The Way of the Heart
The life and legacy of Hazrat Inayat Khan
a film by Mischa Scorer
In 1910 a brilliant Indian musician named Inayat Khan journeyed from Bombay to New York following the guidance of his Sufi teacher who bade him, "unite East and West with the harmony of your music and spread the wisdom of Sufism abroad." When he saw that Indian music was not understood or appreciated in the West, he realized he would have to call upon the harmony of words, ideas, and a noble manner to foster the spiritual awakening he perceived was brewing in human consciousness.
"I was transported by destiny from the world of lyric and poetry to the world of industry and commerce, on the 13th of September 1910. I bade farewell to my motherland, the soil of India, the land of the sun, for America the land of my future, wondering: "perhaps I shall return some day," and yet I did not know how long it would be before I should return. The ocean that I had to cross seemed to me a gulf between the life that was passed and the life which was to begin. I spent my moments on the ship looking at the rising and falling of the waves and realizing in this rise and fall the picture of life reflected, the life of individuals, of nations, of races, and of the world
My first impression of New York, the city of modern grandeur, was that of a world quite other than those I had seen or known before. The grand, high buildings, the illuminations in all the shops, people moving about in crowds, conveyances running on three levels: tramways, subway, and elevators running overhead, people running at the station, each with a leather bag in his hand, and a newspaper. Everything seemed moving, not only the trains but even the stations, every moment filled with the rush of activity, calling to every sense, on the ears and on the eyes. It was removed from the land I had come from by a distance as wide as the expansion of the vast ocean which separated these two lands.
I soon began to try to get accustomed to the people, to the atmosphere, and to the country. And as I came of that people whose principal characteristic is adaptability, it was not too difficult for me to attune myself to the people and the conditions there. As the Message I brought was the Message of unity, it was natural that I should give proof in my own life of unity with people and conditions, however different and far removed. I saw in the people of America the sum-total of modern progress. I called it "the Land of the Day"; that for which Rumi has used in the Masnavi the word "Dunya," the worldly life, to which the word "Samsara" is equivalent in Hindi, I found there in its fullness."
In his short life he traveled continually giving talks and leaving a legacy of profound teachings while at the same time raising a family and laying the foundation of a worldwide movement. Today there are many who follow the path he established, continuing the work he began and planting the seed of the peaceful message of Sufism in many countries of the world.
The Way of the Heart is a luminous chronicle of his journey to the West and the wisdom of Sufism he transmitted, and it reminds us that divinity can be found in the depths of every heart. It sounds a note of universal harmony in response to the great need of the world today.
Acknowledgments: Mischa Scorer (filmmaker), Joanna Pearson (production manager), Andrew Findlay (video editor), Chris Binding (cover design), Bahauddin Dagar (master vina musician), Zuleikha (The Storydancer Project in partnership with The Hope Project Charitable Trust), Sacred Spirit Music (historical film clips), Hamida Verlinden and Sharif Munawwir Graham (archival photographs), subtitles by Sophia Christine Paris, Kaivan Friedrich Pleske, Clair Wilisch, and Margarethe Hubauer, Website design by Nicko Winner.