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

The Prophetic Life

September 7, 1926


Beloved Ones of God,

I will speak this evening on the subject of the prophetic life. There have been many great teachers who have been sent on earth to serve God and help humanity, and their lives are different from one another. Yet behind their lives there is a plan, a plan which is quite similar in the life of them all. For instance, God's plan was carried out in the nursery. It was quite unusual for the kings of India to have their crown princes kept in the house, in the palace, till they were young men, and not to bring them in touch with the world. It has never happened before nor has it happened afterwards.

It was God's plan that was working through the mind of Buddha's father, prescribing for Buddha this solitude. This way of purification, which went on for a long time, from his early childhood to the age when he was a grown-up man, was because the spirit that was going to find the remedy for the freedom of the soul needed that rest, that solitude, and that silence for his great heart to mature. One might think it would be cruel on the part of the parents to even think of such a thing, but it proved to be most kind on the part of the parents. It was because it was meant that it should be so.


Then we come to the life of Rama. Young Rama came from the abode of Vashista, his teacher. He lived with him in the forest, in the solitude, and saw little of the palace life of his father. No sooner was he married, according to the custom of Hindus to marry early in their lives, then he was sent to vanuasa; which means "the sacred exile" of twelve years, away from home. In the tradition of the Hindus we do not read of such a thing happening before or afterwards. It was only in the case of Rama. It is not true that there was a custom of the Hindus and especially of the kings that the prince should be sent to vanuasa for twelve years.

By this I wish to explain to you how destiny has from the beginning taken in hand souls who were going to be the servants of God. One can imagine: a child who was a son of a king and who was sent first to the holy man Vashista in his simple abode in solitude, where he lived the most simple life till he was grown up. In his early youth, no sooner was he married than he was sent to the forest. The difficulties of forest life were not enough. To add to those difficulties Sita was sent with him and then was taken away by Ravana to make the trouble complete, that there should not remain one little possibility of pain that he did not experience. For a prince it would have been quite enough to be in the forest, to live on leaves and flowers and fruits and to wander about without a roof over his head in the sun and storm and rain. But it was meant that the test should be complete.


Then we come to the life of Krishna. From his early childhood he was given into the hands of Yashoda, a milkmaid; he was brought up in the house of a peasant, with his princely soul and kingly spirit. And there again we see how with that unique spirit that was born in Krishna he moved about and played and was friendly with the girls and boys of the peasants living in Brindavan, how they became attracted to him, how they were most devoted to him, how they loved him in his childhood. Krishna became in that peasant life and that frame the light and life of Brindavan. He had not given a message at that time, nor had he spoken of philosophies. On the contrary, there are many stories, sometimes even exaggerated, of his playfulness, which proved him to be more playful than the little boys of Brindavan. But that did not make any difference. The light was there, the life was there, the spirit that was going to shine was proving its origin from that time.

For the poetry and for the music of Hindus, Krishna is the central theme. Krishna is the beloved character upon whom are built many songs, songs of love and quarrel and conflict and doubt. And all these songs are sung by singers and heard by people with love and adoration and admiration. Not one person judges the different little shades, the light and shade of words and of meaning, expressed by poets in connection with Krishna's life, with his virtuous principles. The poems, the songs of Krishna's life are so beautiful and so charming, so winning, that most righteous and virtuous people forget for one moment their high principles and begin to hear and enjoy the love lyrics of young Krishna.


And then we come to the Near East, beginning with Moses found in the water and taken by the princess. That in itself shows an unusual life and an unusual plan that destiny had made. Moses showed spirit and will as he grew, and through all difficulties he maintained his conviction till it became fruitful.


And we come to the life of Jesus Christ, born in the wilderness and opposed from birth by the king, whose opposition continued. We see how, before he could speak, his movements, his glance inspired and blessed those who came in contact with the master. At an early age he spoke with the religious people and they lost their word.


Now we come to the Prophet Muhammad. His father, Abdullah, had died before the birth of the Prophet. He did not see his son, and the child was left with the mother. And even the mother had to be taken away soon in his life in order to make him understand what the life of an orphan is. He was being prepared to sympathize when he grew up to be the Prophet, so that from his childhood he must experience the absence of the father and then absence of the mother. It shows how the masters were made lame first, in order to take heavenly feet; their earthly feet were taken away and heavenly feet were given to them so they could stand on earth again, and stand more firmly. Because their struggle was great, their task was great, and the opposition and tests that they had to go through were great. If they had not heavenly feet they could not stand against all the difficulties of life.


Now we come to the manner of inspiration, how it came. In that also one has a resemblance to the other. The inspiration of Buddha came at that moment when he was sent into the world and looked at the world with his matured spirit. The first glance of Buddha falling upon the woes of the world took away his interest from the palace and grandeur and earthly success and earthly gain. Everywhere, wherever he looked, he saw pain. He saw pain behind pleasure, he saw pain covered by joy, he saw pain hiding behind what is called happiness. He looked at pain that was uncovered, he looked at pain that was hiding itself from the eyes of everyone, and he saw where all this pain comes from.

It comes from man's limitations. And there he saw that no matter what you give him -- wealth, power, position, all manner of pleasure and happiness -- still man will remain in pain, in trouble; still he will have sorrow. If there is a way of coming out of it, it is only one way, and that way is the way of perfection. Therefore, instead of finding thousands of ways of helping humanity, he stuck to one way: to help man towards spiritual perfection, to help man find his power, his inspiration, his happiness, his peace, not outside, but within himself.


And then we come to Rama. All that he had gone through was a lesson for him. Now he acted through different situations and showed practical philosophy. The way of war and the way of peace, the way of ruling his people justly, the way of sympathizing with them, the way of serving them, the way of lifting them up, the way of raising humanity, all these different ways of Rama have been an example for ages. One who studies the Ramayana will see that the legend of Rama, all how he went through, how he took it, and how he reacted, is all a lesson. Not a lesson only for a king or a chief; it is a lesson for every man, because every man has a kingdom of his own. However insignificant a man may be, he has his own kingdom in this world, and he has his duty, his responsibility towards his kingdom. And the way Rama went through test and warfare all shows the manner to use with one's own kingdom.


And when we come to Krishna, in spite of all the love and lyric that is connected with his life, in spite of all the beauty and joy and color that his life gives, making a beautiful picture of his youth, he had to face a tremendous problem. And that was to defend the five brothers, the Pandavas, who were exiled from their kingdom. One might ask what had a mystic, a prophet, a teacher, to do with this problem? But this problem was a means, a means to bring out the message that was meant for Krishna to give. And this message was an all-sided philosophy. It is not the philosophy of one particular pitch, but it is a philosophy which contains all the notes of the music of life. If one reads that little book, the Bhagavad Gita, one finds that it is a phenomenon, that everything is dealt with: pride and honor and bravery and courage and fight and harmony and peace and love and surrender. Imagine!

It shows how everything in life has its meaning and its place, if you can only know how to use it for its best advantage. Krishna has shown that war has its meaning and peace has its meaning and power has its meaning and resignation has its meaning. It is not wise to consider a few things of life of no use and the things which one considers of great importance as the only useful things. One must see life as a whole, and that everything that is in life has its meaning. And if one can utilize everything of life towards its own purpose, then the purpose of life is fulfilled.


When we come to Moses we hear of the communication that Moses received from God on Mount Sinai. This gives us the lesson that Mount Sinai means the highest point the consciousness can reach. And it is by the consciousness touching the highest point that one receives the message of God. Climbing on Mount Sinai means climbing that height that bridges the distance between the imperfect and the perfect one. Imperfection is at the bottom of the mountain of life; perfection is at the top of it. The one who can climb this mountain and reach the top, for him it is easy to communicate with God. It only means that the heart that can reach the plane of the Absolute Being and still have individual consciousness will be able to communicate from there.

There is one teaching of Moses which is known as the Kabbala, which is known only to mystics. The mystic teaching of Moses was handed down for ages to mystics, and they named it Ilme Zafar ("science of Zafar").


And then we come to the life of Christ. You read in the Bible every answer that the Master gave to his disciples. Some came with their doubts, some with their reasons, some with their confusions, some with perplexity, some with faith and without sense, some with sense but without faith, some with devotion only, and others with curiosity. All asked questions to examine, sometimes to be wise before the Master, sometimes for curiosity, sometimes to learn. You can see the compassion of the Master with all of them, the same with friends and foes. And in simple words such answers were given that one may remember them for his whole life, and each word will prove to be a torch on the path. If it was not for the life of Christ, if we did not have all the legends with their mystery and their meaning, we could not have gotten this wisdom. Besides, the birth of Christ, the crucifixion and resurrection, all have a meaning. And that meaning shows the way.


When we come to the story of the Prophet Muhammad -- who was three times exiled by the people -- nothing could take away his faith and conviction in the mission for which he was sent. He faced insolence and mockery from all sides; even his relatives would not join him. His uncle, who was the nearest relative, only stood for him because he was his nephew, but not because of his teachings. Under all these conditions he kept giving the message. And as Moses received the message on the Mount Sinai, the Prophet went on the Mount of Hira. In the same way as Buddha had the problem of finding the remedy for humanity, there was a problem for the Prophet: before him the ignorance of humanity was standing like a rocky mountain. It was to break that mountain, to remove that mountain, that the strength and power of a soldier were given to the Prophet.

And the moment that the Prophet began to receive the message of God, do you think that it came only from one side? It came from everywhere! The voice from within was so strong that the Prophet heard its resonance in the wind, in the fluttering of the leaves, in the running of the water, in the sky, and on the ground. The whole atmosphere was full of the resonance of words that came to the Prophet from within. It seemed as if the absolute was speaking, as if the moon was speaking, as if the air was speaking, as if there was nothing in space except the living word that began to come, that he began to hear. No doubt if he had been an ordinary man he would have been bewildered. But Muhammad saw that he could not for one moment have been able to withstand the strain on his nerves, on his mentality, on his spirit. Only the spirit of the Prophet was meant to hear the voice of God that he heard.

And what was the consequence? The consequence was that everything went wrong, and yet the faith stood right. Everything in life -- circumstances, consequences -- would push him back, and he alone would push himself forward. In this way the prophet has advanced through life. That shows what power the message of God has behind it, that it is in itself love and wisdom and blessing and beauty and harmony and peace, and at the same time the power of the Almighty. God Bless You.