Saturday, September 17, 2011

Confessions: From Autobiographical Essays of Hazrat Inayat Khan

Inayat Khan, may God sanctify his soul secret, was a brilliant spiritual teacher and is credited for bringing Sufism to the West for the first time back in early 1900s. Many western as well as eastern seekers who came to the Path, came through the direct or indirect influence of this great personality who left behind volumes of his inspired writings and teachings that helped bridge east and west in the common spiritual thirst. At the moment a great many spiritual teachers who themselves have flowered and became teacher of holy teachings have received directly from Inayat Khan's transmission.

Below is an excerpt from his Autobiographical Essays that shades upon his early days of coming to the Path, his intimate thoughts and events that lead him to the Journey to eventually become what he became. His initiatic journey is also a beautiful inspiration and may work as a guiding map as an indicator of 'which phase to follow after what' - for the seekers who are in the beginning phase of their heart's awakening.



The Early Years

'Whatsoever road I took, it joined the street which leads to Thee.'
-The Dabistan.

I was born in Baroda, India, in the year 1882, when a great religious reform began, not only in India itself, but all the world over, and which was the first source of our present-day awakening. I am sure it was the planetary influence which existed at that time that has kept me busied all my life in seeking the divine truth, which is as the garment of God's glory.

Music and mysticism were my heritage from both my paternal and maternal ancestors, among whom were numbered Maulabakhsh, whom people called the Beethoven of India and whose portrait is in the Victoria and Albert Museum at South Kensington, and Jumma Shah, the great seer of Panjab.

My curiosity about the hidden secrets of nature was early aroused, and I made frequent inquiries concerning the mysteries of religion, such as, Where does God live? How old is God? Why should we pray to Him? And why should we fear Him? Why should people die? And where do they go after death? If God has created all, who was the creator of God?

My parents, Rahemat Khan and Khatija Bibi, would patiently answer me in the simplest and most plausible manner possible, but I would prolong the argument until they were wearied. Then I would ponder upon the same questions. I was sent to school when quite young, but I fear that I was more inclined to play than to study. I preferred punishment to paying attention to those subjects in which I had no interest. I enjoyed religion, poetry, morals, logic, and music more than all other learning, and I took music as a special subject at the Academy of Baroda and repeatedly won the first prize there.

I had so much curiosity about strangers, fortune-tellers, fakirs, dervishes, spiritualists, and mystics, that I would very often absent myself from my meals to seek them out. My taste for music, poetry, and philosophy increased daily, and I loved my grandfather's company more than a game with boys of my own age. In silent fascination I observed his every movement and listened to his musical interpretations, his methods of study, his discussions and his conversation.

My kinsfolk were Muslim, and I grew up devoted to the Holy Prophet and loyal to Islam, and never missed one prayer of the five which are the daily portion of the faithful.

One evening in the summer time I was kneeling, offering my Nimaz (prayers) to Allah the Great, when the thought smote me that although I had been praying so long with all trust, devotion, and humility, no revelation had been vouchsafed to me, and that it was therefore not wise to worship Him, that One whom I had neither seen nor fathomed. I went to my grandfather and told him I would not offer any more prayers to Allah until I had both beheld and gauged Him. "There is no sense in following a belief and doing as one's ancestors did before one, without knowing the true reason," I said.

Instead of being vexed Maulabakhsh was pleased with my inquisitiveness, and after a little silence he answered me by quoting a sura of the Qur'an, "We will show them our signs in the world and in themselves, that the truth may be manifested to them." And then he soothed my impatience and explained, saying, "The signs of God are seen in the world, and the world is seen in thyself.'

These words entered so deeply into my spirit, that from this time every moment of my life has been occupied with the thought of the divine immanence; and my eyes were thus opened, as the eyes of the young man by Elijah, to see the symbols of God in all the aspects of nature, and also in that nature which is reflected within myself. This sudden illumination made everything appear as clear to me as in a crystal bowl or a translucent jewel. Thenceforth I devoted myself to the absorption and attainment of truth, the immortal and perfected Grace.

My Study of Religions

'Wisdom which is the worker of all things taught me, for in her is an understanding spirit.'
- Solomon.

I first studied comparative religions with an open mind; not in a critical spirit but as an admirer and a lover of truth in all its guises. I read the lives of the founders, prophets, and seers with as much reverence as their most devout adherents. This brought me the bliss of realization of the one truth which all religions contain, as different vessels may yet hold the same wine. It was the conception of truth in all its manifold forms and expressions, ever borne by different messengers, who most wondrously, by their very diversity of garb, civilization, nationality, and age, revealed the one Source of the inspiration. To me their sole difference was caused by the laws of space and time.

It was therefore natural for the messengers of truth to convey their message in the language of the land wherein they were born, and in the style suited to the life of their period. For each one was needed in his place and adapted to his era, and the difference between them existed only in those principles and rituals which were given to the people of that time and harmonized with their standard of intelligence and evolution: even as a physician has to change his prescriptions according to the patient's state of improvement before he can bring about the cure; or as in school, at each term and in every year, a new course of study is taught through different grades.

Man, not generally understanding this fact and its motive, and owing to the blind dogmatic faith which obsesses him, has always clung to the originator and ignored the new prophet. Such was the common lot of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, and of all the Masters and Shining Ones who have revealed in the sorrows they had to bear during their own lives the struggle between the cross and the truth, which is expressed by the symbol of the cross. The hurt from which the prophets have ever suffered lay in the rebellion of the ignorant, who were unable to realize the truth hidden in their teachings, and thus mocked and scoffed at them. But all the true messengers justly asserted the truth in a way to suit the period wherein they brought their message.


'Whosoever in Love's city enters finds but room for One, and but in Oneness union.'
- Jami.


I Start on My Indian Tour

'The world shall live in me, not I in it.' 
- Akhlak-e Jalali.

Glory be to God that this universal belief saved me from falling into the crooked paths of bigotry and prejudice, on which so many children of God pass the night of life like a flock of ignorant sheep. They walk in herds unto the very gates of death, unaware of their Why and Whither, while even the voice of immortality cannot recall them, and they are lost unto the ages!

When Maulabakhsh, my grandfather, died I was in deep despair. I grieved for a very long time over the loss of my musical guide and inspiration, realizing the uncertainty of this life, and that my own existence was only worth enduring if I could be of some use to the world. I appreciated the great service Maulabakhsh had rendered to India by giving its music a feasible system of notation, and wondered how I could carry on his work.

At one period music in India was regarded not only as a medium for perfecting humanity, but also as a spiritual manifestation. My grandfather, with his intense feeling for both his art and his people, believed that music could only be raised from its present degeneration by using it as a teacher of morals and a prophet of the Lord's glory. Once, in my utter despair at my futility in comparison with him, I broke down completely, crying, "Allah! If our people had lost only their wealth and power it would not have been so grievous to bear, since these temporal things are always changing hands in the mazes of Maya. But the inheritance of our race, the music of the Divine, is also leaving us through our own negligence, and that is a loss my heart cannot sustain!'

And thus it came about that I left my home with the view of creating a universal system of music. I started out on this mission when I was eighteen years old, and was welcomed at the courts of Rajas and Maharajas who greatly encouraged and rewarded me for my efforts. From all the leading cities of India I received addresses and medals in recognition and appreciation of my music, and thus increased the number of my friends, pupils, and sympathizers throughout India.

The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahebub Ali Khan, a great mystic ruler of India and a devotee of music and poetry, showed me special favor. Several times my playing moved the Nizam to tears; and when I had done he asked curiously, what mystery lay in my music?

Then, answering him, I explained, "Your Highness, as sound is the highest source of manifestation, it is mysterious within itself, and whosoever has the knowledge of sound, he indeed knows the secret of the universe. My music is my thought, and my thought is my emotion; the deeper I dive into the ocean of feeling, the more beautiful are the pearls I bring forth in the form of melodies. Thus my music creates feeling within me even before others feel it. My music is my religion; therefore worldly success can never be a proper price for it, and my sole object in music is to achieve perfection.'

This explanation, together with my playing, charmed the Nizam so much that he presented me with a purse full of golden coins, and placing his own precious emerald ring upon my finger named me "Tansen", after the great Indian singer of the past. This incident brought me gifts and titles from all parts of India. But honors for myself did not really satisfy me. How could I be content with my own exalted position when my fellow musicians were looked upon with contempt by conservative India?

Naturally I realized that it was due partly to the musicians themselves, who are as a rule illiterate and who look to the princes and potentates for support, feeding their false pride with flattery and subservience, and thus losing the independence and inspiration of their art. Then again, the masses are untrained in the subject, while the educated classes are far too busy adopting Western ideas and sacrificing literature, philosophy, and music to polo, cricket, and tennis. I met many of the latter, who made it a boast that they knew nothing about the music of their own country, furnishing their homes with blaring gramophones and hiding their sitars away in disgrace.

'O Thou whose kingdom passes not away, pity him whose kingdom is passing away'
- Dying words of Caliph Vathek.

To my amazement and horror, all the medals and decorations which I had gathered as emblems of my professional success, and which were a source of pride to me, gained as they were by so much endeavor, enthusiasm, and the labor of many years spent in constant wanderings from place to place, were in a single instant snatched away from me for ever. In a moment of abstraction they were left in a car, which could not be traced despite all my efforts. But in place of the disappointment which at first oppressed me, a revelation from God touched the hidden chords of my mind and opened my eyes to the truth.

I said to myself, "It matters not how much time you have spent to gain that which never belonged to you but which you called your own; today you understand it is yours no longer. And it is the same with all you possess in life, your property, friends, relations; even your own body and mind. All that you call "my", not being your true property, will leave you, and only that which you name "I", which is absolutely disconnected with all that is called "my", will remain. Why not go forth and strive for that which is worth gaining in life? Why not thus attain to true glory, instead of wasting your valuable opportunities in vain greed for wealth, fame, reputation, and those worldly honors which are here today and forgotten tomorrow?'

I knelt down and thanked God for the loss of my medals, crying, "Let all be lost from my imperfect vision but thy true Self, Ya Allah!'

I then set forth in pursuit of philosophy, visiting every mystic I could on my journeys to different Indian cities. I traveled through jungles, across mountains, and along river banks in search of mystics and hermits, playing and singing before them until they also sought my society.

It was in Nepal, during the pilgrimage of Pashpathinath, that I met a Muni among several sages. He was a Mahatma of the Himalayas and lived in a mountain cave, and untouched by earthly contact, ambitions, and environments, he seemed to be the happiest man in the world. After I had entertained him with my music he, without seeming to notice, revealed to me the mysticism of sound, and unveiled before my sight the inner mystery of music. I thereafter met other mystics, with whom I discoursed on different subjects, and whose blessings I obtained through my art.


My Interest in Sufism

'Well-diggers lead the water; archers bend the bow; carpenters hew a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves."
- Dhammapada.

At Ajmer I visited the tomb of Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti, the most celebrated Sufi saint of India. The atmosphere of his last resting place was in itself a phenomenon; a sense of calm and peace pervaded it, and among all that throng of pilgrims I yet felt as if I were the only one present. At nightfall I went home and said Tahajud, the midnight prayer.

And at the end of my prayers there came to me a voice, as though in answer to my invocations. It was the voice of a fakir calling the people to prayer before sunrise, and he sang, "Awake, O man, from thy fast sleep! Thou knowest not that death watcheth thee every moment. Thou canst not imagine how great a load thou hast gathered to carry on thy shoulders, and how long the journey yet is for thee to accomplish. Up! up! the night is passed and the sun will soon arise!'

The unearthly quiet of the hour and the solemnity of the song moved me to tears. Sitting on my rug with my rosary in my hand, I reflected that all the proficiency and reputation which I had achieved were utterly profitless in regard to my Najat or salvation. I recognized that the world was neither a stage set up for our amusement nor a bazaar to satisfy our vanity and hunger, but a school wherein to learn a hard lesson. I then chose quite a different path to that which I had followed until then; in other words I turned over a new page in my life.

The morning broke and the birds began their hymn of praise to God. I heard men and women pass by below, some going to the mosque, others to the temples, and the general masses to the toil that yields their daily bread. Then I too fared forth and, lost in thought, not knowing my destination, made my way towards the jungle, with an inner yearning to be apart from the world and give an outlet to the thoughts and emotions with which my mind was so occupied.

Thus I arrived at a cemetery where a group of dervishes sat on the green grass, chattering together. They were all poorly clad, some without shoes and others without coats; one had a shirt with only one sleeve and another lacked them both. One wore a robe with a thousand patches and the next a hat without a crown. This strange group attracted my attention and I sat there for some time, noticing all that was going on yet reigning to be utterly indifferent.

Presently their Pir-o-Murshid or Master came towards them, even more scantily dressed than they, and with a group of dervishes circling round him as he approached. Two of the latter led the odd procession, and with each step they cried out loudly, "Hash bar dum, nazur bar kadum, khilwat dar anjuman!'--Be conscious of your breath and watch every step you take, and thus experience solitude in the crowd!

When the Murshid arrived at the assembly of his disciples each one greeted the other, saying, Ishq Allah Ma'bud Allah! -- God is love and God is the Beloved! It was this very greeting which later unveiled for me the Bible words that God is love, and also the verse of the Arabian poet Abulallah, who says:

Church, a Temple, or a Ka'ba stone,
Qur'an or Bible, or a martyr's bone,
All these and more my heart can tolerate
Since my religion is of love alone.

The solemnity of the sacred words they uttered found their echo in my soul, and thereupon I watched their ceremonial with still greater attention. Naturally at first sight their dire poverty was puzzling, but then I had learned before I saw them how the holy Prophet had always prayed to Allah to sustain him in his life among the Mesquin or dervishes, who voluntarily choose this humble way of living. The queer patches on their garments reminded me of the words of Hafiz, "Do not befool thyself by short sleeves full of patches, for most powerful arms are hidden under them." The dervishes first sat lost in contemplation, reciting charms one after the other, and then they began their music. I forgot all my silence and technique while listening to their simple melodies, as they sang to the accompaniment of sitar and dholok the deathless words of the Sufi Masters such as Rumi, Jami, Hafiz, and Shams-e-Tabrez.

The rhapsody which their ecstasies conjured up seemed to me so strong and vital that the very leaves of the trees seemed to hang spellbound and motionless. Although their emotions manifested themselves in varying forms, they were regarded with silent reverence by all that strange company. Each one of them revealed a peculiar mood of ecstasy; some expressed it in tears and others in sighs, some in dances and yet others in the calm of meditation. Although I did not enjoy the music as much as they, still it impressed me so deeply that I felt as if I were lost in a trance of harmony and happiness.

But the most amazing part of the proceedings came when the assembly was about to disperse. For one of the dervishes arose and, while announcing Bhundara or dinner, addressed them in the following terms, "O Kings of Kings! O Emperors of Emperors!" This amused me greatly at the time, while I regarded their outward appearance. My first thought made them merely kings of imagination, without throne or crown, treasury, courtiers, or dominions--those natural possessions and temporal powers of kingship.

But the more I brooded upon the matter, the more I questioned whether environment or imagination made a king. The answer came at last: the king is never conscious of his kingship and all its attributes of luxury and might, unless his imagination is reflected in them and thus proves his true sovereignty. For instance, if a baby were crowned and seated upon a throne he would never comprehend his high position until his mind evolved sufficiently to realize his surroundings. This shows how real our surroundings seem to us, and yet how dead they are in the absence of imagination. And it also reveals how fleeting time and the changes of matter make all the kings of the earth but transitory kings, ruling over transitory kingdoms; this is because of their dependence upon their environment instead of their imagination.

But the kingship of the dervish, independent of all external influences, based purely on his mental perception and strengthened by the forces of his will, is much truer and at once unlimited and everlasting. Yet in the materialistic view his kingdom would appear as nothing, while in the spiritual conception it is an immortal and exquisite realm of joy.

Verily, they are the possessors of the kingdom of God, and all His seen and unseen treasure is in their own possession, since they have lost themselves in Allah and are purified from all illusive deceptions. "It is by them that you obtain rain; it is by them that you receive your subsistence," says the Qur'an. And Omar Khayyam said:

Think in this battered caravanserai,
Whose doorways are alternate night and day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his pomp,
Abode his hour or so, and went his way.
They say the lion and the lizard keep
The courts where Jamsheyd gloried and drank deep;
And Bahram that great hunter, the wild ass
Stamped o'er his head and he lies fast asleep.

Thus I compared our deluded life with the real, and our artificial with their natural being, as one might compare the false dawn with the true. I realized our folly in attaching undue weight to matters wholly unimportant, and how apt we were to laugh at the dreamer building his lovely castles in the air. I saw how our fleeting affairs are blown about as chaff is blown in the wind, while the imagination is difficult to alter. It is possible for the land to turn into water and for water into land, but the impression of an imagination can never change.

I felt that we were losing the most precious moments and opportunities of life for transitory dross and tinsel, at the sacrifice of all that is enduring and eternal.

When I became familiar with the strange life of the dervishes I admired the best in them and was able to recognize the Madzubs, who are the extremists among them. These are so absorbed in the inner vision that they are absolutely unconscious of the external needs of life. Sometimes they are both fed and clothed by others; their neglect of the physical self and their irresponsibility towards the world make is seem at first sight that they are insane, but at times, by their miraculous powers over phenomena, they are distinguished as Madzub. They are understood to be the controllers of the elements, some with regard to certain portions of land or water, and some even for the whole world.

Their thought, words, and actions are truly found to be those of God Almighty. The word is scarcely spoken before the action is accomplished. Each atom of this universe seems to be awaiting their command.

I once saw a Madzub in Calcutta, standing in the street and gesticulating as though he were directing all the traffic. The passers-by laughed at his insanity. But for all his weird looks he had most brilliant eyes, shooting forth strong magnetic vibrations, which attracted me so much that I wondered if he was a Madzub in the guise of a lunatic; this dissimulation is often practiced by them in order to escape contact with the world and all life's cares. If they did not adopt this method it would be harder for them to study the natural hallucinations of humanity. As Sa'di says, "Every man on earth has a craze peculiar to himself.'

The truth of this was shown to me by the way the Madzub laughed at seeing the people in the street hustling and bustling along as if their small affairs were the only important things in the universe. I sent the Madzub word, and asked him if he would care to come and honor me by his presence, but he sacrificed my request to the call of the children who suddenly came running and took him away to play with them. I understood that he preferred the society of children, the angels on earth, to association with grown-up sinners, who know nothing but the ego and its ulterior satisfactions. I waited patiently after this until I next saw him, and sent a message begging him to give my music a hearing. After that he came, and when he entered the room I rose from my seat to do him honor and saluted him with both hands. His only answer was that he did not require this homage, as he received the same under different attributes and aspects from the whole universe.

In order to be quite sure of his Madzubiat I asked him whether he was a thief. He smilingly replied, "Yes", which conveyed to me that all the good and bad attributes, as well as all names and forms, were considered by him to be his own, and that he was thus raised beyond good and evil as well as above the praise and blame of the world.

Then he sat down and began to discourse and act in such a manner that all in the room should consider him insane. But I told him in a whisper that I knew him well, that he could not fool me, and requested him to favor us with his inspiring words and blessings. He then began to speak of the journey he had made on the spiritual path, describing each plane as a fort he had to destroy with guns and cannon, until he arrived at the home of his Father and embraced his true spiritual Lord. And he went on to tell how at last the Father was also dead and he would inherit His kingdom in the end.

It was all related in such quaint language, that none of those present save myself could understand him, and even I only did so with a great mental effort.

A Madzub attains perfection through innocence and, from childhood, learns of the true inner bliss of which we are deprived by our most deluding knowledge of the outer world. Yet it is not the path for all to follow; but we can derive the truth of existence from it and lead a balanced life, as the Salik do among the Sufis.


My Initiation in Sufism

'He breathes not the fragrance of divine mysteries whose head is not warmed by his heart.' - Wali

My interest in Sufism made me very friendly with the dervishes. I leaned to love the sweetness of their nature and the innate perfume of their manner of using music as the food of the soul.

I began at first to imitate their habits and methods, and spent a few hours in silence every day. Once in a dream I saw a great gathering of prophets, saints, and sages, all clad in their Sufi garments, rejoicing in the Suma or music of the dervishes. I was absorbed into their blissful state of ecstasy, and when I was aroused I still felt the exultation my vision had brought to me. After this I heard continually, waking or sleeping, an unknown voice which cried to me, "Allah ho-Akbar'--God is great!

I also had visions of a most haunting and spiritual face, radiant with light, during my concentration in the silence, which heightened my interest in mysticism still more, especially as I could not divine its meaning. I feared to ask for its significance lest others might laugh at my fancy and ridicule it. At last, when I could no longer control my impatience, I described my golden vision to a friend who was also a lover of the mystical, and begged him for an interpretation.

He answered that the dream was a symbol of my initiation into the Sufi Order of Chishtia Khandan, and the words I heard were the crying of Haqq or truth, while the vision was the image of my spiritual guide and protector. He also advised me to undergo the initiation of Sufism, although I had always considered myself undeserving of initiation in that Brotherhood of Purity. But I had a little courage, hoping I might at least be used as a waste-paper basket is employed for ton scraps of wisdom, which would quite suffice me. I visited several murshids with this purpose, but they made no response, although I had the privilege of studying their various views and methods of teaching.

Thus I learned to know four true kinds of masters and four false ones. Among the true I saw first the one who would never answer the appeal of a seeker until he was fully prepared. The second kind would not initiate anyone until a long and trying period of probation had been undergone by the disciple. The third, in order to keep away undesirable adherents, would make himself appear so utterly disagreeable that every pupil would run away at the sight of him. And the fourth would so disguise himself to escape the praise and publicity of the world that none would believe for a moment that he was truly a murshid.

Among the false teachers I first met the hypocrite, who increases the number of his adherents by telling most wonderful stories and showing them tricks of phenomena. The second apostate was pious, disguising his infirmities and failings under the cloak of morality and always busy with worship and prayer. The third was the money-taking master, who eagerly seized upon every opportunity of emptying the pockets of his pupils. The fourth was he who was greedy for the adoration, worship, and servility of his followers.

This experience of different murshids prepared me for the ideal master, and after six months of continual searching I chanced to visit an old and revered acquaintance, Maulana Khairulmubin, to whom I confided my desire to embrace Sufism.

While reflecting on the matter he suddenly received a telepathic message that his friend, a great murshid, was about to come to him. He at once arranged a seat of honor, placing cushions upon it, and walked towards the gate in order to bid him welcome.

After a period of suspense the Pir-o-Murshid entered, bringing with him a very great sense of light. As all those present greeted him, bowing down in their humility, it seemed to me all at once that I had seen him before, but where I could not recall. At last, after gazing at him earnestly, I remembered that his was the face which so persistently harmed me during my silence. The proof of this was manifested as soon as his eyes fell on me. He turned to his host, saying, "O Maulana, tell me who this young man may be? He appeals intensely to my spirit.'

Maulana Khairulmubin answered, "Your holiness, this young man is a genius in music, and he desires greatly to submit himself to your inspiring guidance.'

Then the Master smiled and granted the request, initiating me into Sufism there and then.

Mohammed Abu Hassim Madani belonged to a distinguished family of Medina, and was a direct descendant of the Holy Prophet. My joy in him was so great that it found its expression in poetry and music. I had at last found my pearl among men, my guide, my treasure, and beacon of hope. I composed a song and sang it to him, and this I feel certain has brought me all my success and will aid me in my future life. And this was my song:

Thou art my salvation and freedom is mine,
I am not, I melt as a pearl in sweet wine!
My heart, soul, and self, yea, all these are thine;
O Lord I have no more to offer!
I drink of the nectar of truth the divine,
As Moses thy word, as Yusuf they shine
who walk in thy ways; and Christ is thy sign:
Thou raisest to life everlasting!
Thou art as Mohammed to them that repine,
My spirit is purged as the gold from a mine!
I only know that my heart beats with thine,
And joys in boundless freedom!

My murshid greatly appreciated this outburst of love on my part and exclaimed in deep emotion, "Be thou blessed with divine light and illuminate the beloved ones of Allah!'

From this time a spiritual attachment between myself and my murshid was firmly established, and as it grew more and more it opened up in me the ways of light through my attachment to that inner radiance, which can never be gained through discussion or argument, reading, writing, nor mystical exercises.

I visited him at the expense of all my affairs whenever I felt his call, receiving rays of his ecstasy with bent head, and listening to all he said without doubt or fear. Thus the firm faith and confidence I brought to bear upon my meditations prepared me to absorb the Light of the World Unseen.

I studied the Qur'an, Hadith, and the literature of the Persian mystics. I cultivated my inner senses, and underwent periods of clairvoyance, clairaudience, intuition, inspiration, impressions, dreams, and visions. I also made experiments in communicating with the living and the dead. I delved into the occult and psychic sides of mysticism, as well as realizing the benefits of piety, morality, and Bhakti or devotion. The more I progressed in their pursuit, the more unlearned I seemed, as there was always more and more to understand and acquire. Of all that I comprehended and experienced I valued most that divine wisdom which alone is the essence of all that is best and attainable, and which leads us on from the finite world unto infinitudes of bliss.

After receiving instruction in the five different grades of Sufism, the physical, intellectual, mental, moral, and spiritual, I went through a course of training in the four schools: the Chishtia, Naqshibandi, Qadiri, and Suhrwardi. I still recall this period, under the guidance of so great and merciful a murshid, as the most beautiful time of my life. In him I saw every rare quality, while his unassuming nature and his fine modesty could hardly be equaled even among the highest mystics of the world. He combined within himself the intense spell of ecstasy and constant flow of inspiration with the very soul of spiritual independence. Although I had found most wonderful attributes among the mystics I had met, some in greater and some in lesser degrees, I had never until then beheld the balance of all that was good and desirable in one man.

His death was as saintly as his mortal life had been. Six months before his end he predicted its coming and wound up all his worldly affairs in order to be freed for his future journey. "Death is a link which unites friend with Friend unto the Beyond", is a saying of Mohammed.

He apologized not only to his relatives, friends, and mureeds, but even to his servants, lest there might be anything that he had done to their displeasure and hurt. Before the soul departed from his body he bade farewell to all his people with loving words. And then, sitting upright and unwavering, he continued Zikr; and lost in his contemplation of Allah, he, by his own accord, freed his soul from the imprisonment of this mortal frame forever.

I can never forget the words he spoke while he placed his hands upon my head in blessing, "Fare forth into the world, my child, and harmonize the East and the West with the harmony of thy music. Spread the wisdom of Sufism abroad, for to this end art thou gifted by Allah, the most merciful and compassionate.'


Credit: The Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan Vol. 12, Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Inayat Khan

* The Life and Teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan
* Night Zikr at the Dargah of Inayat Khan
* Voice of Hazrat Inayat Khan
* Silsila or Lineage upto Hazrat Inayat Khan
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