Inayat Khan, founder of the Sufi Order in the west, was born in Baroda, India, on July 5, 1882, into a family of great musicians. As a child, Inayat Khan took a great interest in music and visits to holy men. Due to his deep love of the Indian musical heritage, which had become very decadent, he dedicated his early life to reinstalling the spiritual value of music by traveling and performing in the high classical style. One of the greatest patrons of music, the Nizam of Hyderabad, responded to Inayat Khan's singing by awarding him the greatest musical title in India: Tansen of India.
Inayat Khan had fulfilled his purpose in music and began to look for a spiritual teacher.
He found his teacher in Hazrat Sayyid Abu Hashim Madani, the successor to one of the branches of the Chishti Sufi Order in India. After taking the sacred vow of initiation, he went through a course of training in the four Sufi Schools of Chishti, Naqshbandi, Qadiri, and Surawardhi. Before Abu Hashim Madani died, he called his pupil Inayat Khan to his bedside to bless him and enjoin him to bring the message of Sufism to the Western world and to harmonize East and West with his music - in the broadest sense of this word.
Following the call of God, Inayat Khan left India on September 13, 1910. He landed in America, and later traveled to Europe and Russia, sowing the seeds of Sufism. In 1916, his first son was born, Vilayat Inayat Khan, now head of the Sufi Order International. Inayat Khan finally settled in Suresnes, near Paris. He taught the wisdom of Sufism and guided an organization which he described as "being like a ship which is built for a purpose, to carry the people and things from one port to another". In the later years of his life Inayat Khan spoke of Sufism as a mother who would give birth to a child, which he called the Message, that is beyond any names or labels. "The Message is the awakening of humanity to the divinity of mankind." He believed the Message would facilitate the awakening of the consciousness of humanity to the divinity within, and bring a new life to all facets of human endeavor.
This short movie clip was recorded in 1926 -
half a year before Hazrat Inayat Khan left the physical plane.
In 1926 Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan returned to India where he died the following year. His dargah (mausoleum) is situated in Delhi near the abode of the well-known Hope Project. He left a legacy of inspiration, both in books transcribed from his lectures and in the spiritual transmission passed on to his mureeds. Many of his transcribed lectures were collected and edited as the 'Sufi Message'.
This image shows the preparation for the laying of the cornerstone of the Universel in 1926. Ten years old Vilayat Inayat Khan who on this occasion was to be initiated by his father as head of the Confraternity of the Message is visible at the left side of his father and standing behind his younger brother Hidayat.
Read Hazrat Inayat Khan on The Spirit of Sufism from 'The Message Volumes'!