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



1. Intuition

2. Examples

3. Spoken

4. Reward

5. Punishment

The Message Papers

Divine Guidance

August 24, 1926

Beloved Ones of God,

I will speak this evening on the subject of divine guidance. Since man seeks complexity in life, he always turns simple things into complex things. And the less simple man becomes, the more complex life becomes. It is because man himself becomes complex that the life becomes complex before him. All such beliefs as that in a guardian angel leading a person on life's path, or a spirit guide helping one along life's path, these are complex beliefs and they take one to complexity. One has already seen that the divine guidance appeared in one's infancy in the form of one's mother, in the form of one's father, in the form of those who have taken care of one in life, and yet one does not believe in divine guidance unless it be pictured in a complex manner.

If instead of telling you this I were speaking about attracting spirit guides, there would be thousands of persons listening to this lecture. But because God's message comes in simple words and it makes easy all that is difficult, and simple all that is complex, it is therefore that the seekers after complexity keep away. If it can easily be achieved they do not think that it is truth; they think that truth must be realized by hard working. But if they want to work hard, there are many factories, there are so many industries where they can work hard. For seeking divine truth the less you work the better it is, the more peaceful you become and the more easily it comes.

Divine guidance can be recognized in five different aspects.

1. Intuition

One aspect and the principal aspect is intuition. It comes to the lower creation in the form of instinct, and to the human race it comes in the form of intuition. Be it inspiration, be it vision, be it revelation, it is one and the same. It is intuition, developed in different degrees. From childhood intuitively a child begins to see what is wrong for it and what is right for it. And only when the child becomes so obstinate that it does not feel even the intuition, at that time the child begins to grow.

But children apart, we see the same element, the same current of divine guidance, coming in the form of instinct in the lower creation. One sees that the animals and birds will not touch anything that will make them ill or that will bring death. They know their enemy's voice, even when they are young. The sound of the lion is known by a little rabbit.

They say that the physicians of the ancient times learned so much from the bear, the bear who under different conditions, when it was ill, found different herbs to cure itself. And those who used to study nature in ancient times found the effects of different herbs in the forest by the help of these animals. The monkey is supposed to know so much about medicines that even when it is not well and when it is necessary that it must fast, it fasts. Man is afraid to fast for three days, but a monkey does.

And I myself have seen a dog that fasted on Thursday every week. We used to call that dog "Brahman."

Intuition disappears when a person has no confidence in his intuition. When a person does not hear the voice that comes from within, then intuition begins to retire from there. If not, it belongs to the heart of man; it is natural for man to be intuitive. It is not necessary that some persons have intuition and others have not. No one can exist without a soul, and intuition is the nature of the soul. Therefore those who do not feel intuition have only lost that faculty, that faculty has become buried. It does not mean that they never had the intuitive faculty.

2. Examples

And now the other aspect of knowing, of seeing the divine guidance, is in the form of examples. The one whose faculty of intuition becomes blunted, the next thing he can do is to observe such examples as will be of use, of guidance in his life, as they are sent before him. He is sent to such places and brought to such people or put in such conditions that the example that he may take will be a source of guidance for him.

For instance, a person who has some little inclination of gambling, when he is brought to Monte Carlo and sees those who have lost every penny that they had, he has there an example for himself. The divine guidance has sent him that example. And yet what generally happens? He does not see them; he does not look at those who have lost, he looks at those who have gained. In that way he builds his hope.

Do you think that a person who loves to drink would look at a person who has become drunken, who has fallen in the street? He never looks at him. One might think, "Perhaps he is ashamed of himself." No, it is not so. He does not want to remind himself that he will have such a condition to meet, such an experience to meet. He turns his head and goes away from there. But what he would like to see is four persons sitting comfortably at a table, drinking and enjoying themselves nicely. A good example of the same he would like to see.

But what does divine guidance do? It sends bad examples before him. He is brought often and often before bad examples, that he may see and learn from them. And yet man does not learn from them very often.

3. Spoken

And when the keen observation is also blunted, so that he can no longer keenly observe life, then he turns his back to examples shown before him. Then the third aspect of divine guidance is to speak.

  • It may speak in the words of a child;
  • It may speak in the words of a foolish person;
  • It may speak in the words of a servant;
  • It may speak in the words of a neighbor;
  • It may speak in the words of a friend;
  • It may speak in the words of a foe.

And when the eyes are closed and when the ears are closed also, then even the third way of divine guidance also becomes fruitless.

I have heard a friend say, "Each time my groom told me not to go riding, if I went I had an accident." That groom was not a wise man, but what came from him was the voice of the Spirit of Guidance. He was innocent, he said it innocently.

It is automatic that a person may say something to you, and that is the voice of God. Very often friends take the place of divine guidance, and they tell you something. That is the best, when friends tell you. When strangers take the place of divine guidance and tell you, that is worse. And what is still worse is when your enemies tell you.

4. Reward

Besides these three ways, there is the fourth way, and that is the way of temptation, in other words, the way of reward. For all the good one does, all that one does that is right, there comes a reward in some form or other, in the form of wealth, in the form of fame, in the form of success, in the form of popularity, in some form or other. In the form of sympathy, friendship, love, comfort, in some form or the other, reward comes. And that reward teaches you to keep on that path and not to go astray from there.

But at that time reward is most blinding. As soon as one thinks, "I am rich," one becomes intoxicated. And then it is quicksilver, it runs away quickly. And when one thinks, "I should have learned my lesson before," it is too late. In the same way one becomes intoxicated by friendship, love, sympathy, that is given to one. One abuses it; one does not value it; one does not appreciate it. The end is that it disappears, and then one begins to realize, "I had wealth, more than wealth, and then I lost it." And then it is too late.

Health is the same way. As long as one enjoys good health one never thinks what a privilege, what a blessing it is. It is afterwards, when it no longer exists, that one begins to realize, "What have I lost!" Life, as Omar Khayyam says, is a wine press, and every good thing that comes, comes just like a wine. It is a reward; but this reward may intoxicate a person, and a person may forget to appreciate it and to be grateful for it. With the mere fact of his forgetting that privilege, the reward is taken away from him, and then he begins to value it and appreciate it, when he is empty-handed.

5. Punishment

The fifth way of divine guidance is the way of punishment, in the form of a loss in business, in the form of a loss of friendship, in the form of a loss of health and strength, in the form of a loss of happiness and joy. Then a lesson is taught, and that becomes very difficult.

Very often a person says, "How cruel God can be." But one does not know that four methods were used first, and when all those four methods were not understood by man then the fifth method was used. It is most kind of God; it is the greatest compassion, that four opportunities were given. If one would learn; if one would understand. And when one has lost the four opportunities, then the fifth opportunity is given. It is an opportunity, too.

No matter in what form a punishment comes, as Tagore says, "It is the tuning of the string; the string of the violin is tuned."

And while tuning, the string stretches, but it is brought to its proper tone. The punishment in one's life is the same. No matter what its form, when it comes, it comes to raise man's consciousness. There are many punishments which we can see and recognize, and there are many punishments which we cannot see and recognize. And there are many punishments which are in the form of reward, and yet they are worse punishments, and no one recognizes it. But at the same time, what is the punishment? The punishment of the God of compassion is a reward too.

God Bless You.