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This collection of aphorisms is just a gem of wisdom and mysticism with a touch of humour. It helps you to discover your very being at the same time as hinting practical solutions for your daily life: feeling thinking, speaking, acting.
It is the only book Hazrat Inayat Khan actually wrote himself. All the others (vide The Sufi Message, vols. I-XIII) are representations of his discourses.
Besides aphorisms it contains a small yet highly inspiring collection of prayers. Throughout the book you will find poems which are truly spiritual.
May this small book help you to see the light of your life. 'May Thy music cause my soul to dance.'
The author, Hazrat Sufi 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 centers in the West, where the message is spreading now. At home, in India, the Sufi message has got an inspiring center at the Dargah of the Master himself, located near the tomb of Hazrat Nizamuddin Aulia, New Delhi.
GAYAN, VADAN and NIRTAN can be said to represent the essence of Hazrat Inayat Khan's Sufi Message. A musician as well as a mystic, Hazrat Inayat had at all times a deep joy in the beauty of sound, and his thought naturally fell into rhythmic expression. His inspiration readily clothed itself in terms of music. Therefore, in reading these works, we should bear in mind that, throughout, the philosophical or mystical idea is of the first importance, and that there is a play upon the word 'music'. This is used in a double sense to denote not only the rhythmic form, but also that harmony of the divine Thought of which such teachings are notes, faintly heard by the soul amid the tumult of earth's many voices. As it is said in Gayan, 'When the soul is attuned to God every action becomes music'.
Hazrat Inayat speaks of manifestation as the music of the Creator. It is out of music that the universe was produced, and to that music every heart is attracted; the whole of nature tells of it; a when the heart is open, when the soul is awakened, this music becomes audible. That is why Hazrat Inayat called the first work Gayan, which word can best be translated by 'singing', suggesting the celestial voices, the 'unstruck music' that is the origin of all music.
Vadan, the name of the second work, is used here by Hazrat Inayat Khan in the sense of 'divine symphony', the performing of which is the purpose of creation and in this divine symphony every soul takes a part.
In calling the third work, Nirtan, meaning here 'the dance of the soul', the Master wished to show that the expression of the beauty within is a mystical dance, which every human being performs. When inspiration rises as a spring from the depth of the heart, when ecstasy comes through nature's song, heard as the whisper of the divine Beloved, when the light of truth manifests in joy or in tears as a pure, clear ray of God, the expression of this can be called the Dance of the Soul.
When the soul dances, every moment of life becomes a miracle; the spiritual life rises to the surface in all existing things, and one becomes living through contact with the radiant life within.
Many of the terms used for the classification of the text are those employed in Persian and Hindustani for musical or lyrical expression. The exact meaning given to each by Hazrat Inayat Khan appears below:
Alapa : Extemporization. God speaking to man; a divine word in the form of advice.
Alankara: Ornamentation. The fanciful expression of an idea.
Boula: The words of a song. A great idea in a few burning words.
Chala: Theme. An illuminated statement.
Gamaka: What comes from the heart of the poet, keyed to various notes.
Gayatri : Sacred chants. Prayers.
Raga : Modulation. The outpouring of the soul calling upon the Beloved God.
Sura : A note. God speaking through the kindled soul.
Tala : Rhythm. A rhythm formed by comparison.
Tana: Trill. The soul speaking with nature.
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