The Inner Life
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Table of Contents
Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
The Preparation for the Journey
GATHEKA: The inner life is a journey, and before starting to take it there is a certain preparation necessary. If one is not prepared there is always the risk of having to return before one has arrived at one’s destination.
TASAWWUF: The inner life is called Tarikat by the Sufis. Different schools are called Tariks and they have different methods but the same goal. Within the schools every disciple may have some special training or prescriptions and it is possible that within a single school or Order different disciples have very different ways, and sometimes a disciple of a certain school or Order may have practices akin to those of another school or Order.
In the past usually it was necessary for the aspirant to have had the training in Shariat, the exoteric law. But many schools of Sufis have had their doors open to non-Muslims. And if we have in mind the essential teaching that God (Allah) is All-in-All, we now prepare to help all peoples.
GATHEKA: When a person goes on a journey, and when he has to accomplish something, he must know what is necessary for the path, and what he must take with him, in order that his journey may become easy and that he may accomplish what he has started to accomplish.
TASAWWUF: The aspirant is asked to have a belief in God and respect for his Initiator. In the preparations there are the Candidate’s Gathekas, and now there is an abundance of printed literature not available in earlier times. All this literature as well as that from kindred sources helps to orient the aspirant.
It is not necessary to get a deep impression from the literature, but if one does not get a deep impression from the literature, or from the persons who are guiding him or from the Initiator, he is not yet ready for this path. He may be ready for spiritual instruction but not necessarily on this path.
GATHEKA: The journey one takes in the inner life is as long as the distance between life and death, it being the longest journey one ever takes throughout life; and one must have everything prepared, so that after reaching a certain distance, one may not have to turn back.
TASAWWUF: There are some teachers who wish to help everybody they meet so they do not have many requirements at the beginning. There can be no law for this. What is needed is an understanding of the processes that go beyond the material world, of the immediate time and space and to orient the aspirant to the fullness of life, his own and that of others.
When we understand the whole Brotherhood of Man, when we accept or work for One Single Brotherhood in the Fatherhood of God, we work differently than when we see all people as separated individuals. Sufism has been called “the journey of God to God in God.” But in the beginning we must not add too many ideas and we must increase the potentiality of feeling.
GATHEKA: The first thing that is necessary is to see that there is no debt to be paid. Every soul has a certain debt to pay in life; it may be to his mother or father, his brother or sister, to his husband or wife or friend, or to his children, his race, or to humanity; and if he has not paid what is due, there are cords with which he is inwardly tied, and they pull him back.
TASAWWUF: The journey can be explained in the Indian sense as the effort to get out of Samsara, the cycle of life-and-death, into the Nirvana or the life beyond differences and distinctions. The Sufis have another way of putting it, but in each there is the acceptance of karma, the law of causation and compensation.
We do not pay our karmic debts by will-power or thinking. Thinking especially keeps us on the wheel and in the whirlpool, whether it is good thoughts we have or otherwise. For goodness begets goodness just as badness creates badness. The journey is one beyond goodness and badness both.
GATHEKA: Life in the world is fair trade, if one could only understand it, if one knew how many souls there are in this world with whom one is connected, or related in some way, or whom we meet freshly everyday. To everyone there is something due; and if one has not paid one’s obligations, the result is that afterwards one has to pay with interest.
TASAWWUF: No doubt everything is presented clearly in Scriptures, but it is one thing to find Truth in Scriptures and in literature and another thing to experience it in our daily lives. We meet nobody by accident. There is always some karmic debt. The seer, Edgar Cayce, was able, perhaps, to work out in detail the karma of persons, both as regards their health and tragedies on the one hand, and their relationships with persons on the other.
There are two aspects of this: (a) the balancing of the cosmic accounts with other people; (b) the discipline to keep the ego and ego-mind free of samskaras (impressions) which keep one in the samsara.
GATHEKA: There is the inner justice which is working beyond the worldly justice, and when man does not observe the inner law of justice, it is because at that time he is intoxicated, his eyes are closed, and he really does not know the law of life.
TASAWWUF: This is a primary teaching found in the Candidate’s Gathekas. But at Bayat also there are lessons to bring about the realization, which is much more than having any thoughts on the subject. There is a difference between the universe of thought, containing a multitude of differences and distinctions, and the universality wherein we are all parts of one another in being parts of God.
GATHEKA: But that intoxication will not last; there will come a day when the eyes of the soul will be opened; and it is a pity if the eyes open when it is too late.
TASAWWUF: Many religions teach the terror of Hell and the dangers that beset the soul. But this emphasis is not one which usually helps or awakens anybody. Just as the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, so the Day of Judgment is at hand. We do not overcome karma by any process excepting that of overcoming the nufs or ego. And the Inner Journey is a path away from egocentricity to the Life-in-God.
GATHEKA: It is better that the eyes are opened while the purse is full, for it will be very difficult if the eyes open at the time when the purse is empty.
TASAWWUF: There is The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde where it looks as if one were escaping his destiny, but in the end he had just delayed it. Every moment is an opportunity, and when the eyes are opened one is able to take full opportunity of opportunity. But in the Sufi path more attention is paid to the Love, Graciousness and Compassion of God (Allah), and when one fully awakens to it, one is blessed. And when one is not awakened to it, the blessing comes, but one does not benefit therefrom.
GATHEKA: To some consideration is due, to some respect, to some service, to some tolerance, to some forgiveness, to some help. In some way or other, in every relationship, in every connection there is something to pay; and one must know before starting the journey that one has paid it, and be sure that one has paid it in full, so there is nothing more to be paid.
TASAWWUF: While this is given in the literature and presumably for the whole world, it is actually inner teaching. For in the classes of disciples one is taught to be considerate, respectful, kind, tolerant, forgiving and to assimilate all such virtues in oneself. As Grand Sheikh Sohrawardi has said: “Consideration consists in exhibiting consideration and not expecting consideration.” The journey is one in which man assimilates the Divine Aspects (Sifat) so that they become part of one’s nature.
GATHEKA: Besides this it is necessary that man, before starting his journey, realizes that he has fulfilled his duties, his duty to those around him and his duty to God. But the one who considers his duty to those around him sacredly does his duty to God.
TASAWWUF: This is not only for the aspirants. It is not only for the aspirants—it is for the disciples and not only for those of the elementary study circle but for those of all grades. Even the Murshids look upon duty to every person who crosses their paths as a duty toward God. Walt Whitman has said: “In all men I see myself.” Moses taught, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” Jesus repeated this with emphasis. For others it may be a privilege, but for the Sufi it is an absolute necessity. GATHEKA: Man must also consider, before starting on his journey, whether he has learned all he desired to learn from this world. If there is anything he has not learned, he must finish it before starting the journey.
TASAWWUF: If this were taken too literally there would be only the way of the ascetic. Mohammed has taught: “No monkery in Islam.” There is not the division between the sacred and the profane. God is in everything and everybody. At the same time there must be a different attitude, that no longer one is considering the ego-self first and foremost.
GATHEKA: For if he thinks, “I will start the journey, although I had the desire to learn something before starting,” in that case he will not be able to reach his goal; that desire to learn something will draw him back. Every desire, every ambition, every aspiration that he has in life must be gratified.
TASAWWUF: If taken literally there would be little value in trying to present any kind of spiritual teachings to the world. Someone has said, “Zen is everyday life.” It is not necessary to have monasteries. Even Khankahs are not monasteries, though they may have facilities for those in retirement. This teaching is brought out more fully in The Purpose of Life.
GATHEKA: Not only this, man must have no remorse of any kind when starting on this journey, and no repentance afterwards. If there is any repentance or remorse, it must be finished before starting.
TASAWWUF: This does not mean that the Inner Life is reserved for the good and pure. If this were so there would be no turning away from what is evil or what is incomplete. When one takes the Bayat one lays himself before Allah Who is the All-Merciful, All-Compassionate, and by keeping one’s heart on Allah one need not have this dualistic attitude any longer. Tauba, or repentance, does not mean the dualistic contriteness; it means turning from self-hood to God-hood.
GATHEKA: There must be no grudge against anybody, and no complaining of anyone having done him harm, for all these things which belong to the world, if man took them along, would become a burden on the spiritual path. The journey is difficult enough, and it becomes more difficult if there is a burden to be carried.
TASAWWUF: It is not that one can say, “I have no grudge,” it is that the grudge is a heaviness, it is that the ill-will is a burden which affects not only the mental and moral aspects of life but even the body suffers and perhaps suffers even more therefrom than from purely physical causes. Jesus has said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” When one surrenders to God, the burden, or rather the karma of burdens, is taken from one.
Therefore Akhlak Allah is often practiced by disciples to become free from the psychological and moral complexes. The soul is by nature free and if it is kept free from samskaras then the joy is natural.
GATHEKA: If a person is lifting a burden of displeasure, dissatisfaction, discomfort, it is difficult to bear it on the path. It is a path to freedom, and to start on this path to freedom one must free himself, no attachment should pull him back, no pleasure should lure him back.
TASAWWUF: One does not always realize that if one carries displeasure, dissatisfaction, discomfort, or ill-will, these themselves are burdens. If one were weight-lifting or exercising with such burdens, he would not do so well. And if one tested the muscles and organs of the body under such circumstances he would find that they too, were unwell. Many diseases arise from such sources which are not cured by the material medicines.
There is a process of prophylaxis in getting rid of discomfort. Sometimes it is material, sometimes it is psychological and sometimes other factors are at work. The process of purification means both cleansing the body and cleansing heart and mind.
GATHEKA: Besides this preparation one needs a vehicle, a vehicle in which one journeys. That vehicle has two wheels and they are balance in all things. A man who is one-sided, however great his power of clairvoyance or clairaudience, whatever be his knowledge, yet he is limited; he cannot go very far, for it requires two wheels for the vehicles to run. There must be balance, the balance of the head and the heart, the balance of power and wisdom, the balance of activity and repose.
TASAWWUF: We can understand this philosophically, but this is not enough. And sometimes when we become caught by the philosophy, it is not applied, it is only a thought. And in Sufism there are disciplinary processes and they are often in connection with the Breath. The first lessons on this were made public in In an Eastern Rose Garden, but the perusal of the book does not bring one either power or wisdom. For that the teacher and guidance are needed. Then one can do something and when one does, whether it be by control of the breath or meditation or any other means, it is no longer a question of balance. Man can then produce his own balance.
Thus there is the balance between the type of breath which reaches the heart and the mind and that which permeates the whole body; and there is the breathing which leads to wisdom and that which tends toward power. All these are important in “the Inner Life.”
GATHEKA: It is the balance which enables man to stand the strain of this journey and permits him to go forward, making his path easy. Never imagine for one moment that those who show lack of balance can ever proceed further on the spiritual journey, however greatly in appearance they may seem to be spiritually inclined.
TASAWWUF: The spiritual journey is not away from materiality, through a sort of hazy ethereality. This is a mistake. It is a movement away from egotism. According to the Sufis, the ego is nufs (nephesh in Hebrew), which also means the breath, the breath activities and mental activity. The breath can be freed from this ego by many practices. And when the breath is purified by the processes of Safa, then one is really on the spiritual path. It is no longer mere words.
It is control of each stage of liberation of breath and by breath which takes people above the denseness of earth and makes it possible for them to assimilate the magnetism and the knowledge which extends through all planes.
GATHEKA: It is only the balanced ones who are capable of experiencing the external life as fully as the inner life; to enjoy thought as much as feeling; to rest as well as to act. The center of life is rhythm, and rhythm causes balance.
TASAWWUF: There are many aspects of this which are not always easily learned. The culture does not teach the significance of inhalation and exhalation, the breath in each of the nostrils and the effects of various rhythms. True, man appreciates them in listening to many kinds of music and his emotional reactions are not the same listening to jazz and symphony, to the music of China and India, the Arabs, Africa and the American Indians. He senses differences.
Besides there are the differences between the war-chants and the harvest dances. These are found among many peoples. There has not been much study of the emotions involved and whether the emotions produce the music or the music affect the emotions and how much and how far. And also the value of silence in this respect, what is gained when there is stillness.
GATHEKA: On this journey certain coins are necessary also, to spend on the way. And what are these coins? They are thoughtful expressions in word and in action.
TASAWWUF: There are traditions about “Good words, good deeds and good thoughts,” but this is not the deep meaning. For how does one know what is the good, whether it be in word or thought or action? There are ways of stilling the mind and purifying the breath and when these are practiced, both the mind and the breath are directed on the right path. It is not any judgment, it is not any habit, it is a wisdom learned from within.
GATHEKA: On this journey man must take provision to eat and drink, and that provision is life and light.
TASAWWUF: And how does one get the life and the light? Now we teach the repetition of the divine phrase, the Sifat-i-Allah. For instance ya Hayy increases the capacity for Life and Allah Nuri, or ya Nuri, the capacity for light. These are the actual Life-energies and the light-radiations. With the teacher, one can draw on the radiant magnetism of the teacher who may be sensitive on all planes. And without the teacher, when the teacher is not present, one relies on God (Allah) directly Who is in our very midst. And when we call on Him from our very midst we become more and more aware of the actual Light, the actual Life.
GATHEKA: And on this journey man has to take something with which to clothe himself against wind, and storm, and heat and cold; and that garment is the vow of secrecy, the tendency to silence.
TASAWWUF: With the growing universal practice of meditation this is becoming evident, that silent meditation builds up strength. This is becoming a habit and a benefit. Besides every movement of tongue utilizes energy, every thought of the mind consumes magnetism.
GATHEKA: On this journey he has to bid farewell to others when starting, and that farewell is loving detachment; before starting on this journey he has to leave something behind with his friends, and that is happy memories of the past.
TASAWWUF: Lord Buddha has said that attachment to the unpleasant is painful and detachment from the pleasant is also painful. At the same time the purpose of the Inner Life is to take one beyond the reactions to both the painful and unpainful which arise out of nufs, the ego. It is not that man changes his ways so much as his attitudes. And if one practices the presence of God, Akhlak Allah, that is what happens. But otherwise man does not give up his entire personality which is an expression of the cosmos, or of Divinity Itself, through time-space function.
GATHEKA: Friends, we are all on the journey; life itself is a journey. No one is settled here; we are all passing onward, and therefore it is not true to say, that if we are taking a spiritual journey we have to break our settled life; there is no one living a settled life here; all are unsettled, all are on their way.
TASAWWUF: It is not only that Buddha taught change was a component of existence, it is that everyone finds it is so. People want to progress. This may mean anything. It certainly means that man does not want to remain attached to a certain state. And when Mohammed said, “No monkery in Islam,” he meant not only that man had a whole life to fulfill, using his whole body and whole personality, he also meant that the spiritual life would be fulfilled in the midst of society which itself is always subject to change.
GATHEKA: Only, by taking the spiritual journey you are taking another way, one which is easier, better and more pleasant. Those who do not take this way, they also will come in the end; the difference is on the way. One way is easier, smoother, better; the other way is full of difficulties.
TASAWWUF: For on the spiritual path, especially the Tarik of the Sufis, there is a loving guiding hand in the guise of a person before one. There is not only reliance in the unseen, which may be un certain; there is also reliance on the seen which is not so uncertain. And from this guidance one has the practices, the exercises, and develops the faculties which make life easier and clearer.
GATHEKA: And as life has no end of difficulties from the time one has opened one’s eyes on this earth, so one may just as well choose the smoother way to arrive at the destination at which all souls will sometime arrive.
TASAWWUF: When we study the cosmic metaphysics behind every faith we find that in all there is a movement from individuality to universality, from selfhood to Godhood. It may be worded differently but it is always the same, and no faith, no revealer, no prophet has ever taught anything else though the outer garbs may be different.
Sura XCII reads: “So he who gives (in charity) and fears (Allah), and (in all sincerity) testifies to the Best, we will indeed make smooth for him the Path to Bliss. But he who is a greedy miser and thinks himself self-sufficient, and gives the lie to the Best, we will indeed make smooth for him the Path to Misery.”
GATHEKA: By “inner life” is meant a life directed toward perfection, which may be called the perfection of love, harmony and beauty; in the words of the orthodox, towards God.
TASAWWUF: It is also a departure from theology and even philosophy to a life of inward action; inward action takes the place of some code or standard which fulfills only the requirements of the outer world. The “perfection” meant by Jesus was not so much flawlessness but that which took one beyond, beyond whatever state one may have been in, which was an experience of transformation and transmutation, an experience, not the words thereof.
According to the Upanishads this experience means a growing capacity for Love and Bliss, as realities which is also expressed as “The Perfection of Love, Harmony and Beauty.”
GATHEKA: The inner life is not necessarily in an opposite direction to the worldly life, but the inner life is a fuller life. The worldly life means the limitation of life; the inner life means a complete life.
TASAWWUF: We do not get beyond limitations by wishing or thinking. There is an unfoldment which comes when the ego lays down its leadership. This is a teaching of all Prophets. A Zen Master has said, “Zen is everyday life,” but the attachment to words is so great that usually Zen is not everyday life at all; it has become something different. But with the Sufis there is no monasticism though there is the practice of Khilvat, seclusion for certain definite periods for certain definite purposes. But that is not the supreme way of life. After Mohammed began his principal functions he remained in the midst of society and mankind.
GATHEKA: The ascetics who have taken a direction quite opposite to the worldly life, have done so in order to have the facility to search into the depths of life; but going in one direction does not make a complete life. Therefore the inner life means the fullness of life.
TASAWWUF: It is not only the theory, it is the practice and fulfillment that matters. Yes, there have been saints in all faiths and they have been most beautiful souls, but they have not always been the examples for others to follow. Therefore one finds the Sufis in all sorts of capacities, serving in society in low and high functions and yet finding a satisfaction in inner fulfillment in the God- attainment. But God was Creator of the earth as well as of the heavens, and He has given the earth to human beings to fulfill His purpose.
GATHEKA: In brief, one may say that the inner life consists of two things: action with knowledge, and repose with passivity of mind. By accomplishing these two contrary motions, and by keeping balanced in these two directions one comes to the fullness of life.
TASAWWUF: It is here that Sufism differs from Yoga. Most of the Yoga systems are restrictions, with definite directions and disciplines and often are self-fulfilling. But there the attainment is apart from the generation, it is an individual accomplishment. Sufis, though not Buddhists per se, agree with the Mahayanists, that the salvation of the individual and of all mankind is the same.
GATHEKA: A person who leads the inner life is as innocent as a child, even more innocent than a child; but at the same time more wise than many clever people put together. This shows as a development in two contrary directions.
TASAWWUF: Jesus has said, “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as the doves.” It is not only a dictum, it is what happens. When one has the Bodhisattvic outlook, when one is as Walt Whitman, “In all men I see myself,” there are certain things he cannot do—not that he must not do, or should not do, but actually he cannot do. And in the mystical states, if a person should be compelled to use power, it is a terrific power which is drawn from the depths of life; it can be very upsetting, coming so to speak, from God himself. Nobody wants to be that way.
One observes the evolution of all people and the eyes of the wise, though mostly very loving and gentle, are also the most penetrating.
GATHEKA: The innocence of Jesus has been known through the ages. In his every movement, in his every action, he showed to be as a child. All the great saints and sages, the Great Ones who have liberated humanity, have been as innocent as children, and at the same time wiser, much more so, than the worldly-wise.
TASAWWUF: There have been the Passion Plays in parts of the world where the life of Jesus is portrayed and the leading role is performed by a man made to look like Jesus and to act like him the best he can. But with the Sufis there is the practice of tasawwuri. If the tasawwuri is on Jesus, the person begins to walk like Jesus and breathe like Jesus. As one walks and breathes so one draws in from the divine Sifat the qualities that manifested in Jesus and often in the exact proportions. Then one becomes Christ-like, not in a poetic sense, not in an oratorical sense, but actually.
One may, during such periods, heal; will be unusually gracious, forgiving, kind. All of these qualities, emanations are in the midst of the universe, in its heart so to speak. And what is true concerning Jesus is also true concerning other Prophets of God. They are not so far away as some may think and their qualities and blessings are even closer.
GATHEKA: And what makes it so? What gives them this balance? It is repose with passiveness. When they stand before God, they stand with their heart as an empty cup; when they stand before God to learn, they unlearn all things that the world has taught them; when they stand before God, their ego, their self, their life, is no more before them. They do not think of themselves in that moment with any desire to be fulfilled, with any motive to be accomplished, with any expression of their own; but as empty cups, that God may fill their being, that they may lose the false self.
TASAWWUF: This is true in all stages of fana, self-effacement. One has the effacement in the living teacher which comes first and may continue all through life. But now as we confront universality, we may have the fana in Rama, Krishna, Shiva, Buddha, Abraham, Solomon, Zarathustra, Moses, Jesus, Mohammed and many other names and forms. These can become actualities. Prayer is only the first step; it is not an imagination. As one proceeds and does so one imbibes and thus one can assimilate into the personality all the merits, blessings, faculties and glories of all the Holy Ones of God.
This does not mean standing before an altar and it does not preclude standing before an altar. Many ceremonies have been used, many rituals, and while they may be valuable in raising man momentarily above the denseness of the earth, if they alone sufficed the inner life would be so accomplished and it is not so accomplished. To stand before an altar is one thing, to stand as if in the presence of God is another.
GATHEKA: Therefore the same thing helps them in their everyday life to show a glimpse of the quiet moment of repose they had with God. They show in their everyday life innocence and yet no ignorance; they know things and they do not know. They know if somebody is telling a lie; but do they accuse that person? Do they say, “you are telling a lie?” They are above it.
TASAWWUF: When one is a master in repose one potentially becomes a master over action. The repose is needed. It may come several ways and mostly these are called “Meditation.” All the methods of repose still the ego, prevent self-expression as such. And then out of it comes faculties which are in the person, generally what are called Kashf. And when a person tries to lie before one with the Kashf, the sage can tell from the expressions of the eyes and he answers the eyes, and not necessarily the tongue or mind.
And how does he answer the eyes? He answers the eyes with the eyes. And the strength and light of his eyes are more effective than any speech.
GATHEKA: They know all the plays of the world, and they look at them all passively; they rise above things of this world which make no impression on them. They take people quite simply.
TASAWWUF: First, it may be necessary to trust someone who has this ability and the teachers of the world, the real teachers, prove that the eyes are the windows of the soul. They both penetrate and love and calm. And by this one finds a way for himself that his prowess in Kashf grows, and then his sensitivity and penetration, and thus his wisdom grows, not mere words at all, but the actualities of functions.
GATHEKA: Some may think that they are ignorant in their worldly lives, that they take no notice of things that are of no importance. Activity with wisdom makes them more wise, because it is not everybody in this world who directs his every action with wisdom. There are many who never consult wisdom in their action; there are others who seek refuge under wisdom after their action; and very often it is then too late.
TASAWWUF: The Sufis practice Fikr, Zikr, Darood and then it becomes natural. When one practices the presence of God in any form, the wisdom becomes a servant. One may not know it; in effacement one does not “know” in the same way as in the intellectual life. And therefore attention is paid to Insight and its development, which is most important for all people.
GATHEKA: But the ones who live the inner life all direct their activity with wisdom; every moment, every action, every thought, every word is first thought out, is first weighed, and measured, and analyzed before it is expressed. Therefore in the world everything they do is with wisdom, but before God they stand with innocence; there they do not take worldly wisdom.
TASAWWUF: There is a tradition to be in the world but not of the world. There are Sufis even today in all capacities, fulfilling all sorts of worldly functions and occupations. As Abu Said said: “The true devotee lives and dies, marries, begets children, and does everything like everybody else but does not forget Allah for one instant. Therefore the practices are used by the Wise and this is their strength and wisdom in every undertaking.
GATHEKA: Man often makes mistakes, either by taking one way or the other, and therefore he lacks balance and does not come to touch perfection. For instance, when he takes the way of activity in the path of God, he also wishes to use his wisdom there; in the path of God also he wishes to be active, where he does not need action.
TASAWWUF: The teaching of action and non-action is offered in the Bhagavad Gita. The feeling of the Divine Presence is both the greatest strength and the greatest source of wisdom. When one has that feeling, suddenly it is not as if he were acting but God within. Only then people do not make any dualistic utterance about surrender, for they have surrendered, they are being effaced and they do not have any self-consciousness of it.
This whole lesson also appears in the Buddhist Diamond Sutra.
GATHEKA: It is just like swimming against the tide; where you must be innocent, if you use your wisdom there it is the greatest error.
TASAWWUF: It is not necessary to use will or knowledge in every aspect of life. Mohammed has said, “Praise God in times of prosperity and surrender to Him in times of adversity.” If this had been done, there would have been multitudes of happy people. But it is always possible, there is always hope that sometime it will be done and then there will be much more happiness on the earth. We have to leave some things to the account of God. This also appears in Gayan.
GATHEKA: Then there are others who are accustomed to take passivity as a principle with which they stand before God in their innocence; and they wish to use the same principle in all directions of life, which would not be right.
TASAWWUF: Mahatma Gandhi used much of this principle, but along with it, Satyagraha, which is dependence on God in all things.
There are many who rely on what they call non-resistance and often it does not work because they do not rely on God or the universe. And there are others who assumed blindly that if they do nothing the universe will right them. Generally it does not; they will not give up their philosophy and often they produce more confusion than clarification.
The Object of the Journey
GATHEKA: The first and principle thing in the inner life is to establish a relationship with God, making God the object with which we relate ourselves, such as Creator, Sustainer, Forgiver, Judge, Friend, Father, Mother and Beloved.
TASAWWUF: We may begin with an Abstraction. An Abstraction may be needed as the first step toward Reality. As we turn from Abstraction to identification, there is something which both mind and heart can hold. As Orthodoxy usually accepts the Creator, by feeling we can change that from a concept to something more. This is a first step.
Then as Sustainer we begin to feel ourselves in God and God in ourselves. Here we do not merely repeat the Name of God, we begin to ingest the quality needed in ourselves. If we repeat “Ya Hayy!” we not only get the idea of life and livingness, we begin to draw that magnetism from the sphere, we become more alive. No magic can do that. Life is more than magic. And once we begin to find this Reality of God, we begin to feel Him in various capacities, something much greater than abstraction or idea or ideal, yet not excluding abstraction or idea or ideal.
GATHEKA: In every relationship we must place God before us, and become conscious of that relationship so that it will no more remain an imagination; because the first thing a believer does is to imagine. He imagines that God is the Creator, and tries to believe that God is the Sustainer, and he makes an effort to think that God is a Friend, and an attempt to feel that he loves God.
TASAWWUF: Once one is aware of the surge of life one finds life has qualities beyond those emanations studied in the physical sciences. When he finds God as Creator and as Living, he also finds in Allah all the qualities, the Sifat-i-Allah, that they are real, that they have expression in life and that they can be absorbed into his personality. Thus man goes from grade to grade in ever greater realizations of the Divinity.
GATHEKA: But if this imagination is to become a reality, then exactly as one feels for one’s earthly beloved sympathy, love and attachment, so one must feel the same with God. However greatly a person may be pious, good or righteous, yet without this his piety or his goodness is not a reality to him.
TASAWWUF: It is not only that man must feel, but also that man does find. For once the impression of the noble qualities of God become fixated in his consciousness, then all the glories, all the virtues begin to manifest. As they manifest, then there is no more need for imagination; indeed imagination only hinders the living experience, the waking consciousness. It has been needed; it is needed no more.
GATHEKA: The work of the inner life is to make God a reality, so that He is no more an imagination; that this relationship man has with God may seem to him more real than any other relationship in this world; and when this happens then all relationships, however near or dear, become less binding.
TASAWWUF: This is exactly what does happen. We pray: “Draw us closer every moment of our lives until in us be reflected Thy Grace, Thy Glory, Thy Wisdom, Thy Joy and Thy Peace.” This is exactly what happens when one pursues the inner life. And there is an ever increasing radiance and ever increasing manifestation of Grace. And this also produces the transformation which means a complete change of values.
GATHEKA: But at the same time, a person does not thus become cold; he becomes more loving.
TASAWWUF: When the message was introduced first many were efficient in getting a very good intellectual understanding, but they did not have the heart understanding. There was not the warmth. But as the Message spread, and with the times, also there was the manifestation of more warmth. The constant repetition of the prayers in sincerity or not, brought about the condition sought. Very gradually the prayers of the few became the harvest of the many.
GATHEKA: It is the godless man who is cold, impressed by the selfishness and lovelessness of the world, because he partakes of those conditions in which he lives. But the one who is in love with God, the one who has established his relationship with God, his love becomes living; he is no more cold; he fulfills his duties to those related to him in this world much more than does the godless man.
TASAWWUF: It is this which manifests in the stages of the awakening of heart. There can be no pretense. No man can pretend, no one can imagine the warmth, the magnetism, the glow, the radiance which are signs of the divine presence of which Jesus has said, “Let your light shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify the Father Which is in Heaven.” The orthodox quote passages, the wise manifest the teachings.
GATHEKA: Now, as to the way in which man establishes this relationship, and which is the most desirable to establish with God, what should he imagine? God as Father, as Creator, as Judge, as Forgiver, as Friend, or as Beloved? The answer is, that in every capacity of life we must give God the place that is demanded by the moment. When crushed by the injustice, the coldness of the world, when man looks at God as the perfection of Justice, he no more remains agitated, his heart is no more disturbed, he consoles himself with the justice of God.
TASAWWUF: Besides, by remaining undisturbed he makes even of himself a channel for divine justice. Whereas other people look outside for the rectification of the faults of the world, the Sufi does not make such a demand. His very calmness becomes a source of strength for himself and others. And by being calm he also helps make a way for Justice and all virtue in the manifestation. But if he reacts, if he becomes emotional, if he is perturbed, he partakes of the very difficulties which stand in the way of the generality. It is the practice of the Divine Presence which helps most here.
GATHEKA: He places the just God before him, and by this he learns justice; the sense of justice awakens in his heart, and he sees things in quite a different light.
TASAWWUF: If one feels God as a whole, all the qualities will manifest, but not as the mind of man conceives them. They are all there and they will come to the surface as needed. For the full heart feeling is one of fullness and this includes the whole gamut of the Sifat. But the repetition of the Bismillah will help more than anything else to make man aware of this Presence and with that the Zikr or Remembrance in some form. The Zakir will feel the Divine Presence and in that will be the essence of Justice and of all virtues.
The Hebrew Bible says that even though the devotee was in the Valley of the Shadow of death he would fear no evil. So it is with the true believer with respect to Allah.
GATHEKA: When man finds in this world the motherless and the fatherless, then he thinks that there is the mother and father in God; and that, even if he was in the presence of mother and father, that these are only related on the earth. The Motherhood and Fatherhood of God is the only real relationship.
TASAWWUF: And this is manifested when the Sufi also acts as the mother or father to the orphan. He does not expect this from others; he has found this himself in the One, All-Pervading Deity. It is an experience, it is an experience much deeper than all the words, all the philosophies. It enables the devotee to feel all the goodness in the universe and then demonstrate it to others. The Sufi, like everybody else, proclaims the Majesty of Divinity, but unlike many others, he puts it to practice, to use.
GATHEKA: The mother and father of the earth only reflect a spark of that motherly and fatherly love which God has in fullness and perfection. Then man finds that God can forgive, as the parents can forgive the child if he is in error; then man feels the goodness, kindness, protection, support, sympathy coming from every side. He learns to feel that it comes from God, the Father-Mother, through all.
TASAWWUF: Many religions and traditions proclaim, above all, respect and more than respect for parents. This has established certain forms of society. Then one may ask, may it not be possible for children to be born and to be born more advanced culturally and spiritually than their parents and they have to yield to their parents. They do not always find the virtues in the parents, or they lose their parents through death, misfortune or accident. And the more one delves into the subject the more one distinguishes between the particular processes in time, and those that are aeonic and those that are eternal. And it is only God Who operates in all these three spheres who can give sustenance to body, heart and soul.
GATHEKA: When man pictures God as Forgiver, he finds that there is not only in this world a strict justice, but there is love developed also, there is mercy and compassion, there is that sense of forgiveness; that God is not the servant of law, as is the judge in this world, He is Master of law. He judges when He judges; when He forgives He forgives. He has both powers, He has the power to judge and He has the power to forgive.
TASAWWUF: Sura CX reads: “Celebrate the praises of the Lord, and pray for His forgiveness for He is oft-returning (in Grace and Mercy).” (v.3) The full sense of this comes when, after constant repetition, one feels the import of the words of prayer. Modern Sufism teaches the Law of Reciprocity and in this Justice is dominant; there is the sphere of justice and everything is subject to it under the law of cause and effect. But there is also a sphere of deliverance, in which one is not so subject. And we see this in a loving mother, kind father, innocent child, helpful friend and inspiring teacher actually.
GATHEKA: He is Judge because He does not close His eyes to anything man does; He knows, He weighs, and measures, and He returns what is due to man. And He is Forgiver, because beyond and above His power of justice there is His great power of love and compassion, which is His very Being, which is His one Nature, and therefore it is more, and in greater proportion, and working with a greater activity than His power of justice.
TASAWWUF: This is not always seen by writers and philosophers. They judge from the externals. They are not wrong but also they do not always go deep. If everything were like in the physical law of cause and effect, action and reaction, then there would be no evolution, no progress. Whatever things were, however they were created, there could be no change. But there is change, there is advancement. And when we look more deeply we can find the Sifat-i-Allah pushing themselves, so to speak, through every facet of creation in some way or other.
GATHEKA: We, the human beings in this world, if there is a spark of goodness or kindness in our hearts, avoid judging people. We prefer forgiving to judging. Forgiving gives us naturally a greater happiness than taking revenge, unless a man is on quite a different path.
TASAWWUF: Despite many injunctions from many prophets, man is prone to judge. Looking outwardly, each sees the injustices of others. But at the same time there is a protective quality. Man wants to protect his own. Some mothers will go far out of their way to protect or excuse or defend their children. This shows that in selfish and unselfish alike there are other factors working than evenly-laid-out justice.
Inveighing against injustice is no good. The just man becomes strong. The forgiving man becomes stronger and thus becomes the example to be followed.
GATHEKA: The man who realizes God as a friend is never lonely in the world, neither in this world or in the hereafter. There is always a friend, a friend in the crowd, a friend in the solitude; or while he is asleep, unconscious of this outer world, and when he is awake and conscious of it. In both cases the friend is there in his thought, in his imagination, in his heart, in his soul.
And the man who makes God his Beloved, what more does he want? His heart becomes awakened to all the beauty there is within and without. To him all things appeal, everything unfolds itself, and it is beauty to his eyes, because God is all-pervading, in all names and all forms; therefore his Beloved is never absent.
TASAWWUF: As one progresses on the path to God, one also advances on the path with God. One feels the Presence of Allah, one drinks in all the beauty of all the beautiful Names. They become part of one’s very nature. And so one enters into the universe of love.
GATHEKA: How happy therefore is the one whose Beloved is never absent, because the whole tragedy of life is the absence of the Beloved; and to one whose Beloved is always there, when he has closed his eyes the Beloved is within, when he has opened his eyes the Beloved is without. His every sense perceives the Beloved; his eyes see Him, his ears hear His voice.
TASAWWUF: This is the ultimate state of the beloved ones of God. We have seen it in people not only of the Sufi line but Swamis like Papa Ram Das who are God-realized and realizing the God they realize the Love, the Beneficence, the Compassion. They realize these everywhere within and without. This becomes their continued state, and one then can see what is in the brochure, “The Smiling Forehead.” This is the natural condition of the divine lover.
GATHEKA: When a person arrives at this realization then he, so to speak, lives in the presence of God; then to him the different forms and beliefs, faiths and communities do not count. To him God is all-in-all; to him God is everywhere.
TASAWWUF: The Sufis have beautifully expressed this in their poetry. It was only possible from the poets who had the God-realization. One can tell it for the words came out spontaneously from their lips and pens. And also in their actions, that they do not have to create any maxims, they are the incarnation of everything they speak or write of.
GATHEKA: If he goes to the Christian Church or to the synagogue, to the Buddhist temple, to the Hindu shrine, or to the mosque of the Muslim, there is God. In the wilderness, in the forest, in the crowd, everywhere he sees God.
TASAWWUF: This has been expressed by many Sufi poets. Many have become suspect. Mohammed did not make the mosque an institution; he made prayer the institution. The Christian Bible also affirms that the human body is the temple of God. The outer forms are all reflections of this inner temple. The same spirit went into their constructions, and the devotee sees those efforts, knows the spirit and thus cannot only worship in many places and in all forms, but can glorify God with the spoken and written word about them. This is also explained in The Unity of Religious Ideals and elsewhere.
GATHEKA: This shows that the inner life does not consist in closing the eyes and looking inward. The inner life is to look outwardly and inwardly, and to find one’s Beloved everywhere.
TASAWWUF: It is on this point where Sufis have differed from the generality and even suffered martyrdom. The great Sheikh Mubarrak of the Moghul times and his sons Abu Fazl and Faiz could see the holiness in all faiths and all buildings. When they proclaimed that, all the different rival groups were against them, each wanted his own way, not universality. But there is no doubt that God is in all, above all and through all. And now man can see this and practice it. What was once confined to realized mystics can now be the point of view of everybody.
GATHEKA: But God cannot be made a Beloved unless the love element is awakened sufficiently. The one who hates his enemy and loves his friend cannot call God his beloved, for he does not know God.
TASAWWUF: There are two obstacles here. One is those who make love a sort of thought or philosophy, an idea. And when it is thought or philosophy, when it is idea, it is not love. Love is universal. It is like a flame or a furnace, that may have to be fanned, and when it is operating its heat flows in every direction. One cannot stop it. That which is stopped is not love.
When one reaches this state it will be also that the body is warm, the hands are warm, the eyes, and all elements of one’s being radiate. And this can be aroused by repeating the Names of God, constantly calling upon God using Wazifas, repeating mantrams and being aware of the universal life.
GATHEKA: When love comes to its fullness, then one looks at the friend with affection, on the enemy with forgiveness, on the stranger with sympathy.
TASAWWUF: For then something happens to the personality and especially the eyes. These eyes cannot make differentiations. The glow of the lamp is in every direction, the sun is for the whole earth. When one pauses there is a flickering in the light; it is not so strong.
GATHEKA: There is love in all its aspects expressed when love rises to its fullness; and it is the fullness of love which is worth offering to God. It is then that man recognizes in God his Beloved, his Ideal; and by that, although he rises above the narrow affection of this world, in reality he is the one who knows how to love even his friend. It is the lover of God who knows love when he raises to that stage of the fullness of love.
TASAWWUF: We find this throughout the Christian Bible, that it was not only the supreme teaching of Jesus Christ but has been repeated in the epistles and other writings. No doubt it was Jewish heritage for the Jewish people were told to love God with all their hearts and souls and might. And then to love the neighbor as thyself. This was one aspect of it.
The message of Jesus was to increase this love quantitatively and qualitatively. By quantitatively we mean that the love began to be expressed not only to the Beni Israel but to the peoples in their midst. And then the message of Jesus also went forth to other peoples. And by qualitatively it means that the quality of love was perfected in selflessness, that Jesus was willing to be crucified, symbolizing the ending of the sway of nufs, the ego.
The introduction of priestcraft, of ritual and dogma, have smothered the essential message of Jesus Christ. He was not concerned with his personality except secondarily. He began with the Beatitudes which reveal that he was concerned with the increment of bliss within the human consciousness. This is exactly the message of the Upanishads. But too often the teachings remain verbal; they do not become actual.
Sufism has at all times tried to make actualities out of these words. The Sufis have been the lovers of God and from that learned how to express kindness to their fellows. They did not make doctrines nor practice separateness. And in the Bayat the disciple is urged to have the heart filled with love, overflowing with love.
GATHEKA: The whole imagery of the Sufi literature in the Persian language, written by great poets, such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Jami, is the relationship between man as the lover and God as the Beloved; and when one reads understanding that, and develops in that affection, then one sees what pictures the mystics have made and to what note the heart has been tuned.
TASAWWUF: This has been a note long observed by many western writers too. They could not imitate but they could appreciate. And also there are now lessons on this in the literature and elsewhere. Besides during the years the interest in Persian and Sufi literature has grown and many men, believers and non-believers alike have worked in that field. This is one part of it.
The most important part is to awaken the response in heart so that one can feel the heart of the poet and the sentiment and then from that come into the awareness of the Divine Presence and the recognition of the Love and Beauty which are everywhere. There are western poets who seem to have had similar outlooks and experiences but not with the same warmth. And this is also true of poets of further east in Asia.
GATHEKA: It is not easy to develop in the heart the love of God, because when one does not see or realize the object of love one cannot love. God must become tangible in order that one may love Him, but once a person has attained to love he has really entered the journey of the spiritual path.
TASAWWUF: The great Indian, Swami Ramakrishna, said he could see God better than he could see man. This was also true of Hazrat-Ali who could see God everywhere and was perhaps blinded by God, so to speak. This is one condition which may seem unbalanced, but until one has the God experience there may be no balance at all. The word may be used, but that does not mean a state of balance. Anybody caught in the intoxication of life may use words quite apart from experience.
But once there is the God-experience, then there is the love-experience to and with all. We also see this in the American poet, Walt Whitman and others. Describing the God-attainment they picture it as a complete love attainment.
The Fulfillment of the Obligations of Human Life
GATHEKA: The position of the person leading the inner life becomes like that of a grown-up living among many children. At the same time there seems outwardly no such difference as is apparent in the ages of the children and the grown person, the difference lying in the size of his outlook, which is not always apparent.
TASAWWUF: Gayan posited the wide horizon, but the philosophy, the words have no import unless there is a wide horizon. And in the teaching of the evolution of love from the Sufi standpoint it is not always an intensity which is involved; it is the ability and capacity to enlarge the sphere of operation until the love can encompass the world, all peoples, and also all ages and all races.
The growth of the heart may be compared to that of a tree also, that it grows in all directions and is an actuality and not merely an imagination.
GATHEKA: One who lives the inner life becomes much older than those around him, and yet outwardly he is the same as every other person. Therefore the man who has arrived at the fullness of the inner life adopts quite a different policy from the one who is just beginning to tread the path, and also a different one to that of the man who knows intellectually something about the inner life, but who really does not live it.
TASAWWUF: There are many people who write books about yoga, the inner life and similar subjects. But they do not fulfill the poetic vision of Edna St. Vincent Millay: “The world stands out on every side, no wider than the heart is wide.” The real wide outlook is the extended and extending heart-outlook. Those people feel at home with all, are strangers to none. And they are older in the sense that they take the attitude of an older person, not of a child; in their relations with others, they will be serious and take on responsibilities. Those who do not take on the responsibilities, whatever else be true about them, can hardly be considered as full grown adults.
GATHEKA: The action again is different in the world, for the latter will criticize others who do not know what he thinks he knows, and will look upon them with pride and conceit, or with contempt, to think that they have not risen to the mystery, to the height, to which he has risen, and which he understands.
TASAWWUF: This is the position of the false esotericist. Those who enter some secret cult, whether they learn or not so often fall into the traps of conceit and contempt. Instead of their capacity for empathy growing sometimes it disappears altogether, and what they thought was an initiation, instead of helping them forward to self-fulfillment, actually throws them back. So if they progress it is in some other direction than that to self-fulfillment.
They may be called “pseudo-mystics.” One may meet many of them and they use words in ways strange to the mystic. But also they do not express the full heart-love which is the sign of development in the inner life.
GATHEKA: He wishes to disconnect himself with people, saying that they are backward in their evolution, and that he cannot go with them. He says, “I am more advanced; I cannot join them in anything; they are different, I am different.” He laughs at the petty ideas of those who surround him, and looks upon them as human beings with whom he must not associate, with whom he must not join in all things they do, because he is much more advanced than they are.
TASAWWUF: No doubt there was a time for secret societies; a time when the ruling powers, generally the ecclesiastics, did not wish the generality to have any knowledge which was not under their control. This forced a good deal of knowledge and research underground. It made knowledge secret and thus occult.
No doubt there are two very different meanings of the word occult. One is that the knowledge was kept hidden lest it endanger society and even humankind. The other is that it deals with the worlds beyond the immediately seen. There is no need today for the first but many organizations continue and instead of increasing the moral standard and sympathy, they even diminish it. In the true occult sciences the magus also must learn to extend his heart-sway.
GATHEKA: But for the one who comes to the fullness of the inner life it is a great joy to mingle with his fellow-man, just as it is for parents to play with their little children. The best moments of their lives are when they feel as a child with their children and when they join in their play.
TASAWWUF: If one could associate with living teachers, they would find these people human and humane although in their disciplines they often behave strangely. The Bodhisattvic vow is one to help all humankind toward perfection. This also involves an assumption that one has, in some way, reached perfection. But to be perfect is to be all-rounded, not superior in everything.
One can learn to distinguish the true teacher from the false one. The true teacher does not consider himself separate from humanity. Some day when the life of Mohammed is presented without either the sanctimonious awe of some of his followers; or the unhallowed criticism of non-believers, we shall see an example of an extraordinary man who was also extraordinary in being ordinary, fulfilling all his life’s requirements also in being a true husband, father and grandfather. It is in the records, but among Muslims few outside the Sufis themselves have actually adopted these standards to be pursued in life. So Mohammed stands as a remarkable example.
While there are many ways to differentiate the true teacher from the false one, people intoxicated with life, easily fall prey to the false teachers. These false teachers often have some pretense, they maintain an attitude of superiority and aloofness. They do not join in games, they do not mingle as does everybody else. The true teacher would never behave in such a way. It is only when he is functioning that he must fulfill the obligations of life and duty.
GATHEKA: Parents who are kind and loving, if a child brings to them a doll’s cup, will pretend that they are drinking tea, and that they are enjoying it; they do not let the child think that they are superior, or that this is something in which they must not join. They play with the child, and they are happy with it, because the happiness of children is theirs also.
TASAWWUF: Jesus has said that the kingdom of God belongs to the children and organized religion teaches otherwise. Even many Sufis who hold that the way to wisdom is to associate with the mature were not entirely right. You do not always find human wisdom among the mature. And you always find a natural wisdom among the young so that Mohammed proclaimed that every child is born a Muslim and in the sense of innate surrender, feeling the propinquity of God, and expressing the wisdom of God this is often so. And so by playing with children occasionally, and getting into their atmosphere we throw off many of the weights of life which are not important but which older people imagine to be important.
GATHEKA: That is the action of the man who lives the inner life, and it is for this reason that he agrees and harmonizes with people of all grades of evolution, whatever be their ideas, their thoughts, their belief, or their faith; in whatever form they worship or show their religious enthusiasm. He does not say; “I am much more advanced than you are, and to join you would be going backward.”
TASAWWUF: The tuning of the heart, the process of unlearning and the slight suggestions given to candidates and to disciples in their early period of studying contain all the seeds for further moral, occult, and mystical development. It may not seem so but it is so.
In the Gayan, it says of the holy ones and divine messengers that they were sent to be examples. And for some they have been examples. But there is also the element of spontaneity and naturalness; if one is always keeping a code-standard before one he can be an imitator (which is not wrong) but he will not radiate the full goodness, the full God-ness which is in him. When one has the manner of God, he behaves toward humanity even as he wishes God would behave.
GATHEKA: The one who has gone so far forward can never go backward, but by joining them he takes them along with him, onward. If he went on alone he would consider that he avoided his duty toward his fellow-man, which he should perform.
TASAWWUF: This is also the difference between the two aspects of Buddhism called Theravada and Mahayana. In Theravada it is thought that the humanity benefits by helping the aspirant, who is a monk, on toward the completion of his evolution. And in Mahayana the emphasis is the opposite, that the devotee believes the fulfillment of his mission is in helping others onward instead of them helping him. But both accept the Lord Buddha’s “Work out thy salvation with diligence” although they give a very different interpretation to it.
Then there is another point in the discussion of backward trends. When we accept that God alone exists; that the path to Him is also a path of Him, and with Him; that God is the only being, we shall not be led astray by foolish notions of the half-learned.
GATHEKA: It is the empty pitcher that makes the noise when you knock upon it, but the pitcher which is full of water does not make any sound; it is silent, speechless.
TASAWWUF: There may be no way to measure feeling. There is something that radiates outward. It is in the atmosphere. Nothing can be substituted for atmosphere and its companions, the radiant light of the eyes and the smiling forehead. These are the signs of development. For speech, even in its most wonderful aspects, cannot convey so much.
GATHEKA: So the wise live among all the people of this world, and they are not unhappy. The one who loves all is not unhappy. Unhappy is he who looks with contempt at the world, who hates human beings, and thinks he is superior to them; the one who loves them thinks only that they are going through the same process that he has gone through.
TASAWWUF: Jesus has said, “I am the Vine and ye are the branches thereof.” Sufism teaches that teacher and pupil are one. And again, “It is the mureeds who make the teacher.” Older people who were originally attracted to the Sufi Message were not able to accept this and so there is another generation which can accept and it is through these, who are the children of the New Age that the Message will spread because in a certain sense, they are the Message.
GATHEKA: It is from the darkness that he has to come into the light. It is just a difference of moments; and he, with great patience, passes these moments while his fellowmen are still in darkness, not making them know they are in darkness, nor letting them feel hurt about it, not looking upon them with contempt; only thinking that for every soul there is childhood, there is youth and maturity. So it is natural for every human being to go through this process.
TASAWWUF: It is only a first step for a teacher to feel, “I am the Vine and ye are the branches thereof.” Many have written about Sufism without having mingled with Sufis. They write about them as exotic, strange people. They cannot know what the insight, the foresight of the wise is. And when the phrase, “Beloved Ones of God,” is used, it sounds like an honorific whereas to the Sufi it is reality. For God loves all His creatures.
Brotherhood will not come while some emphasize their elder brotherhood position, or while there is separation of any kind. People who talk brotherhood but manifest separation are obviously not so advanced on the path. On the path, hearts beat together; on the path, the whole humanity is as if a single personage. And the wise follow what is also found in the Christian Scriptures but bypassed, that the whole humanity is as if a single body, all of us being cells and organs, tubes and veins of that single body.
GATHEKA: I have seen with my own eyes souls who have attained saintliness, and who have reached to great perfection; and yet such a soul would stand before the idol of stone with another, with a fellow-man, and worship, not letting him know that he was in any way more advanced than other men, keeping himself in a humble guise, not making any pretense that he had gone further in his spiritual evolution.
TASAWWUF: The commentator used to worship with all sorts of people in all sorts of ways. Once he was in the city of Bombay and the story came out that he was some sort of holy man. A simple working man came to him, signaled and took him off to an unknown shrine to which he had the key. He opened the place and there was a beautiful idol there and the Indian asked the commentator to perform puja. The commentator had never seen such an idol and did not know how to perform the puja and yet he did know and he did it and did it exactly right. This made the Indian present very happy, he performed the same puja and them embraced his American visitor.
There are many Sufis who have gone to Indian temples and sometimes many non-Sufis of different faiths also go to the Sufi shrines of saints and to sanctuaries. Then one throws off all pretense and joins the generality in whatever form of worship they perform.
GATHEKA: The further souls go, the more humble they become; the greater the mystery they have realized, the less they speak about it.
TASAWWUF: It is not necessary to speak. Some people are offended when they speak. They are not always understood. Besides the maintenance of secrets, especially such secrets, help to store up the spiritual magnetism. And it is this rather than “merit” which helps the soul in the inner life.
GATHEKA: You would scarcely believe it if I were to tell you that during four years of the presence of my Murshid, hardly more than once or twice I had a conversation on spiritual matters. Usually the conversation was on worldly things, like everybody else’s; nobody would perceive that here was a God-realized man, who was always absorbed in God. His conversation was like the conversation of every other person; he spoke on everything belonging to this world, never a spiritual conversation, nor any special show of piety or spirituality; and yet his atmosphere, voice of his soul and his presence revealed all that was hidden in his heart.
TASAWWUF: No doubt one can write about many masters one has visited and there are all sorts of them. For instance one Sheikh of the Rifai was a great football enthusiast. And a Chisti Murshid was an expert on fly-casting and an excellent athlete. And there were others who delighted in card playing. They would play games but would not discuss news or politics or anything small. They could play with children and they would play with adults and never make any differences.
GATHEKA: Those who are God-realized and those who have touched wisdom speak very little on the subject. It is they who do not know who try to discuss it, not because they know, but because they themselves have doubts.
TASAWWUF: In the western world the greatest obstacles have not come from the ignorant nor from those who are opposed to mysticism or strange (to them) religions, but from the person who thinks they are either God-realized or near it, and so more evolved than others. It is they who expect more from other people and less from themselves and are quick to excuse themselves for their incapacities to adhere to standards and norms.
GATHEKA: When there is knowledge, there is satisfaction, there is no tendency towards dispute. When one disputes, it is because something is not satisfied.
TASAWWUF: The wise regard their opponents in debate as also God’s children. Once when Swami Ram Das came to San Francisco, many wanted to dispute with him on the platform. And some assumed they were on his side but when he was away they did not accept him, only when he was there. But there was one man who said he would be glad to dispute with the Swami and he prepared all kinds of questions and dualistic arguments.
It was only five minutes when the Swami not only answered all questions but considered the disputant as one who favored him by asking challenging questions and also tried to please his inward being with the answers. True, the disputant did not gain, but the whole audience was attracted by the Swami, who had the God-realization and saw God in everything and everybody.
GATHEKA: There is nothing in this world, wealth, rank, position, power, or learning, that can give such conceit as the slightest little amount of spiritual knowledge; and once a person has that conceit, then he cannot take a further step, he is nailed down to that place where he stands; because the very idea of spiritual realization is in selflessness.
TASAWWUF: That is why it has taken so many years to introduce properly the teachings of the Orient. And not only the religions and spiritual philosophies but much of the knowledge of Asian lands in so many directions has been kept from the public by the men of self-conceit. And unfortunately only too often they have been accepted as authorities. So the people of the West who have learned so much on so many things, have not really learned about the people of lands who think different, behave different and worship different.
One of the best ways to learn is to mingle with such people, ask them questions, join in their meals, their devotions, their games. Then one does not only become popular, one learns much more than by other efforts. This is one of the easiest and best ways to learn and this is the humility in action, the real humility.
GATHEKA: Man has either to realize himself as something or as nothing. In this realization of nothingness there is spirituality. If one has any little knowledge of the inner laws of nature and is proud of it, or if one has any sense of thinking, “How good I am, how kind I am, how generous, how well-mannered, how influential, or how attractive,” the slightest idea of anything of this kind coming into the mind closes the doors which lead into the spiritual world.
TASAWWUF: There is a whole Buddhist Scripture called the “Diamond Sutra” which gives out this teaching. And yet there has been a class of people with this conceit to give out what they call instructions, and they prove at every step that they do not understand it. They do not behave in accord with the Scripture. And yet there are others who make no pretense, and they have had the spiritual realization which is latent in this Sutra.
There is no value in negation. And those who wish to tread the path must accept that there is a way in which, by denying self, one comes to the real fulfillment.
GATHEKA: It is such an easy path to tread, and yet so difficult. Pride is most natural to a human being. Man may deny a virtue a thousand times in words, but he cannot help admitting it with his feelings, for the ego itself is pride. Pride is the ego; man cannot live without it.
TASAWWUF: Nor need we be surprised that many make a show of something they call humility. There is no pompousness in it, no show, yet it is a pride, often a great self-conceit. Because this type of person, while pretending to deny himself, does not see the good in others, admit the superiority of others.
GATHEKA: In order to attain to spiritual knowledge, in order to become conscious of the inner life, a person does not need to learn very much, because here he has to know what he already knows; only he has to discover it himself. For his understanding of spiritual knowledge he does not need the knowledge of anything except himself. He acquires the knowledge of the self which is himself, so near and yet so far.
TASAWWUF: There is a teaching in the Upanishads that all knowledge is none other than knowledge of the self. And the celebrated British philosopher Bertrand Russell, whose outlooks are so different, has admitted we cannot prove logically that there is any knowledge other than that of self.
Yet there is also what is called “common sense,” that there is an assumption of space and time without and that we are different. And it is not wrong to live and work with that assumption, for it is most common and we have to meet the humanity on the level where it is, not where we should like it to be.
GATHEKA: Another thing the lover of God shows is the same tendency as the human lover’s: he does not talk about his love to anybody; he cannot talk about it.
TASAWWUF: And often when a person talks about it, others are attracted for a short while. But such a one who talks about love for God, does not show the love for mankind. That person does not know it may be a conceit, and that the abstraction is nothing but an extended form of one’s own ego.
And the lover of God may show it in the eyes, the forehead, the attitude and manner, in being most gracious to others. Yet there are Madzubs who are among the greatest lovers of God who often choose to act otherwise.
GATHEKA: Man cannot say how much he loves his beloved; no words can express it; and besides, he does not feel like talking about it to anybody. Even if he could, in the presence of his beloved he would close his lips. How then could the lover of God make a profession, “I love God”?
TASAWWUF: Yes, there are many who make this profession. When one comes close there is nothing but a claim, there is no love. There are none of the signs which one expects in the lover. And, if anything, the lover of God would show more of these real love-signs if he really loved.
GATHEKA: The true lover of God keeps his love silently hidden in his heart, like a seed sown in the ground; and if the seedling grows, it grows in his actions towards his fellow-man.
TASAWWUF: This is the teaching of the Great Ones, and the non-practice of those who have used religions as sources of power-expressions. No wonder then that we find it more among the monks and nuns of Christianity and not among the laity, because the rituals and sermons do not emphasize it. They seek to exploit the masses to promote some ideals and do not give the masses the opportunity to grow, or even to know.
Therefore Mohammed said there should be no monkery in Islam, that the virtues of the heart belong to everybody and are not to be confined to a few special persons. Nor is it necessary to return from society in order to express the love, human or divine.
GATHEKA: He cannot act except with kindness, he cannot feel anything but forgiveness; every movement he makes, everything he does, speaks of his love, but not his lips.
TASAWWUF: Therefore Sufis and lovers of God may express themselves in various ways. It was Jelal-ud-din Rumi who has given so much poetry, so much poetry that many are not aware of his prose. And yet always there was this central theme of love, a divine love which did not exclude anything human. And he left his work, both a work of erudition and an encyclopedia for the lovers. And it is possible today to work in the same spirit using music, dancing and all the arts to affect the awakening of the human heart and to bring to the surface the latent powers of everybody.
GATHEKA: This shows that in the inner life the greatest principle that one should observe is to be unassuming and quiet, without any show of wisdom, without any manifestation of learning, without any desire to let anyone know how far one has advanced, not even letting oneself know how far one has gone.
TASAWWUF: Actually this is impossible. Though there are grades and though we may even know how much these grades differ from one another, they do not have common denominators; you cannot always express the awareness of one grade in the language of another. You can make others feel it. And therefore sometimes there is the practice of Tawajjeh or Darshan to enable others to learn by feeling. But in this there is no speech communication. When speech is used, it is for quite another purpose.
GATHEKA: The task to be accomplished is the entire forgetting of oneself and harmonizing with one’s fellow-man; acting in agreement with all, meeting everyone on his own plane, speaking to everyone in his own tongue, answering the laughter of one’s friends with a smile, and the pain of another with tears, standing by one’s friends in their joy and their sorrow, whatever be one’s own grade of evolution.
TASAWWUF: The adept is taught methods of meditation to tune in on audiences, and especially when he is to be a speaker or performer. After a while he may become so proficient and full of understanding that it may not be necessary to tune in. He will become sensitive to the atmospheres. Then he can deal with each and all according to their understanding.
He may be taken as a wit or good company but it is all part of the spiritual development so one can see in each and all the manifestation of the Divine Love.
GATHEKA: If a man through his life became like an angel he would accomplish very little; the accomplishment which is most desirable for man is to fulfill the obligations of human life.
TASAWWUF: That is why the wise say that the fulfillment comes with the ordinary things often necessary for one’s daily achievement. And when a disciple looked for the teachers of the celebrated Gurdjieff, he found them often ordinary men doing the simplest of tasks yet in tune with the divinity.
The Realization of the Inner Life
GATHEKA: The principle of the one who experiences the inner life, is to become all things to all men throughout his life. In every situation, in every capacity, he answers the demand of the moment.
TASAWWUF: Walt Whitman, the celebrated American poet, has given us the wonderful SONG OF THE ANSWERER, which depicts a man who is able to associate with all kinds of people, converse with them, deal with them, and often answer their problems and solve their enigmas.
Hazrat Inayat Khan used to often join an audience in an almost unseen manner and sometimes to act as if he were not there and otherwise to act as a very ordinary and unimportant person. But he could not, for his atmosphere was too powerful, just as he told in certain stories that atmospheres cannot be hidden.
GATHEKA: Often people think that the spiritual person must be a man with sad looks, with a long face, with a serious expression, and with a melancholy atmosphere. Really speaking, that picture is the exact contrary of the real spiritual person.
TASAWWUF: Many pictures have been drawn by artists who were under the emotional influence of Orthodoxy and either lacked the inspiration or were limited by tradition. If they had the divine vision they would have seen otherwise. For the man of God, even when he is most suffering does not let this pour into the atmosphere. He hides his pains always, but his joys he is glad to share with everybody.
We are coming into an age when people will accept the testimonials of disciples and friends of the wise and not the impressions of the wise upon newspapermen and book-writers. This earlier practice is very different and very confusing. It is far from the reality.
GATHEKA: In all capacities the one who lives the inner life has to act outwardly as he ought in order to fit the occasion; he must act according to the circumstances, and he must speak to everyone in his own language, standing upon the same level, and yet realizing the inner life.
TASAWWUF: When the Message was introduced into the West there were many traditions as to how a holy man and especially a spiritual man should act. People tried to mold the teacher to fit their views. So it became very difficult for the teacher. And even though A Sufi Message of Spiritual Liberty was the first of the books, both the disciples and non-disciples who constituted the core of society did not wish any such thing. They were looking for a mannequin to fulfill their outlooks. It did not happen that way; it never happens that way. And when a great change came into society, when the young began to seek the spiritual teachers, to accept them as they are, much confusion followed, but also success.
The real mystic cannot be an imitation of a book report about other mystics, who lived in the long ago. Mystics of every age manifest when they do to answer the need of that age. So there can be no standardized pattern.
GATHEKA: For the knower of truth, the one who has attained spiritual knowledge and who lives the inner life, there is no occupation in life which is too difficult; as a business man, a professional man, a king; as a ruler, a poor man, a worldly man; as a priest or monk, in all aspects he is different from what people know and see of him.
TASAWWUF: The confusion of trying to enforce artificial standards has been a great obstacle to the introduction of mysticism into the western world. The western world has its conventions which are different and also the power to enforce them, which means an incapacity to surrender to anything new and yet the people are unaware of it. They are often good people, but they are unaware.
Even when the teachings are brought verbally and learned verbally, they do not always affect the psyches and hearts. The false image, the artificial patterns remain. But, after a while, the continued intermingling of East and West compels both to recognize the actualities of the others, and not be limited any more by their own artificial concepts. The inner life is one of freedom and the realized spiritual man is not bound, yet he does not wish to destroy either.
GATHEKA: To the one who lives the inner life the world is a stage; on this he is the actor who has to act a part in which he has sometimes to be angry and sometimes loving, and in which he has to take part both in tragedy and comedy. So also the one who has realized the inner life acts constantly; and, like the actor who does not feel the emotions he assumes, the spiritual man has to fill fittingly the place in which life has placed him. There he performs everything thoroughly and rightly, in order to fulfill his outer commission in life.
TASAWWUF: It becomes a very delicate matter both to understand and appreciate the one who lives the inner life. His vision, his outlook, his understanding is different and there is an outer urge and intuition which directs his every act. He is not easily understood and one cannot ask others to have forbearance. But those who try to understand the workings of the mystic help themselves on the path of their own unfoldment and awakening.
No doubt the outer mission of everybody is different. We all have our lives, our careers. But just as there is one sun for the whole earth, there is also one guiding principle for all souls. And the ideal is the harmonization of the within and the without, the bringing together the various facets of life and existence, and not to separate the religious and the laic, the sacred and profane.
GATHEKA: He is a friend to his friend, a relative to his relatives. With all to whom he is outwardly related he keeps the right relationship with thought, with consideration; and yet in his realization he is above all relationships. He is in the crowd and in the solitude at the same time. He may be very much amused, and at the same time he is very serious. He may seem very sad, and yet there is joy welling up from his heart.
TASAWWUF: In giving us this teaching Hazrat Inayat Khan was presenting his own life, inward and outward. It remains as an ideal and perhaps as an example and still more as an achievement. He did not live long in the flesh but long enough to establish a norm and an ideal for others to follow. It is not enough, however, to make an idol of a personality. When we externalize we exclude from our own beings the potentialities of perfection. It is for each one to cleanse his own self and to strive to become what is, in the beginning, one’s own ideal.
GATHEKA: Therefore the one who has realized the inner life is a mystery to everyone; no one can fathom the depth of that person, except that he promises sincerity, he emits love, he commands trust, he spreads goodness, and he gives an impression of God and the truth.
TASAWWUF: It is the atmosphere of the mystic more than anything else that both brings impression and radiation and not necessarily the words or thoughts. For each derives from his words and his personality according to his own understanding and evolution. Then some identify their understanding with the person involved and this closes a door upon those with different outlooks.
GATHEKA: For the man who has realized the inner life every act is his meditation; if he is walking in the street it is his meditation; if he is working as a carpenter, as a goldsmith or in any other trade or business, that is his meditation. It does not matter if he is looking at heaven or at the earth, he is looking at the object that he worships. East or west or north or south, upon all sides is his God.
TASAWWUF: There is now coming a new outlook which is no longer concerned with some abstraction, some indefinite Ideal as the subject or object of worship. We have had physical idolatry with its limitations, and then mental idolatry with a somewhat broader outlook. Both physical and mental idolatry separate what they consider to be “God” from what they consider to be other than “God.” But the mystic finds his Ideal in all creatures, beings, things, everywhere. He does not make such separations.
GATHEKA: In form, in principle, nothing restricts him. He may know things and yet may not speak; for if a man who lives the inner life were to speak of his experiences it would confuse many minds.
TASAWWUF: Wise people try to speak to everyone in their own language. If we were to look at a complex machine and if the designer were to explain it to a group of children he would use one kind of language; to students he might use another language, and to professional engineers still a third kind of language. And in this way there would be a communication. But many people who believe they are students of the inner life want a language which could explain all three levels at once. It cannot be done in the outer life; still less in the inner life.
GATHEKA: There are individuals in the world who from morning until evening have their eyes and their ears focused on every dark corner, wanting to listen, or to see what they can find out; and they find out nothing. If someone were to tell such people wonders, he would have a very good occupation, the whole world would seek him.
TASAWWUF: For the analytical points of view satisfy the ego. They keep one interested, excited, and always far from peacefulness. Peacefulness does not mean to overlook so much as to focus in such a way as not to be concerned and drawn down to another level. The analytical people become interested and involved and unconsciously want problems. They do not want solutions. Problems are their toys and also the causes of their diseases.
The world of wonder working no doubt has its place. Much of what is now science could easily be explained as a world of wonder working if it fell into the hands of people with that outlook. Actually everything is a wonder, and maybe in the end, nothing is.
GATHEKA: But such is not the work of the self-realized man. He sees, and yet does not look; if he were to look, how much would he see! There is so much to be seen by one whose every glance, wherever it is cast, breaks through every object and discovers its depth and its secret. And if he were to look at things and find out their secrets and depths, where would it end, and of what interest is it to him?
TASAWWUF: To the Sufi every object has a key as it is said, “Thy Light is in all forms.” Any object can be used in concentration (Murakkabah) to help reveal the hidden portion of the universe and to help make it known to man.
GATHEKA: The inner life, therefore, is seeing all things and yet not seeing them; feeling all things and not expressing them, for they cannot be fully expressed; understanding all things and not explaining. How far can such a man explain, and how much can another understand? Each according to the capacity he has, no more.
TASAWWUF: For we learn there are different levels of understanding and consciousness in man. These are presented as Jinn-levels and Deva-levels, but as we must express them in the language of humankind, the language does not really explain; it just indicates. For the language of higher beings may not be verbal and yet they may communicate much more clearly than verbal efforts.
And here is a question of communication and understanding. It has perplexed much of the world. Each culture is trying to explain and even to its own self-satisfaction solve these perplexities. And they all fail because they do not take the whole universe into consideration. The higher outlooks, which have also been given to the world by Sri Aurobindo, present the tools and the methods which may be used. But these tools, these methods, these presentations are not the actual operations of the more evolved, they were just indications of how the more evolved will behave. And until the more evolved come and behave that way, it is all abstraction, all uncertain metaphysics.
GATHEKA: The inner life is not lived by closing the eyes; one need not close one’s eyes from this world in order to live it; one can just as well open them.
TASAWWUF: Those who have had a veil lifted discover the opening or closing of the physical eyes hardly affects them. And when one has the full sight or Insight, he is not restricted by his senses; he may use them but they can no longer control him. He reaches the stages mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita, and other Scriptures, that he uses and rules his senses. For the full man may live in the midst of society and perform any function.
Closing the eyes no doubt preserves magnetism. Sometimes it enables the eyes to function differently also, but this is an extension of the outer life, not germane to the real inner life.
GATHEKA: The exact meaning of the inner life is not only to live in the body, but to live in the heart, to live in the soul.
TASAWWUF: To live in the heart is to live beyond the differences and distinctions that divide men; to be as an angel and the angelic life will be explained later. But to live in the soul is to live fullness, to see everything as part of one’s very self and never to be disturbed by anything at all.
GATHEKA: Why, then, does not the average man live an inner life when he too has a heart and a soul? It is because he has a heart, and yet is not conscious of it; he has a soul, and knows not what it is.
TASAWWUF: And this is the purpose of the very life, to work toward one’s fulfillment and one’s fullness. But if people began by being heart-conscious they would also be limited in another way, in that they might be fully conscious of an inner life which is separate from the outer life, they would not be having a full life, they would be avoiding the full life. God does not live so much in and with the angels who are conscious of Him as with and in mankind though human beings are not so conscious.
GATHEKA: When he lives in the captivity of the body, limited by that body, he can only feel a thing by touching it, he sees only by looking through his eyes, he hears only by hearing with his ears. How much can the ears hear and the eyes see? All this experience obtained by the outer senses is limited.
TASAWWUF: All this has been discussed so many times, in so many places by so many philosophers. But such discussion is not of much help. It shows the potentialities and the activities of the mind. And so far as modern Sufism is concerned, this is all considered in Mind-World.
GATHEKA: When man lives in this limitation he does not know that another part of his being exists, which is much higher, more wonderful, more living, and more exalted. Once he begins to know this, then the body becomes his tool, for he lives in his heart. And then later he passes on and lives in his soul.
TASAWWUF: The iceberg theory of modern psychologists has become very popular, that most of man’s consciousness is below the surface and has to be explored. But the theory is not the exploration. Besides, the exploration brings to the surface what has been hidden and most of this may be of another order, another dimension. So the words, the ideas, are just indicators. All of this is properly presented in the book called Metaphysics, which is very terse and very profound, and this in turn needs exploration and explanation. Once this is done, it will help human beings become more aware of their potentialities and their real beings. This is also presented in the very first sentence in Gayan.
GATHEKA: He experiences life independently of his body; and that is called the inner life.
TASAWWUF: This inner life is much more than the mental consideration. Calling some aspect of life “inner” does not of itself awaken man to the consciousness of it. The Ryazat of Sufism, the meditations and practices of many faiths and esotericisms make this possible by doing, not thinking about doing. Thinking about such things is often the greatest obstacle to their development. It puts people into one of the categories of the half-learned and often keeps them there indefinitely.
GATHEKA: Once man has experienced the inner life, the fear of death has expired; because he knows death comes to the body, not to his inner being. When once he begins to realize life in his heart and in his soul, then he looks upon his body as a coat. If the coat is old he puts it away and takes a new one, for his being does not depend upon his coat. The fear of death lasts only so long as man has not realized that his real being does not depend upon his body.
TASAWWUF: This would suggest reincarnation. It does posit rebirth whether in a new physical body or in a new non-physical body. It is not our work to explore the vast regions connected with this subject for this investigation is still part of the outer life; a much greater and grander outer life but still outer life.
Either aspect of rebirth, however, takes one into a new time-space outlook. And with the sense of continuity, of longevity, of separateness from the limitation of the material outlook, one has a new vista and from this new vista, one begins to examine the real life which is called “inner” because one has to consider what is now entirely within, as well as what is without—which continues from an entirely new and transcendent outlook.
GATHEKA: The joy, therefore, of the one who experiences the inner life is beyond comparison greater than that of the average man living only as a captive in his mortal body. Yet the inner life does not necessitate man’s adopting a certain way of living, or living an ascetic or a religious life. Whatever his outer occupation be it does not matter; the man who lives the inner life lives it through all.
TASAWWUF: One of the greatest differences between the many cultists of all sorts and the mystic is that they not only delight in complications they do not always experience the joy. The Upanishads teach positively and definitely that each stage in cosmic evolution takes one into ever grander experiences of joy. They are as definite on this point as lecturers are not, for the speakers and teachers, being men of mind, manas, do not know the Ananda from their direct experience. And all the Scriptures, all of them posit this Bliss as sign of the attainment of the Inner Life.
It is therefore the work of the teacher, especially in this New Age, to bring out this joy latent in all of us as part of the grand program, not all of it, but part. Saum posits Grace, Glory, Wisdom, Joy and Peace and these are all marvels of the unlimited Inner Life.
GATHEKA: Man always looks for a spiritual person in a religious person, or perhaps in what he calls a good person, or in someone with a philosophical mind, but that is not necessarily the case. A person may be religious, even philosophical, he may be religious or good, and yet he may not live the inner life.
TASAWWUF: This has been one of the greatest obstacles in the early spreading of the Message of Sufism to the West; in the West, where no matter what is said or taught, the hearers are still caught in the webs of traditional personality. The greatest fault of Puritanism did not come from its restrictions on certain habits, but its exclusion of Joy as the possibility for all. And yet Jesus, on his mission, began with the Beatitudes, which are not different from the teachings and proclamations of other faiths. And if man is to accept his Scriptures even literally, he must return again to the examination, acceptance and journeys of Joy.
Those who have met some of the great Murshids and Swamis realize that among the signs each has is this almost infinite capacity, if not infinite manifestation, of joy.
GATHEKA: There is no distinct outward appearance which can prove a person to be living the inner life, except one thing. When a child grows towards youth, you can see in the expression of that child a light beaming out, a certain new consciousness arising, a new knowledge coming which the child has not known before. That is the sign of youth, yet the child does not say so; he cannot say it, even if he wanted to, he cannot explain it.
TASAWWUF: Jesus has said we must be born again. But the religious persons and many devotees are afraid of this. They think spirituality means the extension and confirmation of their own limited outlooks. They do not break through. Many knowing there must be a breakthrough have seized upon these words, but that has not brought the experience. They expect others to conform to them and that is certainly a sign of non-attainment for the harmonization is on one side only.
In one way the passage from childhood to youth is a passage from the angelic way to that of the genius-jinn-Gandharva. But in another way, it offers a still greater accommodation for life-force and action. As man grows in his capacity and outlook there will be a greater consideration of all manifestations of vital-life-force in and through persons quite in accordance with the teachings that appear in Education.
GATHEKA: And yet you can see it from every movement that the child makes; from his every expression, you can find that he is realizing life now. And so it is with the soul. When the soul begins to realize the life above and beyond this life, it begins to show; and although the man who realizes this may refrain from purposely showing it, yet from his expression, his movement, his glance, his voice, from every action and from every attitude, the wise can grasp and the others can feel that he is conscious of some mystery.
TASAWWUF: It becomes incumbent to share what is gained with others, which comes out of the bosom of life itself. Jesus, it is said, came to bring life and life more abundant. Man has been caught and limited by the tyranny of words; words do not bring anything; they may even take away.
There are many who seek joy. Some identify it with youth and they try to regain it by going backwards. But that is a wrong method. Besides the joy of youth is very limited and may soon pass away. But the joy that comes out of the bosom of the universe is not so limited, nor does it pass away. It is one of the treasures of heaven which Jesus told his followers to store up. The Sufis accept this principle but go further in making it real and realized among the generality.
Therefore it has been from the beginning that first Qur’anic recitation, then the repetition of sacred phrases, the use of music (which is quite widespread) and now the dancing can be used. For in the universe of the Jinns and Gandharvas, this is the way of life and if people wished to experience a greater life, they will also accept certain patterns from the creatures of the unseen. These are also presented in The Soul Whence and Whither.
When this book and parallel writings are accepted as the “truths” of an external universe, the advantage is very limited. When they are accepted as travel brochures are accepted, that one can see and partake of such experience, the benefit begins to accumulate. And when people actually partake of such experience, in this sense they may be said to have arrived.
GATHEKA: The inner life is a birth of the soul; as Christ said, that unless the soul is born again it cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore the realization of inner life is entering the kingdom of heaven; and this consciousness when it comes to the human being shows itself as a new birth, and with this new birth there comes the assurance of everlasting life.
TASAWWUF: We are now coming to a time when the experience of the living mystic will also be considered in the study of mysticism—not the vague external study of the lives of saints of long ago. Anyone who has experienced this surge will realize, to some extent, its magnificence and tremendous potentialities. It is non-verbal and trans-verbal, but still by impressions it can be communicated.
The best way to communicate is by awakening some hidden facet in the life of another. Therefore, Sufism itself is not a fixed science or a limited one, but a progressive one, used by Teachers and Masters to meet the needs of the time and to apply methods which have salutary effects on others.
Freedom of Action
GATHEKA: As man grows through the inner life, so he feels a freedom of thought, speech and action which comes as a natural course through his spiritual journey. And the reason why this freedom comes and whence it comes can be explained by the fact that there is a spirit of freedom hidden within man, covered by outward conventionalities.
TASAWWUF: One aspect of this is the development of the inner sight which makes use of all the vehicle and which functions through mind and heart in a way analogous to which the person of outward outlook uses the senses. There is no way to describe how these inner functions operate although some hints are given in various places in the literature and also, of course, in the inner teachings and practices. But, until people have such experience, it is almost impossible to convey this in words and thoughts derived from a much narrower point of view.
Kashf or Prajna is an operation of an immediate function of the insight of the entire personality. It is independent causally of time and space. It may or may not justify itself logically, but it certainly fulfills what Jesus has said: “By your fruits ye shall know them.” One may also read of the benefits of meditation. Dr. Daisetz Suzuki has proclaimed that Zen in truth is not just meditative practice, it is operative Prajna function. Sufis would agree on this point.
GATHEKA: When man grows out of the outward conventionalities, then the spirit of freedom, which was closed in so far, becomes manifest.
TASAWWUF: It is in this way one can refer to the Dervishes who are free from conventionalities and who seem to live in an outwardly unreal world and yet at the same time seem to understand and see beyond immediacy. There are many stories told of Dervishes sometimes fanciful, often true; but a psychological study has not yet been made, especially in the western world. So an intellectual person is always confused by the behavior and also the words of Dervishes. Sometimes these are simple and direct, sometimes they are so transcendental, that one is stunned.
GATHEKA: The laws given to humanity are given by those far from such laws, the Elder Ones. As for children, certain laws, certain rules are necessary, so those who have not yet evolved to look at life from the higher point of view are fixed under certain laws which are taught to them as religion; and these are as necessary for mankind as the rules given to the children in the home.
TASAWWUF: Mohammed distinctly laid it down that the Holy Qur’an was given in Arabic so that the people immediately around him could understand. He did not say that Arabic was an especially holy language. He also said that “Qur’an was revealed in seven dialects and each one had an inner and outer meaning.” It is on this point that Sufism differs from Orthodoxy. The Sufis accept that Qur’an is revelation; they accept that he was the seal of the Prophets and Messengers. They also emphasize points in both Qur’an and Hadith which the Orthodox usually bypass, but which sometimes the heterodox Muslims, Shias in particular, accept. There are persons who hold that not only is washing important, but that it has to be done by a certain ritual. They want to make rituals out of all the elements of Mohammed’s life but the important ones—his relations with Allah, his mystical experiences and his daily life among men, serving as well as commanding them. When he commanded they want to follow, but when he served they do not always want to follow. So there are, to begin with, at least two different versions of the Prophet’s life and works.
There are Hadith in which he said that there are greater things than each of the five pillars: Declaration of Unity, Prayer, Fasting, Charity and Pilgrimage. The words are repeated but not practiced, so from whatever point of view we examine there is not a complete and full acceptance. And the deeper we go into the inner life, the grander the magnificence of the Prophet and the less importance that can be given to details and nicety.
A book has been written on The Spirit of Islam, but this spirit is one of self-surrender, recognition of God and compliance with His commands. Mohammed also said, “The revelations of Allah can abrogate my teachings but my teachings cannot abrogate the revelations of Allah.” As much of Islam has rejected this, we must realize that the Sifat-i-Allah are paramount over any language, even what might be called “revelation.” But, as the true revelation was given in seven dialects, each with inner and outer meanings, we can still find in the works of Mohammed all the keys needed for complete spiritual development.
GATHEKA: If there were no rules given, the children would become unruly; but when the children become grown-up, then they begin to see for themselves the reason why rules were given to them and the benefit that these rules were to them; then they can make such rules for themselves as suit them best.
TASAWWUF: Sufis have been divided into those that follow Shariat and those who do not. But Sufism without the divine experience is nothing, and all Sufis agree on this point, not only Al-Ghazali but all of them, and no man is free until he can establish his own laws, not his own wild freedom. The customs of the Dervishes are such that even those who seem anarchistic are working for the benefit of all mankind. They do not have Bodhisattvic vows; they do not need them as vows. This is the way of their life.
GATHEKA: The inner life helps a soul to grow up; when the soul evolves from subjection to mastery, then it makes rules for itself. In the East, therefore, no one tries to criticize a spiritual person; no one stands up to judge his action or to accuse him of something which he himself calls wrong.
TASAWWUF: As politics entered the domain of religion this no longer held. Throughout most of history the Sufis and Dervishes worked for the benefit of mankind. The great Jelal-ud-din Rumi was almost anarchistic in his outlook so far as government was concerned. But then there came a time when the Sultans of Turkey came for initiation in his school. And while this was so, Turkey became not only prosperous, but perhaps the greatest nation of the world. And when they turned to more narrow outlooks, decadence entered and the country slowly and steadily declined during the course of centuries.
The attempts of Akbar to become universal failed; he was before his time. And we can read all kinds of criticism and all based on egotism and none on universal outlook or the divine experience. But even the most orthodox refrain from criticizing the Madzubs.
GATHEKA: For this reason Jesus Christ has said, “Judge not.” But this teaching has been given to point out that “judge not” applies to your equal; for the one who is still more advanced no one can judge. When man has the tendency to judge one more advanced than himself, the consequence is that spiritual advancement deteriorates; because however advanced he may be those who have not yet advanced pull him down. Therefore humanity, instead of going forward, goes backward.
TASAWWUF: This is the reason why, with all the advancement in certain directions, the general evolution has not been so high. Sokei-an-Sasaki, the Zen monk, explained to his disciples the psychology and metaphysics of this and it is also borne out in the Buddhist Sutra of 42 Sections, most important in certain parts of Asia, but neglected in the West. The West, while interested in general Buddhism, has also assumed the right to select which Scriptures are acceptable and which are not. Thus the Dharma has been impeded.
At the same time those who are of higher evolution can tell the state and status of other people. So the commoners also call this “judging” whereas in truth it is sight and insight. For the wise use this to elevate and the unwise use this to tear down.
GATHEKA: What happened in the case of Jesus Christ? He was judged. The liberated soul, the soul which was made free by divine nature, was judged at the court of man. The less advanced men considered themselves sufficiently learned to judge Christ, and not only to judge, but to give sentence.
TASAWWUF: The same thing has been repeated, before that with Socrates and after that with the Sufi Mansur Al-Hallaj. Then man comes and protests such action, and then goes and repeats the same thing. There is always the excuse that the judged one was not so advanced, that he has been condemned for different reasons, but the basic situation does not change.
Besides, it overlooks the laws of karma and justice. For there are many who pretend to high position spiritually. And if man does nothing after a while they will be condemned by their own actions, often by their followers and by others, because they were not masters of themselves. Master is he only who is master of himself; ruler is he only who is ruler of himself (Gayan).
GATHEKA: In whatever period of civilization, therefore, the tendency has shown itself to judge the one who is advanced, there has always come a collapse of the whole civilization.
TASAWWUF: After Socrates Athens never again showed its prowess. After Mansur Al Hallaj, the Caliphate went into decadence and the city of Bagdad gradually lost its eminence, to be destroyed. The only way to correct this is to convince mankind that there may be other ways and now with the definite advance of spirituality in the race, this tendency will subside; there will be more human consideration, more insight.
GATHEKA: Sarmad, a great Sufi saint who lived in Gwalior, was asked by the Emperor Aurangzeb to attend the mosque, for it was against the rules of the time that anyone keep away from the regular prayers, which took place in the mosque of the State.
TASAWWUF: Mohammed himself said, “let there be no compulsion in Islam.” But despite its source, despite its original importance, the theologians have not accepted it. They self-excuse and even divide the Hadith into what they call “strong” and “weak” Hadith so that they do what they want and call it “The will of Allah.”
GATHEKA: Sarmad, being a man of ecstasy, living every moment of his day and night in union with God, being God-conscious himself, perhaps forgot or refused. A certain time of prayer or a certain place for prayer to him was nothing; every place to him was a place of prayer; every time was a time of prayer; his every breath was a prayer.
TASAWWUF: There are stories of Sarmad, that he could read minds and he knew where the mind of the Iman was, what he was thinking about every moment when he was reciting prayers which he had memorized. He knew all the words; the ritual was nothing and Sarmad angered the leaders by calling attention to their lapses when they were trying to lead the prayers.
Yet there are also Madzubs who seem to understand the prayer time and join, but otherwise they are immersed in God.
GATHEKA: As he refused to attend prayers he was beheaded for breaking the rules which were made for everyone. The consequence was that the Moghul Empire declined and its downfall can be dated from that time; the entire Moghul civilization, unique in its period, fell to pieces.
TASAWWUF: Many Muslims have sought to excuse this. Even the great poet, Iqbal, overlooking the sins and crimes of Aurungzeb has tried to excuse him. But this man went against the laws of God and when he tried to substitute his own, he no doubt pleased many of the orthodox and formalists, but with Allah this meant nothing. Making rules is a proof of lack of pure faith.
GATHEKA: The Hindus have always known this philosophy, for the reason that they had a perfect religion, a religion in which one aspect of God was characterized as human; and their various Devas are nothing but various characteristics of human nature, each of them adored and worshipped. In this way not only God, but the whole human nature in all its aspects, was adored and worshipped.
TASAWWUF: In India even the most commonplace things can be sacred. This is wonderful insofar as it enables man to behold divinity in everything. At the same time there was caste so that a large section of humanity was not considered noble. This produced a one-sided culture. And even the word “dharma” which is supposed to mean the sacred philosophy and way of life, has been so interpreted to cover everything and all meaning becomes fogged.
GATHEKA: It is that which makes the Hindu religion perfect. When people say, “This place is sacred, and that other place is not sacred; that particular thing is holy, and all other things not holy,” in this way they divide life into many pieces, the life which is one, the life which cannot be divided.
TASAWWUF: And so, while there are the doctrines which make everything Brahm, there is also the practice. In order to be sure, to try to please God, Hindus may try all kinds of devices, but all this keeps them in the wheel of samsara. And yet they really know better.
GATHEKA: Therefore those who rise above the ordinary conventionalities of life by their inner development come to another consciousness. For them worldly laws are the laws for the children.
TASAWWUF: Thus there are the Dharma Shastras in India which correspond to some extent to the Shariat of Islam. Both began with customs drawn from the life of a great holy man, and then began including all kinds of deductions and customs. The Hindus say that the shrutis, the words of the holy ones, are vastly superior to the smitris, the customs, but in effect and particularly within legal circles, it has not always been so. Laws take the place of customs and customs of myths, and myths of divine inspirations.
GATHEKA: Those who begin to see this difference between the laws they set before themselves and the laws that are observed by mankind, at first sometimes condemn and then disregard the common laws. They criticize them, and ask, “What is it all for?” But those who come to the fuller realization of the inner laws, show respect even for the laws of children; knowing that they are the laws for children and not for the grown-up yet they respect them, for they know that it cannot be otherwise. The laws which they know can only manifest to the one whose soul rises to that realization; but before the soul rises it must have some law by which to live in harmony. Therefore advanced souls regard such laws with respect, and observe them when they are in the community.
TASAWWUF: There is no need to disregard laws, no matter what their origin. Otherwise there would be confusion in the world. But as we advance toward universality there must be a new outlook. It is therefore good to study the traditional laws and to respect them. But they do not belong to the eternity and they form the outer, not the inner life.
GATHEKA: They do not condemn them; they will not criticize them. They realize that harmony is the principal thing in life, and that we cannot be happy through life if we cannot harmonize with all those around us.
TASAWWUF: At all times there have been some people in disagreement and when there is more democracy there is often more disagreement. No doubt disagreement often in the end leads to greater freedom. But sometimes it happens the other way and the rise of culture has not always meant the end of despotism.
Jesus Christ said, “I come not to destroy but to fulfill the law.” Unfortunately his words remain but not the content. His successors ignored the law and thus the pagan Roman law entered into Christianity causing a division and dualism not found in other faiths—the morals of property and the morals of humanity, not always in accord.
GATHEKA: Whatever be our grade of evolution, whatever be our outlook on life, and whatever be our freedom, we must have regard for the laws of the majority.
TASAWWUF: The mathematical philosophy showed that there may be many right ways, many solutions to problems, but that for practical purposes one should adhere to a single course, otherwise there is confusion. And in some arts as surveying this has become very necessary to avoid confusion.
Hierarchy and aristocracy no doubt have their place and this is also explained in the literature. But, unless there are common customs and laws, there could be no settled society.
GATHEKA: Now the question is, do those who are spiritually advanced have any special conception of morals? Indeed they have; and their morals are great morals, much greater than the average human being can conceive. It is not that by becoming free spiritually from the laws of the generality, they become free from their own laws. They have their own laws to bind them; and these are much higher and much greater laws.
TASAWWUF: This subject is fully exploited in Moral Culture, and in the commentary, in particular on the last section called “The Law of Renunciation.” In some sense Renunciation is not a law at all; it is the path of those of freedom. And in answer to the question, “Is a Zen monk subject to causation?” Nyogen Senzaki used to answer, “A Zen monk is one with the law of causation.” Of course, dualists and dialecticians do not understand this. For this it is necessary to adopt the attitude of non-differentiation and oneness.
This is brought out also in the higher teachings of Buddhism called Saddharma which really means the path of perfection. It is beyond dharma, but it also includes and embraces everything below it.
GATHEKA: No doubt their way of looking at things may be criticized and may not be generally understood. Yet their law is more akin to nature; their laws are in harmony with the spirit. Their laws have their effect as phenomena. And by regarding two morals which are contrary to each other, the morals of the generality and their own morals, they arrive at a plane and a condition where their hands and feet are nailed. That is the symbolical meaning of the nailing of Christ to the cross.
TASAWWUF: In the last days of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Nirtan was dictated which brought this out, and also in his pictures one can see it. But believers, hampered by their own egos and ego-minds, could not comprehend it and this made it worse. Many people really understand Herod and Caiaphas and Pilate whom they berate, and do not understand Christ whom they adore.
It is the repetition of this pattern which has shown the need for a spiritual awakening and the young who are really realistic, now realize that the words and patterns of their elders are void. They want to make words real, they want to make thoughts real, they want to make life real. And thus they are working in a right direction.
The Law of the Inner Life
GATHEKA: Those who live the inner life begin to see a law which is hidden from the average man. There is the law of nature which is known as science, and that of life which is called moral law; but beyond science and morals there is another law. It may be called occult law, or in other words inner law; a law which can be understood by an open heart and an awakened soul.
TASAWWUF: It is this which in Buddhism is called Saddharma and although we find the title in the Saddharma Pundarika Sutra which is translated as “lotus of the Good Law,” this is not what it means. It is something more and can be called “perfect law.” And once we understand it even a little we can find much of the same spirit, the same teachings in other Mahayana sutras. And as religion again falls into the hands of those who had had the religious experiences, then the world will see the beauty of these Scriptures, not merely worship them, but will understand them.
GATHEKA: This law manifests to the view of the seer in many and varied forms; sometimes it appears in quite a contrary form to the effect that it has later on in its manifestation. The eye of the seer becomes a sword which cuts open, so to speak, all things, including the hearts of men, and sees clearly through all they contain; but it is a cutting open which is at the same time healing.
TASAWWUF: With the dualistic attitude this is not understood. And the same principle is found in the teaching about the “swords” in Saladin, that they both cut and heal and help in everything. For once the barriers before hearts are removed, then there is direct communication and direct understanding.
GATHEKA: In the Qur’an it is said, “He who taught with the pen, taught man that which he knew not.” And what does that mean? It means that to the man who lives the inner life, everything that he sees becomes a written character and this whole visible world a book.
TASAWWUF: In the west there is a poem which includes the lines, “Sermons in stones and books in running brooks.” In the East no one is regarded as a Sufi until he can find the Divine Wisdom in every aspect of the manifestation. There is no cutting off of the Divine Light; it is only a question of response. And although Qur’an also teaches that if all the seas were ink they could not write about the Divine Wisdom, it is beyond that. On this point also the Sufis differ in interpretation from the orthodox, with their limitations.
GATHEKA: He reads it as plainly as a letter written by his friend. And besides this, he hears a voice within which becomes to him a language. It is an inner language; its words are not the same as the words of external language.
TASAWWUF: This is a main teaching of the Gathas, which deal with Kashf, insight, and also in Cosmic Language. The intellectual and even devotional perusal does not bring about understanding and awakening. So long as one is bound by the ego-forms, as long as one does not let go and experience some transformation, it will remain a mystery. But when one lets go, beginning with letting go before the living teacher, one will find a new universe. It was always there but not until then will one begin to understand it.
GATHEKA: It is a divine language. It is a language without words, which can only be called a voice, and yet it serves as a language. It is like music, which is as clear as a language to the musician. Another person enjoys music, but only the musician knows exactly what it says, what every note is, how it is expressed and what it reveals. Every phrase of music to him has a meaning; every piece of music is a picture to him. But this is so only with a real musician.
TASAWWUF: The subject here is not so much music as the Cosmic language. We can believe in the cosmic language or not. It is not very valuable until it is functional, then it means something. And when one considers it deeply it is found within and without oneself. It is not enough to accept: “The Kingdom of God is within”; it has to become functional. And when one learns to listen, then a grand universe is unfolded before one.
GATHEKA: Some people profess to have clairvoyance and clairaudience, and very often delude others by giving false prophecies; but the one who lives the inner life does not need to prophesy; he does not need to tell others what he sees and what he hears. It is not only that he is not inclined to do so, but also he sees no necessity for it; besides, he cannot fully express himself.
TASAWWUF: There is such a wide gap between the seers of this kind and the true prophetics. We read many books and sometimes a few predictions come out. And when even a few predictions come out people say somebody is great, that he has miraculous powers.
If we only knew it, everybody can do that. You can take almost any person and ask him to concentrate on the future and he will perceive or guess and it is nothing wonderful if out of ten such efforts one or two or three come out right. Everybody can do that if they try. But a few guesses out of many efforts do not prove anything.
Kashf is direct insight and direct insight never fails, though sometimes we fail it.
GATHEKA: How difficult it is to translate fully the poetry of one language into the poetry of another! Yet it is only interpreting the ideas of one part of the earth to the people of another part of the same earth. How much more difficult, then, it must be to translate or to interpret the ideas of the divine world to the human world! In what words can they be given? What phrases can be used for them? And after being given even in words and phrases, who would understand them? It is the language of a different world.
TASAWWUF: And in this other world the time-process is different, the space process is different, the thought-process is different. And every time one begins to appreciate this language and use it, even those close to one may not understand it. For the seer must understand others and perceive, but others without the perception will not understand the seer. Therefore it is the mission of the wise to help others without depending on them.
GATHEKA: Therefore, when the prophets and seers of all ages have given to humanity a certain message and law, it was only the giving of a drop from the ocean which they received into their hearts. And this also is a great difficulty, for even this drop is not intelligible. Does every Christian understand the Bible? Does every Muslim know the Qur’an, or every Hindu the Vedanta? No, they may know the words of the verses, but not always the real meaning. Among the Muslims there are some who know the whole Qur’an by heart, but that does not fulfill the purpose.
TASAWWUF: This drop is not intelligible any more than the language of love is clear either to the mentally-minded or materially-minded people. They do not understand it, and yet there is a side of them also which does understand it although it may not be dominant in their persons. Therefore the practice of meditation is given that people can succumb to the waves of life and intelligence that surrounds them, and of which they have not been aware.
One can tell also where the impressions are made in the body. If the impressions are felt before the diaphragm, they are pleasing the ego, and even the animal part of man, the selfish part. But if they impress the heart and bring a release and tenderness and relaxation, then they have a value.
GATHEKA: The whole of nature is a secret book, yet it is an open book to the seer. How can man translate it? How can man interpret it? It is like trying to bring the sea on to the land; one can bring it, but how much?
TASAWWUF: One is asked to accept this at Bayat. One does not always accept it but after awhile the impressionable part of man responds. And when there is this response, this is the beginning of the inner life. It is a life of responses, of being awake and alive to impressions and especially those impressions to which the ego part of it was dulled.
GATHEKA: The understanding of this law gives quite a different outlook on life to the seer; it makes him more inclined to appreciate all that is good and beautiful, to admire all that is worth admiring, to enjoy all that is worth enjoying, to experience all that is worth experiencing.
TASAWWUF: It becomes, so to speak, as Walt Whitman says, “In all men I see myself.” One does not look upon others as different; one does not even look upon things as different. One will realize much of what the poets have written, not only the Sufi poets but the American poets known as transcendentalists. One will find the poetry of life itself, or, as Gayan was called, “Notes of Unstruck Music,” or as Nyogen Senzaki said, “The Flute Without a Mouthpiece.”
In another phase the understanding is the same as the Indian Vijnana as expressed in the Taitteriya Upanishad and elsewhere. One is transcendent to mind. One may use mind, but as an instrument, not an identification. One is no longer limited by it.
GATHEKA: It awakens the sympathy of the seer to love, to tolerate, to forgive, to endure and to sympathize; it gives the inclination to support, to protect, and to serve those in need. But can he say what he really feels, how he really feels? No, he cannot say it even to himself.
TASAWWUF: For this is a realization of the unfoldment of life itself. And it does not have the same barriers, the same limitations. The outlook is wide and sometimes it seems as if the whole universe is looking through one’s senses. People do not feel any identification any longer with their own small egos; they seem inclusive, but if asked, “inclusive of what?”, one cannot answer.
GATHEKA: Therefore the one who lives the inner life is all things; he is as a physician who knows things that a physician cannot know; an astrologer who knows much more than the astrologer; an artist who knows that which an artist could not know; a musician who knows what a musician does not know; a poet who knows what the poet cannot perceive. For he becomes the artist of the entire world, the singer of the divine song.
TASAWWUF: Walt Whitman wrote this in his, Song of the Answerer. Whitman did not make many claims. He did not go before the world and declare he was a great prophet or seer, but all through his work one can see that in many ways he was a prophet and seer. He knew he was pioneering the future generations of his America, and with the passing of time, more and more people resembling him came into the world, and those who judged, who could not understand became confused. Very often it is the poet, not the practical man who sees things as they really are.
And then there is another aspect, that each item of what has been presented becomes true, true in the sense that it is realized as part of one’s consciousness. Something deep within opens and then one rises to higher stages of consciousness exactly as the Upanishads teach, one progresses in the exact universe one finds in the Mahayana Scriptures.
GATHEKA: He becomes as astrologer of the entire cosmos, which is hidden from the sight of men. He does not need outer things as the signs of knowing the eternal life. His very life is the evidence of the everlasting life.
TASAWWUF: So long as Astrology remains analytical and descriptive it can fulfill only a small part of itself. Nyogen Senzaki asked Hazrat Inayat Khan: “Murshid, do you think that the sun and moon and all these stars are part of one universal light?” The Pir-O-Murshid gave the proper Zen answer: “Goodnight, Mr. Senzaki.” These were the last words between these two seers who loved each other.
And the time will come when by changing centration, with the same data, the same figures, but with a non-analytical, non-egocentric point of view, humankind will be able to tell much more than they can now. Murshida Rabia Martin was the first disciple of Hazrat Inayat Khan. She had been a great occultist and of this passage she wrote: “The ancients did not work out the science of correspondences. It was revealed to them by God, and was their religion. It was not based on light but on spiritual vibrations, the involution of spirit into matter. The crystallization of the “spiritual light” into form, subject to the laws of spirit on the various planes of manifestation.”
GATHEKA: To him death is a shadow; it is a change; it is turning the face from one side to the other. To him all things have their meaning, every movement in this world: the movement of the water, of the air, of the lightning and the thunder and the wind. Every movement has a message for him, it brings to him some sign.
TASAWWUF: The word “nature” means that which is always being born and in the western occultism much attention was paid to that which is always being born, which has been born, which has been dying and much more, all portions of the aeonic life which have no beginning and no end that man can fathom. So in this there is no “death.” This kind of death is not something that really dies; it belongs to life, only there is outer manifestation and not outer manifestation but no death.
GATHEKA: To another person it is only the thunder, it is only a storm, but to him every movement has its meaning. And when he rises in his development, not only has every movement its meaning, but in and above every movement there is his command. It is that part of his life which brings him mastery.
TASAWWUF: The song “Every little movement has a meaning all its own,” is explained to those who dance. But we do not see the universal karma, the samsara. The generality may accept that there is karma, cause-and-effect, and they assume that when the mind knows this much, that is wisdom. It is not wisdom for it does not tell how one should act nor the meaning of one’s own actions or those of another.
As soon as the faculty of Insight is awakened, one sees all in a whole, the cause, the movement and effect. Some people say that Meteorology is a science and Astrology is not. But Meteorology has little to do with meteors and Astrology has much to do with stars. And if we examine even superficially we shall find that even the pretenders in Astrology are more successful in their predictions than those who study the weather. For the Meteorologists only examine superficially and with all the growth of sciences, since the time of Galileo, they still remain geocentric and what is more, they do not see beyond the material world and are so very much restricted.
GATHEKA: Besides this, in all affairs of this world, of individuals and multitudes, which confuse people, which bring them despair, and cause them depression, which give joy and pleasure, which amuse them, he sees through all. He knows why it comes, whence it comes, what is behind it, what is the cause of it, and behind the seeming cause what is the hidden cause; and if he wished to trace the cause behind the cause he could trace back to the primal cause, for the inner life is lived by living with the primal cause, by being in unity with the primal cause. Therefore the one who lives the inner life, in other words, who lives the life of God, God is in him and he is God.
TASAWWUF: It takes a long time to appreciate it for those who are limited by their minds, by their egos do not grasp the life as a whole and they are quite unable to move back to the primal cause. Sometimes a fiction writer as in The Bridge of San Luis Rey, is able in some particular instance to work out the law of causation. But mostly it is not so, so there are wars and disturbances and it seems that human beings cannot live without disturbances. But when they are able to work in and through and backward and forward, when the heart-functions are put to use, then there is the Understanding (Vijnana), and also when there is the Understanding (Vijnana) there is this deeper outlook. This constitutes the basis also of Sufi Occultism.
The Object of the Inner Life
GATHEKA: Is it power which is the object of the spiritual person, or is it inspiration after which he seeks? It is in fact neither of these things which he pursues, but all such things as power and inspiration follow him as he proceeds on his path towards the spiritual goal.
TASAWWUF: There are the aspects of life called Jemal and Jelal, the first of which brings inspiration, the second power. And yet these are both limitations. If one can seek the Peace which is beyond “Understanding,” i.e., Vijnana, if one can become attuned to the Spirit of Guidance which is the very spirit of the whole universe, out of this Peace can come all things, all attainments because they are there. This is presented in the section on “The Silent Life,” in The Mysticism of Sound, for all the sounds proceed from the Silence and so also do all principles proceed from the Universal Peace.
GATHEKA: Does such a person sacrifice all interests in life, or does he consider the different objects that people have in their lives as something leading astray? Not at all. No doubt his object is the highest that any soul can have, but all other objects which he sees before himself in life do not necessarily hinder him on his path; they become as a staircase on his way, making his path easy to tread.
TASAWWUF: Christians pray, “Lead us not into temptation,” which has also been translated, “Thou leadest us not into temptation.” For when the spirit of God is perceived consciously there is no possibility for temptation. Temptation is not the lure of things but the lure by the ego which wishes to persist in the state where it is and which is under the illusion that outer satisfaction brings peace and comfort. But in truth outer satisfactions bring mostly worries.
Besides as one grows, and this will be explained later, one may be as a little child and everything may be as toys before him, to be abandoned when he no longer cares for such little things.
GATHEKA: Therefore the person living the inner life never condemns and does not criticize the objects of another, however small or ridiculous they may appear, for he knows that every object in the life of a person is but a stepping-stone, which leads him forward if he only wishes to go forward.
TASAWWUF: The principles guiding the inner life and the outer life are not different but the ways may seem different and in the outer life it is the material forms which have the most concern, or the attainment of something which is outside the person. For even the most selfish are not content to be as they are and remain as they are. They feel intuitively that there is a stillness of death and a self-contentment which, at the same time, is not contentment. They will not say so, but they will often feel so.
GATHEKA: There is a time in the life of a soul when it has the desire to play with dolls; there is a seeking after toys. From the spiritual point of view there is no harm in that, and man sees in time the way that leads to the goal; these are only passing interests leading to others, and in this way man goes forward.
TASAWWUF: This lesson appears variously in the literature and in principle one finds it in many places. Especially among those who are known as Pundits in India and among certain classes of professional men in the west, one finds those who look down on the generality as children and their interests as playtoys. And there is no doubt that we all have to grow up, to learn responsibilities, but each in his own time and way.
GATHEKA: Therefore, according to the view of the seer, man places before himself at different times such objects as riches, pleasure, or a material heaven; the spiritual person starts his journey from the point where these end.
TASAWWUF: Even in Islam, in Qur’an, there is the picture of the material heaven. So it is said that Sufis reject the joys of such heavens as much as they spurn the damnations of hells. Both detract from the path to God. The Indian teachings, no doubt, provide for all such persons but these very provisions keep mankind in a lower state, they satisfy the principles of karma and reciprocity; they do not lead to the Bliss which is mentioned so much in the Scriptures.
It is not that the spiritual man seeks this bliss. If he sought it he would not gain it for there is a false bliss which is like a honey or reward. And there is a true bliss when the Divine Light shines through human beings.
GATHEKA: The process of evolution is not a straight way, it is more like a wheel which is ever turning. So the experience of a person who treads the spiritual path begins to show a downward tendency, and from that again upwards. For instance, in the spiritual path a person goes backwards, he experiences youth again, for spirituality gives health to the mind and to the body, it being the real life. He experiences vigor, strength, aspiration, enthusiasm, energy, and a living spirit that makes him feel youthful, whatever be his age.
TASAWWUF: This is one of the ways to distinguish the true seer from the false one. In the presence of the advanced, one never feels depleted, and the more the energy of the sage, the greater the strength of magnetism that radiates from him or her, and the more others feel stimulated in his or her presence. Indeed it is often impossible to guess the age of the Dervish, for the radiance grows as one gives more scope to the divinity within. The Sifat-i-Allah are neither imaginations nor symbols. They are realities and whatever characteristic mankind endows God with, the same begins to manifest in them, and more and more and more.
Once when the commentator was living in Abbottabad in Pakistan, and was teaching the boys the fundamentals of baseball, a Dervish appeared. He was not content to play in the outfield—the boys who knew cricket never stood far away from the batter—but he played all the outfield at once. As soon as the ball was hit, and it seems sometimes even before, he was off like a deer; he acted even more like a deer than a youth. And after the game he would disappear. But as soon as the group appeared on the playing field, each time it happened he would show up, always.
GATHEKA: Then he becomes a little child, eager to play, ready to laugh, happy among children; he shows in his personality childlike traits, especially that look one sees in children, where there is no worry, anxiety, or bitter feeling against anyone, where there is a desire to be friendly with all, where there is no pride or conceit, but readiness to associate with anybody, whatever be his class or caste, nation or race. So the spiritual person becomes like a child. The tendency to tears, the readiness for laughter, all these are found in the spiritual person.
TASAWWUF: The tragedy is that when the Sufi Message was introduced into the West it was at a time people might take this literally and philosophically and they might not. But they could not apply it to life themselves nor could they stand or understand anybody who did. Even years later when the speakers of the Cayce Foundation spoke in public to multitudes that jogging could cure many ills, the audiences would applaud and pay, but they would not jog. It became a mere idea.
The statements of Jesus Christ about being like little children have taken almost two thousand years to penetrate the psyches of the generality and when it began to happen there was much opposition to it. Indeed there was even more opposition to it than to sin and crime. So it does no good to make a philosophy of it. Scriptures refer to sudden changes, but the stolid mind cannot accept this. It is only for the fluid and what are called “the young at heart.”
GATHEKA: As the spiritual person goes further he shows in his nature infancy. This can be perceived in his innocence. His heart may be lighted with wisdom, yet he is innocent; he is easily deceived, even knowingly, besides being happy under all conditions, like an infant.
TASAWWUF: The most celebrated case was of Swami Ram Das, the Indian who presented the love-philosophy to all the world. He not only presented it as philosophy, he demonstrated it with his whole being. And he said he was like a little child. He was like a little child, only when challenged he would show maturity, and yet graciousness.
As more western people travel to the East, they will find more examples. But those cases which are written in books, they are not always good examples of it. There is still too much sophistication.
GATHEKA: As the infant has no regard for honor or for insult, neither has the spiritual person. When he arrives at this stage, he answers insult with a smile. Honors given to him are like honors given to a little baby, who does not know to whom they are offered. Only the person who has given the honors knows that they have been given to somebody.
TASAWWUF: Very often one goes to meetings called “Yoga” or “Indian Mysticism” or “Asian Wisdom” and the speaker introduces those who have university degrees especially the honorific of Ph.D. These honors may have been well merited but they have nothing to do with the spiritual life; they have to do with the social and intellectual life.
The Zen monk, Nyogen Senzaki, was sent to Germany and earned the title of “Doctor of Philosophy.” He could speak and read six languages well. His Master, Roshi Shaku Soyen, put him on twenty years silence with regard to spiritual matters. In the year 1926 he opened a Zendo in San Francisco, threw off all titles and disclaimed any knowledge. He would not let his earlier followers even refer to it. He just taught meditation and nothing else and only gradually reintroduced his learning and only secondarily. And he never referred to himself as “humble.” He was humility and did not have to use words to play pretend.
But during the time before he was a Zen monk in full operation he also led in games and socials and parties. He was a social as well as intellectual figure. And throughout his life he could change suddenly and did.
GATHEKA: The spiritual one is not conscious of it, nor happy with it, nor proud of it. It is nothing to him. The one who has honored him has honored himself, since to the baby it is nothing. If somebody should speak in favor of him or against him; the baby does not mind, he is ready to smile at both; so is the spiritual soul.
TASAWWUF: Once Nyogen Senzaki went to meet a Swami. The Swami was very proud, very intellectual and had accepted worldly honors. His subject was “To be Equal-Minded in Pleasure and Pain.” After the lecture the Zen monk asked for an interview. The Swami, as was is wont, kept him waiting a long time. The monk knew it. There was an expensive vase on the table.
When the Swami came in late, Senzaki acted as if he had been suddenly awakened from sleep, arose awkwardly and knocked the vase down, smashing it into bits. The Swami said, “You stupid fool! You stupid fool! Why, that vase cost two hundred dollars.” The monk put his hand into his inner pocket and pulled out a huge wallet, filled with paper money. “So sorry, excuse please, so sorry, excuse please!” He pulled out the requisite number of greenbacks, calmly handed them to the Indian, and said in departing, “And now, thank you, I know what is meant by equal-minded in pleasure and pain!”
This was not a rare instance in the life of this monk or in others in a similar stage of attainment.
GATHEKA: As the spiritual soul proceeds further he begins to show the real traits of humanity, for here humanity really begins. One can see in such a soul the signs which are the pure characteristics of the human being, devoid of the animal traits.
TASAWWUF: This is the stage called that of the hu-man in so many places. Then one has the feeling for the whole of humanity and identifies one’s well-being with totality or at least with the group with whom one is connected. There are stages not only in the expansion of consciousness but in the content of consciousness itself. There are people who take psychedelics, drugs or otherwise who feel such expansion. This does not of itself add content, it merely shows the capacity. The next stage is to fill that capacity with content and this content is most of the objectification of the Divine Qualities. These are absorbed within the human consciousness. They become part of one. Man may beginᾀ?in fact some say one should begin with the greater capacity for Compassion and Mercy. These are emphasized by the teachers of all faiths; all the Messengers of God agree on this point. But these qualities are not always absorbed so readily by the personality. And once these qualities are absorbed, then the other qualities are absorbed more easily. So the Suras of Qur’an begin “Bismillah er-Rahman er-Rahim”—with the words which indicate that the positive and negative aspects of Rahm contain the seeds of all the other qualities, which is to say that from Compassionate Love, all benefits proceed.
GATHEKA: For instance, there is a tendency in him to appreciate every little good deed done by anyone, to admire good wherever he sees it in any person; a tendency to sympathize, whatever be the condition of the person, saint or sinner; a tendency to take interest in the affairs of his friends when called upon to do so.
TASAWWUF: In the teachings on “The Spirit of Guidance” it is explained that really the Sufi pursues the Bodhisattvic ideal. There is a sense of the same spirit through all creation. Sentimental people often begin with vegetarianism but often the vegetarian people, though negatively good, do not have the positive spirit to be helpful to others. And this helpfulness in turn need not proceed from ability but from the fact that as one’s magnetism increases, which in Latin was virtus, it means that virtue is connected with this sense of humanitarianism, not just with personal strength alone, but with feeling too.
GATHEKA: A tendency to sacrifice, not considering what he sacrifices, as long as he is moved to do that action.
TASAWWUF: What we pray, “… in a loving mother, in a kind father …;” this recognition for a long time is external. We see the merits of others. This is excellent. But to fulfill one’s destiny one also has to develop the qualities in oneself, to behave like a loving mother, kind father, innocent child, helpful friend and inspiring teacher. This is part of the development of every person. The soul has all these qualities; they need to come out and they do come out in the fulfillment of the inner life.
GATHEKA: Respect, gratitude, sincerity, faithfulness, patience, endurance, all these qualities begin to show in the character of that man. It is in this stage that truly he can judge, for at this stage the sense of justice awakens.
TASAWWUF: The science of the development of moral qualities is offered in the Gatha studies and in another way in the instruction on Moral Culture, which have been published. It is not to make any philosophy of it. It is to awaken these qualities and characteristics which are latent in the human being. Mankind has all the seeds of perfection and in the inner life they come to the surface and are found in behavior patterns.
GATHEKA: But as he grows he continues also to grow backward. He now shows the signs of the animal kingdom; for instance, such a quality as that of the elephant, which, with all its strength and power of giant bulk, is ready to take the load put upon it; the horse, which is ready to serve the rider; and the cow, which lives in the world harmoniously, comes home without being driven, gives milk which is the right of her calf. These qualities come to the spiritual person. The same thing is taught by Christ (Gal.VI,2).
TASAWWUF: This passage reads, “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” This teaching is found also in various forms in the Christian Scriptures. It has not been absorbed into the religion or if so, it has been smothered by many other teachings and customs and conventions. Just as Jesus said, “Seek ye the Scriptures for in them ye find eternal life.”
Mankind is now moving into a new age with not so much new values as the application of old, even so-called “eternal values” to the practical everyday life. It is in this that there is fulfillment. Call it fulfillment of the Law, of the Dharma, of the Teaching, it is being put into application now after many generations. In this is the fulfillment of life’s purposes and this brings about a general human evolution.
Swedenborg and other seers have seen that the qualities of God, the Sifat-i-Allah manifest in the animal kingdom, in the different animals. It is only in the human being that they come together. So we find in the ancient religions, especially of Egypt, and in Hinduism which has abided, the deification of animals or the symbolical use of animal and part-animal forms. We find this also in Astrology. This means that the animals symbolize certain divine qualities or certain aspects of divine qualities and for that it was easier to use the animal as a symbol and even as a subject in worship, to awaken the similar qualities in man.
GATHEKA: When he goes on further still there develops in him the quality of the vegetable kingdom, of the plants which bring forth fruit and flowers; patiently waiting for the rain from above; never asking any return from those who come to gather flowers and fruit, giving and never expecting a return, desiring only to bring forth beauty according to the capability which is hidden in them, and letting it be taken by the worthy or unworthy, whoever it be, without any expectation of appreciation or thanks.
TASAWWUF: This is a very high stage, very difficult. It is seen in darshan where the spiritual person sits in silence and emanates the perfume of his soul, the magnetism and sometimes the light. It can be absorbed by everyone, just as the sun and rain are for everyone. And in this there is no movement, and the life itself is in the giving. It is beyond joy for there is no dualism in it.
It has been said that the devotee will find Allah in every leaf of the tree and every flower. It is possible to study Nature, not only from the standpoint of the lessons on “Spiritual Circulation through the Veins of Nature” but by a study of the fluids in plants and animals, the way they breathe, their response to light and in their habits of growth and reproduction.
GATHEKA: And when the spiritual person advances still further he arrives at the stage of the mineral kingdom. He becomes as a rock; a rock for others to lean on, to depend upon; a rock that stands unmoved amidst the constantly moving waves of the sea of life; a rock to endure all things of this world whose influence has a jarring effect upon sensitive human beings; a rock of constancy in friendship, of steadfastness in love, of loyalty to every ideal for which he has taken his stand.
TASAWWUF: We can see this in the Buddha figure especially. People sit in meditation before a statue. The statue promotes firmness and silence, and then strength and courage. And every time man meditates, however he meditates, this helps him to grow. Also when one fails to develop along this line, meditation is most helpful. It enables man to rely upon himself. We keep the backbone straight in meditation which is one way to develop a certain aspect of mineral quality in us, along with firmness.
It also enables man to endure blows and not to be moved by the winds uncertainty. There will be these storms but they need not move one.
GATHEKA: One can depend upon him through life and death, here and hereafter. In this world where nothing is dependable, which is full of changes every moment, such a soul has arrived at the stage where he shows through all these changes that rock-like quality, proving thereby his advancement to the mineral kingdom.
TASAWWUF: This will manifest in the true teacher. The true teacher does not lean upon his disciples. But they may lean on him. He may become as a rock, as a sturdy tree, he can let them lean, but he does not lean on them. He imbibes the energies of the universe, and for all. He does not take magnetism from anybody, although he may not always refuse their gifts. For he must also remain as a child, even in all the other stages of development.
GATHEKA: His further advancement is into the jinn quality, which represents the all-knowing, all-understanding. There is nothing he cannot understand; however difficult the situation, however subtle the problem, whatever be the condition of those around him, he understands it all. A person may come to him hardened with faults that he has committed all his life; before this understanding he melts, for whether it be a friend or an enemy, he understands both. Not only has he the knowledge of human nature, but of objects as well, of conditions of life in general, in all its aspects.
TASAWWUF: This corresponds in general with the state of the Upsara and Ghandarva in the Indian cosmic evolution but also show the advancement of man from Manusha to Gandharva and Vijnana. These open up transcendent vistas, and some things that take time for man, come to him with immediacy though he cannot always explain; he can explain only after he functions. It is as if a universal wisdom was expressing through him. There is no doubt that this corresponds also to the “Overmind” of Sri Aurobindo and to the personalities of “The Coming Race” of Lord Bulwer Lytton. Seers can see, in a certain sense, the future. But as the authority is in the hands, or rather has been in the hands of the manushic type, the limited mind, these people do not recognize, often are unable to recognize those of higher evolution. Sometimes they even bar the way as it is explained in the writings of the Sage, Marco Pallis. Although the Gita constantly inveighs against ego and ego-mind it is only now after cycles of centuries that the pure outlook is coming into people’s consciousness and that living beings demonstrate what is in the writings.
As these things are not in the minds of the manushic type there has appeared what is called a “generation gap,” but really it is the gap between two quite different stages of cosmic evolution. More is said about this and what follows in The Soul Whence and Whither and the partial commentaries thereon.
GATHEKA: And when he advances still further his nature develops into that of an angel. The nature of the angel is to be worshipful. He therefore worships God in all creatures; he does not feel greater or to be better or any more spiritual himself than anybody else.
TASAWWUF: One can quickly see the difference between the truly evolved and the dajjals who appear from time to time. The dajjals always make great claims for themselves but at the same time they belittle others. Some do nothing but find fault and are so clever at it that they may be proclaimed by the multitudes. But fault finding has nothing to do with evolution. Some of these people will ignore or deny God Himself but they do not deny their own right to find fault with others.
The angelic type finds divinity in everybody. Sri Ramakrishna even bowed before the prostitutes. And we find today in the new evolution, people who simply will not call this or any other type “sinners.” It is not that they overlook the faults; it is that the goodness and purity in man has been overlooked. The Overmind will Overlook. He will be gentle but not negative. It has been a great mistake to confuse gentleness and non-resistance with negativity. As Jesus Christ said, “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” The Wisdom position is often overlooked. This manifests in what is called Prajna.
Prajna is the same as Kashf but Indian philosophers have given more consideration to Kashf. It is the divine guidance in man. As Lord Buddha said, “I see now that all mankind has perfect wisdom and enlightenment.” Although it has been said the prelates have ceased to put it into practice and the advanced souls have refused to put it into practice. Or as Jesus has said to humanity, “Ye are Gods,” which is to say, devas or angels.
GATHEKA: In this realization he is the worshipper of all the names and forms there are, for he considers them all the names and forms of God. There is no one, however degenerate or looked down upon by the world, who is any less in his eyes. In his eyes there is no one but the divine Being; and in this way every moment of his life is devoted to worship. For him it is no longer necessary that he must worship God at a certain time, or in a certain house, or in a certain manner.
TASAWWUF: The great gap between philosophers and metaphysicians is seen even more here, for the former using mind, think in terms of differentiations even when they verbally declare against it. Zen Buddhism has been largely misunderstood because it functions, must function from the standpoint of unity to begin with and any show of dualism or differentiation is scorned. Of course Zen masters are not necessarily demonstrating the angelic existence but in the Bodhisattvas Kwannon and Samantabhadra this may be demonstrated.
Besides this the true Zen masters have no need of temples or anything. They themselves are the living temples and shrines may be built where they have meditated. But the same is even more true of Sufis for a custom has arisen to proclaim Sufi saints after they have gone to worship where they have worshipped or lived. This however, is only the shadow of reality, and if it does confer merit, it still binds the worshipped to the cycle of samsara or nufsaniat. One must reach this stage oneself.
GATHEKA: There is not one moment when he is not in worship. Every moment of his life he is in worship, he is before God; and being before God every moment of his life he becomes so purified that his heart becomes a crystal where everything is clear. Everything is reflected there, no one can hide his thoughts from him, nothing is hidden from him; all is known as clearly as it is known to the other person, and more so.
TASAWWUF: This was clearly the state of Ramana Maharshi which gave him the right to the title. Others have claimed it and this is an automatic refutation of their having reached exaltation. But there are also Sufis in this state. Idries Shah claims that they live mostly in the unvisited recesses of the Kamakoram and Hindu Kush and Western Himalayas. It is certain that many still live in the Pakistani section of the Himalayas. When visited they may speak or not but they always combine their intense and continual worship of God with their administrations to mankind. They never proclaim themselves in any fashion.
GATHEKA: For every person knows his own condition and yet not the reason, but the spiritual being at this stage knows the condition of the person and the reason behind it. Therefore he knows more about every person than that person knows himself. It is this stage in which his progress culminates and comes to its fullness; and Christ has spoken concerning this in the words: “Be ye perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.”
TASAWWUF: Many people reading books, reading the literature of the Message, coming to an intellectual understanding think that thereby they are more advanced. Yes, they are not among the ignorant but neither have they arrived at fullness. For they must be able to express themselves, in themselves, by themselves the same teaching. It will pour out of their beings because when one is in worship one becomes like the sun and radiates, and all who come into his or her presence feel that radiation and benefit from the magnetism and the blessings. This is beyond words. That is why Sufis practice Tawajjeh and Hindus and Buddhists Darshan, more wonderful, more powerful than words.
GATHEKA: When that stage arrives, it is beyond all expression. It is a sense, it is a realization, it is a feeling which words can never explain. There is only one thing that can be said, that when a person has touched that stage which is called perfection, his thought, speech, action, his atmosphere, everything becomes productive of God. He spreads God everywhere.
TASAWWUF: Of this Jesus Christ has said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” These fruits are the same mentioned in SAUM: “Grace, glory, wisdom, joy and peace.” It is not only from God we have them, in the abstract, but also in and from the God-man whom we meet. And if there is any doubt, by experiencing grace, glory, wisdom, joy, and peace we may be sure that he has arrived in the Sufi sense.
GATHEKA: Even if he did not speak, still he would spread God; if he did not do anything, he would bring God. And thus those God-realized ones bring to the world the living God.
TASAWWUF: Swami Ram Das has said, “Guru is God.” Of course he is not God literally but the abstract God does not help much; we must bring it to reality to find reality. And thus there are the God realized souls called auliya, the saints who are always on earth. In the studies of the Sufi hierarchy they are mentioned. Of them Mohammed has said, “We have always our Khalifs on earth.” And soon we shall begin to appreciate the radiance of humanity and stress this more than its sins, and this is a good way to diminish the shortcomings of mankind without overlooking them.
GATHEKA: At the present there exists in the world only a belief in God; God exists in imagination, in the ideal. It is such a soul which has touched divine Perfection that brings to the earth a living God, Who without him would remain only in the heavens.
TASAWWUF: This was one of the purposes of the Message, to bring the message of the living God, to find Him on earth in beings and things and no longer an abstraction, a concept. Even if the concept seems to be most wonderful it is a possession only of the few who so conceive. There cannot be a full communion without a fuller realization of the God who is in our midst, who has always been in our midst, though outside human experience.
The American philosopher, Hocking, has written, “The Meaning of God in Human Experience.” It has not been studied much; it is not important. And now, as the young experience God, and bring Him down closer to earth, to themselves, every moment of their lives, we can begin to see the Message unfold, and the proof of the writings in outer demonstration.
The Attainment of the Inner Life
GATHEKA: In the attainment of the inner life there are five things necessary. The first thing that is necessary is the mastery of mind; and this is done by unlearning all that one has learned. The inner knowledge is not gained by adding to the knowledge one has already achieved in life, for it requires a rock foundation.
TASAWWUF: This is the great obstacle. All through Indian philosophy we encounter the warning, “The mind, the mind, the mind.” This means manas. The Gita is even more emphatic in warning about manas and Ahankara. And the commentators treat them as thought forms, subjectives, and so the commentaries and the teachings have remained mostly in the hands of the intellectuals.
In Buddhism there is taught “Essence of Mind” which is not the mind. It is the groundwork upon which the mind is based and operates. It gives power, vitality, inspiration but not content. As soon as content becomes more important than power and inspiration one no doubt grows in certain directions but hardly inwardly. This is the outward growth and often when it is quantitatively enlarged it is accepted, the persons involved are accepted, and something called Teaching becomes substituted for inner development.
This is also presented in Hinduism as the need to clear out samskaras, impressions which complicate the mind and nervous system without always building up anything, even content. And in Sufism there is a method taught that one must clean out the mind entirely to build anew. Or as Jesus has said, “Ye must become as little children.” The rejection of this in actuality has now fermented a New Age based on the actual teachings.
GATHEKA: One cannot build a house of rocks on a foundation of sand. In order to make the foundation of rocks, one has to dig into the sand and build the foundation on the rocks below. Very often therefore it becomes difficult for an intellectual person, who through life has learned things and understood them by the power of intellect, to attain to the inner life.
TASAWWUF: It is also very subtle. The reader will assent to the words, he will often imagine he has accepted the inner life, but his mind is still operating. It has not been stilled, it is not calm, it is not open to knowledge from within or without. It obtains or retains prowess but it is in another direction, not from the inner life. Therefore Marco Pallis and his colleagues, though intellectuals, are striving to work from the Essence-of-mind, and not from and with the mind itself. Then the mind becomes the servant, not the master.
GATHEKA: For these two paths are different: the one goes to the north the other to the south. When a person says, “I have now walked so many miles to the south, shall I therefore reach sooner something that exists in the north?” he must know that he will not reach it sooner, but later, because as many hours as he has walked to the south he must walk back in order to reach the north.
TASAWWUF: The knowledge of names and forms is the external knowledge. So are the sciences. Some Sufis have gone so far as to criticize the sciences because their very direction has kept the consciousness from within-ness. No doubt man’s curiosity has taken him outside, to learn about the creation. Indeed that is one of the very purposes of creation, that God created mankind so they could experience and enjoy the creation. But at the same time God is always aware of His essence, whereas mankind, intrigued by externals, has lost sight of its essence.
GATHEKA: Therefore it must be understood that all man learns and experiences in the life in the world, all that he calls learning or knowledge, is only used in the world where he is learning, and bears the same relation to himself as the eggshell does to the chick; but when he takes the path to the inner life, that learning and knowledge are of no use to him. The more he is capable of forgetting that knowledge, of unlearning it, the more capable he is of attaining the object for which he treads the spiritual path.
TASAWWUF: Few would presume that gymnastics and muscular training by themselves prepare a person for the life in the world. Even a knowledge of diet does not always help much. Training the body may help the body but does not always result in success in life. So also training the mind is valuable for the mind but does not always bring happiness or success. But there are many people who recognize the shortcomings of the body which is a vehicle for the soul but do not recognize the shortcomings of the mind which is also a vehicle of the soul; no doubt it is much more subtle and refined but still a vehicle and not its own essence.
Safa may require cleansing the vehicles entirely. People use fasting and ablutions and other means for the purification of the body. But non-thinking, silence and even seclusion may be necessary for the purification of the mind, and in the end may prove to be most effective.
GATHEKA: It has been a great struggle for those learned and experienced in the outer life, to think that after their outer advancement in worldly knowledge they have to go back again. Often they cannot understand; many among them think it is strange, and are therefore disappointed. It is like learning the languages of a certain country, when wanting to go into another country where that language is not understood, nor the language of the latter country understood by oneself.
TASAWWUF: That is why particularly in Zen Buddhism one finds often harsh methods are used to stop the ego-mind. Only in Zen they mostly look for abrupt changes while in Sufism there seem to be methods which take one step by step. This is not a subject for discussion. That would only aggravate the situation. The mind has to be stopped, and the fact that it can be stopped is more important than any comparison of methods. Such comparison is thoroughly mental and takes one nowhere.
GATHEKA: Just as there is the North Pole and the south pole, so there is the outward and the inward life. The difference is still vaster, because the gap between the inner life and the outer life is vaster than the distance between the north pole and the south pole. The one who advances to the south is not getting nearer to the north pole, but on the contrary he is going further from it; in order to reach it he must turn right round.
TASAWWUF: It has been described that the inner life is one in a different direction, a statement which of itself does not indicate any different direction. When one meditates, however one meditates, then one is taking a different direction. There are some kinds of meditation which correspond to the Sufi concentration. There are some kinds of meditation which take one directly, others indirectly to the essence of mind. There are forms of meditation on subjects like the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus, and sometimes one meditates on the Scriptures. However meditation is tried, whatever standard, it always means taking another direction. One is looking inward not outward.
GATHEKA: However, it is not different for the soul that is an earnest traveler on the path. It is only using the enthusiasm in the opposite direction; to turn the enthusiasm one has for learning something of the world into forgetting and unlearning it, in order to learn something of the inner life.
TASAWWUF: The very word enthusiasm originally meant, to be concerned with the Gods, to turn in that direction instead of being concerned with worldly affairs. We find that sometimes among young people, that they do not care for worldly matters. They are called drop-outs. But in the mystical sense they would be called “drop-ins.” For they turn inwardly, not outwardly. And we shall see more and more of it.
GATHEKA: Now the question is, how does one unlearn? Learning is forming a knot in the mind. Whatever one learns from experience or from a person, one makes a knot of it in the mind; and there are as many knots found as there are things one has learned. Unlearning is unraveling the knot; and it is as hard to unlearn as it is to untie a knot.
TASAWWUF: We can see it in the study of the brain and nervous system. People who think a great deal, even people who are adept in collecting facts, have folds and creases in the brain itself. There is a theory also that the brains of the unlearned are comparatively simple in formation; that the brains of the cultured are complex and some have even willed their brains for future laboratory study after they have gone.
No doubt something can be learned from this. No doubt, the brain and the nervous system, both indicative of quantitative learning, can show progress in a certain direction. But this has to do with mind and nerves. It does not show where the energy comes from, where the strength and calm arises. And if the Zen Buddhists are correct, one can learn to increase the strength, the élan, independently of content. Nor is the world ever in control of those with content, for often they become so specialized that they are not in close harmony with the rest of humanity.
One sees this in great artists and poets and musicians; in research scientists and pioneers in many directions. They carve the direction which is not that of the generality and they broaden horizons but they do not always go deep. And it is these scientists who are most aware of their own vehicles but who have not always learned how to make these vehicles understand themselves.
GATHEKA: How much effort it requires, how much patience it requires, to unravel when one has made a knot and pulled it tight from both sides! So it requires patience and effort to unravel the knots in the mind.
TASAWWUF: Therefore much care is given even in the first series of study papers for disciples to build up the right discipline, the right attitudes, because usually the new disciples are people who have been trained to use the mind, especially in the ego-sense, they think they are studying a philosophy, that they have heard this philosophy and because impressions of it are in the mind they know it. But they do not know it as part of their being. And even an intellectual examination may show that some virtues are only on the surface, that they are ideals, that they are what one expects from others, not from himself.
The unlearning consists therefore of disengaging oneself from any subjective teaching; also to be able to receive a new teaching in its place, though this teaching may not have a content in the intellectual sense. Also that one’s very attachment to such teaching prevents the freedom of spirit.
GATHEKA: And what helps the process? The light of reason working with full power unravels the mental knots. A knot is a limited reason. When one unravels it, its limitation is taken away, it is open.
TASAWWUF: We can see this in looking at the culture of East and West. When an Occidental looks at Oriental culture, and when an Asian looks at European culture, he sees limitations. But these are limitations partly because they are really limitations and partly because they do not fulfill the idea of the perfection of one’s own philosophy, ethics, or ideals. And, as in the inner life one is drawn toward universality, one must learn that universality is something universal, not some very limited thought which one wants to call “universal.” This happens all the time and adds illusion to ignorance.
Now in the meditation one learns to flow “with the stream,” one becomes fluid. One is not beguiled by words nor limited by thought. One feels a freedom and relaxation. One gets a glimpse of the flow of life and that makes one become aware, less unhappy, more free.
GATHEKA: And when the mind becomes smooth by unlearning, and by digging out all impressions, of good and bad, of right and wrong, then the ground of the heart becomes as cultivated ground, just as the land does after plowing.
TASAWWUF: In the Sufic esotericism it is taught that the Mind is as a field. It has to be plowed, to be weeded, to be turned over. This means actually and not any thought about it. One must submit to the renewal of one’s personality, or even as Jesus Christ has said, to be “born anew.”
The ancients had what has become called Nabathean culture. It has a relation to agriculture on the one hand and to psychology on the other. It is, in a sense, a companion to Alchemy but it has been mostly lost.
One does not see his mind as an open field, or as untouched ground. When the mind can be treated as a field, it does not destroy it, it helps to perfect it and enables man to use his spiritual forces in and with the mind as a dietitian does with the body.
GATHEKA: All the old stumps and roots and pebbles and rocks are taken off, and it is made into ground which is now ready for the sowing of the seed. And if there are rocks and stones and bricks still scattered there, and still some of the old roots there, then it is difficult for the seed to be sown; the ground is not in the condition the farmer wishes it to be.
TASAWWUF: There are forms of Meditation which can be called the vacuum cleaners of the mind. But there are some which almost destroy the mind, which work against it. The true Zen brings out Essence-of-Mind which is the Buddha nature and is full of all potentialities. It is only then that one overcomes obstacles. In making telescopes it is necessary to polish and clean incessantly. It is only by becoming empty that the telescope can function efficiently.
The uprooting of samskaras must be a thorough act or it is useless. And thus it is that man overcomes, not by any dualistic cleaning but by attaining to his true and pure state.
GATHEKA: The first thing in the attainment of the inner life is to seek a spiritual guide, someone whom a man can absolutely trust and have every confidence in; someone to whom he can look up, and with whom he is in sympathy, which would culminate in what is called devotion.
TASAWWUF: This is also an obstacle which many people place before themselves. In the known sciences, in the traditional cultures, few would dare to seek honors without having had some teacher, usually very skilled, to both instruct in quantitative acquisition and also to show the skills. One does not do this in the pure sciences and technology, although occasionally a person learns a language without external help. But the inner life is quite different from the traditional learning. Seldom has one accomplished much, and it is also egotism to claim to be able to progress this way, without a guide. How many people have achieved without guides? The number is so small, and even these have had the grace of God. But the number who have shown great progress through the teacher is large, even enormous in the history of the world.
GATHEKA: And if once he has found someone in life whom he considers his Guru, his Murshid, his guide, then to give to him all confidence, so that not a thing is kept back. If there is something kept back, then what is given might just as well be taken away, because everything must be done fully, either have confidence or not have confidence, either have trust or no trust. On this path of perfection all things must be done fully.
TASAWWUF: It is not that the Teacher necessarily demands such trust and obedience. But it is also true that while the seeker looks for a Teacher, the Guru is also looking for chelas, the Murshid for mureeds, for one’s work is not accomplished until he also has the pupils.
Swami Ram Das has taught that the Guru must be as the God, that we must transcend all concepts, all imagination, and it is better to make a reality of someone or even something outside oneself than to worship an abstraction. By the latter one can develop neither intellectual nor psychic power. One cannot add to oneself by oneself, but even the smallest object, or person, of devotion is of great help on the path to God.
If we look at things pragmatically there is hardly an instance where anyone has gone far in spiritual development without a teacher and usually a person who has the universal consciousness. Some have been arguing about a “Perfect Master,” but from the standpoint of the generality every Master is perfect, and yet in another sense God alone is perfect.
The principle of seeking and finding is behind every esoteric school. We do not learn in life by our egos. Left to ourselves we might be little more than savage. But there is a difficulty, that the European languages and European psychology are based on differentiations. A Sufi will not object to those who think they can attain illumination without a Teacher, but he does not find examples. He does find examples among many schools, and especially Zen and Vedanta, that those who have had valid teachers have reached the goal and they in turn help others to reach the goal. That is why some have stressed the Guru more than anything else.
GATHEKA: Now there are the particular ways of the guide, which depend upon his temperament and upon his discrimination in finding for everyone who is being guided a special way. He may lead them to their destination by the royal road, or through the streets and lanes; down to the sea, or through the town, by land or by water; the way that to him seems the best under certain circumstances.
TASAWWUF: In the Orient it is easy. People are often credulous and will accept anything they regard as guidance. In the west, even when they seem to believe, want to believe, they have the dualistic, divisive minds, and therefore the disciplines are different. But the basic way of heart, breath and light is the same; these are essentially the same for all human beings.
Without internal and external evidence there is no assurance of progress. The teacher can see this in the eye of the disciple, in the way he breathes and walks and speaks and in all things. Those who have not this knowledge are quite incapable of so measuring and do not know it.
GATHEKA: The third thing necessary to spiritual attainment is the receiving of knowledge. This being knowledge of the inner world, it cannot be compared with the knowledge one has learned before. That is why it is necessary to unlearn the former.
TASAWWUF: We see this in society that when people, and especially young people, have some experiences which cannot be explained by traditions, they want to revolt. The universe is there, the same universe. But those in charge of education and authority may not have perceived beyond their immediacy. The adventurous find new worlds, and they think they are real, and those who have not had such experience think they are not so real. So there is an impasse.
On the spiritual path disciples, under the guidance of the teacher, may keep their own records, record their own inner experience, even measure their breath. They can feel the latent light and power although not be able to measure it. But the inner life will in time become more real to them than the outer life. Therefore some balance is needed, and for this also a teacher is needed.
GATHEKA: Man cannot adjust what he receives in this path with the ideas he has held before; the two things cannot go together.
TASAWWUF: There are some analogies in Mathematics, that the finite, imaginary and infinite numbers do not go together, and, though they may have some relation between each other and other forms of numbers, there is not the same logic and the same background. And already we are seeing the effects of psychedelics, that they take people beyond the immediate, beyond the sense world. There is nothing new in this, but the culture has not looked kindly to the unusual and so the wise have had to resort to fiction.
GATHEKA: Therefore there are three ways of receiving knowledge which the one being guided has to go through. The first stage is the receiving the knowledge, when he does nothing but receive.
TASAWWUF: The system here is basically the same as in Indian philosophy. But Indian philosophy has been introduced in the West by description, not by participation. It becomes another form of recording names and forms, and the way in which it has been done is contrary to the actual methods of Gurus. They do not try to multiply facts; they try to awaken the powers latent in man.
GATHEKA: The next state is the period after this; and that stage is the assimilating of what has been learned. Man thinks upon it, he ponders upon it, in order that it may remain in his mind. It is just like eating food and then assimilating it.
TASAWWUF: This is also basic. We find it equally in Zen traditions as in those of the Sufis and Hindu sages. The greatest obstacle is the confusing mental abstraction of the process with the process itself. In the outer knowledge one regards the world and its knowledge as separate from his own being. In the inner knowledge knower and known become one. This is also taught by the Gita, but most studies of the Gita are intellectual and few are even devotional. Or, if they become devotional, the devotee may be kept as a fixed stage and never become a Krishna.
GATHEKA: The third stage is the reasoning it out by oneself. Man does not reason it out as soon as he has received it; if he did, he would lose the whole thing. Because it is like a person who has learned A and B and C at one stage, and then would ask how about words that did not begin with those letters. He would reason it out much sooner than he ought, for he has not yet learned the other letters.
TASAWWUF: It is processes that one learns, and then content. But when one goes to content without advancing in the processes one adds quantitatively to what one has or one runs into conflicts and becomes confused. With progress on the spiritual path new processes begin to open. This is particularly true of Insight, Kashf, or Prajna. One cannot compare this with any of the faculties of mind, as it is ordinarily conceived or as it usually works. Kashf is transcendent to the processes of the manushic stage of development. And it brings its own knowledge and reason and its own terms of expression.
GATHEKA: There is a time which must necessarily be given to receiving, as one gives the time to eating. While one is eating one does not run about in the street in order to assimilate the food. After he has finished his dinner then he can do everything possible to help digest it.
TASAWWUF: There are some basic methods of Meditation that can be put into practice here. We have the words and sometimes the processes from ancient times, but the word “Meditation” and many words derived from the Sanskrit Dhyana have come to mean all kinds of processes. Besides, people who only have the words of Lord Buddha and do not practice what he gave the world, either retain words or rituals. Words do not transform. The power of ritual is much greater but it is also limited in the infinite cosmos. But however Meditation be used, it means the bringing of the infinite to the finite.
GATHEKA: Assimilating is clearly understanding, feeling and memorizing knowledge within oneself; not only that, but waiting until its benefit and its illumination come as a result of achievement.
TASAWWUF: Which is to say that sooner or later the light of the soul will manifest. Jesus Christ said, “Let your light shine before men.” This has been interpreted anything but literally. People want to take the allegorical portions of Scriptures literally, and when they come to the literal portions interpret them allegorically because of the general ignorance. Light means light, and until it manifests has no significance whatsoever.
GATHEKA: The third part, then, to the receiving of knowledge is reasoning, to reason it through: Why was it like that? What benefit has come to me from that? How can it be made practicable in life? How can it benefit myself and others? That is the third stage.
TASAWWUF: The practice of Meditation leads to development of Insight, Kashf. As soon as one stills the ego-mind the deep essence of mind begins to express itself. It was always there. Human beings have been made in the divine image. They are from the light. The light is covered. And one cannot use the same kind of reasoning as one does in the affairs of limitation. But when one strives to think deeply, in one’s meditation or as the result of meditation, the deep voice within begins to speak. It will explain and direct; this is the true reasoning.
GATHEKA: If these stages are confused, then the whole process becomes confused, and one cannot get the benefit for which one treads the spiritual path.
TASAWWUF: The Sufi teaching is that the teacher and pupil walk the path together. Sometimes this may be literally so. The teacher will walk so the pupil can get his rhythm, not his qualities or content. If they come at all they come later, but every soul is the beloved one of Allah. And those who verbalize fast progress often do not advance at all. Patience is needed and “In the hour ye think least, the son of man cometh.”
GATHEKA: The fourth grade of attainment of the inner life is meditation. If one has unlearned all that he has learned, if one has a teacher, and if one has received the knowledge of the inner life, still meditation is the one thing which is most necessary, which in the Sufi words is called Ryazat.
TASAWWUF: Ryazat actually includes the whole gamut of esoteric practices. These are a veritable science-of-sciences containing many sub-divisions and in the modern sense Meditation is one of them. All of these take one beyond the immediacy, into a recognition of “More worlds to conquer” and each transcendent to those below. But, while others talk about them and speculate, the mystic accepts them as belonging to experience, experience far beyond the immediacy.
GATHEKA: In the first place, meditation is done mechanically, at an hour which one has fixed upon as the hour for devotion or concentration.
TASAWWUF: The first element is rhythm, that a certain time is appropriated. This is not necessarily different from the life of a student of any kind but undisciplined people do not know the value of rhythm. As for its being mechanical, that is also a necessary first step. This results in deep impression.
GATHEKA: The next step is to think of that idea of meditation at other times during the day.
TASAWWUF: This will follow. As soon as the impressions are made it is very hard to restrict them to the times of devotion. People who have difficulties with their practices and meditations, also have difficulties in trying to confine them. The meditations will intrude on the daily life just as thought will intrude on meditations. There is nothing wrong about it. Many people fight this tendency, and this does not help. All the sages prescribe calmness and even-mindedness, even in this.
GATHEKA: And the third stage is continuing meditation through day and night. Then one has attained to the right meditation.
TASAWWUF: Sufis say that when man walks one step toward Allah, Allah walks ten steps toward man. And also, if we regard ourselves as “real” we are losing sight of the promise that God is the only Being. He is not standing still, He is not quiescent, He is making Himself known.
GATHEKA: If a person does meditation only for fifteen minutes in the evening and then forgets altogether about it all day, he does the same thing as going to church on Sunday and the other days of the week forgetting all about it. Intellectual training no doubt has its use in the achievement of the inner life, but the principal thing is meditation. That is the real training.
TASAWWUF: In the introduction of Oriental philosophy into the west this is introduced as thought. It often remains as thought because there is no particular practice. Ryazat consists of practices and these result in experience. Meditation is not “thinking about thinking.” In that case, there is learning and not unlearning.
Besides this there is talk about “higher self.” And there is much consideration but in the end this “higher self” remains a concept of the lower self, the ego. In the practice of meditation, there is a release from the captivity of ego. The true light begins to shine, there is capacity for Kashf, insight; and the practice of Kashf is one of the signs of the inner life and is also experience.
GATHEKA: The study of one year and the meditation of one day are equal. By this meditation is meant the right kind of meditation. If a person closes his eyes and sits doing nothing, he may just as well go to sleep. Meditation is not only an exercise to be practiced; in meditation the soul is charged with new light and life, with inspiration and vigor; in meditation there is every kind of blessing.
TASAWWUF: The blessing also is an experience. It brings magnetism, élan, a zest for life. One begins to feel the inner being, the whole of the organism begins to vibrate. Soon one is aware of the magnetism of the inner planes, of the subtle and causal worlds, of Malakut and Djabrut. The nervous system and the heart throb and thrill. It is no longer a matter of prayer, “Draw us closer to Thee every moment of our lives.” It becomes an experience. Every item of the Gayatri becomes experience.
There are certain kinds of negative practices called Meditation, and we may find these in particular in certain Zen schools. They correspond to what the Sufis call fana, the self-effacement. But they seldom bring the baqa, the divine and eternal life. For there must be a positive aspect also and whether it comes by will-power or by grace it is most wonderful. It is not negative, it is not the emptiness of life, it is the emptiness of ego.
GATHEKA: Some become tired of meditation, but that does not mean that they meditate, they become tired before having arrived at a stage where they really experience the effect of meditation, like those who become weary of practicing the violin. They are tired because they have not yet played the violin.
TASAWWUF: In Sufism one does not separate the meditation as they do in some other schools. One may use the Invocation, “Towards the One;” one may use other phrases, but mostly one uses the breath. The breath is taught as all important and during the centuries the followers have forgotten the breath teachings of Lord Buddha and also by translating the Greek pneuma into spirit, and making the word “spirit” a concept or abstraction, people have gotten far away from the true life which is in their very midst.
RYAZAT: The phrases “Ya Hayy” and “Ya Haqq” and other wazifas may be used for those who tire. Then there are dynamic meditations found in Sufism, and they may be like ceremonies or even dances. The purpose of meditation is to find and live the inner life. The hardening of ceremonies into fixed rituals has prevented mankind from progressing. Lord Buddha did not refute the meditative practices of his day excepting that they brought no results.
GATHEKA: If once they played, they would never be weary. The difficulty is in playing the violin, and the difficulty is having patience with one’s own playing. Patience is required in meditation; a person gets tired is because he is accustomed to activity throughout the day.
TASAWWUF: There are people who lead a sedentary life and then are given meditative practices which are still more sedentary, with no results. The Chinese have a strong walking Zen which is often most effective. And there are other people who become so nervous, people trained to excitement. They need sedation and for them stillness is important. But so long as one does not know how to breathe, it is not easy; and in watching the breath, one is freed from the turmoil of thoughts and also from the ego. So in Sufism there is a combination of factors which may be different from some other methods. So without the teacher one cannot tell always whether he is progressing in the meditation and how.
GATHEKA: His nerves are all inclined to go on and on in that activity which is not really for his benefit, and yet it is giving him the inclination to go on; and when he sits with his eyes closed he feels uncomfortable, for the mind which has been active all day becomes restive, just like a horse after having had a long run.
TASAWWUF: No doubt there is much benefit in sitting, in the stillness. If one studies the Mahayana Buddhism one reads much about “emptiness.” Scholars having a knowledge of Sanskrit, and little else, have commented on this and been concerned with the words. But now there are other scholars whose knowledge of meditation is greater than their knowledge of Sanskrit and they are giving new and proper interpretations of it. For without having participated, how can one know?
Besides the real Silent Life, which is also discussed in the literature, is not one of emptiness so much as of fullness. The early Christians knew that also, and there is a vast amount of Sufi metaphysics unexplored because not enough have gone deeply into the inner recesses of being. For this there must be stillness of mind and body, and then the inner life pours its unlimited magnetism, vitality and wisdom upon the person. Then there is a kind of knowledge but it is a different knowledge.
GATHEKA: Then if you want that horse to stand still, it is restive. It cannot stand still, because every nerve has been active, and it becomes almost impossible to keep that horse still. And so it is with man.
TASAWWUF: One thing that may be noticed about the horse is its breath. Its breath is heavy. Therefore with the restive persons one must attend to the breath. One does not tell them to stop thinking, one helps them to soothe their breathing, and they can do that. But at first they cannot control their thought and thinking. One does not try to force them. Many have failed utterly because in efforts to stop thinking they have interfered with the higher faculties of their nervous system. It is not necessary. To stop the mind and calm the nerves one does not introduce another method which compels attention on the mind and nerves. One begins with the breath. It is taught that the breath is the first lesson and the last, but the real efforts come when one is breathing properly, not when one is thinking about it.
GATHEKA: Once I was with a man who was in the habit of meditating, and while we were sitting near the fire and talking about things he went into the silence, and I had to sit quiet until he opened his eyes. I asked him, “It is beautiful, is it not?” and he said, “It is never enough.”
TASAWWUF: There is an episode in the life of the philosophers, the British Carlisle and the American Emerson, after they had become old. Emerson came to Carlisle unexpectedly. They both took out their pipes and remained a long time in silence and when Emerson was leaving they both remarked, “What a beautiful evening!” This shows that the soul of man knows, whether outwardly one knows or not.
The Zen Master Nyogen Senzaki, has recorded his different meetings with Hazrat Inayat Khan. They are all of this nature.
GATHEKA: Those who experience the joy of meditation, for them there is nothing in this world which is more interesting and enjoyable. They experience the inner peace and the joy that cannot be explained in words; they touch perfection, or the spirit of light, of life and of love; all is there.
TASAWWUF: This living experience. It is now being passed on to mankind. Several people have come from different parts of Asia to the Western world, and several Westerners, both Europeans and Americans, have gone to the mystics, to study with them. The first no doubt was Edward Carpenter. He had already had an awakening, and the American, Walt Whitman, urged him to go to the Orient and he later wrote about life with a Jnani. This was a first step and now many others have followed.
As excitation has become the dominant theme of the world, there is need to go in another and opposite direction. This brings peace outwardly, for this peace can come only after there is experience of peace inwardly.
GATHEKA: The fifth necessity in the spiritual path is the loving of the everyday life. There are not strict morals which the spiritual guide enforces upon a person, for that work has been given to the outward religions. It is to the exoteric side of spiritual work to which the outer morals belong, but the essence of morals is practiced by those treading the spiritual path.
TASAWWUF: There are some teachers in Sufism who have been held to public ridicule because they did not enforce orthodox rituals and methods. If we look more closely we can see that the orthodox do not follow their teachers, but each selects appropriate abstractions, whichever please them, out of the original teachings. The general spirit has been lost. If this were not so, there would be ample examples of immediate enlightenment, whether in the way of Christ or Buddha or Mohammed or Krishna or other teachers. Selections have been substituted and the wise try to get back into the universal approaches of the Founders of religion.
Besides there is a moral which comes from the very atmosphere of the teacher and often the practice of tasawwuri is sufficient that the disciple feels the presence of the Teacher and behaves as if the teacher were present. This is one way. But there are many ways, and after centuries of failure with the dualistic approaches, mankind is beginning to perceive that certain methods which have been successful are the best methods. We have the Ten Sufi Thoughts. Properly meditated upon they give all the moral outlooks.
GATHEKA: Their first moral is constantly to avoid hurting the feeling of another.
TASAWWUF: This is not only the first teaching, it is the last. In the instructions Hazrat Inayat Khan left for his teachers, this is emphasized more than anything else, and unfortunately it became ignored more than anything else. There is no power nor authority save in Allah, and the replacement of that by the usurpation of name and form and formality has become a great obstruction to the spreading of Sufism. And if there were no other moral than this it would suffice. This has been the teaching of Hazrat Inayat Khan. It has not been the teaching of various persons and organizations which claim succession.
GATHEKA: The second principle is to avoid allowing themselves to be affected by the constantly jarring influences which every soul has to meet in life.
TASAWWUF: This was also a marked factor in the splitting of the organizations, in the rivalry of personalities and in other matters which split the movement behind the Message. Each one was willing to be jarred in some particular manner and justified it.
Those who have sat in silence around the tombs of saints, who have communed with the saints, learn this lesson. They also penetrate into the silence and learn how to draw the strength from that silence. One cannot do this if one is jarred. And besides, in trying to bring the principle to avoid or surmount samskaras, this also became a philosophy about life, not a way of life. The teachings became verbal and mental, whereas in the true mystic they are operative in his or her personality.
GATHEKA: The third principle is to keep their balance under all different situations and conditions which upset this tranquil state of mind.
RYAZAT: In order to do this one practices the walking meditation, the Fikr of posture and of movement, the repetition of the Daroods and the attention on breathing and walking. All these help to promote and maintain tranquility.
GATHEKA: The fourth principle is to love unceasingly all those who deserve love, and to give to the undeserving their forgiveness; and this is continually practiced by them.
TASAWWUF: This must be practice, not philosophy. One begins with those close at hand and radiates the love gradually to all mankind. As one begins to feel the Divine Presence this becomes easier. It cannot be otherwise.
GATHEKA: The fifth principle is detachment amidst the crowd; but by detachment I do not mean separation. By detachment is only meant rising above those bondages which bind man and keep him back from his journey towards the goal.
TASAWWUF: There are all sorts of calm detachments. Once some Hindus were discussing Yoga. They were not Yogis, they were doctors of philosophy and they looked down on everybody else. They discussed this subject of detachment and when some in the audience said that hardened criminals were most adept at this they could not answer. They had given no scope to goodness and consideration and affection, only detachment. The true detachment can be only of a person who has love and consideration, goodness and affection and is not bound then by them or by anything.
The Angel Man
GATHEKA: The Hindu word deva denotes an angel-man, and the Sufi term for this is Farishtakhazlat. Every soul has its first expression in angelic life, and therefore it is not surprising if man shows angelic traits in his life, for it is the depth of his soul.
TASAWWUF: The full teaching on this is presented in The Soul Whence and Whither, with commentaries and addendum. An angel may be called a heart-being. Djabrut, the sphere of the angels, has been called the “sphere of power.” Because love has in it more power than will, for love draws from God all the time, especially as angelic people are engaged in expressing praise of God and are more aware of His nearness.
GATHEKA: The soul coming through different spheres and planes of existence partakes of different attributes, and the attributes of the lower world become so collected and gathered around the soul, that it almost forgets its very first experience of itself, its purest being.
TASAWWUF: No doubt in the early part of life, in infancy and early childhood, there is more of the angelic feeling and even angelic wisdom. The soul is like an extended light, but this light conveys more than luminescence; it carries attributes and magnetism. After a time these are lost or at least covered. But actually they are there. This aspect of man’s existence may be covered deeply, but it can never be entirely effaced.
GATHEKA: The soul that through all the worldly experiences has a tendency to turn toward its origin, its angelic state, shows a different character from the general characteristics of human beings. The soul shows the tendency of the compassion that always points in a certain direction, whichever way it is moved or turned.
TASAWWUF: Sura LXX, verse 4 reads; “The angels and the Spirit ascend into Him in a Day the measure whereof is as fifty thousand years.” Sura II, verse 30 reads: “Behold, thy Lord said to the Angels, ‘I will create a vicegerent on earth.’ They said, ‘Wilt thou place therein one who will make mischief and therein shed blood?—whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy name?’ He said: ‘I know what ye know not.’”
The word “deva” means shining one. There is no doubt but that the heartbody emanates tremendous light and aureoles and radiance. There is nothing to compare with it. But also these emanations are products of joy and love, and transformers for joy and love to others.
In his footnote on the passages above, A. Yusuf Ali says: “It would seem that the angels, though holy and pure, and endowed with power from God, yet represented only one side of Creation. We may imagine them without passion or emotion, of which the highest flower is love. If man was to be endowed with emotions, those emotions could lead him to the highest and drag him to the lowest. The power of will or choosing would have to go with them, in order that man might steer his own bark. This power of will (when used aright) gave him to some extent a mastery over his own fortunes and over nature, thus bringing him nearer to the God-like nature, which has supreme mastery and will. We may suppose the angels had no independent wills of their own; their perfection in other ways reflected God’s perfection but could not raise them to the dignity of vice-regency. The perfect vice-regent is he who has the power of initiative himself, but whose independent action always reflects perfectly the will of his Principal. The distinction is expressed by Shakespeare (Sonnet 94) in these fine lines:
“They are the lords and owners of their faces, Others but stewards of their excellence.” The angels in their one-sidedness saw only the mischief consequent on the misuse of the emotional nature of man; perhaps they also, being without emotions, did not understand the whole of God’s nature which gives and asks for love. In humility and true devotion to God, they remonstrate; we must not imagine the least twinge of jealousy, as they are without emotion. This mystery of love being above them, they are told that they do not know, and they acknowledge (in ii.32 below) not their fault (for there is no question of fault) but their imperfection of knowledge. At the same time, the matter is brought home to them when the actual capacities of man are shown to them (ii. 31,33).”
Man has not yet come into full understanding of his potentialities and one purpose of the Message of the day was to bring that back to his consciousness.
GATHEKA: And it is the same with a soul, whose nature it is to be pointing to the origin and source from which every soul comes. Now this soul may have the same tendency from childhood and through youth, and when grown up it may still have the same tendency; it may develop it more and more, but it is a tendency which is born with the soul and its magnetism is great.
TASAWWUF: Some have observed that many of the greatest scientists are very childlike. Darwin, Schweitzer, Einstein, Oppenheimer and others have shown this tendency without being aware of it. They and several of their colleagues have shown extreme ability and yet naiveté and that is generally true of this type of person. There is a perfection in them and yet imperfection.
GATHEKA: It attracts every other soul, because it is in contact with its real self, and that real self is the real self of every soul which it contacts, and therefore it acts as a magnet towards these souls. Deva is the name of this pure kind of human soul.
TASAWWUF: Aware of this, we can observe more and more of this type. Even in Ireland it has been claimed many appeared from time to time which accounts alike for a strange blend of spirituality and stupidity, but it is neither spirituality nor stupidity so much as the dominance of the Deva qualities in people. So too the sex-energy is not great in these remarkable people. This is also a sign of being beyond the human type, in a sense.
GATHEKA: The next type of soul to the deva is the djayn, from which comes the word “djinn” (jinn). This is a characteristic of a soul that keeps in contact with the inner region, which is reflected outwardly in all that is beautiful. While the soul of every person is looking for the beauty that is outward, the attention of the jinn soul is directed not so much to that beauty which is reflected outwardly as it is to the source of that beauty which is within.
TASAWWUF: In commenting on Verse 100, Sura VI, A. Yusuf Ali says: “Some people say that jinn means the hidden qualities or capacities in man …. I do not wish to be dogmatic, but I think, from a collation and study of the Qur’anic passages that this meaning is simply a ‘spirit’, or an indivisible hidden force.” The qualities of jinn are described at length in The Soul Whence and Whither.
GATHEKA: It is among those who live the inner life that these two characteristic types of the deva or angel, and the djayn or jinn are mostly to be found, because they are less absorbed in the life of the world, so more attracted to the inner life.
TASAWWUF: No doubt this is also reflected in the astrological studies in the influence of the planets Uranus and Neptune, or in the reflections of the soul itself symbolized or pictured by them. And as has been explained, at a certain stage of development each person on the path of the inner life will begin to reflect these characteristics because they are innate in the soul itself.
GATHEKA: It does not mean that they are not occupied with the worldly life; it does not mean that they take no interest in the world, in fact it is the interest in the external life which brings the soul towards it. If the soul were not interested in the world it would not come; it is its interest which brings it.
TASAWWUF: We find many folk tales that there are personalities which work more or less independently of the time-space processes which are regarded as normal for manushic man. Often there are great geniuses and they are usually recognized in mathematics or music, sometimes in art. It is characteristic of them and also in those who have unusual Pituitary bodies; or they build up unusual Pituitary bodies because of their evolution. This center—and it is a center—has been identified with the sahasrara or Thousand-petalled Lotus of Hindu mysticism, but from the modern view we can look at it either way.
Besides as the intuitive-Insight faculty (Kashf) becomes more developed, this may become normal for the advancing persons.
GATHEKA: But to such a soul, while the external life is of interest, at the same time it is a disappointment. All that interests a fine soul in this world, only interests so long as it does not touch it; once it has touched it this soul loses interest. Its natural inclination is to withdraw.
TASAWWUF: Therefore it has been said that this soul is in the world but not of it. The usual things such as commerce, society, even sports do not interest it much. And very often the sensitive soul is criticized and because of this criticism becomes still more sensitive and withdrawn. What are known as Introverts are very often of the jinn-type. But the really advanced persons are balanced and can even accept the Buddhist teaching that Nirvana may be found in the midst of samsara.
GATHEKA: The things which hold the average soul cannot hold this soul; they can only attract, for this soul is seeking for something, and it sees its reflection outwardly, but when it touches it, it finds it was a shadow and was not real, and it goes back disappointed; and so the life of the deva or jinn is spent in this manner.
TASAWWUF: There is a story called The Prince of Dreamers. It is about the Moghul Emperor Akbar who was a great Sufi. He had a court of marvelous persons, drawn from all religions and all walks of life. He understood them but they did not understand him. And he had all the legal and earthly power. It did not interest him; what interested him he could not always explain.
There was hardly a facet of life which did not interest him and yet it is said he was ummi, illiterate. With all the development and knowledge and he seemed to understand all arts and sciences, he did not read or write. But his attention was always beyond, on the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man under God. This is one excellent example. There are others.
GATHEKA: The characteristic of the deer as described by the poets of India, is that when it is thirsty it runs about in the forests looking for water, and it is greatly delighted on hearing the sounds of thunder, and runs about with the desire to drink; but sometimes it is only thunder and does not rain afterwards, or if it rains it is perhaps only a shower and not enough water to drink and the hare still remains thirsty.
TASAWWUF: And so it is with the seeking soul. They look mostly to religion and become disappointed. Or they look into art, into music, into science and it is still not enough although sometimes they find the poetry of mystics and then they have a little satisfaction. But they want more. Sometimes they want to express themselves and often they cannot. And thus there are often miserable people who are far advanced. Each generation swears it will not repeat this motive and yet it goes on, that there are advanced souls who find no outlet.
Hardy’s Jude, the Obscure is a tragic novel with this theme, but even great musicians like Mozart and Beethoven never found the satisfaction their souls were seeking. Beethoven did write a great Mass toward the end of his life, and this has been characteristic of many composers, especially the great ones.
GATHEKA: And so it is the thirst of a fine soul in this world. The soul of the spiritually-inclined man is constantly thirsty, looking for something, seeking for something; and when it thinks it has found it, the thing turns out to be different; and so life becomes a continual struggle and disappointment.
TASAWWUF: So the refined one is fooled. He falls into the hands of charlatans; his friends and acquaintances take advantage of him. Sometimes he finds out about Sri Ramakrishna who saw holiness even in the worse types. Christ said, “Verily, publicans and harlots will enter the kingdom of heaven before you.” But the generality establishes standards and these do not satisfy seekers. So when they find something unusual, in a chemical or in a vegetable product which makes them aware of more than their immediacy, they are attracted to it. They find something which takes them out, even if still in delusion and samsara, it takes one to greater freedom, not enough, but still in the direction they call freedom.
GATHEKA: And the result is that instead of taking interest in all things, a kind of indifference is produced; and yet in the real character of this soul there is no indifference, there is only love.
TASAWWUF: It has taken a long time for many in the world, especially in the West to comprehend love as Jesus Christ has taught it. This comes from the very nature of the inward depths of man. It emanates from those who have it and attracts others. It is the natural state of the inward heart of man and when the veils are lifted, this becomes natural! It is therefore that Sufis and all mystics try to express love and radiate it to others, so it can awaken in them.
GATHEKA: Although life seems to make this soul indifferent, it cannot really become indifferent; and it is this state working through this life that gives man a certain feeling, for which only a Hindu word is applicable, no other language has a word which can give you this particular meaning so adequately. The Hindus call it Vairagya from which the term Vairagi has come. Vairagi means a person who has become indifferent; and yet indifferent is not the only word for it.
TASAWWUF: There are a great many books and articles on this subject. Once the Zen monk, Nyogen Senzaki went to hear a Swami. The subject was “Equal-mindedness in Pleasure and Pain.” After the sermon the monk asked for an interview. The Swami, who was very proud, purposely kept him waiting for a long time in the ante-chamber. Then he came out, and the monk, rising nervously, knocked over a vase.
“Why you stupid fool, that vase cost two hundred dollars.” “So sorry, excuse please.” This happened after Senzaki-san began receiving ample financial support. He pulled out a big wallet full of greenbacks, causing the Swami to stare. He slowly pulled out two hundred dollar bills. “So sorry, excuse please,” and gave the astonished Swami the money. “So sorry, excuse please, but now I know what it means to be equal-minded in pleasure and pain.”
GATHEKA: It describes a person who has lost the value in his eyes of all that attracts the human being. It is no more attractive to him; it no more enslaves him. He may still be interested in all things of this life, but is not bound to them.
TASAWWUF: This was the way of the Zen monk, Nyogen Senzaki, who also was so attracted to Hazrat Inayat Khan. It gives an example of one living in the western world and attracted by so much of the western world, yet really beyond being caught in the web of samsara. And there are many others like that but mostly they are ignored and especially by those who have some authority to lecture on Oriental wisdom.
GATHEKA: The first feeling of the Vairagi is to turn away from everything. That person shows the nature of the deer, which runs away at the flutter of a leaf; for the person becomes sensitive and convinced of the disappointing results that come from limitation and changeableness of life in the world.
TASAWWUF: Now we have the “drop out.” At one time there were just a few, and yet the United States was established mostly by drop-outs. This has been forgotten. It is not surprising that some of their descendants should have the same characteristics. But even those who limit faculties to those from heredity and environment pretend to be puzzled because they do not admire it. They want everybody to be “normal,” which is to say fixed to standards. But how is a standard to be selected? Who is going to do that? This is contrary mostly to Lord Buddha’s teaching, looking for a standard. The soul is seeking freedom, not a standard. The dharma is nothing fixed; if fixed it is not the dharma. And so those in authority do not look kindly upon the unusual. Yet it is mostly the unusual that has made possible what is termed progress. We cannot have fixed normalities and progress in any direction. So now some freedom is caused from external forces. Then after a time this same freedom and greater freedom will come from internal forces, for they are there, but not always recognized by the generality.
GATHEKA: Hurt within, he becomes sensitive, and the first thing that occurs to his mind is to fly, to hide somewhere, to go into the cave in the mountains, or into the forest where he will meet no one. No affair of this world, no relation, no friendship, no wealth, no rank or position or comfort, nothing holds him.
TASAWWUF: Why was the Message sent at this particular time in the world’s history? Because there was a coming need. Allah Who is both All-Powerful and All-Merciful, prepared the medicine before the disease came so there was no need for any disease to persist. And the souls who were awakening came into incarnation only after the teachings were given. The same with Jesus Christ, it was after he came that the people were ready for his message. The same with Buddha that at first he made no impression. And now there are so many who want to drop out, who are so unconcerned with what are called “values” such as rank, power, comfort and luxuries.
GATHEKA: And yet that does not mean that he in any way lacks what is called love and kindness, for if ever he lives in this world it is only out of love. When he is not interested in the world it is only love that keeps him here, the love which does not express itself any more in the way of attachment, but only in the way of kindness, generosity, forgiveness, service, consideration, sympathy, helpfulness, in any way that it can; never expecting a return from the world, but ever doing all that he can, pitying the conditions, knowing the limitations of life and its continual changeability.
TASAWWUF: Now we find so many examples of it. These people are regarded as abnormal and the psychiatrists and psychologists have been looking upon them as so. Only when they get closer they begin to wonder, are the drop-outs abnormal or are the members of the generality really abnormal? There is no standard, there are just customs and conventions and apparently they do not lead to happiness for the majority seem so unhappy, there are not many smiling foreheads among them. Therefore the wise look to them and offer their hands and so more and more people are being led in some right direction.
GATHEKA: When this Vairagi becomes more developed, then he becomes like a serpent, he becomes wise like a serpent; he seeks solitude as the serpent seeks solitude. The serpent is never interested in moving among the crowd; it always has its home where it hides itself. It only comes out when it is thirsty or hungry; and once it has taken its food it does not hunger and thirst after more as the dogs and cats do. You can give them food again and again, and they will want more. When the serpent is once fed it goes into its hole and stays there until it wants food again; it has lost all voraciousness.
TASAWWUF: So we find several kinds of Vairagi. The customs of the Buddhist monks of Tibet are over explained. And also there are recluses in the Himalayas who seem to adhere to the path of the Rishi. But there are others, and you cannot tell whether they are Muslim or Hindu, they are beyond differences and distinctions. They are immersed in God. And sometimes they will eat only if someone places food so that they can’t help noticing and sometimes the food has to be put into their mouths.
Sufis practice Khilvat, seclusion or retirement and this helps them understand the nature of solitude. But neither a Sufi nor the Bodhisattva usually remains attached to such a life. For to help the humanity one must live among his fellows. That is what Lord Mohammed did until the very end; he died in the midst of society following human function.
GATHEKA: And so has the soul of a Vairagi; he only wants to live in this world for the sake of others, not for himself. His connection with people in the world is to serve them, not asking for their service; to love them, not asking for love; to be friends with them, not asking for friendship.
TASAWWUF: It is not surprising that Hazrat Inayat Khan greatly approved of the Bodhisattvic oath. There are people who called themselves “servers” and mostly they do not serve at all. Or they speak or write about “service.” The natural servers do not mention this. When Hazrat Hasan Nizami established his own print-shop he worked at the simplest tasks there. He never talked about “service.” He was a very great teacher with millions of followers and yet he worked at the most humble tasks. The real server never considers it anything extraordinary. It is his norm. As Fateha says: “Thee only do we worship and to Thee we bow down.” So the Islamic worship is accompanied also by bowing down. It is actual.
GATHEKA: He never allows himself to be deceived a second time, once disappointed is sufficient. Once the Vairagi has come to realize the falsehood of ordinary life he never allows himself to be deceived again.
TASAWWUF: The question may arise, how about the Intuition. But there is always the tendency to forgive and overlook even when one has a warning. One does not like to think evil of others and so one may distrust even the heart-warnings. But once this lesson is learned it is prudence rather than caution.
GATHEKA: He sees the world with the eye of experience, and he says: “I do not expect anything from you; if I come to you it is to give to you, not to take from you. I do all things for you, but will not be bound to you.” That is the chord of the Vairagi.
TASAWWUF: Actually the Sufi takes this attitude. He does not like to depend on others, and he is willing to have them lean on him when he finds that that is wise. He learns from all his experiences in life. He does not impose on others, for there is no compulsion in Sufism, even in Islam as Mohammed taught, but this has not been practiced.
GATHEKA: When the Vairagi is still more developed in this feeling of Vairagya then he becomes a lion. He is no more the serpent seeking solitude, although he loves it still; he is no more the deer, running away from the crowd. He is the lion, who stands and faces all difficulties.
TASAWWUF: Intellectual people, reading the literature, often take it literally. They begin to expect that one has to go through these various stages one by one, as if climbing a ladder. This leaves no room for grace or for past development or anything. And actually several of these stages may manifest at once. This may be contrary to logic but life’s unfoldment is not according to any logical system.
Buddha, as the all-conqueror, has always been symbolized by a lion. The term gina may mean in one sense a naked person and in another a world-conqueror. Thus the Scriptures “I have overcome the world.” This means the ego. One has to overcome the ego and when this is accomplished the world-conquest is comparatively easy.
GATHEKA: No longer sensitive, but with all strength and power, with all balance, with patience, he endures, and with a brave spirit he stands in the crowd in the world.
TASAWWUF: The Sufi tries to bring this out in everybody. They do this by the power of breath and also by calling upon God, for every name-attribute of God, when repeated silently or audibly, awakens some hidden facet in man who has been created in the Divine Image. Thus Love, Harmony and Beauty are no longer ideals; they become realities in one’s nature and one can communicate this to others.
GATHEKA: For what? To bear all things that come to him; to endure all the jarring influences that the world offers to a sensitive person; to look into the eyes of all, being brave in spirit and strengthened in truth and clear of conscience.
TASAWWUF: There comes a time in the life of a Sufi when one finds the attributes of God manifesting in oneself, through oneself and by being immersed in them one can communicate something of the same attribute to others, for all of us have these attributes within our own being.
Sages have learned from animals. They find the divine qualities in the animals, but the divine essence is in the human being and only in the human being.
GATHEKA: It is in this way the lion-like soul of the deva, the angel-man, comes to the rescue of humanity. What is called the Master or the Saint, or Prophet or Sage is this developed Vairagi.
TASAWWUF: Mureedship does not end in the indefinite. What one reads, what one learns, one begins to express in oneself. When the Hindus say “Tat Tvam Asi,” they also mean that the depth of man’s being is the very thing one thought one was seeking. It has always been there but unrecognized.
The teachings given in The Unity of Religious Ideals are all teachings of the inner being of man. They are presented as historical or mythical, or ideal, but everything there is or becomes a part of man, to be unfolded as one progresses. This is the very purpose of life.
GATHEKA: He is like the fruit that has ripened on the tree, helped by the sun. In this way this soul that is ripened by experience in life, and has not allowed itself to become decayed by that experience, but has upheld the truth with balance, with hope and patience, directed by love for humanity and desire to serve God, without any desire for appreciation or return from below or from above. It is that soul of the deva that brings the Divine Message, whenever the Message comes, to a community, to a nation, or to the world.
TASAWWUF: The Message having been deposited among the devout and intellectual, did not progress. That was the first stage which was the sowing of the seed. Even as Christ had disciples who deserted him in time of trial, it was first necessary that there be disciples. But as the world had become literate then the Message was accepted intellectually. It was not applied to oneself and one regarded the Message as something apart and instead of recognizing yet God as the only Being, there was a doctrine.
But Sufism is based on experience. Meditate on the Deva and one will often be trapped by lesser forces. Meditate on God and one may become a Deva, as the divine Grace allows.
Five Different Kinds of Spiritual Souls
GATHEKA: Those who live the inner life have to adopt a certain outer form of living in the world amidst people of all kinds. There are five principal ways known which the spiritual souls adopt to meet life in the world, although there are many more ways.
TASAWWUF: Intellectual people must be warned that these are not limitations. When Dr. Dunkin went to study the Madzubs whom he called “Masts” he found that practice and theory did not always go together. That is, there were certain rules, certain conventions, certain classifications, but when one met the actual persons, one could not bind them to these rules, these classifications, these conventions.
GATHEKA: Very often they are found in such forms of life that one could never imagine for one moment they were living the inner life. It is for this reason that the wise of all ages have taught respect for every human being, whatsoever be the outward character of that person; and have advised men to think who is behind that garb and what it is.
TASAWWUF: And because of the preponderance of intellectualism it was very hard for the seer. If he did not fit the rules, the concepts, the conventions of the intellectual and social people he was rejected. Even when they were warned not to reject, they did reject and to balance that often followed men who had no depth of wisdom at all.
In the Christian Epistle to the Hebrews of St. Paul one reads: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” This has not been important in religion although the people who are called “Latter Day Saints” follow it literally. Still we find this followed far more in sections of the East than in the West and when the West has sought to impose its religion and morals on the East, it has not always met with success because devotees have not always taken their own Scriptures seriously.
GATHEKA: Among the principal characteristics of the spiritual being, the first is the religious character. This is a person who lives the religious life, the life of an orthodox person, like everybody else, not showing any outward trace of a deeper knowledge or wider view, though he realizes it within himself.
TASAWWUF: In the Western world, due no doubt to the influence of the Catholic Churches, the sainthood has been associated with orthodoxy, especially that of the Roman Church. This has been strengthened by the care the Church has taken before elevating anybody. There are certain tests, but not necessarily the tests of mystics. Still a large number of the Saints have been mystics and a large number of mystics have been ordained as Saints.
If we met some of the monks and nuns especially we often find an atmosphere which can hardly be called by any other word than “saintly.” And if we have already met the saints of other faiths, we can find the same kind of atmosphere.
In Islam there is also often an association of orthodoxy with holiness. Many of the great saints such as Abdul Kadir-i-Jalani were very assiduous in their religious behavior. Moin-ed-din Chisti, also paid strict attention to Shariat but he also saw the wonders among the Indian ascetics and holy men.
His Orthodoxy did not prevent him from gaining friends and winning a high reputation among non-Muslims.
There is another aspect which may be called pragmatic, that the strict observance of rituals and practices can sometimes lead to the awakening of the soul. There are too many examples of it not to support this view.
GATHEKA: Outwardly he goes to his religious temple, or his church, the same as everybody else. He offers his prayers to Deity in the same form as everybody, reads the Scriptures in the same way that everybody else does, receives the sacraments and asks for the benediction of the church in the same way that everybody else does.
TASAWWUF: If a mystic reads the Book of Common Prayer of the English Episcopalian Church, he will probably find nothing wrong in it. There are a lot of practices which could be turned into esoteric disciplines. And the same may be true of the rituals of other churches, although not so many read the Latin or foreign languages. And now also some of these more orthodox churches are using the vernacular. It is not the language that matters but the attitude of heart and often rituals and ceremonies strike the heart. This applies to all faiths.
GATHEKA: He shows no difference, no special characteristics outwardly showing him to be spiritually advanced, but at the same time while others are doing their religious actions outwardly he realizes them in his life in reality. Every religious action to him is a symbolical revelation; prayer to him is a meditation.
TASAWWUF: This can be easily discovered. If one follows the ceremonies and rituals, sings psalms and hymns and recognizes their meaning, he will be found to be pursuing one aspect of the inner life. He may reach the Goal, and to him it may seem a simple matter because all that is necessary is to internalize what he is reading, what he is studying, what he is praying, what he is doing.
GATHEKA: The Scripture to him is his reminder, for the Holy Book refers him to that which he reads in life, and in nature; and therefore while outwardly he is only a religious man like everybody in the world, inwardly he is a spiritual man.
TASAWWUF: We find this among devotees of every faith. One can peruse the Scriptures and the rituals and find in them all keys to the unfoldment of the soul. True, it may seem that each regards his own Book, his own faith as real, perhaps the only real one—even more so when for him the veils have been lifted. But actually the seer will see in all the Scriptures the keys to universal life. Therefore there is not only nothing wrong in it, there is mostly something very helpful.
No doubt the world is turning from this form of orthodoxy which sets man apart from his fellows. The Universal Worship was instituted to retain this spirit, the spirit of devotion and it may be one way to entire freedom. GATHEKA: Another aspect of a spiritual man is to be found in the philosophical mind. He may not at all show any trace of orthodoxy or piety; he may seem to be quite a man of the world in business, or in the affairs of the worldly life.
TASAWWUF: Many have even associated spirituality with philosophy because they find so many short-comings in the orthodoxy and narrow-mindedness of many religious people. Still it is also possible to find narrow-mindedness in many philosophical people, only that in the philosopher the mind seems to be more free, unhampered.
When it comes to meditation and contemplation, the philosopher may use them, and also those who do these practices may be led to the philosophical outlook. For them churches and rituals do not help. They can select a scriptural passage or saying of any sage, or they can study the nature or do any kind of research and find a way to God therein. And as science has been advancing the need for the deep contemplation has kept on side by side with this.
GATHEKA: He takes all things smoothly, he tolerates all things, endures all things. He takes life easily with his understanding. He understands all things inwardly; outwardly he acts according to life’s demands.
TASAWWUF: This is often the western idea of an Oriental philosopher. It is certain that the great Confucius taught the supreme value of tranquility of heart. The words remain and sometimes one finds an exemplary of it. But actually all spiritual philosophers proclaim this even if they do not follow this as a norm. For otherwise there can be no peace on earth or indeed any kind of peace. That is why Gayan says that he who would make peace with the world should first make peace with himself.
In the highest spiritual sciences it is requisite to watch over the heart, to see that its surface is smooth and its depths calm. In this way one may help oneself and everybody else.
GATHEKA: No one may ever think that he is living the inner life. He may be settling a business affair, and yet he may have the realizations of God and truth at the same time.
TASAWWUF: In Pakistan there have been two leading men both named “Brohi” and both important. One is very orthodox and takes part in all assemblages that discuss religion. The other is a very famous barrister at law and is found to participate in all kinds of public matters of different kinds. He works for the spiritual teachers and outwardly he is presumed to be very wealthy but all his wealth is at the disposal of those who work for the cause of Allah.
GATHEKA: He may not at all appear meditative or contemplative, and yet every moment of his life may be devoted to contemplation. He may take his occupation in everyday life as a means of spiritual realization.
TASAWWUF: There is a saying, “Zen is everyday life.” It has been repeated and repeated without having much effect upon those who use words. Yet if we study the arts of China and Japan carefully we shall find that the Zen is most effective in the arts, all kinds of arts, folk and classical. For they all depend upon their inner tranquility. For it is from the inner tranquility that the creative genius arises. There was a Russian subject named Gurdjieff who came from the Caucasus region. He came to the West and gave out abstruse teachings which attracted multitudes. They were very complex and attracted those who love complexities. When he had died some of his pupils looked for his teachers. They were nearly all disciples in Sufism, often engaged in some simple folk craft. You could not tell much from their public profession, but they all worked as if every detail were a prayer, a devotion. They knew the meaning of La ilaha el il Allah.
GATHEKA: No one outwardly may consider for one moment that he is spiritually so evolved, except that those who come in contact with him may in time be convinced that he is an honest person; that he is fair and just in his principles and life; that he is sincere. That is all the religion he needs. In this way his outward life becomes his religion, and his inner realization his spirituality.
TASAWWUF: When the commentator was visiting the port of Aden in southwest Arabia there was one merchant who was so fair that everybody began patronizing him. And also in that store there was a dervish, very intent upon his devotions. The commentator was attracted also to this dervish and when his devotions were over asked if he could meet the Sheikh. Everybody pointed to the store-keeper. It was his store, he was a business man, he employed the others. And yet he was a Sheikh of the Rifai Order.
When the commentator visited Luxor he was met by a registering clerk in the hotel. The clerk wished his tasbih which was very expensive. He did not wish anything else. The commentator said that was impossible because he himself was already a teacher and using that tasbih but was also saving it for a Sheikh. The clerk said, “I am the Sheikh.”
When the commentator arrived in Alexandria, in UAR, he went to the travel bureau. The manager came down. “Oh there you are. I have been waiting for two hours for you.” This manager of the travel bureau was a sage and seer and yet performing a public function. Even his own underlings did not know this until the foreign visitor arrived and it was important to speak openly.
GATHEKA: The third form of a spiritual being is that of a server, one who does good to others. In this form, there may be saints hidden.
TASAWWUF: In Sufism there is the type called rind, who may be close to God, but whose every expression and life is different. These people may be following the spiritual path unconsciously. They see life as a whole. They feel the hearts of others. By nature they are tender and compassionate and never reflect on it.
There is another kind of person who writes about “World Servers.” They are very lofty, often proud. They never serve anybody, just write articles and preach. No doubt there are world-servers. There was even a book on the market: “The Bodhisattvas, World Servers.” In Sufism there is the recognized Hierarchy and those called ansars whose work is serving, or as this word indicates, “helpers.” They do their duties, they do not speak much about them and never write books or give lectures on the subject. For writing and lecturing are not elements in serving.
GATHEKA: They never speak about spirituality, nor much about the philosophy of life. Their philosophy and religion are in their action. There is love gushing from their heart every moment of their life, and they are occupied in doing good to others.
TASAWWUF: One of the greatest examples of this in this age or any age is found in Mataji Krishna-Bai at Anadashram in Southern India. As a whole book of testimonials has been written concerning her it is not necessary to comment further. Her work is outstanding even among those who are on the path of service or who write and preach about service. She is the best example to study and follow.
There is the path of Karma Yoga, which may be called “salvation through work.” The great obstacle to it has been books and lectures on the subject. If one were to meet some of the leaders of the Ramakrishna Mission, especially the Swamis in charge of centers, one might find them washing dishes, scrubbing court-yards, weeding gardens, cleaning drains and outhouses, cooking meals, almost anything and everything, but hardly ever lecturing on Karma Yoga. This is for others, the pretenders and charlatans. The real servants of God go about their work and never think about it or refer to it otherwise.
GATHEKA: In this form the spiritual person may be a teacher, a preacher, or a philanthropist, but whatever form he may appear in, the chief thing in his life is the service of mankind, doing good to another, bringing happiness to someone in some form, and the joy that arises from this is high spiritual ecstasy, for every act of goodness and kindness has a particular joy which brings the air of heaven.
TASAWWUF: Jesus has said: “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and in Galatians V, 22-23 one reads: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” Ephesians V, 9 reads: “For the fruit of the Spirit is all goodness and righteousness and truth.”
All these point to the same universal spirit behind all religions and show that all the Messengers of God had one goal toward which they were trying to direct mankind.
GATHEKA: When all the time a person is occupied doing good to others, there is a constant joy arising, and that joy creates a heavenly atmosphere, creating within him that heaven which is his inner life.
TASAWWUF: That is why there has been a turning from religion because among the religious leaders one does not find either this type nor the fruits. For the awakened soul can from his or her spirituality, often quite unconscious, effect the awakening of others and increase the joy, peace, temperance and goodness among mankind.
This may come out in the atmosphere whether it be in meditation or in the glance or in any form; merely the breath may suffice. And no argument avails because the changes that occur in the hearts of those who come into such a presence is sufficient testimony.
GATHEKA: This world is so full of thorns, so full of troubles, pains and sorrows, and in this same world he lives; but by the very fact of his trying to remove the thorns from the path of another, although they prick his own hands, he rises, giving him that inner joy which is his spiritual realization.
TASAWWUF: Hazrat Inayat Khan taught the identity of the Spirit of Guidance with the Bodhisattva. His followers and the world at large began to look for formulae, and to measure people according to some norm or formula. In that way they did not find. And there are others who are in pain or trouble and they seek solace and when they get the relief they know much better than the others who are so full of themselves, even after practices and disciplines that their eye is not keen.
Papa Swami Ram Das kept a detailed diary of everything that happened in his life and he found Ram (God) in everything. Thorns and troubles, sweetness and joy were the same to him. And thus he built up something which almost looked like a Personality cult. He never declared he was an Avatar or a Rishi or anything unusual for he saw all mankind as manifestations of that same Ram; as the Bible teaches, God made mankind in His Own image and likeness.
He called his ashram “Anandashram” which means the “Abode of Joy.” Actually the Gan Eden, or Garden of Eden of the Bible has the same meaning. It brings out the Joy and Bliss which are in the heart of the heart. And so the Bodhisattva exemplifies what the theorists and theologians say but do not experience: “Samsara and Nirvana are one,” or we can experience the Infinite Life even in the midst of turmoil and everyday affairs.
GATHEKA: There is the fourth form of a spiritual person, which is the mystic form, and that form is difficult to understand, because the mystic is both. Mysticism is not a thing which is learned, it is a temperament.
TASAWWUF: There are those called “old souls.” They come into the body quite advanced and we cannot always explain why this is so. Or it may be that they have already had enlightenment and are reborn to help the world. They already have an expanded consciousness of source and as they mature this becomes more and more evident to themselves, but not to others.
The intellectual world has accepted instead people who have profound or complex philosophies. If they cannot be understood without difficulty they are respected and even accepted. They are never childlike. The true mystic, no matter how profound, is always childlike.
GATHEKA: A mystic may have his face turned toward the north while he is looking toward the south, a mystic may have his head bent low and yet be looking up; his eyes may be closed; and yet he may be looking outwardly. The average man cannot understand and is at a loss when confronted by him. His “Yes” is not the same “yes” that everybody says; his “no” has not the same meaning as that which everybody understands.
TASAWWUF: The life of Hazrat Inayat Khan was full of hazards. His words were copied, his associates claimed they understood when they did not. They were always expecting a logic or common sense. When he spoke about “supersense” they still expected the common sense. So they began to rely more and more upon the very tools which he wanted to discard, on ego-logic and business organization and all the elements of the world of nufsaniat-samsara.
Then these people wanted to lead when he was gone. So when more people of mystical types matured, they found the ways blocked. The intellectuals and practical people had taken over, who did not understand. And when there were signs that Hazrat Inayat Khan’s son was also a mystic they were either unable to understand or were confused because this meant a change in their habits which they refused to accept.
All of this was inferred in The Way of Illumination. All of this is inferred in the teachings of Lord Buddha on anatta, anicca and dukha. But the outward mind of people, especially those in authority, bars the way of the mystic and that is why so many of them became wandering dervishes.
There are in one sense two kinds of disciples: those that accept what the teacher says and does without demanding any explanation, and those who try to interpret according to their own understanding. The average man is either bound by his senses, or by the horizon of his mental outlook. He does not always know this. He often tries to confine what is greater to his own degree of comprehension. This is enforced by the fact that many who claim to be mystics are not bound by intelligence, wisdom or love of any kind. To be bizarre does not mean to be wise.
At the same time there are those whose sight is keen, and whose outlooks are not so bounded.
GATHEKA: His every outward action has an inner significance. A man who does not understand his symbolical meaning may be bewildered by hearing a phrase which is nothing but confusion to him. A mystic may take one step outwardly, inwardly he has taken a thousand; he may be in one city and may be working in another place at the same time.
TASAWWUF: The difficulty in the introduction of Sufism to the West has been either that these words were not understood at all, or else they were taken literally, like a formula. Life is not a chemical formula. The scientist Einstein found that space was finite but unbounded. One is not sure what is meant by “finite but unbounded” but the life, not only the inner but even the outer life is like that. And from the ordinary point of view this is hard to understand.
But there is another way of looking at it. The Chinese say: “Go with the Tao,” and the Buddhists refer to being “in the stream.” This is the removal of the egocentricity in consciousness. The mystic has no such egocentricity. As God is everywhere, he may be working outside the time-space conventions. But as soon as a man works beyond these limitations, the people of limitation are not able to go with him. So in presenting the teachings about “The Spirit of Guidance,” given to a certain audience in a certain place and time, they were really meant for a larger audience, extending over a much greater time.
GATHEKA: A mystic is a phenomenon in himself and a confusion to those around him. He himself cannot tell them what he is doing, nor will they understand the real secret of the mystic.
TASAWWUF: This can come only with heart-awakening. Then the disciple will understand. He will have the veil lifted. The whole subject matter of Kashf-al-Mahjub written by the great Sheik Al-Hujwiri (known as Data Ganj Baksh) was to help understand the lifting of veils. But the lifting of a veil means increased sight and insight, not increased confirmation of one’s own position. So the book, though studied by millions, has been understood only by the few. It is important to learn to see from the point of view of another, to rise above the distinctions and differences which divide men.
There is a great deal of Sufi literature. Much has been translated by non-mystics who then are permitted to comment. Why they have been permitted to comment is not clear. A translator on scientific subjects would not comment, he would translate. His forte is language, not interpretation. But the translators of much Asian literature have been accepted as interpreters also. And thus we have Fitzgerald’s “Omar Khayyam” in which under the cover of the name of the Persian scientist and savant, he expressed his own philosophy and that was accepted by many as being the essence of Persian wisdom. It took a long time to correct it.
But the same has been true of so much of Sufi literature, the amount of which is voluminous. Falling into the hands of non-mystics, it is not only translated (often very well) it is “explained,” explained by those who have not had the same type of experience, often nothing like them and this has brought considerable confusion. Now with the appearance of Philip Kapleau, himself a realized Zen devotee, the clear outlook is being given. And the same will also happen in Sufism, when the mystical explanations of mysticism will be received alongside those of translators or even beyond. For Sufism, as Al-Ghazali has said, is based on life’s experiences and not premises, or dialectics.
GATHEKA: His open eyes, his closed eyes, the turning of his face, his glance, his silence, his conversation, nothing means the same that one is accustomed to understand. Yet it does not mean that the mystic does this purposely, he is so made; no one could possibly do it even if he wishes, no one has the power to do it.
TASAWWUF: We must first appreciate this literally, as it is written. The open or closed eyes, the glance, the silence and all signs from the mystics have meanings. In Buddhism there is the art and science of the Mudra which has been stylized, but this arose out of the classification of the movements of mystics, and in particular those of the Buddha. But there is also the element of spontaneity, the reflection of the sunlight of the whole cosmos through a person and this may be constantly changing and inexplicable. But if one accepts the mystic with all his or her seeming idiosyncrasies, one will gain nobly.
GATHEKA: The truth is that the soul of the mystic is a dancing soul. It has realized that inner law, it has fathomed that mystery for which souls long, and in the joy of that mystery the whole life of the mystic becomes a mystery.
TASAWWUF: It happened in America in the life of Walt Whitman. This was an unusual case for this man had no guru. He was a beneficiary of the Divine Grace which is everywhere. He wished to establish a western mysticism but he regarded India as the spiritual home of the world, so he wrote. It has taken a long time, but it is also true that he foresaw the type of humanity that would come after him and in the manifestation of that type of humanity there have come those who have had greater vision and understanding and with the cosmic evolution of the race this will be more so. That is why the Message was brought when it was, to prepare the way for these souls.
GATHEKA: You may see the mystic twenty times a day and twenty times he will have a different expression. Every time his mind is different, and yet his outward mood may not at all be his inner mood. The mystic is an example of God’s mystery in the form of man.
TASAWWUF: And people who meet a mystic will regard him as a norm for other mystics. When they find another mystic they will compare and will judge and find short-comings. No doubt they are there for all lights cast shadows and all forms are shadow expressions of universal light. But when mystics meet they understand and often embrace. No matter what their backgrounds they will understand and embrace. All this causes confusion to the non-mystics who look for psychological types. The analytical psychologists are the hardest people to reach, and they are very far from being children. They cannot unlearn until the difficulties of life, their own pains awaken them.
The best way to understand the mystics is to travel on his path, or to increase one’s full capacity for love.
GATHEKA: The fifth form in which a person who lives the inner life appears is a strange form, a form which very few people can understand. He puts on the mask of innocence outwardly to such an extent that those who do not understand may easily consider him unbalanced, peculiar or strange.
TASAWWUF: In many parts of Asia, the mad men are venerated. Dr. William Donkin, working for the Parsi, Meher Baba, wrote a book, The Wayfarers in which he described the masts or eccentrics. After a while he could determine by vibration and emanations the spiritually advanced from the under-developed. There was always a nobility and strength in the advanced souls no matter how they behaved.
But these people did not understand the Madzubs at all. They confused terms of languages and in trying to classify, failed in their objective. From the Sufi point of view to describe God is to dethrone God. In Mathematics no one confines his description of the transfinites and infinites to finite terms and expressions. A new vocabulary had to be coined. That is correct. In many sciences also new vocabularies are being coined. With the rise of psychedelics much confusion has originated because there has not been a vocabulary to describe experiences and states of consciousness. And when we come to this type, this is even more so.
GATHEKA: He does not mind about it for the reason that it is only his shield. If he were to admit before humanity the power that he has, thousands of people would go after him and he would not have one moment to live his inner life.
TASAWWUF: In his time Buddha was followed everywhere by crowds. Yet if we were to read the actual records (and stop uncritical acceptance of many interpreters) we should find also he used discrimination and in the Zen records also he had to rely on direct communication which only one disciple understood.
This is true in India, that whenever there is a bizarre person, who puts on any show of spirituality or madness, many will follow him. And they often attract more people than do the true gurus.
GATHEKA: The enormous power that he possesses governs inwardly lands and countries, controlling them and keeping them safe from disasters, such as floods and plagues and also wars, keeping harmony in the country or in the place in which he lives, and all this is done by his silence, by his constant realization of the inner life.
TASAWWUF: This is something which is very difficult to impress upon those who have not had the spiritual awakening. In The Unity of Religious Ideals and elsewhere, the work of the Spiritual Hierarchy is more real than creation itself. But the materially minded and those who have difficulty in unlearning do not accept this. They have a norm; this is right for the manushic type. But it does not apply to those of advanced evolution. The world is not bound by men’s minds.
Since there is a lack of comprehension of the higher types of mind by the generality, the Bodhisattvas who live in the world and carry on the divine duties often have both to cover their personalities and operate from a transcendent state of consciousness. They understand others; others do not understand them.
This doctrine is also given in The Unity of Religious Ideals. When these teachings are objectified, there will be, so to speak, a new heaven and a new earth, that is not the heaven and earth confined to egocentric personalities. The world of God-consciousness is in, around and through us all.
No doubt the whole position and function of the Spiritual Hierarchy will be taught more openly but the real work is by function not by intellectualization.
GATHEKA: To a person who lacks deep insight, he will seem a strange being. In the language of the East he is called Madzub.
TASAWWUF: Madzub literally means “possessed.” Such a one is possessed by the Divine Spirit. Sometimes the word is applied in another sense to those who have advanced through many stages and states and become conscious of God alone. But this is not an abstraction, it is a completion and fulfillment.
There is a story of Mohammed and his close associates, that Abu Bakr could see the whole universe, God and creation together while Ali was conscious only of Allah. So Abu Bakr has remained the perfect Saluk or sober type and Ali the perfect Madzub or ecstatic type. But both should be regarded as perfect.
GATHEKA: The same idea was known to the ancient Greeks and the traces of it are still in existence in some places, but mostly in the East.
TASAWWUF: In the Greek culture the sober types have been known as Appolonians and the ecstatic types as Dionysians. The Appolonian would be conscious of God and the world at the same time; the Dionysian only of God. In an extreme form the Dionysians have been called “Bacchanalians” and they had ceremonies in which ecstasy was necessary and the goal was lost to view. We also have many who have been charmed by ecstasy, they are slaves of ecstasy. They have been called “drunken” and we find many references to it in Sufi literature. Many have confused it with alcoholism. They are very far apart. And now there are forms of ecstasy far removed from alcoholism and this will have a sobering effect upon those who have taken the Sufi poetic terms literally. One has to experience the Divine ecstasy to understand it.
GATHEKA: There are souls to be found today in the East, living in this garb, of a self-realized man who shows no trace outwardly of philosophy or mysticism or religion, or any particular morals, and yet his presence is a battery of power, his balance most inspiring, a commanding expression in his looks, and if he ever speaks his word is the promise of God. What he says is Truth, but he rarely speaks a word, it is difficult to get a word out of him; but once he has spoken, what he says is done.
TASAWWUF: There is a great Madzub at Salarwala in Pakistan, in the Lyallpur District, so great that he is often known as “Madzub Sahib,” and mostly he never says anything, or gives out strength noises (corresponding to the unintelligible Zen “Kwatz”), but he has confirmed the teachings of the Message and its spread in the West and given all blessings and magnetism and out of that has come the power and wisdom which makes this an accomplishment.
After that whenever the commentator went the Madzubs greeted him and spoke to him and blessed him and he brought to America the Baraka. It was not accepted, but once when a great Sufi Saint, Abu Salem-Al-Alwai came from North Africa, he saw this Blessing (Baraka) and what it meant and this has given the strength and wisdom to help bring the Message to the people of the West on all levels.
Because Sufism is Hierarchical and not personal. As the Sufi poets say, “The lover is a vain thing; the Beloved is All-in-All.” Many have seen only the garb, they have judged by the garb and so they fail to benefit from the Light and Glory. It is there.
In the works of great Sufis like Ibn ‘Arabi, Abu Said and Jili, we find references to the perfect man. Their explanations should be studied. The imperfect cannot understand the perfect. (This is also a teaching of Saint Paul). We bow our heads, in Islam every devotee always bows his head, to symbolize unlearning, so that the Divine Light may fill and fulfill.
As time passes and there is more intermingling of East and West, this will be more fully understood.
GATHEKA: There is no end to the variety and outward appearance of spiritual souls in life, but at the same time there is no better way of living in this world, and yet living the inner life, than being one’s self, outwardly and inwardly. Whatever be one’s profession, work or part in the outer life, to perform it sincerely and truthfully, to fulfill one’s mission in the outer life thoroughly, at the same time keeping the inner realization that the outer life, whatever be one’s occupation, should reflect the inner realization of truth.
TASAWWUF: For this no commentary is necessary, only the fulfillment of prayer.