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



Love, Harmony, and Beauty

Nature's Religion

The Personality of God

Silent Life

The Will, Human and Divine

Mind, Human and Divine


Developing Will-Power

Personal Magnetism

Love, Human and Divine


The Effect of Prayer

The Mystery of Breath

Character and Fate

Gain and Loss

Stilling the Mind

The Knowledge of Past, Present, and Future

The Planes

Spirits and Spiritualism

The Desire of Nations


The Freedom of Soul (1)

The Freedom of the Soul (2)

The Freedom of the Soul (3)

The Ideal Life

The Journey to the Goal

Intellect and Wisdom

Simplicity and Complexity


Friendship (1)

Friendship (2)

The Four Paths Which Lead to the Goal

Human Evolution



Vol. 7, In an Eastern Rose Garden


When the mind enquiries into the nature of will-power, it becomes a question whether it is a power of the mind, a power of thought, or a power of the brain. Those who cannot see beyond the power of the brain, call it brain-power; those who cannot see beyond the mind, call it a power of the mind. Those who cannot conceive of the existence in man of anything above the feelings, consider will-power to be a power of feeling. A Sufi understands it to be the divine power.

It is the divine will that is manifested throughout the whole universe, which has created the whole universe; and it is part of the divine will that manifests itself through us. Everything we do in life is governed and directed by that power. Were it not that there is but one power to govern and direct, how would it have been if one foot determined to go to the North, and the other to the South? Our two eyes might have turned in opposite directions, one to the West, the other to the East, had there not been one will-power behind them to direct their gaze towards one object. When lifting a certain thing, one hand might have gone up and the other down, had there not been one will-power to govern both, and cause them to join in the one movement. This shows that each individual has one will-power which governs several organs of our physical existence as well as our thoughts and imaginations; all are directed consciously or unconsciously by the one power. We could not have accomplished one single thing in life had will-power not been at work.

But there are two ways in which the will-power works: firstly, when it is lighted with the light of intelligence; secondly, when it is not so lighted, but works by itself. When it works by itself, we call it accidental. We do things accidentally which we have not intended to do. But when will-power makes our mind and body work consciously, then the light of intelligence is followed and the will-power is acting consciously. This is the difference between various happenings. In the one we are conscious of what we are thinking, we are conscious of what we are speaking and of what we are doing in proportion to our willpower and to the light that is thrown upon it from the light of our intelligence. But we have acted without will-power when we have to say, "I have done something I should not have done; I have said something I should not have said; I have thought something which I should not have thought." When a person says, "What I did is terrible; I said something I should not have said", it means that during the time he said or did it the will-power was there, but the strength and light of intelligence had not fallen upon it to the extent to which they should.

There are two aspects of our being: the will-power or governing power, and the vehicles, the mind and the body. Both are governed and controlled by that one governing power. In one aspect of our being we are king, in the other aspect we are minister, and in a third aspect we are servant. We are minister when our mind works, and we are servant when the body works. We are king when the will-power works.

When this power loses its control over the mind, then our thoughts become disordered; they dwell in any regions and wander on any lines, even those which our moral standard has perhaps not drawn for them. And our body also works in a disorderly way when the power of the will is lost. Therefore all illnesses, all failures, all disappointments and faults in life are caused by just one thing: weakness of will-power.

Man, not knowing this, sometimes considers the will-power to be a power of thought and mind. He does not know that behind mind there is something else. When the will is behind it, the body is powerful too. There was a well-known Indian faqir who was able to lift an elephant. How can a man lift an elephant? However strong he may be, what comparison can there be between the two? What power is at work? It was his will-power that was greater than the elephant's.

The great and wonderful things that man has done in this world that we see around us, are all the outcome of man's will. Animals, with all their strength, have not that will. Therefore puny man stands before the elephant and says, "Sit down", and the elephant sits down; "Stand up", and the elephant stands up. With all the strength in its body, still the elephant listens to him. That is how the faqir lifted the elephant. Man makes tigers, lions, horses work; he even makes his thought and will act through inanimate things; even through objects his will-power can be manifested. But when man does not realize its effect upon living creatures, how can he experience his power over objects?

Jelal-ud-Din Rumi; in his Masnavi, speaks of fire, air, water, earth, and ether as beings, while man calls them things. To man they are things, to God they are beings, obedient servants. Whatever He wishes, they do. As the servant acts according to his master's desires, so these elements act as God desires. Further, not only does the will of God work through elements, but the will of man also, in proportion to the power of his will. A loaf of bread given with will-power can cure a man's disease more successfully than a medicine, if there is enough will-power with it. The lesson of Christ, that if one has faith even as a grain of mustard one can remove mountains, can be understood after one has realized that it is the will-power which does the work.

In the East there are superstitions which have a mystical meaning. When a person goes into a new business, or goes on a journey, his relatives give him flour or rice in his hand, or some betel nuts, with the wish that he may meet with success. The token itself is nothing; but behind it there is will-power, and the person who received it has believed; therefore he has responded to the will-power attached to the gift. There is a harmony. The one who wishes to have good luck receives it.

Nevertheless, it is not to be inferred from this that a man should be prepared to believe in superstitions or become superstitious. It is to show that he must know the value of will-power, and use it in his profession, his business, his home, in all things. Is it not a desirable thing to have will-power; is it not desirable to have physical strength? If we are satisfied with feebleness of body, it may be that we are also satisfied to be without will-power.

All light is for us, inspiration is for us; why not use it as long as we know how to use it to make the best of life? If one wishes to abuse power, one may abuse bodily power, fighting everybody, boxing and wrestling. But that is another part of life. Power is necessary and should be developed; but when man is anxious to develop power, either of body or of mind, he ought to remember that the will-power is behind it all; that if the will is developed, the physical and mental power can easily be obtained. The will-power governs the body and the mind.

Now coming to the question of the will of man as opposed to the will of God: which is which? We understand the difference when we perceive that the nature of will-power differs only according to whether it exists in its fullness, or whether it is limited. The will-power-in its fullness is divine power; the willpower in its limited state is the individual will. And if there is anything that can be called the source of the whole creation, it is the divine will, it is the will of the absolute Being. If we do not desire to call it will, we may call it force, strength, or might. But force, strength, might, energy, are all dead words. Force can be without intelligence, energy without intelligence, mind without intelligence; but will means force, energy, might, with intelligence. Therefore it is called divine will instead of divine energy. A person with a materialistic mind would call it energy. But why energy? Is our intelligence energy? It is beyond energy. Is our will only energy? It is energy with intelligence. Therefore divine will is energy, but with divine intelligence. In all there is intelligence.

If we observe nature keenly, we see how divine wisdom is working. The animals and birds of tropical countries have fur and feathers which differ from those one finds in the Himalayas and other cold regions. They have suitable bodies, suitable skins; their life, their whole existence is adjusted to the place where they live.

Man's desire, the desire of his senses, is matched by the possession of every sense, every organ of sense, each suited to gratify the desire of his being. The eye meets the requirement of the sense of sight. With all our intelligence and great research no one can make a new eye so adaptable and fitted for the purpose. This wisdom makes us understand and believe that behind all this there is an intelligent God and Creator, not only a life or energy or force; it makes us ask why anyone should want to call Him force or energy, and not God.

The light which we see of the stars and planets is not their own. It is the light of the sun which illuminates the planets and is reflected from them; it is the same light that they receive which they reflect. So it is with man: it is the will of God that is reflected in man. Although every star is not necessarily a sun, yet its light ultimately comes from a sun.

If man has divine light in him, why should he commit sin or do evil, and why should there be anything that we call wrong or a sin? If it is God's will, how can it be sin? We understand this when we consider the difference between wrong and right, sin and virtue, good and evil. These differ with different people. It depends upon the standards of each one's evolution; it depends on the goal or ideal which each one has placed before him. That is why the Prophet said, "The religion of each person is peculiar to himself." It is a great fault on our part when we accuse another person of an untrue or false belief, an untrue or false religion. We do not know that perhaps he has a religion which is suited to himself. His evolution or attainment in life, his temperament, his standard of morals are different; therefore we ought, if only we could, to keep to our own religion. The standard that we believe in for our own good is quite enough.

Our intelligence and experience of this life on earth create within us a world of experiences; and these experiences teach us, by comparing one with the other, that this one is for our happiness; that one is not. That which is for our happiness we call virtue, and that which does not contribute to our happiness we call vice. In this way the world which we make into our own is a world of personal experiences, either in our own lives or seen through the lives of others. Therefore it is quite natural that a person in Tibet should have a different religion from a person in France; and a man in Persia a different one from a man in Colombo. Although mankind is the same everywhere, a man's religion is his experience in life, and therefore his own evolution, his own experience, added to the temperament of the people with whom he lives.

He can see what is good for him, and what is not; what is right and what is not right; what gives him happiness, and what keeps him from it. The world itself becomes a scripture or book to the soul. If he does not consult it, he is thoughtless. But the one who consults with the world that he has created within himself, is wise. Sometimes in his world he has decided a certain thing is a sin or evil, and yet when it comes to an action, or thought, or speech, he cannot follow the moral he has already made for himself, either because of the weakness of his mind or body, or because of the weakness of his will. He fails to fulfil the law of his own world, of his own scripture that he has written. Thus he falls, and that is considered by him to be sin. It is the same with virtue. We have our own sins, our own virtues, which we have made from our own experiences.

If a child throws a knife at somebody, it has not committed a crime, because it has not yet set that action down as a crime in its world of experiences; it has not gathered it into that world. It only becomes a crime when the child knows it to be criminal. After that it becomes responsible for its deed. "Judge not, that ye be not judged; for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." We judge others according to our world of good and bad; the same world, the same scripture that is our religion judges us also, when we do wrong. And no one would do wrong if his will-power helped him to do right, for how could he do something which the scripture of his own heart tells him to be wrong, had not his will-power failed him? Therefore those who repent after their crimes, faults, and failures show thereby that it is not that they wanted to do or have these things, but that their will-power failed them. The will-power was not strong enough to help them to carry out their own standard of good, as it should help all men through the journey of life.