WHY IS one person called a seer when we all have eyes and the power of sight? What else is needed to be a seer than a doctor’s certificate that our sight is keen?
There are some people who take in everything the contrary way. While everybody stands upon his feet with his head up, in India you may see faqirs and Yogis who stand upon their head with their feet in the air; they wish to know what experience they may have by seeing in this way. Everybody is born with an inclination to certain things, an inclination to sleep, to eat and to drink, an inclination to comfort; in this too these faqirs take the contrary way. They sit or stand in one position for hours and hours; they fast, they do not drink for days and weeks; they torture themselves in these ways. It is not that there is any virtue in this, it is not that God is pleased with their torturing themselves, nor that their self, their ego is pleased with it. It is only that they wish to see what experience they get by this.
We all have the tendency to see faults in another; they try to see faults in themselves. They see virtue in sin, and sin in virtue. The world says, “That man is bad, he has done this, he has done that”. They do not call anyone bad, they see what good there is even in the one who is called bad. Therefore Christ, because he was a dervish, did not condemn the sinner. He said to those Jews who thought themselves righteous, “Your father is the devil”, that is: the nafs, the ego. In every virtue, in everything appearing in the garb of virtue, there is sin, or at least conceit: “I am virtuous, I am moral, I am religious”. This is the worst of virtue. Therefore Hafiz says, “Show me the way of the freethinkers. Suitable it appears to me, for the way of virtue and piety seems very far off and long”.
We all like to be honoured, to be esteemed, to have attention paid to us; these faqirs and Yogis wish to know what experience there is in disgrace. They call the living dead and the dead living. Praise, consideration from people is nothing to them; they think it is praise from the dead, creatures of four days. The plant, the fire, the wall, things that to us are dead, speak to them, reveal everything to them. In the jungle every tree, every stone speaks to them.
If there is a chair, a table, a piano in the room, we say there is something; if not, we say there is nothing. To them this space which we call nothing is full of everything; in it is everything. They call everything nothing, and in what to us is nothing they see everything.
What is learning without seeing? Christ did not have a degree from a university – he saw. Learned people are always disputing. One says, “There are five elements”; after ten years another comes and says, “No, there are twenty elements”; after twentyfive years another comes and says, “I have discovered the true thing: there are seventy-five”. Seers from the first day till now have never differed in the truth which they all hold.
The seer sees more than the astrologer can see; he sees much more; there is no comparison. But the difference is that the seer does not speak about it. If he did so, he would become just like the astrologer. For the seer every person’s soul is just like an open letter, but if he would begin to say this his sight would become dimmer every day, because it is a trust given to him by God. If he were to divulge it, it would become dim. With spiritual trust they are entrusted who can keep the trust, who can keep a secret.
Does the Consciousness see with the Physical Eyes?
WHETHER THE consciousness sees without eyes, or whether it needs the eyes to see, is a question that comes to the mind of all metaphysicians. If the consciousness can see alone, without the help of the eyes, why were these eyes created? There are people who can see things that are happening at a distance of many hundreds of miles and things that will happen many years later. They see what may be happening not only in their sleep but at all times.
Some time ago there was in Delhi a murshid whose name was Shah Alam. One day he was having his hair cut, and was looking in a little looking-glass while the barber was cutting his hair. In India the haircutters use such little lookingglasses. Suddenly God knows what he saw in it – the murshid dashed the mirror on the ground so that it broke into pieces. His mureeds who were with him were astonished; the barber also was amazed, wondering what had caused him to throw down the mirror with such violence.
At that time one of his mureeds was travelling by sea from Arabia to India, and his ship was in a great storm and in great danger. He called upon his murshid for help; the murshid saw his peril and saved him. Afterwards the mureed told the others what had happened.
In Hyderabad there was a dervish who had the habit of smoking very strong hashish. When he let the smoke out of his mouth he used to look into it and to answer any questions that were put to him. If someone asked him, “Where is my uncle at present?”, he would say, “Your uncle? Calcutta . . . such and such bazar . . . now I turn to the left . . . the second house. Your uncle is sitting in his room. His servant is at his side and his child is standing before him”. Whatever he was asked he answered. Did he see it without eyes? No, his consciousness had not its external self before it and therefore it was able to see through the eyes of another – through the eyes of the uncle or any other.
When I was in Russia there was an African, a very ordinary man, not a man of any education. His condition was such that at night when he was asleep, he knew who came into his room, what they said, what they did. This was because his soul was in and about the house and it saw through the eyes of whoever came there.
In the same way the universal Consciousness sees through the eyes of every being on earth. It is looking through the eyes of all the millions of beings upon earth at the same time. The thief may steal something, hide it, carry it off and think, “No one sees me”. He cannot escape the sight of that Consciousness which is within himself, looking through his eyes. It is not that God from a distance looks down and sees all creatures upon earth. No, he sees through the very eyes of the beings themselves.
The faculty of seeing exists in the Consciousness from the beginning. Therefore among the names of God are Basir the Seer and Sami, the Hearer. Basarat, the faculty of seeing, becomes more definite, exact and concrete the nearer it comes to manifestation.
One may ask, “Is God not limited by this, made helpless, dependent?” If it seems so to us it is because we deduct from God a part of His Being. We occupy a part of the ground and call it ours, our self. Really it is all God, the One Being. A Hindustani poet has said, What shall I call `I’? Whatever I see it is all Thou.
Body, mind, soul -all are Thou. Thou art, I am not.
ONE CAN see, one can look, and one can observe. These three words denote the same action, yet each word suggests something different. By observing we understand something about that which we see, by seeing we take full notice of it; by looking-whether we understand it or not, whether we take notice of it or not – we have at least cast our glance on something. So there are three conditions: looking at a thing on its surface, seeing a thing properly, and seeing a thing with complete observation, understanding it while looking at it.
Every person notices things in these three ways. That which interests him most he observes keenly; that which attracts his thought he sees, he takes notice of; that upon which his glance falls he looks at. There are therefore three different effects made upon man by all that he sees: a deeper effect of that which he has observed fully, a clear effect of that which he has seen, and a passing effect of that which he has glanced through. So naturally among all those who live under the sun there are thinkers, there are seers, and there are those who have two eyes.
There is another side to this question: a person who is walking has a certain experience of the way he has gone through; the one who goes the same way in an automobile has a different experience, and the one who flies through the air in an aeroplane has a still different experience. Perhaps the one who was walking was not able to reach his goal at the same speed as the one in the automobile and the one in the aeroplane, but the observation he made, the sights he saw, and the experience he had are not to be compared with those of the other two.
In this way our minds work: there is one man whose mind works at the speed of the aeroplane, and there is another man whose mind works at the speed of an automobile. The one whose mind works at the speed of a man walking will perhaps not think as quickly as the other persons, but what he thinks he will think thoroughly, what he sees he will see thoroughly. It is he who will have insight into things, it is he who will understand the hidden law behind things, because the activity of his mind is normal.
Of course quick thinking does not always depend upon the quick activity of the mind: sometimes it is a quality of the mind. An intelligent person also thinks quickly, but that is another thing. As there is a difference between two stones, a pebble and a diamond-both stones, the one precious, the other dull – so these are two different qualities of the mind: one person thinking quickly and intelligently, the other thinking quickly and being always mistaken. The latter is mistaken because he thinks quickly, the former has that quality of mind which, even in quick thinking, makes him think rightly.
The rhythm of thinking has a great deal to do with one’s life. When the three, who have travelled the same way on foot, by automobile and by aeroplane, meet together and speak of their experiences, there will be great differences. And so it is that people who have gone through the same life, who have lived under the same sun, who have been born on the same earth, are yet so different in their mentality. The reason is that their minds have travelled at different speeds. Their experiences are quite different though they have gone the same way.
A seer is the one who has not looked, but who has seen. And how has he seen? By controlling the impulse of walking quickly, by resisting the temptation of going to the right or to the left, by going steadily towards the object that he has to reach. All these things make one a seer.
There are wrong interpretations of the word seer. Sometimes people say, “This person is a clairvoyant or a spiritualist, he sees fairies, ghosts or spirits”. But that is a different kind of person; he is not a seer. The seer need not see the world unseen. There is much to be seen here in the visible world; for there is so much hidden from the eyes of every man which he could see in this objective world that, if all his life he was contemplating upon seeing in this objective world, he would find sufficient things to see and to think about. It is a childish curiosity on the part of some persons when they want to see something that no one has seen. It is out of vanity that they tell they see something which others do not see; it is to satisfy their curiosity that they see something which is not to be seen in this world of objects. The world seen and the world unseen, both are one and the same, and they are here. What we cannot see is the world unseen, and what we can see is the world seen. It is not that what we cannot see hides itself from our eyes, it is because we close our eyes to it.
Then there is long sight, short sight and medium sight. There are some who can see far beyond, far back, or long before things happen. These also are forms of sight. Another person only sees what is immediately before him, what is next to him, and sees nothing of what is behind him. His influence is limited, because everything that stands next to him influences him; he cannot see far behind, nor can he see far before him. There is another person who reasons about what he sees; this is medium sight. He reasons about it as far as his reason allows. He cannot see beyond his reasoning; he goes so far and no further. Naturally when these three persons meet and speak together, each has his own language. It is not surprising if the one does not understand the point of view of the other, because each one has his own sight, and according to that sight he looks at things. No one can give his own sight to another person in order to make him see differently.
If in all ages spiritual people have taught faith, it was not because they wished that no one should think for himself and should accept everything in faith which was taught to him. If they had had that intention they would not have been spiritual people. Nevertheless, however clever a person may be, however devoted and enthusiastic, if he is without faith the spiritual persons cannot impart their knowledge to him, for there is no such thing as spiritual knowledge in the sense of learning. If there is anything spiritual that can be imparted to the pupil it is the point of view, it is the outlook on life. If a person already has that outlook on life he does not need spiritual guidance, but if he has not then words of explanation will not explain it to him, for it is a point of view, it cannot be explained in words.
However much a person might explain the sight he saw when he was on the top of a mountain to a man who never climbed the mountain, that man will hear it and perhaps refuse to believe all that the other says; or if he has trust in this person who explains to him what he saw from the top of the mountain, then perhaps he will begin to listen to his guidance. He will not see the sight, but he will listen and he will benefit by the experience of the one who has seen it. But the one who goes on the top of the mountain will see it for himself, he will have the same experience.
There is still another side to this question, and that is from which height one looks at life. When a person looks at life standing on the ground his sight is quite different from that of a person who is climbing the mountain, and it is again a different outlook when a person has climbed on to the top of the mountain. What are these degrees? These are degrees of consciousness. When a person looks at life as “I and all else”, that is one point of view. When a person sees all else and forgets “I “, that is another point of view. And when a person sees all and identifies it with “I “, that is another point of view again. The difference these points of view make in a person’s outlook is so vast that words can never explain it. One gets an idea of what is called Nirwana, or cosmic consciousness, by reaching the top of the mountain, and an idea of communicating with God a person gets when he has climbed the mountain, and the idea of “I and you and he and she and it” is clearer when a person is standing on the ground.
Spiritual progress is expansion of the soul. It is not always desirable to live on the top of the mountain, because the ground also is made for man. What is desirable is to have one’s feet on the ground and the head as high as the top of the mountain. A person who can observe from all sides, from all angles, will find a different experience seeing from every angle; looking at every side will give him a new knowledge, a knowledge different from what he had known before.
Then there is the question of seeing and not seeing. This is understood by the mystics. It is being able to see at will and being able to overlook. It is not easy for a person to overlook, it is also something one must learn. There is much that one can see, that one must see, and there is much that one may not see, that it is better one does not see. If one cannot see, that is a disadvantage, but there is no disadvantage in not seeing something that one may not see; because there are so many things that could be seen, one may just as well avoid seeing them.
That person lacks mastery who is held by that which he sees. He cannot help seeing it, although he does not want to see it. But the one who has his sight in his hand sees what he wants to see, and what he does not want to see he does not see. That is mastery. As it is true of the eyes that what is before them they see and what is behind them they do not see, so it is true of the mind: what is before it it sees and what is behind it it does not see. And so a person who sees may see one side, while always the other side is hidden. Naturally therefore, if this objective world is before his eyes, the other world is hidden from his sight, because he sees what is before him; he does not see what is behind him. And as it is true that what is behind him a person can only see by turning his head back, so it is also true that what the mind does not see can be seen by the mind when it is turned the other side. What is learned in esotericism, in mysticism, is the turning of the mind from the outer vision to the inner vision.
You might ask: what profit does one derive from it? If it is profitable to rest at night after a whole day’s work, so it is profitable to turn one’s mind from this world of variety in order to rest it and to give it another experience, which belongs to it, which is its own, which it needs. It is this experience which is attained by the meditative process. A person who is able to think and not able to forget, a person who is able to speak but not able to keep silent, a person who is able to move and not able to keep still, a person who is able to cry and not able to laugh -that person does not know mastery. It is like having one hand, it is like standing on one foot. To have complete experience of life one must be able to act and to take repose, one must be able to think, and one must be able to keep silent.
There are many precious things in nature and in art, things that are beyond value, yet there is nothing in this world that is more precious than sight, and that which is most precious is insight: to be able to see, to be able to understand, to be able to learn and to be able to know. That is the greatest gift that God can give, and all other things in life are small compared to it. In order to enrich one’s knowledge, in order to raise one’s soul to higher spheres, in order to allow one’s consciousness to expand to perfection-if there is anything that one can do, it is to help oneself in every way to open the sight, which is the sign of God in man. It is the opening of the sight which is called the soul’s unfoldment.
The Different Stages of Spiritual Development
IN SANSKRIT three distinct words are used: Atma which means the soul or a soul, an individual, a person; Mahatma, a high soul, an illuminated being, a spiritual personality; paramatma, the divine man, the self-realized person, the Godconscious soul. As you have read in the Gayan (Gayan, or “Notes from the Unstruck Music” – a book with poetry, aphorisms and prayers.), “If you only explore him, there is a lot in man”5, so man- taken as every man – has in the spiritual spheres a very wide scope of development, a scope of development that an ordinary mind cannot imagine. The term “divine man” has always been connected with man, and very few realize that it means Godman. The reason is that certain religiously inclined people have separated so much from God that they have filled the gap between man and God with what they call religion, a faith that stands for ever as a dividing wall between God and man. To man all sins are attributed, and to God all purity. It is a good idea -but far from truth.
Now as to the first word that I have used, Atma, which means man: mankind can be divided into three principal categories. In one category man is the animal man; in another he can be the devil man, and in the third he can be the human man. A Hindustani poet has used two different words to distinguish this idea.. He says, “There are many difficulties in life, for it is even difficult for man to be a person”.
The animal man is the one who concerns himself with food and drink, and whose actions are in no way different from those of an animal, who is content with the satisfaction of his natural appetites.
The man who represents devilish qualities is the one in whom the ego, the self, has become so strong and so powerful – and therefore so blind – that it has almost wiped away from him any sense of gentleness, of kindness, of justice. He is the one who takes pleasure in causing harm or hurt to another person, the one who returns evil for good done to him, the one whose pleasure it is to do the wrong thing. The number of those belonging to this category is large.
Then there is the human man, in whom sentiment is developed. Perhaps according to the physician’s idea he may not be the normal person, but from the point of view of the mystic a person who has balance between thought and sentiment, who is awakened to the feeling of another, who is conscientious about everything he does and the effect it produces upon others – that person is beginning to be a human person. In other words, even for man to be a man is not an easy thing. Sometimes it takes a lifetime.
Then we come to the Mahatma, an illuminated soul. This soul looks at life from a different point of view, his outlook becomes different. He thinks about others more than about himself. His life is devoted to actions of beneficence. He expects no appreciation or reward for all that he can do for others. He does not look for praise and he is not afraid of blame. On one side connected with God, on the other side connected with the world he lives his life as harmoniously as possible.
There are three categories of Mahatmas. One Mahatmais busy struggling with himself and struggling with conditions before him and around him. One may ask, “Why this struggle?” The answer is that there is always a conflict between the person who wishes to go upwards and the wind that blows him downwards. The wind that blows a person downwards is continually felt. It is felt at every moment by the person who takes a step on the path of progress. It is a conflict with the self, it is a conflict with others, it is a conflict with conditions – conflicts that come from all around, till every bit of that Mahatma is tested and tried, till every bit of his patience is exhausted and his ego is ground. A hard rock is turned into a soft paste-then appears the personality of a Mahatma. As a soldier in the war has so many wounds, and still more impressions which remain in his heart as wounds, such is the condition of this warrior who goes on the spiritual path. Everything stands against him: his friends, who may not know it, his foes, conditions, the atmosphere, the self. And therefore the wounds that he has to experience through this struggle, and the impressions that he receives through it, make him a spiritual personality, a personality which becomes an influence, a power, a personality which is difficult to resist, which is overwhelming.
The next category of Mahatma is the one who learns his lesson by passivity, resignation, sacrifice, love, devotion and sympathy.
There is a love that is like the light of the candle: blow, and it is gone. It can only remain as long as it is not blown, it cannot withstand blowing. There is a love that is like the sun that rises and reaches the zenith, and then sets and disappears. The duration of this love is longer. And there is a love that is like divine Intelligence, that was and is and will be. The closing and the opening of the eyes will not take away intelligence; the rising and the setting of the sun will not affect intelligence; the lighting and the putting out of the candle does not affect intelligence.
When that something which through the winds and storms endures and through the rise and fall stands firm – when that love is created – then a person’s language becomes different; the world cannot understand it. Once love has reached the Sovereign of love, it is like the water of the sea that has risen as vapour, has formed clouds over the earth, and then pours down as rainfall. The continual outpouring of such a heart is unimaginable; not only human beings, but even birds and beasts must feel its influence, its effect. It is a love that cannot be put into words, a love that radiates, proving the warmth it has by its atmosphere. This resigned soul of theMahatma may appear weak to someone who does not understand, for he takes praise and blame in the same way and he takes all that is given to him, favour or disfavour, pleasure or pain-all that comes – with resignation.
For the third category of these high souls there is struggle on the one hand and resignation on the other, and this is a most difficult way of progress: to take one step forwards, and another step backwards, and so to go on. There is no mobility in the progress, because one thing is contrary to the other. On one side power is working, on the other side love; on one side kingliness, on the other side slavery. As the great Ghaznavi said in a Persian poem, “I, as an emperor, have thousands of slaves ready at my call. But since love has kindled my heart, I have become the slave of slaves”. On the one hand activity, on the other hand passivity.
The first example of the Mahatma may be called the master, the next the saint, and the third the prophet.
With the Paramatma we come to the third stage of the awakening of the consciousness, and the difference that it makes is this: an ordinary person, Atma, gives a greater importance to the world and a lesser importance to God; the illuminated person, Mahatma, gives a greater importance to God and a lesser importance to the world; but the third person, the Paramatma, gives and does not give importance to God or to the world. He is what he is. If you say,”It is all true, he says, “Yes, it is all true”. If you say, “All is false and true”, he says, “Yes, it is all false and true”. If you say, “Is it not true?”, he says, “Yes, it is not true”. If you say, “All is false and not true”, he says, “Yes, all is false and not true”. His language becomes gibberish, you can only be puzzled by it, for communication in language is better with someone who speaks your language. As soon as the other person’s word has a different sense, his language is different; it is a language foreign to what you speak in your everyday life. The Paramatma’s “yes” may be “no”, his “no”maybe “yes”: a word means nothing to him, it is the sense. And it is not that he has got the sense, he is the sense: he becomes that which the other man pursues.
The Buddhistic term Nirvana means the stage where a person arrives at God-consciousness or all-consciousness. It is at this stage that a soul arrives. And why should not man have that privilege? If man has not that privilege, how can God have it? It is through man that God realizes His perfection. As man God becomes conscious of His Godship, and it is in this gradual progress – to begin as a soul and to arrive at that realization which makes that soul a divine soul -that lies the purpose of life. The whole creation is purposed to bring about that realization. It is that realization which is recognized by the name Rasul (= “the fulfilment of God’s purpose”, (See Vadan, chapter Gayatri)).
You may ask, “if one soul has arrived at this realization, what is it to us?” But it is not the one: it is one and all at the same time.
The Prophetic Tendency-The Prophetic Mission
I WILL give an explanation of two questions which I have very often been asked: What was the object of the prophetic mission? Why is it necessary for man to be taught by another, by his fellowman? Why cannot each one find within himself the way to the light, to illumination?
The prophetic tendency exists in every part of the manifestation. Among the jinn and the heavenly beings there is the prophetic tendency and also in every part of nature: in the mineral and vegetable kingdoms, among the animals as well as among men.
There would be no diamond mines in the earth if there were not one spark of a diamond which causes every other atom of the earth with which it comes in contact to become a diamond. It is the same with the ruby. The diamond wants to make everything else become a diamond; the ruby wants to make every other atom into a ruby.
Among the plants in the jungle-not where man has planted and sown, but in the jungle which has not been touched-you will see that if there is one mango tree, it will make a thousand mangoes grow; if there is one fragrant flower, a thousand fragrant flowers will be near it; if there is one sweet fruit, there will be hundreds of sweet fruits.
Among the animals there are many instances of this tendency of which I will tell you some cases that I have seen. Sometimes in India the monkeys come to a village from the forest and break down all the roofs of the houses. There is always one among them who is the leader. When he jumps, all the other monkeys jump after him; when he wants to go back to the forest, they all want to go back to the forest.
In India there are the Jams; their religion is harmlessness: to be harmless to every creature. When the Jains cook their food, they prepare some for themselves, some always for the priest and, if they can afford it, also a little for the animals. In every street of a town we have dogs, ten, twelve, twentyfive dogs, according to the length of the street. The dogs are fed in this way; everyone is their master, and everyone feeds them. Among the dogs there is always one who is the leader. When a dog from another street appears, the dogs all collect behind their leader and when he barks they all bark; when he attacks they all attack, and so they drive the other dog away.
In the Northern provinces near Nainital and in Nepal, at the foot of the Himalayas, there is a jungle in which there are elephants. The people have many ways of catching them, and one way is to dig a small pit and cover it over with branches. Then they hang their swing-like nets up in a tree, and they stay for some days and watch for the elephants. They are happy in the trees, because the climate permits it. Then if a herd of elephants happens to go that way and an elephant puts his foot into the pit, he goes down, he cannot help himself. Then he cries out; the other elephants look on from a distance, but are afraid to come near, and the men have a kind of fireworks with which they frighten them away if they do.
Now in a troop of elephants there is always one who walks in front. He holds a stout branch in his trunk and hits the ground with it before every step he takes to see whether there is a pit. He knows a thousand other dangers and he knows this danger too. Then if the ground is safe he goes forward and all the others follow him. They have such confidence in him that wherever he goes they go too. This shows that the tendency to leadership exists among the elephants, the tendency to self-sacrifice. The elephant who is the leader goes first, thinking, “If there is a pit I may fall in, and the other elephants will be safe”. He never goes anywhere where it is not safe, and if some elephant is caught, it is some small elephant which has no sense and does not follow the leader.
In Nepal the Maharaja had an elephant who was a leader of elephants. He was in the Maharaja’s house and the Maharaja gave orders that no one should ride him but he himself, because he honoured the elephant, recognizing his qualities. I have seen this. Whenever Maharaja Bir Shamsher went into the forest elephant hunting this elephant was taken too. The Maharaja had named him Bijili, lightning. He was a very small elephant, but when they failed to make a catch he was sent out and, when another elephant saw him, he at once followed him. So Bijili always came back with another elephant-such was his magnetism. He did not like to catch elephants, because he had the quality of mercy. He would never go unless he was forced by the mahouts, and when he saw the other elephants he turned his head away.
Even among the animals there is this prophetic tendency. Sometimes we see this prophetic tendency in parents. Whatever way they themselves may have followed, they wish to train their child the best way for the higher way. Sometimes it is found in a friend. Whatever undesirable way he may have followed himself, he wishes to save his friend from it. It is only the chosen ones, the blessed souls, who have this tendency. It is not in every child’s parents that this tendency is found, nor in every friend. To have such parents, such a friend, is the greatest blessing.
To come now to the question what was the object of the prophetic mission I will say that the evolution of men was very much nearer to the animals in ancient times than it is now. They thought only of eating and drinking and of taking the best things from another, caring nothing about the result of their actions, unless they were awakened from this animal existence.
In India, in the villages and small towns there are watchmen who go through every street, calling, “Awake, awake, lest thieves come!” They call at twelve o’clock, at one o’clock, at two o’clock, at three o’clock, all night. The prophets were sent to awaken. When a person cannot wake up in the morning of his own accord, then the alarm-clock awakes him. The prophets were this alarm.
Sometimes power was needed to arouse people; then the prophet was a king, like Solomon. Sometimes beauty appealed most; then Joseph came whose appearance, whose face was so beautiful that all hearts were melted by his magnetism. It has always been the intention of the divine Power to send that prophet whom the time needed. When a venerable life was revered there was Jacob, whose life was so venerable that all bowed before him. When music was most admired David came, who was gifted with a beautiful voice, who played the harp and gave his message in song. Thus every prophet came in the manner that the age could understand.
Man is the aim of the creation and the highest being, because it is man alone who knows the purpose for which he was manifested, the reason why he is here. Cats and dogs do not know this, because their intelligence is not developed enough for this, and also because their self is before their eyes. The prophets had renounced their self: that is why they were prophets. When the self is gone, then all the other selves come. When the self is before the eyes, then the soul is blinded.
Every other being in the manifestation wants to become man. The jinn want to become man, the rocks want to become man, the plants want to become man, the animals want to become man. If you go to a riverbed and take up the pebbles, how many pebbles do you not find that show the human face. Sometimes the nose is absent, sometimes the lips are absent, but a partial face you will often find; sometimes they have cracks and lines showing it. What a great thing this shows us: everything is striving to become the human face, to become man.
But it is not man as he is that the divine power wishes to produce. The man we want is not the man eating, drinking and sleeping like the animals. If man wishes to know what he should be, he should compare himself with the animals: if he eats, they also eat; if he drinks, they also drink; if he sleeps, they also sleep. They have their passions and hatred and anger just as he has. If he has only that, then he is not man. It is only in man that kindness, sympathy, discipline, selfsacrifice, meekness, humility, and such qualities are found. And if we see any of them in animals, in dogs, cats, horses and cattle – such as faithfulness in the dog, obedience and courage in the horse – it is only the reflection of man, their association with man.
Then there is responsibility. Man alone has the sense of responsibility. Animals do not have it. About this a Hadith says, “We sent Our burden upon the mountains, and the mountains refused. We sent Our burden upon the plants, and the plants refused. We sent Our burden upon the animals, and the animals ran away at the sight of it. We sent Our burden upon man, and he accepted it”. This means that only man has taken the responsibility for his actions.
Then a Sura says, “Verily, man is cruel and foolish”. Foolish, because he has taken upon himself that which is God’s. There are many who run away from marriage, because they think that a wife and children are a responsibility. They do not think that wife and children are God’s and that He takes care of what is His. Cruel, because he uses his will and strength – which are God’s to harm others. Our will, our strength are God’s, and yet we say “my” and “mine”; we claim them for ourselves.
The watchman calls from night till morning. In the day the alarmclock is not needed because it is day. The prophets were sent from night till morning. They came with the same message under different names. The same divine wisdom spoke in each of them, but if a Hebrew had been asked, “Do you recognize Krishna and Rama?”, he would have said, “I have never heard of Krishna and Rama. I recognize Moses because that is written in my book” If a Hindu was asked, “Do you recognize Moses or Christ?”, he would say, “No, I recognize Rama and Krishna and Vishnu and the Vedanta. You may keep Christ and Moses, I will keep Rama, Krishna and Vishnu”. There are some who prefer the Kabbala to the Bible, they recognize the Kabbala. If you ask a Roman Catholic he will say, “if there is any church it is mine”. They have all recognized the name, the personality – they have not recognized the truth. They want to keep Krishna in the temple, Christ in the church, and Moses shut up in the synagogue. That is why so many now are seeking for the truth.
In each age the message was revealed more and more – in accordance with the world’s capacity to hear it-until the last and plainest revelation, the message of Muhammad, the seal of prophecy. After this no more prophets were needed. The world was awakened to the understanding of the true reality. Now is not the time to wait for the coming of another prophet; now is the time to awaken to the truth within ourselves, and if there is a friend who has gone this way before, now is the time to ask his advice.
The Sufi’s work is not to interfere with anyone’s religion, nor to force a belief upon anyone. He does not say, “Believe this”. The murshid is a friend and a guide. He advises, he does not force anything upon you.
You may be a Christian – I was not born in a Christian family, but no Christian is more touched than I am by the words of Christ that I read. If they are rightly understood, they alone are enough to make you a saint. They say that in the end he was crucified upon the cross, but I say that from his birth onward every moment of his life was a crucifixion. For the souls of the prophets the world is too rough, their hearts are too tender for it.
No Brahmin has studied the Vedanta with more interest than I have. If you know Brahma, if you know God, you are a Brahmin. Whether the Brahmin recognizes you or not is another matter.
The Sufi says, “You wish to know about illumination, about revelation? You wish to know about inspiration? This is the way for you to follow: believe as much as your intelligence allows you to believe, as much as you can reach. Do not believe what your intelligence does not allow you to believe”. He recognizes one divine wisdom in all the prophetic messages. He sees the same infinite Being speaking through all in different forms and names through all ages. It is just as if one had the photograph of one’s sweetheart at different ages: at twelve, at twenty, at thirty, at forty. The photographs are different, but it is the same sweetheart.
5. GAYAN, Alapa 1:
When a glimpse of Our image is caught in man, when heaven and earth are sought in man,then what is there in the world that is not in man? If one only explores him there is a lot in man.
This is a most interesting version in English of the classical, originally Arabic verseform muwashsha which has three lines in high literary rhetoric style and the final punch-line either in very popular speech, or even in another language. Thus several Arabic muwashshahat with a Spanish punch-line have been preserved of both Andalusian-Moorish and Sephardic provenance.