Topic August

Attainment of Harmony (6)

from: Hazrat Inayat Khan -

Mysticism of Sound and Music

(see also counsellor)

You can listen to all themes here


The attainment of harmony in life takes a longer time to acquire and a more careful study than does the training of the ear and the cultivation of the voice, although it is acquired in the same manner as the knowledge of music.

To the ears of the Sufis every word spoken is like a note which is true when harmonious and false when inharmonious.

They make the scale of their speech either major, minor or chromatic as occasion demands, and their words – either sharp, flat or natural - are in accord with the law of harmony.

For instance, the straight, polite and tactful manner of speech is like their major, minor or chromatic scale, representing dominance, respect and equality. Similarly they take arbitrary or contrary motions to suit the time and situation by following step by step, by agreeing and differing, and even by opposing, and yet keeping up the law of harmony in conversation.

Take any two persons as two notes; the harmony existing between them forms intervals either consonant or dissonant, perfect or imperfect, major or minor, diminished or augmented, as the two persons may be.

The interval of class, creed, caste, race, nation or religion, as well as the interval of age or state of evolution, or of varied and opposite interests shows the law of harmony here distinctly. A wise human being would be more likely to be in harmony with his foolish servant than with a semi-wise who considers himself infallible. Again it is equally possible that a wise human being be far from happy in the society of the foolish, and vice versa. The proud human being will always quarrel with the proud, while he will support the humble. It is also possible for the proud to agree on a common question of pride, such as pride of race or birth.

Sometimes the interval between disconnected notes is filled by a middle note forming a consonant chord. For instance the discord between husband and wife may be removed by the link of a child, or the discord between brothers and sisters may be taken away by the intervention of mother or father. In this way, however inharmonious two persons may be, the forming of a consonant chord by an intervening link creates harmony. A foolish person is an unpliable note whereas an intelligent person is pliable. The former sticks to his ideas, likes, dislikes and convictions, whether right or wrong, while the latter makes them sharp or flat by raising or lowering the tone and pitch, harmonizing with the other as the occasion demands.

The key-note is always in harmony with each note, for it has all notes of the scale within it. In the same way the Sufis harmonize with everybody, whether good or bad, wise or foolish, by becoming like the key-note.

All races, nations, classes and people are like a strain of music based upon one chord, when the key-note, the common interest, holds so many personalities in a single bond of harmony.

By their study of life Sufis learn and practice the nature of its harmony. They establish harmony with the self, with others, with the universe and with the infinite. They identify themselves with another, they sees themselves, so to speak, in every other being.

They care for neither blame nor praise, considering both as coming from themselves. If a person were to  drop a heavy weight, and in so doing hurt his own foot, he would not blame his hand for having dropped it, realizing himself in both the hand and the foot. In like manner Sufis are tolerant when harmed by another, thinking that the harm has come from themselves alone. They use counterpoint by blending the undesirable talk of the friend and making it into a fugue.

Sufis overlook the fault of others, considering that they know no better. They hide the faults of others, and suppresses any facts that would cause disharmony. Their constant fight is with the nafs, the root of disharmony and the only enemy of a human being. By crushing this enemy a human being gains mastery over himself; this wins for him mastery over the whole universe, because the wall standing between the self and the Almighty has been broken down.

Gentleness, mildness, respect, humility, modesty, self denial, conscientiousness, tolerance and forgiveness are considered by Sufis as the attributes which produce harmony within our own soul as well as within that of another. Arrogance, wrath, vice, attachment, greed and jealousy are the six principal sources of disharmony.

Nafs, the only creator of disharmony, becomes more powerful the more it is gratified, the more it is pleased. For the time being it shows its satisfaction at having gratified its demands, but soon after it demands still more until life becomes a burden. The wise detect this enemy as the instigator of all mischief, but everybody else blames another for his misfortunes in life.

 Send Thy Peace, o Lord,
that we may endure all, tolerate all
in the thought of Thy Grace and Mercy.


Send Thy Peace, o Lord,
that our lives may become a divine vision
and in Thy light all darkness may vanish.


Send Thy Peace, o Lord,
that we, Thy children on Earth,
may all unite in one single brother- and sisterhood.


Hazrat Inayat Khan: Peace Prayer

(Maheboob Khan, Hazrat Inayat Khan‘s brother, has composed music to a row of aphorisms of Hazrat Inayat Khan in the middle of last century, as this ‚Every Step in Thy Path‘. Mohammed Ali Khan, Hazrat Inayat Khan’s cousin, has sung this song around the year 1956 in a concert in Zürich – here you can listen to it)

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