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



1. What Is My Purpose?

2. The Desire for Life

3. the Desire for Knowledge

4. The Desire for Power

5. The Desire for Happiness

6. The Desire for Peace

7. Dharma

8. Connected to the Earth

9. Spiritual Means Living

10. Perfection

11. Tolerance

12. The Knowledge of Self

13. Being Truth



One Purpose

Outer Purpose

Inner Purpose

Five Desires

Vol. 1, The Purpose of Life

1. What Is My Purpose?

One Purpose

The first thing that a seeker after truth must realize, is the purpose of life. No sooner does a soul begin to feel sober from the intoxication of life, than the first thing it asks itself is, "What is the purpose of my life?" Each soul has its own purpose, but in the end all purposes resolve into one purpose, and it is that purpose which is sought by the mystlc. For all souls, by the right and the wrong path, either sooner or later, will arrive at that purpose, a purpose which must be accomplished, a purpose for which the whole creation has been intended.

But the difference between the seeking soul and the soul who blindly works towards that purpose is like that between the material and the maker of it. The clay works towards the purpose of forming a vessel and so does the potter; but it is the potter's joy and privilege to feel the happiness of the accomplishment of the purpose, not the clay's; and so it is with the beings who are unconsciously striving towards that purpose and the souls who are consciously striving towards it, both in the end corning towards the same accomplishment; the difference is in the consciousness.

Outer Purpose

The first step on the spiritual path is when a soul realizes its outer purpose in life. For it is not every soul in the world which even realizes its outer mission in life. And the soul who does not realize it, may go on, perhaps, for its whole life and may not realize it even to the end of its life, but the one who cares to realize it, must sooner or later realize it. For the answer to his question is continually being heard in his own heart.

As Sa'di says, "Every soul is created for a certain purpose and the light of that purpose has been kindled in that soul."

If there is already a flame lit even before the person was born on earth, it remains for the person to find out for himself the purpose of his life, although everything outside himself also points to that purpose.

One may ask," What is the best way for a person to understand his life's purpose?" If one follows the bent of one's own mind, if one follows the track to which one is attracted, if one follows one's inner inclination, which is not satisfied with anything else, one feels, "There is something waiting for me (which one does not know at the time), which will bring me satisfaction." Besides, if one is intuitive and mystical, it is easier still, because then one is continually told what is the purpose of one's life.

For nature has such a perfection of wisdom. One sees that the insects are given the sense to make their little houses and to protect themselves and to make a store of their food. The bees, who have the gift of making honey, are taught how to make honey.

So nature has taught every soul to seek its purpose. It has made every soul for that purpose, and it is continually calling that soul to see that purpose. If the soul does not hear the call and sleeps, it is not the fault of nature, which is continually calling. Therefore, if I were to say in a few words how to find one's purpose, I would say: by waking from sleep.

Inner Purpose

One might ask, "Would the outer purpose lead to the inner purpose of life?" Certainly it would. Everything a person does, spiritual or material, is only a stepping-stone for him to arrive at the inner purpose, if he can only take it to be so. If he is mistaken, the mistake is in himself; he is working towards the inner purpose just the same. For all is created to work as one scheme, and therefore each individual is acting towards the accomplishment of the divine purpose. If there is a difference, the difference is of that particular individual.

Five Desires

There are five aspects which give one the tendency towards the accomplishment of the inner purpose:

  1. desire to live,
  2. desire to know,
  3. desire for power,
  4. desire for happiness and
  5. desire for peace.

These five things work consciously or unconsciously in the profound depth of every soul. Working within one, they prompt one either to do right or to do wrong, and yet these five aspects belong to the one purpose in the accomplishment of which the purpose of the whole creation is fulfilled.

  1. When the desire to live brings one in touch with one's real life, a life which is not subject to death, then the purpose of that desire is accomplished.
  2. When one has been able to perceive fully the knowledge of one's own being, in which is to be found divine knowledge and the mystery of the whole manifestation, then the purpose of knowledge is attained.
  3. When one is able to get in touch with the Almighty Power, then the desire for power is achieved.
  4. When one has been able to find one's happiness in one's own heart, independent of all things outside, the purpose of the desire for happiness is fulfilled.
  5. When one is able to rise above all conditions and influences which disturb the peace of the soul and has found one's peace in the midst of the crowd and away from the world, in him the desire for peace is satisfied.

It is not in one or the other of these five desires that there is the accomplishment of the purpose; it is in the fulfillment of [all] these five desires that one's purpose is accomplished, the purpose for which every soul was born on earth.