The Collected Works of Noor Inayat Khan
With an Introduction by Pir Zia Inayat Khan
Noor Inayat Khan, GC, (1914–1944) is remembered as an outstanding hero of the Second World War. She was also a folklorist and writer of considerable gifts. Dream Flowers collects a number of her never-before-published pieces in addition to her major published works: Twenty Jataka Tales, King Akbar’s Daughter, and Aède of the Ocean and Land. The introduction elucidates the author’s unique literary contribution to the elaboration of Sufism in the West.
“To know Noor’s mind and heart, there is no better place to turn than to her literary creations. Noor’s retellings of twenty jātaka tales have remained in print for much of the last century, but other stories from her pen, and her singular mystical drama Aède of the Ocean and Land, have only recently seen publication. Now, at last, it is possible to bring all of Noor’s principal works together under a single cover.
The pages that follow present and contextualize the greater part of Noor’s oeuvre, including several hitherto unpublished pieces. The emerging picture reveals the visionary world of a cosmopolitan author whose constant concern is the life of the soul. Noor’s imagination ranges down the centuries and across the globe, illuminating a tableau of human, animal, and elfin lives together working out a destiny ordained in heaven. Throughout her incantatory wanderings, a seamless continuity links Noor’s ethical and spiritual vision with that of her father, the musician and mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan. To borrow Noor’s words, it was he whose footsteps unveiled her dazzled eyes.” – From the introduction by Pir Zia Inayat Khan
Reviews for Dream Flowers:
“A luminous and delicate collection that takes us into the inner world of Noor Inayat Khan, reflecting the courage, sensitivity, and sacrifice that would shape her life and death. Moving and inspirational.” – Shrabani Basu, author of Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan
“Dream Flowers offers the full edition of the extensive literary legacy of Noor Inayat Khan, daughter of Pir Inayat Khan, sister of Pir Vilayat Khan, and aunt of Pir Zia Inayat Khan. As distinguished as is her spiritual genealogy, she reveals the depth of her commitment as a brave citizen of the world in this collection. If she appears as a refined young woman—at once delicate and artistic, musical and literary, she also possessed, in the words of one observer, “a steely strength of will.” It was that moral resolve that led her to engage in linguistic sleuthwork against Nazi occupiers of France. Captured, imprisoned, and tortured in 1943, then executed in 1944, she was thirty years old at the time of her death. This luminous set of her writings, handsomely set to print, unpack how she pursued the highest ideals of humanity under the rubric of Sufism. It is fitting that it should be published by Sulūk Press, with an insightful Introduction from her nephew, Pir Zia Inayat Khan, the current leader of the Inayati Sufi Order.” – Bruce Lawrence, author of The Koran in English: A Biography
“Dream Flowers: The Collected Works of Noor Inayat Khan is the largest extant compilation of the late author’s writings and contains an abundant selection of her prose, verse, and drama. A sizable array of her sensitive adaptations of writings from multiple traditions, including Buddhism, Hinduism, Greek antiquity, the French Middle Ages, and French Romanticism, attests to her deft command of a remarkably broad range of source material. Pir Zia Inayat Khan offers insightful commentaries on each of the texts he has assembled for this collection. The book will appeal to the general reader as well as to scholars interested in every aspect of the fascinating life of Noor Inayat Khan, from her early upbringing in the discipline of traditions of Sufism to her active and perilous engagement in French resistance activities during World War II. The works that make up Dream Flowers illuminate in myriad ways her spiritual depth, her critical and intellectual acumen, and her unique artistic gifts.” – Lara R. Curtis, author of Writing Resistance and the Question of Gender: Charlotte Delbo, Noor Inayat Khan, and Germaine Tillion
“‘It is not your sword that makes you king; it is love alone. Forget not that your life is but little to give if in giving you secure the happiness of your people.’” Noor Inayat Khan, the incomparable and inspiring Sufi, spy, musician, and writer lived and served by these incredible ideals. This new collection of her work, full of hope and wonder, shows us how to find meaning in life by leading with compassion, having humility, acting with kindness, and respecting all of God’s creatures.” – Naheed Hasnat Senzai, award-winning author of Escape from Aleppo, Ticket to India, and Saving Kabul Corner
“Noor Inayat Khan’s remarkably compassionate, courageous, and all too brief life offers a shining example of humanity at its very best. She lived at a time when many were demonstrating humanity at its worst—the time of WWII, the Nazi occupation of Paris, and the Holocaust. She stood bravely against all that with her writing, and with her commitment to selfless service on behalf of the Allies and the Resistance—a cause to which she gave her life. When my children were young, we shared regular nightly readings of her beautiful Twenty Jataka Tales. Long before other renditions (except for the earliest scholarly ones), appeared in English, hers offered a deep and true glimpse into the compassionate and courageous mind and heart of the bodhisattva. I find deep encouragement in reading about her remarkable life, as well as in rereading her marvelous versions of the jataka tales, (reprinted in Dream Flowers with their original elegant illustrations!). I now look forward to reading all her collected works.” – Rafe Martin, Zen teacher, Endless Path Zendo, Rochester, New York, author of Before Buddha Was Buddha: Learning From the Jataka Tales