The Teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan      



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 Inner Meaning of the Sufi Order

Resignation and Struggle

By Date


The Inner Meaning of the Sufi Order

Amsterdam, Jan 11, 1924

The name "Sufi Order" is used to define the esoteric school of our movement. Initiation is given to those who desire this, and by this the door is opened to the esoteric school, and one enters the order. There are no obligations or discipline as would make it difficult for anyone to follow it.

Now about what is taught in the esoteric school. In a few words: it is the raising of the consciousness from the limitations of our person. How is this done? By the way of concentration and meditation. How is this to be done? By the sacred word, the elementary explanation of which [Emile] Coué has been giving. Coué says, by repeating a certain number of times to yourself that your health is good, you can regain that health. He has been opposed very much, and has been very successful. Now when a person is using the word and its repetition in order to regain his health, very few things are accomplished, and compared with the spiritual attainment it is still small. But, intellectually, Coué is explaining the same thing the Sufi Order explains for the higher attainment. No comparison can there be between those two things. There are pebbles and precious stones, but all are called stones.

Man seems to have lost at this time a communication with himself by the tremendous responsibilities of everyday life. The Sufi Order by its initiation helps one to come in communication with oneself. This opens the door to the heart. All the mysteries and wonders of life are gained when one has got in communication with one's own heart. It is therefore that we in the Sufi Order do not occupy ourselves with wonder-working or any other sort of communication; we only pay attention to communicating with ourselves to find our deeper self.

What is the difference between the work a Sufi does and that of another mystic? In the East the Yogi mystics are the most known, and it is worth while to consider what difference there is.

  • The Yogi tries to touch the infinite by diving deep into his innermost being; and the process he takes is to close himself and move as far away from the world as he can. And by doing this he reaches that depth which is the goal everyone is seeking.
  • The methods of the Sufi differ from those of the Yogis in that the Sufi opens himself to all that is good and beautiful. He says that to go back to the infinite without having known all that is beautiful here is absurd. He wants to love all the beauty of the earth, and so he opens himself. Therefore his path is very difficult -- to love and yet not to be attached; to be in the crowd, and yet in the solitude; to be in the world and yet be above it.
And by this process the Yogi reaches in thousands of years what the Sufi reaches in one year. He believes in opening himself to the beauty of the world.

Self-denial to a Sufi is different to those who deny themselves all things of life. Self-denial for the Sufi is the denial of the false self which one had as the conception of self. His whole concentration and meditation is meant to get rid of that false conception of himself. A Sufi says: Man's very being is truth. It cannot be taught nor learned. It exists. The realization must come by itself. There are no doubt some studies to go through, but that is not the main thing. Meditation and concentration are only taught to make it easy for a person to advance. Truth is not an object to be given, it is one's own being. One can realize the truth by communicating with oneself.

In what way are we Sufis doing our work in the Western world? Sufis always have adopted the ways of the different people they were living among and of the countries they were staying in. Here in the Western world we give it partly in the form of the Christian religion and partly in the form of the modern terminology. Truth is truth and those who understand it, to them it does not make any difference in what outer form it shows itself.

The path that we tread is a delicate path. The less spoken of it the better. We cannot keep it too sufficiently in a humble garb. For the more we value it, the more it is necessary to keep it humbly. Nor do we urge our ideas upon others. Our service is a most delicate one and therefore we have a great responsibility, and we must not force our ideas upon any earnest seeker after truth. Our task is difficult, but by realizing it every day more, you understand my difficulty from your own difficulties. Our sacrifices a thousand times are blest in the service of humanity and the blessing of light, of God. We must overcome the feeling of physical weakness.

The secret is one, which is: to try and to maintain harmony in every situation. It is a very difficult task to begin with, but in time one will get accustomed to it. The first thing to be thought of is whether it will bring harmony, as God asks from us to do his higher work.

You can only live in the world in one of two conditions: either being a peacemaker or a fighter, but one must be a good fighter in order to win every battle. Life is a continual battle, but warfare does not only ask strength, it requires some sense also. And to be a peacemaker one must be friends with everyone. However insignificant the person is, you must harmonize, else it would be impossible to live. This strain to harmonize causes a strain upon one every day. But still, in trying to harmonize his life becomes easier and easier. And then it's like a wonder-working.

It is not only a story that Daniel tamed lions. It is much more difficult to tame human beings; for this one must understand the psychology of human nature. There is a slang expression, which says: "They've rubbed him raw." it takes a long time of getting over this little error of rubbing raw.

People think that there is an art to study or practice, but I say: Life itself is an art and if one can learn how to live, one has learned the only thing one really wants. Besides if one knows the psychology of human nature, one sees how very often one overlooked an act of human kindness to be done. Some natures there are who only need a word of human sympathy and of comfort, of kindness. If we do not listen to people at the right moment, very often we lose a battle which we might have won by having listened to him and having understood his wants. No strength is needed, only tact.

It is this wonder-working of a person which has done miracles. There is no greater miracle to perform than to create harmony in one's life, one's home, one's office, one's work.

The more you advance in life, the more you will see people like children. If you rise above it, you will be able to create harmony. You must feel grown-up yourself; you must feel the power of the grown-up person. No grown-up will fight with a child. The best thing to do is to waken in everybody the good that is in everyone. Very often a proud person, as you have overlooked his pride, feels his pride melt away at once. As soon as your pride stands against the proud person then there will be a battle.

It is the continual desire to create harmony which creates the greatness in life.