The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      

Volume

Sayings

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 SUPPLEMENTARY PAPERS

Heading

The Early Years

My Study of Religions

I Start on My Indian Tour

My Interest in Sufism

My Initiation in Sufism

My Tour Abroad in the West

East and West

Eastern Training

Sub-Heading

-ALL-

Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazat Inayat Khan

My Study of Religions

'Wisdom which is the worker of all things taught me, for in her is an understanding spirit.'--Solomon.

I first studied comparative religions with an open mind; not in a critical spirit but as an admirer and a lover of truth in all its guises. I read the lives of the founders, prophets, and seers with as much reverence as their most devout adherents. This brought me the bliss of realization of the one truth which all religions contain, as different vessels may yet hold the same wine. It was the conception of truth in all its manifold forms and expressions, ever borne by different messengers, who most wondrously, by their very diversity of garb, civilization, nationality, and age, revealed the one Source of the inspiration. To me their sole difference was caused by the laws of space and time.

It was therefore natural for the messengers of truth to convey their message in the language of the land wherein they were born, and in the style suited to the life of their period. For each one was needed in his place and adapted to his era, and the difference between them existed only in those principles and rituals which were given to the people of that time and harmonized with their standard of intelligence and evolution: even as a physician has to change his prescriptions according to the patient's state of improvement before he can bring about the cure; or as in school, at each term and in every year, a new course of study is taught through different grades.

Man, not generally understanding this fact and its motive, and owing to the blind dogmatic faith which obsesses him, has always clung to the originator and ignored the new prophet. Such was the common lot of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, and of all the Masters and Shining Ones who have revealed in the sorrows they had to bear during their own lives the struggle between the cross and the truth, which is expressed by the symbol of the cross. The hurt from which the prophets have ever suffered lay in the rebellion of the ignorant, who were unable to realize the truth hidden in their teachings, and thus mocked and scoffed at them. But all the true messengers justly asserted the truth in a way to suit the period wherein they brought their message.

'Whosoever in Love's city enters finds but room for One, and but in Oneness union.'--Jami.

The masters of the Hindus, such as Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, and Krishna, claimed each in his turn to be a reincarnation of one another, or in other words an incarnation of Brahma, the supreme God, because the people would not have listened to them without this proclamation. In this way the materialists who never move an inch without definite reason and logic were trained by the Buddha Gautama, who explained the great truth to them in the simple words of their own language.

Zoroaster imparted the law of action and nature-worship, the mystical import of burnt offerings and fire, the symbol of love, light, and purity, and adapted these to the intellectual standard of his followers. King Solomon revealed the truth from his throne when his simple subjects adored him as God, and Abraham preached when devotion was idolized, and was willing even to sacrifice his own son to the divine Will.

When the world was awakened to the loveliness of music, David sang forth the same truth in his most melodious voice, and when beauty reigned in her fair dominance, Joseph appeared in all his youth and charm. Moses came when men where athirst for miracles. And in the age of hereditary power, Christ, as the Son of God, stayed the world from ignorance and error, and sowed the seed of spiritual freedom; this in time grew and brought forth the epoch of democracy, wherein Mohammed carried the last message of the religious republic, Islam, and claimed to be Abda, the servant, and the Rasul of God.

This implies that each one of these, though still the bearer of the mission, the herald of God's decree, was also a new step in human evolution, at those times when the world was ripe enough and ready to receive the message, not from a superior claimant, but from one among the Shining Hosts.

Mohammed's saying, "None but God exists", explained the essence of all previous messages most clearly. The lesson of Mohammed, once learned, left no need for the continuance of prophetic teaching, because it proved that each being bears the divine source thereof within himself, and that the evolution of man has now prepared him for the kingdom which is within.

Indeed, all the prophets from Adam to Mohammed, who was the fulfillment of God's tidings, have revealed to us the numerous aspects which the same truth can bear, or, in other words, truth has manifested itself in various names and different forms to attain its glorious end. But the manifold aspects of truth have not been recognized in man's ignorance, and thus all the racial and religious prejudices among creeds and castes, as well as the wars and differences between nations, have arisen from his narrowness and slowness of perception. Each one called the other heathen or pagan, Kafir or Mlench, upholding his Master as the only true initiate, as though the Master were his own personal property. Yet the Masters were born not for one family or one nation or race, but verily for all mankind. Truly only followers and zealots of different religions fall away from the truth, for they are blinded by patriotism and have raised pedantic prejudices against the teachings and spirits of those pure Masters, who had neither any concern for their religion nor for their own name and personal appearance but lived only in the cause of truth.

This error is due entirely to those disciples who swear by the mortal names of the Masters and recognize their personalities alone, instead of accepting them all as one boundless embodiment of truth. The Masters have never desired their human bodies to be adored as saviors; this is merely an exaggeration and the mistaken conception of their followers. Their bodies were but as the vessels of truth, and the truth they brought to us is the only savior, then, now, and forever. As the Bible declares, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Truth, the real savior and messiah, is untouched by death and disease; it is everlasting, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Truth, indeed, was Adam, Moses, and Christ, and the very truth was Mohammed.

Yet, although every religion comprises a large number of followers, each person has his own religion peculiar to himself. He is sometimes unaware of this fact and attaches himself most enthusiastically to the religion of his race and nation.

If he only knew the true religion which God has intended for him, all his struggles would be at an end. Those who judge a religion by its principles are mistaken, for good or bad as well as right and wrong depend on one's own point of view, and are therefore sometimes liable to mental inversion. Those who fight for their religion on the authority of history are fanatics, for they must know that history is man- and not God-made, and that many truths are lost in the lapse of time, while many exaggerations attain favor or disfavor through the biased personal opinions of the historians. He who adheres to his beliefs and disbeliefs without reason is blinded with bigotry.

Still, were a Buddhist to come to me saying, "Our Lord Buddha was the only true teacher, I would answer, "Verily!" And if a Hindu cried to me that Krishna is the ideal master, I would say, "You speak rightly." And if a Christian should declare that Christ is the highest of all, I would reply, "Undoubtedly." For it is the nature of man to consider as best that which he can idealize best. But if anyone came to me saying, "I cannot believe in all this talk for I can only recognize the same truth within each one of these", I would say, "You, my friend, are the one who really knows, for you have understood and unveiled the real secret of God's nature.'

Rumi says, "The Sufis take the meat, leaving the bones for others to fight over.'