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






















































To the Mureeds

Resist Not Evil




On the spiritual path the preparation that is most necessary is to make a location for the knowledge of God, God in one's own heart. If you ask me what I mean by location, the answer is that in the ear, for instance, there is a location for sound that comes from outside. The reason is in the ear there is the space for accommodation, not only for sound, but for every letter and syllable. If it were not for the location that man has in his ear he could not hear, and so location must be created in one's own heart. This construction of the ear is a perfect picture of the location that is in the heart. Outside, the ear is hollow. Its shape is its receptacle, and this is produced by response. The tendency is to take in all that comes. It seems as if some part of the ear has been cut out in order to make a hollow.

Some part must be taken out of the heart in order to have capacity. Of course the difficulties of life make this capacity all the time. Then again there is a cover in front of the ear which helps the sound to be retained in order to become distinguishable. In the heart this is produced by the power of concentration. The thoughts of love and sympathy must become distinguished, it is the concentration which allows it to be distinguished. Intuition is the distinction of all that comes to the heart. The heart must allow it to become clear. An inside organ of the ear is the vibration; this distinguishes every word. In the heart there is an intuitive faculty: every feeling that comes in the heart vibrates. This makes things distinct to one's view. Many consider the heart a picture of the eye, but I consider the heart is more the picture of the ear that hears. The actual sense that can be pictured as the eye is located in the center of the head.

The work of the intuitive faculty is the perception and conception. There are two ways of knowing, one by the head, the other by the heart. Knowing by the heart is like hearing, and knowing by the head like seeing. Seeing, no doubt gives satisfaction, but hearing gives a greater satisfaction still. All that is audible touches the depth of one's being, and what is visible becomes reflected on the surface of one's heart.

The practice of zikr is meant to make that capacity in the heart in order to turn the heart into the ear. Every repetition of zikr is like carving something with a chisel. By carving a part of the heart, it may become hollow and it has the capacity to receive all that comes. The sound has power upon heart and soul. When you are given an exercise, its power is the same as the word or the meaning of the word. Therefore one must cut out the part that hinders the heart to do its proper work. The power of the word is such that all things can be accommodated by it, if one does it rightly. Wonders can be worked by the help of the word. Therefore a mantram is more powerful than a weapon. This is the experience of my whole life.

Of course before one does a deeper practice of zikr one must control one's thoughts and feelings. If not one may do a great harm to oneself or others. We must not direct ill will, anger to anyone, not even to our worst enemy. If one creates compassion, we will tolerate, forgive, and take life easy. Then power increases. There are two things: one is to receive inspiration, the other is to gain power, jemal and jelal. Jemal is mercy and compassion; jelal is self-discipline and mastery over one's self.

Another question for my mureeds is that they must know that they are not alone in the spiritual path. They have a guide, not in imagination, but living on the earth, whose happiness and whose sorrow are your happiness and your sorrow. He is someone who is a human being, and has troubles and struggles with himself and others. Therefore we must feel safe in treading the spiritual path. Our guide is in the same world, he has gone through the same life of a human being. We must not feel foreign with Murshid, but we must feel nearness and brotherhood. There is someone who understands you and your difficulties.

What is necessary is three things:

  1. Trust and confidence in Murshid, in his feeling of interest in your happiness and your well-being.

  2. To consider the work that may be interesting to you (meditation, etc.) as the kind of the most necessary thing to fulfill you duty. If you do not do it with all your trust, he cannot help you in the direction where your effort is necessary. Murshid knows the difficulties of the western world, and therefore he gives you much less work compared with people of the East. (None of you has six hours of silence, nor three days' fasting. In the East it is the usual thing.) Still we are more privileged than the East. We have not only spiritual teachings that are given, but the message of God is given here and will re-echo in the East. It begins in the West and goes to the East. We are receiving the Light, which is beyond meditation or studies.

    The outer meaning is a message of words; the inner meaning is the same as is represented in the Sacrament, as the wine (the blood) and the bread (the flesh). Life itself is Light. A proof is not necessary for sincere mureeds, faithful to Murshid and the Cause, the very fact makes them sincere. Our fifteen minutes' meditation is much more than six to ten hours' practice in the East.

  3. Your part of responsibility in the application of the Message, what you get from the teachings, in everyday life, of which you must give the proof yourself in everyday life. You must be workers of the Cause according to ability and capacity.

To the Mureeds

One thing that mureeds will realize is that initiation is given not that they will tell others about it. Keep it in your mind, but do not speak about it. By keeping it secret, you show a sacred feeling towards it.

My mureeds will do their exercises without break if they can help, and a few minutes every day they must devote to reading the papers. I wish that my mureeds will show the character of the Sufi Order by their own example, not speaking with others on any subjects which are uncommon, clairvoyance, spirits, etc. Those who speak about these things do not realize their real value. Life is sacred, and the idea of life cannot be discussed with every body.

Today the tendency is to make religion a science; it is our work to make science a religion. People want to drag Heaven to earth; we want to raise earth to Heaven. True religion is an ideal, and the more sacredly we regard the ideal, the more sacred is our religion.

In my absence my mureeds must assemble and keep exchange of love and harmony. By that they will show their real sympathy and devotion to their Murshid. No doubt my mureeds will, as they evolve in the spiritual path, understand more and more what the Message is, and what responsibility it is. And by realizing this, they must not only sympathize, but should show it in a practical realm and see in what way they can share the burden of the responsibility. I do not appeal to my mureeds who are busy and have not yet understood the extent of Murshid's responsibility and the importance of his work. But I make appeal to those mureeds whose hearts are sincerely given to Murshid.

As to myself, I am dedicated to the Cause, and the mountain I have lifted upon my shoulders I shall carry till my last breath, even if nobody comes to my help. The mighty Power Whose Message I brought to you and to humanity helps and will continue to help. I wish that mureeds who have every desire to help may not be deprived of the privilege of helping also to lift this mountain. It is not to be explained in one word in which way help may be given. But where there is a will, there is a way. And as soon as they realize the greatness of the work, the doors will open before them, and then they themselves will understand and see their way.

Resist Not Evil

Beloved Ones of God,

I should like to speak a few words today on the subject of Christ's phrase, "Resist not evil." Often one wonders at this saying, and it is not always given the right interpretation. In order to give an interpretation to this, the first thing is to explain what evil means. Is there any particular action or is there any particular thing which one can point out as evil? No doubt man is always apt to point out a certain action as evil, but nothing can be evil as a fixed principle. Then what is it? It is something which is void of harmony, it is something which lacks beauty, it is something which is missing love in it. Beyond and above all it is something which is not fitting in the accommodation of life. What fits in the accommodation that life offers cannot be an evil. It is the character of evil that is signified by its not being fitting in the accommodation.

Evil is likened to a fire. The nature of fire is to destroy everything that comes in its fold. But at the same time, the power of evil is as great as the power of the fire, and yet evil is as weak as fire. For the fire does not endure; so evil does not last. As fire destroys itself, so evil is its own destruction.

Why is it said, "Do not resist evil?" Because resistance gives life to evil, non-resistance lets it burn itself. In the form of anger, passion, greed, stubbornness, one sees evil; in the form of deceit, treachery. But the root of evil is one, and that is selfishness. In one person's heart perhaps the evil is manifest on the surface, in another person it is in the depth.

And there is a saying in the East, "Do not invoke the name of Satan, or he will rise from his grave." An inconsiderate or thoughtless person always falls into the error of wakening this evil, even if it were asleep, for he does not know the music of life. Every person therein is a note, and when one feels this way, then he has before him an instrument. The whole world is an instrument upon which a symphony is to be played.

Even in small things one can observe the same law. Very often the great trouble that one has in one's life is not owing to the difficulty of the others, but owing to less comprehension of human nature. If one knew human nature, that would be the first and the last lesson to learn, not to resist evil, for resistance becomes fuel to the fire. If you tell someone, "Do not do this;" if you ask someone, "Why did you do it?"; if you say to someone, "You have done such and such a thing," by all these things you only make the evil stronger, you make the person firmer in his fault.

Everyone in this world can be a teacher, but not a real teacher. A real teacher is the one who always teaches himself, and the more he teaches himself, the more he finds that there is so much to be taught. This self has so many lacks that the whole lifetime is not enough to teach it and the more the self learns, the more it overlooks the evil in others. It does not mean that the evil is not in the others, it only means that one finds that the enemy whom one was seeing outwardly is in oneself. And the worst enemy whom one was faced with in the outer life, one finds in one's own heart. It makes one feel humiliated, but it teaches the true lesson: to find oneself having the same element which one wishes to resist in another.

Life is a place where a gentle movement is necessary. In thought, speech, or action, in everything, the rhythm must be controlled. A law of harmony should be observed in all that one does. One must know that when walking barefoot upon the thorns even they will not allow one to be free from accusation: the thorns will accuse one of having trampled upon them. If the delicacy of living in this world is to that extent, can anyone say, "I have gained sufficient wisdom?", or can anyone say, "I can afford to live in this world without giving thought to this problem."?

The problem of evil is great. Many cannot tolerate hearing its name. But they are faced with it every moment of their life, and therefore not solving this problem cannot help. Besides this, everyone is ready to judge, or to observe, to take notice of the evil of another, not knowing that sometimes the surface of a thing is quite different from its depth. Maybe what seems evil has something good inside it, or what is in appearance good may have a spark of evil inside. And by what standard can we determine evil and good, and who can judge the evil and good of any man? If one can judge, it is one's own evil and good that one can judge. No one except God has the power to judge another. Yes, the sense of justice that is given to man is for judging his own actions, and if he judges himself, he uses it best, because for that purpose the sense of justice was given to him.

When we look at life with a telescope, we shall find that it is nothing but a struggle of living, individually or collectively. And it appears that if there is anything worthwhile in this life, it is what is besides this struggle: the giving and taking of kindness and love, and doing any action of unselfishness. However qualified a person is in the things of the world, his qualification reaches a certain length, it does not go beyond. It is the qualification of the understanding of life, the understanding of the law which is working behind it, that is the whole qualification required; and it is this qualification alone which will diminish the continual struggle that one has in life. It will diminish it in this way: it will give man less to resist, it will make a person more tolerant of the natural condition of human beings.

No sooner does one think that you cannot expect from a person what he is not capable of thinking or doing, than one becomes tolerant. The difficulty is that everyone demands of another person more in the way of thought and consideration, in the way of kindness and love. He wants more justice and fairness on the part of another; and his standard may be so high that another person cannot keep to it. It is the high expectation from every side of what one has to receive from others, it is that which makes one disappointed. And generally what happens is that a person does not only sit quiet after being disappointed, he resists, and so the struggle of life continues.

Compassion comes by the thought, "I cannot expect of a person what he is unable to think or do as I expect it of him." It [that expectaton] is simply like this, to feel that the pear tree must give roses, and the rose tree must give jasmine. Every person is a certain plant, not the same plant. Yes, we may be fond of roses, but every plant does not give roses. If we want roses we must only seek the rose plant. If it is not the rose plant, we must not be disappointed that it is not the rose plant. The plant that does not give roses is not the rose plant. In this way we can correct ourselves of our own disappointment, instead of demanding roses of a tree which is not a rose tree.

What education, what point of view, what attitude in life would be most comfortable and will give happiness? It is this point of view of making an attitude of overlooking evil instead of resisting it. There are three ways of meeting life.

  1. The first is struggling in the sea, the waves of which are rising and falling all the time. A person will struggle as long as life will permit, but the rising and the falling of the waves in the sea will continue for ever and ever; in the end he will be drowned. So it is with man in his life in the world. Man struggles along, being intoxicated in his struggle. But how long will it go on? As long as his energy will permit it. In the end he will be drowned. Yes, in this struggle he might seem powerful, he might seem to have won over others, he might seem to have done things above others. But what it is? In the end that person is drowned.

  2. But there is another person who knows how to move his arms harmoniously in the water; he has got the rhythm of moving his arms and legs in the water. Then he is swimming with the rising and falling of the waves, he is not struggling. This man has a hope of arriving in the port, if only the port is near. If the ideal of that man is not too far, then he is the one to accomplish.

  3. And the third person is the one who walks above, over the water. It is this which is the meaning of Christ's walking on the sea. Life is just like waves; it is making its way continually. If one is disturbed by it, necessarily he will be disturbed by its disturbance. If he can keep calm, he will be calm. The one who allows himself to be disturbed by it will be disturbed more and more every day. The one who does not take notice of it will keep his quiet, which is his own, within himself. The one who sees all things and yet rises above things is the one who will walk on the sea.

No one can at once reach the highest summit of life, of wisdom, in a moment's time. Even a lifetime is too short. Yet hope is necessary. The one who hopes and sees the possibility, he walks to the summit; the one who has no hope has no legs to mount on this hill of wisdom, the summit of which is the desired goal.

Q. How is a person who is at the head of some business or institution to keep the position of not resisting evil in the world?
A. I have seen at the head of certain factories people who have won the heart of everyone working in the factory, and another head of a factory against whom every worker in the factory was speaking. It may be that this latter head of the factory may make a greater profit than the other one. But at the same time in the end he will find that the first is more durable than the next.

These manners of wisdom and tenderness cannot be made as principles for people to be restricted to follow. The place of a knife a brush cannot take, and therefore everyone has to use every manner and action according to the situation. Nevertheless that thought of not resisting evil should be at the back of it.

Q. How can one manage with a person who is really bad?
A. Yes, it is this, that if a person is really bad, that means that the whole surface has become bad. But still the depth cannot be bad. However bad a person, the depth cannot be bad. For goodness is life itself, and a person who is all bad cannot live. The very fact that he is living shows that there is a spark of goodness there. Besides, as there are various objects, there are various persons. Some show softness outside, hardness inside; some show hardness outside and softness inside; some good in the depth and evil on the surface, and some evil in the depth and good on the surface. Because as many souls, so many different varieties there are.

Q. Is there a system to take away the bad?
A. The system is the understanding of life more and more. It is to keep the love element alive, to try to keep a harmonious attitude as much as possible, and then to keep beauty before oneself. Humankind is always progressing, and in that progress there are passing phases.

Q. But I suppose that if it is with grown up people it is much more difficult?
A. It is, but at the same time we should have the spirit that we are never grown up, we should never close our heart from learning, that whatever the age we are always ready to accept what is harmonious and beautiful. The idea is this, that when one thinks that "what I think is right" and one finds out arguments and reasons to make it right; and "what another person thinks is wrong" and one finds out reasons to make it wrong, that person will always remain in the same place. But one who is ready to accept even from a child, if there is anything one says that is wrong one thinks; "Yes, even the child says it, it is a profit for me to accept it."

For God has not only spoken through his prophets, but He speaks through every person if we opened our heart to listen to it. The difficulty is that we become teachers. If we kept ourselves a pupil -- through our whole life we can keep ourselves a pupil, and the teaching will come all the time from within and without. As soon as we become teachers we close our heart from Him Who alone is our Teacher.

Q. If we want to be kind to someone, how can we prevent that person abusing our kindness?
A. Our part is to be kind. That person's part is to use it rightly. It is not our part to see that the other person makes the right use of it. If we think about it we shall forget our business.

Q. How can one help at the same time that person who is doing harm, who does not understand our kindness?
A. Love is a conqueror, and in the end he will conquer. It is not only the person outside that love will conquer. But it will conquer the self of the one who loves, the conquering of which is the conquering of the kingdom of God. The power of love is penetrating; nothing can resist it in the end. And by giving kindness we have not lost anything. It is an element which is never lessened; it is a treasure which is diving. When we see whether the person is worthy or unworthy, in that case we limit our love in a channel. But when we allow that feeling of kindness to flow, then it will develop into a continual flowing condition. And then kindness will work out its destiny without any intention on our part. It is something that the whole life one must learn.

Keep burning the fire I have lighted.
It may seem very small to you,
but one tiny flame, if kept burning, can be the means of illuminating a whole city,
and someday many lamps that shall be lighted at this small fire will give light to thousands.
This fire of truth is now lighted, and its light will never go out.
Your work is to tend it and keep it burning.
The fuel needed is your every thought, your faith, your prayers, and your sacrifices.
You cannot see the result of this.
Light can never be lost.
I have kindled this small fire from which millions of lamps can be lit.
Their number cannot be reckoned,
and millions upon millions of other fires can now be lighted.
When all have been kindled the original fire will die out, and the place thereof be known no more.
Verily the form dieth, and the spirit liveth for ever.
God bless you.