The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      



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. Music

2. Esoteric Music

3. The Music of the Spheres

4. The Mysticism of Sound

5. The Mystery of Sound

6. The Mystery of Color and Sound

7. The Spiritual Significance of Color and Sound

8. The Ancient Music

9. The Divinity of Indian Music

10. The Use Made of Music by the Sufis of the Chishti Order

11. The Use Made of Music by the Dancing Dervishes

12. The Science and Art of Hindu Music

13. The Connection Between Dance and Music

14. Rhythm

15. The Vina

16. The Manifestation of Sound on the Physical Sphere

17. The Effect of Sound on the Physical Body

18. The Voice

19. The Influence of Music upon the Character of Man

20. The Psychological Influence of Music

21. The Healing Power of Music

22. Spiritual Attainment by the Aid of Music




Vol. 2, The Mysticism of Sound and Music

21. The Healing Power of Music

Healing through music is in reality the beginning of development through the art of music, the end of which is attaining that which in the words of the Vedanta is called samadhi.

In the first place, if we see what is at the back of all medicines that are used for healing purposes, and if we ask what it is in them that heals, we shall find that it is the different elements which constitute our physical existence. The same elements are present in these medicines, and that which is lacking in us is taken from them, or that effect which should be produced in our body is produced by them. That vibration which is to be created in the body is created by their power, and that rhythm which is necessary for our cure is brought about by putting the circulation of the blood into a certain rhythm and speed. The intensity of vibration which may be necessary for our health is brought about by the medicines.

From this we learn that health is a perfect condition of rhythm and tone. And what is music? Music is rhythm and tone. When the health is out of order it means that the music is out of order, that the music in ourselves is not right. Therefore, in order to put ourselves into a state of harmony and rhythm, what is most necessary is the help of harmony and rhythm. This way of healing can be studied and understood by studying the music of our own life, by studying the rhythm of the pulse, the rhythm of the beating of the heart and of the head. Physicians who are sensitive to rhythm determine the condition of the patient by examining the rhythm of the pulse, the beating of the heart, the rhythm of the circulation of the blood. To find the real complaint a physician, with all his material knowledge must depend upon his intuition and the use of his musical qualities.

In ancient times, and even now in the East, we find two principal schools of medicine: one which comes from the ancient Greek school through Persia, the other which comes from the Vedic medicine, and is rounded on mysticism. What is mysticism? It is the law of vibration: it is the understanding of the nature of complaint by the rhythm and tone that can be perceived in the human body, and it is regulation through rhythm and tone, according to one's understanding of the proportions of the rhythm and tone that make for proper health.

Besides this there is another way of looking at this question. Every illness apparently has its peculiar reason, but in reality all illnesses come from one reason; from one reason, or cause, or condition, which is absence of life, the lack of life. Life is health; its absence is illness, which culminates in what we call death.

Life in its physical form, as perceived throughout the physical spheres, is called prana in Sanskrit. This life is given by food or medicine - or the body is prepared by a certain food or medicine to be able to breathe in this life itself, in order that it may be in better health, that it may experience perfect health. But this prana, which means breath - the central breath - attracts from space all the different elements which are there, as the herbs, plants, flowers, and fruits all attract from space the same element which they represent. All these elements are attracted by the breath. Therefore the great mystics, whether from Greece, Persia, or India, always had the culture of breath, the science of breath as their basis of spiritual evolution, and the source of all healing was the science of breath. Even now you will see in the East healers who magnetize water, or food, or the atmosphere. Where lies the secret of this magnetism? It is in their breath. It is the influence of their breath which is in the water or the food.

The religious people of India have a ceremony where something like a sacrament is given by a holy person to someone who is suffering, and it helps him. It is the holy person's power of breath which is so balanced, so purified and developed, that it attracts all elements, all that one can get from herb, flower, or fruit - and even more. Therefore his breath can do a thousand times more than what medicine can do. There are healers in the East who whisper some spiritual words. What is whispering? It is breath again - breath with words directed through it.

There was a physician in Delhi who mostly used his healing power with his patients. One day a skeptical friend came to consult him. The physician whispered a few sacred words before the patient and said: "Now you may go." This skeptical man said he could not understand how such a method could have any effect upon his health. The physician then did something quite unusual for him: he offended the man by speaking harshly to him. The man became very angry, and said: "How can you, a physician, say such words to me!" The physician replied: "Usually I never do such a thing, and I only did it to prove something to you. If my words can make you angry and ill, they can also make someone well." If words can make one ill and upset, they also have the power behind them to harmonize the patient, and to put him into a good condition.

Now what is music? According to the Sanskrit thinkers there are three aspects of music: singing, playing and dancing. All three represent rhythm, and all three represent tone in some form or other. And what is the effect of music? The effect of music is to regularize the rhythm and to tune a person to the music that is being performed.

What secret is there in music which attracts all those who listen to it? It is the rhythm which is created. It is the tone of that music which tunes the soul, and raises it above the depression and despair of everyday life in this world. If one knew what rhythm is needed for a particular individual in his trouble and despair, what tone is needed, and to what tone that person's soul should be raised, then one could heal a person with music.

There was a time in India when music was used for healing. It was healing for the mind, for the character, and healing for the soul. For it is health of the soul that brings health to the physical body, but healing of the physical body does not always help the soul. That is why the material science of medicine can do good for some time, but does not entirely suffice the need of the patient. I do not mean by this that outward treatment is absolutely useless. There is nothing in this world which is useless, if we only know how to make use of it. All things in this world are needed, all things have their benefit and use, if we only know how to use them properly.

In order to give healing through music, one must study what is needed, what is wanted. In the first place one must study what the complaint is: what elements are lacking, what is the symbolical meaning, what mental attitude is behind the illness. Then, by a close study, one can do great good to the patient with the help of music.

Even if music were not used as a prescription particularly intended for a certain illness, still the power of illness, which has its abode in the heart of man, can be reduced by lifting up his heart, by changing his thought. What brings illness is the thought of illness rather than the illness itself. The existence of illness in the body may no doubt be called a shadow of the true illness which is held by man in his mind. By the power of music the mind may become so exalted that it rises above the thought of illness; then the illness is forgotten.

You may ask: "What kind of music can heal man? Is it singing, or playing, or something in the way of dance?" Singing is the most powerful, for singing is living. It is prana, it is life itself, it is voice. No doubt it is also life which is working through an instrument by the touch, but in singing it is direct life, the breath touching the heart of the listener. But what must be behind this voice? There must be a heart prepared with the help of the battery that it needs. What is that battery? That battery is what we call love and sympathy - the greatest power there is.

A person who is material, who is struggling for himself from morning to evening, who is looking for his own benefit, who is in trouble and bitter, who is in the midst of fighting and is fighting himself- he cannot heal. The healer must be free, free to sympathize, free to love his fellowman even more than himself.

What teaches this love? Where can one learn it? Where can one get it? The key to this love element is God. As we look upon life today with all its progress, what is lacking? It is God. God is the key to the unlimited store of love which is in the heart of man.

Once I was very amused and surprised at an answer that a very godly and good natured maid gave me. Working in the house, she could not answer a knock at the door as quickly as it should have been answered, and the lady visitor who was waiting at the door became very impatient and spoke crossly to the maid. When I asked her what had happened, she was not cross at all. She smiled and said: "Yes, yes, that lady was very cross with me." I asked: "Well, what was the matter with her, what made her cross, what was the reason?", and this maid, with innocence in her face, replied: "The reason? There was no God." A beautiful answer. Where God is lacking, there is no love. Wherever there is love, there is God. Wherever there is God, there is love.

If we interpret it rightly, what causes pain and suffering? It is lack of life. What is life? It is love. And what is love? It is God. What every individual wants, what the world wants, is God. All we have to attain by music, by harmony, by tone, by the science of right tuning, by a life of goodness - all we have to gain to bless our lives is God. This is the central theme of all good.