, Customs of Courtesy

2.3, Customs of the Marriage Ceremony

2.4, The Horse

2.5, Oracles Among the Ancient Greeks

2.6, The Greek Mysteries (1)

2.7, The Greek Mysteries (2)

2.8, The Greek Mysteries (3)

2.9, The Banshee

2.10, The Psychology of the Shadow

3.1, Toasts

3.2, Wedding Customs

3.3, Funeral Customs

3.4, The Swansong

3.5, Customs at the Birth of a Child in India

3.6, The Superstitions of the Days Existing in the East

3.7, Unlucky Numbers

3.8, The Mysteries of Omens

3.9, The Influence of Time

3.10, Planetary Influences

Vol. 13, Gathas

Superstitions, Customs, and Beliefs

2.2, Customs of Courtesy

There was a custom in the old, aristocratic times, which is even now observed in the East and somewhat in the Western part of the world, of taking steps backward when leaving someone who was respected. It was not only a custom but it had a psychological point of view. When two people are talking to one another, facing each other, a current of sympathy is established which chiefly runs through the breath and through the glance, and necessarily, one of them is expressive, the other receptive. When their backs are turned that current is broken, and the idea of the people of old was to retain that current, which they thought was valuable, as long as possible.

There was another custom of courtesy of the ancients which still exists in certain places, that in order to show respect to someone they bent their knees. This had a psychological reason, that every influence of love, affection, or sympathy, benediction, or blessing, is poured through the glance, through the breath, and through words, and if the receiver was taller than the bestower, the influence would go into the ground instead of touching the person. Especially the influence of the glance, which surrounds one with sympathy and good wishes, has, mostly, a downward direction, and it is naturally so with the breath also.

In the salutation made by putting one knee on the ground, the knee resting on the ground expresses readiness to receive the command and the knee that is up is ready to go forward to carry it out. But besides their psychological influences, different manners of courtesy have been the outcome of human progress in the direction of refinement. And yet progress in every direction is like a wave in the sea -- it rises and it falls. So it is with manners. This time seems to be the time when the wave is coming back. However, doing a thing is one thing, and understanding it is another thing. Whether one does a certain thing or does not do it, that is another question, but in the understanding of all things lies the purpose of life.