This is the third volume of the Sufi Message by Hazrat Inayat Khan.
In this volume a substantial part of Hazrat Inayat Khan's writings and lectures on human relationship has been collected. There is his book Education which contains a treasure of advice on the upbringing of children, soundly practical and imbued with spiritual ideals at the same time. Rasa Shastra is an exposition of Hazrat Inayat Khan's views on sex-life: the problem of creation and of the relationship between man and woman. And in Character Building and the Art of Personality and in Moral Culture one will find an explanation of the fundamentals which motivate the human attitude both of individuals towards themselves and towards society in general.
Hazrat Inayat Khan The author, Hazrat Inayat Khan, (Baroda, 1882-Delhi 1927) was a famous musician in his young years. Later he left for the West in order to spread the Sufi message of love, harmony and beauty. He preached Sufism not as an orthodox sect, but as a forward-looking world message of interreligious brotherhood. He founded many Sufi centres in the West. In India, the Sufi message has got an inspiring centre at the Dargah of the Master himself, located near the tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, New Delhi.
The present volume is the first of a series including all the works intended for publication of Hazrat Inayat Khan (Baroda 1882-New
Delhi 1927), the great Sufi mystic who came to the Western world in
1910 and lectured and taught there until his passing away in 1927.
A new edition of this series, which was published for the International Headquarters of the Sufi Movement in the West in the '60s, is now made available in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East. In this way Hazrat Inayat Khan's inspired and universal vision of the Sufi
Message returns to his own beloved country, where it originated and where interest in it is growing.
This book and other volumes of this series have not been written down by the author. They contain his lectures, discourses and other teachings as taken down in shorthand and other handwriting. When preparing for publication great care was taken, not only to avoid distortion of their intent and meaning, but also to leave intact, as far as possible, the flow of mystical inspiration and poetical expression which add so much to their spell, and without which a significant part of his message would be lust. Al though speaking in a tongue foreign to him, he moulded it into a perfect vehicle for his thought, at times somewhat ungrammatical and unusual, but always as clear and precise as his often difficult and abstruse subjects would allow.
It goes without saying that neither in the present nor in the previous edition anything has been altered which would involve even the slightest deviation from the author's intention and no attempt has been made to transform his highly personal and colorful language into idiomatically unimpeachable English. Already so much is necessarily lost by the transfer of the spoken word to the printed page that every effort has been made, as it should, to preserve the Master's melodious phrasing, the radiance of his personality, and the subtle sense of humour which never left him.
Hazrat Inayat Khan's teaching was nearly all given during the years 1918-1926. It covers a great many subjects, several of which were grouped in series of lectures and taken up again some years later. Certain subjects may cover nearly the same ground as others; stories and examples which abound in most of his works are met again elsewhere; and much of what he taught one finds repeated in several places. This was intentional, as repetition belonged to Hazrat Inayat Khan's method of teaching: it is for the student to become aware of the subtle differences in each context. For these and other reasons it would be difficult to follow a rigid system in publishing Hazrat lnaya r Khan's works; a chronological grouping of his lectures would be very unsatisfactory, and a stringent classification according to subject-matter hardly feasible.
The complete series contains fourteen volumes. The last volume is the Index. This edition is the first one to present an index to the Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
Each volume is complete in it, and therefore may be read without any necessity to study following or previous ones. However, one may get a spiritual and mental appetite to continue reading. One will find that a meditative way of reading will convey not only the words but also the spiritual power emanating from them, tuning mind, heart and soul to the pitch which is one's own.
Among the many-sided teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan, the discussions of the problems related to our everyday life occupy an important place.
Esotericism, spirituality and religious practice counted very little for him in a person who did not fulfill his duty towards his fellowmen and himself. According to Inayat Khan a person's main task and purpose in life is to become human, in the fullest sense of the word; this is why man has come on earth and only after having achieved this will it be possible for him to return with full consciousness to the source whence he had come.
In this third volume of The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan a considerable part of the mystic's lectures and lessons on what might be called 'social' subjects have been collected. Thus one will find Education, a series of lectures wherein the upbringing of the child is analysed from its infancy onwards. At the end of this book, two very interesting papers have been inserted, The Educstion of Children and The Training of Youth. While Education follows the development of the child and the care it should receive at different ages from its guardians in great detail, the two latter papers give a broader outline of the fundamental spiritual principles which should govern the educator.
In the second section, Rasa.5hastra, inspiring views are expressed on life's creative forces and our sexual relationships. The essence of the traditions so often covered under do's and don'ts are brought to life again whilst at the same time it is made clear that the forms in which these used to be expressed need not necessarily be continued in modern times.
The human being has a nature, builds a character, and develops a personality. We have to accept the nature we got at our birth but we can manage it without being fatalistic. The character is being constructed in a life-long process of building and rebuilding. We may choose what materials to use, and what design is effective to serve the purpose of life. The personality, however, is a work of art; it develops and is moulded through love; it serves beauty through harmony. This is explained in a wonderful way in Character-building and the Art of Personality, one of the two further sections' devoted to our position in life, both as an individual and as a member of society.
The fourth section, Moral Culture, explains that moral standards cannot be fixed once and forever, neither culturally or individually. Three attitudes are being described in human relationships: reciprocity, beneficence, and renunciation. An individual may grow from one stage to the next thereby changing attitudes and behaviour accordingly, thus contributing to its own growth and to improved social relationships. It shows patterns of ways of life both realistic and filled with idealism.
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