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





















































Q & A After Gatha III, No. 8, Tasawwuf, on "Life"

Q & A After Gatha III, 9 Tasawwuf "Shame..."

Q & A After Gatha II, No. 10, Nakshi Bandi, "Brahman..."

Q & A After Gatha III, No. 10.: Tasawwuf, on "Tolerance"

Q & A After Gatha III, No. 4, Etekad Rasiu Ravaj, on "Toasts"



Q & A After Gatha III, No. 8, Tasawwuf, on "Life"

Q. In regarding the activity in life of the Shiva side of the deity, ....? A. It is a subject which is very vast, and it is difficult to explain that subject in two words. But that aspect of destruction and knowing about destruction can be understood more easily again by something which we see in the modern science, by the medium of what they call inoculation. By putting that destructive element in one's body one makes one's body disease-proof. That that particular disease is no longer a disease, but the nature of that person. That is the method of the mystic from a spiritual point of view. That death is a death so long as man is unacquainted with it. When man eats it up, then he has eaten death; death cannot eat him. Then he knows the life eternal. That is the mystery of the Message of Jesus Christ. To seek eternal life from the beginning to the end. The mystery of eternal life is past once a person has eaten death; then he is eternal.

In little things of life: one person says: "I do not like to touch vinegar, it hurts my health;" one person says: "I cannot bear to eat cream, I cannot digest it;" another person says: "I cannot stand to have sugar in the tea, I do not like it." For him sugar is a poison. If he took the poison once, the same would become sugar for him. All things that one thinks are foreign to his nature, by this he makes his nature exclusive. And by becoming exclusive he makes himself subject to them in a way. There comes a time when they rule him, a situation when he is under them.

A person says: "Bitter onion, it is too bitter, I cannot stand it." He is in a fever; the doctor says he must have it. He dreads having it; at the same time he cannot help it. Therefore the way of Shiva was always to work against one's weaknesses. He counted them as weaknesses, not as nature. "Nature, all is my nature. But what I cannot have, that I make foreign to my nature; if I have separated it, there comes a time perhaps which I become so weak that I cannot help having it." Would you believe that the snake charmers, I have found some of them, who have gradually, by making the snakes bite them time after time, developed so that poison does not hurt them. That when they go, they just catch the snake in their hand. If the snake bites them, it does not hurt them. Shiva is pictured with a cobra round his neck; out of death he has made a necklace; it is no more a death to him.

One can go to extremes. But still it is a law that must be studied and known. The only mystery it teaches is not to consider anything in nature as foreign to one's nature. If it was not in us one would not know it. By this one overcomes all the destruction which is the source of fear and pain and disappointment.

Q. Does it mean that if there is no poison there is no moral? There is no good and no bad, if there is no poison? A. No, it does not mean that. Good is good, and bad is bad. But at the same time one can rise above bad, or one can be submitted to badness. One can become weak before evil, or become strong. The idea is to become strong before evil instead of weak. A. One should be sorry for having begun it too quickly, and one should try to regulate the rhythm .... As in the beginning there is a need of patience, so also in the end. Patience should be all along. Patience is the secret of the whole thing. There are many virtues, but no virtue can be compared with patience. For it is not only a virtue, it is a power within itself.

Q. Is it perhaps God's way of making us immune to sorrow, when He sends us troubles and difficulties? A. Every way is God's way. When He sends us troubles and difficulties, that is God's way; neither is it the law of God to send only sorrow and trouble, nor to send us only joy and happiness. But if we are thankful, and see the Hand of God in all, we would certainly be grateful - and even after sorrow - to see in both the way of God.

Very often there are people more impressed by the doctrine of karma, who say if illness has come, "Well, now it is our karma, that we have to pay the due. Then we must take it patiently." I think there is a virtue in it also, to see that it is from karma. But it is not sufficient. We must know that happiness is our birthright. In our happiness there is the happiness of God. In our sorrow there is not the pleasure of God. Therefore we must do everything in our power to get out of that illness, instead of thinking that karma had thrown that illness and that we must lie patiently with it like a rock over us and not try to push it off, because it is karma.

Q. Is it bad to be too impatient, even for spiritual development? A. "Too" is always bad. If a person asked me, "Is it right to be too good?" It is enough to be good. Impatience of every kind is to be avoided. One loses one's equilibrium. There is no gain out of impatience.

Q. ------? A. Patience does not necessarily mean sloth, negligence, and laziness.

Q. Is in our sorrow not reflected the sorrow of God? A. Certainly. As in our happiness God's happiness is reflected, so in our sorrow God's sorrow is reflected. If God would not sorrow man would be greater than God. For man is capable of two things, and God would only be capable of one. Q. Why did you then say that God is not pleased in our sorrow? A. I did not mean to say that in our sorrow there is not God's sorrow, but I meant to say that God is not pleased, as man is sometimes pleased in causing sorrow to another man. It is impossible to have no sorrow, but we want balance in sorrow and joy. When there is too much joy and no sorrow then life becomes monotonous.

Q. After all is it not a good plan for one to look for the cause of their sorrow or gladness in their own thought and action? A. Sometimes it so happens that it is not conditions which make sorrow. We allow them to make us sorrow. It is not only on their part that it depends, it depends upon both: a part of the sorrow comes from life, and a part one makes oneself. Therefore, if there is a response, one helps life to give a little joy, then life will give one a little joy also. But if one prevents life from giving a little joy then life becomes helpless.

Q & A After Gatha III, 9 Tasawwuf "Shame..."

Q. False accusation fills a child with a sense of shame, though there is no justification. A. Anything wrongly suggested has always a wrong result. Sometimes a person carries a sense of shame too far, but it has its own value when it is used rightly. Often people have done great things, beyond their ordinary power, taken hold of by their sense of shame. They get such a desire to amend that they are awakened from a sense of death, they make superhuman efforts, and they live again. Repentance is the outcome of shame.

When the sense becomes more living the person feels the lack in himself and so he respects the lack in others. So what he does is to cover the lack of another, instead of exposing it by criticism. When he develops further he sees other persons exposing their own lacking. So the pain of the wise and of the saintly souls is the pain they feel for others as being themselves. They feel it like a knife; spiritual life means to feel the life of another as one feels one's own life. It looks so cruel on the part of man to expose the lack of another. It may satisfy his vanity or bring him a moment's pleasure, but from the spiritual point of view it looks very cruel. One can overcome this by feeling the oneness of life, the same life in him and in me, so his pain, his sorrow, his pleasure I share, because his life is my life. So one cannot but be sympathetic to all in life. All have more or less love, but the difficulty is they do not know how to use it to their best advantage.

Q. Will you please explain from the lesson on "Shame" (Gatha III, No. 9 Tasawwuf): "The sense of shame is like a pearl in a shell." And further: "The price cannot be given in the marketplace. The place of that pearl is the crown of the king."
A. That means that a virtue like this is appreciated and understood and rewarded fully in its right place. That is why it is said, "in the crown of the king." A person with this virtue is not appreciated by everybody. The person who has not got this virtue cannot appreciate it. Therefore for a greater person a greater place is required.

Q & A After Gatha II, No. 10, Nakshi Bandi, "Brahman..."

Q. Do the Vaishnava and Shiva followers and the worshippers of all the different deities worship in the same way? A. It is almost the same. There may be little differences; not much. Just some differences which will perhaps distinguish one from the other. But at the same time mostly this is the form.

Q. Have they all the same sacred words and breathing exercises? A. No, perhaps the words of the Vedanta, followers of Vishnu differ from the words the followers of Shiva use. Of course, the meaning is the same. And breathing exercises do not differ much, for the reason that the yoga is one yoga for all the Hindus. There are four different yogas, but one system.

Q. Who gives them the words and breathing exercises? Priests, are they murshids? A. First of all, a brahman is a priest by birth; a brahman is a born priest. Therefore the first lesson he receives is in his own family, of the sacred word. But when he takes an esoteric path, at that time he needs the guidance of a murshid. What the brahman calls a guru. And it may be the same word perhaps which he has learned from his parents. Still when that word is given by the guru, that has a different value again. Perhaps he has repeated that word in his life, but when it is given by the guru the value of the word is different.

Q. And for the non-brahman? A. The manner of their worship is the same. But the worship of the other persons is done by the mediumship of a brahman, because only a brahman was entitled to perform the service. Brahmans were the community of priests. And for kshatryas, and vaishyas, and suddras, which are three different casts of the Hindus, the brahmans had to perform services. The others had no power to perform the service anywhere.

Hindus are living all over India. They have to take a brahman as a medium; through a brahman they are entitled to have a service. A brahman is the one who will perform the service, and they will have to stand there and attend the service.

Q. Do they know the meaning of all the different actions they perform? A. Not everybody. An advanced brahman knows it.

Q. Has it not changed the customs of the other classes? A. Yes, they do prostrate. But going near the deity, and putting the red powder and the ointment on, that they do not do. Sometimes they bring for the brahman the red powder and the oil, and leave it there. But that is the brahman's work to do. They have many different marks of the cast. But the castmark denotes the third eye, the inner sense.

Q. The Catholic Church ..? A. One thing is very admirable in the Hindu religion. It is so very vast in its ways of worship, and in its doctrines and ideal and forms and philosophy, that it gives a scope for a person of every grade of evolution. He has an answer in the religion of the Hindus, whatever grade of evolution he has reached. For every person Hinduism will give an answer, because it is very vast. If a person will try in the philosophical field, he will find an answer; so in worship, in symbology. Therefore it is something which answers the demand of every individual's life. If one takes the whole religion of the Hindus, from the beginning to the end, it is so vast and deep, and yet so simple, that it answers the need of every person. Hinduism is not one religion: Hinduism is many religions itself.

Q. Is that the reason that the Jains and Sikhs have grown so? A. The religion of the Jains is Buddhistic, and that of the Sikhs is a modern reform of Hinduism.

Q. -----? A. It is the spiritual effect of the word. At the same time when the guru gave it, at that time the guru has charged this word with his own spiritual power. That is the same thing in Sufism.

Q. What is the meaning in the worship of the brahmans of putting rice at the feet of the deity? A. That all the love and light that they gain from the deity they will spread in the world, as the seeds thrown in the furrow. The red powder symbolizes eternal life.

Q & A After Gatha III, No. 10.: Tasawwuf, on "Tolerance"

Q. Does the law of attraction work on a scientific basis, according to the law of vibrations? A. Yes, there is a law hidden under every activity, and therefore certainly there is a law of vibration in every activity. No movement is free from the law of vibration. Therefore it is in attraction and repulsion also.

Mastery comes from evolution of the soul. And the sign of mastery is to conquer everything that revolts one. And that is tolerance. And the souls who have attained to some degree that spiritual mastery will see, with me, that not only with people, but even with food, that when a person will say, "This I do not like, that I will not eat," the soul who has gained mastery, rejects nothing, though it may not approve of it, it may not be especially attracted to it. And then with the weather, the masterly soul will not say, "It is too hot," or "too damp," or "too dry." "We do not tolerate what is before us." It is hard to tolerate, but we cannot help to meet it; the difference is in tolerating it. The whole system of the yogis, especially of the Shiva Bhaktis, is bases on making oneself acquainted with something that the nature revolts against. In this way they could go too far, in tormenting themselves. The extremity in all things is not right. At the same time that is the principle.

It is not the food, but how the person accepts it, if he eats it. With medicine, thought works with simple food: if he says, "It will do me good," it can cure. There are yogis just now who will drink poison and not die, or jump into the fire and not be burnt. You will find the intolerant souls most unhappy: everything hurts them. food, water, air, the change of the weather, every person they see hurts them. Where should they be, who are uncomfortable in the house and restless outside?

Q. What to say to such a one? A. It is very difficult. Therefore that tendency of rejecting, dislikes, prejudices, it is that tendency which must be conquered. It gives such a mastery. I remember my own experience once that in the school my teacher said that there was a tree whose leaves are very good for a person. They purify the blood. That did not interest me. "But," he said, "it is so bitter that you cannot drink it, nor taste it, nor touch it." I thought, "I think I can!" I did not care for the medicine, only I thought, "Cannot, no one can!" I went home and gathered leaves, and everybody could not understand why I was gathering the leaves. It is more bitter than the water in the sea. I drank it, and my satisfaction was that I did not even make a face. I was not tired of it, I continued for five, six days.

It is a demand on the part of a person, if he wants to fight against all things. That gives mastery. One does not fight mostly. One always fights against things that prevent others getting what one wants. If one would fight with oneself, then one would fight against the tendency of rejecting: that leads in the end to mastery.

Q. I thought it was no use trying to force yourself. A. As a general principle in life there is no use to force. But to train oneself is another thing. It is a method.

Q & A After Gatha III, No. 4, Etekad Rasiu Ravaj, on "Toasts"

Q. Would we receive the curses of people as well as the blessings? A. Yes. One should always think that life is an opportunity. Every moment is an opportunity. Sometimes one can do good by not troubling oneself much; it is just by seizing the opportunity. If one is attentive and brings some pleasure and happiness, it is not always that it costs. What it costs is attention, if one keeps one's attention fixed upon that idea, and one is constantly seeking where one can do some little good to another. By giving one's place in a bus or tramcar, by just having a little consideration for the aged, a little consideration for someone who is perhaps not honored or respected - if one can offer what a person is lacking in his life, without knowing, that is always a great help. To do good is the work of the sage. Sometimes people become over-enthusiastic, which does harm. It is a spell, a fit of goodness. That does no good. The real goodness is that which comes spontaneously. A thief is always on the lookout to rob something; so a good person is always looking for an opportunity to do good. He will always find it.

Q. Can you tell something more of the time that God grants wishes? A. God grants wishes at two times. One time is when your heart is free from every thought, or feeling, or emotion, in the most peaceful and tranquil condition: at that time every wish that is sown is just like a seed sown in fertile soil. If one had the patience and faith to wait, faith in the great power of God, whatever be the wish, it will certainly be granted. The other time when the wish is granted is when somebody is satisfied, has been made happy by you, and naturally, out of his heart, springs a kind of fountain which pours upon you a kind of blessing. It will be just like rain from above, which in time will bring its fruits and flowers.

Q. Has one the right to wish for oneself? A. Yes, as long as one's conscience says that the wish is right. But there is another stage, when a person has so advanced spiritually that he thinks, "God's wish is my wish. God knows better than me. I may wish something wrong." The one who gives his life in that way into the hands of God is greater still.

Q. When a man is poor, but can just live with the means he has is it then good when he gives away material things, and so makes himself dependent upon others? A. You, see, the question what is good is a very difficult question to decide. Good is peculiar to a person. It all depends upon what that person thinks. When he thinks it is right, it is good. That is the only question.

This is the story of Saint Alias. He was an ascetic, and for his food only a loaf of bread was enough every day. He would not keep anything for tomorrow. If he were given food for four people in one day he would distribute it. If he had still more, he shared it all. Next day he was without. If one said, why did he make himself dependent upon people for the next day? He would say that, "We live in this life interdependent. As long as I do not go to anybody, not force upon anybody, only people brought it, what does it matter? It is from Him. It is not depending upon others. It all comes from God. It all goes to the creatures of God. What does it matter?" It all depends upon the person, and how the person looks at it.

Q. The great creative spirits, who at this moment are so necessary for working in the world, if they have in their soul a longing for spirituality, how can they keep balance between their busy life and the concentration which is necessity for the spiritual path? What must they sacrifice? A. In the first place I should say if one object is the seeking of one's soul, and the other object is life's necessity, and if one object is to be sacrificed, it is better the one which is necessary, but keep to the soul's seeking.

There is another point of view: in order to become spiritual, we should not become unworldly. We can just as well be in the world and yet not be of the world. We can be active in our everyday life and yet be concentrative. A person who can concentrate well can manage the affairs of the world better. Those who have attained success in business, in worldly affairs, they had their concentration better. Therefore concentration is in no way a hindrance. A success gained through the power of spirituality is more secure and has a stronger foundation. Furthermore, there is one rule of life which must be understood. That the success is gained by two ways: by the right way and by the wrong way. Wrong way means which is against spiritual idea. And when a person has started by one path, he must keep to that path, in order to be successful. And if he finds that perhaps the other path will be better for the success, he will lose. A person who is going the wrong way, if he thinks that the right way will be better, he will lose. The person who is going in the right way, he will not lose. His success will perhaps be slow, but it is secure, and he will all through be successful. The other had no danger, but his greatest danger is going into the right path, that is his loss. God bless you.