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 Smiling Forehead

The Heart Quality

The Heart - Aphorisms

The Four Paths


The Story of Hatim

The Difference between Will, Wish and Desire

Destiny and Free Will

Free Will and Destiny


Free Will - Aphorisms

The Seer


The Different Stages of Spiritual Development

The Prophetic Tendency - The Prophetic Mission

Points of View held by Spiritual Persons

Higher Spiritualism

The Process of Spiritual Unfoldment

The Awakening of the Soul

Sufi Teachings

The Dance of the Soul

The Deeper Side of Life

Man, the Seed of God

Sufi Philosophy

The Gift of Eloquence

Evolution of the World

Every Man has his own little World


Spirituality, the Tuning of the Heart

Optimism and Pessimism

Conscience - Questions and Answers

Justice and Forgiveness - Questions and answers

Pairs Of opposites used in Religious Terms


The Law of Attraction

The Liberal and the Conservative Point of View

The Law of Life

The Law of Action

The Soul, Its Origin and Unfoldment

The Unfoldment of the Soul

Divine Impulse

The Symbol of the Cross

The Mystical Meaning of the Resurrection

Spiritual Circulation through the Veins of the Universe

The Divine Blood Circulating Through the Veins Of the Universe



A School

A Puppet-show

A Play

A Cafe

A Madness

A Pity

A Service

Five Ideals

Vol. 14, The Smiling Forehead

Points of View held by Spiritual Persons

A School

There are persons who look at life picturing it as a school, and it is true that life is as a school. How much evolved one may be, there is not one day that one does not learn something new; from the most unevolved person to the most evolved one this can be seen. The more one realizes that life is a school, the more one learns from it, and if one does not learn from it then it is a school just the same. In this way one can justify the divine Spirit in letting every soul grow through different experiences: through the path of pain and pleasure there is something to be learned. One must not think that the divine Being does not teach the one who lives in pleasure. Therein is a teaching for him, and for the one who is in pain there is a teaching in pain.

Very often those who think that they can correct someone, that they can teach someone, that they can guide a person, that they can direct someone, are apt to forget that they may do quite the wrong thing. If a thief was told by his uncle not to steal, not to go and do his work and if he was held back, that only means that he would go and do it the next week. But if he goes and robs, if he is arrested by the police, if he is taken to prison and stays there for three years, then he has learned his lesson. His uncle could not teach him; it is life, it is circumstances that must teach him. It is the experience through which he has to go that teaches man.

Often one feels that it is unjust on the part of destiny to put one into conditions that seem very cruel, and one thinks that it would be kinder on the part of destiny to teach without troubling. But what, after all, is trouble? There are no such things as pleasure and pain; only the comparison between them makes them so. In other words, if there was no pain one would not be capable of enjoying pleasure, and if there was no pleasure one would not be capable of experiencing pain. If that is true, then to the degree to which one is capable to experience pain, to the same degree one is able to experience pleasure. The one who cannot experience pain cannot experience pleasure. The stone has nothing, it has neither pleasure nor pain. It is the relativity, it is the relation, the comparison between two experiences which makes them distinct, but the one cannot be distinct without the other. Therefore there is the necessity of both experiences.

Besides, it is very interesting to see that for one person it is necessary to go through pain and trouble and effort in order to come to a certain success or accomplishment, and for another to come to the same experience there is no pain, no trouble, it is easy. One might think, "Why is it easy for one person and why is it so difficult for the other one?" It is difficult because the soul needs that difficulty; it is the need of the soul, it is the want of the soul. There is a belief that the nightingale sits on a thorn in order to cry so melodiously. If you look into the lives of those who go through troubles and sufferings, you will find that unconsciously they seek trouble, they look for it. Not consciously; consciously they would run away from it, but unconsciously they look for it, because it is good for their souls, it is meant for them. If they did not have it, they would not reach satisfaction.

It is so interesting to watch how every soul is looking for trouble. It is not so interesting that every person is seeking pleasure, but it is most interesting to see how every one is seeking his pain, looking out for it.

Tagore says: "When the string of the violin was being tuned it felt the pain of being stretched, but once it was tuned then it knew why it was stretched."

So it is with the human soul. While the soul goes through pain, torture and trouble it thinks that it would have been much better if it had gone through life without it. But once it reaches the culmination of it then, when it looks back, it begins to realize why all this was meant: it was only meant to tune the soul to a certain pitch.

Very often the foolish, those who have no responsibility, who have no sense of duty, who have no ideal, who have no principle, seem to enjoy life more than those with an ideal, with principles, with a sincere heart, with a faithful spirit. Those who desire to do good, those who desire to serve, it is they who go through pain and suffering. This only means that it is not the dead souls who are tried; their time is to come, their time will come. But the living souls are tried and tested according to the degree of their development and they are raised to a higher consciousness-even if it was necessary to stretch the string of their souls. In order to tune the string it must be stretched.