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Heart with Wings

Murshid Hidayat Inayat-Khan

Index | What We Stand For

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Spiritual Liberty

In Gatheka 17, Hazrat Inayat Khan said:
“No doubt every school has its own method, and every method is colored by the personality of the leader. Personally I owe every obligation to the Sufi School of the Chishtis, in which I was initiated by my Murshid Abu Hashim Madani, but there the account of the ancient history of Sufism finishes”.


In a Message lecture, Hazrat Inayat Khan said:
“The Message will take care of itself because it is a Divine Message.
We, the servants of the Sufi Message, who have joined together hand in hand, must not for one moment doubt how a handful of workers will be able to fulfill the service for which they are called”.


Many years have passed since these words were heard, and ever since, so many have offered their heart to the Message of ‘Spiritual Liberty', and obviously, freedom of thought and word is gradually unfolding in various social, cultural, scientific, and philosophical activities in this confused world, beyond the barriers of dogmatic despotism at all levels of command.

The attunement to that call, becomes like a searchlight, illuminating the path, when humbly following the traces of the footsteps of the bringer of the Message in our time, and thereby, keeping the standards high, following the keynote, which is “Love, Harmony and Beauty”.

Anything done with beauty is harmonious, and anything done with love is beautiful. Love, Harmony and Beauty is expressed when offering a smile to a friend, or to a person who one dislikes, and even offering a smile to oneself. When one is conscious of the heart being the temple of God, one is inspired by the great privilege of becoming awakened to deep feelings of humility, which is the golden key to spirituality.

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Unity of Religious Ideals

Unity of Religious and Spiritual Ideals is shining in the world today, at various levels, in social, cultural and scientific activities, although extremely negative things are happening. These Ideals, which were originally destined to offer a helping hand toward the realization of Truth, tend regrettably to be confined within rigid forms and are clad in ancestral garbs by those who assume reaching the goal by means of false pretense. Nevertheless, the more we attach our attention to creative achievements, the more we shall discover traces of the silent working of the Message in our time, and it is a sacred duty to participate in spreading great ideals, keeping the standards high, at different levels of responsibilities.

Ancient Sufi esoteric schools, which can be traced as far back as the time of Abraham and even earlier, blossomed all down the ages. In Arabia they were known for their esoteric teachings. In Ancient Persia, literature, poetry and music were their sources of inspiration. In India, the esoteric Schools were mostly dedicated to meditation. However, the term Sufi, which means wisdom, does not refer to a new religion, nor to a cult, nor to a doctrine, nor to a dogmatic institution. Sufism is the religion of the heart, and it has always been related to wisdom, ever since wisdom was wisdom.

Wisdom also refers to making every effort to raise human understanding to a level of spiritual awakening, which is the outcome of the purification of the mind from the limitation of traditional barriers, as well as from one’s own preconceived ideas. Wisdom cannot be the property of a chosen transmission, nor can it be defined because of its universal nature.

Therefore it is wise to avoid making a display of speculative concepts, only using the language of the heart when communicating with others, with compassion for the misunderstandings that divide the earnest followers of religious traditions all down the ages, perpetuating thereby the specter of fanaticism, even in this age, where science has successfully catapulted factual knowledge as far as the surface of the moon.

As we march courageously onwards through the darkness of human ignorance, holding steadfastly the banner of Unity of Religious Ideals, we may discover that Truth could be interpreted as being an invitation to become living examples of an Altar of all religious beliefs, communicating with each other in accordance with each other’s understanding.

There is only one Truth: the nobility of the heart, when the “I” consciousness is transcended, awakened to the divine heritage seen in modesty, kindness, graciousness, and humility. This is the path of the wise who recognize that all that, which they know, is in reality just a spark of eternity. The self constantly identifies itself with its limited mental and physical status without realizing that the all-pervading immanence of life is that indescribable power, which is constantly manifesting behind all impulses.

Spirituality does not correspond to physical strength or to psychological definitions, but it does reveal itself as self-respect, as well as respect for others. A spiritual person has a natural inclination for moral integrity and self-discipline, resisting temptations that could offer a negative example to others. Spirituality is characteristic of a feeling heart, which is constantly pouring out inner emotions, which have an uplifting influence upon those who are responsive to the magnetism of their personality.

As we know from fairy tales, there is a magic formula, which can be used to turn base metal into gold. This mystical illustration symbolizes so beautifully the principles followed in the inner school of the Sufis, where serious work is done in transforming the grossness of one’s ego into a humble attitude, with respect for the privilege of one’s divine heritage, radiating love upon all who come one’s way. That divine heritage is discovered along a very thorny path called the “Art of Personality”. The journey on this path requires constant efforts made to forge one’s character into a true example of Love, Harmony and Beauty. One can be a bringer of happiness when overlooking that which is disturbing, when others are not in agreement with one’s own thinking, and by working on one’s own shortcomings rather than judging others.

Even in a fall there is a hidden stepping-stone, by which one might rise above one’s shortcomings, helping indirectly the tuning of one’s ego to a higher pitch, discovering thereby, sparks of hidden guidance. There is no experience in life, which is really worthless, and not one moment is really wasted, providing one is wise enough to carefully assemble the elements of past memories, seeing guidance in these precious stepping stones, which can be available for the accomplishment of one’s life purpose. Any role that one performs in the play of life, soon becomes intoxicating, and under that spell one cherishes the illusions of the game, as opposed to unlimited Truth. The Soul is, however, the true spectator of all events, reflected as images upon a mirror, without causing any permanent alteration to the screen, leaving the surface of the mirror immaculately pure.

Every effort made toward the fulfillment of one’s life’s purpose, whether material or spiritual, brings one, step by step to the ultimate goal. This process could be seen as a humble contribution to the fulfillment of the Divine goal, since the entire creation is in a constant state of formation according to a central theme.

The purpose of life is not only to rise to the greatest heights, but to also dive deeply into the deepest depths, whereby the Self is lost, but finds itself again as a result to the widening of the consciousness, just as the seed finds the fulfillment of its purpose, reaching deep into the earth as a root, and simultaneously rising above the surface, as a plant spreading out in full blossom under the rays of the sun.

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The Mind World

The mind could be seen as a sophisticated computer where numberless programs can be installed. These can be downloaded at will, or they might flash unwillingly at anytime. The processing of these programs could be called mental activity. Among the various thought - programs, some can be understood as being logical, whereas as others require a deeper insight, because they proceed in attunement with the feeling heart.

Reasoning, which requires a touch of wisdom as well as the correct knowledge of facts, could be explained as being an evaluating process in view of decisions to be make or actions to be taken. Reasoning does also require the abilities of concentration and co-ordinate thinking.

Concentration could be understood as being a process where the thought is held under control, fixing it upon a chosen object, color or sound, or an association of these. This specific discipline also requires the ability to dei-concentrate, in order to secure the mind from undesirable thoughts.

Imagination, which is the secret of creative accomplishments can be developed with the help of visualizing sceneries, where shapes, colors, sounds and movements are inwardly seen in a waken state as opposed to dreams.

Observation is the process of receiving impressions through the five senses, which are the windows through which the consciousness is fully aware of all experiences, and is therefore the door - opener to knowledge of things and happenings. Observation is obviously at the origin of all decision made and actions taken.

Memory is the storehouse, where past impressions are preserved along various periods of time, depending upon the intensity of the experience.
Long years impressions can suddenly re-appear on the screen of the mind for no logical reason, resulting from indirect associations with circumstance.

Meditation cannot be called thought conditioning, but rather a sublimated state of mind, where both the mind and the feeling heart are enlightened by all-pervading consciousness.

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The Gentle Singing Zikar of Hazrat Inayat Khan

As we know, an ancient Sufi proverb, says: “My heart is an empty bowl, in which, there is only place for Thou”. This concept illustrates so beautifully the attitude that one is expected to have when experiencing the Gentle Singing Zikar.

In the ancient Sufi schools, various melodies are used, to accompany the words of the Zikar.

In the Sufi Movement, we have the privilege of being gifted with the original melody created by Hazrat Inayat Khan. This special melody helps to be attuned to the mystical vibrations of this meditation.

When chanting collectively, it is important to avoid either descending in pitch or deviating from the original tone pattern. Therefore it is necessary to use a recording of that melody, in order to help sustaining, both the tone and the rhythm.

As to the pronunciation of the words, we follow the instructions given in our Master’s handwriting, (See document in Sufi Museum), where it is clearly indicated that the words are “El Allah Hu”. Not “IL Allah Hu.

The sound IL activates Jelal vibrations in the throat, which emphasize the “I” consciousness, whereas the EL sound activates Jemal vibrations within the Heart Chakra, overcoming thereby self-assertion.

The Gentle Singing Zikar, is done either sitting cross legged on the floor with the palms of the hands on the knees, or sitting at the edge of a chair in order to avoid leaning on the back of the chair, which is a hindrance to the circular rotation movement done with the torso, and not just only twisting the neck.

The Gentle Singing Zikar unfolds through four stages, each leading to a deeper understanding of the words “La El La Ha - El Allah HU” and what they really convey. The main purpose of proceeding through these four stages is to gradually wipe our self-assertion, leading to an attunement to higher consciousness.

The first step done on the words “La El La Ha – El Allah Hu” could be understood as a song coming from the depth of the heart.

The second stage corresponds to a deep feeling of longing for Divine consciousness to awaken within the heart.

In the third stage, one has feelings of deepest gratitude and humility, when realizing that Divine consciousness has always been present within the feeling heart.

In the fourth stage there is no more the “I” consciousness, leaving space for Divine consciousness manifesting as bright all-pervading light.

Zikar I (with closed eyes)
The circular movement starts on the left side with the chin slightingly inclined toward the heart, while chanting on the words “La El La Ha”. Then tracing a circular movement going from right to left, returning again upon the heart, the chanting is done on the words “El Alla….ah ….Hu".

Zikar II (With closed eyes)
The chanting is done, rotating from left to right, on the words:
“El Alla….ah ….Hu".
Then rotating from right to left, back upon the heart, the chanting is done on the word HU.

Zikar III (with closed eyes)
The chanting is done, rotating from left to right, on the words:
”Al la…ah"..
Then, rotating from right to left back to the heart, the chanting is dome on the word HU.

Zikar IV (with closed eyes)
A silent rotation is done from left to right.
Then on the rotation from right to left, back to the heart Chakra, the chanting is only done on the Hu sound, resounding within the heart Chakra.

This meditation ends silently, holding in thought the sound Hu, and with closed eyes seeing the All-pervading light in space.

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Initiation

Along the path of initiation, it can happen that a candidate might ask for guidance without really desiring it, but only wanting to test the initiator’s abilities. There are also some simulators who have a longing to guide others, although they are not in a position to guide them. Guidance is only honestly offered, when having had to deal with one’s own problems along years of personal experiences.

The Initiator does not make any claim regarding spiritual achievements. The language of the Initiator is not one of empty words, but rather one of true meanings, avoiding speculative terminologies describing concepts, which cannot be defined.

The work of the Initiator is not to teach, but rather to tune, so that inner harmony is experienced all along the path. In this connection, it is expected that the Initiator offers encouragement and appreciation for the good sides of the candidate, rather than highlighting the faults.

When the tone of the candidate tends to descend in pitch, the Initiator reaches down to that level, showing thereby, an example of humility in the guidance; and on the other hand, the Initiator makes every effort to raise the level of the tone, thereby being a source of inspiration to the candidate.

When the mind of the candidate has been purified from the many dogmas and speculative pre-conceived ideas that have prevailed all down the ages, there is then, an understanding for the mystical meaning of a Sufi proverb, which says: “Make God a reality and God shall make you the Truth”.

The first step on the path is to have consideration for the point of view of others, if one is hoping that one’s own views are respected. The next step is to have mastery over one’s self, as opposed to imposing one’s will upon others. The third step is to free the mind from an un-restful conscience, as well as from past regrets and torments, which are all hindrances on the path.

The ancient Hindus kneeled to statues of various Gods, illustrating Idealized qualities which they wished to acquire.

Later the Muslims used various Wazifas as means to obtain qualities referred to in the sacred words, called the “Hundred and one names of God”.

In the Inner School of the Sufi Movement, emphasis is made on the “God Ideal”, the all pervading Divine presence, shining as an eternal light within one’s own heart, illuminating the path onwards.

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The Ego

Dogmatic regulations highlight one’s own ego, as well as the ego of those in all Cultures, where freethinking is dominated by tradition; whereas on the path of Spiritual liberty, one is not fooled by the ego of others.

The ego could be compared to a snake with two heads. One head is senselessly in conflict with its own inferiority complexes such as self-pretense, self-pity and pre-conceived ideas, which only lead to disillusion.

The other head of the snake is obsessed recklessly by an urge to dominate and to possess, void of any consideration. The bites of the double-headed snake are like the pain done to oneself as well as to others.

Paradoxically, the personified ego is basically motivated by the life energy within, revealed as “awareness”, at the level of self -discipline, known as the Art of Personality, experienced in Mysticism, Philosophy and Psychology, which are like door openers to a space where the self is no more seen as one's own, although, one is entrusted by birth with the duty to find for oneself a compromise between destiny and freewill.

In Mysticism, one is inspired when sublimating the ego to the level of inner consciousness of the Divine Guidance secretly leading one onwards.

In Philosophy, one learns various ways of developing self-discipline, restricting the ego within the limits of correct behavior.

In Psychology, one analyses the various facets of the ego before finally discovering them in one's own character.

When rising above the limitations of the ego, one realizes that one is just only the disguise of the all pervading reality, of which one is at the same time the motive, the energy and the fulfillment.

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