An influential thinker, jurist, and master musician, Ostad Elahi (1895-1974) devoted a lifetime to the pursuit of self-knowledge and existential meaning. Following an exhibition on his life and works on the occasion of his centenary in 1995, his innovative and pragmatic approach to realizing one’s humanity has inspired and resonated with individuals from all backgrounds in search of a greater meaning and purpose to life.

Born at the turn of the 20th century in western Iran, Ostad Elahi spent the whole of his youth engaged in classical mysticism and ascetic practices under the supervision of his father, a well-known figure in the region with a considerable following. At the end of this period, he surmised that the process of spiritual development is best sought not in ascetic seclusion, but rather in the midst of society where the challenges and trials of daily life provide a more fertile environment to test the strength of one’s character and convictions.

Leaving behind an age-old heritage and his prominent status within it, Ostad Elahi thus chose a life of anonymity, cutting his long hair and beard and eliminating all of the outward manifestations of a mystical lifestyle before assuming a governmental post. After working as an entry-level clerk for a few years, he enrolled in the newly formed National School of Jurisprudence and became a judge, embarking on a judicial career that culminated as Chief Justice of the Court of Appeals.

Having devoted the better part of his life to reconciling and adapting the inner longing and quest for transcendence with a natural and productive life in society, Ostad Elahi synthesized the results of his contrasting lifestyles into several books after his retirement on the basis of his observations, experience, and research. His work extracts and summarizes the quintessence of all faiths into a few basic principles adapted to our modern age, which constitute the core of his comprehensive philosophy of spiritual perfection.

To learn more about Ostad Elahi’s life and works, visit: www.ostadelahi.com

Ostad Elahi
(1895 – 1974)