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

1.3, Customs (1)

There are many customs that have existed in different countries for ages which have some psychical significance, and yet scarcely anybody knows about it. Customs in the form of greeting one another, and asking after one another's health, even such habits as that of talking about the weather, arise from a psychical basis. This shows that the ancient people, in the East or in the West, had more magic in their lives than the man of today. The world has lost the magical charm, so to speak, which was the inheritance of the human race, owing to the ever increasing material life and the ignorance of things that are beyond matter.

It is of late that science is discovering some psychological truths in human life. The process that science follows in discovering these truths is contrary to that of the mystic. The scientist wishes to climb the mountain from the level ground. The mystic, by the way of meditation, tries to reach the summit of the mountain, and from there he sees the whole beauty of the mountain. Therefore, naturally, the horizon before the eyes of the mystic is incomparably wider than the horizon before the scientist. Yes, the scientist may see things clearly, distinctly, and in detail, whereas the mystic has a general idea of things. Often the vision of the mystic is vague in comparison with the analytical examination of a scientist. And yet, while the mystic sees through objects the scientist can reach as far as their surface.

Owing to the greater activity in Western life, all things change more quickly in the West, while in the East changes come very slowly. Therefore, one finds many customs of ancient origin in the East which show the development of Eastern people in psychical things. Even ordinary customs, such as that of shaking hands, or rising from one's seat to receive someone, bowing, bending, waving the hands, or clapping the hands, have a psychical significance. When two people shake hands with one another magnetism is exchanged between them and a balance of life-force is made between them. The one who lacks strength, energy, or magnetic power gains, and through the one from whom they overflow they are used for a better purpose. By rising to show respect to a person, and by walking a few steps to receive a person, a man makes himself ready to withstand the forces of the one who is coming.

By standing up and walking a step or two he makes his pulsation regular and puts his circulation in order, thus making himself psychically and morally ready to defend himself if the one who is coming should happen to be a foe, and ready to meet him harmoniously and on the same level, physically, mentally, and morally, if he happens to be a friend. Bending the head in a bow quickens not only the circulation in the head but also the magnetic current in it, for the head is the chief moral and spiritual factor in man. You will always find that a person with a tendency to bow is thoughtful, and it often happens that the one who keeps his head erect and avoids bowing is foolish. Man's life depends upon rhythm, rhythm in his breath, in the pulsation, in the beats of the heart and head, and it is irregularity of the rhythm of his heart or of his pulse that shows disorder in his health. It is regularity of rhythm that keeps man in a fit stage to go on through life.

And when people applaud a speaker, a singer, or a player, it is a suggestion for him to continue his rhythm, physical, mental, or moral. Even the waving of the hand in parting from a friend suggests the same meaning: Continue to be in a fit state to live and enjoy life. There is a custom in the East that when a person is yawning a friend by his side claps his hands or snaps his fingers. Yawning naturally makes the rhythm slow, it is going down, so to speak, and the clapping of the hands or the snapping of the fingers on the part of the friend is suggestive of continuing the same rhythm as before. Different peoples have different customs, and customs that one is not in the habit of seeing seem not only strange and meaningless but often also ridiculous. It is the work of the seer to see into things and it is this way of viewing that is called insight.