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 Message

Free Will and Destiny in the Message

What is the Message?

Lecture for Mureeds and Friends

Wakening to the Message

Aspects of the Sufi Message

The Message

Relationship Between Murshid and Mureed

Personalities of the Servants of God

Our Efforts in Constructing

Teaching Given by Murshid to his Mureeds

Ways of Receiving the Message

The Path of Attainment

Interest and Indifference

The Call from Above

The Message


Spiritual and Religious Movements

Peculiarity of the Great Masters

Abraham, Moses and Muhammad

Four Questions

The Spreading of the Message

Jelal-ud-din Rumi

Peculiarities of the Six Great Religions

Belief and Faith

"Superhuman" and Hierarchy

Faith and Doubt

Divine Guidance

The Prophetic Life

There are two Kinds Among the Souls

The Messenger

The Message Which has Come in all Ages

The Sufi Message

The Message

Questions Concerning the Message

The Inner School

The Duty of Happiness

Five Things Necessary for a Student



The Message Papers

Spiritual and Religious Movements

June 15, 1926

Blessed Mureeds,

It gives me a great happiness to open the Summer School welcoming you all here, and wishing you every happiness and illumination. Today I have thought that I should speak to you a few words on the subject of my tour, my visit to America.

In the first place I would like to explain to you, how did I find America? I found it much better, perhaps ten or twenty times better, than it has been before. For the reason that I could not recognize New York as I had seen it three years ago. Many new buildings, everything changed; besides at the Custom House not such difficulty as before. For that I am thankful to friends; also I think that things are changing in America to the better.

Now coming to the subject of the spiritual and religious movements. In the first place there are many movements working in America, incomparably greater than anywhere else in the world. But at the same time it seems that Christian Science, that had a great adherence once, does not seem to be making such progress as it did before. Steiner's movement does not seem to be very much spreading. The Theosophical Society is also in great trouble just now. Their new ideal has made a great upset in societies everywhere; therefore some Theosophists asked me in New York to speak on the present problem.

I said the less spoken about it the better it is. There is a Vedanta Movement there, for a long time. But in America there is little discrimination about false and real when it comes to the spiritual movements. And therefore many are disappointed by the spiritual movement, seem to be losing faith in it. I saw a club, they call it an occult club. They have every fortnight a dinner. I was taken to that club, but I must not speak there about my Movement, because they were all disappointed about these things. At the dinner table there was a talk on what everyone did in the way of phenomena. Each one said what wonder he performed except myself.

So I went to the West. Besides different movements there are some individual teachers. On the ground of some prophecies appearing in different modern books, they had proclaimed their authority as representatives of the spiritual hierarchy; many are attracted to them. In this way a kind of chaos is going on, some very agitated against organization. They say, "We must be free," because the main word that every American has, the word that has impressed him most, is "freedom." Therefore he wants to be free of everything except himself. And this one drawback also keeps them backwards in a way.

Besides that mostly it is a kind of intellectual hunger for spirituality. That is much more accentuated than anywhere else in the world, than in any other country, for the reason that many years of materialism have made them feel the want of spiritual progress. At the same time, when they want to get something, they get something else. They cannot discriminate for themselves which is which. Very often a person came to tell me, "I have read this, I have studied this book, perhaps fifty books." And asked, "Have you read the same book as I? I have been to this society or that society, I have gathered up so much." That he counts up as a treasure, as a foundation. On the contrary that is the wrong foundation.

Therefore the position is that every soul seems to be longing for spiritual attainment; at the same time every soul seems to be afraid of it, and craving for it; at the same time it runs away from a spiritual thing. It is quite a peculiar situation. The more you study psychology, the situation of the American mind towards philosophy, the more you see that it is a peculiar situation. In the first place, religion is getting out of favor, as it is everywhere. In America it is most. Then there are some religious fights.

The other day I saw a priest of the Old Orthodox Church; he has a great trouble with the Head Church in Jerusalem. Because America has changed his ideas, now the people in Jerusalem say he is out of caste. Therefore there is a great trouble going on between them. Then I saw Bishop Brown, who has been put out of the Protestant Church, because he does not believe some things of the Bible literally. And when I saw him, he said that, "Now here is someone from India, he will understand my point of view. " He said, "How can I believe in these things literally?" I said, "I can quite sympathize with you, but at the same time you could have just as well not said it." He could not understand why one should not say something which we can say. He could not understand that if you can say without saying, it is just as well.

In this condition of chaos, on one side materialism is holding you, on the other spiritualism is inviting you. Then came along a Faqir from Egypt. This Faqir went to many different places. He performed in the theater lying in a coffin, being closed with no air in the coffin. There he stayed for eight or ten minutes; then he was put on two unsheathed swords, and read people's thoughts; he did wonders no doubt, and did it most wonderfully. It wakens their thoughts that there is something beyond matter, and this man is doing wonderfully, too. He invites people to come on the platform. Forty American scientists, physicians, came on the platform, they see what he is doing, there is no faith in it. The real Faqirs who can perform wonders, they never intend to show it to others.

I had my first lecture at the Waldorf, which was very well-managed and well-attended. But at the same time, at the second, third lecture, I thought everybody believed that one should spend a great deal of money to make things well known in America. In the West there was a great response; Murshida Martin arranged some lectures in San Francisco which were attended very well. At Los Angeles a great response, too. It seems to me that the West of America is a most beautiful and wonderful inspiring country. And for spiritual inspiration a great help. People are most respondent.

After traveling in different places in the West, San Diego and Santa Barbara, I came again to Chicago and gave three public lectures and besides some classes. It was only because they thought the name of special lectures attracted people who are more earnest . . . to give some classes, because I do not believe in six classes a person can be perfect, then run away to something else. It seems a wrong idea to me. Many have introduced that system; although they thought it is their wisdom first to give public lectures and then classes, I never thought it was good to call them classes. I call them special lectures, that they may know that classes cannot be gotten in twelve days' time.

It seems that everything is running there, the elevators and the subway and motorcars, machines. It makes the nervous system of everybody in such a condition that everything must be done at once, they must not wait. Something which wants patience and tests man's patience all his life, that is the spiritual idea. It makes it difficult for them and for the spiritual teacher, because of lack of patience. Would you believe that after my first lecture, my own friends told me for my own good and welfare of the Message, "The last thing you have to say, you must say first." Imagine. What you might wait for six or ten years for the pupils to develop, to reach at, they want it at the first hearing. If you do not do it, you cannot make a success; if you do it, it goes above their heads, things which they cannot understand and that cannot do any good to them just the same.

Now coming back to the work of our Movement. The work of our Movement has become more invigorated, and a greater enthusiasm has come to our Movement in America now. There is a great increase of mureeds in New York, in San Francisco, and in Los Angeles. A new group formed at Chicago and a small group at Denver. A possibility of a new group in other places where new groups will be formed. No doubt in order to develop the Sufi work in America, it is necessary that different workers of the Sufi Movement will go there and start different places where work must be developed, because that is fertile soil for the spiritual work, since every soul is hungering after spirituality.

And now I wish to say some words about the work in the Summer School. We are beginning our work with the help of God, and the first thing we must keep in our minds is to cooperate with one another most heartily. To extend our courtesy to those who newly come here. To be friends with them, to help them, to make them understand the work of the Message. That each one of the members of this order must consider this their responsibility. One must not think, "Because I am not a Cherag I must not do this work, because it is a Cherag's work; or a Murshida must do it, or a Representative. " No, every mureed must do his best to cooperate, to make others feel happy, not to make them feel in a new place, not to make them feel that everybody is exclusive, indifferent. We must show our sympathy and outgoing tendency to everybody that comes, to meet them, talk to them, interest them in the Movement. For the very reason that the Sufi Movement is small we must be more outgoing, because of the smallness of the number of our Movement.

There is a great interest wakened in America and different places for the Summer School. If people do not come this year, they will come next year. But we must begin the manner of making the strangers feel at home here by our sympathy, by our courtesy, by our outgoing tendency. If we shall not prove in our lives the philosophy which we teach and hold as our sacred ideal, then how can we make impression of same on others? Besides this, some mureeds perhaps have less time when they are at home to do practices, they are busy with their families or occupations and work; now that they are here they must think that this is the most necessary thing, to continue their exercises in order to get fullest benefit of their stay here in the Summer School.

One must never think that exercises are only for the beginners. They must know that Paderewski is playing simple scales as a beginner would play on the piano, and he plays them oftener than a beginner would play. Therefore never think that in order to advance spiritually you must have other practices or new practices. That is not necessary. If you continue every day the practices that you have, especially when you are here, it will be of great help. Besides that, there is a certain attitude of mind that is necessary while one is in the Summer School. That attitude of mind is such of friendliness, sympathy, tolerance, forgiveness; an attitude to tolerate, to forgive and forget anybody's faults. We are all limited, we all have our faults and limitations. If another person has a little more, perhaps our faults are hidden. Maybe we have more faults than anybody else.

The best thing is to overlook it. Besides, in the worldly life, all year long there are many chances to say, "That person is not good; that person does not please me; he is wrong; that person I cannot tolerate; that person I hate." These three months that we come away from worldly life it is better to give up absolutely that feeling of malice, intolerance, prejudice; it must be entirely thrown away. If anybody comes and inspires with that feeling, take it differently.

As there is a saying of a Sufi at the king's table, the king asked him when he was taking a glass of wine, "It is prohibited in your faith, is it not so?" "Yes, but when it touches my lips it turns into water."

The same thing we must do.

There come situations where one feels irritated, disgusted, intolerant, agitated. We have to live in the world, in the midst of all the jarring influences. In order to practice that we must practice. Remember, without practice you cannot do anything: we cannot sing if we do not practice, we cannot even live among people. We have all to live in the world. If not, one person is not like the other person. And every other person has a jarring effect upon the other person. And how much a person seeks association with people, at the same time, when you ask his soul, it wants to run away from it all, each soul. What does it show? It shows that if we went on naturally reacting against every influence that comes in our life, we shall never feel peaceful. The only way of feeling peaceful is only one way, that is to practice how to live in the midst of the world.

It is not two days' practice. Piano one can practice for twelve years, then it is finished, but this practice you have to do all your life. It is strange, people do not think about simple things. Tell them about occult science, mystic things, they are very pleased. But ordinary things of everyday life, how to live and move among our friends, that is such a difficult thing. It seems to be the easiest. The problem of every moment of life we seem to forget. It must be remembered that during the time of the Summer School, if we continue the practices, attending of the silences, trying one's best to keep one's mind pure from all influences which are poison and having our outgoing sympathetic attitude towards one another, then we shall accomplish work successfully. God Bless You.