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Biography, Autobiography, Journal and Anecdotes


Pir-o-Murshid was one day traveling in the train and there came some gay young people, boys and girls, who were making all sorts of jokes among themselves. Looking at the appearance of the Murshid and thinking he is a foreigner, he will not know the language, they fully joked and laughed and made all sorts of funny remarks which Murshid also enjoyed very much. In order to know whether Murshid knew the language one of them spoke to him in English, but as Murshid answered in Hindustani they found the platform free for jokes. After some time suddenly Murshid took off his hat to rest his head back freely, and looked at the two people sitting in the corner, and the girl gently spoke to her boy. She said, "It is the head of Christ", and the boy seriously said, "Right you are." A third person said, "Heaven knows who this man is; is he an Indian, or a Greek, or a Rumanian?" His girl said, "Whoever he is, he seems to be a thoroughly good man." This remark changed the atmosphere of the whole compartment. Their joking mood turned to the mood of admiration, and as each moment passed, they felt more and more weighing on them some presence which perhaps throughout their life they had never realized, and in time it became so heavy that gaiety did not seem to exist in the sphere. The girls became absorbed in looking at Pir-o-Murshid in perfect bewilderment and the boys entirely speechless and spellbound. In this way their spirit, soul and body were held in suspense until the station of Murshid's destination arrived, when he left them all with a bow.

One day Murshid arrived in a town at an unexpected hour, and found nobody at the station to receive him. No lights were to be found in the streets, during the time of war, nor was a vehicle to be found. Murshid was left alone with all his things to carry, his hands full of bags and his instrument. He walked along the road, expecting to find someone who could show him the way. He saw at a distance men coming. As he approached he found that they had all drunk and were at the moment of their greatest glory. They were laughing aloud. Shouting, fighting and dancing, they came near to the Murshid where he was standing, loaded with all his bags in the dark. As they approached, one saw Murshid and said, "Oh, who is that?" And in answer to this came out from everyone a bursting laughter. And Murshid's glance fell on them as a lightning and it seemed as if all their intoxication and feeling of gaiety vanished in a moment. Then he asked them for the place he was searching after and they said, "We will take you to the place." One man took Murshid's bag, a second another bag and a third one also something, but Murshid would not give anyone his vina, but two took it away from him with all the force they had and walked on the way so quietly as if they were on their sacred duty. There was not the slightest sign of intoxication left. Every one of them seemed to have been controlled by some impression within him, which he himself did not realize till the moment they escorted the Murshid.

A Catholic priest met Murshid in a park and asked him if he was Catholic. "Yes," said Murshid, "by religion, not by the Church."

A civil officer asked Murshid, "What are you doing in the West?" Murshid said, "Working." He asked, "Working for what, for money?" Murshid said, "No, working for God." "Is your work materially profitable", asked the civilian. Murshid said, "If I had material profit in view I had taken something else in life to do." The civilian said jokingly, "Yes, you will be paid your wages in the hereafter." Murshid said, "No, I don't work for returns, either here or in the hereafter. I work for the sake of the work itself." "Have you no family?" asked the civilian. "Yes, a large one," said Murshid. "What will become of them after you have passed?" asked the civilian. Murshid said, "I beg your pardon. Sir, will you tell me what will become of your family after you have passed?" He said, "My family will get a pension from the Government." "So will my children from that great government to Whose service my life has been dedicated."

Someone asked, "Murshid, do you also work for the coming of the Master?" "Yes," said Murshid. "We all work for him." "But will you tell me, when is the world teacher coming?" asked the person. Pir-o-Murshid said, "You will get that information from the Order of the Star, for they are supposed to get the telegram of his arrival."

Somebody questioned Murshid: "What do you think of Christ?" "Which one, the historic Christ or the Christ of the ideal? As to the historic Christ even the different traditions say different things, so how are we to know and have a common conception of Christ? And as to the ideal Christ, it depends upon every man's ideal and one man's ideal cannot be the other man's ideal also. Besides, ideal is something that we make ourselves and is always too sacred to put into words!"

Someone said to Murshid, "Take some of our Christian religion to the East." Murshid replied, "It has already come from the East, sir."

Someone asked Murshid, "What difference is there between Theosophy and Sufism? Is it not one?" "Yes," said Murshid, "these are only two doors of one puzzle; one to enter and one to exit." The questioner asked, "But which is which?" The Murshid said, "It is left to you to find out for yourself."

Someone said to Murshid, seeing him to be a religious man from the East, that it is Christianity which is the cause of all the progress that the Western world has made, and it is the absence of Christianity which is the root of the downfall of the East. The Murshid answered, "No; it is the Christ spirit in the East which is keeping us back from material progress and it is the lack of Christianity in the West which has helped you to progress so materially."

Someone asked Murshid, "If you believe that all is just and all is good and all is well, then why do you work to change conditions in the world?" Said Murshid, "It is the human in me that is working its way towards divine perfection."

A materialistic Italian, a young man, said to Murshid, "I believe in the eternity of matter." And to his surprise the Murshid replied, "My belief is not much different from yours, only that which you call eternal matter, I call spirit."

A lady came to see Murshid and said to Murshid, "Now look here, Murshid, I want to speak with you on an important subject, for it is a question of faith. Now I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and our Redeemer and that his religion must be taught to the heathen world. And I hear that you consider all the prophets equal. Now, that I cannot understand." Murshid answered, "I have never said that all prophets are equal. I only say that I do not feel equal to judge them, following the words of Christ: Judge ye not. So I simply bow my head to all in humility."

A Dutch poet asked Murshid at a dinner table: "Don't you think, Murshid, that the poet must love God, but admire Satan also?" Murshid answered: "I do not separate God from Satan." He said, "But God Himself has separated." Murshid said, "That is His own affair."

A bigoted Christian asked Murshid, "How could you ever connect the name of Muhammad with our Lord Jesus Christ?" "I beg your pardon," said Murshid. "I did not mean Muhammad whom you know through your clergy, I meant the Prophet known to the faithful followers of Islam."

When Murshid was traveling in America a child saw him and said to his mother, "Ma (pointing to the Murshid), God." The mother said, "No, priest." The child answered, "Will he pray for Pa?" When in the train the lady met Murshid, she told him what the child had said, and his desire that his long suffering father might be helped. It touched Murshid very much and he readily promised to pray for the child's father.

A child, after coming to a lecture with his mother, went next day to his school and said to his schoolmates with great enthusiasm, "I have seen the best man in the world!" His mother having heard about it, came with the news to Murshid, asking him to bless her child who had proclaimed him thus before all his friends.

Someone from the audience asked Murshid after his lecture: "And what do you think of the coming of Christ?" "He has never gone for me," said Murshid.

One day Murshid was traveling and had spent every penny in his pocket. No money was left to give the porter, and he so much wished that some of his load would be carried by someone. After wishing that, he did not walk perhaps twenty steps, that a young soldier happened to come near, and he said, "Shall I take some of your load?" Murshid said, "Thank you", and thought in his mind, "How truly needs are answered if only one really needed. Verily a deep-felt need is a prayer in itself."

Someone asked Murshid, "Are you the head of the Sufi Order?" "No, God," he said. "And you?" asked the man. "The foot," said he.

One day a visitor came to have an interview with Pir-o-Murshid. He was a lawyer, materialist and atheist, besides was greatly opposed to all those who did not belong to his nation, and had been turned against the work of Murshid by somebody. Therefore he began his conversation, expressing with vigor his attitude. But as he got answers, so it seemed as if the fire of opposition met with water, and as he went along in his dispute, he, instead of getting hotter became cooler. He had expected to hear from the Murshid spiritual beliefs that he could argue upon and to tear them to pieces, but he found Murshid's belief not very different from what he himself believed. He found no effort on the part of Murshid to force his ideas upon anybody. He saw in Murshid the tendency to appreciate every kind of idea, for in every idea there is a good side and he felt that the tendency was to be sympathetic rather than antagonistic. He saw that there was nothing that Murshid stood for, but only believed that the truth was in every heart and no-one else can give it to another unless it rose up from the heart of a person as a spring of water from the mountain. He became so softened in his tone and in his manner after an hour's conversation that he parted quite a different man from what he had come. He shook hands with Pir-o-Murshid and said, "We shall always be friends" and Murshid thought that it was not a small achievement.

Someone said to Murshid, "In your writings I read two things which contradict each other." Murshid said, "Take one of those two things with which you are in agreement and forget the other."

Someone asked Murshid, "Are you a pessimist?" He said, "No, an optimist, but with open eyes."

Someone said to Murshid, "I heard them talk against you." "Did they?" said he. "Have you also heard anyone speak kindly of me?" "Yes," the person exclaimed. "Then," said Murshid, "that is what is the light and shade to life's picture, making the picture complete."

A pupil said to Murshid, "But you also make mistakes." "Yes," replied Murshid, "if I had not made mistakes I would not be able to teach you."

Somebody asked, "Have you any faults, Murshid?" "Yes, many more than you may think."

A friend said to Murshid, "Somebody told me bad things about you." "What?" asked Murshid. "He told me so and so and so." "Is that all?" said Murshid. "I can be much worse than that."

A person seeing a ring on Murshid's finger asked, "What mystical signification does your ring convey?" "It says that those whose hearts are not yet open to the ever-revealing life around them, they look for mystery in me."

A woman said to Murshid, on hearing his lecture on faith, "Murshid, I have lost everything I had by having faith in an unworthy person." "But you have not lost your faith, I suppose," asked Murshid. The woman said, "Yes, I have lost faith." "If you had lost all save faith, it would be worth as much as the price you had to pay for it, and even more than that," Murshid replied.

"Murshid, when I come to you I come with a thousand complaints to make. Why is it that the power of your presence disarms me?" Murshid: "Because I have disarmed myself."

"You have nicely said to us, Murshid, how Sufism is one with all religions. Now please tell us, what is the difference between Sufism and other religions." The Murshid says, "The difference is that it casts away all differences."

A Theosophical mureed asked: "Do you consider the doctrine of reincarnation right or wrong?" Murshid: "Right in fact, and wrong in truth."

Someone asked Inayat Khan, knowing that once he was a great singer: "It is a great pity you gave up your singing." He replied: "If the world was not deaf, I would have still continued to sing."

A lady asked Inayat Khan in a ballroom: "Do you ever take interest in such a frivolous thing as dancing?" Inayat Khan said: "Yes, I too feel inclined to dance when I am with little children."

In my German visit to Munich, while introducing me. Dr. Steindamm said that: "The mysticism of Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan is practical mysticism, pertaining to the life of today. For one might think that a mystic would remain in his visions and dreams, but our Murshid drives his own car,"

In all stages of his evolution, progress and work, one thing never left Inayat Khan through all joys and sorrows and it was a sense of mirth, and he mostly used this sense of mirth in his everyday life, in speaking and writing, but frequently by psychic power, he played and amused himself.

One day a young man came to him, a son of a mureed and said his mother had sent him, for he was in a great despair, thinking that Murshid will give him some advice; and Murshid asked him what was the reason of his despair. He answered: he had loved a girl who first showed him a great love, but now she is beginning to get detached, because she seems to be getting interested in some other young man. Murshid seemed amused at hearing this from quite a young man. He said, "Then what do you wish to do?" The young man said, "I want her to love me or else life has no interest for me any longer." Murshid laughed and said, "O, life is always interesting. If not in one object, in another object, one finds interest. It is perhaps your momentary spell that makes you so depressed. Let her alone, if she loves someone else, you go and love somebody else too." The young man made a face of disappointment and looked at Murshid who asked, "What do you want?" "I want her to love me." Murshid said, "Go just now and she will be alright." He went immediately from there to her and found her to his great surprise entirely changed, as amiable, sympathetic and agreeable as ever. The young man was so pleased that he left a note of thanks to the house of the Murshid. When next day he went she was quite indifferent and did not care for him and he again was very unhappy. For two or three days he was too depressed and then came again to Murshid and said, "The time when you sent me she was loving and good, but after that she is treating me in the same manner as before. Now I do not know what to do." But Murshid said, "What do you want?" He said, "I want her to be good to me." As Murshid said, "Go just now, she will be good to you", and when he went there she was very kind to him, very loving, but only that day, next day she again turned. He came again home and was very disappointed and came to Murshid to give the report of her behavior. Murshid was very amused and said to him, "Now look here, my son, I showed you what power is latent in man. But at the same time this power is not to destroy anybody's freedom. As you wish your freedom in life, so she must have her freedom to choose whom she must love. Although it is a bitter experience to you, after some days you will be most thankful to think that you did not induce some one to love you by force who was not in reality your lover. I would be all my life without someone's love who did not care to love me and would be quite content. You are young, you have life before you waiting. You do not know what is in store for you. It is just a matter of patience. Therefore be cheerful and go and all will be well."

A day Murshid was walking in the street and saw a soldier walking stiff and straight. He seemed as stiff as a log of wood, no movement, no bend in his walk. Murshid was very amused at it and as Murshid walked immediately behind him, he thought, he must make this log move. First he felt irritation in his neck and gave a slap on his neck and began to rub his neck. Murshid was very amused, but thought it is not enough, he must twist a little and he felt uncomfortable in his waist and he began to twist both sides. Murshid thought that is not enough, he must look back. Something came in his brain, giving him a feeling that somebody was calling him from behind and he looked back. This made this man turn and twist which provided for Murshid a good amusement.

One day Murshid was traveling in a train. After the whole day's work, in the evening Murshid was so tired that he really desired quiet, but those sitting with him in the compartment were all busy talking among themselves, which was to Murshid rather a nuisance. Therefore Murshid thought, "Now I must get them all to sleep. That is the only way of getting quiet." He looked at the person who was sitting just before him, an old man, who was smoking, which was a double nuisance, and dropped his head down, and the old man began to nod. His cigarette fell down from his hand, and in one moment he began to snore. Then Murshid looked at a young man, who was talking so much with his girl and dropped his head down, and die girl dropped her head on the breast of the man, and the man dropped his head on the head of his girl and both fell fast asleep. Murshid looked at the man who was sitting at his side who was looking in a book and mumbling to himself and no sooner was the glance cast on him, then he began to yawn, raising his book against his mouth. He once stretched and twisted and turned and stretched his body on the legs of the old man and went to sleep. Murshid was very amused and had all the quiet he wanted all through his journey, for all of them were so fast asleep that the porter at the station had to waken them after Murshid had left the compartment.

While talking on the character of the English, Murshid said, "The Englishman is just, fair in his dealings, moderate, gentle, straightforward, sociable, businesslike and manysided, and when a friend, always to be depended upon." The person to whom he spoke said, "But you have not told his faults." Murshid said, "That you must ask of someone else."

After hearing "the Sufi Message" a lady came and said how very much she enjoyed the lecture and asked, "What have you to say about the coming of the World Messenger?" Murshid: "The World Message is here, but I do not know where the Messenger has gone."

A lady came after "the Message" was given, very much impressed by it, and thought that certainly, if ever a Master came, he would speak something in this manner, and she came to shake hands with Murshid and said, "I am sure next time you will come here on earth as a Master." "Thank you, I am highly honored," said Murshid.

Someone asked Murshid, "Is it true that the people in the East believe that woman possesses no soul?" Murshid said, "Yes, true, they have every reason for it, for they know that woman is soul itself."

Somebody asked Murshid, "Are women better than men?" Murshid answered, "Men say that women are better and women say that men are better. Everyone considers that better which he lacks in himself. Really speaking they are both complements to one another."

Someone from the audience asked Murshid after his lecture on the power of the word, "Which is the best word?" Murshid replied: "Silence."

A good natured, plump lady, while busy eating, asked Murshid at table, "Tell me please, is it spiritual to fast?" Murshid answered smilingly, "It is as spiritual to fast as it is to enjoy a delicious dinner." The lady was happy to get this answer.

Someone asked Murshid, "Of what Church are you a minister?" "Of God," said Murshid.

Someone asked Murshid, how Sufism works upon him once a person has studied Theosophy. "As a disinfectant," said Murshid.

A pupil said, "Murshid, it is since I met you that I have lost my faith." "Did you lose your faith, how wonderful." Pupil: "Wonderful! Why, it is most dreadful Murshid!" "It is just as well that you have lost a faith which was so easy to lose. But I am afraid if you are not careful, next you may lose yourself."

A materialistic young man after a public lecture came to Murshid and said, "What you said was most beautiful and fine, but it seems to be all somewhere in the air." Murshid said: "Yes, it is in the air, because you are all on the earth."

Once, walking through the city of New York with a friend, the friend asked: "Murshid, I have read your Sufi ideas, but they are not broad enough for me." "Certainly, they are not as broad," said Murshid, "as the Broadway of New York."


After the Summer school at Suresnes in 1926 Pir-o-Murshid traveled to India, his beloved homeland, and was accompanied by his mureed and secretary Kismet Stam. After a few very busy months of traveling and lecturing, he passed away after a short illness in Delhi on the 5th of February 1927.