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

Peculiarity of the Great Masters

June 22, 1926

Beloved Ones of God, I would like to speak this evening of the peculiarity of the great masters of humanity.


The life of Rama has been read by Hindus for thousands of years and they are never tired of it. That shows that each time they hear the story of Rama they feel exalted and they derive some benefit from the story. As a young prince, Rama had the education of spiritual and of ethical nature under the teachership of Vashishta, the great spiritual master of that time. So to begin with in his life there was this great influence, and under the influence of Vashishta, Rama grew to be an ideal young man.

Then there was a ceremony arranged, because there was a demand from every side for Sita, the maiden whose hand was asked by all the different maharajahs of that time. And Rama went there. The story is that all of the princes, all of the maharajahs were dressed with jewels and gorgeous dresses, except Rama, because he came directly from Vashishta's school, which was in the forest, so he was living a country life. And with all this Rama won in the end. It was Rama who struck the right note in the heart of Sita, and all the maharajahs who were present, were against.

Then for twelve years, as his father had taken a vow that he must go in the forest and live an ascetic life, a life of thought, before he could be entitled to rule the country, he was sent. And Sita went with Rama. Ravana, the prince who was most opposed to Rama's success as a bridegroom, followed Rama to the forest and seized the opportunity which had presented itself. Rama had gone to bring some fruits and water, and there Sita was left alone; and Ravana lifted Sita against her wishes, and flew away with her.

Now then again there is a test. The one test is for a prince to be outside his country, and the other test is to have lost all he had, that was his bride. But here Rama shows balance again: instead of being discouraged, he still trusts in her love for him, he still has trust in providence. Instead of being disappointed, he went on searching for her. In the end she was found, a captive in the garden palace of Ravana.

And then it is said that to free Sita Rama accepted the help of Hanuman, the king of the monkeys. Well, that also gives us a great key to the science of biology. It was a monkey, but not quite a monkey. Because they cannot find the missing link, therefore they say it was a monkey. It was a new race just sprung from animals, a race which was to develop, to evolve into human beings in the end, a most primitive race, showing every trace of an animal. Darwin passed away disappointed that he could not find an example of that.

This again shows that in order to accomplish, or in order to wage a war against an earthly king, Rama had to seek an earthly help. He did not invite wise men to come and help him at that time. They would not have helped him. They would have said, "Have courage, be wise, have patience, sit down, calm yourself, cool yourself, have sense, be reasonable, she is not there, it is impossible, you are not a ruling prince, you are in the forest, you are alone. The prince Ravana has taken her away, she would not have gone if she had not been willing."

Every sort of reasoning clever people would have brought before him. But the primitive people were ready to give their lives in order to serve the spiritual soul. And at the same time it shows how primitive minds can feel the spiritual soul more easily, more readily, than so-called clever men. They sympathized with him. No one else came except the wild people of the forest.

That shows the wisdom of Rama also, to control this people, who were accustomed to go one to the East, another to the South; one creeping, one walking, another jumping: that was their spirit. To control the army of that kind of people, and then to make a success in the war with a king, that again shows Rama's balance. Then, as he had confidence that Sita was for him, Sita was his bride, he fought, and he got back to his land. And the most interesting part of the story is that they came in an airplane. The monkeys had to jump back, but Rama had the airplane.

How little we know of that time! How many civilizations came and how many civilizations went down, and we do not know about it. How far can we trace back the history of the world? Who can deny that there was once a greater evolution in everything -- art, science, mechanics -- even still more wonderful than we see today. There are a thousand examples to be found in the Mahabharata, the ancient tradition which has been handed down for thousands of years, that Rama came down in Viman, which means in the airplane.

After this ordeal, after trial, when Rama came back he was able to rule his country in an ideal way. Therefore balance is represented by the life of Rama, and all such things as courage, hope, confidence, trust, all these come from balance.

But one might ask, "This story does not tell us anything spiritual. It is only his bride, she was lost; Rama went there, he fought with Ravana; he won, brought her back and then became king. It was all happiness. There were little difficulties, but it was all smooth." But I should say spirituality is not in words, spirituality is in acts. Rama had acted and proved the power of spirituality.


And now we come to the peculiarity of Krishna. It is still more wonderful. You have heard the story of Krishna. He danced among gopis, and he teased the milkmaids, and he played in Brindavan as a boy. I should think that it is the most beautiful thing that can exist. He was not a sad, serious, downhearted, depressed young boy. He was life itself. He was born with life, a soul that was to expand throughout the whole universe. And he came with that life and attracted all those that lived in the country, even in his childhood. No doubt there are symbolical stories of Krishna.

Perhaps Krishna was not so bad as they think him to be from the stories. For instance, Krishna did not steal butter, although it is said in tradition, and the Hindus most respectfully hear it. Butter is the essence of milk, and wisdom the essence of life; therefore wisdom is likened to butter. His stealing butter was to churn the experience of life and take out of it its essence. But suppose it was not so symbolical; it was perhaps true. Yet, if you knew what it is in a peasant village to steal a little butter, it is a great joy. It is not like going in a shop and stealing tins of butter. It is a little butter stolen, a wonderful joy.

And then again there was the greatest test that life could give to any prophet, that was given to Krishna, for the reason that he was the Prophet, the Godhead. He was to give the philosophy of love, of kindness, of harmlessness. There he was faced to help a prince whose kingdom was taken away, Arjuna. The most difficult situation for a prophet: to have to stand by someone who must fight, and yet to be destined to give the Message of God -- torn from two sides. And how beautifully he has come out by giving the Bhagavad Gita, from the beginning to the end, that you can touch every corner of wisdom. There is kindness, there is bravery, there is courage, there is wisdom, there is intellect, there is philosophy, there is mysticism, there is all. In one book he has given the whole philosophy of life from beginning to end. The more one reads the Bhagavad Gita, the more one finds the truth of that English phrase, "to put it in a nutshell." The whole philosophy of life is put in the most concise form.

One might ask, "What had he to do, such a great soul, to stand with a prince? What did it matter if his kingdom came back or if it did not come back?" If we look at it from a psychological point of view, the kingdom is the divine kingdom, and it is lost by every man, by every soul, when the soul has come in this manifestation. And in order to find this kingdom, he had to learn not only spiritual things but the ways of warfare, how to struggle along, and to persevere in the path of truth. And suppose it was true? Then he gave an example to the world, that you can be the wisest man and yet have all the capabilities that a king, or a prince, or a judge, or a general, or a statesman has. It is showing perfection from all sides.


And then we come to the peculiarity of Shiva. Shiva has given an example of vairagya. Do not think it an asceticism. Very often people say, "Vairagya means asceticism." But it is not so. Asceticism is a crude interpretation of vairagya. The word vairagya comes from tyaga; in Sanskrit tyaga means renouncing. And when it is said vairagya, it means success in renouncing. Shiva showed it in his life. For years he did meditations; he stood for hours and for days on his head; for hours and for days he held his breath in; he went without food for days and months. All those things that one can do in order to master matter and life he did.

When one hears Shiva's philosophy, it is all tyaga: give it up, indifference, independence from all things -- from food, water, air, breath, sky, from all things -- renounce it, renounce it. And do not be surprised, with all that, the best philosophy he gave was to his consort Parvati. She asked him questions, and he answered her gently. Through all this asceticism he never gave a philosophy out, he lived out; he lived it all his life, and by being an example. It was sometimes that he opened his mouth, and Parvati took down what Mahadeva gave.

And there is always in the book, there was a dialogue, between Mahadeva and Parvati. Parvati took it down. That shows again balance. He was ascetic, but he was not despising all that was beautiful and good. He was not ignorant of the devotion given to him. And it was he who told Parvati, when giving the science of yoga, "Never give this science to the unfaithful. Give it to the simple ones, give it to the poor ones, give it to good persons, wherever they may be, but never give it to the unfaithful." It is often that that remark is made.

What is the attitude of the guru? When in a chela there is not the right attitude to the guru, that chela must not have the secret toward life; he does not deserve it. One would think that when the guru had renounced everything, what would it matter whether the chela is faithful or not? He knew that what in faithfulness he will receive, that will do him good; what by unfaithfulness he will receive it will burn him. It was for the good of the chela.


Now we come to the peculiarity of Buddha. Buddha showed the great reason, he began with reason. His parents kept him closed, secluded in the palace till he was a grown up young man, and never allowed him to see the misery of life. He was quite unacquainted with life in the world. He only knew his servants, the royal comforts that he experienced in the palace. And there comes one day when the father says, "Now you must go out; how long shall we keep him in captivity?" The first day when he goes out he looks around and says, "What is this?" They said, "He is a blind man, he cannot see." He said, "Yes, and what is this?" "It is a poverty-stricken man, he has no money." "What is this?" "It is old age, which has its trials." "What is this?" They said, "They are the heroes who fought. Now they have become wounded; now for the whole life they are in this condition."

He looked at all and said, "Is there no remedy for it?" They said, "There are remedies, but remedies are limited." It was the first experience of life that gave him a blow. With that blow his soul was wakened, and he began to think, "How can they be relieved of all different kinds of miseries?" The whole life of Buddha went in it; he was devoted to find the remedy to relieve humanity. He thought of things, examined different aspects of life, talked with people, consoled them and served them. Every moment of life of Buddha was devoted to finding the remedy to relieve humanity, whatever way it can be. In this pursuit of relief he found out the same mystery, the mystery which all great prophets and souls have found, and the mystery was self-realization. That was the remedy of all miseries, and nothing else. Give the poor money, he will be poorer still.

After that Buddha had to renounce the comfort and the happiness which God had given him and go out as a physician of the soul, to console humanity. The whole life was passed in it, and those inspired by the glance, by the words, by the presence, by the atmosphere of the master, they spread it still more, till it became the message of the world. Today half the world is benefitted by it, and the whole world is benefitted by it indirectly.


And then we come to the life of Shankaracharya, the last prophet of India, the Hindu prophet, who was not really the prophet but who was the representative of Rama, Krishna, Shiva, and Buddha. He had the four different aspects of wisdom gathered in him, because it was his time to give the message to his country. He mixed the four aspects; of this Brahmanism came. Therefore Buddhism went out of India, it only remained in China and Japan, but mixed; and in India again Buddhism came and enriched Brahmanism, which was disapproved by the followers of Rama and Krishna.

Although they remained as the admirers, as those who adhered to the different prophets, but at the same time they had love and devotion for all those . . . they considered all of the avatars the same soul, the same spirit: the Spirit of Guidance. It is in this way that the essence of the four different messages was given in Brahmanism.

God Bless You.