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



1. Mental Purification

2. The Pure Mind

3. Unlearning

4. The Distinction Between the Subtle and the Gross

5. Mastery

6. The Control of the Body

7. The Control of the Mind

8. The Power of Thought

9. Concentration

10. The Will

11. Mystic Relaxation (1)

12. Mystic Relaxation (2)

13. Magnetism

14. The Power Within Us

15. The Secret of Breath

16. The Mystery of Sleep

17. Silence

18. Dreams and Revelations

19. Insight (1)

20. Insight (2)

21. The Expansion of Consciousness



Mind and Body

Mind 1. Thought

Mind 2. Memory

Mind 3. Will

Mind 4. Reason

Mind 5. Feeling

Vol. 4, Mental Purification

7. The Control of the Mind

Mind 5. Feeling

And the fifth aspect of the mind is feeling. If this faculty is not open, then however wise and clever a person may be he is incomplete, he is not living. Mind begins to live from the moment that feeling is wakened in it. Many use the word feeling, but few of us know it. And the more one knows it the less one speaks of it. It is so vast that if there is any sign of God it is in feeling.

Today people distinguish intellectuality from sentimentality, but in point of fact intellectuality cannot be perfect without sentimentality. Neither can the thinking power be nurtured, nor the faculty of reasoning be sustained, without a continual outflow of feeling. In this age of materialism we seem to have lost the value of feeling. We speak of heart, but we do not see its real importance, although it is the principal thing, the root of the plant of life. The heart quality is something which sustains the whole of life. All virtues such as sincerity, respect, thoughtfulness, consideration, appreciation, all these qualities come through heart-quality. If he has no heart a person is not capable of appreciating, nor of being grateful, nor capable of expressing his own soul, nor of receiving goodness and help from another. A person without heart-quality remains selfish, even foolishly selfish. If he were wisely selfish it would be worth while.

People very often say that they have no time to show their heart-quality, no time to allow the heart, to develop; they are so busy. But we can be busy every minute from morning till evening and at the same time do what we do with our whole heart, express it from the depth of our heart. When the heart quality is shut out then all one does is lifeless. Feeling is such an important thing in our lives; our whole life depends upon our feeling. A person once disheartened sometimes loses enthusiasm for his whole life. A person once disappointed loses trust completely. A person who becomes heartbroken loses his self-confidence for the rest of his life. A person once afraid sustains fear in his heart for ever. A person who has once failed keeps the impression of his failure all through life.

People love to watch a cock-fight in the East. Two men bring their birds to fight, and as soon as one of them sees that the other bird will win he takes his bird away while it is still fighting, before it can expect defeat. He prefers to admit defeat while the two birds are still fighting than to allow his bird to be impressed by defeat, for once it is so impressed it will never fight any more. That is the secret of our mind. And once one learns to take care of one's mind just as in the case of the bird, to go to any sacrifice rather than give one's mind a bad impression, one will make the best of one's life.

One can read in the lives of great heroes and great personalities, how they went through all difficulties and sorrows and troubles and yet always tried to keep their heart from being humiliated. That gave them all the necessary strength; they always avoided humiliation. They were prepared for death, wars, suffering, poverty, but not for humiliation.

Once when I was in Nepal I wanted a servant. I sent for one, and he was of the warrior caste, the Kshatrias, brave fighters in the mountains. And when I asked what work he wanted to do, he said, "Any work you like, anything you like." I said, "What about the pay?" "Anything you will give", he answered. I was greatly amused to find a man willing to do any work I gave him and to accept any pay I offered. "Well," I said, "then there is no condition to be made?" He said, "One. You will never say a cross word to me." He was ready to accept any money, willing to do any work, but not humiliation. I appreciated that spirit beyond words; it was that which made him a warrior.

Is there anyone in this world who will own that he has no feeling? And yet there are hearts of rock, of iron, of the earth, and of diamond, silver, gold, wax, and paper. There are as many kinds of hearts in this world as there are objects.

  • There are some objects that hold fire longer,
  • there are others which burn instantly.
  • Some objects will become warm and in a moment they will grow cold again;
  • others disappear as soon as the fire touches them,
  • while one can melt others and make ornaments out of them.

And so are the heart-qualities. Different people have different qualities of the heart, and the knower of the heart will treat each differently. But since we do not think about this aspect we take every man to be the same. Although every note is a sound, they differ in pitch, in vibrations; and so every man differs in the pitch, the vibrations, of his heart. According to the vibrations of his heart he is either spiritual or material, noble or common. It is not because of what he does, nor because of what he possesses in this world; he is small or great according to how his heart vibrates.

I have all my life had a great respect for those who have toiled in the world, who have striven through life and reached a certain eminence, and I have always considered it a most sacred thing to be in their presence. This being my great interest in life, I began, at first in the East, to make pilgrimages to great people, and among them were writers, sages, philosophers, and saints; but once I came in contact with a great wrestler. And this man, who had the appearance of a giant with his monstrously muscular body, had such a sympathetic expansive nature, such simplicity and gentleness that I was deeply surprised. And I thought, "It is not his size and strength that have made him great, but that which has melted him and made him lenient; it is that which makes him great."

Feeling is vibration. The heart which is a vehicle, an instrument of feeling, creates phenomena if one only watches life keenly. If one causes anyone pain, that pain is returned. If one causes anyone pleasure, that pleasure is returned too. If one gives love to someone, love comes back; and if one gives hatred, that hatred comes back to one in some form or other -- maybe in the form of pain, illness, health, or of success, joy, happiness; in some form or other it comes, it never fails. One generally does not think about this. When a person has attained a certain position in which he can order people about and speak harshly to them, he never thinks about those things. But every little feeling that rises in one's heart and directs one's action, word, and movement, causes a certain action and rebounds; only sometimes it takes time. Could one think that one can ever hate a person and that that hatred does not come back? It surely comes, some time. On the other hand, if one has sympathy, love, affection, kind feelings, one need never tell anybody that one has it, for even then it returns in some form or other.

Someone came to me and said, "I was very sympathetic once, but somehow I have become hardened. What is the reason for it?" I said, "You tried to get water from the bottom of the earth. But instead of digging deep down you dug in the mud and you were disappointed. If you have patience to dig till you reach water then you will not be disappointed."

Very often a person imagines that he has feeling, that he has sympathy. But if he had it he would be the master of life; then he would want nothing any more. When this spring which is in the heart of a man is once open it makes him self-sufficient and it takes away the continual tragedy souls have to meet with in life. That tragedy is limitation. Very often it is lack of feeling that paralyses the four other aspects of mind. The person without feeling is incapable of thinking freely. Feeling is what makes one thoughtful. A man may be of powerful mind, but if he cannot feel the power of his mind is limited, for real power is in feeling, not in thinking.

Sometimes people come to me and say, "I have thought about it and I have wanted it, but I never got it." And I have answered, "You have never wanted. If you had wanted you would have got it." They do not believe this; they continue to think that they have wanted it. It may be so, but to want it enough is another thing. If a person went and stood before a bank and said, "Let all the money in the bank come to me", would it come? He imagines that he wants it, but he has doubts, he does not believe it will come. If he believed it, it would come.

Doubt is a destructive element. It may be likened to the shadow that produces dampness, that hides the sun. The sun has no chance of reaching the place which is covered by it.

There is a story of Shirin and Farhad, a very well-known story of Persia. There was a stone-cutter and he was laboring at a memorial for somebody. One day he saw a lady who was to be the future queen of the Shah; and he said to her, "I love you." A stone-cutter, a laborer in the street, asking for the hand of a lady who was to be the future queen! He was a man without reason; but not a man without feeling. Feeling was there, and the claim came with feeling.

This lady said, "Very well, I will wait and see if your claim is true, and tell the Shah of Persia to wait." And to try him she told him to cut a way through the mountains. He went, one man with hammer and chisel. He did not ask if he was able to do it or not. There was no reason; there was only feeling. And he made the road which thousands of people would not have made in a year, because every time he hammered the rock he called out the name of Shirin, the one he loved. He made the way, and when the king heard that it was finished he said, "Alas, I have lost my chance, what shall I do?" Someone in the presence of the king said, "I will see what can be done."

He went to Farhad the stone-cutter and told him, "How wonderful is your love and devotion! It is phenomenal. But haven't you heard that Shirin is dead?" "Is she dead?" he said. "Then I cannot go on living." And he fell down lifeless.

The point of this story is the power of feeling. What is lacking at this time is the feeling quality. Everyone wishes to think with the brain, to work with the head, but not with the heart. One can neither imagine and create beautiful art, nor think and make wonderful things, nor can one keep in one's memory something beautiful, nor retain thoughts in concentration, if there is no feeling at the back of it. Besides, if there is no feeling behind all such words as gratitude, thanks, appreciation, these words are without spirit; they become mere politeness. Today fineness is so much misunderstood; people only learn the outward aspect. If there were feeling behind all they say, life would be much more worth living.

When the mind is troubled it is confused, it cannot reflect anything. It is the stillness of mind that makes one capable of receiving impressions and of reflecting them. In Persian the mind is called a mirror. Everything in front of the mirror appears in it; but when this is taken away the mirror is clear. It does not remain. It remains in the mirror as long as the mirror is focused on it, and so it is with the mind.

The quality in the mind which makes it still at times and active at other times, which makes it reflect what it sees at one time and makes it avoid every reflection at another so that no outer reflection can touch it, this quality develops by concentration, contemplation, and meditation.

The mind is trained by the master-trainer by diving deep, by soaring high, by expanding widely, and by centralizing the mind on one idea. And once the mind is mastered a person becomes a master of life. Every soul from the time it is born is like a machine, subject to all influences, influences of weather and of all that works through the five senses.

For instance, no one can pass through a street without seeing the placards and advertisements. A man's eyes are compelled by what is before him. He has no intention of looking, but everything outside commands the eyes. So a man is constantly under the influence of all things of the outside world that govern him unknowingly.

A person says, "I am a free man; I do what I like." But he never does. He does what he does not like many times. His ears are always subject to hear anything that falls on them, whether it is harmonious or inharmonious, and what he sees he cannot resist. And so a man is always under the influence of life. Then there are the planetary influences and the living influences of those around him; and yet a man says, "I have free will; I am a free man." If he knew to what little extent he is free he would be frightened.

But then there is one consolation, and that is that in man there is a spark somewhere hidden in his heart which alone can be called a source of free will. If this spark is tended a person has greater vitality, greater energy, greater power. All he thinks will come true, all he says will make an impression, all he does will have effect.

What does a mystic do? He blows this spark in order to bring it to a flame till it comes to a blaze. This gives him the inspiration, the power which enables him to live in this world the life of free will.

It is this spark which may be called the divine heritage of man, in which he sees the divine power of God, the soul of man.

To become spiritual means that by blowing upon this spark one produces light from it and sees the whole of life in this light. And by bringing the inner light to a blaze one is more able to think, to feel, and to act.