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

"Superhuman" and Hierarchy

August 10, 1926

Beloved Ones of God,

I will speak this evening on the subject of what is called "superhuman." The difference between human and superhuman is not the difference of their nature, it is the difference of man's conception. That which man cannot comprehend appears to him superhuman. It is human, but because he cannot comprehend it, he calls it superhuman. It is the same thing as saying, "the other world." A world which is around him, which is within him, which surrounds him and in which he moves and makes his life and yet he is not aware of it, that world he calls "the other world." It is this very world, but because he cannot comprehend it he calls it he calls it the other world.

It is the same thing with heaven, that which is within man in the form of different planes, different spheres, the spheres which his consciousness touches knowingly or unknowingly so often in twenty-four hours. And yet he calls them heaven, something that he cannot approach, something that he does not know. In reality it is within him, it surrounds him, it is around him, he is in heaven and heaven is in him. It is the same thing with the word "superhuman. " We call it superhuman because that part of a human being is beyond man's comprehension. Man looks for mystery, and he is himself a mystery.

And now we come to the question of hierarchy. The notion of a spiritual hierarchy has existed in all different religions and has been believed by all mystical and esoteric institutions of all ages. And today humanity is so far away from that ideal. Yet they cannot form any institution, whatever it may be, without a certain hierarchy. Even the kitchen and dining room cannot be managed without a chef. Nor can a factory be managed without a supervisor. Nor can an army exist without a commander and generals and colonels.

No doubt, man is against this idea, but at the same time he cannot change it. He will change names, names of different ranks, and names of offices; but he cannot change the inner principle of hierarchy. It is impossible to change it. And why is man rebelling against it today? Is it because he has become wiser? No. It is because he has become more proud. The wiser he becomes, the more he will understand that it is natural.

And when we look at nature -- and especially that nature which shines in heaven and which is the sign of the whole construction of the entire world, of the universe -- that gives us the proof of this fact, that all the planets are not the same. There is a hierarchy among the stars and planets, and there are influences of stars and planets upon one another, and in this way the whole cosmic system is built. The Creator has made it so, and man can never change it. What he can change is the names, which he is readily doing, which he is interested in doing every day.

As it is necessary in worldly things, so in spiritual things it is necessary also. And on that basis the religions -- whether the Christian religion or the Jewish religion or the Muslim religion or the Hindu religion -- on that hierarchical basis the religions have been built. And not only the religions but the esoteric schools, where from beginning to end there is the thought of equality, where there is the thought of raising the consciousness of each man to the highest degree of the perfectly democratic institution, even there to begin with there is hierarchy. But then there is a hierarchy of initiations and of initiators, a hierarchy which is intended, which is made to do its work. And all such dispositions as that of the saint and of the master and of the prophet belong to that hierarchy of the initiates.

Now this hierarchy can be seen in traditions in two different forms: the Hindu and Buddhist form, and the form which belonged to Jerusalem, that of Christianity, of Judaism, and of Islam. There are two divisions of the Hindu form. One division is the claim of godhead; for instance, Mahadeva, Shiva, claimed to be the godhead. And so it was with Rama, and the same with Krishna. And then there was another division, that of Buddha. Buddha did not claim to be the godhead. His claim was that he found the key to the mystery of life, that he found the road to perfection, that he found the remedy to the disease of the soul; that was his claim. No doubt, it was most democratic is its essence. He showed to every person that the key is in himself, that the mystery is in himself, that the road he can find within if he will look for it. And Buddha was destined to serve the world in this manner.

And when we come to the prophets of the Near East, we find that Christ, Moses, and Muhammad, and besides these three all other prophets who came time after time, did not claim to be godheads. Their claim was that they represented the spiritual hierarchy. Even that was not the claim, that was the interpretation. The claim was that of service to God's message. No doubt, it is the church and it is the religion of afterwards which made different interpretations of Jesus Christ's words. For instance, in calling upon God as the father, he was interpreted as being the son, but especially different from other children of God.

The son was separated from other children of God, claiming that the son was different. But in the words of Jesus Christ you will not see this. You will see it in the words of those who have interpreted it in this form. But if it had not been done in this way the church would not have been built, because mankind would not have understood the depth of the Master's mission. Therefore the claim was necessary, distinction was necessary. If the world had been ripe to understand the Master's mission, distinction would not have been necessary. They would have raised the Master to the top of their heads. But even that special distinction people did not understand. What did they do in the end with the Master?

Nevertheless, all the prophets of the Beni-Israel claimed themselves only to be the prophet, someone who brought the message of God. Either it was brought to the king, or to the people, or to a community, whether a large community or a small community. And you can see in the message distinctly where he says, "I am His servant, who is engaged to bring His message to humanity." He never spoke about godhead. Besides, in the words of Jesus Christ, as well as of other prophets, you will always see the idea of God raised high, and they themselves always kept back.

But by this I do not wish to say that this was a good manner, or the other way of the Hindus was better or worse. I only wish to say that, because the people of India were of that nature and character and temperament, if that claim were not held before them by the master they would not have believed him, they would not have listened to him. They did not want at that time a servant of God. They wanted God Himself standing before them, that they could see Him. Perhaps the same claim, if it was made in Jerusalem, would have a hard time. There the claim was different, and not, "I am the servant of God," but, "I am the prophet of God." That was the claim there. Because the people there were in that condition, in that particular stage of evolution, the message was given in that way. But the spirit of the message was the same, the central theme of the message was the same. There was no difference.

The world changes from its infancy to childhood, from childhood to youth, from youth to middle age, and from middle age to old age. Naturally, therefore, the manner, the method by which the message is given changes also. The manner of this time is no claim, but the Message. As it was prophesied by the Prophet Muhammad, "After me there will not be a claim, but the message itself will be the proof, not the claim." And therefore those who have risen after the time of Muhammad and claimed to be prophets have had a bad time. They had a bad time for the very reason that the real message was not allowed to be given in that form. It was not meant that it should be given in that form, with claims. The message should prove itself to be the message, and need no claim.

And now many today are apt to understand the message of God to be transmitted in the same way as the message of the mediums. And there are some who understand the message in the same way as they understand an obsession: that a man who is obsessed by a philosopher begins to speak a philosophy, and when his obsession has gone, then he cannot speak about it. And it is true, too. There are persons who will speak most intelligently on philosophy, on metaphysics, at the time when they are obsessed. And when the obsession has gone, they are left just like a horse without a rider, because when they speak they are not themselves.

I have known of a girl in Bombay, who never learned Persian in her life, nor Arabic, but there used to come a condition upon her when she would speak in Arabic and Persian. And the parents were so surprised that they brought learned men who understood Persian and Arabic, and she discussed with them on philosophical and metaphysical subjects for hours, and so wonderfully that very often she defeated them in the debate. And yet when that influence went from her, she could not even understand one word of Persian.

That has nothing to do with the prophetic message. God does not take hold of a certain body and obsess a certain body in order to give His message to the world. These two things are quite different; an obsessed person is quite different from the message of the prophet. This must be distinctly understood.

And then there is another point, that of the medium who tunes himself into a negative state, where any soul can take hold of his body for a moment and begin to speak through him. Sometimes the medium says right, sometimes the medium says wrong, sometimes true things and sometimes things which are false. But it has nothing to do with the prophetic message; it is the abuse of the name of the prophetic message. When the medium uses it there is a mediumistic message, and when an obsessed person uses it there is a message of obsession. But now one might ask, "What is the nature of God's message?" As many souls as God has created, so many methods God can use to deliver His message.

And for man to say that in this manner or in that manner the message comes, or for man to analyze that the message must come in this form or in that form, is the greatest mistake. I do not mean to say that the prophets did not hear the Voice of God, for God can talk louder than thunder. I do not mean to say that the prophet did not talk with God, as Moses did on Mount Sinai, because the personality of God can be more concrete in the eyes of the prophet than any other person existing in the world when once he is in communion with God. As you will read in the Gayan, "Make God a reality, and God will make you the truth."

But the words that have come from the depth of the heart of the prophets, they were words of God just the same. The prophets did not have to hear the word of God through their physical ears in order to say, "This is the word of God." The prophet is the mouthpiece of God. The depth of his heart is the throne of God, and therefore every word that is spoken in the prophetic mission by prophets of any age is a living word, and it is the message.

But then again there comes a question. In the sacred books of the Muslims there are two kinds, one called the Qu'ran and the other called the Hadith. The Qu'ran is supposed to be the word of God, and the Hadith is supposed to be the word of the Prophet. And one might ask, "What is the reason of it?" The reason is one of consciousness. At one moment the consciousness of the Prophet has reached to such a height that the word that comes from the mouth of the Prophet cannot be the word of the Prophet, it can only be the word of God. But then there are other moments when the consciousness has come down, just as the thermometer goes up and down. That is the condition.

One might say, "Why must there be such a condition, why can it not be still?" Nothing living can be still. Can water be still? If it is still it is no more water. The water must rise and fall. Can air be still? If the air be still the end of the world will come. Can fire be still? If fire be still, it would be extinguished. Even the earth does not stand still, it allows the plants and trees to grow. Therefore the soul of the prophet, which must be life itself, cannot be in a still position. The consciousness must go higher, as high as possible, and then come down. And therefore this moving action will make the prophet say the word of God one moment and his own words the next. It is therefore that Muhammad knew the time when he was saying the word of God. And there were other times when he felt quite a human being, one like everybody, and what he said were words of wisdom, but he called them, "the words of the Prophet." And in this way the Hadith was distinguished from the Qu'ran.

Then one finds the same thing in the ancient Hindu scriptures: there are the Puranas and there are the Vedas. Both are sacred scriptures, but one scripture, the Vedas, are called the words of God, and the Puranas are considered the sacred words given by the Master Valmiki. And therefore in all ages it is distinguished. And it gives us a key to the prophetic mission. That key is that the prophet is not obsessed, the prophet is not mediumistic; the prophet is a human being. And yet the consciousness of the prophet may rise to that height from where it brings the sense which is put into words through which the mystery of life is interpreted. God Bless You.