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

Five Ideals

What is lacking today in the world is idealism. Where does idealism come from? From deep thought. Today life in general keeps man so busy in his occupation, in his profession, in his work of everyday life, that he has no time to think deeply and better; he does not find his ideal. Among a thousand persons there is perhaps one person who has an ideal and knows what ideal he has. All the others do not know it, they do not have an ideal. Besides, it is not only to have an ideal, but it is necessary to know the ideal and to attain to the ideal, to develop towards it, to unfold oneself towards the ideal. It is that in which lies life's fulfillment.

Ideals are of five different kinds.

  1. There is a certain principle which is a person's ideal, and if he can live that principle he has lived his ideal.
  2. There is a certain action which is a person's ideal; if he has accomplished that action then his ideal is fulfilled.
  3. There is a belief which is a person's ideal, and if he is able to keep to that belief he has fulfilled his ideal.
  4. There is a certain height to which a person wishes to reach, and that mark which he wishes to reach is his ideal.
  5. The fifth ideal is a person in whom is a man's ideal, and when all the attributes which that person has are attained then that ideal is fulfilled.

But all these five ideals are as five stepping-stones to the shrine of God. The greatest ideal, the highest ideal is the ideal of God. It is not necessary, and yet it is most necessary, that there should be a stepping-stone to go to the altar of God. Without this stepping-stone many are lost.

It is often a very rigid soul who will say, "God is my ideal. I do not care for any other ideal." It comes from his rigidness, for it only means that he does not wish for the ladder; he wishes to jump from the ground to the next floor. The ideal of God is the perfect ideal, and in order to reach it there must be a footstool, there must be a ladder, there must be a steppingstone which leads to it, be it a principle, be it a belief, be it an action, be it a position, be it a person.

It is the poetic nature that is inclined to have an ideal; it is the artistic nature that has the love of ideal; it is the musical tendency to look for an ideal. Therefore ideal is attached to higher intelligence. The lower a person's evolution the less he is inclined to an ideal; the higher the person is evolved the more he is inclined to an ideal. If those great ones -- kings, generals, writers, poets, musicians -- have really accomplished something great and made an impression upon humanity, it was because of their ideal. Without an ideal, whatever one has done is nothing. In the first place one cannot accomplish something without an ideal. If one did so, it would be nothing. A machine has finished something: there is no ideal in it. Ideal therefore is like the breath of life; ideal therefore is the lift that takes you upwards.

Then there are some who say, " "Yes, I have my ideal in a person, but that person does not come up to my ideal. I am sorry, but I shall turn my back upon him." It will always be like that. What is a person? A person is limited. The ideal is perfect. Therefore in order to retain your ideal you will have to make the person out of your own devotion, out of your love, your sympathy. Give to the person what is lacking, then that ideal is made.

For instance, the great teachers of humanity, Buddha, Muhammad and Christ, what are they to those who do not follow them? Nothing. But to those who follow them they are everything. Why? Because their followers have made them out of their devotion; they have taken the name and then they have made their ideal out of their devotion. When a Buddhist says, "Buddha was God, and Buddha was the Lord, and all beautiful attributes were in Buddha," it only means that he has taken all the beautiful attributes of Buddha and has added all kinds of beautiful things. But how much can the idealist add? There is endless beauty. It is only for his own conviction, for his devotion, for his development that he makes his ideal as perfect as possible, and it is the same with the devoted followers of any teacher of humanity.

But if people said, "We are going to analyze what the teacher taught. What he said was this.... Another teacher says another thing and a third one says something else; so it is all different." That again is another outlook. They never have an ideal. Now many study theology in colleges and universities. Do they have that ideal? Never. They say, "What Buddha said is quite right. But there is something else here in the Bible which is different from it. What Muhammad said, well, one cannot apply it to practical life, and he is of quite a different kind." When they begin to analyze the ideal it is an analyzing of books. Their ideal is no ideal, their ideal is in the books, and one day they will get above it or beneath it. If they rise they rise above it, and if they fall they fall beneath it.

But when one comes to the ideal, it belongs to devotion, it belongs to love. It is the same as what Majnun said about Leila, his beloved girl. When people asked Majnun, "What is Leila? She is not so beautiful, she is like any other girl," Majnun replied, "In order to see Leila you must borrow my eyes." That is what the ideal teaches.

Analyzing and idealizing are two different things. If you analyze you are in quite a different sphere. If you analyze something you can say it in words; if you idealize you rise above words.

The whole world is going downwards because of the lack of an ideal, and if there is any hope of the betterment of humanity, it is not through better economical conditions; it is not so that, if political conditions were better, the world would be happy. No, never, because that thirst, that hunger for money and that avariciousness will want just the same. If the labor-man came in the place of the government, if the laborer became a capitalist, and the capitalist a laborer, if the whole world became aristocratic, or if the whole world became democratic, that would not take away the trouble of the world. If there is anything that will raise the world, it is the ideal. If the ideal is given in different directions and to different individuals, and if humanity wakens to a higher ideal, that only can be the source of the betterment of humanity.