The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

Volume

Sayings

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 SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

Health

Physical Condition

Physical Culture

Control of the Body

Balance

Balance in Solitude

Balance in Greatness

Life's Mechanism

Harmony

Mastery

Self-Mastery

Self-Discipline

A Question about Fasting

Self-Control

Physical Control

Questions about Vaccination and Inoculation

Breath

The Mystery of Breath

The Science of Breath

The Philosophy of Breath

The Control of the Breath

The Control of the Breath

The Power of Silence

A Question about Feelings

The Control of the Mind

The Mystery of Sleep

Five Stages of Consciousness

Dreams

Dreams are of Three Kinds

Spiritual Healing

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Vol. 8, Health and Order of Body and Mind

A Question about Fasting

Question: Do you advocate a long fast from 30 till 90 days in order to purify the body for spiritual attainment?

Answer: I am not an advocate of asceticism, but at the same time I see the good work that many ascetics have done and I do not wish to depreciate it.

Coming to the question of fasting, I think that fasting is one of the ways by which the denseness of the body can be diminished. And when one knows the right way of fasting, when one is under the direction of someone who really knows when a person should fast, and why and how he should do so, and how he could gain the benefit of his fasting, then great benefit can be obtained by it. Surgeons keep a person without food for so many hours or days knowing that it will help them to heal quicker. In the same way spiritual teachers may prescribe a fast to their pupils: sometimes being without cereals, sometimes without eating meat, sometimes without bread, sometimes living on milk, on fruits, and sometimes, for a certain limit of time, without anything. They see the capacity of the pupil: what he can endure and how he can be benefited by a particular fast.

But, to tell the truth, I am the last person to prescribe fasting. I only give some advice if persons themselves wish to fast, for I know a story of a disciple who went to a teacher and was told, "In order to begin the practices you must start with a three days' fast." One day he felt so hungry that he ran away from the city in order never to see the teacher again!

There is always a meaning if a teacher prescribes a fast; he has a reason for it.

There is an amusing story of a great Sufi who lived in Baghdad. There are many stories of his wonderful achievements. He had told a young pupil of his to live on a vegetarian diet. The mother of this young man, having heard that since the boy went to the teacher he had grown pale and thin, came to give the teacher a little talking to. He was at table when she came and there was a chicken dish on the table. So the mother said, "You are teaching your pupils to live on a vegetarian diet, and you yourself are enjoying chicken!" The teacher opened the dish and the chicken flew away. The teacher said, "The day your son can do this too, he can also eat chicken"!