PHILOSOPHY, PSYCHOLOGY, MYSTICISM by Hazrat Inayat Khan
PART III: Mysticism
MYSTICISM IN LIFE
Mysticism may be considered as the essence of all knowledge. It may be likened to the perfume of a flower, for it has a fragrance of its own. We do not see the perfume, but we see the flower, and so we will not hear many words from the mystic to explain mysticism, but we can perceive that mysticism in his atmosphere. Mysticism may also be likened to honey. Honey is purifying and so is mysticism. It purifies man of his infirmities, and it is the sweetest of all the different aspects of knowledge that exist.
To a mystic the outward forms such as rituals and ceremonies are not of the first importance; yet a mystic will take part in them, whereas the half-wise man who says, “I have advanced too far. I cannot tolerate the outer forms any more,” will rebel against them. The mystic can tolerate anything, for he interprets life according to his own stage of development. He can enjoy the meaning of ritual, which is something that even the people who are officiating do not always know. He may interpret a ceremony according to his own wisdom, and give an interpretation which those who perform that ceremony or those who watch it would never even have dreamed of. He sees all that he wishes to see and he knows all that he wishes to know, in the outer form as well as in the inner form.
It is a fact that mysticism cannot be defined in words in the form of doctrines, theories, or philosophical statements, for mysticism is an inner experience. In order to know an inner experience one must arrive at that experience. If we say to a person who has never had a headache in his life, “I have a headache,” he will never understand it. He will not know what it is. Therefore, the word mysticism means nothing. It is through the inner experience that one realizes its meaning in all its fullness. Naturally, therefore, we can find many books on psychology or philosophy, but seldom anything on mysticism. And the few there are on mysticism are generally about something quite different from what mysticism really is. The reason is that it cannot be put into a book. It cannot be expressed in words. But the very reason why it is so vague is why it is so valuable, for if there is any knowledge that is worth while, if there is any science which is precious, it is the knowledge and science which one can get out of one’s mystical experiences.
The difficulty is that there are half-mystics and quarter-mystics, and yet all of them are regarded as mystics, and this causes confusion. When a person says, “I am a Christian mystic, or a Jewish or a Muslim mystic,” he has not yet arrived at mysticism. Mysticism cannot be divided into different sects, and the one who says, “My mysticism is different from your mysticism,” has not yet arrived there, for true mystics cannot differ. Because inner experiences cannot be changed their experience is one and the same. All changes belong to the outer experiences of life. The further one progresses on the spiritual path, the more experiences one has which are similar to those of others in that advanced stage. All ideas such as that of the inner body or the hereafter are actual experiences of mystics. They are not speculations. The power of the mystic belongs to his own experience. The speculator is never satisfied with his knowledge, he is always doubting himself and wondering whether he is right or wrong.
There are seekers after mystical truth who have perhaps devoted twenty years or more to discovering some key to mysticism, and they have come back through the same door by which they entered in, saying, “I have found nothing. I have closed my eyes for years, but all in vain. Tell me what I am to see, what am I to find there?” The reason is that not only did such a person go on his search with his eyes closed, but he also closed his soul. Instead of receiving a revelation he had a double loss. He could have done much better with open eyes. Although he did not want to fool himself, which is always worth while, yet he did not want his imagination to make an effort, so his mind and his heart were closed even before he shut his eyes, and consequently nothing was open.
Imagination should not be discarded. Imagination becomes a ladder on the path of the mystic. Besides, if it were not for imagination there would have been no art, there would have been no literature, there would have been no music. These are all an outcome of imagination. When imagination can produce beauty outwardly in the form of poetry, music, art, or literature, it can produce beauty of much higher and greater value when it is directed inward. Someone may say, “If there is a God He should appear before me so that I may believe. I do not wish to take the trouble to imagine that there is one,” yet if he lived on earth for thousands of years, he would remain where he is. First his imagination must help him to form an idea of the deity; then he will have made an abode for the deity to abide in. As Voltaire has said, “If God did not exist one would have to invent Him.”
Naturally the mystic begins his work with the ladder of imagination, and actual experience follows. What experience does a mystic have? Does he see colors, does he communicate with spirits, does he wander in the higher worlds, does he read thoughts, does he recognize objects by psychometry, does he perform wonders? To a mystic all these things are elementary, and those who do them are half-mystics, quarter-mystics. To a mystic who is a thorough mystic it is all child’s play. These things are not beyond his power. The power of the mystic can be so great and his insight can be so keen that an ordinary man cannot imagine it, yet for this very reason a mystic, who looks no different from an ordinary man, cannot profess to see or feel or know or understand any better. Naturally, therefore, the real mystic who has arrived at a certain point of understanding makes the greatest effort to keep his power and insight hidden from the eyes of all. It is the false mystic who comes forward and claims perfection and prophetic powers, and who suggests that he can work wonders.
Mysticism changes man’s outlook on life. The higher a mystic reaches, the wider becomes his outlook. It is therefore very difficult for a mystic to adjust himself to the limited life of the world. He must continually speak and act differently from what he feels and knows. It is just like an actor on the stage: when he has to be a king then he acts as a king and speaks as a king, and when he takes the part of a servant he acts that part, but all the time he knows and feels that he is neither a king nor a servant; that he is an actor. And thus the feeling of a mystic is one thing, and his outer affirmation is another.
Is this a right thing to do? Is it not a kind of hypocrisy? An outspoken person would say, “I say what I mean,” just as he might say, “I tell the truth whether you like it or not, I don’t mind.” But it cannot be helped. In order to get away from this hypocrisy some mystics have closed their lips and have not spoken throughout their whole life. They have retired into the forest in order to get away from it. But when they live in the midst of the world they can only adopt this method: feel and know the truth, while speaking and acting as everybody else does. And if someone says that is not right, the answer is that in the case of other people most things are wrong: knowing, acting, as well as speaking. Whereas in the case of the mystic only one thing is wrong. The mystic at least feels and knows rightly; that much is to his advantage.
Imparting mysticism to a seeking soul is an automatic action on the part of the pupil and also on the part of the mystic, for what the mystic gives to the pupil is not his own, it is God’s, and the pupil is a kind of vessel that receives this blessing. If the vessel is not ready or if it is filled with something else, with every desire on the part of the mystic to fill it he cannot. Therefore, the whole training of mysticism is first to clean this vessel, to make it ready for the mystic to pour into it the divine knowledge which comes from within.
One might wonder whether life in the West has become too confused for real mystics to develop there. As there are tall people and short people in all parts of the world, so there are wise people and foolish people everywhere. The mystic is born with a tendency towards mysticism, and there are many who are born like this in the West. Only, in the East there are many who are interested in giving a stimulus to this tendency,Gwhereas in the West it is the contrary; for when a person shows that tendency people laugh at him. They think it is something abnormal and they do not allow this gift with which he was born to develop in him. That is why one finds far fewer mystics in the West than in the East. Besides, when a youth has a mystical tendency in the East he finds a teacher, a guide who can help him on, whereas in the West this is very difficult. Then generally nobody in his family knows anything about mysticism, and so they discourage him or disapprove of his tendency. And it is the same with his friends. So from all around he is pulled back instead of finding encouragement on the path. Nevertheless, a person born with a mystical tendency, however much he is pulled back, will always sooner or later try to find what he is looking for. He cannot feel satisfied because of that innate yearning.
People often ask what is the difference between mysticism and occultism. In point of fact, occultism is that which the mystic shows as the result of his experience, as the outcome of his insight, as the expression of divine law. Nowadays we often hear occultism spoken of as something distinct from mysticism, but that is not so. Often a man who is a half-mystic comes forward, and then if people say that he is not a mystic, he will call himself an occultist. He must be something. This gives him a position, too.
There is a story that three horsemen were coming from Delhi, and behind them there was a man riding on a donkey. Someone on the road addressed them and said, “Riders, where do you come from?” Before the three horsemen could answer, this man on the donkey said, “We four riders are coming from Delhi.” *
To give another example: clever and wise are not the same. It is not right to say that the wise man is not clever, though his wisdom weighs more than his cleverness. A person cannot be wise if he is not clever, only his wisdom gives his cleverness such dignity that it would be an offense to call a wise man clever. Thus a mystic is an occultist, but to call a mystic an occultist is to bring him down to a lower level. It is like calling a wise man clever. Occultism is the result of the mystic’s experience. He fathoms the laws of the unseen world, and he interprets them in ordinary language; that is occultism.
*The untranslatable pun is on savar, a word which means both ‘knight’ and ‘rider.’ The claim of the man on the donkey in the story, who was a low-caste potter, became a Hindustani proverb:Chharon savar dillise a rahe hen.
Nothing in the world can bring us happiness and satisfaction except divine wisdom. All other things which seem to suffice our needs will show their importance for a moment, but after that moment has passed there will be the same longing. It is only in divine wisdom that our life’s purpose is fulfilled. The basis of mysticism is to be found in that saying of the Bible, “Seek ye first the kingdom of heaven, and all these things will be added unto you.” Thus the search of the mystic is for that kingdom, for God, and in that search what does he find? In the search for God he finds himself.
Mysticism teaches communication with the self and enables the self to communicate with life. Also, the way to learn mysticism is quite different from the way in which one learns other things. In learning these one communicates with things, but in learning mysticism one communicates first with oneself, and this enables man to communicate with the outer life. It is not only a legend of the past that saints and sages spoke with trees and plants, with animals and birds. A soul that can communicate with life, with the self, can communicate even today with animals and birds and trees and plants.
Often people picture a mystic as a dreamer, as someone who is intoxicated, a drunken man. But in reality, to the mystic everybody else is intoxicated, for the knowledge of mysticism is soberness. The mystic’s consciousness makes him sober, for he begins to see things more clearly. Mostly he cannot speak about it, because his language is not always understood. People have reason to consider a mystic to be like a drunken person. He does not take notice of things that everybody else takes notice of. He does not attach any importance to things that everybody else considers important. He does not give as much thought to himself as everybody else does. He does not look at everyone in the same way as other people do. He does not judge people in the same light as everybody else judges other. He does not think of God and man in the same way as every other person does. Naturally, it becomes difficult for the mystic to live in the world where his language is not understood, while he understands the language of all others. Before we have spoken to the mystic he has heard us speak. Before we have expressed our thought he has read it. Before we have expressed our feeling he has felt it. That is why a mystic can be in communication with another person better than one could ever imagine, and thus the best definition that can be given of mysticism is that it is communication with life.
No doubt a mystic is born a mystic. It is a certain type of mind which is born mystical. But mysticism can also be acquired. A soul who is born a mystic will from his cradle show mystic tendencies. But mysticism which is acquired is a greater achievement, for then one has made a normal progress towards divine wisdom.
Now the question is, how does man communicate with his self? By self-analysis. No doubt there is a danger in self-analysis. When a person is always wondering how wrong he is, how bad he is, how wicked he is, or how stupid he is, he will never stop worrying and troubling about himself, and the further he continues in this way, the more he will find in himself the spirit of wickedness or stupidity. Perhaps throughout his whole life he will find that same spirit in himself. The mystic delves deeper in himself in order to discover what it is in him that gives him the sign of existence, what it is in him that lives and what it is that dies, what it is in his being that is limited and what it is that is beyond limitation. By meditating on this a mystic communicates with his self. And in order to communicate with others he removes the barrier which stands between one person and the other, between ‘I’ and ‘you.’
As to the religion and the moral of the mystic, the mystic has one moral and that is love. And he has one aim in his religion and that is to make a God a reality. Therefore, his God becomes a greater God than the God of millions of people who only imagine that there is a God somewhere. To him God is a reality. How can one make God a reality? Since we are able to make what is unreal a reality, it is very easy to make reality real.
There was a Brahmin who was worshipping his idol, and a man came along and said to him, “How foolish! You are a high-caste Brahmin, you have such great culture, and yet you worship a God of stone which you have made with your own hands!” The Brahmin said, “If you have faith this god of stone will become a real god to you, and if you have no faith even the formless God who is in heaven is nothing.” The idea behind this is that we do not know the reality of God because we have made real all that is unreal before us. We are impressed by it. We live in longing for it. We pursue it. We live in it. And so from morning till evening we are, so to speak, wrapped up in this world of illusion, in all that is unreal and that covers our eyes from reality.
In order to find goodness one must find wickedness to compare it with. When we have found both, then both become clear. Wickedness will show what goodness is. In order to find reality we must gather the knowledge of what is unreal, and this is not difficult. In our ordinary language we use the word false. False is not that which is not real. All that is subject to change and destruction may be something in appearance, but it is never that which it pretends to be. All this existence which is before us and which is subject to change and death is not reality. It cannot be reality; but we can only see this when we have acquired some knowledge of reality. If we do not look at it as unreal, we shall not have the desire to find what is real. We must find out what is unreal and acknowledge it as unreal; then alone can we go on to the next step which will be to find reality.
It is the coming of the soul from its original place to manifestation and its returning again from manifestation to its original condition that makes life’s journey. The meaning of life as we understand it is merely this journey. The condition of the soul before this journey and after this journey is not recognized, not acknowledged by man. In reality before this journey the soul is not a soul, nor does the soul remain as a soul after this journey. But for people who hold on to their personality and who have not yet probed the wider horizon of knowledge, it is very difficult to absorb this knowledge. And as all that they know is themselves, God being no more than an idea to them, they sometimes get disappointed and discouraged. Yet whatever conception may be given to them, it does not take away the fact that a soul only exists as an individual soul from the time it shoots out as a current through the different spheres until the time when it goes back and meets its original Being.
There is a difference between eternal and everlasting. The word ‘eternal’ can never be attached to the soul, for that which has a birth and a death, a beginning and an end, cannot be eternal though it can be everlasting. It is everlasting according to our conception. It lasts beyond all that we can conceive and comprehend, but when we come to the eternal that is God alone.
Different spheres such as the angelic sphere and the jinn sphere are like a clay which is made for the soul to use. In other words, the soul borrows from the angelic sphere the matter of that sphere. It is called matter because there is no other term for it except the matter or substance of that sphere. Then from the sphere of the jinn it gathers the substance of that sphere, and that substance covers the substance which it has already gathered in the angelic sphere. And after this the soul gathers around itself the substance of the physical sphere.
By analyzing the substance of the physical sphere we can arrive at a better conception of the idea that the whole of creation was made in order that man might be created, that all that went before was a preparation. Even the angelic sphere and the jinn sphere were preparatory stages for the soul coming towards manifestation.
Thus we come to the analysis of the four different clays of which the body of man is composed. The first clay comes from the mineral kingdom. Rocks and mountains were made first. Trees and plants came afterwards. And the third process was that the same substance which first was rock and mountain and then became tree and plant, afterwards became still more living and manifested in the form of animals and birds. And it is from this same substance that the body of man was made. It is as if God had made a clay for man which was first dense in the form of a rock and in the form of a tree, then less dense in the form of an animal, until it was made still finer so that in the fourth stage it might become the substance for the body of man.
It is for this reason that man depends for his sustenance on all these substances. There is mineral substance which is good for his health, there is the vegetable kingdom on which he depends for his food, and there is the animal kingdom which also serves for his sustenance. Because his body is made of three elements it is also sustained by these elements. Man is made of these four substances, the flesh, the blood, the skin, and the bone representing the four different clays.
Besides from infancy and childhood man begins to show the qualities which he has gathered from the different spheres. For instance, infancy shows the sign of the angelic world. In the form and face of the infant, in its expression, in its smiles, we can see the angelic world. An infant is like an envoy sent from heaven to the earth. And early childhood begins to show the quality of the jinn world: the inquisitive tendency to ask of everything what it is, the love for all that is good and beautiful, all that attracts the senses, these qualities of the jinn world manifest in a child. The child takes such keen notice of everything, the child remembers more than ten trained grown-up persons remember, the child is keen to understand everything that it encounters, eager to learn and happy to remember. All these are jinn qualities. Afterwards, with youth, the qualities of the world become apparent.
When man advances in age he shows a return of the same qualities. First the jinn quality. When he has had all the experience of the world and has reached a certain age he becomes most keen to express all that is beautiful. At this age human beings become intelligent, they speak, they teach, they understand things which young people cannot understand. The jinn quality develops. And when he advances further in age, then the angelic quality develops, then innocence comes with its engaging smiles, then all malice and prejudice are gone and a quality of continually giving out begins to manifest. If one does not see these qualities developing in some people this is usually because they are more engrossed in the world, and then the natural development does not show itself.
In infancy man also shows a mineral quality, and that is the slow perception of everything. An infant is living just like a rock, sitting or lying, and it does not move as quickly as an older child. In seeing, in hearing, in responding, in perceiving, in everything it has a slow rhythm. It shows the rock quality. And with childhood appears the vegetable quality: as vegetables grow so the infant grows, and as trees and plants are responsive to human sympathy so the child begins to respond. With a loving person the plant grows more quickly and flourishes better, and so the child grows up more harmoniously with a loving guardian. But where that love is not given, then just as plants and trees wither so the life of the child becomes ruined.
In youth the animal or bird quality begins to show, and that again demonstrates the continuity of the same process, the process of the angelic sphere, of the jinn plane, and of the physical world. With age it is again the same process, but the other way round: first the vegetable kingdom begins to show, a person becomes milder, more gentle, thoughtful, and considerate, just like trees compared with rocks. And as one advances so one comes closer to the mineral kingdom; then a certain exclusiveness, a remoteness, a wish for retirement, a love of solitude develop which are all qualities of the mineral kingdom.
There is another most interesting side to this subject, and that is the spiritual development. A man who develops spiritually also shows the qualities of those spheres whence he has come, and of those substances on which he has lived. For instance, the first quality that a spiritually advanced person shows is that he is more perceptive, more observant, more responsive, more outgoing, more appreciative, more sympathetic, more harmonious. Where does it all come from? It comes from the animal kingdom.
As he goes further, man begins to show the vegetable quality: gentleness, mildness, kindness, and above all, the bearing of fruit and giving it to all, to the deserving and to the undeserving alike. The one who can reach the branch of the tree can take the fruit. People throw stones at trees and cut them, but although no doubt this hurts the tree, the tree does not blame them. It has borne fruit and it is willing to give it to them. And this becomes the condition of the spiritual person: willing to serve all who need his service, bearing fruits and flowers which may nourish and please others.
Afterwards, man adopts the stone quality, which is to endure heat and cold and wind and storm and to stand firm through them all. The soul who has advanced further spiritually becomes like this. Everything that falls on him he accepts. He loves retirement. He loves solitude, and at the same time the world may drag him out of it and life may compel him to be in the world. But the rocks always seek the wilderness. They belong to the wilderness. They live in the wilderness; that is their seeking; that is their place.
There have been many kings and rich people in the history of the world, but they have never been so loved and honored and held in so much esteem by human beings as the spiritual souls. Why is this? Because it is out of the rock that the idol of God is made. And when man has become a rock, then he is worshipped, then he becomes a living idol. And if one asks why man has to become a rock in order to be worshipped, the answer is because the rock is not conscious of itself; that is why. People prefer to worship a rock rather than a man. So, when the spiritual soul has reached the state of becoming a rock, no more conscious of his little self, unaware of his limitation, not concerned with anything, detached from all things and beings, then that soul is to be worshipped.
There are three higher qualities which also manifest when a person becomes spiritual. The human quality manifests when he develops personality. This is the first step. When there is spiritual advancement personality blooms. The jinn quality manifests in the next stage when a spiritual man begins to teach, when he shows genius in his inspiration and in his insight into human nature, into past, present and future. And when he reaches the stage where the angelic quality manifests, then he begins to show innocence, simplicity, love for all, sympathy, and God-consciousness. The angelic quality manifests in the spiritual man when he has withdrawn himself from the world, when he has centered his mind on the cosmos, and when his consciousness is no longer an individual consciousness; by that time he has become God-conscious.
RAISING THE CONSCIOUSNESS
The whole striving of the mystic is to raise his consciousness as high as possible. What this raising of the consciousness means, and how it is raised, can be better understood by the one who has begun to practice it. The best means of raising the consciousness is by the God-ideal. Therefore, however much one has studied metaphysics or philosophy intellectually and found some truth about one’s being, it does not suffice for the purpose of life; For the culmination of life lies in the raising of the consciousness.
We can see this tendency in the rising of the waves, always trying to reach high and higher still. When they cannot go any farther they fall, but again they rise. The tendency of the animals to stand on their hind legs is also the tendency of rising. Fishes enjoy that swing of going up with the waves in the sea. The greatest joy of the bird is to be up in the sky. And man, whose soul is striving to rise, shows in his upright form that among all living beings he is the one who stands upright. All through creation this tendency shows itself; that is why the mystic uses this tendency to work towards the real purpose of life.
There are strivings which pull one down in the eyes of others and in one’s own consciousness, and there are strivings which raise one in the eyes of others and in one’s own consciousness. By studying this the mystic tries to raise himself in his consciousness instead of falling beneath it. He may go so far that he becomes independent of what others say, for as a man advances in the spiritual life he is less understood by others in his thought, speech or action. But his striving is to raise himself high in his own consciousness. One might call it pride, but the proud will inherit the kingdom of heaven. It is the pride in God which makes a mystic feel the emptiness of all other things in this world, the insignificance of all the things to which most people attach such importance. It is this which raises him high in his own consciousness. To a mystic, to fall means to fall beneath his own ideal and to rise means to climb constantly towards his own ideal. If anything he thinks or does or says brings him lower in his own estimation instead of higher, he struggles against it and calls it a fall.
There is no law governing the mystic’s life other than this law, the law of conscience, a constant striving which makes him struggle joyfully against influences that pull him down and keep him beneath his ideal. No doubt once a man takes this path it means that he chooses a path of continual suffering, because everything in the world is pulling him down from that ideal. There is nothing whatever to help him. Therefore, to raise oneself above the threads that pull from every side and try to drag one down to the lowest level is a struggle against the whole of life. So one should not be surprised at the custom of the dervishes, who sometimes in their assemblies, sitting on the ground under the shade of a tree or beside a river, without a mat and without proper clothes, yet address one another as, “Your Majesty the King,” or “Your Majesty the Emperor.” For the moment it might make one laugh, but in reality they are the emperors, they are the kings, for they have striven all through life to raise their consciousness above these influences which continually drag one down to the depths of the earth.
One might think that in this is pride. Indeed, it could be a form of pride if it were not offered on the altar of God. It is a pride which is won and held in high honor, and when that honor is offered on the altar of God, then this is the highest possible form of worship. There is foolish pride and there is wise pride. Foolish pride draws one to the depths of the earth and to destruction. Wise pride raises one to the highest heaven, and brings upon one the bliss which belongs to the heavens. But besides pride, humility has a place in the life of a Sufi, of a mystic. Its place is in willing, loving surrender. As the Emperor Mahmud Ghasnavi says in a poem, “I, the Emperor Ghasnavi, on whom thousands of slaves wait, have myself become a slave since love has awakened in my heart.”
In devotion or love we cannot humble ourselves too much. The Persian poets such as Hafiz and Jami and many others show us the humble side of the mystic. They show how much he can humble himself. To call himself dust at the feet of the Beloved is the least he can say, to worship the ideal that he loves is the highest worship for him. It is never a humiliation. This shows that the work of the mystic is to expand the scope of life, to make its range of pitch as vast as possible. At one end of it is the greatest pride. At the other end is the greatest humility. Pride and humility are to the mystic the positive and negative forms of sentiment, of feeling. Those who proudly refrain from humility are ignorant of its blessing, for in humbleness there is a great bliss. And those who are fixed in their humility and forget that pride which will enrich life do not know what they are losing in their lives. Yet it is the really proud who are humble, and it is the really humble who are proud.
No doubt the raising of the consciousness can also be interpreted differently. One can say that it means raising the consciousness from this earthly plane to a higher plane, and then again to still higher planes, in order to experience the depths and the heights of life. And this gives the mystic a wide horizon in which to experience and to make experiments of all kinds. It opens up many worlds before him, the whole cosmos in which to live and move and have his being; and then to him the ordinary life will seem to be a life in a narrow, small world. It is just like living one’s life in the ocean instead of in a small well. The world of the mystic becomes the whole being, the whole existence. It gives him a wide scope to live in, and it gives him the assurance of immortal life.
A man who climbs a steep mountain is always apt to slip. But if this slipping, which is natural, induces him to go down again he will never climb anymore. If he slips and then tries to go on he will become more sure-footed, and will learn how to avoid slipping. Perhaps he will slip a thousand times, but a thousand times he will go forward again. It is nothing to be surprised at if a person slips. It is natural. The mountain is steep. It is natural that one should slip. The best thing one can do is to go on after every such slip, without losing courage, without allowing one’s consciousness to be impressed by it; to think that it is natural and to continue the ascent.
THE PATH TO GOD
A man who stands outside Sufism is always confused as to the Sufi’s attitude towards God. He cannot make out whether the Sufi is a worshipper of God or a worshipper of self, whether the Sufi claims himself to be God, whether he is an idolater, or whether he worships the formless God in heaven. The one who wonders like this has some reason for it, because when he sees that in this world there are believers and unbelievers, that there are some who worship God and some who do not, he cannot understand the attitude of the Sufi, he cannot decide whether the Sufi is a beginner on the spiritual path or whether he has arrived at the goal. If he calls him a beginner he cannot prove this to himself, because of the Sufi’s personality which radiates God. And if he calls him someone who has arrived at the height of spirituality then he thinks, “How can a Sufi, who is supposed to be a God-realized man, be so childlike as to worship God in the same way as everybody else does, when he says that he does not see any importance in the worship of form, that he is above it?”
Moreover, there are some attitudes of the Sufi which very much shock a religious man, an orthodox person, for the realization of the Sufi cannot always be held back. He may try to do so, but sometimes it will leap out, and then one begins to doubt whether the Sufi is really a worshipper of God or whether inwardly he feels differently towards God. The Sufi, therefore, is a riddle to a person who cannot understand him fully, to one who stands outside Sufism, for he does not know what the Sufi believes and what he does not believe.
There are four different stages of God-realization of the Sufi. The first and primitive stage is to make a God. If he does not make Him out of a rock or out of wood he makes Him out of his thought. He does not mind, as an idolater would not mind, worshipping the God that he has made himself. Out of what does he make Him? Out of his imagination. The man who has no imagination stands on the ground. He has no wings, he cannot fly. The Sufi imagines that in spite of all the injustice of human nature there is one just Being, and he worships this Being whom he has imagined as his God. In spite of all the unreliable lovers and beloveds, he imagines that there is a Lover and a Beloved upon whom he can always depend. He thinks, “Notwithstanding this ever-changing and unreliable human nature that surrounds me there is a reliable, unchangeable source of love and of life before me. He hears not only my words but every thought I have. He feels all my feelings, and He is continually with me and within me; to whichever side I turn I meet Him. He protects me when I am asleep, when I am not conscious of protecting myself: He is the source of my support, and He is the center of all wisdom. He is mercy, He is compassion. God is the greatest friend, upon whom I can always depend. And if the whole world turns away from me I shall still have that friend, a friend who will not turn away as the friends of this earthly life do after having buried their beloved friend or relation, a friend whom I shall find even in my grave. Wherever I exist I will always have this friend with me.
And when he has passed through this stage then there comes another stage, the stage of the lover of God. In this stage he begins to look upon God as his Beloved, and only then does he begin to learn the manner of true love; for love begins in man and culminates in God, the perfect ideal and object of love. A Hindustani poet says that the first step on the path of love teaches a person to say, “I am not.” As long as he thinks, “I am,” he is far away from the path of love. His claim of love is false. Naturally, just as a lover is resigned to the will of the beloved, to suffer or to go through any test, so the Sufi at this stage takes all things in life as they come, courageously and bravely, meeting all difficulties and all circumstances, realizing that it all comes from the beloved God. It is in this way that contentment and resignation are learned, that a willing surrender in love is practiced, and that love, which is a divine quality, naturally raises man to a higher standard.
One might say, “How can one love God, God whom one does not know, does not see?” But the one who says this wants to take the second step instead of the first. He must first make God a reality, and then God will make him the truth. This stage is so beautiful. It makes the personality so tender and gentle. It gives such patience to the worshipper of God; and together with this gentleness and patience he becomes so powerful and strong that there is nothing that he will not face courageously: illness, difficulties, loss of money, opposition – there is nothing that he is afraid of. With all his gentleness and tenderness, inwardly he becomes strong.
When a man has passed through this stage then there comes a third stage, and it is that he considers all earthly sources, whether favorable or unfavorable, all that comes to him, as God. If a friend comes to meet him, to the Sufi it is God who is coming to meet him. If a beggar is asking for a penny, it is God whom the Sufi recognizes in that form. If a wretched man is suffering misery, he sees also in this the existence of God. Only, the difference is that in some he sees God unconscious, in others he sees God conscious. All those who love him, who hate him, who like or dislike him, who look upon him with admiration or contempt, he looks at with the eyes of the worshipper of God, who sees his Beloved in all aspects. Naturally, when this attitude is developed he develops a saintly spirit. Then he begins to see in this world of variety the only Being playing His role as various beings, and for him every moment of his life is full of worship. But even with this realization he will never say that he is more evolved than whose who worship God in an ordinary form. He can stand with them and worship in the same manner as they, although he stands above it all; but he will never claim to do so.
The fourth development of the God-ideal is in the loss of the self. But which self is lost? The false self is lost, and the true self is gained. In this stage the Sufi hears through the ears of God, sees through the eyes of God, works with the hands of God, walks with the feet of God; then his thought is the thought of God and his feeling is the feeling of God. For him there is no longer that difference which a worshipper makes between himself and God. As Khusrau the Indian poet says, “When I have become Thee and Thou hast become me, when I have become body and Thou hast become soul, then, Beloved, there is no difference between “I” and “Thou.”
What profit does the Sufi derive from this loss of what he calls his outer personality? It is not really a loss of outer personality, it is an expansion of the outer personality to the width and height of the inner personality; then man becomes God-man, God-conscious. Outwardly he is in the universe, inwardly the universe is in him. Outwardly he is smaller than a drop, inwardly he is larger than the ocean. And in this realization the purpose of belief in God, of worshipping God, and of loving God is accomplished.
The Sufi says that since the whole of manifestation is the manifestation of love, and since God Himself is love, then it is natural that the same love which comes from the source returns to the source, and that the purpose of life is accomplished by it. Somebody asked a Sufi, “Why did God create the world?” and he said, “In order to break the monotony of loneliness.” And how is that monotony broken? It is broken through God loving His creation and through His creatures loving God. We see the same love of God in all things: in the love of a mother for her child, in the love of a friend for his friend, in all the different aspects it is the same love manifesting. Outwardly it may seem human, but inwardly it is all divine.
If we come face to face with truth, it is one and the same. One may look at it from the Christian, from the Buddhist, or from the Hindu point of view, but in reality it is one point of view. One can either be small or large, either be false or true, either not know or know. As long as a person says, “When I look at the horizon from the top of the mountain I become dizzy. This immensity of space frightens me,” he should not look at it. But if it does not make one dizzy it is a great joy to look at life from above. And from that position a Christian, Jew Muslim and Buddhist will all see the same immensity. It is not limited to those of any one faith or creed. Gradually, as they unfold themselves and give proof of their response to the immensity of the knowledge, they are asked to go forward, face to face with their Lord
One should remember, however, that there are very few who enjoy reality compared y?th those who are afraid of it, and who, standing on the top of a high mountain, are afraid of looking at the immensity of space. It is the same sensation. What frightens them is the immensity of things. They seem lost and they hold on to their little self. The difficulty of this is that they not only die in the thought of mortality, but that even while they live it culminates in a kind of disease; and this disease is called self-obsession, obsession by the self. They can think of nothing but themselves, of their fears, doubts and confusions, of all things pertaining to themselves. And in the end it turns them into their own enemy. First they look upon everybody else as their enemy because they are out of harmony with everybody, and in the end they are a burden to themselves. Such cases are not rare. Whatever religion they have, whatever faith they claim, they do not yet know what religion is. A man who professed to have no religion once said to me very profoundly, “I am happy. I have no fear!” He was spiritual though he did not know it.
One might ask if someone who has this realization can still have weaknesses. The weaknesses of the one who has gone along this path do not make him weak. It is his weaknesses which are weak, not he himself. Besides, there is a saying in Hindi, “Never judge the godly.” As the eyes have a limit, so the mind has a limit. How can the unlimited soul, who is in the Unlimited, be judged by the man who looks at life from a narrow point of view? Those who arrive at an advanced stage never judge. It is the man who is at a lower stage who judges. The one who is on the top of the mountain judges no one, and therefore, he is exempt from being judged.
Furthermore, when a person says, “I have not made a God, but I want to love God,” or when he says, “I have not loved God, but I want to know God, I want to see Him,” or when he says, “I do not wish to see God, but I want to realize God,” he is asking for something which is impossible. One can go through these stages either quickly or slowly, but one must pass through these four stages. And if a person has not the patience to pass through these four stages, he certainly cannot enjoy that pleasure, that happiness which is experienced by the traveler on the path of God.
THE IDEAL OF THE MYSTIC
An adept on the path of spiritual attainment needs an ideal to keep before him. And people often wonder when they see that a mystic who is on the esoteric path appears to have the same kind of ideal that an orthodox person has in this religious life; but although the mystic may perhaps have the religious ideal of a Lord and Savior just like many others, yet the way he looks upon that ideal is different from the way of the world. His spiritual ideal is not a personality from a story or legend. His ideal is the Rasul, by whatever name people may know him. And who is the Rasul? The Rasul is the soul through which God Himself has attained that which is the purpose of creation. In other words, the Rasul is the one who represents God’s perfection through human limitation. The historical man, the man of a tradition, is the Rasul of his followers, but the adept recognizes that Rasul who is behind the picture which history or tradition makes of him.
When people argue after reading the life of one Rasul whom they consider their own, or of the Rasul of other people, the adept is not interested in this dispute; for to him it is like two artists who have made a portrait of the same person and argue saying, “Your conception is wrong. My conception is right,” or “My picture is better than yours,” whereas an adept looks at the picture and says, “It is his conception.” One artist may have painted Dante in one form, another paints him in a different way, but if there is a dispute about which is the real portrait of Dante, the one who has understanding will say that each is a different conception. Perhaps one appeals to one person, while another appeals to another person.
Thus the adept makes a garland of the names by which different people have called their Rasul and offers this garland to his own ideal. He says, “If there was any Buddha it is you. If there was any Christ it is you. If there was any Muhammad it is you. In you I see him. If Moses came with a message it was you who came. I see you in Solomon. And in the wonders of Krishna as well as in the splendor of Shiva, I see you.” Whereas others argue about the different names of the great ones and about the different conceptions that people have of them, he does not limit his ideal. He makes his ideal the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.
A mystic can only be called a mystic when he has arrived at the stage where his ideal is larger than that which can be covered by a name. He may give any name to his ideal, but if he covers his ideal with a name he has certainly not yet arrived at the mystic stage. All the beautiful forms that exist are forms of this ideal. All the good qualities that one finds in man he gives to his ideal and also all the different ways of expressing one’s respect and devotion that he sees in the world. And in this way, as he progresses through life, he makes his ideal better and better, greater and greater, higher and higher, till the ideal is perfect. If there seems to be a limitation in his ideal he thinks that it is his own limitation, that it is he who cannot conceive his ideal better. It is just like an artist who tries to make a statue of his beloved ideal as beautiful, as fine as he can, and at the same time he realizes that all is lacking in it and all that remains to be done, or all the faults that it may seem to have, are his own faults, while his ideal is perfect. This is a stepping stone for the mystic to come closer to God’s shrine; by this he attains more quickly to a higher degree of perfection, for it is through love and devotion alone that man can himself.
As there is great joy and satisfaction in the worship of God, so there is great joy and satisfaction in adhering to one’s ideal. When a person says that he will not let anyone come between him and God, he does not know what he is saying, for in the ideal it is God who is made intelligible for our own limited mind to grasp the divine idea. If one denies the existence of the ideal, one certainly denies the reality of God, for it is really only after having attained to spiritual perfection that one may say anything – but then one does not say anything. When people say things without having thought about them, they speak before they have arrived at perfection.
No devotion given to our ideal is too great. However high we believe our divine ideal to be, it is certainly higher than that. However beautiful a picture of our ideal we make, the ideal itself is still more beautiful. And, therefore, a devotee always has scope for expansion, for advancement. And an adept who advances on the mystical path, with all his striving, his study of life, and his meditation, will still need a spiritual ideal to carry him through all the difficulties of the path, and to bring him to the destination which is attainment.
Anyone who has some knowledge of mysticism and of the lives of the mystics knows that what always attracts the mystic most is nature. Nature is his bread and wine. Nature is his soul’s nourishment. Nature inspires him, uplifts him and gives him the solitude for which his soul continually longs. Every soul born with a mystical tendency is constantly drawn towards nature. In nature that soul finds its life’s demand, as it is said in the Vadan, “Art is dear to my heart, but nature is near to my soul.”
Upon those who are without any tendency towards mysticism nature has a calming effect; to them it means a peaceful atmosphere, but to the mystic nature is everything. No wonder that the mystics, sages and prophets of all ages sought refuge in nature from all the disturbing influences of daily life. They considered the caves of the mountains to be better than palaces. They enjoyed the shelter under a tree more than beautiful houses. They liked looking at the running water better than watching the passing crowds. They preferred the seashores to the great cities. They enjoyed watching the rising and the falling of the waves more than all the show that the world can produce. They loved to look at the moon, at the planets, at the stars in the sky more than at all the beautiful things made by man.
To a mystic the word nature has a wider meaning. According to the mystical point of view nature has four different aspects. The forest, the desert, hills and dales, mountains and rivers, sunrise and sunset, the moonlit night and the shining stars are one aspect of nature. Before a mystic they stand like letters, characters, figures made by the Creator to read if one is able to read them. The sura of the Qur’an which contains the first revelation of the Prophet includes the verse, “Read in the name of your Lord … who taught with the pen.” The mystic, therefore, recognizes this manifestation as a written book. He tries to read these characters and enjoys what they reveal to him. To the mystic it is not only the waxing and the waning of the moon, it has some other significance for him. It is not only the rising and the setting of the sun, it tells him something else. It is not only the positions of the stars, but their action and their influence relate something to the heart of the mystic. The mountains standing so silently, the patient trees of long tradition, the barren desert, the thick forest, not only have a calming effect upon the mystic, but they express something to him. The fluttering of the leaves comes to his ears as a whisper, the murmur of the wind falls on his ears as music, and the sound of little streams of water running in the forest, making their way through rocks and pebbles is a symphony to the ears of the mystic. No music can be greater and higher and better than this. The crashing of the thunder, the soughing of the wind, the blowing of the morning breeze, all these convey to a mystic a certain meaning which is hidden behind them. And for a mystic they make a picture of life, not a dead picture but a living picture, which at every moment continually reveals a new secret, a new mystery to his heart.
And then we come to the next aspect of nature, an aspect which manifests through the lower creation. The silent little creatures crawling on the earth, the birds singing in the trees, the lion with its wrath, the elephant with its grandeur, the horse with its grace, and the deer with its beauty, all these tell him something. He begins to see the meaning of the wrath of the lion and of the modesty of the deer. He listens to the words that come to his ears through the singing of the birds, for to him it is not a wordless song. The ancient mystics in their symbology used the head of the tiger, the form of the lion, the image of the eagle, and also pictures of the snake and the cow. They pictured them as a character which they had read through observing this aspect of nature.
There is an aspect of nature which is still more interesting, and to see it the mystic need not go away, for he sees it in the midst of the world. What is it? It is to read human nature and to watch its continual change, its progress, its degradation, its improvement. It is so interesting that in spite of all the difficulties that the world presents, one feels life worth living when one begins to notice how those who were going forward begin to go backward, and how those who were going backward begin to go forward; when one observes how a person, without sinking in the water, is drowned in life, and how a person who was drowning begins to swim and is save; when one sees how from the top a person comes down to the bottom in a moment, and how a person who was creeping on the ground has at last arrived at the top; when one sees how friends turn into bitter enemies, and how bitter enemies one day become friends. To one who observes human nature keenly it gives such an interest in life that he becomes sufficiently strong to bear all, to endure all, to stand all things patiently. One may observe this moving picture all through life, and it is never enough. One never tires of it.
And the fourth aspect of nature is seeing the divine nature, realizing the meaning of the saying that man proposes and God disposes. When one is able to see the works of God in life, another world is opened before one; then a man does not look at the world as everybody else does, for he begins to see not only the machine going on but the engineer standing by its side, making the machine work. This offers a still greater interest, the greatest interest in life. If one were to be flayed or crucified one would not mind, for one rises above all pain and suffering, and one feels it worthwhile to be living and looking at this phenomenon that gives one in one’s lifetime the proof of the existence of God.
It is these four aspects of life that are called nature by the mystics; To a Sufi they are his holy scripture. All the other sacred books of the world, however highly esteemed by the followers of the different religions, are interpretations of this book, given by those who were granted clear vision and who tried their best to give all they had learned from it to humanity in our human language, which is a language of limitations.
Nature does not teach the glory of God. It need not teach this as nature itself is the glory of God. People wish to study astrology and other subjects in order to understand better, but if we study astrology then we are sure to arrive at an interpretation which is given by a man, whereas what we should read from nature is what nature gives us and not what any book teaches us. There comes a time with the maturity of the soul when everything and every being begins to reveal its nature to us. We do not need to read their lives. We do not need to read their theories. We know then that this wide nature in its four aspects is ever-revealing and that one can always communicate with it, but that in spite of this it is not the privilege of every soul to read it. Many should remain blind with open eyes. They are in heaven, but not allowed to look at heaven. They are in paradise, but not allowed to enjoy the beauties of paradise. It is just like a person sleeping on a pile of gems and jewels. From the moment man’s eyes open and he begins to read the book of nature he begins to live; and he continues to live forever.
A mystic is an idealist in every sense of the word: one who has no ideal cannot be a mystic. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the one who has no ideal lives without life. If there is anything in the world which we can say we live for, it is one thing only – the ideal; and when there is no ideal there is nothing to live for. In Sanskrit religion is called Dharma, which literally means duty. To give a definition of what religion is one can say that it is an unswerving progress towards the ideal. But then what is the ideal? Any ideal or every ideal that we have before us is the ideal for that moment.
Ideal can be divided into five aspects, of which the first is the ideal which one has for oneself. It might begin to show itself as a whim, as a dream, as an imagination, even as an expectation of a child. If a child says, “When I am grown-up I will have an elephant to ride upon, or a beautiful horse,” this is an ideal. And this first aspect of the ideal can again be divided into three classes. The first is when one says, “I shall possess this or that – so much wealth, so many gardens, so many palaces,” or, “I shall surround myself with so much grandeur that I shall appear quite different from anyone else.” The next is when one says, “I shall be the Prime Minister or the President of the country or have a throne and crown.” And the third class is when one says, “I shall keep to this particular virtue, I shall be pious,” or, “I shall be good in every sense of the word,” or, “I shall be that which I consider good and beautiful in myself.”
There was a young man in Indian history, whose name was Shivaji, and whose story is an example of this first aspect of ideal. He began his life by living on robbery, and one day he came into the presence of a sage, to ask his blessing for success in his robbery. The sage saw in his face, in his eyes, in his voice that here was a real jewel, that there was an ideal in him, although not yet awakened. The sage asked him, “How many men have you in your gang?” He said, “No one. I work alone.” The sage said, “It is a pity. You must form a small band and keep together.” He was glad to take this advice, and he formed a small band of robbers, and continued in his pursuit. He was more successful, and when he visited the sage again the latter said, “How many are there now in your gang?” He said, “Only four or five.” The sage told him that this was too few, that he should have at least fifty or a hundred men to do something really worthwhile. And then Shivaji, by the charm of his personality, gathered some more robbers to accompany him and they did many really daring things. They attacked caravans, and they risked their lives, and were very successful. And one day the sage said to him, “Do you not think that it is a great pity that you, such a hero, who are willing to risk your life and who have won all these friends and made them your companions, do not try to throw out the Moghuls [who were occupying the country at that time] at least from our district?” Shivaji agreed. He was prepared, he had drilled, this was something for him to think about. The first attack brought him victory. Then he made a second attack and a third, till he was the chief of the whole province. And he went to the sage to express his gratitude. “Yes,” the sage said, “be thankful but not contented, for what you have done is not enough.” And one reads in the history of India that this man nourished the desire to form an Indian empire, but he did not live long enough to achieve it, although during his life he became a wonderful king and a splendid hero whom India will always remember.
The second aspect is when a person makes an ideal out of a principle. And when he succeeds in carrying out this principle throughout his life, then he has accomplished a great thing. If he has been able to live up to that principle, then he has everything. And this aspect can also can be illustrated by the story of a robber. In the deserts of Arabia there used to be a well-known robber, and when the caravans passed through there they were warned beforehand that there was danger in that particular place where he lived. And once when a caravan arrived near there a man who was very anxious about his gold coins thought that it would be a good thing if he could find someone to whom he could entrust his money. He saw a tent at a distance, and when he came near he saw a most dignified man sitting there smoking his pipe. He saluted him and said, “I am anxious. I have heard that in this place there is danger of robbers, and I beg you to keep my coins in your charge.” “I will do it with pleasure,” said the man, and he accepted them. And when the other rejoined the caravan he heard that there had been an attack by robbers and that they had taken all they could from everyone. He said, “Thank God for the inspiration He gave me to give my money in safe keeping!” Then later he went again to the tent to get his money back, and what did he see? He saw that this dignified man was the chief of the robbers, and that the other robbers were sitting before him dividing the spoils. He stood at a distance, fearing they would perhaps take his life now that his money was already gone. And he thought how foolish he had been to have taken the trouble to bring his money to the robbers himself! He turned to go back, but the chief called him asking, “Why did you come, and why are you leaving?” The man said, “I thought when I gave my money to you that you would return it to me, but now I realize that you belong to the robbers who have attacked the caravan.” The chief said, “What has that got to do with the money you entrusted to me? The coins which you gave into my keeping are your money. It was not robbed, it was given into my charge. I give it back to you.”
This was a principle which the robber lived up to. He is a historical person, and in the end this very man became a great murshid, and those around him became his mureeds. One can find his name among the Sufis of the past. This shows how living up to one’s principle makes a ladder for a person to climb to the desired goal.
The third ideal is the idea of bettering the conditions. Someone thinks, “I should like my village to be improved. I should like my town to have all comforts and facilities.” Or he thinks, “I would like my fellow citizens to be better educated, to have more happiness,” or, “My nation should be honored in the world, and for the honor of my nation I will give my life.” One may think of his race, another of humanity, to better its conditions, to serve it, to be its well-wisher, to bring to it all the good that is possible. The great heroes who have saved their nation through their lifelong service, who have given examples to humanity, who have sacrificed their lives for their people, all had some ideal, they all lived a life which was worthwhile.
As great as is a person’s ideal, so great is that person. It is the ideal that makes a person great, but at the same time if he is not great his ideal cannot be great. Besides life is a small thing to offer to the ideal, and if life is a small thing, what else is more valuable? Nothing. It is the one who has no ideal who holds on to everything and says, “This is mine, and I am very anxious to keep it!” The one with an ideal is generous. There is nothing that he will keep back, for his ideal he will give everything, and it is that person who is a living being.
The fourth aspect of the ideal is when one idealizes a person. One man sees his ideal in his child, in his mother, in his father, ancestor, friend, in his beloved, or his teacher. No doubt this ideal is greater than all others, for in this ideal there is a miraculous power: it awakens life and gives life to dead things. There are however difficulties in following this ideal to the end, for when we idealize a person, naturally he cannot always come up to our expectations, for our ideal moves faster than the progress of this living being. Besides, when one idealizes a person one wishes to cover one’s eyes from all his shortcomings. One wishes to see only what is good and noble in him. But there come moments when the other side of that person is also seen, for goodness cannot exist without badness and beauty cannot exist without the lack of it. Very often beauty covers ugliness and ugliness covers beauty; but both opposites are always present. If not, man would not be man.
An idealist will see all that is good and beautiful in the one he idealizes; yet he keeps the object of his ideal before his eyes. His mind can idealize, but his eyes cannot remain closed. His heart takes him to heaven, but his eyes hold him fast on earth and there is always conflict. And when it happens that the person whom one has idealized falls short of the goodness and beauty which one had expected him to posses, then one becomes disheartened, and one wonders whether there is anything in this world that could be ideal.
We see that emotional people are apt to idealize quickly, but are also apt to cast down the object of their idealization quickly. To keep up an ideal which is living on earth and which is before one’s eyes is the hardest thing there is, unless one has such balance that one will never waver and such compassion that one is able at one’s own expense to add to the ideal all that it lacks. This is the only way in which one can hold on to a living ideal, otherwise what happens is that one says during the waxing of the ideal, “You are so good. You are so kind. You are so great,” and during the waning of the ideal one says, “But you are unjust. You are thoughtless. You are inconsiderate. I am disillusioned. You are not what I expected you to be.” It is so natural, and at the same time it is not the ideal which has fallen. The one who has fallen is the one who climbed the ladder of the ideal and went too high, and then he has to come down again till he stands on the same level as before.
Also belonging to this fourth aspect of the ideal is the idealizing of a historical or legendary person, of a dramatic character of the past, a personality who is not before one. This one can maintain better, for it gives one scope for adding all the goodness and beauty one wishes to add. And at the same time it will never disappoint one, because it will never appear different from that which one has made of it in one’s heart. The gods and goddesses of the ancient Egyptians, Indians and Greeks were made to represent certain types of character, and in order that a worshipper might be impressed by a certain character these gods and goddesses were held up as objects of devotion, as something to keep before one, as an ideal. Besides the great prophets and teachers and saviors of humanity have been the ideals made for centuries by writers, by poets, by devotees, by thinkers, as good and as beautiful as they could be made. No doubt others have looked at them differently and have held the ideal of someone else to be less than their own. Nevertheless, the benefit that they derived from devotion to such an ideal lay in the seeking of a character, of a certain beauty, of a virtue, which would always help them to arrive at that stage which is the desired goal of all beings.
The fifth aspect of the ideal is God, the perfect ideal, an ideal which cannot change, which cannot be broken, which remains always steady for the reason that God is not within man’s reach. If God were within his reach then he would try to test Him, too!. It is just as well that He is not. It is in this ideal that one finds life’s fulfillment, and all other ideals are but stepping stones, steps towards this perfect ideal, an ideal which shows no sign of imperfection; for God is goodness, God is justice, God is might, God is intelligence, all-knowing, God is all beauty, God is everlasting.
To a mystic the ideal is his religion, and he looks upon every person’s ideal as a religion. He respects it before weighing and measuring and analyzing what ideal it is. The ideal itself is sacred to a mystic, and thus it is the central theme of his life. It is in the ideal that the mystic finds both his way and his goal.
THE MORAL OF THE MYSTIC
When considering virtue the natural tendency is to disregard the laws which govern human nature. The mystic, therefore, does not take the point of view of some preachers who urge and impose upon all those who come to them that they should be good, that they should be kind, and that they should be just. A mystic recognizes that man’s first response is to react in accordance with what strikes him. We already see this tendency in a child. When we smile at the child it will laugh, but if we show it a hand as if we were going to strike it the child will do the same, unless it is afraid. At least its desire would be the same. It would want to hit back. Therefore, there is nothing to be surprised at if Moses stood before the multitude and told them, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.” What else could he have said to them? “Be ye kind and saintly and most loving?” Would they have listened to that?
Even on the mystic path, the first step of an adept is to recognize fully the law of reciprocity. The difference between an adept and an ordinary person is that an ordinary person does automatically what the mystic begins to do consciously. In considering the law of reciprocity one must not overlook human nature: how a man always sees written before him in big letters what he has done, but in very small letters what the other has done. He always overestimates his own goodness, his generosity, his kindness, his service to another person. And he blinds himself to the kindness, goodness and generosity of the other. Thus, it is seldom that people live the law of reciprocity, although everyone is sure that he returns love for love and hate for hate. Perhaps he returns hate for hate, but whether he returns love for love is another question. The reason is that the first thing man thinks of is himself, what he feels, what he thinks, what he says, what he does. And it is only his second thought that he gives to what another person says, thinks, feels, or does. So that which one thinks, says, feels, or does stands clearly and fully before one, and all that another person feels, thinks, says, or does is something that one sees from a great distance. And when it is something which concerns himself, a person very often views it with only his own interest in mind.
Once a man has begun to recognize the law of reciprocity, from that moment he begins to open his eyes to what is called justice. We have wrongly given the name justice to man-made laws.
Justice is a sense. And when we recognize justice as a sense we begin to see justice as a living spirit. To explain this in ordinary terms: if the carpet is not laid properly there is a sense in us which tells us that it is not right, a kind of discomfort comes over us only from looking at it; or if the lamp is not standing in its usual place on the table there is a sense in us which gives us discomfort, which makes us think that it is not right, that it ought to be the other way. And it is the same with justice. It is a sense of seeing the right proportion, the right weight, the right measure. No one can live without it and be a saint. This is the first step he must take, and if he does not take this step then he will surely fall into a ditch before he arrives at saintliness. There are two ends to a line: one end is ignorance, the other end is innocence, and in between is wisdom. And as the two ends are similar, so innocence and ignorance seem to be the same; only, the difference is that in order to go from ignorance to innocence we have to cross wisdom. Very often people confuse the ignorant and the innocent soul.
Reciprocity does not mean allowing a larger measure to the other, or giving a greater weight for the money he pays. By reciprocity is meant just dealing in all the different walks of life, remembering at the same time the weak point in human nature: that man always thinks he is just though he is often far from being so.
This naturally produces in the mystic a friendly tendency. In the same way that plants grow, so this tendency grows and blossoms into beneficence. Man begins to think less of himself and of all that he does for others, and he begins to appreciate more what others do. He can even arrive at the stage where he entirely forgets all that he does for another, only remembering what the other has done or is doing for him. There are some few souls here and there in the world who may not be recognized as such, but who in reality are saintly souls, in whatever guise they live. Their number is small, but they are to be found everywhere, those who do good to another, who render their services, who are kind, generous, loving, without any thought of appreciation, of thanks, of return. One might think from a practical point of view that such a person is on the losing side. He may seem to be, but he derives pleasure from it, a pleasure that cannot be compared with the pleasure of the one who exacts his share. And no one can experience this pleasure unless he has practiced this law in his own life. One awakens to the law of beneficence by being able to admire and appreciate, by sympathy, by being grateful. The person who thinks, “I have done some good to another. I have rendered a kind service to another. I have been of great help in the life of another,” cannot understand the law of beneficence. It means to do and to forget, to serve without desiring any appreciation, to love without wishing for any return, and to do kindness even if there is no recognition on the part of the other. If we look at them from the point of view of the law of reciprocity, those who do this are not unhappy, although it might seem that they should be. There is a saying that there are some who are happy in taking and others who are happy in giving, but in the case of the latter the reward is greater and they are happier in the end.
In the law of renunciation the mystic finds the rest and peace which is the object of his journey on the spiritual path. There is nothing so difficult as renunciation. To pursue an object, to persevere on a path, and to attain to a certain thing, all these are easy in comparison with being able to renounce something which one really values. Sometimes renunciation is like death. But having once renounced, one finds oneself standing above death. Renunciation, in other words, may be called sacrifice, although sacrifice is a small word for it. Sacrifice is the beginning of renunciation, and it is its point of perfection which may be called renunciation. The saints and sages and prophets all had to go through this test and trial, and in proportion to the greatness of their renunciation, so great have these souls become. Renunciation is the sign of heroes, it is the merit of saints, it is the character of the masters, and it is the virtue of the prophets. No one can come to this unless he has passed through the laws of reciprocity and beneficence.
What must be renounced? Nothing must be renounced: it is renunciation itself. It is as Farid-ud-Din Attar, the great Persian poet, says, “Renounce the good of the world, renounce the good of heaven, renounce your highest ideal, and then renounce your renunciation.” Is the only way to perfection through renunciation? The way to perfection is not limited. There are many ways. No one can make a rule that one can only pass through this way and not by another way. The mystic, therefore, instead of imposing upon others or upon himself great principles and high morals, tries to pass through the laws of reciprocity and beneficence in order to arrive at the idea of renunciation.
Brotherhood seems to be an inner inclination of man, although he continually shows the opposite inclination, just as goodness is a nature inclination of man though the opposite of goodness is more frequently found. Mysticism need not teach brotherhood, for a mystic becomes a brother by nature. Mysticism culminates in brotherhood, a brother hood which is unlike any other institution of brotherhood in the world.
There are several kinds of brotherhood. First there is professional brotherhood, which is seen in the unionizing of some profession or other. In appearance it is brotherhood, but on fact the members have become brothers only because of their mutual interest in the profession. One may call them brothers but they are certainly not twins! They have become brothers for earthly benefit, with the good motive of furthering their particular profession as much as possible. But there is another side to it, that all those who outside that profession are not brothers, they are only cousins and it would not be wrong to profit by them. The brothers will meet to figure out how best to profit by the cousins. We find this idea in MAHABHARATA, the ancient Hindu scripture, where war is described between brothers and cousins. It is symbolic.
There is another brotherhood, which may be called a federation. Those who have the same business will unite in their common interest against all those who depend upon their business or upon what they sell. As long as they agree among themselves as to how to make their efforts profitable they are brothers. The moment the profit of one is endangered by the other their brotherhood breaks up. It is only profit which makes them brothers.
Then there is brotherhood in the political field, calling itself one party or another. This brotherhood can even be seen in the form of nations. The parties are formed in order to be brothers in the fight against the cousins of the other party. Nations will remain untied as brothers as long as their own interest is not harmed by the other nation. As soon as their interest is interfered with this brotherhood can immediate breakup. It does not take long to break the bonds of alliance. As soon as a question of national interest arises there is only their own benefit that comes first. Brotherhood is a word that was adopted in order to strengthen themselves in their own interest.
In still another type of brotherhood people become brothers because they belong to one church, a certain religion. Those who attend that particular Church, those who follow a particular principle which was to given them as brothers. Any other people who are perhaps following better principles are outcasts, for the very reason that they do not belong to that particular Church. No doubt this brotherhood extents more widely then the other forms.
Maybe there will arise other forms of brotherhood, but as long as a brotherhood is formed by an earthly interest divisions will always arise. It is human nature to divide into sections, into parties, yet at the same time it is the inner most nature of man to unite with others. Thus the brotherhood of the mystic is not limited to a certain section or a certain division. His brotherhood, like the human brotherhood, envelops all. To him it does not matter to what Church a person belongs or to what business, what profession a person has or what his political opinion is. He does not mind, for the mystic sees brotherhood as the source of all things. Just as the children of the same parents see themselves united in the parents, so mystics see all members of one brotherhood above and beyond every section of cast, nation, or religion.
A nation is a family, a race is a family, but the brotherhood of family bonds has diminished in these days. There remains hardly any family now such as there used to be in ancient times. The family bonds were often so strong that feuds developed between rival families. For years and years families caused bloodshed, taking revenge perhaps some wrong that somebody’s grandfather had done, or for what somebody’s great-grandfather has said to somebody’s great-grandfather. We have improved since then; we have become such a large family that whereas a family feud used to cause three deaths in fifty years, they now cause the death of millions of people. This is because we have advanced in the organization of families, without first knowing how we should form a family. The loosening of the family bonds is one of the things that make modern life so unnatural, although the word ‘unnatural’ is a very strange word. What is nature and what is unnatural? Natural is that to which we are accustomed, unnatural is that to which we are not accustomed. Sometimes centuries makes something natural. Sometimes a few years make a thing natural or sometimes a few months. We call something natural because we accustomed to see it as it is, but we do not realize that it has taken perhaps many centuries, many years, or many months to make it natural to us.
Moreover, what is natural to us need not be what is natural to others. The present condition of the world is not to be blamed for lack of consideration for what is called the family bond. This is a kind of development, and although it does not have perhaps the beauty which the family had, yet it had its own beauty, it has its own ways. Only, too much of any good thing is wrong. When there was such a strong family bond that it resulted in fights going on for many years, this was not a good thing, but now a kind of restaurant life has begun which will end in hotel life, and this also is going to far. Imagine thousands of people living in a hotel, their food is not of their choice, their living organized by the hotel authorities, and when they are ill they are immediately sent to a clinic, that is their life! When they go out they go out by fifties or hundreds in large cars, and they all travel in the same ship across the sea. There is none of the joy that existed in the ancient times for those who traveled in freedom. Even when people traveled in caravans, on foot, on horseback, and a camel, or on an elephant, it was something; it was a different experience. In ancient times a family lived perhaps in a small hut, but they showed one another sympathy in their time of need.
It is not that this or that is not good, it is not that this beautiful and that has no beauty.
Every period has its own conditions. Whether for earthly interests or for spiritual interests, brotherhood is nothing but the forming of a family, it only depends in whose name we form the family. It was for this reason that Jesus Christ always pointed out God as being the father. Which means, do not unite because of your earthly fathers and ancestors and fight with one another because you are from different families, but think that father who is the father of all men, unite in Him. No doubt people will establish the same idea in another form depending on the times.
Mysticism makes the mystic tolerant towards other peoples opinions. Mysticism makes him rise above divisions. Mysticism makes him assimilate all that he sees and hears, and mysticism gives him love for God whom he sees in all beings. Mysticism gives him the sympathy by which he is attracted to every person he meets, and mysticism helps understand and to admire all things and to appreciate all beings, and in that come nearer to all that exists.
This ideal of brotherhood develops, taking different forms. In the first stage the mystic becomes respectful to all beings, both to the saint and to the sinner, to the wise and to the foolish. In the next stage his sympathy goes to everyone he meets, no matter who it is. In the third stage he understands the conditions of every person because of his sympathy and respect. The fourth stages is when he tolerates and forgives, he cannot help doing it for the very reason that he understands. One who cannot tolerate, cannot forgive, is not able to understand, tolerance and forgiveness come from understanding. The fifth stage is that he sees himself untied with all, not only in God but even in himself. In each being he sees himself. No one can sympathize more then one sympathizes with oneself, and so it is natural that, when the self of the mystic is at the same time all people, he can then sympathize with everyone as he would himself.
Mysticism is thus the lesson of brotherhood. All this destruction which has been caused by wars and revolutions, by the continually rising sections of humanity, fighting against the other, calling themselves federations or communities, or parties, or divisions, this is all caused by lack of mystical understanding. What the world needs today is not so teaching or religious preaching, what the world needs most is a mystical outlook, to look upon the world with a mystics attitude, and to see the whole humanity as one, the single Being, the only Being. To bring this idea to the world it is not only necessary that there should be esoteric centers, but also the message of universal brotherhood which is essential to mysticism should be given freely to all people. To those who sympathize as well as to those who are not yet ready to understand it. It is by bringing this idea to every soul one meets and can speak to that one will be able to accomplish the work which many institutions in the world today are trying to accomplish, calling themselves peace leagues and various other names. Man may have a good motive, but a good motive can only give good results with right methods. Whenever there is a good motive nut no right method, the good motive will be of no avail. On the contrary, the good motive can bring bad results. Throughout world history whenever real brotherhood has been taught to humanity, it has always been conveyed by the mystical ideal.
Mystics of all ages have not been known for their miraculous powers or for the doctrines they have taught, but for the devotion they have shown through out their lives. The Sufi in the East says to himself,” Ishq Allah, Ma’bud Allah“, which means “God is Love, God is the Beloved”, in other words it is God who is love, lover, and beloved. When we hear the stories of the miraculous powers of mystics, of their great insight into the hidden laws of nature, of the qualities which they manifested through their beautiful personalities, we realize that these have all come from one the same source, whether one calls it devotion or whether one calls it love.
When we look at this subject from a mystic’s point of view, we see that love has two aspects. Love in itself, and the shadow of love fallen on the earth. The former is heavenly the latter is earthly. The former develops self-abnegation in a person; the latter makes him more selfish then he was before. Virtues such as tolerance, mercy, forgiveness and compassion rise of themselves in the heart which is awakened to love.
The infirmities such as jealousy, hatred and manner of prejudice begin to spring up when the shadow of love has fallen on the heart of the mortal. The former love raises man to immortality, the later turns the immortal soul into a mortal being. A poet has said that the first step in love teaches selflessness, if it is not experienced then one has taken a step in the wrong direction, although one calls it love. For man has learned from the moment he was born on earth the words “I am”. It is love alone that teaches him to say, “Thou art, not I”. For no soul can love and affirm its own existence.
Love in its first stage may be called affection, a tender feeling towards someone, be it mother or father or child or brother or sister, be it friend or mate. It is in affection that love begins to show itself, and even that first awakening one will see the phenomenon of selflessness. When an innocent child comes with a sweet to its mother and offers it to her, its delight is to see its mother take it instead of itself. There we begin to see how love in its incipient stage, and also selflessness taking its first step on the path of self-abnegation. One sees it in the form of the mothers’ compassion for the child. The self-sacrifice she shows staying up all night, sharing the pain of her child. Be anxious every moment when the child is away, rejoicing in its pleasures and sorrows over it troubles. In this love which is without passion, a love which only desires the child to grow and flourish and prosper while the mother’s self is merged in seeing this happen, in this love there is self-abnegation.
There is the love of a friend for his friend, the only reason for which is the admiration that one has for the other. But when there is real friendship between two people them the experience divine perfection, as in the Persian saying, “When two heart become one they can remove mountains.” To feel that there someone to whom we can place our confidence, that there is someone who understands us, whom we can trust, upon whom we can lean and rely. To whom we can open our heart, to know that someone will sorrow in our pain more then he will sorrow in his troubles, to know that there is someone in the world who share all that is good and beautiful with us, imagine what a feeling it is! If we put this friend on one side of the scale and the other side the whole world, the side where the friend is will weigh more then the other.
Then there is the love of one’s beloved mate, a beloved in whom one can see the beauty of God and hear the voice of God. One can long for that beloved, one can yearn all the time to attain to the presence of that beloved. When there is someone to long for to think about, then one begins to realize the truth in the saying that pain is preferable to pleasure. When one begins to feel the thought of one’s beloved, to over look all wrong that the beloved may have done, when one begins to see that all is right and beautiful and good in one’s beloved, then one is raised to experience the paradise of which the legends speak.
Rumi says, “Whether you have loved man or whether you have loved God, if you really loved you are brought in the end before the throne of love.” All the different aspects of love and devotion in their beginning mat appear wrong or right, but if there is love and devotion one arrives and the end at the stage which sages and masters have experienced. Love is purifying, love is strengthening, love is uplifting, and love gives life.
The one who says, “I love someone, but I hate someone else”, does not know what love means. How can one who loves, hate? It is impossible. The heart that is tuned to love, it is incapable of hate, it cannot hate. If it is capable of hate it cannot love, it has never loved. The person, who says that he did love his friend once but no longer loves him, has never known the light of love, real love. Love is living and therefore growing, love is growing and therefore expanding, there is no limit to the expansion of love, its source is divine thus its expansion is perfect.
Passions that arise in their various aspects are like smoke, it is affection, it is emotion which is the glow of love, and devotion is the flame that rises out of love that lights the path of the seeker. As God is eternal, so love is eternal. If there is truth in anything it is in love. If there is no truth in love there is no truth in anything. If there are any morals or principles they arise from love for that is the only principal and moral that is real. There are many doctrines and principles made by man, but these are simple laws. Love has its own law and it adheres to the law of no one.
Can a person reach perfection by love alone, without meditation? Man meditates because he cannot really love. The word love is misinterpreted, misunderstood. We use it in everyday life without knowing what it means. When once a soul begins to understand what it means, it is word too sacred to utter. No one can profess to love, for love should make us just and able to see our shortcomings and infirmities. Once the flame of love is kindled in the heart one feels so ashamed of oneself that one can no more say,” I love.”
People mostly falling love, as one says in English, but they never rise; though what is intended is to rise through love, not fall. All inspirations are revealed and the mysteries and secrets of life manifest to the view of the one whose heart is prepared by love all kinds of virtue spring from it.
People talk of ecstasy. Some say that visionary people or those that see spirits and ghosts have ecstasies, but they do not know what ecstasy means. Ecstasy is a feeling that comes only when the heart is tuned to that pitch of love, which melts it, which makes it tender, which gives it gentleness, which makes it humble.
When some one says, “I love the formless”, he professes something which is inaccurate.
He cannot love the formless with out first giving his love a form. If he has not recognized the formless in form he has not arrived at the love of the formless. When the beginning is not right the end will not be right. When one has recognized the formless in form and has loved the formless in a form so that one has experienced what self-abnegation means, when one has lost oneself, then the next step is the love of the formless. And what is this love? How does it manifest? It manifests in the love of all making man a fountain of love, pouring out over humanity the love that gushes from the heart, and not only to mankind, it may even reach all living beings.
Beauty which the knower appreciates and a lover admires, is worshipped by the mystic. It useless to try to put into words what beauty is, but if anything can explain it, it is the other word for beauty and that is harmony. It is the harmonious combination of colors, the harmonious combination of grouping lines. And the harmonious blending of the objects of nature that suggest to us the idea of beauty. In order to be beautiful an object most be harmonious, for in point of fact, harmony is beauty. If there is anything in the word that makes man unconscious of himself, in other words that makes him lose his self-consciousness, if there is anything that makes man humble, that makes him surrender willingly, it is beauty. Beauty is something that conquers without a sword, that holds without hands, that is more tender then the petals of a flower and stronger then anything in the world. The Prophet has said, “God is Beauty and He loves what is beautiful.”
Beauty can be divided into three aspects. The first one is beauty of the object world, of objects. This aspect of beauty is to be seen in nature. What attracts man unconsciously to the beauty of nature is the harmony, which it expresses. The sea, the mountains, the rivers, and the blue sky, the rising sun and the setting sun, the crescent and the full moon, they all seem to blend together so that a divine vision is produced that begins to speak to the soul. That is why the beauty of nature is uplifting. For the mystics, the prophets, and the sages this was a means of rising to that pitch where they could feel God. Then there was no longer a question of their believe in God for they felt God in the beauty of nature.
The other is the objective beauty which is art, the creation of man. This beauty appeals to one because it is a production, an imitation which the soul admires. Very often those details which one cannot see clearly in nature are noticeable in art. Thus art is sometimes the finishing of beauty which is expressed in nature. An image drawn by an artist can be more beautiful, or the reason that the artist has finished what nature had left unfinished. But who is working in the artist? The Creator Himself, what the Creator has left undone,
He has finished through the artist. Therefore creation of art are also uplifting. It is most inspiring when a person listens to the song of birds, yet a song sung or composed by a human being can be even more uplifting, for man has completed that beauty, it was is mission to complete it. It is for this that the world was created, that man might finish in his own way that which was nit yet finished in nature, so as to make beauty complete.
The second aspect of beauty is personal beauty, the beauty of the living being, whether in form and feature, or in thought and imagination, in merit and qualifications, or virtue and higher qualities. What is goodness? Beauty. What is right and wrong? That which is beautiful is right, that which lacks beauty is wrong. Is there then no such thing as what the religious people call sin and virtue? That which is beautiful is virtue, and that which lacks beauty is a sin. Are these not two opposite poles? There are when you look at them as opposite poles. When we look at the two ends of a line we that there are two ends, but whtn wt?look at the center of the line we see that it is one line. These opposite poles appear to us as two only when we look at the two ends. When the carpet on the floor is not laid down, as it should be then we say it is wrong, but there is no rule as to how it should be laid, it is only a sense we have of recognizing beauty. This sense is disturbed by seeing that the carpet is not laid straight, and so what is wrong is the lack of beauty.
the third aspect of beauty is the beauty of God, which means beauty in its perfection. In order to see this beauty one must develop spirituality, so that this beauty may manifest to one’s view. All that seems good and beautiful one can imagine in perfection as far as one’s imagination reaches, calling it the beauty of God. For beauty is only manifest to our view in its limitation, it is in God alone that we see beauty in its perfection. There is no object of which we can see that it is perfectly beautiful, nor is there anyone except in our ideal that we can attribute all beauty. We can make something as beautiful as possible but in reality all beauty belongs to the one and only, and that is God.
There are two ways of discovering beauty. One way is to find it in the distribution of all things and beings. What one person lacks another has got, what one tree lacks the other tree has, what the river lacks the sea has, what the desert lacks is to be found in the forest, what the earth lacks is to be found in the sky. Therefore, when we take beauty as a whole, we begin to get a glimpse of what it is. Beauty is never absent but when we take a part of it and look at only that, we shall certainly see some lack of beauty. Those who see beauty cut up in division, in sections, become critical. There are in pursuit of beauty, but they do not find it, they find a little in one person and a lack of it in another. Even when they find a little beauty in one person, they still find something lacking too. When we compare this with all the perfection of beauty, then the lack of beauty manifests much more to us then the beauty itself. Naturally therefore man becomes critical, and this tendency makes him blind to himself.
The other way of seeing divine beauty is to close ones eyes for a moment to the dense aspect of beauty in order to see the inner beauty. For instance the one who rises above the beauty of form begins to see the beauty of thought, the one who rises above the beauty of thought begins to feel the beauty of feeling, of sentiment, which is greater still; and the one who rises even above sentiment and sees the spiritual aspect of beauty sees beauty which is still greater. There is no end to the realization of the inner beauty. The inner beauty is much greater when compared with outer beauty, yet it does not make a person turn away from the outer beauty. It only makes him appreciate it more the others do.
Once an ascetic thinker was taken to a variety show in New York, where there were all sorts of dances and acts and different amusements, the one who took him there was eager to find out what his opinion about it was and said to him, “This must disgust you, a complatative person, to come and see this nonsense going on the stage.” He replied, “No, never. How can it be disgusting? Is it not my Krishna who is playing there?” It is those who have touched the inner beauty who are capable of appreciating beauty in all forms. It is not only that they appreciate it, they admire and worship it. If worship is given to anything or anyone it is to the Go who is hidden in the form of beauty.
The poems of the Sufis of Persia and elsewhere, such as Hafiz and Jami, Rumi and
Faird-ud-Din Attar, are not only philosophical statements, but they are written from beginning to end in admiration of beauty. If one where to dive deep into there every verse, one would find that each one was equal to a hundred books full of philosophy. Why? Because their souls have been moved to dance at the sight of beauty. What they have expressed in their words is living, burning, full of beauty. It penetrates the one who can feel it, who can admire it. Their poetry is their prayer. It might seem that it is sung to beauty, but to whom is it sung? Their song is to God?
The knowledge that the mystics seeks after is self-knowledge, the knowledge of one’s self, within and without, the only knowledge which is worth attaining. It is contrary to the general tendency of man; man always wants to know what is before him, and that is why he sees more faults in another and less in himself. He thinks that if anyone is wrong it is the other, because he is less conscious of his own mistakes.
Self-consciousness is something quite different from self-knowledge. The self-conscious one is never conscious of his real self, he is only conscious of the reflection that he receives from others. “Does this person hate me?” “Does that person speak against me?” That is the thought of the self-conscious. It is not that then he pities himself: “I am poor,” “I am so wretched,” “I am so miserable.”
Self-knowledge can be divided into four kinds, of which the first is knowledge of this physical vehicle, which we call our body. This vehicle had two aspects, the head and the body, the former for knowledge (for all the special organs of perception are situated in the head), the latter for action. Knowledge of the physical body does not end with knowledge of anatomy, in this body there are centers, which are the organs of intuition. In so far as science recognizes them they are nervous centers, but what the mystic sees in them is a subtle power of perception. Therefore, to a mystic the human body is a more perfect instrument then a wireless receiver, that is a dead thing compared to the human body. The human body is a living wireless receiver if it is prepared for that purpose. And so one asks why it is necessary that one should prepare it for that purpose, this would be like asking if it is necessary that we should see with the eyes that we have. The very fact that we have eyes means that we must see with them. Because of the very fact that the intuitive centers are situated in the physical body, it is necessary that man should be intuitive as well as intellectual. Besides to be intuitive and to be intellectual is not essentially tow different things, they are just like the two ends of the same line.
The next aspect of mans being is the breathing system, which in reality is not physical.
Breath as it is understood by science is the air which one inhales and its action on the lungs and other organs. But according to mystic the is a formation of man, it is magnetism, it is ethereal aspect of his being which is not only situated in the body, which is also around the body. It is by the power of this breath that man is able to stand and walk on this ever-moving world. The moment this energy which is breath fails, man can no longer stand on the ground even if the whole mechanism of the of his physical body is in perfect condition. Thus there is part of man which lives in the ethereal magnetism that he breathes and that gives him radiance and energy.
When we go further still we find that there is beingness that we believe to be perhaps within our body or perhaps somewhere else. One cannot point it out but it is there, and it is what we call mind. This thinking faculty has it seat in the physical body; but it is no doubt not limited by the physical body. It is independent of it. No doubt its function in the organs of sense and in the nervous centers in order to perfect man’s experience. Nevertheless it is independent of the physical body; it is a faculty that can exist without the physical body, as the eyes can exist without spectacles, the spectacles only help the eyes to see more clearly. The mind is the surface of that part of our being of which the depths may be called heart. The mind thinks the heart feels; the mind perceives, the heart reflects; the mind imagines, the heart enjoys. The thoughts of the mind are strengthened by the heart. Mind and heart are not two things; they are two aspects of one thing, the surface and the depths.
The fourth aspect of our being is beyond explanation. It is joy, happiness. Man seeks for joy and the circulation of the joy which belongs to the depths of man’s being is congested so that he cannot feel it, then he tries to experience it in what he calls pleasure. Pleasure is the shadow of happiness; something that passes away, that does not last. Being continually occupied in seeking the wrong thing instead of looking for what the right thing, man loses his hold on something that belongs to him: his happiness. He begins to look for it everywhere, wherever he thinks he can find it, but he may look for it all his life and yet it will always elude him. He thinks, “Now I have got it,” and it is lost. He thinks, “Now it is mine,” and it is no longer there. For it is a shadow, and the pursuit after a shadow is a pursuit after nothingness. The joy becomes eclipsed because man does not know that his very being is joy, that his very self is happiness.
By looking for happiness, what does man seek after? He is seeking after his self, though he does not know it. There is nothing so easily lost as self. In one instant a person can lose it, because he is always accustomed to hold things that are in his hand, and there is only one thing that happiness is lost in the search for pleasure, and self becomes drowned in the pursuit of outer things. The way of the mystic is to find self in all its aspects, to learn and to understand the self within and without.
One might ask why one could not understand self by studying human nature in general. The answer is that to study human nature is most interesting, but one can only study it well after one has studied oneself, for that enables him to understand human nature. As long as one remains ignorant to self one cannot study human nature properly. Often we hear people say, “I am so disappointed in my friends,” “I am so disheartened by my neighbors,” “I have lost my faith in mankind,” “I can bear animals, I can stand trees and plants better than human beings, I always try t avoid places where there are peoples.” Why do these thoughts come? Where do they come from and what causes them? It is lack of understanding of oneself. The more one understands oneself, the more one finds that everything that one finds lacking in others is also lacking in oneself. Does a person become less by finding faults in oneself? No, he becomes greater, for he not only finds that the faults, which are in others, are also to be found in him, but that all merits of the others are also his own merits. With faults and merits he becomes more complete, he does not becomes less.
What a great treasure it is when a man has realized that in him are to be found all the merits and all the faults which exist in the world, and that he can cultivate all that he wishes to cultivate, and to cut away all that should be removed! It is like rooting out the weeds and sowing and the seeds of flowers and fruits. One finds that all is in oneself, and that one can cultivate in oneself what he wishes. A world opens for the man who begins to look within himself, for it is not a little plot of ground that he has to cultivate, he has a world to make of himself and to make a world is sufficient occupation to live for. What more does one want? Many think that life is not interesting because they make nothing, but they do not realize that they have to make a world, that they are making a world, either ignorantly or wisely. If they make a world ignorantly then that world is their captivity, if they make a world wisely then that world is their paradise.
Only self-realization can give man full independence, It would be no exaggeration to say that by self-realization the heart of man becomes greater then the universe. The world in which man lives like a drop in the sea then becomes a drop in the ocean of his heart. The saints and sages, the illuminated souls who have brought light to others, have been the self-realized ones. One might ask, then where is the place of God, is self-realization brings one to perfection? The answer is that God is a stepping-stone to self-realization. The godly one is not always self-realized, but the self-realized is always godly. All the different ways that lead to God, the different religions, faiths, occults schools, mystical paths, all these bring one in the end to the same goal, and that is self-realization. Even where there is a great difference such as that between the teachings of the Hebrews and those of the Buddha, both teachings will meet in one thing, and that is self-realization.
There are four different ways by which one can attain to the knowledge of this truth. One person has been told that self-knowledge is the guide to perfection, and he says, “Yes, it must be so.” He knows no more than that. There is another person who has read in this or in that book that it is self-knowledge, which leads to perfection; he thinks it must be true because it is written in a book. There is a third person who has reasoned it out and by his reasoning, by synthesizing, he comes to the knowledge that it is one which has become many, that this variety is again gathered into one, and that this one is to be found in oneself. No doubt the more his reason helps him, the more he will be consoled. But then there is fourth person who realizes this truth himself, not by reason but by experience, and that is the way of the mystic.
How does the mystic proceed to experience it? By the mystical process of tuning the eyes within, by shutting out the outside world for a moment and going into meditation and by realizing “I do not exist as a physical body, which I always see myself to be, but I also exist as a life, as a magnetism, as an energy.” Meditation which lifts him, in other words the consciousness from the physical body, helps him to make it clear to the mystic that he is not only a physical body, but he is also a being of energy, of magnetism, of breath, by the touch of which the physical body lives, being attached to it. As he goes further in the meditative life, he then begins to see that the faculty of thinking, of imagining, of feeling, is independent of the first two aspects; that he himself is thought, that he himself is feeling, and that he himself is the creator of thought, even the creator of feeling. As he goes still higher, he sees that he is happiness himself as well as the creator of happiness.
It is by this process that one arrives at and experiences the happiness, which is in oneself and which does not depend upon anything else that is taken, as a substitute for it, must disappoint sooner or later. Therefore, if there is any knowledge, which can be said to be said to be only knowledge worth attaining, it is the knowledge of self.
THE REALIZATION OF THE TRUE EGO
The process of mystical development is the annihilation of the false ego in the real ego. Sufis call the false ego Nafs, and the real ego Allah or God. It is not that the false ego is our ego and the true ego is the ego of God. It is that the true ego, which is the ego of the Lord, has become a false ego in us. One might ask how something that is true can become false, but false and true are relative terms. In reality all is true and nothing is false. When we call something false it means that it is less true compared with that that is more true. Reality has become confused. The soul, coming from a higher source but having identified itself with a smaller domain, the domain of the body and the mind, has conceived in itself a false idea of itself; and it is this false idea which is called Nafs.
In all people the ego appears in different degrees of intensity. Where it is most intense a person appear to be egotistical. The one whom it less pronounced seems to be unselfish. The false ego with its greater intensity becomes bot only hard on others, but also on that man himself. The lion only cruel to other animals, but it is also very restless itself because of the intensity and strength of it ego. Whereas the lamb is much less hard on others and therefore it is not hard on itself. All manner of trouble and torture, of deceit and treachery, of cruelty and tyranny is born of false ego.
In its intensity the ego becomes blind, blind to justice. An intense ego is also devoid of life, and therefore of love. The man who loves himself cannot love others. A curious trick of the ego is that the egoist sees in every other person a pronounced ego. “Why has this person beautiful clothes?” “Why has he got a higher rank then I?” “Why is he more distinguished then others?” that is his continual thought. He always sees the other person as having something that he ought not to have, and by this trick the false ego makes him believe that others are egoistic, when on the contrary, it is he himself who is most egoistic, because his ego is hurt by the sight of the other ego.
All methods by which humanity tries to bring about better conditions fail is the psychology of the ego is bot studied. Hardly anyone gives it s thought. In working for the
construction of a new civilization many efforts are being made regardless of this principle secret of life. In the same reconstruction a great deal of cruelty is taken place, yet all think that are doing it foe the best of humanity. But no false ego can ever do anything for the best of humanity. One person who has risen above the false ego can do much more for the good of humanity then a thousand blinded by their false ego, pretending to do good. Too many people before having any idea of what to do about it, come forward and say that they want to do something good for humanity; and everybody’s way of doing good is different. This may seem strange and yet if we look at life with open eyes we see a thousand examples of it. In the same reconstruction of bringing good to the world, of changing life’s conditions, what methods people adopt! The reason is because they done the work of doing good to soon. One must know what kindness is before trying to be kind.
The Sufis recognize four stages in the development of the ego. The ordinary ego is called AMMARA, which means a mechanical recognition of mind, The mind which is conditioned to react against something to the same extent, tooth for tooth and measure for measure.
And either when suffering has developed the ego, or a person has learned to be different in life, then he becomes what the Sufis call LAUWAMA, which means self disciplined. A person who wants to talk back but thinks that it would perhaps be better if he did not, a person who would like to hit back, but at the same time thinks: “Better let it go this time”, shows that he is not acting mechanically but he asserting his will. Even when he does exactly the same as the other he shows he has will, his action is directed by his will.
When the ego is developed still more it becomes MUTMANIA. This is a certain rhythm of mind, where the mind has risen above chaotic motion and the mentality has rhythmic.
The action of the mind is not only in control, but a deliberate control. This condition of the mind is like a calm sea. All agitation that belongs to the ego has been suppressed. Suffering is the greatest teacher of the ego, and those whose personalities have become a source of consolation for others, a source of healing and upliftment, are those souls whose ego has risen above all agitation. When the ego is developed still further it becomes SALIMA, which means peaceful. According to the mystic this is the normal state for a person to be in. Though, if we took that point of view we would not be able to find many normal souls! In this condition we find that the world no longer has a jarring effect on us: we are above irritation, and all manner of agitation is removed. Peace is not something that can be found outside, it is within ourselves, though it is buried under the false ego. The false ego is like the tomb of a living being, not of a corpse. The living being is buried with in this tomb, which is made of the thoughts “I”, and “myself” and “what I am” and “why am I so”. The life thus suffered is suffocated, and there is a natural agitation, irritation and unrest; for the peace which is the depths of our being wishes to manifest view and the awakening of the soul depends only on the manifestation of this peace. How many souls are searching for some outer thing that can make them spiritual: dogmas, phenomena, experiments, anything but the exploring of the self! Willing to become confused, ready to be puzzled, happy with the riddles of life, contented to go into the dark caves in order to find something! Man never values plain words he always wants subtlety. He is pleases with something that he cannot understand and thinks that it must therefore be mysticism. If one realizes that spiritual development depends on the awakening of the false ego to its true existence, it own reality, how simple the way to spiritual perfection would become! Is it not true that we make our own difficulties? Where one step is needed we would like to go one hundred steps. It is for this that Hindus ask simple worshippers not to go directly onto the temple, but to go around it a hundred times before entering, so that they felt that they had walked sufficiently to be entitled to go in.
Such is the picture of human nature. The path of the mystic is the quickest path because he takes the path of simplicity, that he tells the truth in plain words. And yet is it as really as simple as it appears to be? The beauty is that in the simplicity of the mystics there is the greatest subtlety, sometimes a thing that looks all too gross may in the end prove to be the most fine.
Belief in God helps one to annihilate the false ego; but in order to believe in God one must first believe in the one who believes in God, in whom he places his confidence, in other words in his teacher. If one cannot fully believe in ones teacher then one can never believe in God. That is the first step in learning to believe, and the second step is believing in the ideal. it is not necessary for the ideal to exist on earth in form of a human being. This ideal may be in one’s heart, in one’s mind. Thirdly, one comes to believe in God, and in that believe one loses oneself, so that God covers the believer and all there is. In this way one arrives at the perfect realization of the true ego, which is the purest of the mystic.
THE TUNING OF THE SPIRIT
There are two sides to which one can look; one of these is before us and the other side is with in us. The first step of the mystic is to see the side that is before her, and her second step is to look at the side, which is with in her. The first view, which is minor development, is the view of the adept; and the other, the major development or stage, is the view of the mystic.
When people take the spiritual path they begin to interest themselves in psychology, occultism. Or some other existing subject believing that it is the same as mysticism or
esotericism. Real mysticism or esotericism begins simply with the first step, with looking outside. And at what does one look outside? At two things. One is that first a person asks himself how all he sees affects him and what is his reaction to it all. How does his spirit react to the objects or the conditions he encounters, to the sounds he hears, to the words that people speak to him? And the second thing is to see what effects he has on objects, conditions, and individuals when he comes in contact with them.
One must be jus to be able to analyze these things. If not, one may always look at them in a light, which is favorable to oneself and unfavorable to others. We hear many people say, “That person has a bad influence on me”; but no one says, “I have a bad influence on that person.” Most people think that everybody else is wrong and bad, and that everything undesirable is in everybody but themselves. To become just is the process of becoming an adept, an adept who is developing into a mystic.
After this comes the inner process, looking within. This is a most wonderful process. As soon as a person is able to look at his spirit, he is born again; it is a new life. By looking at ones spirit one can analyze how all that one says, thinks, and feels acts upon one’s spirit, and also how the spirit reacts. In this way one’s life is analyzed more and more. It seems like churning one’s spirit, and by this churning one brings out the cream of the spirit, and the cream is wisdom. The difference between the wise and the foolish is only this, the foolish looks at another whereas the wise looks at himself. Besides it is most wonderful to see the person who is most at fault sees many faults in others. Because he looks at others he has not yet been able to look at himself, but the moment that he begins to look at himself he does not look at others anymore. He then has so much to look at within himself that both of his hands are full.
Innumerable souls die without ever coming to this experience, they never even think about it. At the same time there is fine souls who might be quite young and yet have that perception. Wherever this perception is there is living spirit, even if one finds it in a little child. That child is then as old as his grandfather. It is an ‘old soul’ as a child, which shows wisdom, depth, and subtlety is called in the East. By ‘old’ it is meant that it shows more experience, it does not take a long time to make a person old in this sense. Many become old in very short time. There are people who from their childhood have showed that they are very old souls, they make utterances of great wisdom, as if they have experience on earth of hundreds of years. And sometimes people of very advanced age may think and feel and say and do things just as small child. This shows that the age of the soul does not correspond with the time since the birth of the person on this plane.
The soul, which can analyze its own spirit, is sparkling, for it is that soul which will train itself and train others. But the soul, which cannot analyze its own spirit, cannot train others. To keep the spirit in proper condition is as difficult or even more difficult than cultivating a delicate plant in a green house, where a little more sun may spoil it, a little more water may destroy it, a little more air might be bad for it. The spirit is even more delicate than that. A slight shadow of deception, mere feeling of dishonesty, a little touch of hypocrisy can spoil it. If fear touches it, if doubt shakes it, if anger strikes deep into its root, it is spoiled. The more delicate the spirit, the more delicate care it needs, it must be carefully guarded in the green house. A slight sense of dishonor, the least insult coming from any side, can kill it. Apart from man, the part of a horse can die the day that it feels the whip; once the whip has fallen upon it its spirit may be gone. No doubt, “killing the spirit” is only one way of speaking; spirit is never killed, and yet for the spirit that is killed in the meaning of this expression it is worse then death. Death preferable; life loses all its interest once the spirit is dead. It is better that a person die then his spirit should. Nevertheless, spirit is divine and spirit is eternal and it can always be restored if one only knows the key to it. What is this key? It is not an easy thing to find this key; it is not easy to mend the broken spirit. Not every one can raise the spirit when once it is fallen, for then it is heavier to lift than a mountain. But what one can say is that there is only one key, the first and the last, and that is found in seeking for the kingdom of God. It works as an antidote, and it helps one by tuning the spirit, by harmonizing one and putting one into rhythm. If this is combined with wisdom it is better still; That is why a person looks for a teacher on the path of wisdom, in order that the teacher may guide him to find the key.
There is delicacy in friendship, in all kinds of relationship; there is delicacy in meeting people. If that delicate thread is damaged or moved out of place something goes wrong. There is no more delicate machinery then the spirit of man. How careful man is with his electrical machinery! Every little wire is looked at with a magnifying glass, and every little part is guarded so carefully and kept so clean that no rust can come on it; no one may touch it! At the same time man has so regard for his spirit, Which is the most delicate machinery of all. Once it goes wrong it may never get right again; and it very easy for it to go wrong, while it is most difficult to repair. For other machinery we can get spare parts, but not for this machinery when once it is broken, when once something of it is lost. When one thinks of the illness and disagreeable experiences of the outer life, what about spirit? When once the spirit is disturbed then the whole universe is disturbed for that person.
What happens, very often unconsciously, is that there are friends who are very devoted to each other and then there is something in the machinery that goes wrong. Perhaps neither if them know this, but unconsciously the spirit of their friendship is destroyed; and is most difficult to mend it. Then there is no joy of friendship anymore. Friendship lasts as long as delicate thread exists, as long as the machinery is proper order. Besides all of the external things of life, money power position or comfort, are nothing in comparison with the condition of one’s spirit. If the spirit is disturbed none of these things has any value what’s so ever; it is all lost.
There is a story of a king who one day called a porter and gave him a command, and after giving this command he went into his room and signed his abdication to the throne. His wizars asked him why he did this, what had gone wrong. He said, “When I was giving that porter his command I saw by his expression that it was not received in the same way as he received orders up until now. So something must have gone wrong in my spirit; I should no more handle the affairs of the state.” It takes a long time to become fit, and it does not take a minute to become unfit. It is most difficult to collect the spirit and make it works as it ought to; the least little thing can upset it. Think of how many different parts must be made to make a watch go regularly, and how easy it is to drop the watch and destroy it.
There are some people who have no spirit; that is to say whose spirit is still buried. They do not care they are quite happy, although they do not know what true happiness means.
But for others who are very much aware of their spirit there is nothing more difficult than to keep it in the right condition. No sacrifice is too great and nothing we can do is too much to keep the spirit in tune. The mystic therefore trains his spirit; it is the training of his own spirit that enables a man to help those that come to him.
The story of Ayaz gives us an example of this. That is the way to tune the spirit to cleanse it, to purify it, to humble it, to mold it to efface whatever may have clouded it, and to raise it high. Everything that is necessary should be done with it. And it is not easy to handle the spirit. Many who do not know how to handle it break it, just as children break their toys. When once the spirit is destroyed, what is left? It should be remembered that greatness and smallness, happiness and wretchedness are all effects coming from the condition of the spirit. We are as great as our spirit, we are as low as our spirit, we are as small as our spirit can make us all that we are.
Verily, if there is anything that is more necessary than else, it is to be able to tune one’s spirit.
THE VISION OF THE MYSTIC
That which mystic cannot see or does not see before his eyes he sees in space; and therefore if a thousand people say, “This does not exist”, yet for the mystic it does exist.
While they depend on the objective world one-day to produce their thought in a material form, the mystics sees it already in space. Naturally his faith becomes more firm and powerful, whereas the faith of those who depend upon the objective world becomes weaker every time their wish does not come true. When a person says of something that it is not there, the mystic says, “It is there, it is before me, I see it.” But because the other cannot see it he is confused; thus the same idea that confuses the one confuses the other in his faith. This is how the mystics build steps to climb to his final destination, which is the real meaning of resurrection. Whereas the man that has not made any steps, no sooner loses touch with the objective world than he is lost in space. The mystics finds steps already made in space to help him on his climb upward, but the other finds himself lost when once the garb of the objective world is discarded. Then the soul feels no ground under his feet, while the mystic has already attained his goal.
When a mystic sees something before his eyes in space, does he see it in the three-dimensional space or in space of more dimensions? This space of three dimensions is reflected by the space, which is in the inner dimension. The inner dimension I different, it does not belong to the objective world; but what exists in the inner dimension is reflected in the three dimensional space. SO in reality what a mystic sees in space is something that is within. When a mystic closes his eyes he sees it within; but when he opens his eyes he sees it before him. That which he sees within himself is reflected to the outer space. Whenever one else depends on his two hands for making and preparing things, the mystic sees time preparing them. Therefore time and space are the hands and feet of the mystic. Through space he climbs, and through time he accomplishes.
As there is a season for everything, as there is a fixed time for nature to manifest, so there is a season for every happening. Good luck, bad luck, rise, fall, health, illness success, and failure all depend upon a certain time. There is a time for every season as well as every experience; and as there is a time for birth so there is a time for death. Every thought, every action, and every condition has a birth and a death, and each has a fixed time. When one has become convinced of the fact that every happening is brought about by time and is fixed at a certain time, then naturally one develops faith. Then ones believes that what is not realized today will be realized tomorrow, someday.
The great drawback we find in humanity today is its lack of patience. If people can accomplish something at once then it is all right, but if not then they think that it cannot be done. Only if anything can be done quickly can it be done; if it cannot be done as quickly as one aspect this means that it cannot be done at all. There are thousands of people today who already accept failure before failure becomes apparent, because they have no patience to wait for success to come. Although success maybe preparing; yet they are in such haste they would rather turn the success into a failure than wait for it. The reason is that this mystery, which is the mystery of the mystics—that everything depends upon a certain time– is forgotten by most people.
Time uses conditions to bring about certain results, and very often a seemingly good condition may be preparing a bad result. Frequently, therefore, a person who depends only upon the objective phenomena makes a mistake, is deluded. The mystic sees in both adverse and favorable conditions that which is going to happen. He does this by believing in the action of time and space, and by believing that there is no such thing as coincidence or accident. It is only because we are unaware of where an action has started, of what has brought it about, and of what is preparing, that we call something a coincidence or an accident. In reality there is no such thing. Everything happening, whether it comes by our own will or by a higher will, is prepared, is directed by wisdom. If it is not directed by individual will it is directed by a greater wisdom and it brings about greater result. The mystic therefore waits that the result which is brought about by time and space through different conditions.
For the divine mind time and space exist and yet they do not exist. For a great musician sound is the breath of music, and yet in order to play or to compose music he must divide sound into different grades and notes, and that produces beauty. The divine mind is also interested in composition, this music of the whole creation. Therefore, it is the division of time and space that the secret of the whole of manifestation lies. If the divine mind were not interested in the manifestation then God would not be the Creator. God is the Creator because of the interest of the divine mind in creation.
This brings us to the question of the world of silence. The mystic realizes the power of the word, and at the same time the splendor of silence. The word can do so much, but even more can be accomplished by silence. Great phenomena are produced by the mystics, who know the power of the word, and how to use it. But, even greater miracles are performed by them through the splendor of their silence.
Life is the answer to the mystics’ question. With every question that arises in the heart of the mystic he has but to look at life and it answers him. Even a question about some business or industry is revealed to the mystic just by looking at a tree. Someone is laughing, someone is crying, someone is talking, someone is working, and every one of those actions is an answer to what the mystic wishes to inquirer into. No sooner does a sound fall on his ears, no sooner are his eyes cast upon an object, condition, or individual, than the answer to the question which has arisen in his heart comes to him. The mystic need not go to a palmist to ask what is going to happen, he is not in pursuit of soothsayers, the mystic need not consult horoscopes; the whole of life, everything he looks at, is the answer to his question. And if he does not wish to look at the objective he has only to close his eyes and find the answer within himself. The objective answer is waiting for him in the outer world, and the answer from the inner voice is waiting within. Thus he has two ways open to him for receiving an answer to his questions. Can one be surprised, therefore, if the mystic closes his mouth and speaks to no one for years on end? Why should he speak to anyone? What should he ask? There is nothing to ask.
In different ages and in different countries people have adopted methods such as looking at random at scriptures to find the answer to their questions, or consulting the cards, or looking in the tea cup and such superstitions: any thing the suggests something, to the sound of a certain bird, that predicts something. The mystic does need all of this. Everything all the time is answering his questions. Life is such a mystery that there comes a time when we begin to see that every action; everything that is going on, as an answer to that which is going on within ourselves. For instance a man is walking in the street, thinking about his business or his domestic affairs, then suddenly a horse becomes restive and breaks the carriage it is drawing, upsetting the coachman, Now these are two different things. The man is thinking about something, and the horse, which has nothing to do, upsets the carriage. It is another all together, but at the same time for the mystic everything is connected. There is no condition which is detached from another condition. Every condition has a correspondence, a relation with another condition, because for a mystic there is no divided life; there is only one life, one Being, and one mechanism which is running. And therefore a mechanism is always running in relation to another mechanism: however different and disconnected they may seem, they are not disconnected. One has only to see it, then all is revealed to one; but in order to see it one has to first to open the mystic eye.
What questions has the mystic to ask? The greater mystic, the fewer the questions. The further he goes on this path, the fewer his question become. For the more questions one has, the more unmystical one is, because questions are born of the restlessness of the mind. The restless mind wants to find an answer somewhere; and as more peace comes, the questions become fewer. The nearer, the closer to peace one comes, the fewer will be ones questions. By finding peace, by finding light, by finding harmony and joy, the questions are reduced to nothing. Then there is no longer any questions. The moment the mystic has reached this stage where he has no questions, he himself becomes the answer to every question.
At one time I wanted to take a friend to meet my murshid. This friend was a very material man, restless and pessimistic and doubting and skeptical. And everyday I urged him to come with me and meet my murshid. “But,’ he asked, “what can he do for me?” I said, “You can as him something.” He said, “I have twenty thousand questions to ask, when could he answer them?” I said, “You can ask one or two of the twenty thousand, that is already something.” “Well,” he said, ” one day I will see.” And indeed sometime later he came along, but the moment he reached my murshid’s presence he forgot every single question and did not know what to ask. He was sitting spellbound and breathing the atmosphere of the master’s presence; he had no desire to ask a question. And after the interview, when we were leaving the house of my murshid, h again began to feel inclined to twenty thousand questions, this time of me, and when I asked him why he had forgotten them there, he only answered, “I cannot understand why.”
Where do questions come from? Very often they come from the restlessness of the mind. And does any answer satisfy them? Never. During my travels I went thrice to San Francisco, and each time I saw a lady who always asked me the same question. Each time I answered her, and each time when I came again she asked me the same question. This meant for fifteen years there was a question and there was an answer; but that answer was never heard. One ear heard it and the other ear let it out again and the question remained there alive. A question is a living being, it does not wish to die; the answer kills it, and therefore those kindly souls that wish to cherish the question, keep the answer away, although the question calls out for an answer. Do not be surprised, therefore if for twenty years a person asks a question of two thousand other people and gets two thousand answers. It does not mean that the answer that he gets does not satisfy him; it only means that he does not wish to have the answer. He only wishes to cherish the question.
THE MYSTIC’S NATURE
There are five things to consider when one is trying to understand the nature of a mystic; his temperament, his dream, his outlook, his meditation, and his realization. It is not easy to find out whether a soul is a mystic or not. But as gilt and gold are two different things, and as imitation gold does not endure when it is tested, so it is with one who is not a true mystic. It is easy to talk as a mystic, to act as a mystic, but it difficult to pass the test when it comes.
Once a mystic, walking in a garden, noticed a particularly beautiful rose. Attracted by its beauty hr exclaimed, “Praise be to God!” and went and kissed it. His disciples, who were walking behind him, then each picked a flower and kissed it fifty times. The gardener was annoyed and came towards them grumbling, but they said they had followed the example of their teacher. The teacher kept silent. But when they had gone a little farther they saw a smith at work, and a hot iron was glowing in the fire. The teacher approached, spoke the same words, “praise be o God!” and took the hot iron and kissed it. He asked the disciples, “Why do you not follow me in this?” But none of them dared to do it.
In the East when people know that somebody is a mystic, they do not try to pass judgement if he had kissed a flower or if he kissed the fire. They regard it all as belonging to the mystic temperament.
There is another story of a mystic that explains a different side of his temperament. It is about the leader of the Qadiri Sufis in Baghdad, who was one of the greatest of the world’s mystics. One day at the time when he was getting ready to eat his dinner a mother came to him, very vexed with the teacher. On his table was a dish of chicken. And she said, “You have given my son a vegetarian diet, he is becoming thinner and paler every day; and here you are eating chicken!” The teacher smiled and said gently, “Good lady look here,” and he took off the cover of the dish and the chicken jumped out. And he added, “The day your son can make the chicken jump out he can eat meat too.”
One cannot pretend to be a mystic; one is born a mystic. No doubt a mystic may develop in life, that is another thing, but if one thinks that one can imitate a mystic one is mistaken, one can never do it. Mystics apart, can a person imitate singer and sing correctly, or imitate a painter and paint well, or a poet and make poetry? Never either one is or one is not.
As an education, in all the different kinds of training, there are certain degrees one reaches as one advances, so in mysticism also there are degrees. Such names as Wali, Ghauth, Qurb, Nabi, and Rasul belong to the different degrees of masters, saints and prophets.
The temperament of a mystic is a kingly temperament. The difference between a king and a mystic is that the mystic is a king without worry. And his main idea is that what ever happens, happens for the best; in other words, nothing really matters. For a mystic time does not exist; it is only to be found on the clock. Life for is eternal, and the time between birth and death is an illusion. The mystic temperament is adventurous and impulsive. The mystic can readily jump into anything and come out of it again; into the water, into the fire, whatever it may be. If the mystic thinks that he most go to the south or he feels he must go to the north, he will not trouble his brain by asking himself why he should go. He only knows that there is a call for him to go, and he goes; perhaps he finds the reason there.
Every good and every bad experience he accepts as a lesson, and he thinks that all of them lead him onward. If is a bad experience it is also a lesson; if is a good experience, so much the better; but they are all leading him towards his purpose in life. The quality of a mystic is the outing quality, the sympathetic, loving quality; and yet the mystic is detached and indifferent. Deep love on the one side, indifference on the other; together they make the balance of his life. In loving another he loves God, in serving another he serves God, in helping another he helps God: and all this way he worships. In worldly life, neither a rise or a fall is important to him, but at the same time he may experience all things. Be not surprised if you see a mystic on the throne, adorned with gold and silver and jewels, and do not feel contempt if you see a mystic ,clad in rags, in the form of a beggar in the street. In all conditions he is the king, and a king with out worry, a king whose kingdom will endure, a king who is never in danger of losing his kingdom.
The mystic temperament is the same as any human being, only perhaps more intense. A mystic can be intensely please and he can be intensely displeased. He can feel joy deeply and he can feel sorry very deeply, much more deeply then the average person, because he lives more and therefore feelings are more intense. At the same time it is the self-control of the mystic that balances his pleasure and displeasure, his joy and sorrow. It may that others cannot realize it or feel it; nevertheless, if the mystic’s feelings were not delicate, and if there were no subtlety in him, he could not be a mystic. On the one hand the mystic is most subtle; on the other hand he is most simple. He can be most wise, and he can be quite innocent. People call the mystic Pir, which means old, and yet he can be like a child, like an infant. He may control giants, and yet he may be led by a little child. The words of the mystic may be simple and at the same time full of depth. His every expression is symbolical, for he sees the symbol of life an all names and forms.
And now we come to the dream of the mystic. It may be that other people have seen a mystic in trance, or meditating with closed eyes; but this is not necessary. With open eyes or with closed eyes: the mystic can dream. To the mystic the dream is reality, although to another it might seem a dream. It is reality to the mystic because of his faith in what is written in the Qur’an, that when God said, “Be!” it became and also in what the Vedanta say, that manifestation is the dream of Brahma the Creator. The mystic, who realizes the Creator within himself, thinks that his dream is the Creator’s dream; if the Creator’s dream is all this which we call reality, then the dream of the mystic is the same. If it is still in the mental sphere, that does not mean that it will never materialize; it will surely materialize one day.
Yet one often sees that the mystic lives above the world, and many think that he is not conscious of the world. But they do not know that for that very reason that he lives above is more it he is more conscious of it. One might think that a person who is flying in an airplane does not what is going on in the crowd beneath him because he is in the sky, but this is not so. One who is flying in the air is more capable of seeing what is going on below, for he can see a wider horizon then the one who standing on the earth. Very often people misunderstand a mystic. They think the mystic, who is dreamy, is above the things of the world, above business and industry and politics. But they are mistaken; they do not realize that a clear intelligence can do everything better if it is applied in that direction, although the question remains whether a mystic would think it worth while to put his mind to it. I was very surprised when one day Mr. Ford told me, “If you had been a business man you would have been a very tremendous success, but I am glad that you are not!” Never, therefore think that a mystic with his eyes closed or with his head turned away, is not looking at you. The mystic can sometimes be more conscious of the condition of those before him than they are themselves.
Thirdly there is outlook of the mystic. The mystic not only sees the reason of everything and anything; he sees the reason behind the reason, and behind that still another reason, until he touches the essence of reason, where what we call reason is lost. As far s we can see we see only a cause, but what the mystic sees is deeper then a cause; it is the cause of all causes. And by this his outlook changes from the ordinary outlook. Thus it may happen that the language of the mystic seems gibberish; people cannot understand its wisdom because they only use their reason.
The mystic is the friend of many, but for a mystic to find a friend is difficult. It is difficult enough for anyone to feel that there is even a person in the world who understands him, so how much more difficulty must it be for the mystic! He can only try to understand himself; but if he can do that it is quite sufficient. The mystic does not concern himself much with what will be the immediate result of anything; he concerns himself with what will be the final result. This makes his point of view different from the worldly point of view. The outlook of the mystic shows him that the rise is for a fall and that the fall is for a rise; in other words, after the night comes the day, and the day awaits the night.
In regard to the mediation of the mystic one should remember that he is born with meditative nature as an inner disposition, and every day, even without ever having learned any meditation, he has some way of meditating. No doubt every mystic finds a way and guide and master who leads him forward, but all the time he is ready for guidance. The mystic never has to day that it is difficult for him too meditate; he is at home in meditation. It is his nature, his pleasure, his joy. Meditation is his life; in meditation he lives. And the meditation which lasts five or ten or fifteen minutes id to the mystic only a kind of winding up. His meditation takes place every moment of the day; there is not one moment when he is not meditating, what ever he may be doing. In the crowd and in the solitude, on land and on water, in silence, and while working, in all conditions the mystic continues his eternal meditation.
Lastly there is the mystic’s realization. It the mystic who realizes the latent power in man, and he nay realize it even to such an extent that no man could believe it if it to be put into words. He realizes the latent inspiration in man, an inspiration which culminates in revelation, when every object and every being begins to communicate with him, when he knows and sees and understands and realizes the essence of the whole of life. The mystic knows, if anyone knows, what limitation means, for that is wherein lies his suffering, his pain; and the mystic knows what perfection means, for it is in perfection that his joy and his happiness are to be found.
THE INSPIRATION and POWER of the MYSTIC
The mystic, when his heart is about to mature in the mystic spheres, need not have an inspiration once and a while; his every thought imagination and dream have a meaning; it is all inspirational. Thus even a joke of a mystic has a meaning to it. Perhaps the joke is symbolical, maybe it expresses something that is going on somewhere, or may be that it will produce something in the future. And even as the joke of the mystic has meaning, influence and effect, so every though and imagination of a mystic has an effect. When he thinks of something it may materialize the week after, or next month or next year, or perhaps after many years, but all that a mystic says or thinks is fulfilled sooner or later.
People speak about truth and falsehood, but once the mystic has reached the truth all is truth to him; then everything is a phenomenon of truth, a picture of truth. For instance person looking at a picture may distinguish light and shade, but another instead of speaking of light and shade, will say, “This is a portrait of so and so, it is a very good picture, exactly like him.” Truth is like this; and so to a mystic the whole of life is a picture of the divine Beloved. He appreciates the picture as it is, accepting both its light and shade. He does not ask, as some would, why God who is perfect has not made everything perfect; he sees the whole as a perfect whole, and the imperfection is something that goes to make the perfect whole. Therefore the mystic does not look at imperfection as imperfection, but as something that leads to perfection. And if one wonders whether a mystic sees only the outline of this existence and not the details, one may ask who can see detail then the mystic who sees the reason behind reason, the cause behind the effect, and again another cause behind every cause. He sees every object in detail, and even in that he sees the divine perfection.
A mystic can know the thought of another person even better than can that person who is thinking, and he can feel the feeling of another even more deeply then he. One may call this natural or subnatural. The mystic knows the attitude of a person, of which he himself is often unaware. While others go one step forward physically or mentally, the mystic goes ten steps forward; that is why h sees what is there before the other has arrived. To a mystic space is no hindrance; space is his means of communication. A longer or shorter distance, in the physical sense of the word, is not the same from the mystical point of view. It takes no time for the soul of a mystic to reach any part of the world. As soon as he has had the thought he is there. The three dimensions are no obstacle, no hindrance to him; all three dimensions are a capacity, an accommodation for the mystic to realize life’s phenomena.
We hear stories about faqirs sticking knives into their cheeks and hairpins through their tongues, piercing their muscles, jumping into the fire, swallowing flames, eating thorns, but all this is juggling compared with the power of the mystic. People are often apt to compare a mystic with a juggler, but they are two different beings altogether. This does not mean that these jugglers have no power; they are powerful too. But their world is different, their object in life is different, and they have another sphere, another destiny, another destination. A mystic may not do any of the things that jugglers do, and yet the mystic may accomplish far greater things than the jugglers. A so-called man of common sense, who considers himself to be practical, cannot imagine the power that is at the command of the mystic. Only the non-mystic boasts of his power and shows off to people, whereas the mystic neither speaks about it nor does he exhibit his powers before others.
Once I met a great scientist in New York, who said to me, touching his pen lying on the table, “If there is really a spiritual power, a mystic power, I would like to know if it is possible to lift this pen by this power.” I said, “Do you think that a mystic will waste his energy in making this experiment, raising a pen in space? And if he did it, what would he have gained? Would he not sooner raise a soul higher, bringing him to another sphere, raising his ideal, his aspirations, instead of trying to raise this little pen lying on the table? What will he get for it? Praise? He does not want it. That people will believe in him? He does not care. Praise is not his object nor does he care if people believe in him. Why should he trouble about these things?”
Then I told him a story of a juggler I myself had seen in the streets of India, in Baroda. A man used to sit on a corner with his mantle spread on the ground, and he had little horses and elephants and camels and dogs and cats cut out of paper and painted. They were lying on his mantle, and the man had a tambourine in his hand; people crowded round him to see the phenomena he was going to show. He would begin to sing, and after his song of introduction was ended it would seem that some life was coming to those animals. Then he would sing, “Horses, run,” and as long as he repeated this the horses ran. Then he would say, “Camel, walk,” and the camels would begin to walk. When he would say, “Elephants move,” the elephants would move.
Those who eat thorns or swallow different colored balls and then take them out again to show them, what has it got to do with mysticism? It has no connection. Some of these jugglers are most powerful, but their kind of power does not belong to the higher spheres; is belongs only to their world. It is from the mystics that destiny chooses those who have accomplished a certain work for the multitude, for humanity, for certain races; and most unassumingly, quietly, they accomplish that work without the world knowing anything about it.
In the East there is a belief that a mystic should not be judged by what he says or what he does, because for all we know what he says may be only a cover over that which he is accomplishing. One might sometimes think that a mystic is very attached, but in point of fact the mystic can be the most detached, but there is no doubt that the mystic can be exceedingly attached. One might think that a mystic lives in his dream, but one should know that the mystic can be more wide-awake than anybody else. If someone thinks that the mystic is very wakeful in his every-day life, he should realize that behind that wakefulness there is perhaps a deep dream, which not everyone can understand. In my play The Bogeyman there is a description of the strange ways of a guru, who seems to be one thing and in reality is something quite different. It is not easy for anyone to realize the truth of this; and if people try to realize the truth they will only confuse themselves still more. Is then a mystic’s view open to his friends? It is, As the Bible is to its readers. Those who read the words of the Bible read its words; and those who get sense out of what they read, get sense. It is available to both. Will there always remain this distance between the mystic and the unevolved? The unevolved are distant from the mystic, but he mystic is not distant from the unevolved. The mystic remains close to the evolved and the unevolved. And the most wonderful characteristics that one can observe in a mystic are on one side extreme simplicity, and on the other side extreme subtlety. Both of these characteristics are true in themselves; in the mystic his subtlety and complexity are as real as is his simplicity. The subtlety is the depth; the simplicity is the surface. This means that wisdom is covered by innocence.
Is a mystic religious? He is religious in the real sense of the word, even more so than an ordinary religious man. Yet mysticism is deeper than religion. In other words, mysticism is the soul of religion. A person follows a religion follows its form; the one who touches mysticism touches the spirit of religion. Religion with mysticism is living, without mysticism it is dead.
The great teachers and inspirers of humanity in all ages were mystics. One only has to study their lives. Whether they came as a king or as a beggar, whether they lived in the thick of worldly life or were wandering about in the forest as ascetics, whether they lived in caves or played the role of a commander, a warrior, or a statesman. In every case they were different from the others. And from their childhood, from the beginning to the end of their lives, they have shown their mystical tendencies. Thus all the saints and sages and masters and prophets come from among mystics; and if any souls rises, it is the mystical soul which rises to the higher planes of realization.
Illusion is the cover of all things; reality is the depth of things. The body is the illusion; the soul is the reality. The flower is the illusion; the fragrance is the reality. The fragrance is the spirit of the flower it persists.
Man is not made by God as woo is cut by the carpenter; for the carpenter and the wood are different, while God and man are the same. Man is made of the substance of God; man is in God, and all that is on God is on man.
Belief cannot be taught; it cannot be learned; it is the grace of God. To affirm a belief is one thing; to realize belief is another.
The aim of the mystic is to stretch his range of consciousness as widely as possible, so that he may touch the highest pride and the deepest humanity. The only fall for a mystic is to fall beneath the level of his ideal.
A man, who has no imagination stands on the earth, he has no wings he cannot fly.
When we are face to face with truth, the point of view of Krishna, Buddha, Christ or any other Prophet, is the same. When we look at life from the top of the mountain, there is no limitation; there is the same immensity.
To every question that arises in the heart of the mystic, he finds the answer in the life before him.
The false shows itself; all that is true proves itself.
That which is not beautiful in its effect cannot be real beauty.
It is those who have the inner beauty who are able to appreciate beauty in all its forms.
The beauty, which the knower knows and the lover appreciates the mystic worships.
The difference between spirit and soul is like that of the sun and the ray. The ray is the ray of the sun, but at the same time the sun is the sun, and the ray is the ray.
God is the essence of beauty; it is His love of beauty that has caused him to express His own beauty in manifestation.
Beauty is God’s desire filled in the objective world.
Beauty is the depth of the soul; its expression in whatever form is the sign of the souls unfoldment.
When an individual becomes a person, the beauty hidden with the individual, which is divine, develops; and that development of beauty is personality.
Beauty is hidden in every soul, however wicked; and our trust and confidence in the beauty of the soul helps to draw out that hidden beauty which must shine one day.
Most unbelievers have a very near horizon, like bird in a covered cage that do not know that there is anything beyond.
The wonderful thing is that the soul already know to some extent that there is something behind the veil, the veil of perplexity, that there is something to be sought for in the highest spheres of life, that there is some beauty to be seen, that there is someone to be known who is knowable.
This desire, this longing is not acquired; it is a dim knowledge of the soul which it has in itself. Therefore disbelief in God is nothing but a condition brought about by the vapors arising from this material life and covering like clouds the light of the soul, which is its life.
If this world offers to a person all that it possesses, even then the soul is not satisfied, for it satisfaction lies in its higher aspiration, and it is this higher aspiration which leads to God.
If the mind did not stand as a hindrance to the intuition, every person would be intuitive, for intuition is more natural and more easy then the reasoning of the mind.
What comes from without is not intuition; intuition is something that rises from ones own heart and brings a sense of satisfaction, of ease and of happiness.
The life of a man, however great and spiritual, has its limitations. Before the condition of the life of the greatest man earth, the most powerful soul, will for moment seem helpless; but it is not the beginning that counts; it is the end.
It is the last note that a great soul strikes, which proves that soul to be real and true.
There can be no better sign of spiritual development than control over passion and anger. If one can control these, one can control life.
The secret of seeking the will of God lies in cultivating the faculty of sensing harmony. For harmony is beauty and beauty is harmony, and the lover of beauty in his further progress becomes the seeker of harmony; and by trying always to maintain harmony, man will tune his heart to the will of God.
If it were not for pain, life would be most uninteresting, for it is by pain that the heart penetrated.
Since the nature of life is action and reaction, every outer experience has a reaction within, and every inner experience has it reaction in the outer life.
In the spheres of conscious the soul of man and the Spirit of God meet and become one.
To a soul which is wide awake, the Judgement Day does not come after death. For that soul everyday is Judgement Day.
Every step forward gives a certain amount of freedom of action, and as one goes further and further on the path of truth the freedom becomes greater at every step.
The more ones regards the feelings of others, the more harmony one can create.
The heart in its depth is linked up with the divine Mind, so in the depths of the heart there is greater justice then on the surface.
Inspiration comes when knowledge and the inner light, falling on one’s own conception of things, come together in the conscience, which is the court of God, where He Himself sits on the thrown of justice.
Happiness is our birthright; in our happiness is the happiness of God.
Thought has its birth and death like a living being, and the life of a thought is incomparably longer then that of a living being in the physical body.
The mind is a world, a world which a man makes and in which he will make his life in the hereafter, as a spider lives in the web it has woven.
To what does the love of God lead? It leads to that peace and stillness which can be seen in a life of a tree; it flowers and bears fruit for others and expects none in return.
Verily, he who pursues the world will inherit the world; but the soul who pursues God will attain in the end to the presence of God.
A material person has a silent craving in his heart to probe the depths of the spiritual ideal, which disowns.
There is nothing in this world which does not speak. Everything and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character, and its secret; and the more the inner sense is open, the more capable it becomes of hearing the voice of all things.
When once the inner sense has broken the walls around it, it breathes the freedom and happiness which is the soul’s own property, and which the soul then attains.
The sign of the enlightened soul is the readiness to understand.
The soul comes to a stage of realization where the whole of life becomes to him one sublime vision of the immanence of God.
The brain may be said to be the seat of the intelligence, and the heart to be the throne of wisdom.
Wisdom may be called spiritual knowledge.
The real place, which the heavens are made, are within man.
The soul is the ray of that sun which is the infinite Spirit.
The soul is the action of the heavenly Sun. It manifests and returns, as man exhales and inhales.
God is love; so God is beyond the law, for love is above the law.
If we come to any solution of our ever-rising questions, it is never by studying the law that we find satisfaction, but by diving deep into love and letting love inspire us.
If one has learned while on earth how to create joy and happiness for oneself and others, in the other world that joy happiness will surround one; and if one has sown the seeds of poison, one must reap those fruits there. Thus one sees that justice is the nature of life.
The Judgement Day is everyday, and one realizes this as one sight becomes more keen. Every hour, every moment in life has its judgement.
What connection has the soul which has passed form the earth with those still on this plane? The connection of the heart still keeps intact, and it remains unbroken as long as the link of sympathy is there.
To create happiness for oneself and others is the whole philosophy of religion.
What is Sufism? It is wisdom. To learn wisdom at every step one the path of life is the only work of the Sufi.
The one who is the slave of conventionality is a captive; the one who is the master of conventionality is the possessor of that kingdom which is mentioned in the Bible: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the kingdom of the earth.”
As soon as a person begins to regard the pleasure and displeasure of God in the feelings of every person he meets, he can only be refined, whatever his position in life.
The human soul is by nature perfect, but the life of limitations on earth brings imperfections to it.
The sense of shame is the channel which leads to that goal which is called Perfection.
Beauty, in all its aspects is beyond price.
Often the sense of shame works like a sharp knife upon a feeling heart, but it only makes it like a cut diamond: for by it we come to realization that what is most precious in life is feeling.
The heights of every civilization show the fineness of human feeling, which is the highest of all aspects of culture.
What the moon seems to give as light, is not its own; it is the light of the sun. So it is with the divine messengers of all times.
When a soul arrives at its full bloom, it begins to show the color and spread the fragrance of the divine Spirit of God.
The one who does not seek God, at the end of the journey of illusion has a great disappointment; for throughout his whole journey he has not found perfection of love, beauty, and goodness on the earth, and he does not believe in, or expect to find, such an ideal in heaven.
Ever soul seeks for happiness, and after running after all the objects which for the moment seem to give happiness, it finds out that nowhere is there perfect happiness except in God.
All souls in the world are receptacles of the message of God; not only human beings, but even the lower beings convey the message of the One and the Only Being.
No sooner has the heart become living then the law of justice manifests.
God is both judge and forgiver. He forgives even more than He judges; for justice comes form his intelligence, but forgiveness comes from His divine love.
When God’s divine love rises as a wave, it washes away the sins of the whole of life in a moment, for law has no power to stand before love; the stream of love sweeps it away.
The very thought of the love of God fills the heart with joy and relieves its burden.
The kingship of God manifests in the blooming of every soul.
The finest things are to be felt; words cannot express them. Noise only spoils their beauty and robs them of preciousness.
The attitude of looking at everything with a smile is the sign of a saintly soul.
As the sunshine from without lightens the whole world, so the sunshine from within, if it were raised up, would illuminate the whole of life, in spite of all seeming wrongs and all limitations.
Fear is a shadow cast upon the light of the soul; the shadow of something the soul does not know, which is strange to the soul.
Fear comes from ignorance. For instance the soul is frightened on entering the body of matter; also, the soul does not know death, and do it is afraid.
The illuminated soul finds its way through darkness both without and within.
In spite of all his limitations a wonderful power is hidden with in a man’s soul. What makes man helpless is ignorance of his freewill. Free will is the basis of the whole of life.
Free will is the mighty power, the God-power hidden with in man, and it is ignorance which keeps man from his divine heritage.
Many seem wide-awake to the life without, but asleep to the life within; and although the chamber of the heart is continually visited by the host of heaven, they do not know their heart, for they are not there.
Man can only be really happy when he connects his soul with the spheres of heaven.
The more closely a person is drawn to heaven, the more the things of earth lose their color and taste.
The religions have always taught self-denial, but the soul which naturally rises to heaven does not need to practice renunciation.
The moment the soul compares its own limitation with the perfection of God it has begun to progress.
At the cost of the happiness of heaven, the soul comes to the great fulfillment of life, which even angles are not blessed with; for manifestation in human form is the utmost boundary of manifestation, the furthest that any soul can go.
Every difficulty in life is owing to man’s limitation, which covers the divine spark in him until in time it becomes obscured from his view, and this culminates in the tragedy of life.
Not only human beings, but animals, birds, insects, trees, and plants all have spiritual attainment. No creature that has ever been on earth will be deprived entirely of spiritual bliss.
There is nothing in this world without a purpose, and though the place of one in the scheme of life may be different from that of another, yet in the sum total of things we and the lower creation, together with the jinns and angles, have our purpose. That purpose is the realization of truth, and it comes to all in the form of bliss.
Wisdom is love, and love is true wisdom. The cold-hearted man is never wise, and the truly warm-hearted person is never foolish, for love comes from wisdom and wisdom from love.
One most not make even principles so set that one cannot alter them.
Every soul inclined to serve has a scope for service an every plane, and the one who is able to serve here is able to serve even more on the higher planes.
Self-pity is the worst poverty. When a person says, “I am to be pitied,” before he says anything more he has diminished himself by half; and what is said further diminishes totally.
Out of the heart that is happy springs a fountain that pours water from above and in time brings flowers and fruit.
A person need not be unworldly in order to become spiritual. We may live in the world and yet not be of the world.
Spirituality is in no way a hindrance to worldly progress. A worldly success when gained through the power of spirituality has a stronger foundation.
Virtue forced upon oneself or upon another is not a virtue; it loses its beauty. There must be willingness; virtue should not be forced.
The true ego does not know sorrow; its true being is happiness, for the real ego is God and God is happiness.
The knowers of truth close their lips, for they can neither say one thing nor another from the point of view of absolute truth.
The seas and rivers and streams have many names, but they all contain water; and religions have various names, but they all contain the same truth expressed in different forms at different times.
It is the love element developing in the animals which brings them together in flocks and herds.
We must not observe only a principle, but we must consult our own ideal in everything that we do.
I think the knower of the truth will find truth in the symbols of the Roman Catholic
Church, and will find the same truth in the absence of symbols in the Protestant
If the soul were awaken to feel what the birds feel when singing in the forest at dawn, man would know that their prayer is even more exalting than his own, for it is more natural.
Trees are more holy and spiritual than some men. Their purpose is to give some contribution to life and they are continually busy fulfilling their purpose. They feel
That joy and satisfaction which man cannot feel until he attains to their stage of stillness and peace.
Where there is form there is shadow; so where there is human love there is jealousy.
Tolerance is the sign of an evolved soul. A soul gives the proof of its evolution in the degree of tolerance it shows.
Death does not belong to the soul, so it does not belong the person. Death comes to what the person knows, not to the person himself.
There is no scripture in which contradiction does not exist. It is the contradiction which makes the music of the message.
None of the great ones have called themselves Masters, nor have they ever considered themselves to be such. What they have known in their lives is their privilege in opening their heart wider and wider to reflect the Light of the Master, who is God Himself.
All faces are His faces, and from all lips it is His word that comes. But those who can respond to Him become as His appointed servants.
God has chosen all, for all souls are near and dear to the Creator.
The greater a person is in spiritual advancement, the more unassuming he becomes.
The Great Ones are initiated by God Himself, and they prove their initiations not by their claims, but by their works.
Everything has its purpose, but knowledge of the purpose makes us able to use it to the best advantage.
Beauty is created out of variety.
Truth is the heritage of man; the human soul, whether in the East or the West, possess the truth.
There is nothing in the world which is not the instrument of God.
Evil and ugliness exist in man’s limited conception. In God’s great Being they have no existence.
Evil is only the shadow of goodness; as the shadow is non-existent, so is evil.
It is the knowledge of the purpose of life which gives man the strength with which to stand in the midst of the opposing forces of life.
God knows Himself by His manifestation. Manifestation is the self of God, but a self which is limited, a self which makes Him know that He is perfect when He compares
His own Being with this limited self which we call nature. Therefore the purpose of the whole of creation is the realization that God Himself gains by discovering His own perfection through his manifestation,
Merit is not created; merit is something which is possessed. Therefore attributes are not important; the importance is in the possessor of the attributes.
We are too limited to see the justice of the Perfect One.
We often suffer because we do not understand. Understanding is a great thing; once we understand, we can tolerate.
The soul of every individual is God, but man has a mind and a body, which contain God according to the accommodation.
The water of the ocean is ever pure in spite of all that may be thrown into it, so the Pure One consumes all impurities and turns them into purity.
The soul is the divine breath. It purifies, revivifies, and heals the instrument through which it functions.
The soul is on a continual journey: on whatever plane, it journeys all the time, and on this journey it has a purpose to accomplish.
Nothing that the human heart has once desired remains unfulfilled; if it is not fulfilled here it is accomplished in the hereafter.
The desire of the soul is the wish of God.
The source of the soul is perfect, and so is the goal.
No soul perishes; the soul was not born to perish.
The one who judges himself learns justice, not he who is occupied in judging others.
The one who loves fairness blows the spark of justice into a flame, in the light of which life becomes clear to him.
There comes a stage in life, the stage of life’s culmination, when a man has nothing to say against any unless it be against himself; and it is from this point that he begins to see the divine justice hidden behind manifestation.
The wise sees in every form the divine form; in every heart they see the divine light shining.
When we judge others, we are certainly judging the Artist who has created them. If we realize this, it would not be difficult to feel the presence of God everywhere.
When we go more deeply into the phenomena of life, we shall come to a place where the whole nature of Being will unveil itself, and we shall be able to say, “There is nothing but God.”
Noisiness comes from restlessness, and restlessness is the destructive rhythm.
Those who have made any success in life, in whatever direction, have done so by their quiet working.
Enthusiasm is a great thing in life. It is creative, but too much of it spoils things.
When one devoted one’s time and thought to trying to know what one need not know, one loses the opportunity which life offers of discovering the nature and secret of the soul, in which lies the fulfillment of the purpose of life.
Life’s mysteries apart, the fewer words used in the little things of everyday life, the more profitable it is.
People think that many words express things better. They do not know that most often all the words spoken are so many veils wrapped around an idea.
He who holds himself close to heaven is guided from heaven.
He who disconnects himself from the heavenly spheres is like the damaged fruit that falls from the tree.
He who clings to the light from heaven has a light to warn and guard him at every step, according to his desire for guidance.
The angelic souls who are in direct touch with the spirit of God, and who have no knowledge of the false world which is full of illusion, who live and know not death, whose lives are happiness, whose food is divine light, make around the divine Spirit an aura which is called the highest heaven.
Death is the removal of a cover, after which many things will be known to the soul in regard to its own life and in regard to the whole world which have hitherto been hidden.
Innocence is the nature condition of the soul and the lack of innocence is a foreign element which the soul acquires after coming to earth.
Death for the spiritual soul is only a gate through which they enter into that sphere which every soul knows to be its home.
Souls which have become conscious of the angelic spheres, even in the smallest degree, hear the calling of that sphere; and the discomfort they have in this world is that of homesickness caused by the call of the angelic spheres.
Intelligence is the light of life, the life of life, and the essence of the whole Being.
Rhythm cannot exist without tone, nor tine without rhythm. They are interdependent for their existence, and it is the same with time and space.
The mystic contemplates the Being of God, and so raises his consciousness above the limitations of time and space and liberates his soul by lifting it to the divine spheres.
The blessing of life is in the consciousness of the blessing.
Man will find in the end of his search along the spiritual line, that all beings including trees and plants, rocks and mountains, oceans and rivers, are prayerful; and that all attain to that spiritual summit which is the real longing of every soul.
Only when man learns to serve and do his duty without the thought of appreciation, only then will he attain.
Self-denial which comes as a result of helplessness and culminates in dissatisfaction cannot be virtue.
The soul’s happiness is in itself; nothing can make the soul fully happy but self-realization.
The life, which everyone knows, is this momentary period of the soul’s captivity.
Spirit is matter, and matter is spirit. The denseness of spirit is matter, and the fineness of matter is spirit.
According the width of his motive man’s vision is wide, and according to the power of his motive man’s strength is great.
Such souls as are conscious of their relation to God as being that of a child and his parents, are especially cared for. They are always guided, because they ask for guidance.
There is nothing in this world which is devoid of form except God, who is formless.
The limitless God cannot be made intelligible to the limited self unless He is first made limited. This limited ideal becomes like an instrument, a medium of God who is perfect and who is limitless.
What is religion? In the outer sense of the word, a form given for the worship of God, a law given to the community that it may live harmoniously. And what does religion mean in the inner sense of the word? It means a staircase made for the soul to climb to that plane where truth is realized.
Many do good, but how few do it wisely! To do god wisely is the work of the sage.
The one who lives in his mind is conscious of the mind, the one who lives in his soul is conscious of the soul.
Truth is unlimited and incomparable, therefore truth alone knows, enjoys, and realizes its own existence.
The soul is light, the mind is light, and the body is light— light of different grades; and it is this relation which connects man with the planets and the stars.
The infinite God is the self of God and all that has manifested under name and form is the outer aspect of God.
All men who join in prayers may not be as sincere as the birds in the forest, for not one among these says its prayers without sincerity.
Spirituality is attained by all beings; not only by man but by beasts and birds, for each have their religion, their principles, their law, and their morals.
The pride that says, “I am so spiritual,” is not spiritual pride; it is earthly pride. For where there is spirituality there is no proud claim.
Spiritual realization can be attained in one moment in rare cases, but generally a considerable time of preparation is needed.
Fineness of nature is the sign of the intelligence.
Fineness can be acquired by love of refinement.
In the heart of man the whole universe is reflected; and as the whole universe is reflected in it, man may be called the heart of the universe.
Subtlety produces beauty; it is subtlety which is the curl of the Beloved.
In order to acquire spiritual knowledge, in order to receive inspiration, in order to prepare one’s heart for the inner revelation, one must try to make one’s mentality pliable like water rather then like a rock.
Once peace is made within, one will have gained sufficient strength and power to use in the struggle of life, both within and without.
Life is continual battle. Man’s constant struggle with outer things gives a chance to the foes who exist in his own being.
The first thing necessary is to make peace for the time being with the outside world, in order to prepare for warfare which is to be fought within.
The one who is able to keep his equilibrium without being annoyed, without being troubled gains that mastery which I needed in the evolution of life.
The heart when it is not living and making its life a life of love feels out of place; and all the discomfort in life comes from this.
Nothing, however good it appears, is a virtue unless it is willingly done, because even in the willingness of making a sacrifice one experiences the breath of freedom.
When a person is absorbed in self, he has no time to build his character; but when he forgets himself, he collects all that is good and beautiful. This key to the whole of life, both to worldly success and to spiritual attainment.
Peace is not knowledge, peace is not power, peace is not happiness, yet peace is all these. Besides peace is productive of happiness, peace inspires one with knowledge of the seen and unseen, and in peace is to be found the Divine Presence.
God is happiness, the soul is happiness, and spirituality is happiness. So there is no place for sadness in the kingdom of God.
That which deprives man of happiness deprives him of God.
The light which comes from the soul, rises through the heart, and manifests outwardly in man’s smile, is indeed the light from heaven. In that light many flowers grow and many fruit ripen.
We help God to forgive us by forgiving ourselves.
He who realizes the relation of friendship between one soul and another— the tenderness, the delicacy, and the sacredness of this relationship—he is living, and in this way he will one day communicate with God.
The same bridge, which connects two souls in the world, when stretched, becomes the path of God.
Nirvana is a star in our hearts which we develop; and as we develop it, it becomes brilliant. Its brilliance consumes all the wrong in life until nothing is left but that purity which is divine light.
It must be remembered as the first principle of life, the manifestation was destined for keener observation of life within and without.
The soul is happy by nature; the soul is happiness itself. It becomes unhappy when something is the matter with its vehicle, its instrument, its tool through which it
experiences life. Care of the body, therefore, is the first and the most important principle religion.
The purpose of the whole of creation is fulfilled in the attainment of that perfection which is for human being to attain. The saints, seers, sages, prophets, and masters of humanity have all been human beings, and they have shown divine perfection in fulfilling the purpose of being human.
The teaching of Jesus Christ has as its central theme unfoldment towards a realization of immortality.
Vanity in its proper place is a great virtue; when not in its proper place it is a great sin.
Every person has his life designed beforehand; and the light of the purpose that he is born to accomplish in life has already been kindled in his soul.
Is not man the creator of sin? If he creates it, he can also destroy it; and if he cannot destroy it, his elder brother can.
In metaphysical terms the impression of sin may be called an illness, a mental not a physical illness. And as the doctor is able to cure physical illness, so the doctor of the soul is able to heal spirituality.
In reality no sin, no virtue can be engraved upon the soul; it can only cover the soul. The soul in its essence is divine intelligence, and how can divine intelligence be impressed with either virtue or sin?
When the object, the purpose for which the soul was born upon the earth is fulfilled, then there is nothing to hold it, and the soul is naturally drawn back to its source and goal.
God Himself sees through the eye of man, thus the eye is a road between man and God.
Man has neither been created to be as spiritual as an angle, nor has he been made to be as material as an animal; and when he strikes the happy medium he will certainly treat the path which leads straight tot he goal.
Man is good by nature. Goodness is his real self; badness is only a cloud. But clouds are ever floating; they are sometimes here and sometimes there, and if we trust in the goodness of man, the clouds will disappear. Our very trust will disperse them.
The sun shines on all the trees; it does not make distinctions between this tree and that; but in accordance with their absorption of the light falling upon them and their response to the sun they receive its light.
Remember that very often a disciple is an inspiration for the master, because it is not the master who teaches, it is God Himself.
The Master is only the medium; and as great as is the response of the disciple, so strongly does it attract the message of God.
The further we go, the more our disputes and arguments cease. They fade away until there is no color left in them; and when all the color has gone, the white light comes which is light of God.
The one who serves, however humbly, has the privilege of serving God.
Cheerfulness is life, sadness is death. Life attracts life, death attracts repulses.
Do not let your own mind be impresses by the depression of your friend. If you do, you will have taken the germ of his disease.
It is harmony, established with everyone one meets in life, which tunes one’s soul with the Infinite.
The man conscious of his duties and obligations to his friends is more righteous than he who sits alone in solitude.
The condition of God and His true lover is that either the Beloved lives of the lover, not both.
Whether a person feels attracted to God now or not, there will come a day when he will be attracted; for every soul has to return to God.
Ignorance of the self gives the fear of death. The more one learns of the true self, the less one fears death; for it is only a door through which one passes from one phase of life to another, and the other phase is much better.
Humor is the sign of light from above. When that light touches the mind, it tickles it, and it is the tickling of the mind that produces humor.
Renunciation is not something which we must torture ourselves to learn. It is in us, but it is buried and it can only be dug up by our love.
When the sun is clouded the light does not reach the earth, and so it is with the soul, which is divine and full of light. If it is thickly cover with clouds then man does not receive the light, which is the soul itself.
What is rooted out in the quest of truth is ignorance. When it is entirely removed from one’s heart, man’s outlook becomes wide, as wide as the eye of God.
Man meets with hardships in life; sometimes they seem too hard for him to stand.
But often such experiences become like higher initiations in the life of the traveler on the path.
Sadness comes from limitation in different forms, from lack of perception, from lack of power over oneself and over conditions, and from lack of that substance which is happiness itself and which is love.
The nature of love is as the nature of water in the depth of the earth. If we do not dig deep enough, we find mud not water; but when we dig deep we find pure water.
If there is any death it is stillness and inactivity; and then the impulse of life comes, which breaks through the cloud of mortality and makes the soul see the daylight after the darkness of the night. And what does the soul see in this bright daylight? It sees itself living as before, having the same name and form, and yet progressing.
Every soul is striving to attain God; God not as a Judge nor as a King, but as a Beloved. And ever soul seeks God, the God of love, in the form, which it is capable of imagining.
The soul manifests in the world in order that it may experience the different phases of manifestation, and yet not lose its way, but regain its original freedom in addition to the experience and knowledge it has gained in this world.
In order to be, one must pass through a stage of being nothing.
When illumination comes, it seems to bring annihilation; but it is not annihilation, in reality it is exaltation.
Happiness cannot come by merely believing in God. Believing is a process. By this process the God within is awakened and made living; it is the living in God which gives happiness.
It is not only the link of love and sympathy, but also the belief in the hereafter to the extent of conviction, that lifts those on earth to know about their beloved ones who have passed over to the other side.
The soul’s sustenance is the knowledge of God; it is by this knowledge that the soul lives the eternal life.
Man has the key of life in his own hands, if he only knew if.
Man is always journeying towards the truth. He is seeking, seeking; for in his heart is the love of that which is real.
There is no such thing as mortality except the illusion, and the impression of that illusion which man keeps before his eyes as fear during his lifetime, and still as an impression after he has from this earth.
The soul is life it never touches death; death is its illusion.
The one who realizes ultimate truth, time and space are of little importance; he rises above them.
The further one goes on the spiritual path, the more will one have to learn to play a part.
The spiritual man learns to answer the question of every soul on its own plane of evolution.
It is the ignorant soul, ignorant of its source and goal, that dreads leaving the sphere to which it has become attached. It is the soul that knows not what is beyond; that is afraid of being lifted up above the ground its feet are touching.
One’s duty is to do now what can be done now. Nothing that one really values should one put off until tomorrow.
Souls when they start from the angelic heavens are vibrations. They have no earthly harps; they are the harps themselves.
There cannot be perfection where there is duality. God alone is perfect.
The whole interest in life is in journeying towards perfections. If man were born perfect there would be no joy in life.
In order to attain God-consciousness, the first condition is to make God a reality so that He is no longer only an imagination.
The soul, which develops it personality, is like the fine flower with it color, fragrance, and delicacy.
The essence of spirituality and mysticism is readiness to serve the person next to us.
The question, “What is the purpose of manifestation?” may be answered in one word: satisfaction, the satisfaction of God.
Nothing in the world could give man the strength that is needed to live a life on earth, if there were no blessing from heaven reaching him from time to time, and of which he is so little aware.
The work of the spiritual man is to forget his false self and to realize the true self, which is God; and to realize that this true self is in his brother also.
It is not true the Adam was put out of the Garden of Eden. He only turned his back upon it; and so he became an exile from heaven.
Every soul is born with the capacity by which it can draw all the spiritual bliss and ecstasy which is needed for its evolution.
Every thing and being is placed in its own place, and each is bust carrying out its own work which has to be done in the whole scheme of nature.
Nirvana is not an intellectual realization; it is life.
The are blessed souls living on the earth today to whom sacrifice gives no pain but only pleasure. In seeing another eat, their hunger is satisfied; renunciation is to them joy, for they have gone through the cross and risen above it.
The better the instrument, the greater the satisfaction of the soul.
Truth cannot be put into words. It must be seen in the light of our own intuition.
That which is acquired cannot be truth. Truth is that which is discovered.
The art of personality is not a qualification; it is the purpose for which man was created. Through this art-man not only satisfies himself but also pleases God.
When the soul has once fought its battle with the things that make it fear and tremble and shrink, it has conquered life and become the master if life, It has inherited the kingdom which is its own.
The man who has proven in his life to the friend of every person he meets, in the end will prove to be the friend of God.
The perfection of friendship, in which lies all spiritual perfection, comes when the soul is so developed that there is n one whom it cannot bear. When it has reached this state, it has certainly passed into the ranks of those initiates whose names are written on the spiritual records.
Nature in its different aspects is the materialization of that light which is called the divine Spirit.
In prayer the repetition of thanksgiving brings to our soul our own voice, and that voice echoes before the God who is within.
The angles were made to sing the praises of the Lord; the jinns to imagine, to dream, to meditate; but man is created to show humanity in its character.
It is not what Christ taught that makes his devotees love him. They dispute over these things in vain. It is what he himself was that is loved and admired by them.
Man may have rank and position and a thousand qualifications, he may possess all the good of the earth, but if he lacks the art of personality he is poor indeed. It is in this art that man shows the nobility which belongs to the kingdom of God.
A person, however learned and qualified in his life’s work, in whom gratitude is absent, is devoid of that beauty of character, which makes personality fragrant.
Throughout the whole journey on the spiritual path, the main thing that has to be accomplished is the forgetting of the false ego.
True freedom is within oneself. When the soul is free, there is nothing in this world that binds us; everywhere we find freedom, both in heaven and on earth.
As the heart expands so the horizon becomes wider, and one finds greater and greater scope in which to build the kingdom of God.
Joy is not something brought from outside. It belongs to us, but it manifests to us as the result of certain actions.
Life is an opportunity, and the more one realizes this, the more one will make the best of the opportunity which life offers.
The essence of life is hope. If we hope to be better, we shall become better.
You are love. You come from love. You are made of love. You cannot cease to love.
The whole manifestation is the manifestation of love. God Himself is love. So the love comes from the source, returns to the source; and in this the purpose of life is accomplished.
You may go to the most exalted place, a place blessed with peace and rest; but if you take sadness and unrest with you, you will find them there.
God’s message does not come only in words. What comes in words is small compared with the radiance the message brings to all things and all beings. It comes in the form of a sacrament, as bread and wine; and bread and wine symbolize life and love.
Renounce the good of the world; renounce the good of heaven; renounce your highest ideal. Then renounce your renunciation.
The way to perfection is not limited. No one can make a rule that you can only pass by this way and no other.
Beauty is the watchword of the seeker.
Patience is a process through which a soul goes in order to become precious.
By self-realization a man becomes larger that the universe. The world in which he lives becomes a drop in the ocean of his heart.
In our sorrow is God’s sorrow, for if God cannot sympathize man is greater than God.
Part of our sorrow and our joy comes from life; part we make for ourselves. Life cannot give us joy if we will not earn it.
The God-ideal is the flower of the human race, and this flower blooms in the realization of God.
The mind is a world, a world that man makes; and in it he will live in the hereafter as a spider lives in the web it has woven.
The further on the path of life’s mystery a person travels, the finer he will have to become in order to perceive and to express the mystery of life.
The prophets’ soul is like a fruit that is on the ground but still connected with the branch. The branch has bent and the fruit has touched the earth, but it has not lost its connection with the stem.
The further we advance, the more difficult and more important our part of the symphony of life becomes; and the more conscious we become of this responsibility, the more efficient we become in accomplishing our task.
With all the arguments for and against the divinity of Christ, no sincere believer in God can deny that God reflected Himself through the [personality of the Master.
The prophetic soul must, of necessity; rise so high that it can hear the voice of God, and at the same time it must bend so low that is can hear the softest whisper of the beings on earth.
Even the present of the prophet is the answer to every question. Without speaking one word the prophet gives the answer. The prophet is only the medium between God and man, therefore the answer is from God. It is not that prophet answers the question because he reads the mind; it is the mind of the one who asks the question, which strikes, on the inner plane, the divine bell which is the heart of the prophet.
The moment a person rises above his mind and awakens in the light of the soul, he becomes spiritual.
There are many facts, but only one truth. Facts can be put into words, but not truth.
The mystic seeks God both within and without; he recognizes God both in unity and in variety.
As one evolves spiritually one rises above the tendency to intolerance, for the reason that ones begins to see God besides seeing oneself and another person, and so one unites oneself with the other person in God.
The souls are all from one and the same source, but a soul which is unveiled shines out. Love and light come continually from such souls. We need no proof of it, for it is living; all else is dead in comparison.
It is death that dies not life.
The soul covers its own truth with a thousand veils from its own eyes.
The ideal must not be turned into the idol.
The soul has not come on earth to die the death of helplessness, nor continually to suffer pain and misery. The purpose of the soul is that for which the whole of creation has been striving, and it is the fulfillment of that purpose which is called God-consciousness.
Evil is an ever-floating thing—-sometimes here, sometimes there. So evil in man is just a cloud; it comes and it goes; and if we trust in his goodness the clouds will disappear.
Man’s sacred duty is to strive to attain to that perfect consciousness which is his true religion.
By making many sacrifices and practicing renunciation, by going through many tests and trials, man will attain to that consciousness which is God-consciousness, in which resides all perfection.
Balance is the keynote of spiritual attainment.
No sooner is the God-ideal brought to life, than the worshipper of God turns into truth.
The depth of every soul is good. It is only belief in this doctrine that gives us reason for our belief in the goodness of God.
The man who shuts himself away from all men, however highly evolved he may be spiritually, will not be free in the higher spheres.
In order to fulfill the practice duties in life, it is not necessary to forget your ideal. We can hold the ideal in the tenderest spot of our heart, and yet fulfill our practical duties. The ideal is to illuminate our lives, not paralyze our actions.
The disciple can be inspired, and the disciple can shut off his inspiration. If there is no response on the part of the disciple, then the inspiration of the master is shut off. Just like the clouds which cannot give rain when passing over the desert, but when they come to the forest they are attracted by the trees and the rain falls.
The soul in its manifestation on earth is not at all disconnected with the higher spheres.
It lives in all spheres, though it is generally conscious on only one plane. Thus it becomes deprived of heavenly bliss, and conscious of the troubles and limitations of life on earth.
There are rays and there is light. If the rays are the source of the souls of living beings, then the light of the divine Sun is the spirit of the whole of Being.
When we develop our sense of beauty, then we are naturally critical of that which does not come up to our standard. But when we have passed this stage, in the next cycle
Divine compassion is developed in our nature and we become able to add all that is lacking, and so to compensate for that perfect beauty.
In the making of personality, God finishes His divine art.
As the source and goal of all creation are one, so the source and goal of all religion are one.
The law of God is endless and limitless as God Himself, and once the eye of the seeker penetrates through the veil that hangs before him. Hiding the real law of life from his eyes, the mystery of the whole of life manifests to him; then happiness and peace become his own, for they are the birthright of every soul.
The soul longs for a keen perception. The absence of such fine perception causes depression and confusion, because the inner longing is to see.
There comes a stage in the evolution of an illuminated soul, when it begins to see the law hidden behind nature. To it the whole of life reveals its secret.
The wider the outlook the less are one’s troubles in life. If one fixes one’s eyes on the horizon as far as one can see, one is saved from troubles and trials.
God is the horizon, and one can neither touch the horizon nor God. The horizon is as far as one can see and even further; and so is God.
When we find faults and see no excuses, we are blind to the Light which can free a person from his faults and give rise to that forgiveness which is the very essence of God, and which is to be found in the human heart.
Both life and death are contrary aspects of one thing, and that is change. Death is only passing from life on the earth to a still greater life.
The more you give of wealth such as spiritual wealth, the more it increases; what you have given you not lost, you have gained it.
What is the soul? The soul is life; it never touches death. Death comes from something which the soul holds, not to itself.
Can a composer give justification for every note written in his composition? He cannot; he can only say, “It is the stream which has risen out of my heart. I am not concerned with every single note. What I am concerned with is the effect which is produced by my composition.”
Is law predominant, or love? Law is the habit; love is the being. Law is made; love was, is and always will be.
Belief to the human soul is the bridge to belief in God.
By our trust in the divine beauty in every person we develop that beauty in ourselves.
Worry comes from self-pity. When the self is forgotten, there is no worry. Worry comes also from fear, and fear comes from the clouds of ignorance. Light breaks the clouds.
The soul takes with itself into the hereafter all that is has collected in the way of impressions.
The teaching of the prophets is the answer to the demands of individual and collective souls.
To weigh, to measure, to examine, to express an opinion on a great personality, one must first rise to the same development.
If there is any solution to our ever rising questions, it is never by studying the law that we shall feel satisfied. If anything will give us satisfaction, it is diving deep into love and letting love inspire us, and that will enable us to see the law.
Verily a deep felt need is a prayer in itself.
There is no liberation unless one has an ideal before one. The ideal is a stepping-stone towards that attainment which is called liberation.
Love is the shower by which sin is purified; no stain remains. What is God? God is love. When His mercy, His compassion, His kindness are expressed through a God-realized personality, then the stains of sins, faults and mistakes are washed away and the soul becomes clear.
Earthly pleasures are the shadows of happiness, because of their transitoriness. True happiness is on love, which is the stream that springs from one’s soul; and he who will allow this stream to run continually in all conditions of life, in all situations, however difficult, will have happiness which truly belongs to him, whose source is not without, but within.
Failure does not matter in life. To a progressive person even a thousand failures do not matter. He keeps success before his view, and success is his even after a thousand failures. The greatest pity is when life comes to a standstill and does not move any further; a sensible person prefers death to such a life.
Verily, truth is all the religion there is, and it is truth which will save. At every step towards the final goal man will asked for a sacrifice, and that sacrifice will be a greater and greater one as he continues on the path. When there is nothing, whether mind, body, thought, feeling, or action, that he keeps back from sacrificing for others, then man proves his realization of divine truth.