Volume XI: The Unity of Religious Ideals
PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHOLOGY, MYSTICISM
by Hazrat Inayat Khan
Preface to Volume XI
Philosophy, Psychology, Mysticism opens new avenues of thought, attitude and life to the reader with an open heart and mind. The introduction to this part of the book is very enlightening. Under the heading of Philosophy aspects of the physical nature of life are discussed from a spiritual point of view. Although the text has been delivered if the form of lectures and meditations during the twenties they present themselves as modern in terms of the new developments in physics. Spirit and matter, vibration, light and illusion and reality are among the themes discussed. For the treatment of the subjects of sound and voice, one is referred to volume II: The Mysticism of Music, Sound and Word. The main topics under the heading of Psychology are suggestion and magnetism. The scope of these teachings is mainly how one can keep on in his life of complications, on the one hand coping with all that one is confronted with, and on the other hand how to direct oneself in a positive way.
Mysticism is a wonderful collection of inspiring teachings on a surprisingly wide variety of subjects, including e.g. brotherhood and beauty. It offers an inspiring guide through life’s puzzling ways.
It has already been observed in the preface to Volume I of the Sufi Message that to arrange systematically the Sufi Mystic’s work would be a very difficult task. Practically all the subject matter contained in these volumes consists of transcripts of lectures given by him during the years he lived and taught in the West from 1910 to 1926. the range and diversity of his subjects were remarkable, and very often the same theme was taken up again after an interval of several years and treated in a somewhat different way and in another context. Thus Hazrat Inayat’s ontological teachings are dispersed over most of the volumes of this series. But in the last two years of his life he gave, in three series of lectures delivered during the Summer Schools at Sureness in 1925 and 1926, a highly interesting synopsis of the subjects he called Philosophy, Psychology, and Mysticism, in the particular sense he attached to these terms. the resulting book may possibly be regarded as the master’s magnus opus.
After having been used for a number of years as instructive papers at the Summer Schools subsequent to Hazrat Inayat Khan’s death, they were published for the first time in 1956. This new edition differs slightly from the former in that the text, which has been kept so close to the spoken word that to read it was not always easy, has now been better adapted to the printed page. Naturally great care has been taken not to change the exact meaning of Inayat Khan’s teaching.
the present volume ends with a collection of Aphorisms, which were first published in a very limited edition de luxe in 1927. They consist of sayings and statements of Hazart Inayat Khan which were collected by one of his pupils, but before authorizing their publication Hazrat Inayat Khan himself checked and carefully revised them. They vary from philosophical statements to poetical expressions stemming from a higher conscious.
There are three steps which lead the seeker to the altar of divine wisdom. One is philosophy, the next is psychology, and the third is mysticism. Philosophy is learned by the analysis and synthesis of all that we perceive through the five senses. Psychology is learned by the analysis and synthesis of all that we can feel in human nature and in our character, and mysticism is learned by the analysis and synthesis of the whole of life, both that which is seen and that which is unseen. Philosophy therefore is learned by the study of things, psychology is learnt by thinking, and mysticism is learnt by meditation.
The one who takes these three steps towards divine knowledge completes his life’s study; but he omits the first or the second step, philosophy or psychology, and arrives directly at mysticism, he leaves behind some knowledge that could have helped him impart his knowledge to others. Therefore it is most essential that these threes steps be taken one after the other.
the words philosophy, psychology, and mysticism should not be interpreted in the sense in which they are generally used today. By philosophy is not meant a certain philosophy. By psychology is not meant a certain system. By mysticism is not meant a certain occult science. But by philosophy is meant the knowledge of things perceived through the intelligence or intuition, by psychology the knowledge of the human character and of human nature, and by mysticism the knowledge of being.
ILLUSION and REALITY
When a spiritual man talks about all being illusion, the materialistic man says, “Show me then where reality is!” Very often people use the word illusion without having studied this question fully. When a person says to another, who is in pain, “It is all illusion,” the one who is suffering will say, “It is reality to me. If you were the one who is suffering you would not say that it is an illusion!” And when this problem is not solved, a person may try to call an illness an illusion as long as his patience is not exhausted, but the moment his patience gives out he can no longer call it an illusion, he begins to call it reality. When one begins from the end one ends at the beginning, and to call something that our senses perceive an illusion we must first understand its nature and character, in order to prove to ourselves and to others that it is an illusion.
Through any study we take up, no matter what it be, we shall be able to find out that when we look at things they first appear in a certain form, but as we go on looking at them they appear differently. A certain chemical is called a certain name, but when wee see what its origin is, where it comes from, we trace at its root something quite different. When we find it origin we begin to think, “Why do we call it by that name? Its name should be quite different.” In studying a mechanism and the various names and forms connected with it, we find when we get to the bottom of it that what makes it work is something quite different from its outward appearance. All this shows that the surface of all things covers the secret of their origins from our eyes; and yet we recognize all things from their surface. In order to know the secret of things we must dig deep and get to the bottom of them.
When we study modern biology we begin to wander about the origin of man; and even if the missing link between man and monkey were to be found, we should still not have probed the depths of human origin. If such is the character and nature of things in the surface, how can we stamp them with names which we invent from our limited knowledge of them? The deeper we go into things, the less we shall think we can call them so and so, or such and such. Everything in the world is under a cover, and when it is uncovered there is another cover, so one thing is found inside the other thing, and one cannot get at the bottom of things unless one knows the secret of how to get there. It is for this reason that the learned of this world, who study and study all their lives, go only so far and no further. We may ask the most learned man in the world, who has perhaps propounded a thousand threes, what is at the bottom of it all, and he will answer, “I do not know, but I would like to know if I could.”
To understand the nature of illusion, there are two points to be considered: first, that what is changeable is an illusion, and secondly, that what is unstable is also an illusion; for what is unstable and changeable is and at the same time not. Then there are two laws: one law is: that a thing changes. And the other law is: that a thing is dissolved, destroyed, decomposed. The only difference is that although both are changes, it is only in one process that we can pursue that which changes. When coal has turned into a diamond we can pursue it, but when camphor has dissolved we cannot pursue it easily.
If we call the appearance of what is changeable and what is subject to destruction a reality, then what is illusion, why do we have this word? This word denotes something, which is not dependable, which is not constant. We use the words ‘false’ and ‘true’ according to our conception of things. For instance gold metal is called gold, and it imitation is called imitation gold.
At the first glance both are the same; it is only by observing them more keenly that we distinguish between gold and it imitation. It is the stability of gold, which makes us call it real; we call it real because it is stable. IT is the same when one says that a friendship is real. What is stable is real, what fades away is false. And when we look in this way at the whole of manifestation we see illusion in all things; if there is a reality to be found it is at the bottom of it all. The illusion is the cover, and reality is’ the depths of all things. It is just like body and soul: the body is an illusion, the soul a reality. It is the same with the flower and its fragrance: the flower is an illusion, but the fragrance is a reality: it stays as a spirit, it lives.
The longer a thing lives, the greater reality is shows, and yet that which can truly be called reality is still deeper. In our everyday language we use the word reality, but to know what reality is, is a different thing; for to know reality is to know all that is to be known. This knowledge is acquired by finding that one reality which is beyond all things. It is the search for reality which is the true education, the real knowledge, and the learning which is really worth while. To appreciate this reality, to admire it, to love it, brings us nearer and nearer towards the goal, which is reality itself.
When we begin to realize that our wish, our desire, the object of our love, and all the we pursue throughout life are illusion, and that we are in pursuit of this illusion day and night, we feel disappointed. We often wonder what there is that can be called reality if all we know, see, and feel is illusion. Not everybody thinks about it in his daily life; but to the wise this thought comes naturally and engages him in the search for reality. In olden times it was task of religion to awaken the world to reality; but unfortunately today in the absence of religion the modern education system awakens interest in all that is illusion instead of promoting the search for reality. Nevertheless, we cannot run away from reality. It draws us, it attracts us. Even though our interest in science, literature, philosophy, art and psychology we are unconsciously searching for reality. But looking for reality in illusions is like trying to see the moon on the earth. People want to see the face of reality with the eyes of illusion, and with the ears of illusion they want to hear its voice. But it is the reality in themselves that finds reality.
There is some purpose in this manifestation which is illusion. If there were no illusion, then reality could not be found, for everything is revealed by its contrast, even reality. We look for reality when we discover illusion; if we had never known illusion we would never have known reality. Reality finds itself.
One might consider abstract thought to be a method of knowing reality, but it depends upon what one understands by abstract thought. There are people who live in the abstract, and yet they are far away from reality. There is an Indian story about a fish, which went to the queen of the fishes and said, “I have always heard about the sea, but where is the sea?” Then the queen explained to this fish who had come to her to learn, “You live, move, and have your being in the sea. The sea is within you and outside of you, and you are made of the sea and you will end in the sea. The sea is what surrounds you and is your origin and your end and your own being.” Just as the fish was ignorant of the sea, so even those who experience the abstract may be ignorant of its reality. One may stand near the water all one’s life and yet remain thirsty, not realizing that it is water.
One day a man asked Buddha, “What is ignorance? You have spoken so often about it; can you illustrate it, can you explain it?” Buddha said, “There was a man who was clinging to the branch of a tree on a very dark night. All night he clung to that branch, and in the morning he saw that the ground was only one foot beneath his feet. And all the fear and anguish and titter he had felt throughout the whole night vanished with the breaking of the Dawn.”
Such is the nature of ignorance and reality. A person may continue to be unaware of the truth throughout his life and suffer all the consequences of this ignorance, for there is no greater misfortune than ignorance. It is the root of all unhappiness and misery. One may continue to suffer one’s whole life through ignorance, when the knowledge of reality is quite near if one only cared to find it.
The other difficulty is that human nature begins to look for complexity, for the nature of illusion is complex; man values complexity and thinks that what is complex is valuable and worth while, and that what is simple is worthless. Truth however is simple, simpler than all the knowledge of illusion, but for that very reason man cannot value reality.
And yet for us limited human beings to say that this world has no reality seems blasphemy. It is all right for us to feel this, but it is not right to say it, because if we are to say it we must prove it, prove it by our independence of this illusion–which we cannot always do as e are too dependent upon it. A claim which has not been put into practice is not a good claim; that is why a mystic will always refrain from saying such a thing as that all this is an illusion; but he tries to feel more and more everyday. And when it happens that he does not feel this way he is sorry. He thinks that he is far from reality; but when a glimpse of it comes to him he realizes that he is face to face with his Lord, because then he stands in the light of reality.
The secret of the whole creation can be traced to the understanding of what is meant by capacity. Capacity is, so to speak, the egg of creation: all of this manifestation which is known to us, as well as that which is unknown to us, is formed in some capacity. the sky is a capacity. Capacity is that which makes a hollow in which action of the all-pervading existence may produce a substance. All the stars and planets which we have discovered and those that which are not yet dissevered, what are they? They are capacities. And what do they contain? They contain, each one according to its capacity, whatever that capacity, whatever that capacity is able to preserve within it and give birth to; that is why one planet is not like another planet nor one star like another star.
Just as the sea is a capacity, in which all the animals of the water are born and live and die; so the air is the capacity in which many creatures live and move and have their being. And the earth is a capacity which conceives within itself the plants, the trees, and all the different stones, metals minerals, and other substances which come out of it. Again, everything, the stone, the tree, or a fruit or a flower, is a capacity in which perfume may be formed, or a savor. Thus the living being is a capacity, and man is a finished capacity.
The Hindu name for capacity is Akasha. People generally think that Akasha means the sky, but in reality it means everything. Everything in its turn is an Akasha, just as all substance is a capacity; and according to that capacity it produces what it is meant to produce.
By studying anatomy one will find that the organs of the senses are all capacities according to their construction; and when that capacity is clogged, broken , or in any way troubled, then that organ does not function properly. The tubes and veins of the body are capacities for the blood to circulate in, and when this capacity becomes stopped up, however strong the body may be, life cannot circulate and congestion and illness come. Again, every blood cell is a capacity. If it keeps itself open life comes into it and the person feels healthy, but when a blood-cell loses this capacity life does not function any more in it and all kinds of diseases develop.
So with the pores of the skin: each pore is a capacity. And when for some reason or other this capacity is clogged, then the life in function according to the life that is breathed in, that is radiated through them; and when they do not function properly illness and disorder follow.
Then there are the intuitive centers in this physical body of man, each center being a capacity. Few know about them, and they become clogged because man leads such a material life and consequentially the intuitive faculties become blunted. All the mystical practices which are followed by the adepts are given in order that these capacities may be opened up and activated, may be put in order so that through them man may experience that which is meant to be experienced. It is lack of air and energy and magnetism which blocks these capacities and these centers; and it is this, which blunts the intuitive faculties. Thus, a person, who never gives a thought to this question, loses his intuitive faculties. And this itself shows that by thinking about something one produces a capacity, just as one does by action, by movement; and when movement is dull, when it is not active, then this capacity remains unemployed.
It is capacity, which makes the soul a soul; otherwise it would be spirit. For instance, when the sun comes into our house in the morning, the sunlight passing through the window will be square or round according to that window, or triangular if the window is shaped liked that. the sun is not triangular or square; it is the window which is that shape. We say it is the sun that comes into the house, but we could call it something else. The sun may be likened to the spirit, and its entry through the window, which is a capacity and which gives it form—triangular, square, or whatever it may be— may be called the soul. the soul becomes identified with qualities and merits because of the capacity through which it expresses itself; if not it would be spirit.
Life has two divisions, of which one is accepted but the other is not yet. the accepted division of life is what is called substance; the division of life which is not yet excepted can be called vacuum. If we speak to a person of oxygen, he understands that there is oxygen in space; but if we speak about vacuum he does not understand. He says, “What is it? It must be something. If my instrument registers something, I can say that it is something; if it does not, then it is nothing.” Nut in reality vacuum is everything and all things. In certain periods of the world’s history man has discovered a finer substance; scientist has come to atoms and electrons and still finer particles. But then what? Then, they say, there is nothing. The fact is that man wishes to perceive that which is called vacuum by the same method with which he perceives substance, and this is not possible. Therefore, however far he may advance in the discovery of life, he can only reach the most extremely fine substance. In this way people mat search for thousands of years and they may succeed in finding finer and still finer substance, perhaps even a most useful substance, but it will still be a substance and not a vacuum.
Capacity is matter. It is not merely matter in the everyday sense of the word, for in reality all that is perceptible is matter. It is substance; even if it is the finest substance it is still substance. That which is above substance is spirit. Spirit is the absence of matter, even in it finest condition. Spirit is beyond that, thus the finest capacity will still be substance.
Now we come to the following question: If all this manifestation comes from one source, one life, one sprit, then why is there such a variety of things and beings, each different in its nature and character?
There are two principal reasons for this. One is the speed of vibrations, the other is the direction that a certain action takes. In order to make this comprehensible one may divide the speed of vibration into three stages: slow, moderate, and quick. As they are called in Sanskrit: Satva, Rajas, and Tamas. the first stage is creative in it effect, the second stage is progressive, and the third stage is destructive. This gives us the reason for death and decay and destruction: every living being and every object decays or dies when it strikes that particular speed which is destructive. Besides, as every object looks different when seen from different angles, so every creative force manifests differently when it takes different directions. This explains why a person’s right hand is stronger then his left, with few exceptions; and why the right leg is inclined to go forward first and not the left leg. There is always more strength in the right side of a person than in the left side. It is the law of direction which causes this. For a man to be left-handed is exceptional, it is not normal; it is normal for the right side to stronger, and if a person is left handed this shows that his right side has not the proper energy. It does not mean that the left side is stronger than the right side; it only means that the right side has been weakened and that the left side therefore seems stronger than the right side. It does not mean that this man’s positive is his left and hie negative the right.
The three rhythms mentioned above may also be called mobile, regular, and irregular. It is because of them that manifestation has various forms qualities, colors and features. The rhythm which is mobile goes straight; the rhythm which is regular strikes right and left, the first forming the perpendicular line the next a horizontal line; and the third is destructive, it is zig-zag or irregular. This can also be seen when one examines one’s breath: the breath which is flowing through the right nostril gives power; when it flows through the left nostril it takes that power away; and when it flows its flow through both nostrils at the same time causes destruction.
What was there before creation? Was their stillness or was their motion? As far as science can reach it finds that there is motion behind it all. This is true; for what we call stillness is in reality an imperceptible motion. That is why mountains can exist and trees can live and man can act and animal can move by the power of movement, vibration. Their health, their joy, their sorrow, and their destruction are all caused by a quicker speed, a slower speed, or a particular activity of these vibrations. Disease and health both depend upon the law of vibrations.
A diamond is bright because it is vibrating; it is the vibration of the diamond, which makes it brilliant. And so the brilliant person whose intelligence is vibrating; according to the rhythm of its vibration it is capable of understanding. One will always see that it is the brilliant person who understands more quickly, more deeply, and better; and it is the one who is not brilliant who takes time to understand.
In conclusion we arrive at the understanding that the whole phenomenon is a phenomenon of capacity, and according to that capacity all that it contains is formed. As each thing or being vibrates, it acts in accordance with the capacity, and the results are in accordance with this capacity too. We ourselves are also Akashas, and in our Akasha we get the resonance of our rhythm. This resonance is like the feeling that have when we are tired, depressed, joyous, or strengthened. All these different conditions which we feel, it our Akasha that feels them; and what causes this is our rhythm.
Every word once it is spoken, every deed that is done, every sentiment felt is recorded somewhere; it has not gone, it is not lost. We do not see it because it is not always recorded on the ground. If a seed is sown in the ground, it is recorded in the ground; it comes out in big letters proving “I am an apple tree,” “I am a rose bush.” But when something is thrown into space, space does not lose it either. It has received it and it holds it; and it shows it to those who can build a capacity around the space get its reflection in that capacity. There is a capacity, which is the whole of life; in fact everything is a recording capacity; but then there is a reading capacity and that we have to make ourselves. We must be able to make a capacity in order to read what is written there. In the Qur’an it is said, “Their shall speak and their feet shall bear witness to their deeds.” Which means the same thing; that everything is recorded, written down. When a thief comes from the house where he has stolen something, he may have dug a hole in the ground and buried his spoils and appear with nothing in his hands, yet there is something written on his face about what he has done. It is written he cannot efface it; and those who read will read it. Nothing of what we say, do, or think is lost; it is recorded somewhere, if we only know how to read it.
All existing things we see or hear, which we perceive, vibrate. If it were not for vibration, the precious stones would not show us their color and their brilliance; it is vibration which makes the tree grow, the fruit ripen, and the flowers bloom. Our existence is also according to the law of vibrations, not only the existence of our physical body bit also our thoughts and feelings. If it were not for vibrations, drugs and herbs would not have nay effect on us. If any explanation of electricity can be given, it is that its mystery lies only in vibrations. vibrations are productive and produce electricity; electricity is composed of vibrations. In other words that aspect of vibration which produces form could not do if it could not first produce light. the Bible hints at this when it says that first there was light and that then the world was produced. Light is the first form, all other forms come afterwards.
Vibrations can be understood both as cause and as effect. Vibration causes movement, rotation, and circulation; but on the other hand it is the rotation of the planets and the circulation of the blood which cause vibration. Thus the cause as well as the effect of all that exists is vibration.
It depends upon the speed of the vibrations as to whether a thing is visible or audible, perceptible or imperceptible. Everything that is visible is audible at the same time, and everything that is audible is visible also. If it does not appear so, this is only signifies the limitation or our organs of perception. What our physical eyes cannot see we say is not visible; this means that it only not visible to us; in itself it visible. And what we cannot hear we say is not audible; but it is only inaudible to our ears; in itself it is audible.
This means that everything has its sound and its form. Even things, which are perceptible by us though not visible have a form. In the first place they could not be intelligible if they had no form; although they have no physical form they have form just the same, and it is through that form that we can perceive them. If our physical eyes do not see that form; the eyes of our mind can see it and recognize it. This explains to us why there are things, which are felt and things, which are seen or heard. It is only a difference of vibrations, and the plane of which the vibrations take place. Vibrations cause life to take form; and it is the different degrees of vibrations, which make that form either visible or otherwise perceptual.
What we know about vibration is only what we perceive through man-made instruments; what is moving beyond this we do not recognize as vibration. But as there is no other word this is the only one we can use for it, for it is the same force which sets everything in motion on the physical plane, and this continues on all other planes of existence, setting them all in motion. It also explains to us that it vibration, a certain degree of vibration, which brings to the earth the things of the inner world, the world that perceived though not seen; and a change of vibrations take away the things that are seen into the unseen world.
What we call life and death are birth a recognized existence within a certain degree of vibrations. For instance when a person says, “This leaf is dead,” what has made it dead is a change in vibrations. It has no longer the same vibrations that it had when it was on the tree; and yet it has not lost its vibrations. It still has them. Thus according to the vibrations it is not dead; it has only changed to a different rhythm of vibrations. If that leaf were then herbs would not have any effect upon man when he takes them as medicine.
And so it is with the dead body of an animal or a man. We may say that life has gone out if it, but it is only the life which we recognize as life that has gone out of it, for we recognize as life a certain degree of vibration; anything beyond it or below it we do recognize as living. Yet it had not died; it is still vibrating. It is still going on, for nothing can exist and not vibrate, and nothing can vibrate and not be living in the real sense of the word. One might say that there is no movement in a dead body, that there is no heat in it, but we do not use fish and flesh of slaughtered animals as food? If these did not possess any life we would not be benefited by eating them, for it is only life, which can help life go on. If they were really dead, if all the property which is called life were gone from them, they would do us harm instead of good. This shows that thought we call them dead there is some life left in them, and that this change is only a question of degree in the vibrations.
When a fruit is decayed, when a flower has faded, there has been a change of vibrations. It is wonderful to watch a flower when it is still a bud and to see how it grows every day, how it vibrates differently every moment of the day until it comes to such a culmination that it begins to radiate, reflecting the sun. Besides its color and form we can see something living in the flower,
or something sparkling. It can best be seen when the flower is still on the plant. And then, when it has reached its culmination, it begins gradually to fade, and that again is according to the law of vibrations. But even when its petals have dropped there is still a form of life left, for even in the dry leaves of he rose there is a fragrance, and from the dried rose leaves an effective medicine can be made. This medicine has a certain action on the blood and it also nourishes the intestines; it is most purifying. In ancient Greek medicine the rose was used in many ways. It is very cooling, it cools the blood as well as being very strengthening.
There is great difference between the eating of fresh vegetables and of preserved vegetables, a difference of vibrations. the former are nearer to our life, and the latter which have gone further from our life have less influence on us. And so it is with everything. When we begin to see life from this point of view it will appear that birth and death are only our conceptions of life, that there is no such thing as death and that all is living. It only changes from one form to the other, subject to the law of vibrations. The difference in the vibrations of dead and living bodies is a difference of their speed; it is a difference of rhythm.
Furthermore, the different stages of life such as infancy, childhood, youth, and old age and the different tendencies arising naturally out of them, are all phenomenon of vibration. Strength and weakness, the tendencies to action and repose, all come from the different speed of the vibrations. And it is no exaggeration to say that hidden behind every illness are wrong vibrations which are it cause. Vibrations are the cause and they are also the effect. It is interesting that a scientist should have reached this conclusion too and tried his best to use it in medical science. He did not live long, but if he had he would have surely have accomplished something wonderful. By this system he tried to discover the nature and character of diseases, and to treat them according to the law of vibrations. No doubt its development will be the work of perhaps hundreds of years of experiment, but even to initiate such a method is a step forward. The greater a thing is, the longer it takes to develop. Some people are already benefiting from this system, though it will be a long time before it is brought to perfection, which will make it the way of treatment, surpassing anything else.
When an object such as fruit, a leaf, or a flower changes its color, this means that it has begun to vibrate at a different rate; and when on object changes it savor, turning from sour to sweet or from sweet to bitter, this also means that it is changing from one rate of vibration to another. It is a well known fact, too, that between cold and heat all the different degrees are nothing but changes in vibrations which make things fell cold or hot to us. It is also by the change of vibrations that the fragrance of flowers and fruit changes. A ripe fruit smells different from the fruit which is not yet ripe, and the quality of the fruit also can be distinguished by the sense of smell through the medium of vibrations. This shows that all things that we perceive through our five senses become intelligible to us. And we able to distinguish them, by feeling the different degrees of vibrations through our senses. We give names to this phenomenon of vibration; sweet, sour, or salt; green, blue or red; cold, warm, or hot. The purpose of each sense is to feel particular phenomenon of vibrations, which is related to it, the eyes seeing, the ears hearing, and the nose smelling.
The five senses differ in quality, and one can look at this question from a gross point of view or from a finer point of view. The gross point of view is that of the form, which outwardly shows the difference of perception between one sense and the other. The finer the point of view is when the mechanism of the capacity, which is inside every organ is distinguished. Science only approaches this question from the outside and not from the inside. It is most ethereal; it is most inexplicable, and the more one thinks about it, the more one sees the skill of the Creator.
But the inner most sense in us perceives these vibrations in quite a different way; it does not perceive them in the same way as the outer senses. Thus one might ask whether the inner sense perceives for instance a color as a color, or whether it perceives a certain sensation which could be measured by numbers. The answer is that the inner sense perceives a color, but it is distinguished but the outer sense. What the inner sense perceives is the sensation that it gives, its essence. And as to numbers, the further we advance in the inner life, the less we can count numbers, for numbers belong to the outer world. The physical world is more distinct, and therefore we can calculate numbers easily, whereas the inner worlds are less distinct and this makes it more difficult to calculate numbers.
For instance when we are smelling a flower, hearing a sound, or seeing a color, we distinguish this as a smell perceived by the nostrils, as sound heard by the ears, as color seen by the eyes. But that in us, which perceives, is the one sense that is behind the five senses. Thus outwardly everything we perceive as a sensation is distinguished as such and such, but immediately there comes a reaction, and that reaction is that our sense reflects what it has perceived on all the organs of the senses and on all the nerves of the body, touching each atom of our being. That is why it is not only the ears, which have heard, but in its reaction the sound has echoed in the brain, in the mouth, in the throat, in the whole body. If it is fragrance it has touched each atom of our body; and if it is a color it has not only touched our eyes, but it has spread its influence upon every atom of our being.
Although our first impression is that we have heard music, seen a beautiful picture, or tasted a delicious savor, yet in reality we can say in general terms that we experienced every sensation that comes to us though each atom of our body. And if that it so, then all colors and savors and perfumes and sounds have their definite and particular effect on our health, our moods, and the condition of our mind.
It is the ever changing condition of our physical body, caused either by outer sensation or by its particular activity, which submits our vitality to different conditions. Each person has a different rhythm. But we say ‘a person’ we mean a person as we generally understand this concept: the person with his body, or the person with his mind, or the person with his soul. Many will not recognize him as a mind but only a body, and many will not recognize him as soul but only as a mind and body. This is because the rate of vibrations of his body is different from that of his mind, and the rate of vibrations of his mind is different from that of his soul. In fact every plane of his being has a different rhythm, although all the planes of his being are in some way related to what is happening on certain of these planes. In other words, all his inner bodies are vibrating, and they are related to one another in regard to the speed of their vibrations. When we say, “I am tired” or “I am feel better” or “I feel strong”, this really means that we are vibrating at a certain rate, and that it is this which caused us to say what we did.
Then, different feelings such as cheerfulness and depression very often arise in a person, producing great changes in him, and these are also caused by the rate at which his body is vibrating. This disease of depression, a depression which has no apparent reason, comes from the slowing down or stopping of the vibrations of inner centers. No doubt all such feelings as grief, wonder, passion, humor, fear, attachment, anger, cheerfulness, and indifference come from the condition created by the speed of the vibrations activating the mechanism of the body. And causing the blood to circulate; but these feelings also cause the vibrations of the body to change its rhythm. In this way the feelings effect the body and the body effects the feelings.
Vibrations can be changed by understanding the vibrations of one’s own life, which means one’s own self. In the first place one can study the vibrations of the physical body. And the chief way in which they can be understood and controlled if through the study and understanding of breathing, for the pulsation of the heart, head and body, upon which circulation depends, is based upon the rhythm of breath. The next step is to understand the rhythm of the mind. People who think, ” I will do this,” and then at once deiced to do something else, or who begin one thing and then go on to do something else, or who begin one thing and then go to another, show that their mind is not in proper rhythm.
When a man is laughing one moment and shedding tears the next, when he is happy one moment and unhappy the next, his mind is not in a right rhythm. The one whose mind has a right rhythm is decided and knows what he says, what he does, what he thinks. He sticks to his decisions he sticks to his word. That is people in ancient times attached great importance to a man’s word. When a man gives his word, it is given; he knows what he has said. But when a person is wobbling, this shows that he has not yet learnt how to walk; and when his mind wobbles between “Shall I or shall I not?” “Will this thing be done or will it not?” it has not yet got the right rhythm, and therefore there will always be trouble with such a person.
Music, which is only very skillful and technically correct cannot have a magic effect upon the listeners. It can only appeal to their curiosity, and if they do not understand music they can be easily satisfied with it. If music possesses any quality of it own, which does not depend upon man -made techniques and forms, it lies in the harmonious grouping of the waves of vibrations—how harmoniously they work. It is this, which affects not only the soul of the listener but even his physical body. On each atom of his person it has a harmonious effect which penetrates all the different planes of life, touching the depths of his soul.
Also, it is not a group of colors put on a canvas, which produces a harmonious painting, although this is very often the done these days. It may be that someone has the idea of throwing a number of colors together, and another brings it to you saying, “Now look if you can see something in it?” And when these people make a mystery out of this the curious mind thinks, “I must say something, wonderful, though I don’t understand what it is.” Perhaps after having said, “How wonderful!” this person has gone home with a feeling of a headache, but in front of the others he says that it is wonderful. What really impresses a person deeply, however, is a harmonious blending of colors which do not jar the vibrations of body and mind. Sometimes a really harmoniously painted picture or landscape gives peace through the effect of the colors.
Knowing that color has such an effect, some people have tried crude and undesirable combinations to cure the sick, but instead of curing them they have sometimes made them worse.
For instance, there is a system of reflecting light through colored glass upon a patient. It is the most crude way of making use of colors, and its is not thus that colors can have an effect upon an person. To produce a harmonious effect of colors they must be used artistically; and in that way they will prove to be useful in curing people.
One might ask how it is then with the blind and the deaf, if perfect harmony of vibrations is attained through color and sound. The answer is that although people thus afflicted lack one sense, they have the others to experience the world of sense with. If the deaf have not heard with the ears, the effect of the conversation has reached their inner ear.
The pulse of space beats to the same rhythm that it is charged with, and this we call atmosphere. Space itself has not got an atmosphere. Space is negative in that it allows it pulse to beat to the rhythm that it is charged with, and at the same time it is positive in that it absorbs and assimilates all, sooner or later. When a person says that an atmosphere of a place is quiet, or exciting, this only means that the impression of someone that has charged the atmosphere of that place lingers.
Atmosphere can be two kinds, the atmosphere of presence and the atmosphere of absence. The atmosphere of presence changes with the change that takes place with in someone. When a person is sitting in meditation, when he is practicing silence or repose, the atmosphere is quieting. When a person is restless, uneasy, cross or agitated the atmosphere takes on the same rhythm. The reason for this is that the atmosphere is made of vibrations, and the life substance in it is charged with the same rate of vibration of that of the person that happens to be there.
The atmosphere that one creates and leaves in a place remains unchanged, although in time it loses its vitality. But it difficult to believe how long an atmosphere created by someone in certain place remains vibrating. It stays there much longer then one would think.
Not only does man create an atmosphere, but an atmosphere is also created in man. A peaceful can feel uneasy where there is an atmosphere of restlessness. A very restless person may feel quiet in an atmosphere of peace. To those who can perceive it, the atmosphere tells stories. One may ask how a person can read the atmosphere, which is nothing but vibrations. The perception of vibrations is in itself the understanding of a language, just as to a musician every note says something. In his mind it is distinct, he knows what note it is, what cord it is, what theme it is. He knows its feeling, its nature, its character, it sense, its effect. To anyone who is not a musician, music may be comforting, healing, and soothing, but to him, who understands music, it is a living thing, it speaks to him, his soul communicates with it. In the same way one that perceives atmosphere fully knows all about it.
There is another way of looking at this question. Not only does every person have his particular atmosphere, but everything that one feels thinks and says and does is creative of an atmosphere. The wicked will create a wicked atmosphere of piety; the pious will create an atmosphere of piety; a singer by singing; a player by playing; a dancer by dancing; a painter by painting will create an atmosphere expressive of his action. Each feeling such as humor, grief, anger, passion, wonder, attachment, fear, or indifference shows its distinct character in the atmosphere, which it has created. No matter what a person may try to hide, his atmosphere will speak of it. No one is ever able to create a false atmosphere, that is to say, an atmosphere that is different from his own condition. Someone once asked my Murshid what the sign of the godly is. He said, “judge him by not what say or by what he does, feel his atmosphere and his atmosphere will tell you whether he is godly or not.” People do not differ much from one another in size, but the difference in the horizons that their atmosphere occupies is so great that very often there is no comparison possible. This is the secret, which is behind the personality of the sages, saints, and prophets as well as behind their work and their influence in the world.
Since their must be something to hold everything that is significant, what is it that holds the atmosphere in space? It is capacity. Space offers capacity. In other words, in space a capacity is formed of an element invisible to our eyes and yet solid enough to hold the vibration within it. This will become clear if study the mystery of the wireless or the mirage. Why does not the air scatter the sounds and words spoken many miles away? It is true that the airwaves carry them a certain distance, but what holds them? It is the capacity; it is a fine element, which surrounds them, not allowing them to break up, although our ears do not ordinarily hear them in space. It is the same with the phenomenon of mirage. One sees in the desert a picture, which is nothing but a reflection on the waves of light of something really existing. But what holds this picture intact. Not allowing it to be scattered, is the capacity, which in Sanskrit is called Akasha.
Is the atmosphere visible? All that intelligible is audible and visible in the finer sense of these words. Our ears may not hear it, yet we feel that we have heard it. Our eyes may not see it and yet feel that we have seen it. What is audible is visible and what is visible is audible at the same time. It is only to our senses that it is either audible or visible. If a certain thing appeal to our sense of sight, it makes an impression on that sense and our sense of hearing does not pay any attention to it. If a thing appeals to our sense of hearing our sense of sight does not take any interest in it. This is because two senses cannot both experience something fully at the same time.
Even when two sense perceive a thing simultaneously, what they experience at the same time will not be a full experience. Only experiencing everything through one sense at a time can give satisfaction. But apart from experiencing fully through two senses. Do not think that it is an exaggeration to say that even two eyes cannot see as fully as one eye. When we close on eye in order to see a thing more clearly, we see it much better. We get a fuller vision of it, for a fuller experience needs a single ray of penetration, which reveals the nature, the secret, the mystery of the object one looks at. One particular sense is capable of experiencing vibrations according to its own capacity, and the vibrations, which appeal to a particular sense, engage that sense which experiences them. The other senses experience the same, but indirectly, through the sense that is experiencing them.
The visible atmosphere is called the aura. Those who do not feel its vibrations sometimes see it in the form of colors of light. There are some un-evolved people who see auras for the same reason that some un-evolved also communicate with spirits, which is really something, that only an evolved person should venture upon. But they are made like that by nature, and it is the same as someone who has never been trained in the technique of art yet he draws a beautiful picture. It is in him, it is a gift, it his finer soul and his nervous temperament that are susceptible to finer vibrations.
The aura therefore may be called a visible atmosphere, or the atmosphere an invisible aura. Just as different degrees of the vibrations of the atmosphere have a distinct influence on the person who perceives them, so the different colors of the aura have their particular effect upon those who see this aura. They are many who are not yet awakened to perceive an atmosphere, to see an aura, although they will feel it in the depths of their being, they cannot help it.
This shows us that there is another world besides the world that our physical eyes can see and whose sound our physical ears can hear and it is not even very far away. We live in it and we feel it and we are influenced by it, whether we know it or not. This is the world of atmosphere, which is finer than the physical world though in a sense it is physical too. It is something we feel, it is something that will touch our body though the may not perceive it, yet it is influenced by it. The mind perceives it more clearly. If we are asked to what plane atmosphere belongs, we can only say that it is bridge between the physical and the mental planes, it is on both planes.
Light has three principal aspects. The source of all light, perceptual light, and’ light in the ordinary sense of the word. The first kind is the light which perceived as intelligence, the next is the light that we see as the sun, and the third kind of light is what we use in our daily life, the light of a candle, an electric lamp, any such light. Science today considers intelligence to be an outcome of this manifestation, gradually developing through a process of which man is the culmination, man who compared with all other living beings shows intelligence in its fullest. As we understand the word intelligence, it does not convey to us the meaning, ‘the source of light’, except in a very limited form. Intelligence in its original condition is something quite different from what we ordinarily understand by that word.
Intelligence can be divided again into three different aspects: intelligence in its original state, intelligence in the process of development, and intelligence in the sense in which we mostly use it, as a knowing faculty of man.
In the first or principal aspect intelligence is the knowing Being, the only Being. In the next aspect it is not knowing, but knowledge, the knowledge of being, In the third aspect becomes limited because it shows itself through a capacity. That capacity is in the heart of man. To put it plainly, the first aspect may be called un-awakened intelligence, the second the wakened intelligence, and the third divided and limited intelligence.
In all those three aspects intelligence is one and the same. In the first aspect it is the only Being, in the next aspect it is omniscient, and in the third aspect it is the mind or what the mind contains. One may be called the intelligence of God, the next heavenly intelligence, and the third human intelligence. The origin of intelligence is pure intelligence, the intelligence of God, but that intelligence is not intelligent, it becomes intelligent. That is to say it begins to feel its existence. It is just like a man who is intelligent, but when he is asleep his intelligence is not intelligent. It is only when he is awake that he knows of his intelligence. That is another aspect of intelligence.
The next aspect of light, which is the light of the sun, is made of the dense part of the vibrating intelligence, which has centralized in one spot. Its nature of being in perpetual motion makes it bright. It is this light which manifests through all things as heat and light. In the light of the sun all things show themselves and in the absence of the sun we do not see them properly. Also, it is the light of the sun, which functions in the moon and is the same light, which the stars reflect. If it were not for the moon the whole of manifestation would be burnt to ashes, the sun would be so strong.
Very often a capacity is made for something that is expressive, something that has a strong action, and if there were no such capacity then it would destroy all that is around it until it destroyed itself. The moon therefore is the capacity in which the strongest light of the sun functions. That it is why it is so cooling to be in the moonlight, because the moon takes the light of the sun upon itself and burns itself and by doing so it allows the horizon, the spheres, to lighted while the same time is cool. It is just like a talkative person, someone who is very fond of speaking, who will go mad if he has no one near to listen to him.
The third aspect is the light of all things. Each thing, every object, has its own light, all differing in degree. It is this difference that we distinguish as different colors. And every substance such as iron or gold shows its light through radiation. It also partakes the light of the sun, and in accordance with its faculty of partaking is the light of the sun it shines.
When we consider the question of light in our own lives, we can again divide it into three aspects. First there is the light which shows us an object, the light of the sun or some other form of light such as the light of a candle or an electric bulb. The next aspect is the capacity of our organ of sight, our eyes, which see the object. The third aspect is the radiance belonging to the substance, which shows itself, such as phosphorus or radium. Many other elements or chemicals which do not need other light but show themselves through there own radiance if they are kept in the dark.
Both the light from the sun or light from another source helps the object to be seen, because the object reflects the light that shows it up. It is also true that an object has a light of its own. Therefore if an object is visible it is not only because the other light shows it up, but also because it has a light of its own.
One can look at this question from another point of view, and that is that every person has a certain amount of intelligence and that every person that sees him or speaks to him adds something to his intelligence or deducts something from it. He either gives it to him or he takes it away from him. And a third aspect is that in the light of the intelligence of some people one can see life more clearly. This is not a passing light, it shines on just as the light of the sun shining on the earth is not any way diminished by it.
The one who adds to a person’s intelligence does this in two different ways. One way is that for the moment his presence enlightens the other persons heart and the second way is that his intelligence kindles the others intelligence. But neither is done intentionally, it is done automatically. An intelligent person brings light to another as a matter of course, if not always then sometimes. By saying something by the power of his glance, or by his very magnetism of his presence he kindles to a certain extent the light, if there is any, of the other. One day a lady said to me, “My husband has changed altogether since he came to see you.” I said, “I am very glad. “But then some time after I had left that place I received a letter saying,” He is just the same as before!”
We also sometimes hear people say, “He has confused my mind.” “He has driven me crazy.” “He has made me more puzzled than I was before.” This happens because there are people who bring with them shades or clouds, which keep the light from falling directly upon our mind. That is why the presence of foolish people is often stupefying.
Intelligence in its most dense forms appears in things and beings as radiance. From a mystical point of view it would not be wrong to say that the freshness of the leaf, the color of the flower, the brightness of the precious stone, and the expression of man’s countenance are the light of intelligence in its dense form. No object can be visible without radiance. Although we need the light of the sun in order to make an object more visible to our sight, yet every object is radiant in itself. It cannot exist; it cannot be visible if it is not radiant. If we make a synthesis, of all the things in the world, which we have separated by analysis and called by various names, we could safely and rightly say that all things and beings are made of light. Or that all things and beings are the manifestation of the light of intelligence.
What about the sun, the moon and the stars? There is intelligence in all of these. If the planet on which we live had no intelligence it could not have intelligent beings on it. For what is nature? Nature is the development of the planet. The planet has developed into organic nature and has culminated in human beings, intelligent beings, and it still remains a planet.
No doubt that which exists as a capacity, is robbed of its intelligence by what is conceived in it. For instance the body is robbed of its intelligence by the mind, and the mind robbed of its intelligence by the soul. The larger the power the more it absorbs. If the body is more muscular, denser, it naturally absorbs the power of the mind, and very often a person with a highly developed brain is found to be not very spiritual, as his brain absorbs the light of the soul. But in the same way it is natural for the soul, which is intelligence in itself, should rob the mind of its intelligence, and the mind in turn robs the body of its extra physical strength if it powerful. It is natural, therefore for the intelligence of the planet as a whole not to be manifest to view. If it can be seen, it is in the intelligence of an individual, but the collective working of many minds as one single idea, and the activity of the whole world in a certain direction, are governed by the intelligence of the planet. We speak of the mentality of a particular person, the mentality of a nation, or the mentality of a race, and so the intelligence of the whole planet has an effect upon all those individuals living on the planet.
There is a certain characteristic peculiar to this planet, for each planet has a certain degree of intelligence. For instance, the fact that at this time and at this stage of human civilization and evolution, when hardly one in a thousand individuals wants to make war, such dreadful wars should have taken place, is due to the influence of the planet working through the minds of those who live on it. This is the secret behind war and peace. They were not foolish those who worshipped the sun and taught sun worship, they were not ignorant. Those who recognized the sacredness of fire and flame, for they saw the intelligence even in the dense form. The sun is the source of the intelligence of all the planets, but the real source of intelligence is God.
The highest form of intelligence is that which shows itself in man. In man intelligence begins to show itself, in a similar if not exactly the same form as that which may be called the primitive intelligence, the intelligence which existed as such even before manifestation.
In human intelligence we distinguish three aspects, perception, conception and assimilation. One is expressive, one is receptive, and the third is all-powerful. Perception can again be divided into three aspects, all that one perceives through the medium of the five senses, all that one perceives independently of the medium of the five senses, and all that one feels and that one cannot interpret even to oneself in an intelligible form.
Conception also has three aspect, all the one conceives as an understanding, all that one conceives and develops, and all that one conceives and maintains in the same way that it was conceived.
Assimilation is the highest form of intelligence, more powerful and perfect, for it is the power of intelligence that assimilates things, and it is perfect because it assimilates. If we put some dye, some color, in a bottle of water, that color will stay, because the water in the bottle has no power to assimilate it. But if we put the same dye into the sea, the sea will sooner or later assimilate it. This shows that assimilation is the greatest power of intelligence.
How does one speed up assimilation and make it more complete? By meditation and concentration. Meditation and concentration apart, one can do so by becoming thoughtful, considerate, deep, responsive, sincere, and serious. To assimilate is the most difficult thing there is. We can have many friends in the world, but a friend whom we can really trust is hard to find. And if during our life we have found one, we should be most thankful to have one friend who can keep our secret. Ordinary people part, kings and emperors who have to deal with thousands and millions of people, have great difficulty in finding one person whom they can trust completely, in whom they have confidence, and they consider themselves most fortunate if they do. And it is the power of assimilation, which enables one to keep a secret and prove worthy of confidence. The one who has the power of assimilation is the treasure house of all those who confide in him. It is such a one who arrives at the stage of the Master.
THE LAW OF RHYTHM
The law of rhythm is a great law, which is hidden behind nature. It is in accordance with this law that every form is made and that every condition manifests to view. The creation, therefore, is not merely a phenomenon of vibrations without any restrictions. If there were no rhythm, if it were not the law of rhythm, we would not have distinct forms and intelligible conditions. There is no movement, which has no sound and there is no sound, which has no rhythm. In order to show rhythm we need not take a conductor’s baton and beat ‘one-two’. We only need to wave our hand. Divide one and it is two, double one and it is two. This shows that in one there is two, it proves that duality comes from unity.
Then if we look at it from another point of view, we shall see that duality is in fact nothing but unity, in other words, that two is one. The most interesting point in this is that as soon as we see two, each of the two at once takes a different particular position in our view. This is clear with man and woman, but also our right hand and our left hand each shows a particular power and a particular function. The right foot and the left foot each has a particular life. The right foot is distinctly different from our left foot, and also the sight of the two eyes is not the same. One eye is always better and stronger then the other. If there were no difference the eyes would not be the proper instruments for seeing. If there were no difference between the power and strength of a man’s left side and his right side, he could not live.
It is the difference, which causes duality, and it is the duality, which maintains the existence of things. The finer aspect of this phenomenon can be seen in musical rhythm. When we say ‘one-two, one-two’, then we understand what it is that makes us emphasize the one, and what it is that makes the two like an echo, a reflection, something that responds to one. And suppose we don not say, ‘one-two’, that we only say, ‘one-one-one-one’, all with the same emphasis, this will not satisfy us. We will not feel any rhythm until the one becomes accented and the two, or what ever we say next, follows it. Then it becomes perfect. We see the same happening with the action of walking, which accomplished by both legs. If we practice walking on one leg we will find something missing in the rhythm.
This shows that rhythm is a hidden law of nature: the rising and the setting of the sun and the waxing and waning of the moon. The regular change of the tides of the sea and the seasons as they come and go, all show rhythm. It is rhythm that makes the birds fly. It is rhythm that makes the cheaters if the earth walk. If we delve deeper into the science of rhythm we shall find that it is which causes a certain thing to be made in a certain way. If it is made triangular or square or round or five pointed or whatever geometrical form has been given to it, the reason behind its form is the rhythm of the power that has made. It is that rhythm which is the cause of its formation.
Harmonious forms are manifestations of the right rhythm, and inharmonious forms are manifestations of a disorder in the rhythm. Colors such as blue and green and red and yellow appear distinct and different for the very reason that a particular color vibrates according to a certain rhythm. It is this rhythm which gives to the color the appearance which makes us distinguish them.
There is the law of rhythm behind good weather and bad weather, and it good and bad weather which, acting on the living beings, creates a similar result in their lives. Good weather give a desirable rhythm to living beings and bad weather brings about undesirable results in their health. It would therefore not be an exaggeration to say with the ancient Yogis that birth and death, as well as the limited time which separates birth from death, are the fulfillment of a certain appointed rhythm. If we go a little further in exploring this idea, then we shall see as the ancient Yogi’s have seen, that by controlling this rhythm one can prolong one’s life, and that by neglecting this rhythm one can also shorten it.
Why is that music which emphasizes rhythm gives everyone the desire to dance? Even horses begin to move to the rhythm the band is playing before the Calvary. Even the most down hearted and discourages soldiers feel encourages when they hear the emphatic rhythm of a march played by the military band. The infant is soothed when the mother is patting it on its back. The mother with out knowing it instinctively gives a rhythm to its body. By waving our hand we give our departing friend a rhythm against the regret or disappear with which he leaves, in order to keep him rhythmic on all planes of life.
What repulses or attracts us in a person is very often his rhythm. One man is rhythmic and his influence is soothing. Another is out of rhythm and he upsets everybody. Have we not all heard the maid say sometime or another, “Whenever I see the cook I get upset.”
Why should rhythm have such an influence on us? Because we ourselves are rhythm. The beating of our heart, the pulse throbbing in wrist or head, our circulation, the working of the whole mechanism of our body is rhythmic. When this rhythm is obstructed, then disorder and illness come. All discomfort, despair, and disappointment follow the breaking of the rhythm.
When we look at this question symbolically we find that our gain and our loss, our success and our failure, have much to do with the rhythm with which we pursue our motive in life. It will always prove to be true that when a person takes no heed of rhythm, whether he does right or wrong, good or evil, in both cases a wrong rhythm will make it fail. For rhythm is not a law to which nature is subjected, but rhythm is something maintains things as they are and gives to things and beings the power to continue to and to progress.
To know rhythm we must develop the sense of rhythm. How readily one notices it when one has a little pain! This shows that a person intuitively knows the effect of rhythm. For instance sometimes congestion causes illness, but what is congestion and what can it do? It is something, which stops the rhythm. The rhythm with which the blood is circulating is stopped by congestion that is why illness came. By being regular one maintains rhythm in everything one does. An irregular person will always find himself lost because he cannot accomplish anything for want of rhythm.
Rhythm is great mystery, and a sense of which one should develop more then anything else in life. But if one were to explain what the right rhythm to work and rest is, the whole Western way of life would be in question. When we look at it from the point of view of rhythm and balance, there is far too much activity in the life of the West. It would make any person abnormal. The bad effects of this are continually felt, but since the people are so much absorbed in life, they are not able to realize to what an extent they suffer from these bad effects. However, before long there will come a time when thoughtful people will begin to realize that this problem has been neglected too long. And what has caused it? This life of competition, the whole misery is caused by competition.
People do things not for their own pleasure or for the pleasure of God, but to compete with one another. The law of rhythm can be considered as governing four actions, right or wrong rhythm in feelings, right or wrong rhythm in thinking, right r wrong rhythm in speaking, and right or wrong rhythm in acting. Not only hate but love that is not maintained by rhythm will fail. Not only an evil thought but a good thought will prove disastrous with out regard for rhythm. Not only false but even true speak which has no rhythm will prove to be fatal. Not only wrong action but even right action devoid of rhythm will prove to be out of place.
With the wrong person, even if we do it right it sometimes turns into wrong. For instance when we say to someone, who is in a rage or has just been quarreling, “You have done wrong.” By saying this we have not given him a good thought, but have only added fuel so that he may fight with us too. One often sees that when two people are fighting and a third approaches them with the best intentions, they will both turn on him and that will make three people fighting at the same time.
Every plane of mans being is dependent upon the other planes. For instance if the body has lost its rhythm, something goes wrong with the mind, if the mind has lost its rhythm, the body goes wrong. If the heart has lost its rhythm the mind is puzzled. If the rhythm of the soul is lost then all is wrong. To say that the virtue of a sinner is sin and the sin of the virtuous is virtue an extreme statement, but it would not be an exaggeration.
The rhythm of the soul is influenced by mind and by action. The soul has not got it own rhythm. As in a higher sense the soul is pure from all things which can be distinguished and divided. One may ask, how then can it happen that the rhythm of the soul is lost? But if we see our friend in great grief we also will feel grief. It is not because we have a grief ourselves. We feel it only because our friend is in grief and this reflects on us. The soul is not subjected to a right rhythm or a wrong rhythm, but a right rhythm or a wrong rhythm can be reflected in the soul. For instance when a person says of something that it is ugly, what is ugly is outside of him. Then why does he feel discomfort or ugliness? Because it reflects upon him. For the moment while he is looking at the ugly thing, that ugly thing is in his eyes and in his mind. Just as when we are standing in front of a mirror our image is not engraved upon the mirror but is only reflected there. It will remain there as long as we are standing before it. Thus the soul may experience misery or wretchedness a wrong rhythm or a right rhythm, but when these are removed the soul is again free from them. In order to maintain a perfect condition in life one must be the master of rhythm.
THE THREEFOLD, DUAL, and UNIQUE ASPECTS of NATURE
Deep thinkers in all ages have recognized the three-fold aspect of nature. Teachers have called these three aspects by different names according to their religious terminology and they gave them an interpretation that suited the time and the place. Tracing back this idea, we find that it already existed among the Hindus in very ancient times, they called it TRIMUTRI, And the personalized these three aspects by giving them characters such as Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu the Sustainer, Maheish or Shiva the Destroyer or Assimilator. This idea is not only applied to God. Everything in nature shows these three aspects. For instance there is fire, the is fuel which is its sustenance, and there the air that can come and blow out the flame.
In all things and beings, in their actions and in their effects, these three aspects can be seen in every moment of the day. Every object shows them, though perhaps one aspect is more significant than another is in a certain thing and also every individual. In every thing we do we can see these three aspects. Thinking is the creative action, remembering is the sustaining, and forgetting is the third action, assimilating. The assimilation of something is in a way its complete destruction. Although it is turned into something its name is different and it is not the same thing anymore.
Then there is the action of forgetting. Sometimes a person forgets something, but he has stored it in subconscious mind. He says, “I have forgotten it”, but when he tries to remember, one day it springs up in his memory. This shows that it was not assimilated though it was forgotten. This is a light form of assimilating. Real assimilation is forgetting a thing altogether. It is not as easy as one might think. We say very easily,
“Forget it”, but really to forget something is very difficult, especially something we want to forget.
One day a person came to see me and said, “I have only one question to ask, do we really meet those again whom we have loved and lost?” I said, “Certainly we meet those whom we have loved and those whom we have hated”, and this person was very surprised.
He was quite ready to see again those whom he had loved, but was not willing to see those whom he had hated. But it a fact we remember both those whom we like to remember and those whom we would like to forget.
Everyone is capable of these three actions although some may appear more inclined to one then the other. The skill of the bird is building its nest, the love of the hen that sustains its chicks, and the wrath of the lion in destroying lives, show us three aspects which are continually working in nature.
Others have seen these three aspects in a different light. They have seen them as the source of all things, as what He has created, and as what the object created by Him has become. In religious terms they have called the three-fold aspect Trinity. Personifying it by calling it the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. These three aspects exist not only in all things but in every being. In every person there is the part that signifies the source, the goal of all things. Every person represents what he has made, and every person represents also what he has become. One can see these three things in everyone. Each person either shows the source to be more pronounced in his nature and character, or he shows what he is made to be or he shows what he has become. These three aspects maybe called God, man and Divine Being.
And if we look at it from still another angle we shall see the three aspects of light at work in the action of seeing. The light that sees, the radiance of the object that shows itself, and the light of the sun which falls upon it, making it clear to our view. If we look at it from a mental point of view we can again distinguish three aspects, the knower, the knowledge, and the knowing faculty, it is these three which bring about the action of knowing. And when we look at it in the light of love we see it, as it has been said by the Sufis of all ages, as love, the lover, and the beloved.
The most interesting fact that emerges from studying these three aspects is that they exist in everything, every being, every condition, and that with out them nothing can exist. Only, if in studying these three aspects we continue to see them as three, then we have missed their secret. But if we learn to see them as one and the same, then we have profited by the observation of these three distinct aspects.
When we look at the dual aspect of nature we shall find this to be even more important.
The dual aspect is also to be seen in all things and in every being. For instance, the two sides, the right and the left, the head and the feet, the top and the bottom, two points in one line, the two eyes which enable us to see, the necessity of the pairs of opposites. The dual aspects is manifest to our view when we see the sun and the moon, when we see the male and the female aspects in nature, and when we see good and not good. When we experience joy and sorrow, when we realize that there is birth and death, we know what is to be about the dual aspect of nature. The earth and the water, above and below, everything in nature distinctly shows two opposite aspects.
Furthermore there are opposite qualities in every human being, call them male and female, call them positive and negative, call them fine and gross, no one can exist with out opposite qualities. Besides the more power one has in one quality, the greater capability on has for the opposite quality. In other words, the higher a person stands the deeper the space before him to fall into.
There is a hidden quality, and there is a quality, which is manifest. What is manifest we recognize. What is hidden we do not see. There is going forward and there is going backwards, there is success and there is failure, There is light and there is darkness, there is joy and there is sadness, there is birth and there is death. All things that we can know, feel and perceive have their opposites. It is the opposite quality, which brings about balance. The world would not exist if there were not water and earth. Everything and every being needs these two qualities in order to exist, to act, and to fulfill the purpose of life. Each quality is incomplete with out the other. No man has a complete personality if he does not have some little touch of the fineness that belongs to the female nature. Woman is only complete in her character when there is some little touch of the male nature.
Now coming to the one and unique character of nature, by a deep insight into nature we discover that the creation is the same as the Creator that the source is the same as the goal, and that the two only mean one. There are two ends to a line but the line is one, and this oneness is manifest in all things. Though man seldom gives any thought to this subject. This amazing manifestation, this world of variety, keeps us so puzzles, so confused, and so absorbed in it that we hardly give ourselves any time to see this wonderful phenomenon; how the one and only Being shows Himself even in the world of variety. There are no two faces alike, the are no two leaves alike, there are no two fruits completely alike, there never are two flowers that are identical. If a man has keen insight he will we find that even the objects that he makes differ in some respect. Each being has its own peculiarity and cannot be compared with another being, for each being is unique. If a man is good there is no other whose goodness is the same as his. If he is wicked, there is no other whose wickedness is exactly the same. He is unique, proving to those whose eyes are open that there is only one Being.
SPIRIT WITHIN and WITHOUT
The spirit of every thing and every being is to be found both within and without. Be it a metal, a stone, a fruit, or a flower, everything has its spirit within it, even if it be in a hidden form. This spirit continues to exist even after the object has lost its apparent life. Sandalwood keeps its perfume even when dry, the ashes of pearls still preserve that essence which is so powerful. In the stone, which is cold, a spark of fire is hidden. In fruit there is a seed, which contains its essence, in some fruit there is a space, a vacuum which is not devoid of spirit either.
Not many are able to find the spirit in the vacuum, yet in the vacuum a phenomenon can be observed, for instance in the vacuum of an apple is to be found the essence of the whole fruit. It was not, therefore, only imagination when ancient peoples believed in the spirits of trees and plants, in spirits of the mountains and hills. There is nothing existing, which has no spirit, although that side of the object is veiled and we cannot see it. We see only the outside, but there is a spirit behind it just the same, and by tracking it we shall find it one day.
The qualities of all things are to be found in their spirit rather than in the things themselves. Ancient physicians, knowing this, tried to extract the essence from certain things by grinding, by burning, or by washing them a great number of times. By doing this they were able to bring out the spirit of the object, and that spirit became a thousand times more powerful then the object itself. Those who are acquainted with alchemy know how to bring the living part hidden within every substance, every object and even to some extent their. When this essence is extracted, then all the benefit that can be derived from that object is derived.
Alchemist at one time used a process by which they produced metal out of herbs, and another process in which they extracted the essence out flowers in such a way that one drop it spread its perfume for miles around. That art seems to have been lost, yet what we can learn from it is that everything that exists there is a spirit, and that spirit has all the qualities, which the outside of that thing shows least.
Astronomers regard that the planets they know as accommodations, as worlds, and scientist have considered space to contain certain recognized substances, but if there is one source of all life, there can not be any empty space. There must be life, and there is life. Space is only filled with substance, but also full of spirit. In other words, life is one and life represents many, and thus there is not only one life in space, but there are many lives. Since our senses are so limited that we can see no further then a certain distance, and we can hear no better then our ears permit, our senses cannot perceive all things and beings, which nevertheless exist. Those who have seen or otherwise perceived such things and beings have described them to us in the forms of legends. They have them fairies and spirits and jinns and by many other names. Artists have also helped people to form an idea of such beings. But this does not mean that it is all imagination and that nothing exists save that which we can perceive through our organs of sense. Everything shows itself by its own light. Our eyes are capable of seeing certain forms and there are other forms, which our eyes cannot see, but this does not mean that there are no forms except those, which we can see with our eyes.
Ideas, such as that of the other world and different planes, are taught by philosophers in order to give people some notion of the inner world. Not in point of fact there is not one inch of space where no being exist, beings with a form, even if it is a form which our limited sight can not see. The reason that the light with which an object, a form, shows itself is dim in these other forms. It is more clear in one way and more dim in another way. It is more clear to our inner perception and more dim to our outer sight.
What we see before our eyes is not so clear as the things we see in our thoughts only, the sphere of thought is different, it belongs to a different dimension. Our thoughts are clearer to us than what we see with our eyes. We see our thoughts in detail, and every little detail is clear, whereas what we see with our eyes is mostly the outline. This is also the reason why one can more easily idealize someone at a distance; the eyes of the heart are more capable of seeing clearly than the physical eyes. Naturally when we are thinking and seeing at the same time, neither what we see or what we think is clear to us.
What is it that makes man limited and debars him from the vision of objects and beings in the unseen world? In the first place the unseen world is a name invented for our convenience. The seen world is the unseen world. And the unseen world is the seen world. The next world is the same world as this world, and this world is the same as the next one. Only, what is veiled from our eyes we say is the next step, and we call it the unseen world. But in so far as man is capable of seeing the seen world, to that extent he is also capable of seeing the unseen world, on condition that he first sees and observes his own unseen world. And why person does not observe the unseen world is that he is accustomed to observe only what is before him, he never turns with in to see what is with in him.
Those who sympathy is awakened, those who have fine feelings, those whose thoughts are deep, those whose imaginations rise high, will never deny the fact that thought reaches beyond all boundaries of land and water. That feelings are reflected from thousands of miles away. Two souls can communicate, wherever they may be, in one instant. If this is true then the next world is not very far away. The unseen world has not been drowned it is there, it is before us, and we live and move and make our life in it.
Then after death do we not depart from here? It is poetic thought to think that there is a next world, it is a beautiful fancy, yet are we not a world ourselves? Every next experience is a next world, besides every day is a new world. We need not wait for death to see the next world; every new experience brings a next world into our lives. In order to get an insight into the unseen world the first thing is to open our own sight to the unseen being, which is within us. It only means opening the third eye, as it is called in the occult terms. Why is it called the third eye? Because it is not two eyes it is one, it is sight itself. It is in order to look outward that we need two eyes, to look inwards we need only one eye, and that is sight.
In the unseen world we human beings are as fine as the unseen beings, in the outer world we are as dense as the visible beings. When we are conscious of the physical part of our being and when we identify ourselves with that part, naturally the other part of our being, which is unseen and similar to all unseen beings, is unknown to us. But that does not mean that we are not unseen beings, we are unseen beings just the same. The subtlety of human nature, the fine perception, the deep feeling, the high imagination, is not all unseen, is it not our own being? Our being reaches further then birds can fly; our being is finer then the moth and brighter then the flame. For anything to be visible to human eyes there is a condition, that its form must have a certain degree of radiance. If it is not radiant enough of its radiance is of a different character, then human eyes cannot see it. But this does not mean that what human eyes cannot see a human being cannot see, for the real eye is the being. That is why man calls himself “I”, saying, “I am.” It is not necessary to develop insight into to nature in order to experience the phenomena of a finer world. One must see with one’s eyes and perceive with ones insight in order to live a fuller life, life of greater perfection.
SPIRIT AND MATTER
We often use the words: spirit and matter, in every day speech. But their meaning is not understood by every one in the same way. There is the man who says, “Spirit is one thing and matter is another thing, matter is not spirit neither is spirit matter.” This is a religiously inclined person. There is another, a materialist who says,” There is no such thing as spirit, all that is there is matter.” And then a third person comes along who says, “Do not mention the word matter to me, there is no matter. It is only a illusion, only spirit exists.”
One is free to believe what one wishes to believe, but when it comes to reasoning and looking deeply into life one sees it in quite a different way. Just as ice and water are two things and yet in their real nature they are one, so it is with spirit and matter. Water turns to ice for a certain time, and when this ice is melted it will again turn into water. Thus matter is a passing state of spirit, although it does not melt immediately as ice melts into water, and therefore man doubts if matter, which takes a thousand forms, ever really turns into spirit. In reality matter comes from spirit, matter in its true nature is spirit. Matter is an action of spirit which has materialized and become intelligible to our senses of perception, and has thus become a reality to our senses, hiding the spirit under it. It has the existence of spirit from those who look at life from the outside. We read in the Qur’an that all comes from God and returns to Him. In philosophical terms one can simply say that all comes from spirit and will return to it. No substance can exist without spirit. Although there is a war between spirit and substance, Although they are opposed to each other, at the same time no substance can ever exist with out spirit. Though out this battle between substance and spirit the substance will resist spirit and outwardly drive it away. Resisting surrender or diminution by the power of spirit. But there will come a day when it will be diminished. In other words, there is no mountain which will not one day crumble.
What is death to the spirit? As spirit is nothing to matter, matter is nothing to the spirit. It does not miss it because it is self-sufficient. Spirit missed matter only in its limited and active condition. When the spirit is acting in process towards manifestation then it needs capacity. Through that capacity it experiences life in a limited way, but in its true nature it is self-sufficient. It stands in no need of any experience, it is itself all experience, all knowledge, nothing is wanting in it.
One may call matter positive and spirit negative, or spirit positive and matter negative. There is a reason for it in each case. If one calls matter positive it is true, because matter shows itself as the picture while spirit is the background. We are always inclined to call the picture part positive not the background. But if we call the spirit part positive that is true too because matter has come from spirit and spirit will consume it one day.
It is through vibration, through motion, that spirit turns into matter. Hindus call it NADA, and they always combine this word with BRAHMA, together this means God-vibration.
They never call it vibration alone they always call it divine vibration. By vibration spirit arrives at two experiences. The first is that it becomes audible to itself, and the next is that it becomes visible to itself. In the Bible we read the first there was the Word and the Word was God, and then came light, visible life. This means that the first experience of the spirit is that life is audible and the next experience is that life is visible.
Now coming to the idea of spirit, what is it, how do we define it? The answer is: if we define spirit it cannot be spirit, the spirit that can be defined cannot be spirit. The best definition of spirit is “that which is not matter”. The chemical world has applied the word spirit to the essence taken from anything. Symbolically this expresses the same meaning, though in this way spirit is brought into matter. When one takes a bottle of essence and says,” This is spirit”, it is true symbolically but in reality spirit means something that our senses cannot perceive. It is spirit in the sense that it is essence, but in the sense that it is perceived it cannot be spirit.
Then spiritualistic people have given this name to the souls, which have passed. Symbolically, it is true that the body, representing the material part of man, has disappeared. And that the personality has gone towards the spirit, and yet as long as the personality is perceptible and has its own particular qualities, as long as it still retains its individuality, it cannot be spirit.
If we really want to define spirit, the best definition is pure intelligence. Because, occupied as we are with this world of illusion, we retain in our minds impressions and knowledge of the material world, we are not always able to experience that part of our being which is pure intelligence. We generally use the word intelligence in quite a different sense. When we say that someone is intelligent we mean that he is clever. But pure intelligence has nothing to do with cleverness. Nor can one call our intelligence the knowing quality because it is above this. We know intelligence as a faculty, but in reality it is spirit itself. No doubt science is that what we call intelligence is an outcome of matter. That matter has evolved during thousands of years through different aspects and has culminated in man as a wonderful phenomenon in the form of intelligence. He traces the origins of intelligence to matter. But the mystic holds, as in the past all prophets, saints, sages have known, that it is spirit through a gradual action has become denser and has materialized itself into what we call matter or substance. Through this substance it gradually unfolds itself, for it cannot rest in it. It is caught in this denseness, gradually making its way out through a process taking thousands of years, until in man it develops itself as intelligence.
Many biologists have said that animals have no minds, but it is only a difference of words. Mind is merely a vehicle of intelligence. It is intelligence, which has manifested as matter, and it is the same intelligence, which gradually developed through different aspects into a clearer and purer intelligence. Therefore the lower creatures may not have that mind which a scientist perhaps sees in man, nevertheless we find a vehicle for intelligence in all, and not only in animals and birds, but even in substance we can find intelligence.
It is not only due to chemical action that a flower fades in the hand of one person and keeps fresh in the hands of another. It is not automatic when a plant grows under the care of a certain person but wilts if tended by someone else. And a still deeper study will reveal that the color and brilliance of precious stones change in every person’s hand. Pearls too change their light when they go from hand to hand. The more deeply we study matter the more proofs we shall find of intelligence working through the whole process of continual unfoldment.
What is the reason that flowers fade when touched by some people? It is the same reason as with us. The presence of one person annoys us. We cannot tolerate it. The presence of another person brings us closer. It is the same with flowers. But the phenomenon behind it all is love. Whatever is touched by a person, who lacks that element, becomes dead. Whether he touches a flower, or whether he touches an affair, or whether he touches a child whatever he touches is destroyed. For love in itself is an essence, the essence, it is the sign of spirit. All that a person touches with love will be given light and life. Lack of love causes all death and decay. Glasses will break and saucers will crack when a loveless person touches them. One may not yet have had this experience, but one day one will see that when an inharmonious person enters the house things begin to break, accidents happen, pet animals such as dogs and cats become restless.
But what is most interesting in the study of spirit and matter is the nature of vacuum and substance. Substance has a tendency to add substance to itself and to turn all that it attracts into the same substance. Vacuum has a tendency to make a greater vacuum. This shows there is a continual struggle between vacuum and substance. Where vacuum can get a hold of substance it will turn the substance into vacuum and where substance is stronger it will turn out vacuum and make substance. The idea behind this is not what we may think. We think of vacuum as being nothing, we recognize vacuum by contrasting
it with substance. In reality substance has arisen from vacuum, vacuum is the womb of essence. Substance has been composed in vacuum and has developed in it, it has formed itself, it has constructed itself, and it will again dissolve in the vacuum. There can be no form with out a vacuum, visible or invisible. Everywhere there is a vacuum, but we only see what our eyes can see, and we cannot recognize vacuum, that which our eyes cannot see. Even the pores of the body are a vacuum, although we do not always see them.
The difference between the nature of vacuum and the nature of substance is that the vacuum is knowing. Therefore the prophets have called it the Omniscient God, not in the sense of a person who is knowing but of the Whole Being, the All-knowing Being. Man is so limited; he is limited because his knowledge is limited. So he thinks, “I alone know. The vacuum, which is meaningless to me, which gives no sign of life, to me is nothing. “But if he goes further in investigating the nature of vacuum he will find that he himself is nothing, his body, eyes, head, bones, and skin. If there is anything in him which makes him a knowing being, it is the vacuum.
In the mineral kingdom the stone is dense, it does not know much. The reason is that it has little vacuum. The tree feels more than the stone because it has more vacuum, as the Indian scientist, Jagari Chandra Bose, has pointed out. He tried to prove to the scientific world that trees breathe. Animals and birds show greater signs of life and a more pronounced knowing quality because the vacuum in them is greater still. In man it is even more so. What makes one part of substance knowing and keeps without this faculty of knowing is the vacuum in one object and the denseness of another.
There is a third thing we should understand concerning this subject, which is of great importance. That which stands between vacuum and substance is capacity. When we look at the sky we feel that it is a vacuum, it seems to be nothing, but in reality it is not nothing, it is capacity. Vacuum is all knowing but it is capacity, which enables vacuum to know. And as the sky is a capacity for the vacuum to be all knowing, so every being and every thing is a capacity, greater or lesser, which supplies a body or a vehicle for pure intelligence to work through. There is nothing in this world, whether a stone, a tree, a mountain or a river, water or fire, earth, air, anything, which is not in itself a capacity. It cannot exist without being a capacity. Therefore all that exists, whether living or not living, is a capacity. We read in the scriptures that every atom moves by the command of God. In other words, behind everything that exists, be it large of small, in every motion it makes, even the slightest, there is the hand of spirit. It cannot act or move otherwise. Jelal-ud-Din Rumi describes this in his Masnavi, where he says that fire, water, air, and earth all seem to man to be dead things, but before God they are living beings ready to answer his call.
Capacity is all accommodating. All that we can know is known through some capacity–higher things through higher capacity and ordinary things through ordinary capacity. Even when we hear a voice it is through capacity. A house is a capacity, which helps us to hear it more clearly, the ears are a capacity in which it becomes audible, the mouth is a capacity in which the words are formed, the mind is a capacity in which we perceive it. The nature of every capacity is different but the phenomenon is that of capacity.
Among the Sufis there is a spiritual culture, a culture which recognizes four centers. Each center being a vacuum or a capacity for pure intelligence to function in. This shows that man has the greatest possibility of knowing all that is knowable, and he has even greater capacity then that, to realize all that is known. If only he knew how he could achieve it! But one may say, why must substance coming from vacuum learn to know, when vacuum is already the all-knowing state? The all-knowing state is not the same as limited knowing state. To look at all is one thing, and to look at a flower with a little instrument is another thing. The conductor of an orchestra may hear the whole orchestra at the same time, and yet he may want to hear one instrument alone to hear how far it is correct.
It is not enough for us to see and to hear, to feel and to touch all these experiences going on at the same time; we like to experience through every sense singly in order to get a definite experience. That is the nature of spirit.
SPIRIT AND MATTER (2)
Spirit and matter are the two names of life. The primal aspect of life developing into denseness remains spirit, and its development into dense form is called matter. It is like water turning into snow, it is liquid, but it develops into a harder substance, it loses it fineness.
There is a conflict between spirit and matter. The matter absorbs the spirit in order to exist, and the spirit assimilates matter, for it is its own property. The whole manifestation may thus be regarded as continual conflict between spirit and matter. The spirit developing into matter on the one hand and spirit assimilating matter on the other. The former being called activity and the latter silence, or construction and destruction, or life and death. When one realizes that source of both spirit and matter is life, then one will see that there is no such thing as death. This one can only recognize when knows the distinction between the life which may be called the source and the life which is momentary, the life which matter shows by absorbing spirit.
Vacuum or space consumes substance, and when substance absorbs life from space, the space opens up with the substance. For instance, trees and plants absorb more from space than do rocks, and animals absorb still more from space than do trees and plants.
Man absorbs the most spirit from space, and therefore man represents both matter and spirit in himself.
What is absorbed from space has the effect upon that which absorbs it of opening it up and of forming a vacuum. That is why the stone, which has very little vacuum in it, appears so lifeless. Plant life shows some sign of life because it absorbs more from space. In the atoms of a plant life there is an opening, for by absorbing all that it can absorb from space the plant opens with in itself space to accommodate also the spirit that it absorbs. We see further development of the same phenomenon in animal life, which, through breathing, absorbs more of the spirit, which is in space therefore, becomes more intelligent. This shows that although intelligence manifests through living beings, yet it is absorbed from space. We only know intelligence as something that belongs to man, to the mind or to heart, but whence is intelligence attracted? It is attracted from space. We recognize intelligence in its manifestation but we do not know it in its essence. In its essence it is pervading and that is why philosophically minded people have called God omniscient.
All that is constructed is subject to destruction. All that is composed must be decomposed. All that is formed must be destroyed. That which has birth has death. But all this belongs to matter, the spirit, which absorbed by this formation of matter or by its mechanism lives, for spirit cannot die. What we call life is an absorption of spirit from matter. As long as the matter is strong and energetic enough to absorb life or spirit from space, it continues to live and move and to be in good condition. When it has lost it grip on the spirit, when it cannot absorb the spirit as it ought to, then it cannot live, for the substance of matter is spirit.
The Bible says,” It is the spirit that qickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.” But, one will say, “does not dense matter depend on it maintenance dense food?” Yes, but at the same time the appetite is not satisfied by eating stones. Man eats vegetables or animal food because he not only gets a substance from it but also the spirit that it has absorbed. In other words, even in eating dense food one is absorbing spirit from space.
Some people will call spirit energy, or a scientist the name of some form or force, but it is never called a person or a being. Then what is it that makes us call God spirit, or why do we call that which is really spirit God? If it is the very same spirit that we breath from that makes man an intelligent being, capable of thinking and feeling, the same spirit that gives him the power of perception and conception and develops in him that feeling which one calls ego, “I”. If this is phenomenon that the spirit shows by being absorbed by the material body, how much more capable of perception and conception, of thought and feeling, must the spirit be in itself! Only because we are limited, by our physical frame, we are not able to experience fully its perfect life and its perfect personality.
Where there is a hole this whole has a tendency to become larger. Where there is a little substance that substance has a tendency to increase. This shows the tendency of spirit and matter, the continual conflict that exists between spirit and matter. On the part of matter there is always the tendency to absorb, on the part of spirit there is always the tendency to assimilate. Mortality, therefore, belongs to substance not to spirit. Immortality belongs to spirit.
What is it that makes man spiritual? Spirit-consciousness. If a person is not conscious of what he absorbs, he is not conscious of that which makes him more then the dense part of his being. It is not the dense substance that forms his body that makes him capable of thinking, that gives him the faculty of feeling, of experiencing, of knowing; it is spirit which this dense substance has absorbed. And if ones asks whether this spirit which belongs to man, which may be called an individual spirit, is to be found within or without, the answer is: that man himself is the individual spirit. The body is something, which the spirit has taken for its use. Therefore just as man is dependent on his vehicle, which one calls the body, for experiencing the outer life, to the same extent or even more is he independent of the outer body in order to exist forever.
The dependence of man and the independence of man depends upon that which he wishes to experience. If he wishes to experience the dense earth, he depends upon the dense body. If he wishes to experience the life of the spirit, he need not depend upon anything. The spirit is living; the spirit is life itself. It only depends upon matter for its experience and not for its life. The spirit itself is life, though life which different from the life we generally recognize as such. What we call living is the matter which has absorbed spirit. What we call life is that which is moving and acting through that which we call spirit. In reality life is that which matter has absorbed. Life passes away from matter and yet remains. Life cannot be destroyed. It is in the understanding of this that lies the secret of immortality.
SPIRIT AND MATTER
Spirit and matter are not two things. They are one, seen by us as two. The reason is that the former is not distinguishable while the latter is distinct. The former is not evident while the latter is. The spirit is mans own being, his real being, his spirit is his knowing faculty, his intelligence. The very intelligence that distinguishes all things is man’s real being.
How can this intelligence see itself? It is the task of the spirit to feel matter, and at the same time it is the work of the spirit to fell itself. Matter cannot feel the spirit; spirit has to feel it in order to be evident. What happens when spirit cannot feel itself is shown in the story of twenty peasants who went on a journey and after crossing a river they wanted to know if everyone was there. Each counted and said that there are nineteen because each forgot to count himself. It is the same with the spirit; the spirit distinguishes everything except itself just as the eyes cannot see themselves. The eyes see all things but no one has ever seen his eyes except as a reflection in a mirror.
Another most important fact is that no matter can exist without spirit. Spirit is its existence and spirit is its life. With any object, sweet or sour, fragrant, cold or hot, whatever be its quality it is the phenomenon of spirit working through it that object which makes it distinguishable in one way or another. If one where to ask whether there was a link between spirit and matter, the answer would be that there is none. There is no gap between the two because, as has been said, they are not two things they are one and the same. It is simply that the distinguishable aspect of the spirit we call matter, and its finer aspect which cannot be distinguished we call spirit.
People use the word spirit in different senses. Spiritualists have called spirit the soul that has departed from the earth. Religious people have called spirit the being of God. And both are right, although both explanations are limited. It is not only spirit that is the being of God. Matter is the being of God too. I once met a young man, who said to me, “I don’t believe in God, the hereafter, or the soul.” I told him that I did not wish to make him believe in these things, that this was not my intention at all. Then the young man asked what I believed, for he wanted to continue the conversation. I said, “It is very difficult to put one’s belief into words, but I would very much like you to tell me what you believe?” He said very easily, “I believe eternal matter.” I said, “My belief is not very far from yours, for the very same thing that you call eternal matter I call eternal spirit. It is a difference of words. We really believe the same thing.” Matter cannot be eternal, but if a young man wished to call that which is eternal matter, I had no objection. I was quite willing to call it matter too.
The difference between what we call an object and a living being is the difference in the degree of spirit they absorb. Darwin died with out finding the missing link. But there is no missing link. If there were any link that was missing it would have been found. There is a constant out pouring of spirit on matter, which is its own substance, and according the degree which spirit touches matter, the matter forms into an object or into a being. Thus the difference between the lower creation and the higher creation is that of the degree of the spirit which they are capable of absorbing. There is the same difference between a spiritual person and a material person.
The question arises, why if spirit and matter are one and the same, is there then a need for anything or anyone to absorb spirit? Matter is something that is ever changing, it is continually going through a process of change and we call this change destruction or death. We say of matter that it is decomposed or destroyed. In reality it has taken another form but this form is also changed by spirit and made into something else. Only, in order to distinguish it we give the first aspect of the object one name and the next aspect of the same thing another name. For instance in one condition a substance is called coal, and in another condition it is called diamond. It has gone through change. The value is different, the name is different, the appearance is different. The spirit has changed it in one condition to a certain degree and in another condition to a different degree.
When we study the lower creation, insects, birds, and beasts, and when we study their instincts, the intelligence that they show, the sympathy to which they respond, we can clearly notice that we are awakened to life according to the spirit they are capable of absorbing. We see among human being how one is standing in the midst of all that is good and beautiful, his eyes open but his heart is closed. He does not see anything although happiness is at hand; he does not know it. And there is another person awakened to all that is good and beautiful, ready to appreciate it and to grateful for everything good that comes his way. There is one man whose thought reaches the highest level that thought can reach, and there is another who thinks, nut his thoughts can rise no higher. What is the reason for these differences? They all come from the varying ability for these people to absorb spirit.
The soul is likened to the ray of the sun. And what is the ray of the sun, what causes it? It is the motion of the sun, the motion of the light. The light waves cause a space between one wave and another wave, just as in the sea a gap is formed between one wave and the next wave. There is no gap in reality, it is only a temporary condition of the rising of the water that makes a between two waves. These two waves are a temporary condition of the water of the sea. The water remains, but these waves formed for a moment rise and fall again. If we say that five waves are coming it is in our conception that they are five, but the phenomenon is only momentary. They are and they are not.
And it is so with souls. If we say that there are many souls, it is true, just as there are many waves or many rays of sun. If we say that there is only one spirit, it is truer still, just as there is only one sea and one sun. The waves are an action of the sea, the rays a manifestation of the sun; the souls are a phenomenon of the spirit. They are and they are not. They are because we see them, and they are not because there is only one being.
Those who separate soul from body are looking from the same point of view as the one who sees spirit and matter as two different things. The sight has made the eyes in order to see, but in making the eyes the sight has become limited. The sight had a much greater power before it had eyes. By limiting itself to the eyes the sight’s power has become less.
So it is with the soul. The soul manifesting as a body has diminished its power considerably, even to the extent that it is not capable of imagining for one moment the great power, life, and light it has in itself. Once the soul realizes itself by becoming independent of the body that surrounds it. The soul naturally begins to see in itself the being of the spirit.
What is consciousness? Consciousness is the knowing faculty, but it is the knowing faculty when it has some knowledge. It is only then that we can call it consciousness. One is conscious of something, consciousness must always be conscious of something. When consciousness is not conscious of anything it is pure intelligence. It is in this realization that the greatest secret of can be revealed.
One might say that the experience of pure intelligence is possible only for the one Being, for God, but no one can stand outside of that one Being. Therefore, each and everyone is the only being, the only Being includes all. Undoubtedly there is a certain process by which one can attain to this pure intelligence. Man is not conscious of it any more. He has lost the habit of experiencing what pure intelligence is. But all the meditations and concentrations, the whole process by which the mystic treads the spiritual path, brings us finally to the realization of that pure intelligence. And if one asks what benefit one derives from it, the answer is that since all that benefits us comes from one source, that source must be perfect, it must be all-beneficial. It is beyond our limited imagination, but it is the greatest thing one can attain in one’s life.