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

1. Man, the Purpose of Creation

2. Character-Building

3. Human Nature

4. Self-realization

5. The Art of Personality

6. Man is likened to the Light

7. Truth

8. Selflessness - Inkisar

9. Indifference - Vairagya

10. Independence and Indifference

11. Overlooking - Darquza

12. Graciousness - Khulq

13. Conciliation - Ittifaq

14. Consideration - Murawwat

15. Tact

16. Spirituality

17. Innocence

18. Holiness

19. Resist not Evil

20. Resignation

21. Struggle and Resignation

22. Renunciation

23. Sacrifice

24. Ambition

25. Satisfaction

26. Harmlessness

27. A Question about Vegetarianism

28. Unselfish Actions

29. Expectations

30. Be a Lion Within

31. Humility

31. Moral Culture

33. Hope

34. Patience

35. Confidence

36. Faith

37. Faith and Doubt

38. The Story of Orpheus

39. Happiness

40. The Privilege of Being Human

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Vol. 8, The Privilege of Being Human

15. Tact

Tact is a thread which connects heaven and earth making them one. Tact, therefore, is not learned by worldly cleverness. Earthly qualifications do not make a man really tactful; he may imitate a tactful person, but polish is different from gentleness. Where does tact come from? Tact comes from the profound depth of the human heart, for it is a sense which is developed by human sympathy. A selfish person, therefore, cannot prove to be tactful to the end. He will perhaps begin by being tactful but will end in losing that spirit, because false tact will not endure. It is the real alone - object or person - that can endure.

Tactfulness comes from our consideration for one another, and that consideration comes from our feeling, our sympathy for one another. What is consideration? Consideration is feeling "all that is displeasing, distasteful, disagreeable to me - I must not cause it to another." From this sense tact develops as wisdom. A man may be most learned, most capable, most influential, and yet not be tactful. Tactfulness is the sign of the great ones; great statesmen, kings, leaders, heroes, the most learned men, the great servers of humanity were tactful. They won their enemies, their worst adversaries, by their tact; they accomplished the most difficult things in life by the power of tact.

One never can say, "I have enough tact." It is never enough. A real tactful person, having proved not to be tactful enough in his everyday life, finds more faults with himself than a tactless person. As one becomes more tactful so one finds more fault with oneself, because there are so many shortcomings: actions manifest themselves automatically, words slip off from the tongue, and then the tactful one thinks and sees that he did not do right. But as Saadi says, "Once it is done then you, thoughtful one, repent of it. This is not the time to repent, you ought to have controlled yourself first."

One becomes tactful through self-discipline, one develops tact by self-control. A tactful person is subtle, fine, poetic; he shows real learning and fine intelligence. Many say, "How can we be tactful and at the same time truthful?" Many look at the fineness of the tactful person saying, "Hypocritical!" But what is the use of that truth which is thrown at a person's head as a big stone, breaking his head. A truth which has no beauty - what kind of truth is it? The Quran says, "God is beautiful", therefore truth must be beautiful. If it were not beautiful then beauty-seeking souls and intelligent beings would not have sought after truth.

It is not always necessary to say things which could just as well have not been said. Very often it is weakness on the part of a person to drop a word which could have been avoided. It is the tactful soul who becomes large, because he does not always express himself outwardly. So his heart, accommodating wisdom, becomes larger; it becomes a reservoir of wisdom, of thoughtfulness. It is the tactful person who becomes popular, who is loved; it is the tactful person whom people listen to. Besides, it is by tact that we maintain the harmony of our lives. If not, life turns into a stormy sea. The influences coming from all around in our everyday life are enough to disturb the peace of our lives, and if we were tactless in addition to it what would then become of us? There would be one continual storm in our lives and there could never be peace. It is by tact that we make a balance against all inharmonious influences which have a jarring effect upon our spirit. When inharmony comes from all sides and we are creative of harmony, we counterbalance it, and this makes life easy for us to bear.

What is goodness, piety, or orthodoxy without wisdom, without tact? What will a good person accomplish by his goodness, if he is not able to give pleasure and happiness by what he says or does? Of what use his piety or spirituality will be, if he is not creative of happiness for those who come in contact with him? It is, therefore, with tact that we begin our work of healing ourselves and others.

The Sufis of all ages have been known for their beautiful personality. It does not mean that among them there have not been people with great powers, wonderful powers and wisdom. But beyond all that, what is most known of the Sufis is the human side of their nature: that tact which attuned them to wise and foolish, to poor and rich, to strong and weak to all. They met everyone on his own plane, they spoke to everyone in his own language. What did Jesus teach when he said to the fishermen, "Come hither, I will make you fishers of men"? It did not mean, "I will teach you ways by which you will get the best of man." It only meant: your tact, your sympathy will spread its arms before every soul who comes, as mother's arms spread out for her little ones.

The Sufis say, "Neither are we here to become angels", nor to live as the animals do. We are here to sympathize with one another and to bring to others the happiness which we always seek." Yes, there are many thorns on the path of life, but looking at ourselves we see the same faults, if not more, as those of others which prick like stings, like thorns. Therefore if we spare others the thorn that comes out of us, we will give that much help to our fellowmen - and that is no small help! It is by being tactful that we accomplish our sacred duty, that we perform our religion. For how do we please God? We please God by trying to please mankind.