The Gathekas are lectures given by Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan during his years in the West, 1910 – 1926. These lectures represent a thorough introduction to the philosophy and spiritual practices of Sufism. They were selected as suitable for people who were interested in being personally involved with the teachings, perhaps becoming initiates (mureeds). These lectures were first edited in the 1950s by European Sufi practitioners, who were not native English speakers. Sometimes the language and grammar are awkward to the ears of twenty-first century American Sufis, particularly since we care about gender inclusive language. So, I decided to edit them for greater clarity and readability, and have based this editing on the original transcription of Hazrat Inayat Khan’s verbal lectures, found in the Complete Works of Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan (East-West Publications, The Hague Netherlands).
Throughout this project, I have been aided by the editorial skills and sensitive eye of Latifa Kate Williams. We chose to replace generic masculine nouns and pronouns with the generic singular “they.” This practice dates from the sixteenth century, long before “he” was declared to be a generic pronoun in an Act of Parliament in 1850. Great care has been taken to preserve the authentic meaning of these Sufi teachings and make them more accessible to a contemporary English-speaking audience.
May this effort serve to spread and deepen the Sufi Message, a Message of Understanding and Spiritual Liberation for the whole world.
Murshida Rani Kathleen McLaughlin
Latifa Kate Williams