At the hotel, Shri Nathji met a foreigner from France, a certain Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan who was the head of a certain Sufi sect. He told Shri Nathji that he had seen a beautiful picture of his published in a magazine that gave the names of all the holy personalities in the world. That portrait was the most beautiful he had ever seen in his life. He was surprised that fate had led him to the hotel where he had found Shri Nathji. He narrated how competitive the world of spirituality had become, with jealousies and struggles for supremacy amongst members of the same sect. He said he had been attacked by the followers of another contender to the seat, and one of his legs was irreparably injured. He said that most spiritual men were after name, fame and followers, and that spirituality in its purest form, which existed in Shri Nathji, did not exist anywhere else in the world.
Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan, was the eldest son of Sufi Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan, head of the Sufi Order International. Pir Zia Inayat Khan is Pir Vilayat's son and successor as Pir of the Sufi Order International. Pir Vilayat’s mother was Ora Ray Baker.
Vilayat Inayat Khan was born on June 19, 1916, and died on June 17, 2004. Vilayat Inayat Khan was born in London, England, Pir Vilayat was a teacher of meditation and of the traditions of the East Indian Chishti Order of Sufism. His teaching derived from the mystical tradition of the East brought to the West by his father combined with his knowledge of the esoteric heritage and scholarship of western culture. He taught in the tradition of Universal Sufism, which views all religions as rays of light from the same sun.
Vilayat Inayat Khan was educated at the Sorbonne, Oxford, and École Normale de Musique de Paris. During World War II he served in the British Royal Navy and was assigned the duties of mine sweeping during the invasion at Normandy. His sister, Noor-un-Nisa Inayat Khan served in the French section of SOE as a radio operator. She was shot at Dachau concentration camp.
After the war, Pir Vilayat pursued his spiritual training by studying with masters of many different religious traditions throughout India and the Middle East. While honoring the initiatic tradition of his predecessors, Pir Vilayat continually adapted traditional Eastern spiritual practices in keeping with the evolution of Western consciousness.
Pir Vilayat initiated and participated in many international and interfaith conferences promoting understanding and world peace. In 1975 he founded the Abode of the Message, which continues to serve as the central residential community of the Sufi Order International, a conference and retreat center, and a center of esoteric study.
He was a relative of Pierre Bernard, a pioneering American yogi, scholar, occultist, philosopher, mystic, and businessman. In this way he was also a distant relative to Pierre Bernard's nephew, Theos Bernard, an American scholar of religion, explorer, and famous practitioner of Yoga and Tibetan Buddhism. Pir Vilayat gave bayat (spiritual initiation) to thousands of people, teaching seminars and retreats around the world.