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




Towards Manifestation


Guardian Angel

Recording Angels

Questioning Angels




Vol. 1, The Soul, Whence And Whither?

Towards Manifestation

from Summer School in Suresnes, August 10, 1923.

The divine Spirit is known by the mystics of all ages as the sun; and therefore in all ancient mystical symbols the sun has been pictured as the sign of God. This conception gives one a help in the further knowledge of metaphysics. This sun is that aspect of Absolute God in which God begins to manifest, and His first step towards manifestation is His contraction, that contraction which is seen in all living beings and in all objects. It is first contraction that takes place, and next expansion, which comes as a matter of course, as a reaction. The former tendency is the desire of inhalation, and the latter exhalation. The contraction and expansion which are seen in all aspects of life come from God Himself.

The Omnipotent Light by this tendency becomes concentrated; and it is this concentrated Light of Intelligence which is the sun recognized by the mystics.

As Shams-i-Tabriz has said, "When the Sun of His countenance became manifest, the atoms of both worlds began to appear; as its light fell every atom donned a name and a form."

The Hindus have called it in the Vedanta Chaitanya, the Spirit or the Light of God.

In the Qur'an it is mentioned, "We have made thy light out of Our Light, and of that Light We have made the universe."

In plain words this means that when there was nothing -- no form, no name, no person, no object -- except Intelligence; and it is the contraction of that intelligence which brought its essence into a form of light which is called the divine Spirit; and the expression of the same light has been the cause of the whole of manifestation. Creation is the exhalation of God; and what is called destruction is absorption, which is the inhalation of God.

The divine Spirit spreads itself; this we call creation and it consists of various names and forms. There arises a conflicting condition or entanglement of the Breath of God, disorder in its rhythm, which manifests in destruction, and culminates in what is called by Hindus Pralaya, the end of the world. For this many blame God, many judge Him, and many think it is unfair on the part of God to create, and to destroy; but for God, who is the only Being, this is the natural condition, by which He eternally lives. The beginning and the end of the world is only His one Breath, the duration of which is numberless years. During this one Breath myriads of beings have been born, have lived and died, and experienced both this world and the next.

Souls therefore are the rays of this Sun, which is called in Sanskrit Brahma, and the nature of the ray is to extend and withdraw, to appear and disappear, and the duration of its existence is incomparably short when compared with the duration of the eternal God, the divine Spirit. There are living creatures, small germs, worms and insects who live no longer than a moment; and there are other beings whose life is a hundred years; and some live longer still; and yet even if it were a thousand years it is a moment compared with eternity. Time, as man knows it, is in the first place discerned by the knowledge of his own physical constitution.

From the Sanskrit word Pala, which means moment, has come the word "pulse"; that which is pulsation. This knowledge has been completed to some extent by the study of nature, the changes of the seasons, and the journeys the world makes round the sun. Many wish to limit divine law to this man-made conception of time, and they make speculations about it; but the tendency of the mystic is to bend his head low in worship, as the thought of the eternal life of God, the only Being, comes to his mind. Instead of questioning why and what, he contemplates the being of God, and so raises his consciousness above the limitations of time and space, thus liberating his soul by lifting it to the divine spheres.

The soul, which is the ray of the divine Sun in one sphere, the sphere in which it does not touch any earthly being, is called Malak or angel. Therefore every soul passes through the angelic heavens; in other words, every soul is an angel before it touches the earthly plane. The angels it is who become human beings; and those who do not become human beings, remain angels. The human being, therefore, is a grown-up angel; or an angel is a soul who has not grown sufficiently. Infants who come on earth with their angelic qualities, and sometimes pass away without having experienced the life of the grown-up man, show us the picture of the original condition of the soul.

The idea that the angels are nearer to God is right according to this doctrine. Souls who have not journeyed farther are naturally close to the divine Spirit; they are angels. Someone asked the Prophet why man was greater than the angels; man, who causes all the bloodshed on the earth, while the angels are always occupied in the praise of God. It is said in the Qur'an that the angels knew nothing of the earth; they knew God, and so they occupied themselves with God; but man is greater, for when he comes on earth he has much in the world to be occupied with, and still he pursues God. That angelic sphere is free from passions and emotions which are the source of all wrong and sin; souls pure of all greed and desires given by the denseness of earth are angels who know nothing else but happiness; for happiness is the real nature of the soul.

The Hindus call the angels Suras; Sura also means breath and breath means life. Suras, therefore, mean pure lives, lives that live long. In the Hindu scriptures there is another word used: Asura, meaning lifeless; in other words, not in tune with the infinite. Man may retain angelic qualities even in his life on the earth as a human being; and it is the angelic quality which can be traced in some souls who show innocence and sympathy in their lives. This is not necessarily weakness; it only shows the delicacy of a flower in the personality, together with fragrance.

Angelic souls on the earth-plane are inclined to love, to be kind, to be dependent upon those who show them love. They are ready to believe, willing to learn, inclined to follow that which seems to them for the moment good, beautiful and true. The picture of the angels that we read of in the scriptures as sitting upon clouds and playing harps is but an expression of a mystical secret. Playing the harp is vibrating harmoniously; the angels have no actual harps, they themselves are the harps; they are living vibrations; they are life itself.

One can see in a person who is vibrating harmoniously that his presence becomes the inspiration of music and poetry. The person whose heart is tuned to the pitch of the angelic heavens will show on earth heavenly bliss; therefore the wise seek the association of spiritual beings. And sitting on clouds means that the angels are above all clouds; clouds are for the beings of the dense earth; the angels are free both from transitory pleasures and from constant spells of depression; clouds do not surround them, for they are above clouds. Such souls, who are in direct touch with the spirit of God, and who have no knowledge of the false world which is full of illusion, who live and know not death, whose lives are happiness, whose food is divine light, make around "Arsh, the divine Spirit, an aura which is called the Highest Heaven.