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.
GATHEKA: The whole of manifestation in all its aspects is a record upon which the voice is reproduced; and that voice is a person’s thought.
TASAWWUF: We can read in literature about “Akashic Records.” We can also find in Buddhist studies about the Alaya. This is all the same teaching, but literature of itself is not the manifestation of teaching.
GATHEKA: There is no place in the world, neither desert, forest, mountain, nor house, town, nor city, where there is not some voice which, once engraved upon it, has continued ever since.
TASAWWUF: There was an American writer named O. Henry, who published some of his books under the title The Voice of the City. This had the same theme. There is no doubt that each city has its Voice. If one has lived in several cities, blindfolded he could distinguish them. Of course, this the way in which the blind do distinguish them.
There is a vast science of psychometry. Those with keen senses can see, read or otherwise distinguish. Many material scientists know about the history of trees from their rings—not only how the weather was every year, but a good deal more can be learned thereby. It is not only the rings that engrave history.
A Sufi once visited the imperial grounds of the Emperor of Japan. The Emperor has a private shrine there, and outside that shrine are very tall trees. The Americans so respected the deep devotional side of Japanese culture that they were careful not to bomb this shrine and the tree surrounding it. When the Sufi mystic came there, the trees almost commanded him to bow his head in prayer. As he prayed, the trees told him of their history. They were like guardian angels.
This is no doubt true of all things and places. As it is said in Salat, “Thy Light is in all forms, Thy Love in all beings.”
GATHEKA: No doubt every such voice has its limit: one voice may continue for thousands of years, another voice for several months, another for some days, another for some hours or moments. For everything that is created intentionally or unintentionally has a life; it has a birth and so it has a death; in fact it has a beginning and an end.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in several places in the literature, in The Mind World and elsewhere. There are psychic people who see emanations or auras. Even the scientists, by the use of the ultra microscope and other instruments, are discovering much that has been unknown to the world. It is only that they have been using light rather than sound. Actually, they will learn much more of the nature of all forms of matter when they analyze the noises and sounds emanating from all forms. This may become a science analogous to chemistry.
GATHEKA: One can experience this by feeling the atmosphere of different places. Sitting upon rocks in the mountains one often feels the vibrations of one who has been sitting there before; sitting in a forest in a wilderness, one can feel what has been the history of that place.
TASAWWUF: If there were a virgin island, a new island rising from the sea, or an old island not visited by man, and one were like a Robinson Cruso coming there, he would find a clear atmosphere, and there would be a certain sort of sensitivity, almost like the atmosphere of a newborn infant. It would be like a blank slate, yet teeming with a sort of potential life. An event or animal would affect that slate. But after one had lived there, his own breath or the breaths of animals and human beings especially, would introduce the vibrations of earth, of water, of fire, of air, of thought. Then the atmosphere would be different, and the seer would not only be sensitive but could interpret such differences.
GATHEKA: It may be that there was a city, that there was a house there, that people lived there; and now it has turned into a wilderness. One begins to feel the history of the whole place; it communicates with one.
TASAWWUF: A Sufi talib once lived in a wilderness in the state of South Carolina. He found in the midst of the forest many trees planted in straight lines. Also, there was something odd about the leaf formation of these trees, indicating their age. The trees told him what had happened there when General William T. Sherman invaded that country, and when he spoke to the natives, they all confirmed what the trees had said.
Some attention has been paid to haunted houses. Not so much attention has been paid to the emanations and vibrations of all the materials which constitute buildings and places resulting from the creative hand of man. As humanity evolves, the subtle sciences will also develop.
GATHEKA: Every town has its particular voice. It is, so to speak, telling aloud who lived in the town, and how they lived, what was their life; it tells of their stage of evolution, it tells of their doings, it tells of the results produced by their actions.
TASAWWUF: We find today many anthropologists and linguisticians can tell where a person has been educated, not only the city and place of his childhood, but the school or schools where he began his education and first fixated his pronunciations. If this is already part of material science, how much more can be learned when the subtle side of life is developed; when we can read auras, respond to sensitivities and listen with the inner ear. For that reason both disciples and those advanced in TASAWWUF are trained in Kashf or Insight. There is no end to this training, although there are also deeper esoteric sciences, such as Murakkabah (concentration) and Mushahida (awe-full contemplation), wherein the whole being of man functions.
GATHEKA: People perceive the vibrations of haunted houses. It is only because the atmosphere is stirred, it is intense; and therefore it is often felt distinctly. But there is no town, there is no place which has not got its own voice.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in Akibat, Life After Death, in other places in the literature, and in the Commentaries thereon.
GATHEKA: By this is meant the voice that has been engraved upon it, so that it has become a reproducing record of what has been given to it consciously or unconsciously.
TASAWWUF: In the science of detection, sight has been mostly used, and then chemistry. If someone were to produce sound records of every object and record them like fingerprints are recorded, one could later tell by differences in vibrations what had happened to the object. The differences might be vibratory or again, they might be material—in this case, there could be a differential chemistry. But the mystic would be more interested in the changes, and the seer by combining sensitivity and Kashf could interpret.
GATHEKA: Where many people have lived there is a dominating voice, which is more distinct than other voices. But at the same time, as one feels what a composer wishes to convey though the whole music he writes, with all the different instruments, so even the different voices which are going on together make one result; and that result is like a symphony to the person who can hear them together.
TASAWWUF: We have some inkling of this in the ultramicroscope which uses light and color and so reveals in a sense the beauty in everything and beyond everything. This is through sight. Now there is a subtle hearing and, as man develops response to vibrations and that side of life called Latif, one will become more aware of it.
In the esoteric science of Concentration, one looks at objects sometimes with his outer senses, sometimes with his inner ones. At that time a person also may listen so to speak and thus learn the language of all things. For this, he must act as if he were listening. It may begin as an imagination. After practice, it may become very real.
GATHEKA: A collective thought comes especially when one can perceive it, in a town, in a new city. It is a kind of voice of the past and a voice of the present, a voice of all as one voice; and it has its peculiar and particular effect. The whole tradition is in that voice. One who can hear it clearly feels as if the city is speaking about its past, about its present.
TASAWWUF: Cities such as New York, Benares, and Rome are three examples, the vibrations of which are evident to people whom we may not regard as subtle. While the cities may stand in great contrast or with determinate voice, by residing in them, and becoming used to their vibrations, one becomes more aware of the immense possibilities of learning through sound, by sound.
GATHEKA: In remote places sometimes the voices have become buried, and there is a kind of overtone which is most gentle and soothing. For the voices have gone, and the vibration remains as an atmosphere.
TASAWWUF: If one goes to the wilderness or to the mountains and stops often to rest or to feel the surroundings, one will notice the subtle differences. Also one may be healed, because the sphere is free from contaminations. Yet one will not have a sense of vacuity as one would find on a desert island. And when this sensitivity is developed, it is also possible that buried treasures could be recovered.
GATHEKA: If that place has always been a desert it is still more elevating, because it has its own natural atmosphere, and it is most uplifting.
TASAWWUF: There is a saying, “He who has tasted of the waters of the Nile will return again to drink some more.” A Sufi who has lived on the edges of the Sahara desert and also in the deserts of southwestern United States and adjoining Mexico will feel these regions very different excepting in relation to purity and purification. The deserts of Pakistan and Iran, and to some extent those of Arabia, feel still different as if they had once been areas of settlement. Their voices, their vibrations are different, although in their peacefulness, they are somewhat similar.
GATHEKA: And yet if some travelers have passed through it, it brings their voice to us. Even that is much better than what one perceives and feels in cities, in towns; because in nature man is quite a different person. The more he is in nature, the more what is artificial falls away from him, and he becomes more at one with nature. And therefore his predisposition, which is nature and truth, and which is goodness, all comes up and makes life a kind of dream for him, a romance, a lyric; and even his thought there, as a human thought, begins to sing through nature.
TASAWWUF: This is very evident in the life of Walt Whitman, the American mystic. He lived in the midst of civilization and turmoil. In his later life he wished to keep away from large cities, excepting when necessary. He has left a heritage which has begun to have its effect after a century.
There is no doubt that people of criminal tendencies, and those born and raised in slums would benefit morally if they were taken to deserts and wildernesses. This is not to suggest that we should abandon our cities and live like the Navajos, but man has become lopsided. His condition is not corrected by written articles, by philosophies about. It may be said that the writer Joseph Wood Crutch was one of the most civilized of men. As he matured, he went to live in the state of Arizona and became a writer and authority about the life of nature.
In the Indian culture there were four ashrams or stages of existence. In the later part of life, after maturity, one was expected to reside in the jungles, the unsettled places, and learn directly from nature and also from himself by looking within.
GATHEKA: When Abraham returned from Egypt after his initiation into the mysteries of life, he arrived at Mecca.
TASAWWUF: With all the studies and writings that have been made, still enough proper attention has not been paid to mysteries and initiations, and particularly, those of Egypt. We find ample reference to this in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, who lived just before the time of Jesus Christ. As he wrote in Greek instead of Hebrew, the synagogue has for the most part, rejected or bypassed him. This was one of the factors which caused the Prophet Mohammed to make some negative remarks which the synagogue has rejected. It has been most unfortunate. Honest objectivity and impersonality may be needed in religion even more than in science.
The Abraham of the Hebrews, the Baharan of the Zorastrians, and the Brahma of the Hindus may be the same. Whether this is true or not historically, it is certainly true archetypically. We find some of the same myths and even the same legends around these names.
GATHEKA: And a stone was set there in memory of the initiation which he had just received from the ancient esoteric school of Egypt; and the voice that was put into it by the singing soul of Abraham continued, and became audible to those who could hear it. The prophets and seers since that time have made pilgrimages to this stone of Kaaba; the voice continued and is still existing.
TASAWWUF: There is too much evidence on this subject in the writings of dervishes and hajjis (pilgrims) to ignore it. Great Sufis, like Saadi and others, have gone to Mecca many times and have told us of the marvelous effects of this stone.
There is something in this as in the oracles. But oracles have often been connected with caverns, dark places, and a dropping of consciousness. A stone on the contrary is in light and connected with the raising of consciousness.
GATHEKA: A place like Mecca, a desert with nothing of interest, where the ground was not fertile nor the people very evolved, where no science or art was cultivated and no business or industry flourished, has had an attraction for millions of people who only went for one purpose, and that was pilgrimage. What was it and what is it? It is the voice which has been put into a place in a stone. A stone has been made to speak, and it speaks to those whose ears are open.
TASAWWUF: This subject could have exhaustive study. For example, the Hebrew Bible says, “The stone which is rejected is called the cornerstone.” Many people who wish to interpret the Bible literally, on this point has chosen to interpret it figuratively, and thus have rejected the actual stone which has so functioned for centuries.
There is a whole occult science connected with the magic of stones per se. Many believe that the Kaaba stone was a meteorite and thus connected with “heavens” in a certain sense. It collected different vibrations, and it has been collecting vibrations through the ages. (This subject is also discussed in The Bestowal of Blessing.)
GATHEKA: The thought of a person who is evolved has a greater power than what the thought contains; because the person is the life of that thought, the thought is the cover over that life.
TASAWWUF: This is one of the themes of Salat. The name of Abraham is mentioned in that prayer. It is possible to obtain an attunement with the prophet Abraham—this was certainly true in the life of the seal of the prophets, Mohammed.
GATHEKA: Perhaps Abraham would not have been able to engrave any other stone with that impression which he had at that moment, when he came with his first impression after his initiation; perhaps at that time the impression was more intense than at any other time of his life before or after. As he said, “That stone I set here as a memory of initiation, of God to be understood as One God; that this stone shall remain forever as a temple.”
TASAWWUF: The development of architecture has resulted in all kinds of edifices being used as temples, shrines, sanctuaries. This does not put any Baraka in them. This Baraka or magnetism arises from the psychic and superpsychic condition of the holy one involved. There is no substitute for it. Sometimes, of course, after long years and long devotion, edifices are also made holy, but the prophet, saint, or master may make a place holy by an immediate touch or glance.
GATHEKA: Abraham was not a rich man; he could not build a temple other than that stone. But that stone has remained for a much longer time than many other temples built with riches.
TASAWWUF: We may read in the life of the prophet Mohammed that his first mosque was merely a section of the market place marked by whitewash and sticks. It is not necessary to have magnificent edifices or costly ones. Neither is it necessarily forbidden. It all depends on the blessings and magnetisms deposited by saints and devotees.
GATHEKA: And this is only one example, but there are numberless examples to be found; for instance, the atmosphere of Benares and the vibrations of Ajmer, where Khwaja Moin-ed-din Chisti lived and meditated and died. There is the tomb of the saint, and there is a continual vibration going on, a vibration so strong that a person who is meditative can sit there and would like to sit there forever.
TASAWWUF: When a Sufi visited Egypt, there were numerous complaints that Muslims in India and Pakistan and other distant countries were making pilgrimages to the tombs of saints nearby, instead of going to Mecca. Now the hajj or pilgrimage is one of the basic teachings of Mohammed, and many other prophets besides. No doubt there is an extremely high radiation at Mecca, perhaps more wonderful and profound than any other vibrations on earth. But no words did Mohammed repeat more than Bismillah Er-Rahman Er-Rahim—in the Name of Allah Who is all Compassion and all Mercy. Or as Mohammed said, “the Merciful leans to the side of Mercy.”
It is possible that inn-keepers, travel conveyances and agencies, and others benefit enormously from the institution of hajj. What is needed is radiant mercy and compassion. It is equally possible that most pilgrimages have been debased. There have been Sufi teachers who have instructed their disciples to walk around them. Yes, there is much benefit in walking. Yes, there is much benefit in devotion. But there is not always benefit in rituals. And the pilgrimage which has not transformed the heart of the devotee can readily become degraded into a commercial institution.
Besides this, most unfortunately, Ajmer has, in a limited sense, become even more commercial and exploited than Mecca. Still, this has not affected the vibrations at all.
GATHEKA: It is in the midst of the city, but it has a feeling of wilderness, because in that place the saint sat and meditated on Saute Sarmad, the cosmic symphony; and through his hearing that cosmic music continually, there has been produced cosmic music.
TASAWWUF: The one who has heard that music will be profoundly affected by it. There does not seem to be anything in the outer world remotely comparable with it Even the bhajans of the Hindus and the chorales of the Christians do not seem to be anywhere near it in loftiness. It produces transformations. It is therefore not surprising that people who have had profound experiences at Ajmer prefer it to Mecca. It is also true that a single pilgrimage to Mecca may suffice for the whole lifetime. There is no merit on any plane of spending one’s money for presumable spiritual glory.
This subject is discussed in The Bestowal of Blessing and elsewhere. It is important to know that all bodies have an unseen side and that divine light is in all things, in all things, so that the Sufi can see his Allah and hear his Allah in every aspect of manifestation.
GATHEKA: The thought of the people coming after would not prolong the thought; it would add to it. For instance, if there is a flute, then the clarinet, the trumpet or the trombone added to it make up the volume of sound; but there is always one instrument which plays the first part. The main voice stands as a breath; and all the other voices attracted to it build around it a form. The breath remains as life. The form may compose and decompose; yet the breath remains as life.
TASAWWUF: There is now a book being published at Ajmer called The Big Five of Sufism, concerning Khwaja Sahib of Ajmer and his various successors including Isan-ed-din Auliya. This book is going to help intellectually in the comprehension of the real essence of Ajmer.
An American disciple visiting Ajmer was welcomed by a great crowd of people, although he had written no letter and so far as this plane is concerned, there had been no communication at all. He found everything exactly as Pir-o-Murshid Inayat Khan had related, and perhaps much more. The vibrations follow the pattern in a sense of the Gayatri Pir of Vadan. He found it to be an actuality. And his experiences were exactly the same as those related in books by saints and about saints. Time, space and samsara do not affect cosmic vibrations. It is only cosmic vibrations that touch cosmic vibrations.
GATHEKA: There was a wonderful experience during the lifetime of the Khwaja of Ajmer. To visit this saint a great master, Khwaja Abdul Qadir Jilani came from Baghdad, who was also an advanced soul. A remarkable meeting took place in Ajmer, both coming together. Now the latter was very strict in his religious observances; and the religious people where he came from would not have music. So naturally in order to respect his belief the Khwaja of Ajmer had to sacrifice his daily musical meditation. But when the time came the symphony began by itself; and everybody began to listen. Khwaja Abdul Qadir felt that music was going on without playing. He said to the saint, “Even if religion prohibits it, it is for others, not for you.”
TASAWWUF: There are two ways in which the personality of Mohammed may be discussed. A) As a prophet of the Arabs; B) as Divine Messenger to all peoples. These two missions have been constantly confused. Mohammed lived among the Arabs, whose vibrational and cosmic status was very low at the time. He had to give out specific teachings which would benefit them. This would raise their level of consciousness, but it would not thereby necessarily raise them above the level of other people.
The result has been that undeveloped Muslims have self-assumed a superiority over all peoples. There is no question that many types of music have given many types of pleasure at any levels, and what was good or bad for the Arab people at a certain stage of evolution and history is not of cosmic import.
There is a strange aftermath of the meeting between Khwaja Abdul Qadir al-Jilani and Moin-ed-din Chisti. Dervishes and devotees of these two schools, meeting for the first time, are often drawn by uncontrollable heart vibrations and seem to establish friendships at sight. There are too many instances of this.
A follower of Hazrat Inayat Khan, who had also been initiated directly in the Chisti Order, was living in Lahore in Pakistan. His success in attracting audiences caused a conspiracy to be hatched against him by communists who pretended to be Sufis. This conspiracy was betrayed by a Jilani murshid (Kadiri) who pretended to know no English, but who could read thoughts readily. The result of it was that the communist movement was upended, and the disciple of Hazrat Inayat Khan was acclaimed far and wide. This is but one instance among many.
GATHEKA: Every place where a person sits and thinks a moment on any subject takes up the thought of man; it takes the record of what has been spoken, so that no man can hide his thought or feeling; it is recorded even in the seat he has been sitting on while thinking. And many who are sensitive, by sitting in that place begin to feel it.
TASAWWUF: The term Alaya Vijnana is used by some Buddhists to apply to this. There is a vast difference between superficial knowledge of words and direct experience. When the heart becomes sensitive and awakened, it is always aware of vibrations.
There is an incident in the Christian Bible of a woman having touched a hem of the robe of Jesus, and he was instantly aware of it. Instead of studying the cosmic language, the religious people have emotionalized this into a miracle. It is only the Sufis who have taken this and other similar incidents and situations and found for them a place in scientific cosmic language.
GATHEKA: Sometimes the effect is quite contrary. When a person sits down on a certain seat, the moment he does so he may have a thought quite foreign to him, a feeling which does not belong to him; this is because on that seat there was that thought, that feeling, vibrating. And as a seat can hold the vibrations of the thought for a much longer time than the life of the person who has thought or has spoken, so an influence remains in every place where one sits, where one lives, where one thinks or feels, where one rejoices or where one sorrows; and thus it continues for an incomparably longer time than the life of the person who has spoken or thought.
TASAWWUF: There is a great shrine at Lahore dedicated to the tomb of Grand Sheik Al-Hujwiri, author of the very celebrated Kashf Al-Mahjub, which has long been a leading work on Sufism. When Khwaja Sahib Moin-ed-din came there, he used to sit in meditation and devotion in a certain place. There is a special stone there and when one sits on that stone, he becomes sensitive to cosmic vibrations also, although that shrine is surrounded by all sorts of wonderful feelings.
This may be an outstanding example, especially since it has become a social institution to offer a certain reverence to that stone and place. But if one visits many holy places and shrines, he becomes accustomed to the divine vibrations. He also becomes more sensitive and responsive. Thus also in Calcutta, the rooms of the great Indian saint Ramakrishna have been preserved.
Cosmic language means cosmic language, and not a special prerogative of any religion, cult, group or organization or any body that dares to presume to divide humanity.
GATHEKA: Also, the ancient people made the tomb of a person where his seat had been, where there was his atmosphere, where he had lived. The tomb was a mark to show that he used to sit there. And very often in India, where cremations take place, they make a seat as a mark of the place where the one who died has produced his vibrations. He may not be buried there; but they have made a mark, just the same.
TASAWWUF: This has already been related concerning Moin-ed-din Chisti. In the case of Hazrat Inayat Khan the same effect can be felt at his tomb in the compound of Nizam-ud-din Auliya in Delhi. He may not have meditated there—indeed he did not live long in any one place during his life—but the vibrations are there at the tomb, which may become more and more a sight of pilgrimages during the ages.
The emanations of a person remain in or with all objects he has touched. The more advanced a person is the stronger the subtle and spiritual vibrations. The subtle vibrations remain connected with things and places; the spiritual vibrations with the very atmosphere. Subtle vibrations differ from physical vibrations in that they include aspects of the personality as well as the effluvia of a body. If a person has any goodness, if a person has any prowess, indeed if a person has any learning these are connected with the subtle body. The death of the physical body does not touch these.
All the magnetism, all the blessings, all the powers, all the wisdom of a great person are associated in some way with the spiritual body (karana sharia in Sanskrit). We read in the Bible about Jacob’s ladder extending from heaven to earth and earth to heaven. The atmospheres around tombs of saints are just like that. They may be peaceful atmospheres, but to put it more fully, in them we may realize what is said in Saum, “Thy grace, Thy glory, Thy wisdom, Thy joy and Thy peace.” Around the tombs of great saints devotees may have these as living experiences.
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.
GATHEKA: The secret of the idea of a blessing to be found in the holy places lies in this principle, that the holy place is no longer a place; it has become a living being. The prophets having proclaimed for ages the name of God, and the law of the divine Being in the Holy Land makes it still living, and it has attraction for the whole world. They say that on Saadi’s grave roses have sprung up for ages; that his grave has never been without roses. It is credible, for he has written his Rose Garden in the thought of beauty. Although the mortal body of Saadi has passed, yet the beauty of his thought, once voiced, is still continuing; and if it maintained roses in the place of his burial for centuries it would not be surprising.
TASAWWUF: The principle of blessing (Baraka) is a tremendous one. In fact, a whole hook has been written on this subject and may be added to. We read that thoughts are living, but do not readily accept this. Indeed it is not necessary to accept. But feeling, living vibrations, and the atmospheres are effective. Indeed when Mohammed said that Allah is closer than the neck-vein he meant that all the marvels, beauties and blessings are with us, and we with them, if we could only realize it.
GATHEKA: Often people wonder why the Hindus, who have such a great philosophical mind and deep insight into mysticism, should believe in such a thing as a sacred river. It is true that it is symbolical; but besides this there is another meaning to it.
TASAWWUF: It may also be asked if people are mystics why shouldn’t they believe in sacred rivers? Why shouldn’t they believe in sacred trees? Why shouldn’t they believe in sacred objects, in sacred places? That mysticism which is just a thought in the minds of non-mystics is like a vapid imagination. There is neither content nor depth. Mysticism, to be real, must have a content. We pray, “Thy light is in all forms, Thy love in all beings.”
GATHEKA: The great Mahatmas, living on the heights of the Himalayas where the Ganges and Jumna streams rise, which then take different directions till they again unite and become one, is really a phenomenon deep in its symbolism as well as in its actual nature. In its symbolism the rivers begin as one and then turn into duality; and after the two have been separated for many miles they are attracted to one another; and then they meet in a place which is called Sangam, at Allahabad, a place of pilgrimage. This gives us in its interpretation the ideal of the whole of manifestation, which is one in the beginning, dual in its manifestation, and unites in the end. But besides this the thoughts of the great Mahatmas, flowing with the water, combined with this living stream of Ganges, coming into the world. It brought the vibrations of the great ones; and it spoke as a voice of power, of wakening, of blessing, of purity and of unity to those who heard it.
TASAWWUF: Rivers are important both symbolically and actually. The author Sugru in writing about the celebrated seer, Edgar Cayce, entitled the work, “There is a River.” If we studied the Bible carefully, or if we went deep into occult tradition we could learn a great deal about both the symbology and magnetism involved. Every act, speech and thought goes both into the atmosphere and into the earth. If it goes into the solid earth it remains in a single place. That would make the place a shrine or sanctuary. If it goes into the water the vibration and their magnetism are carried along with the stream. It is not only that the water as water has benefited but also that the stream banks receive the emanations of Baraka. Therefore even meditation in such places is of great advantage. Strictly speaking the study belongs to occult sciences.
GATHEKA: Those unconscious of the blessing have also been blessed by bathing in the same river. For it was not only water; it was a thought besides, a most vital thought, a thought of power and with life in it. Those who have perceived that, have perceived its secret. For in many poems in the Sanskrit language one reads how in the waves of Ganges and of Jumna the seers heard the voice of the evolved souls, and felt the atmosphere, as a breath-current of those advanced beings coming through the water.
TASAWWUF: It is not only these rivers but any river that has been used by a sage or Mahatma or Saint may also be effective. Thus the Godhavari river was sacred to Rama in very early times. There is still some of his magnetism in it, and also the collected magnetisms of his devotees who have bathed in the Godhavari. Once every twelve years there is a gigantic pilgrimage to the region of Nasik which is wondrous to behold.
At such times many Saints and also Sages who have been in seclusion come. Their very presences reinforce the magnetism and Baraka. This is also true of Benares, of Rishikesh and other places known and unknown to humanity.
GATHEKA: There is a tank in Mecca, a tank from which the prophets of all ages have drunk water. This tank is called Zem-Zem. They did not only drink water; they received from it what had been put into it, and then they charged it with what they had to give to it. Even now the pilgrims go there and receive the water as a blessing.
TASAWWUF: There is a Jewish teaching, and it is found in the Kabbalah, that water wells represent the will-of-man in operation, and that springs are manifestations of the Grace of God. This is really an important teaching, lost because Jewish mysticism has fallen into abeyance.
The tradition of the Holy Qur’an and in Islamic folklore is that the Zem-Zem well was manifested by Allah to Abraham; or to Hagar when she was lost in the desert. Hagar was the name of the mother of Ishmael, ancestor of the Arabs. Thus the Zem-Zem well is in reality a spring. There are many such springs in the Bible especially in the books of Moses.
This Zem-Zem water is said to be different from all other waters in the whole world. There was a Pakistani saint named Hajji Baba Abdul Aziz. He lived in Saudi Arabia and although both a Sufi and a Pakistani he was honoured by the Saudians who are said to be very strict and orthodox. In fact he served as Qadi while living in Arabia and all the people paid him great respect.
When the time came for him to return to Pakistan he sent a cable to the commentator who had never heard of him. He asked he commentator to remain in that part of Pakistan where he (Abdul Aziz) lived. On his return home he served a great feast and initiated the commentator by giving him some of the Zem-Zem water which he had brought with him. It is truly living water, “living water” being a term found in the Bible. It is said people can live as long as two weeks without eating anything when they drink this water (it has since been analyzed chemically in Cairo, but the results were not made public.)
The Zem-Zem water is surely a depository of Baraka.
GATHEKA: In India there is a place where a great healer used to sit, and throughout his life he healed thousands of patients; many he healed instantly. In the same place his grave was made; and till this day people are attracted to his tomb, and many who touch this place, which is called Miran Datar, are healed instantly.
TASAWWUF: The healing vibrations are one aspect of Baraka. The Christian Scriptures have emphasized healing; the Christian churches have not. No doubt there are other aspects of Baraka other than healing. These are also mentioned in the writings of St. Paul. There are many ways in which Baraka manifests. Each one is a perfection (Paramita) in itself.
We can see this in reciting the Sifat-i-Allah that also these vibrations may be used for healing. In the Sufi work healing may be done by an individual, by a group, by an amulet, by a ritual and by the skillful use of the Names of God.
GATHEKA: There is a story told in the East of five brothers who were traveling. Each of them was gifted in some way, but when they arrived at a certain place they suddenly found that they had lost their talent. They were confused, disappointed, and they were wondering about the reason of such an experience; until the wisest among them, by the power of concentration, found in the end that it was the effect of the place. The place had lost its life, it was a dead place; and everyone who came there felt as if he had no life in him; the inner life had gone. We see the same happen in land which after having been used for many thousands of years has lost the strength, the vitality of the earth.
TASAWWUF: An American Sufi, traveling through India found this to be true. He had been a scholar in soil science. His interest was to relate the sowing of crops to the vitalities and chemistry of the soil. But he found that the earth itself was alive; there are living earths and there are dead earths. And not only was sometimes the desert not so dead but sometimes holy places were full of life.
This psychic study of soils is yet to be undertaken. It is perhaps possible that ancient battlegrounds, centers of diabolic magic or even places where people have been trained to hate others show the de-vitalization of the soil. In Japan therefore when any planting is to be done a priest is always called upon to bless the soil. The soils of Japan are most living, while many of those in India are dead … this may give a key to the revitalization of lands.
GATHEKA: If externally the land can lose it, then internally also the vitality, the breath of the land can be lost. Often one feels most inspired in one place, in another place most depressed; in one place confused, in another place one feels dull; one finds nothing of interest, nothing to attract one.
TASAWWUF: This American Sufi was visiting Takul in Pakistan at the Western base of the Himalaya mountains. He came across a beautiful spring, a spring which also reminded him of Rishikesh. There was a little gorge there and when he crossed it he came upon a meadow where he suddenly found himself possessed of psychic powers.
A few weeks later he visited that place in company with a great scientist who was also a disciple in Sufism and who was possessed of many subtle faculties. He asked his friend to cross this gorge with him and when he came again to the meadow asked: “Isn’t this the place where many great Rishis lived in ancient times? Isn’t this the place where many of the Vedas were first pronounced?” The Pakistani scientist replied, “It is very likely. It has that kind of atmosphere.”
Someday it is hoped a pilgrimage may be made by some Western people who could benefit greatly by visiting shrines and sacred springs and holy places.
GATHEKA: One may think it is the effect of the weather; but there are places outwardly most beautiful in nature, with a wonderful climate, and yet you do not feel inspired.
TASAWWUF:. It is depositing Baraka which gives the power to produce vitality and inspiration in others, even a single breath may do this. Sometimes a thought. We can never repeat too often that the Bible teaches God made man in His image; that the Qur’an teaches Man is the Vice-Gerent (Khalifa) of God on earth. Or as Gayan teaches there is a lot in man.
GATHEKA: If an artist is born in a dead country, his talent cannot be developed there. There is no nourishment, his artistic impulse will become paralyzed. Even a plant is not sufficient in itself; it must have air, sun, water. Yet a prophet can inspire a dead land by just passing through it.
TASAWWUF: For all people, excepting those who practice the presence of God, draw from the atmosphere. It is like drawing money from a bank and if it is all taken out none will be left. But the saints and prophets, being in touch with the Spirit of Guidance, attract the divine energies and bring life and vitality to everything they touch.
It has been said that every breath drawn with the praise of God is the only thing in life that is beneficial and every breath not with the praise of God is the only loss. From the standpoint of magnetism this is certainly true.
GATHEKA: Jelal-ud-din Rumi has said centuries ago, that before man fire, water, earth, air, are objects; before God they are living beings that work at His command. The meaning of what Rumi said is that all objects, all places are as gramophone records: what is put into them they speak; either your soul hears it or your mind, according to your development.
TASAWWUF: Behind all the elements is ether or akasha. Each of the four elements arises from ether and returns to it. This is explained variously in The Mysticism of Sound and other places in the literature.
The term “Akashic Records” was popularized by the noted Theosophist Madame H. B. Blavatsky. She made many claims about the theoretical ability to read from the universe, and also her particular prowess in it. The greatest books of modern Theosophy have come from this source, or this claim. There is no doubt that every atom in manifestation has its life history. Also it may be true as the prayer Salat says, “Thy life is in all forms.” This means that divinity lives in form as well as in spirit; this also means that there is an aspect of infinity in everything. We may draw upon this infinity.
Mystics are thus able to tell something by reading the leaves of the trees, the stones and the rocks, the specks in the earth, the movements of the clouds and all aspects of external phenomena. There are also many psychics and occultists who make similar claims. Also we can lean something by the use of the ultramicroscope. All these pathways to knowledge are based on manifestations of light phenomena.
But just as physical light tells us something, so does subtle light. From the physical light we are able to have the analyzes of Fraunhofer’s line, X-ray spectra, cosmic rays, etc., etc. Much has been learned and much will be learned from these and similar methods of analysis. But as man becomes more adept in the analysis of subtle phenomena, more and more will be unfolded to him.
GATHEKA: It seems that people are now beginning to believe in what they call psychometry. What is it? It is learning the language that the objects speak; that apart from the color or form an object has, there is something in that object that speaks to you. Either it belongs to that object or it belongs to the one who has used it; but it is in the object.
TASAWWUF: This is really a great departure. It is the beginning of new adventures for new sciences. There is no adequate reason for ignoring phenomena which have been well attested. The great French scientist, Dr. Richet, used scientific method in this field. Many people who are not scientists derided it and him. Then other scientists also began operating in similar fields and very gradually we see the more serious consideration of such outlooks in Western cultures as it has long been recognized in most types of Eastern cultures.
Western poetry has long affirmed what Western cynicism has ignored. It is the non-scientific part of culture, that in the hands of popular writers and those in charge of the channels of communication that have blocked it at every step. The new advances, the new departures, the new awakenings, which is to say discovering that every atom in the cosmos speaks to him that will listen; shines forth to him who opens his eyes.
GATHEKA: Sometimes one may bring an object into the house, and the moment you have brought it, other objects begin to break. As long as the object is there, there is always a kind of loss. It can bring disharmony in the house; it can bring illness; it can bring bad luck. Therefore those who knew the psychological effect that comes from objects always avoided getting old objects, however beautiful and precious; they always bought a new object for their use.
TASAWWUF: There is an exception here in what is called the talisman. Many people who are not otherwise interested like to collect scarab beetles from Egypt. They even may be new but they are regarded by many who disclaim “superstitions” as being in some way talismans. This is really a very big subject.
Anything that collects Baraka is indeed a talisman. The blessings of God can destroy the ill effects of anything, any object, and vibration, any atmosphere, however seemingly evil and effective. As one reads in the “Arabian Nights,” “There is no Power nor might save in Allah.” Therefore Sufis and devotees use the sound “Allah,” the written word Allah, sacred phrases of all kinds, and even magnetized objects and things to ward off evil influences (this subject is also discussed in “Akibat,” its Commentary called “Akibat” and in the lessons on spirit phenomena.
GATHEKA: Of course one cannot do this with jewels; they often have to be old; but one finds that more than anything else jewels have an effect upon a person, on his character, on his life, on his affairs, on his environment. One may obtain a pearl which could bring good luck of every kind from the moment the jewel has been bought, or it may produce a contrary effect. Very often a person does not think of it, yet the effect is just the same; it is continual.
TASAWWUF: There has been much popular interest in this subject. There have been books written on the magic and charm of jewels. No doubt there is something like an occult influence. Thus each constellation has a gem or jewel associated with it. There is probably some deep reason for it. There are operations of the subtle world which cannot always be explained in traditionally acceptable teachings. As one American philosopher said, “There are always pastures of wonder.”
There are also various types of light phenomena connected with jewels and also color effects. There is probably something to it. Disciples on the Path do not ignore customs. In the Gatha classes some of these are studied in an almost scientific manner.
GATHEKA: Besides this there is an effect upon one’s health, on one’s condition of mind, on one’s feeling from what one wears. If it is a jewel, it may have the voice of thousands of years. As old as a jewel is, so much tradition it has behind it; it explains it.
TASAWWUF: The simplest attitude is to accept that tradition explains it. Tradition could not persist if there were no power behind it. The age-long ideas about metals, jewels, etc., no doubt began when a person super-mental ability gave to the world the arts connected with the metals, the arts connected with gems, with precious stones, and even such things as glass and ceramics.
GATHEKA: Intuitive persons who are sensitive and feeling, can consciously perceive the vibrations of old stones; it seems as if they speak to them.
TASAWWUF: We may begin by accepting the teachings of Rumi that God is in the mineral kingdom, albeit in a sleeping form. Behind idolatry, behind fetish worship and other aspects of religion in undeveloped people there is more than a grain of truth. Certainly in such people the intellect has not been aroused. We do not realize that the aroused intellect may bring a multitude of veils as well as good. We do not realize what Moses taught, that by eating of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge both good and evil come to mankind.
GATHEKA: Also with all one gives to another in the form of food or sweet or drink or fruit or flower, one gives one’s thought, one’s feeling; it has an effect. Among the Sufis in the East there is a custom of giving to someone either a piece of cloth or a flower or a fruit, some grains of corn; and there is a meaning behind it. It is not what is given in that object; but what is given with it.
TASAWWUF: Many customs have arisen from this. The Indians have Prasad. The Guru gives food which he blesses. All his living vibrations go into that food, into that drink, into the flower or other object which he gives. No one dreams of refusing such things, and when the people of the West get into the same attitude of surrender one will also see even higher spiritual development in the West than in the East. The Western people have a greater capacity for both knowledge and wisdom, but they also have put up more interference, more unconscious selfishness, more of a certain type of superstition, subtle because it is not see as superstition.
Pieces of cloth are used in many ways. Sometimes a name of God (Allah) is written on them. These can be used for healing, for instilling success, for banishing fear and every type of shortcoming. The bestowal of robes or even pieces of cloth has been one means used by Sufis and sages both to represent symbolically the transmission of Baraka and also to communicate it actually. For such cloth, such garments, even such scraps have the living vibrations of a holy person. And such vibrations can be divided multifold without any diminution of vitality.
GATHEKA: How little we know when we say: “I believe in what I see.” If one can see how the influence works, how thought and feeling speak, and how the objects partake of them and give them to another, how thought and feeling, life and influence, are conveyed by the medium of an object, it is most wonderful.
TASAWWUF: It can never be repeated too much what is presented in Salat, “Thy light is in all forms. Thy love in all beings.”
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.
GATHEKA: There are many ancient places where one finds stones engraved or roots carved with artistic designs. Sometimes there are letters engraved on the rock of a mountain, on a stone; letters which today no one can read. And yet one endowed with the gift of intuition can read them from the vibrations, from the atmosphere, the feeling that comes from them.
TASAWWUF: Actually there is no hard dividing line between the physical and the subtle, between the material and the mental. Since this teaching was given a number of scientists such as archeologists and anthropologists seem to have grasped that intellect and intuition must and do work together. There has even been an Australian philosopher named Bliss who seems to have discovered or uncovered a language of universal symbology. The explorer Heyerdahl claims to have found the key to the picture writing of Easter Island. More recently the claim has been made that the records at Mohenjo-Daro, Harappa and other records of very ancient Indian cultures are readable.
The remarkable thing in these cases is that there is a certain logic to these claims. The interpretations fit in with everything that is known, and also give us a sensible picture of the cultures involved. The men who have gone on these expeditions also accept the principle that intellect and intuition blend in intelligence.
GATHEKA: They are engravings outwardly; inwardly they are a continual record, a speaking record which is always expressing what is written upon it. No traveler with intuitive faculties open will deny the fact that in the lands of ancient traditions he will have seen numberless places which, so to speak, sing aloud the legend of the past.
TASAWWUF: One aspect of this is presented in the teachings on Naqshibandi Symbology, especially as presented to mureeds. Another aspect comes from the atmospheres, the imprint of personalities. What have been called “Akashic Records” bear the imprint of all speeches, thoughts, words and personalities who have been in that area. When the personalities have been great souls, the impressions are particularly strong. And the greatest of these is no doubt found at tombs, shrines and other holy places.
No doubt the phrase “Akashic Records” has had an emotional response. This does not mean there is no wisdom in it; it may be it is all wisdom. The Buddhist teaching of Alaya is rather similar, but here, fortunately, it does not evoke emotional response. The Alaya Doctrine is similar in all respects to what is presented here.
GATHEKA: One sees the same in the atmosphere of the trees in the forests, in the gardens, which also express the past, the impressions which have been given to them by those who sat under them. Very often people have superstitions about a tree being haunted, and this one finds very much more in the East. Actually a vibration has been created, consciously or unconsciously, by someone who has lived there, who has taken the shelter of the tree and pondered upon a certain thought, upon a certain feeling, which the tree has taken up, which the tree is expressing.
TASAWWUF: When the commentator was living in the woods in South Carolina many stories were told him. Some of these were historically verifiable; some of them were legends which does not mean they were untrue. It simply means they were not of such historical import.
One day the commentator found rows of trees in the middle of the forest. Not only were they planted in straight lines, but the foliage had changed indicating they were very old. The commentator made some historical conclusions and on checking records he found that everything the trees had told him or impressed him was true. This made him also feel that some of the so-called legends, such as those of haunted trees in that region, may also have been true.
GATHEKA: Perhaps the person has forgotten, and the tree is still repeating what as given to it. For the tree can express the voice that has been put into it more clearly than a rock.
TASAWWUF: Once the commentator was admitted as a guest of honour to the Royal Palace grounds in Tokyo, Japan. It was the first time in history that an unknown person had so been welcomed. What impressed him most were the tall Gingko trees near the emperor’s shrine. This shrine was used only by His Imperial Majesty and his immediate family for prayers and devotions. But the trees also seemed to be in perpetual prayer and devotion. The trees seemed only to be aware of God. They seemed to have been so conscious of their spiritual mission that they would not notice persons touching them or passing by. Besides this the human figure was very small in stature as compared to the trees.
Standing there one felt a natural humility. One also felt a great wonder. One also felt that only communication with God was possible and therefore no conversations took place between the members of the party until they left the area.
GATHEKA: In the tropical countries, where in ancient times people used to travel on foot through the forests and woods, and take shelter under a certain tree, all that they thought and felt has been taken up by the tree; and those with intuitive faculties open have heard it more clearly than one would hear it from a living person.
TASAWWUF: Thus in Egypt there is a sacred tree which is supposed to have marked a place where Joseph and Mary stopped after fleeing from Palestine with the infant Jesus. Visitors say that the atmosphere is so marked anyone can feel it. The same is true of certain of the older Bodhi trees, derived from cuttings of the original tree under which Lord Buddha sat when he experienced Enlightenment. In fact the theme of “sacred trees” is found in many lands. It has also been dealt with at length by the philosopher-poet, Robert Graves.
GATHEKA: One finds the same thing among the animals, the pet animals who live and partake of thought and feeling through their contact with man.
TASAWWUF: There is in the Hebrew Bible the story of Balem and his ass. It has been used many times and gotten into folklore. According to mystical teachings there is more life in animals than there is in plants; more life in plants than there is in stones and rocks. We not only have folklore of the Grecian Aesop and of Indian literature like “Panchatantra,” “The Ocean of Story,” and the Buddhist “Jataka” tales, but from all over the world we have stories of animals and their wisdom.
From the mystical point of view there may be a derivation of the various divine qualities which appear in animals. No doubt this accounts for the animal-gods of the ancient Egyptians and other people. Also for the semi-divine figures combining various parts of various animals. We also find these in the Bible and in the traditions of Burrak in Islam, and Garuda in India.
GATHEKA: There exists a superstition about horses especially. Those who know are very particular in buying a horse which has good vibrations, besides considering the health and breed of the horse. Very often a horse of a very good breed and perfectly sound may prove to be unlucky. And the reason is that the disappointment of someone who has been riding upon this horse has been left there, recorded upon the heart of he horse. Perhaps the condition of that person is changed, but that which the horse has kept of it is still continuing.
TASAWWUF: The commentator’s impressions is that it is easy to have telepathic communication with a horse once empathy is established. In the beginning stages sometimes a slight movement of the foot or of the hand on the bridle is needed. But after a time this is not required. Sometimes something like a silent conversation or telepathy goes on. Sometimes the horse gives one impressions and sometimes one gives the horse impressions. No doubt there is a vast field here for animal psychologists.
GATHEKA: I was myself once very impressed in Nepal by seeing a horse and an elephant which were kept only for the Mahajara of Nepal to ride on; and it seemed as if those two animals were conscious of that rider. You could see from their dignity that they knew that they belonged to the Maharaja. In every movement that the horse would make, in the look that the elephant would give, you could feel the presence of a Maharaja. And not only that, but all that belonged to the Maharaja, as pain or pleasure, as life and expression, all seemed to have been recorded upon the elephant. And the most surprising thing was this: the elephant was not larger than other elephants, and most often it is its size that gives dignity to an elephant; nor was the horse larger than other horses. But the size did not count; it was the spirit, a life that you could see in those animals expressing the feeling they had in their hearts.
TASAWWUF: There is no question that the vibrations of man being of a higher vital life-force potential can impress and impregnate the consciousness of animals. Twice when the commentator left his California home for residences elsewhere the household cats died of grief. There are multitudes of stories about the deaths of dogs and other pets. We have used the term “vital life-force potential” because there are analogies both in the subtle and in the cosmic to principles, scientific and social, known to the world.
The higher the spiritual development of a person the greater the impressions that come from him; the more lasting, the more effective.
GATHEKA: This wakens us again to another field of thought, and that is what an association can create in someone, the association of a sad person or a happy one, of a foolish or of a wise person; the association of a noble-minded person or of one who is low. The associate partakes of the one he associates with and vibrates what he partakes of, and you can almost hear it spoken in the atmosphere of that person, in his expression, in his speech and action.
TASAWWUF: The Upanishads have a major teaching of the degrees of Joy (Ananda) potential and actual, in each grade of sentient being. There has not been much study of this. No doubt as the effects of scientific knowledge and training penetrate the generality, and as the universal culture reaches higher levels, there will be further consideration of this subject. We know in physics from the law of entropy, that heat passes from a warm body to a colder one. This seems irreversible. It would seem that there is a constant effort to bring persons to the same general level. Magnetism also passes from a stronger person to weaker ones. But here there is a singular difference. The wise, the intelligent, the sages, the mystics draw incessantly from God Who is not only Creator but Sustainer of His Universe. The Awakened Ones can draw incessantly from God, so to speak, do not lose, may even gain, by sharing their manifest blessings with the generality.
GATHEKA: A person, however happy, will have a line of melody, of wretchedness, if he has associated with someone who is miserable. It continues, it sings its song separate from the whole symphony; it has its peculiar tone; you can always distinguish it.
TASAWWUF: This is true of the multitudes who do not know how to replenish their energies from the Infinite source which is God Himself. The prayer Nayaz indicates man can replenish himself incessantly. One can do it not only by prayer and esotericism, but constantly with every breath. Practicing the presence of God protects one against any and all negative forces and persons. The wise one need never be defeated. Not only that but the practice of the Divine Presence helps the foolish, the wretched, the miserable.
GATHEKA: A wise person who has associated with a foolish one has kept a line. It is quite a different melody, it is in a different key, it has a different pitch from his original song. In a person who has associated with someone who is noble-minded, of high quality, in spite of all his shortcomings, you will see a line marked, distinctly audible to hearts that listen.
TASAWWUF: Very often the wise have given their blessings (Baraka) to a single person. Sometimes of course to more than one, sometimes to many. In all such cases the tone of the person benefited will change, or at least change at the time and under the circumstances where it is necessary for him to present spiritual teachings or divine wisdom. The tonal quality may be quite different from that of his ordinary speech. There is a strange magnetism in it. It will be an effective magnetism. And it is this line which carries the Sufi tradition along from generation to generation.
In the Japanese Noh Drama the chanters sing from the back of their mouth, from the deep palate. It sounds like the song of eternity. It sounds as if the immortal were trying to reach and teach the mortal. It is effective, it is wonderful, and it is a song of those who have emptied themselves of their egos.
GATHEKA: It is not a thing of little importance, to consider association. It is of a great importance from the psychological point of view; it makes all the difference.
TASAWWUF: In many of the early writings of the Sufis, and especially the Kashf al-Mahjub this subject of association is considered of prime importance. Mature persons were taught not to associate with the young and immature; or if so, to be of a positive nature. Association, being in the company of a sage or Murshid was always desirable. If not, the mature were counseled to seek and keep company one with the other.
In this way there would be no lowering of threshold of subtle and cosmic and vital life forces. Not only would the energies remain, but could even increase because then there would be no leakage and loss of magnetism.
GATHEKA: For a wise person is not always positive against a foolish person, nor is a good person always positive against a wicked one. The one who is positive cannot always be positive; he has his times when he must be negative for a change. And therefore association certainly brings to one that which is received by a contact.
TASAWWUF: Sufis establish Khankahs with or without a director in charge. Their joint efforts, their joint prayers, their joint meditations, their common studies elevate and preserve that elevated atmosphere. Their very breaths and thoughts help to sanctify an atmosphere. In this way many shrines are established without the necessity of having a particular saint there, alive or interred. This subject needs great consideration and much meditation.
GATHEKA: Therefore there is a great wisdom in the saying that a person is known by his associates. In the East much thought has been given to it, especially from a spiritual point of view. For those who seek after the spiritual truth the association with friends in the same path is more precious than anything in the world. Everything else comes after; an association is held as the first and most important thing.
TASAWWUF: Salat ends “One single brotherhood in the Fatherhood of God.” The import and purport of this did not in the beginning impress the minds and hearts of those who studied the Message. But after a time a different sort of person became interested in spirituality; or a more evolved type of humanity began to study and support the teachings. It was not necessary to verbalize “Love ye one another.” This age-old teaching has not been very effective among the generality. It is easy to say to angels “Love ye one another.” But now with the manifestation of the angel-man; with the appreciation by a growing number of people of cosmic truths and mystical teachings, association has become both natural and desirable. The whole trend is from marked individualism to controlled companionship and community. With this a new day dawns in spreading the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
The Magnetism of Beings and Objects
GATHEKA: In preparing anything one does not only put one’s magnetism in it, but the voice of one’s soul is produced in the thing one prepares.
TASAWWUF: The subject of magnetism is considered at great length in Volume II of The Sufi Message. There is other consideration of this subject in both the inner and outer teachings. It is therefore not necessary to comment much on this point. Disciples are trained by their teachers to develop magnetism in all the different bodies and in and for all the different aspects of life.
GATHEKA: For instance, it is not difficult for an intuitive person to find in the food that comes before him the thoughts of the cook. It is not only the grade of evolution that the cook has, but also what the cook is thinking at that particular time, that is produced in it. If the cook is irritated while cooking, if she is grumbling, if she is sighing, if she is miserable, wretched, all that comes before you with the food she prepares. It is the knowledge of this fact which made the Hindus engage as a cook a high-caste Brahmin, whose evolution was great, whose life was pure, whose thoughts were elevated. It is not the custom of the past, it is the custom of today, that a Brahmin who is sometimes the Guru, the teacher, of other castes, may also be the cook.
TASAWWUF: It is not so necessary to consider the negative aspects of this. It is important to consider the positive aspects of it; how we can put the spirit of love and harmony and beauty and blessings into the food. Some disciples are taught, some disciples have it naturally or come to have it naturally that they repeat the names of God while preparing; that they do not make any divisions between any secular life and any religious life.
Magnetism is affected by every spiritual practice. Magnetism in the fingers is increased by repetitions of holy names. It passes into any article one touches. But if there is also a thought, if there is also a feeling, these go into the foods, these go also into any gifts one offers to others.
It has been the commentator’s experience to have had most wonderful meals cooked by the Swamis of the Vedanta order. The same spirituality, the same nobility that they showed in the classrooms or in the pulpits, that also went into the food. The magnetism they collected from the rays of the sun, from the waves of the air, and from the all-pervading power in space, that also went into the food. It had the effect of a wonderful relish.
We must also mention here Prasad. This is food prepared by a holy man into which his magnetism and blessings went. The commentator once visited Nasik, a holy city of India. Every 12 years they had a Millah, a great gathering and celebration. There were about a 100,000 people on this occasion, and he was the only non-Hindu in that great gathering. He was the immediate host of his very dear friend, P. Kabali. Kabali took him to his own Guru and had him genuflect. The Guru paid no attention but gave him instructions—which came true shortly afterwards. The Guru was concentrating on the Prasad.
What he was doing was this: he was wrapping fruits together in a sort of cornucopia, blessing it with his magnetism, and giving it out as fast as his fingers worked. When one ate the food one could feel the magnetism.
GATHEKA: Besides this, in the ancient times when human personality was keenly observed in everything one did, every person, whatever his rank or position in life, was qualified in cooking and preparing dishes for himself and for his friends; and a great mark of appreciation and affection was shown by people who invited some relations or friends to come to their house, by placing before them dishes that they themselves had prepared. It was not the dish, it was the thought that was put into it.
TASAWWUF: Mohammed himself, besides being a Messenger of God, often cooked foods for everybody, including the women of his household. He tried very hard to break some rigid traditions, to regard meals as communions, for men and women alike; and also for blessings that he could bless others through the various grades of magnetism so the guests would benefit on all planes, and at every level of conscious functioning.
When the commentator was living at Abbotabad, in the Hazara District of Northwest Pakistan he was summoned by a very great Sufi named Hajji Baba Abdul Aziz. This holy man gave blessings through food and drink. Every particle of food was pregnant with magnetism. He gave his initiation by taking some food, salivizing it, and spitting it into the mouth of the devotee who in this instance was the commentator. In another instance, the second meal, he shared Zem-Zem water from Mecca.
In this way teachers can help disciples not only from the spiritual and Purushic aspects of life, but also from the material and Prakritic aspects. When we reach the conclusion, or accept the philosophy that all is from God, these methods become simple, clear and direct.
GATHEKA: Life at the present time seems to have taken away many considerations of personal character.
TASAWWUF: Therefore one aspect of the teachings is to preserve or restore customs and institutions which impregnate mankind with magnetism from every level, with holiness from every level. It is not only to discuss such matters philosophically, it is to make them real and realizable. Therefore customs are both being preserved and restored that mankind may benefit.
GATHEKA: But whether in the East or in the West, there was a time when the craft of knitting or weaving clothes was known by every little girl; and to give one’s brother or sister or beloved or relation some little thing made by one’s own hand was the custom. Now a thing is easily bought at the shop; no one knows who has made it, nor whether it was made grudgingly, or with grumbling, or how. Especially at this time when the working man is in revolt, what the workman has put into the objects he has made for you is a question. And in sewing for the one she loves, a thought naturally has gone with every stitch that a girl has made; if it is done with love and affection, every stitch produces a new thought; it completes that living thought of love, thus giving inwardly that help that every soul is in need of.
TASAWWUF: If one reads about the teachers of the celebrated Gurdjieff, one will find that many of them were craftsmen, and some very humble laborers. They had the knowledge and they put into practice the awareness of the Presence of God (Akhlak Allah). This same theme appears in “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” in the explanation of Taj.
Knitting and weaving should be restored as crafts by and for the disciples of the Path. There is no use reading books, accepting themes intellectually and doing something else. Smothering thought-children can be almost a parallel to infanticide. We should learn to do more as we think, and think more as we do. It can be begun in childhood without much explanation. Every soul seeks and seeks properly an accommodation for expression. The creative instinct in each and every one of us is not apart from the divine Essence.
There is now an interest in communes. There is a type of commune necessary for rug and carpet weaving. These arts in a sense are group-arts similar to orchestral performances or group undertakings. But orchestras generally perform the creations of others, while rug and carpet weavers work individually and collectively on their own creations.
We thus have two distinct outlets for expression with fabrics: a) the work of an individual(s); b) the work of a group operating harmoniously as if an integrated individual which may be called “I-I.”
GATHEKA: But then also the wagons, carriages and ships which are used at the risk of man’s life, by whom are they made? Who knows what was the condition of mind of the builders of the Titanic? Was there a peacemaker teaching them to keep a certain rhythm of mind while making her?
TASAWWUF: What is needed here is not an analytical dissertation on human weakness but rather how to institute methods of harmonization and rhythm. Thus there are Fikr practices, especially for artists and engineers. There are special concentrations for those involved in any and every form of creativity, including the projection of human offspring. A child is the result of presumable harmonization between two persons of opposite sex. Artistic creations differ in that sex is not involved and the multiplicity may involve several persons.
Therefore in the pursuit of any group undertaking there should not he only devotions and disciplines for each person involved, but also group harmonizations. These group harmonizations may consist of one or more of the following: a) group meditation; b) group engaged in the same concentrative practice; c) group breathing in harmony, and if this cannot be done easily, walking in harmony (these walks should not include marches, excepting for very special reasons); d) listening to music based on rhythm, melody being secondary unless it is sung. This music should not be loud unless it is needed, especially at the beginning, to instill enthusiasm, but once enthusiasm is instilled, it should be soft background music. This does not exclude listening to the radio or phonograph records.
A question may be asked why in spiritual endeavor one does not adhere strictly to devotional themes. The answer is that joint enterprises may include non-disciples provided a talib in Sufism in some way directs the affair. In fact such training might be very good for candidates or friends. Harmonies are not attained by imposing philosophies or methods unknown to non-initiates.
This also presents basic principles which may be applied in any sort of construction work or group enterprise.
GATHEKA: Everything that is made has a magical influence in it. If it is made with a thought quite contrary to what is needed, it only means dangers awaiting the ship, the train, the wagon, the car. Very often without apparent cause you find a boat in danger, something breaking without a substantial reason. In its make-up the thought of destruction has been given. It is working through it; it is something more living than the object itself. So it is when a house is built. The thoughts given to it by the one who was building it, or by those who worked on it, all count.
TASAWWUF: Suppose we begin with the making of tasbihs to be used in spiritual practices. One has here the individual elements be they beans, beads, stones, or any other material. One has each one to consider and also the group. The attitude of the person making that tasbih may have a profound effect on the person later using it, including oneself.
In group undertakings one therefore sees the value of the practices presented in the former paragraph. To this may be added concentrations on heart and the recitations of wazifas at some time. In Egypt for example, the working men constantly repeat zikr and so retain joy and do not develop fatigue easily though they work long hours. In this way man benefits from the All-Pervading Power in space.
GATHEKA: The thought attached to things is a life-power. But in order to define it, it may be called a vibratory power. In a mystic’s conception vibrations may be considered to have three aspects: audible, visible, and perceptible. Now the vibrations put into an object are never audible and visible; they are only perceptible. Perceptible to what? To the intuitive faculty of man.
TASAWWUF: This subject is also discussed in the work Mental Purification and occasionally in other places. Just as we use physical power and become fatigued, so we utilize mental power and become fatigued. That is, unless we are able to replenish our magnetism constantly by esoteric disciplines.
The audible vibrations are perceived by the ear, and the physical vibrations by the eye. When perceptible vibrations are mentioned it means they impress the total consciousness. Receptivity is not confined to any particular organ; it impresses the whole consciousness. Nyogen Senzaki, the Zen monk, used to say, “I will tell you a secret: when you can hear with your eyes and see with your ears, it is a sign that you have already experienced illumination or are very close to it.”
GATHEKA: But it is not meant by this that the one who lacks intuitive faculty does not perceive it, he perceives it too, but unconsciously. In short, we understand by this that there is a thought attached to all things made either by an individual or by the multitude, and that thought will give results accordingly.
TASAWWUF: This theme, elaborated in Mental Purification and The Mind World, itself is not readily perceived. This is because we are not fully conscious of our intuitive abilities. It cannot be repeated too often that humankind, created in the Divine Image, has infinite potentialities. Also he has those faculties and perceptibilities mentioned in that sublime Buddhist Scripture, the Diamond Sutra. There are enough commentaries on this sutra to which there is no need to add here.
GATHEKA: The influence put into things is according to the intensity of the feeling.
TASAWWUF: In the very earliest papers on Murakkabah (Concentration) it is stated that thoughts should be held with feeling. This initial and apparently fundamental step often moves very slowly into human consciousness. If one looks at the philosophy of art one will find almost invariably that the art which appears sane, which uses theme, rhythm, harmony, pattern, even texture and all basic principles, is one where thoughts are held by feeling. Thoughts by themselves are usually disparate; feelings are conscious representations of the Universal Divine Light and Wisdom.
GATHEKA: A note resounds according to the intensity with which you strike it. You may strike a note on the piano, and it will continue to resound for so long; and if you strike it with less intensity it resounds for a shorter time. But at the same time it is according to the strength with which you strike and the instrument on which you strike.
TASAWWUF: It is not necessary to go into Sonology or Phonology here. These sciences, of course, are of some value for those who go on the paths indicated in The Mysticism of Sound and the attendant articles on music. Actually here intensity of feeling is indicated. When the feeling is great both mind and body may be used as instruments.
GATHEKA: There may be one instrument the string of which will continue to vibrate for a very long time; there is another instrument whose string will not vibrate for very long, and then it will quiet down. And so it is also according to the medium which you take in striking vibrations, that the effect is made.
TASAWWUF: The harp is one of the oldest of man’s instruments which attained a high state of development even in most ancient times. Harps have long vibrations as compared with many other string and plucked instruments. They thus may magnetize the atmosphere more powerfully and for a long time. It is not the harp that we need to understand but rather the science of vibrations.
GATHEKA: In all things there is God; but the object is the instrument, and man is life itself. Into the object a person puts life. When a certain thing is being made, it is at that time that life is put into it which goes on and on like breath in a body.
TASAWWUF: Wherever there is formation there must be God. What is adhesion? What is cohesion? What is attraction? What is gravitation? These and similar questions are discussed at various places in the literature. As long as they are received only intellectually, there is no deep impression. To have the deeper impression the thought must be held with feeling.
Or in another sense, all objects may be sanctuaries of God, Salat says: “Thy Light is in all forms.” The Sufi differs from many other people in that he either feels or perceives that Light is in all forms. This becomes experience, not philosophy. The philosophy can easily be confused with pantheism. We need not discuss pantheism here; what we should learn is that there is no existence outside of God.
GATHEKA: This also gives us a hint that when we take flowers to a patient and we bring a healing thought with them, the flowers convey the thought of healing. And as the patient looks at the flowers, he will receive from the flowers the healing that has been put there.
TASAWWUF: For this purpose also flowers are used in the Healing Service. Whenever we hold flowers we put some magnetism into them. When we add our thoughts more magnetism is put into them. And when we add our feelings and hearts almost an infinite amount of magnetism is put into them. And when we repeat mentally, “Ya Shaffee, Ya Kaffee,” the direct healing power is put into those flowers.
GATHEKA: Any eatable or sweet, anything that we take to a friend with a thought of love, may create a harmonious, a happy result with him. Therefore every little thing given and taken in love, with a harmonious and good thought, has a greater value than the object itself. For it is not the object, it is what is behind it.
TASAWWUF: Prasad. This is an Indian institution and especially used by holy men and Gurus. While they are adept at giving, it is not so much things involved, and so costs, but the vibratory communication and the magnetism. All the different kinds of magnetism may be exuding from a holy man, and these vibrations are like auras which accompany a person or body. And if there is enough love and consideration, all such gifts however simple and material may confer blessings.
The standpoint of Sufis is slightly different but only slightly different. With them it is a matter of Baraka which means literally blessings, but actually involves love, joy, cosmic magnetism and living light.
The commentator received an initiation from a saint named Hajji Baba Abdul Aziz at Havelian in northwest Pakistan, through food, Zem-Zem water, and by the teacher’s spitting out particles which were seized in the air by the recipient and thus he obtained the full Baraka of the saint.
GATHEKA: Does it not teach us that it is not always the doing or preparing of things in our everyday life, but that it is giving these things with a harmonious, constructive thought that counts, so that our work may become a thousand times greater in effect and in its real value?
TASAWWUF: Do we not see this reach its perfection in Christ’s Last Supper? He gave of food and drink but it was also symbolic that he gave his very life and being. After his departure the Baraka descended on the eleven disciples who met in “the upper room.” Does this not mean that they were involved in a higher state of consciousness and being? Can you not see that this was a stepping up in their own cosmic evolution?
If one were to perform Karma Yoga every action could become a communication and a blessing.
GATHEKA: This also teaches us that while doing a certain thing we should be accomplishing something very great if we did it with this attitude, with this idea at the back of it: that we are not making a thing only, but that we are making it so that it lives. Does it not open before us a vast field of work that we could do easily, without much cost or effort? In its results that work could be of much greater importance than anyone could think or imagine.
TASAWWUF: Hazrat Inayat Khan left full instructions on the building of a temple. He gave it exactly, but these instructions were rejected because they were not handed to those in charge of the work. Those in charge were more concerned with their being in charge than the nature of the work itself. If they had believed that God is in all forms; if they had believed really in One Single Brotherhood in the Fatherhood of God, not only would these instructions have been accepted, but there is no doubt there would have been a temple built as he directed and desired.
While many schools affirm that meditation is a requirement for the successful accomplishment of spiritual endeavor, and while no doubt this is true, it is a mistake to separate the meditation from the endeavor. A real meditation would be continuing along with the work. This is very much like spending some time starting a dynamo, and after the dynamo has reached its climax, and the wheels in the factory move, assuming that the wheels will continue to move, then one can shut off the dynamo. The meditation, the esoteric practices, are the dynamo. They have to start first, but for the best accomplishment they must continue in operation along with all machinery in life until the task is complete.
GATHEKA: Is it not at the same time a great blessing to be able to do a thing of great importance without any outward pretense? Even while writing a letter a person sometimes puts into it what words cannot explain; and yet the letter conveys it. There may be one word written with a loving thought behind it; that word will have a greater effect than perhaps a thousand others. Do we not almost hear a letter speaking? It is not always what is written in it; it brings the one who wrote it to us, and what mood he was in, his evolution, his pleasure, his displeasure, his joy and his sorrow; the letter conveys more than what was written in it.
TASAWWUF: There is a science and art derived from calligraphy, that hand-writing experts can determine many of these things. They declare that the basic style of each person tells much about his character and personality. Offered several letters or handwriting examples from the same person, they can also differentiate moods, condition of health, and attitude at the time it was being written.
No doubt typewriting changes much of this. But even at that a skillful person can detect little differences in the way the letter was written, in the pressures on the keys, in the changes in the vocabulary, in the diacritical marks, etc. Nothing is hidden from the perceiver. The same general principles found in the earliest of the Sherlock Holmes novels of Arthur Conan Doyle can be applied to many things of life.
GATHEKA: Consider the great souls who have come to the earth at different times; conditions opposed them, and they found difficulties at every move in accomplishing what they wanted to do; yet they have produced the voice, a living voice. That living voice continued long after they had left, and spread in time throughout the whole universe, accomplishing what they had once wished.
TASAWWUF: We have in the case of one Joel Goldsmith who lived in the Hawaiian Islands, who purposely had his lectures recorded rather than written. These words remained alive a long time after his body ceased to function. There was a certain magnetism, a certain love, a certain wisdom conveyed by his words. This may be setting an example to others.
GATHEKA: The effect of that one moment of thought took perhaps centuries to build something, but it was something worthwhile, something beyond man’s comprehension.
TASAWWUF: The time processes of the different worlds or planes are quiet different. Even in this world, given a certain effort, the time consumed in accomplishments may be different. For instance, it takes longer usually to walk uphill than to come down. Carrying a weight slows movements. Walking on sand or mud takes more time and effort than walking on cement or brick.
Gayan says, that what has taken Brahma even centuries to build may be destroyed by Shiva in one moment. A stick of TNT can easily destroy a building long in construction.
At the opposite end, working from above down, when one has an intuition, when one has a cosmic feeling, one will be drawing upon the hidden power in space (Ya Latif) or the All-Pervading Power in Space (Ya Kaffee) this is the way in which God works through man. In other words this is the Cosmic Language.
GATHEKA: If we could only understand what spirit is, we should esteem the human being much more than we do now. We trust man so little, we believe in man so little, we respect man so little, we esteem his possibilities so little.
TASAWWUF: The shame of the caste system is that it not only has degraded man, it has elevated the lower creation far beyond the very words of Scriptures. It is a cosmic crime to say Atman is Brahman and venerate anything in creation above and beyond man. The Bible teaches that God made man in His image. The Qur’an teaches that Allah made mankind His Vice-Gerent on earth. The sacred Scriptures of the Indians do not teach anything else, if anything they go even further in this direction.
What has man done? It has often been as Kipling said, “Only man is vile.” This is a disgrace, and not all the excuses of human beings at any level has changed that. The Bible teaches “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It does not say “Love thy pet animal as thyself.” It does not teach “Love thy farm animal as thyself or above thyself.” The commandment “Thou shalt not kill” has been very wrongly translated. The original Hebrew meant “Thou shalt not kill man.” It never meant thou shalt not kill animals, plants, lower creation.
There are fanatical persons in this world who show deep sentiment toward almost everything in creation excepting their fellow human beings. They venerate monkeys, elephants, cattle (of course), birds of all kinds, even snakes. They venerate even trees and plants. Some go so far as to verbalize we can obtain wisdom from rice and potatoes, but only after one has learned how to obtain wisdom. The highest wisdom comes from the heart of man and nowhere else—and nowhere else.
GATHEKA: If we only knew what is at the back of every strong and weak soul, we should know that there is every possibility, and we should never underestimate anyone, nor fail to respect any man in spite of all he may lack; we should recognize that it is the Creator creating through all the different forms; but it is one Creator; and all that it built and prepared and made and composed, is made by that one Being working through this world of variety.
TASAWWUF: We have now been finding art creations in very ancient caves. We can see that early man, even undeveloped man, can do, has done what no animal can even conceive. The art works of animals are by instinct; the animals are still waking. The art works of man, the creations of man, even at so-called primitive stages show as Jelal-ed-din has told us, that it is in man that God realizes Himself and performs His work in the outer world.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
The Influence of Works of Art
GATHEKA: In the works of art that have been made, independently of the skill that has been put into them and the ideas they convey to us, there is a feeling in them and behind them. When I was visiting Berlin I saw around the Kaiser’s palace statuary; everywhere around was some work of art suggestive of horror, of terror, of destruction. As soon as I saw it I said, “No wonder things happened as they did, for this statuary was produced beforehand.” A work of art may be beautiful to look at, it may have great skill in it, and yet the mind of the artist is working through it and the effect that the picture has is not what it suggests outwardly, but what it speaks aloud is the voice of its heart. In every picture, in every statue, in every artistic construction one can see this; there is a voice hidden in it, continually telling for what purpose the work of art was created.
TASAWWUF: This same subject is discussed in “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” Statuary may be said to be the congealation of men’s thoughts. Certain types of metaphysical people advocate the existence of thought-forms. They proclaim their reality, and they are right in proclaiming their reality. But this does not mean that they realize the manifestation of these thought-forms in the outer world.
Whatever rises to life in Djabrut, the angelic world, sooner or later becomes an objective reality in Malakut, the Jinn world. Whatever comes to life in any manner whatsoever in Malakut sooner or later manifests in Nasut, the physical outer world. This is also one way of applying “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
Every artist knows intuitively what he is doing. Art should become concrete, so to speak, in the Mind-world before it is completed outwardly. Much so called non-objective art is the result of abortive creative consciousness trying to jump over the mental plane entirely. When this happens the light of the heart becomes scattered and fragmented, and what appears on screen or canvas or in sculpture and related arts is a fragmentation and distortion of real inspiration. That is why adepts are trained to breathe in rhythm and fully, and to feel in rhythm and fully.
GATHEKA: Sometimes an artist is unaware of what he is creating. He is following his imagination; he may be working against his own work of art; he may be bringing about an effect which he had not desired for himself or for the person to whom that work of art was to be given.
TASAWWUF: The mystical Parsi called Meher Baba declaimed furiously against imagination. It is most unfortunate that his followers became over concerned with his person and followed the usual pattern of humanity, to venerate the teacher and ignore the teachings. In one sense this is where science and so called spiritual knowledge differ, for in science the teaching is venerated and the human source of the teaching often ignored.
This is right before those who accept God as the only teacher, and to the Sufi, God is the only teacher. And it would be well to be able to control imagination and sometimes even smother it to produce suitable works of art. Too often imagination is connected with the shadow side of man, far from the Divine Light which is his very essence.
GATHEKA: Once I went to see a temple. I could not call that temple beautiful; but it was wonderful, unique of its kind. No sooner did my eyes fall on the color scheme and the pictures which stood there as its prominent features, than I was surprised to think how such a temple could possibly have existed so long; it should have been destroyed long ago. And not long after I heard that the temple had been destroyed. The idea is that the constructor of that temple was so absorbed in his scheme that he forgot the harmony of spirit which was to make the plan of it; and so it resulted in failure.
TASAWWUF: It is not necessary here to repeat the name of the temple builder. This same mistake was made by several of his contemporaries, and also those in the generation that followed. A temple can hardly be the work of a single individual who has not God’s grace. The very idea of “temple” is a place where the generality may be worshipping. If it is the work of one man it will have only the magnetism of that one man. His magnetism will ebb on earth when he has left his physical body, unless he has established power and Baraka in the Mind-world.
There are some buildings which have been erected by one man, or have been the inspiration of one man, or have been dedicated to one man, where the power and Baraka are so great the life persists for centuries. These buildings are called shrines. They are not easily destroyed, for they have their living counterparts in the worlds unseen.
GATHEKA: Once a friend took me to see some pictures made by her husband. No sooner did I see them than it brought to me the whole history of the person, how his soul went on through life, the agonies through which it went; the whole thing was expressed in the pictures. And what was the condition of the possessor of those pictures? Nothing but sorrow and depression.
TASAWWUF: Unless there is light and power in the original creation there will not be light and power in the effects. Every picture is a magical derivative of a magical original in the mind of man, and this also has been explained in “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.” We cannot say we know this until we produce pictures and photography and cinema representations which will have the opposite effect.
A mental comprehension may equally be a disturbance and knowledge. The work of adepts is to end disturbances and produce knowledge. This can only be done in actual artistic creations, and never in any verbal literary forms, perhaps not even in poetry. For the truth is in silence and not in the languages which are men’s creations.
GATHEKA: It is better an artist should be afraid of making a work which might produce something undesirable, because then he will be careful; and if he tries to know the effect, then he will know it.
TASAWWUF: The California author Upton Sinclair once declared “All art is propaganda.” It would be much better to say all art should be propaganda. The Sufi point of view is that all art is magic, but all art is not based on intellection. Much is based on empty emotion. Of course there must be emotion, of course there must be sentiment. A blueprint may be magnificent but no one calls it “art,” for there is no emotion, no sentiment.
There have been landscape designs which look magnificent on paper and when the trees are planted and grow it comes out very different. When the landscape designer is an engineer more than he is an artist, the result may never be harmonious, may never be beautiful. Something has been missing. In true art there must be heart and mind fully expressing themselves through the creators.
GATHEKA: It is very easy to enjoy a picturesque idea, but one never stops to think that it is not only the idea that is important, but also what is the outcome of it; is it destructive, is it constructive?
TASAWWUF: Many people believe they are materialists, that it is only things in the outer world that interest them and affect them. Yet they will pass by gardens and streams of water, deserts and sandy beaches, and hardly make a remark. Then someone will suggest an idea and they will react to it very favorably or unfavorably. This shows they are not really materialists, that their actions demonstrate that actually the world of mind is more important to them.
There are others who affirm the world of mind, who say that thoughts only are important. Yet they also will react to ideas and if you ask them are these ideas really real, they cannot tell you.
The spiritual teachers of all ages, the sages of all peoples have proclaimed the unity of thought, speech and action; that this alone will promote sanity and good will. There is no evidence that it may be otherwise, there is no support for any alternative.
GATHEKA: For instance, in steamers, especially in the Channel, as soon as you go into the cabin the first thing you see is a picture of a person about to sink and putting on his lifebelt. It is the first thing you are impressed with as the first omen. Certainly it is instructive; but it is not a psychological instruction. If there is some instruction needed, it would be better to circulate picture cards after the ship has started, after people are accustomed to it.
TASAWWUF: It is a very difficult thing to make suggestions, even constructive suggestions to organize businesses. We are dealing with corporations which are artificial, life has become artificial. Social changes, even political revolutions do not always take man from artificiality; sometimes it is quite the reverse.
It is very easy for the newspapers and for politicians to build up propaganda, to scare the masses. They even enjoy it. Rumors of earthquakes, of cataclysms, even of world wars easily arouse public interest and emotional reactions. Seldom does anything happen; very seldom do these types of predictions come to manifestation. This shows how artificial the world has become. If we live close to nature we can often see into the real future, and easily; we would be concerned with what may happen as nature tells us, and not as rumor wants to tell us.
GATHEKA: Also it is more than unwise—one should use some other word for it—to place in a school room or a chapel scenes of death, even of saints and masters; especially in connection with saints and masters who, being immortal, never died.
TASAWWUF: There is some doubt about the celebration of the Christian Good Friday and its importance. It as only three hours in the life of the Master and sometimes these three hours have been made much more important than all the rest of the career of Jesus Christ. Man has become concerned with his suffering, and he was concerned with humankind’s suffering. If we were true followers of Jesus Christ we would, like him, be concerned with humankind’s suffering. We should try to lessen the sorrows of the world. It is not true that Jesus Christ was generally “a man of sorrows,” most of his life shows quite otherwise.
The same thing in Islam—that the martyrdom of Ali has furnished excuses for masochism and flagellation. This is quite contrary to the teachings of any prophet of God. Besides this, there is no evidence, there is no report by any who have claimed contact with either Jesus or Ali after their respective martyrdoms, that they were overwhelmed by their own suffering. On the contrary, they were even more capable of radiating solace and love and joy.
GATHEKA: And so it is with poetry. Among the Hindus there is a psychology of poetry which is taught to the poet before he is allowed to write poetry. For it is not only the rhythm and the swing of mind and thought that is to be expressed; but to write poetry means to construct something, to make something or to mar something.
TASAWWUF: When we look into the origins of poetry it seems to be that originally poetry was the outcome of expression of the higher aspects of man’s mind. The mind was not so concerned with turmoil; the mind felt the universe of rhythm, even of love and harmony. The bases of astrology are connected with rhythms. These may be among the fundamental rhythms of nature; certainly they are connected with the very order of the cosmos.
In such state the minds of the bards utilized words which fell into the swings of these rhythms and cadences whether physical or mental. The overtones which the mind appreciated in the unseen helped formulate its body, so to speak, in the physical. Therefore poetry is different from prose, that in prose we begin with the words and go towards inspiration, and in poetry we begin with inspiration and the words come after.
GATHEKA: Poetry has sometimes an effect upon the prosperity or the decline of great ones in whose praise it has been made. It has a science attached to it. A person may speak highly of a personality in poetry, yet the construction of words or of the idea behind it may be harmful. It does not only harm the person for whom it was made; but sometimes, if that personality is strong, it falls upon the poet, thus destroying him forever.
TASAWWUF: The constructive side of this may be seen in Virgil’s “Aeneiad.” This was written, sometimes consciously, for the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar. During that time and in the period shortly after the Empire reached very great heights. Although Virgil copied Homer, it had a social message and a political message of a different kind.
Many centuries after Virgil, the Florentine Dante wrote his great poetry condemning many of the men and institutions of his time. Whether he prophesied consciously or unconsciously history in many ways confirms him. As poetry became smaller the destructive influences outranked the constructive ones. But in the English Tennyson in the Nineteenth century, many prophetic utterances were not only constructive they so manifested on earth. This demonstrates that poetry can both be constructive and auguric—that is, foretell the future.
GATHEKA: One may say, “Then do not drama and tragedy do harm?” There are many things that harm us, but there are many things which at the same time are interesting. Besides this, there are minds that are more attracted to tragedy than to anything else. It is natural, because sometimes there is a sore, and that sore feels alive for the moment, a sensation which is perhaps agreeable. It may be called a pain; but at the same time it is an agreeable pain when the sore is scratched.
TASAWWUF: In most of Europe, especially in the Latin countries, tragedies reached a high grade of development, even artistically so. In England and America which were comparatively prosperous and energetic comedy outranked tragedy. But after two World Wars the arts and particularly drama stressed much more death and tribulation. We can see it in the relation between Grofe’s Grand Canyon Suite and Copland’s “Billy the Kid.” These are two examples of music drawing inspiration from the southwest of America, even from the same folk background. The music genre is almost the same; the psychological purport is totally different. Copland’s Rodeo no doubt stands midway between these two. But the same psychological changes appear in the music and arts of many lands.
GATHEKA: No doubt too much tragedy is not desirable for anybody, but an artistic nature, a person who loves poetry finds something in tragedy. It would be depriving oneself of a great joy not to read Shakespeare. But when people write poetry in connection with some personality, a king or a sovereign or anyone, then it has a direct effect; the poetry of Shakespeare is general. However, a play has an effect, and a serious effect too.
TASAWWUF: No doubt the message of the age was in the sphere. We can read so-called poetry in many of the publications dedicated to great saints and sages of the age. It is all saccharine, it is all sweet. There is no body to it. Self-praise is expressed in verbal praise to somebody else, but it is still self-praise. With all their faults, the poets who came out of the beatnik and hippie movements were much closer to life and humanity. They felt the throb of humankind. They may have been amateur artists, but at times they struck depths. And between the very harmonious and musical lyrics of the sycophants and the raucous and dissonant creations of the younger generations there is no doubt that the latter are in every way superior.
GATHEKA: The above is according to the psychological point of view; it is not meant that it is the point of view of the Sufi. For Sufis are very fond of poetry, and their passion for poetry sometimes goes very far in expressing the sentiment of longing, yearning, heartbreak, disappointment. But even that is not psychological; accordingly to psychology it is not right.
TASAWWUF: The poetry of the Sufis may be looked at from several aspects, such as historical, romantic, symbolic, and mystical. No doubt in Sufi poetry there are at least two of these aspects. The Abraham of Sufi poetry is more than the Biblical Abraham; the Joseph (Yusuf) is more than any historical or Biblical character. He is symbolical of beauty and sometimes becomes a cosmic archetype. Leila and Majnun are not necessarily historical at all; they may usually be regarded as symbolic and even at times take on archetypal aspects. But no Sufi poetry is simple, concise and literal. Not even the words are so. The Persian language makes use of puns, similarities in pronunciation, onomatopoeia and such devices.
Most Sufi poetry is very rhythmic and some is full of rhyme schemes. This makes it easily adaptable to recitation and chanting. And it is meant to be so. There is always one or more inner meanings in it. These inner meanings often act like minor characters in a drama, without distracting from the leaders.
GATHEKA: And so it is with music. It may be very interesting for a musician to make a kind of magical music, describing how the flood came and the city was destroyed, and everybody who lived in the city; for the moment it might seem to him an amusement, a queer imagination; but it has its influence.
TASAWWUF: In England and America especially and in North Europe somewhat, the tendency has always been to comedy rather than to tragedy. No one can deny that patriotic songs and marches have chiefly an optimistic, uplifting effect. One can contrast the patriotic songs of America with those of Germany in the Great War which ended in 1945. The Germans always stressed their superiority over others; the Americans stressed freedom as an Ideal. Freedom as an Ideal has its tentacles into far deeper recesses of the Universe than expressions of superiority. That is why Sri Aurobindo properly foresaw the termination of the War from its very beginning. It was not a matter of right and wrong; it was a matter of depth and cosmic understanding.
The same thing is true of all kinds of music. That which is destructive, that which promotes unnatural ideals cannot persist forever. But it is also true that that which is superficial may become very popular and remunerative, but this does not mean it will necessarily last long either.
GATHEKA: The most interesting thing is that through art, poetry, music, or through the movements made in dance, a thought or feeling is created, the effect of which is the outcome of the whole action; the art, so to speak, is a cover. And on every plane the cover of that plane is required in order to express the life on the plane.
TASAWWUF: The Sufi Message was first brought to the West with the theme of promoting understanding through music and dancing. It was then not very effective. The time and age have largely changed that. Now both music and dancing are being employed, and not only by mystics, but by the generality in popular movements. It would seem as if the world were ready to accept God, but not religion. A world which sees God as the apotheosis of joy, as well as of love and peace.
In Sufi esotericism not only is the importance of movements stressed, but also here is interpretation of these various movements; they all have meaning. These meanings have to be experienced and felt. When the dance becomes devotional it unites the values of devotion and art.
GATHEKA: So music is a world; poetry is a world; art is a world. A person who lives in the world of art, he it is who knows art, who appreciates art; and so the person who lives in the world of music knows music, he appreciates music. In order to have an insight into music one must live in it and observe this world more keenly. In other words, it is not sufficient that a person should be musical, and that he should occupy his heart and soul with music; but he must also develop intuition so that he may see more keenly.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in The Inner Life, the commentaries on it, and elsewhere, both in esoteric and exoteric literature. No doubt the race is evolving so that people are now manifesting more intuition. This shows heart development, and with it appreciation of art development.
GATHEKA: How wonderful it is to notice that art in its every aspect is something living, speaking either good or evil. It is not only what meaning one sees in the frescoes in the old houses in Italy and what art is produced in statuary of the ancient times; but these works of art almost speak to you of the history of the past; they tell you of the artist who made them, his stage of evolution, his motive, his soul, and the spirit of that time.
TASAWWUF: This subject is quite fully discussed, chiefly in “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” in the commentaries on that book and in parallel literature. As the intuition is developed one can read the magical language of the creative artist. It is not necessary to go into further detail here.
GATHEKA: This teaches us that unconsciously our thought and feeling are produced in all things we use; a place, a rock, a tree, a seat, in things that we prepare; but in art an artist completes the music of his soul, of his mind. It is not automatic; it is very often a conscious effect, an effect which results in another effect. This shows that it is not enough for us to learn art or to pursue it; but in order to complete it we must understand the psychology of art, through which one accomplishes the purpose of one’s life.
TASAWWUF: God has been pictured as an artist and architect in His creation of man. As man was created in the divine Image it should be clear that everything that comes out of his mind or his heart or his soul is endowed with Life. This life may be long or short. It is not imaginary, it is real.
There are life like pictures, there are sculptures and temples so filled with vitality one gains in magnetism by being in their presence. It seems almost certain that man cannot create death. Indeed, the Upanishads speak that there is no killer and there is no killed. There is just change of form.
Every form has life of its own kind. Every form has magnetism of its own kind. Every form has a message of its own kind.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
“The Life of Thought”
GATHEKA: God is omniscient, omnipotent, all-pervading, and the only Being. This suggests to us that the Absolute is living Being; that there is no such thing as death; that there is no such thing as an end; that every thing, every being, every particle, has a continuity, because life is continuous.
TASAWWUF: The invocation which Talibs use is repeated constantly. It has to be repeated constantly. Even with all lessons on impressions, suggestions, psychology and esotericism it is not an easy thing for a human being to accept what is actually said in the teachings. He sees the teachings as part of knowledge, and himself as something greater than the knowledge.
The Gita says “To him ever attached to Me, worshipping Me in love, I give that Union to Knowledge by which he comes to Me.” This presents the idea that knowledge is greater than man, not that man is greater than knowledge. The Gita constantly declaims against ahankara and manas, and constantly affirms jnana-vijnana and ananda. These are in a sense eternal, not subject to ending, not subject to death.
GATHEKA: End or death is only a change; therefore every thought that has once crossed the mind, every feeling that has once passed through the heart, every word that is once spoken and perhaps never thought about any longer, every action once done and forgotten, is given a life; and it continues to live.
TASAWWUF: There is considerable knowledge about thought forms and impressions and samsaras. But it is not easy to be impressed by the importance of impressions. Impressions do not belong to positive thinking; they are a compilation of reactions to others, to the shadows of our own endeavors, and to the thought vibrations in the sphere where we are breathing.
We are aware of dust, smoke, fog, smog, mist and other impure atmospheres of the physical world. Because we are so conscious of the physical world we are not so aware of the detrimental intrusions in the psychic (indirect) and mental (direct) spheres. The worlds are there. They are beginning to be discovered by the scientists. They are known to the clairvoyants and clairaudients and seers. Even if we think we cannot perceive, we are actually receiving and entering into psychic and mental vibrations and accommodations because of the breath.
It is also taught that every person, every sentient being, every thought has a beginning, culmination and termination which are called Urouj, Kemal, and Zaval by Sufis.
GATHEKA: It is just like a traveler who is journeying, and on his way he has some seeds in his hands and throws them on the ground. When the plants grow in that place he never sees them; he just threw the seeds and they are there. The earth has taken them, and the water has reared them, and the sun and air have helped them to grow.
TASAWWUF: This is, of course, the same as the parable of the sower which we find in the Gospels of Jesus Christ. It has been commented on over and over through long centuries. Whatever lesson it has or should have is not important in the religion of the generality. When that which is given openly is not properly received, when it does not impress mankind, how much less the impressions of mystical and esoteric teachings?
It has been said that meditation is much more important than learning. Real meditation is real learning and real learning comes with real meditation.
GATHEKA: This life is an accommodation; and in it everything, as thought or word or action or feeling, once given birth, is taken care of and is raised and brought to fruitfulness. One would hardly think that it could be so. One thinks something is spoken and gone, or done and finished with; or if it was felt, and now it is no longer there. But it is only a change, a change of which we are conscious.
TASAWWUF: Sufis have a science of concentration called Murakkabah. In this one actually transcends the difference between knower, and knowing and known. In the Gita the philosophy of this is presented and repeated. On the Sufi path much more is required. One has to have actual experiences. Ideas will not do, speculations will not do, philosophy may be the greatest stumbling block.
No wonder then that in Zen Buddhism the training is to keep the essence of mind blank against all intruding thoughts. This does not mean not to think. This does not mean to sit like an idiot, empty. On the contrary, it means to think with all fullness, but on one subject. Then one enters into the real meditation. Then the psyche of the individual and of the cosmos are in harmony.
GATHEKA: We know of something; and then it is no longer before us, and we think it is gone, but it is there still. It remains and it pursues its course; for it is life, and in everything there is a life. And life lives; and as all is life, there is no death.
TASAWWUF: There are many people today who practice regression in various ways. Then can turn the minds of people back in time. It is often used in hypnosis and in psychological and other forms of diagnosis. Edgar Cayce claims to have been able to have pierced the veil backward when called upon to do so. There is no evidence that he was not right in this; perhaps universally right. He seems to have failed when he tried to look into the future; he seems not to have failed when he tried to look into the past.
But this is true not only of this man and this procedure. It is a little confusing to have a philosophy that matter cannot die but only be transformed; and that mind must die whether it can be transformed or not. If we look into this deeply there is only transformation, no death. Buddha taught the universality of transformation (anicca). All evidence is that Buddha and his early followers pursued this course. All evidence is that Buddhists, no matter what their outlooks and creeds, adhere to a doctrine of eternal change where there is no room for death or obliteration.
GATHEKA: No doubt birth and death, beginning and end, are the names of the different aspects of this mechanical working of the whole universe. It is a kind of automatic working that gives us an idea of something beginning and something ending. When you ring the bell the action takes only a moment, but the resonance lasts. It lasts to our knowledge only as long as it is audible; and then it passes on further and it is no longer audible to us; but it exists somewhere, it goes on.
TASAWWUF: It is possible for human beings to have totally different outlooks from Western European man and his kin. This subject has been approached in one way by Oswald Spengler and in another way by Jeffrey Goerer. Instead of welcoming the erudition of these writers, they were too often shunned or belittled. Although it is said that a Sufi is one who sees from the standpoint of another as well as of himself, it seems that this outlook is harder to impress upon the generality than what is known as mysticism.
One would think it would be simple and easy for a culture that has verbally accepted “Love thy neighbor as thyself,” and further “Love ye one another.” It has not turned out that way because of nufs. Man has bound himself by his ego; he seems to like it that way. He is certainly confused that way (the long struggle by the United States in Vietnam evidences that confusion, i.e. samsara, is often more predominant than right or wrong.) It is as if life went on in one direction and destruction in another. But destruction is not death. Destruction could not go on if it were identical with death. There would be an ending. There is no evidence of such ending.
GATHEKA: If a pebble thrown into the sea puts the water in action, one can hardly stops to think to what extent this vibration acts upon the sea. What one can see is the little waves and circles that the pebble produces before one. One sees only these. But the vibration which it has produced in the sea reaches much further than man can ever imagine.
TASAWWUF: This is the most evident and obvious illustration of the behavior of waves and vibrations. In not a few esoteric schools this illustration is used. It is also one of the many examples of the behavior of actual Nature—to distinguish it from a subjective term called “Nature” for which there are no illustrations in the external world. For both the external and internal worlds have their order, their “cosmos,” their laws. If it were not so there would be chaos and turmoil all around.
GATHEKA: What we call space is a much finer world. If we call it sea, it is a sea with the finest fluid. If we call it land, it is a land which is incomparably more fertile than the land we know. It takes in everything, and it brings it up; it rears it and it allows it to grow: that which one’s eyes do not see, one’s ears do not hear.
TASAWWUF: This may be called “The Divine Mother,” the Prakrit. In the Hebrew language Adam means the first man, the first prophet and also the totality of mankind. Adamah, the feminine of Adam, has been called ground and it has a certain resemblance to the German root grund which is ground-work, fundamental rather than the soil, the earth-ground.
We can see in the physical world phenomena which have lead even to a theory of the eternity of matter. How much more can we be sure of the eternity of the unseen! All our thoughts, actions and words produce a karma and this belongs to a universal ocean which is referred to in various ways in the Scriptures of the world. The Hebrew Bible speaks of mayim and it means the plurality of vibrations, the waters. At the same time it is the plural of maya though in a different language. And all things rise and return to these waters, the Mayim, and also the Akasha of Sanskrit. Therefore it may be regarded as the finest fluid and it is also alluded to as “Sea” in some of the Hebrew Scriptures and as “glassy sea” in the Christian tradition. It is the same.
GATHEKA: Does this thought not make us responsible for every movement we make, for every thought that we think, for every feeling that passes through our mind or heart?
TASAWWUF: Jesus Christ has said that for every idle word we shall suffer on the Day of Judgment. There are many people who speak of karma, who think about it, and become authorities. There can be no one more an authority on karma than one is an authority on gravitation. We can know all about gravitation but that does not seem to have stopped accidents much. They still occur and perhaps we have no way to know whether more often or less often than in days of ignorance and perhaps it does not matter.
According to the esoteric teachings we must become aware that every thought, word and act reacts in the cosmos and produces karma and maintains the samsara. It is only by the self-surrender that we can avoid this. And self-surrender is a condition, not a philosophy that we ought to surrender or can surrender. It must come with acts of surrender. Therefore various meditation and disciplines are practiced so that we can keep the mind clear and purified. When the will can hold the mind still against thought and thought-creation, this loosens the hold of karma. Otherwise the good people create the good karma. They may make the world better for themselves and others but they do not terminate the turmoil.
GATHEKA: For there is not one moment of our life wasted, if we only know how to utilize our action here, how to direct our thought, how to express it in words, how to further it with our movement, how to feel it, so that it may make its own atmosphere.
TASAWWUF: This has caused much confusion. For instance there is study of the Gunas and Sattva, which means life and livingness, is translated as “goodness.” True, the root sat may also stand for perfection but that is not the same. And who is perfect? What is perfect? It is only God, so the only way to pursue the real goodness is to surrender to God. This can never be by thought and not even by devotion.
Esotericism teaches how to refine the breath until we are aware of the Divine Breath circulating through our tubes and veins. Esotericism also makes to clarify the mind and also to spend all time in devotion, consciously or unconsciously.
GATHEKA: What responsibility! The responsibility that every man has is greater than a king’s responsibility. It seems as if every man has a kingdom of his own for which he is responsible; and a kingdom which is in no way smaller than any kingdom known to us, but incomparably larger than the kingdoms of the earth.
TASAWWUF: For the human consciousness stretches into vast areas of the seen and unseen. Even on the lowest physical level the eye includes the area of all it sees; the space is within the eye. The akasha is within the eye. Thus there is an awareness which may not be a conscious awareness but it is there just the same.
And as we read and study we are constantly taking in consciousness of times and spaces we do not measure and so are not often aware of it. And so in a sense man is as great as the areas of time and space which are accepted by his consciousness.
GATHEKA: This teaches us to be thoughtful and conscientious and to feel our responsibility at every move we make. But every man does not feel this; he is unaware of himself, he is unaware of the secret of life. He goes on like a drunken man walking in a city. He does not know what he is doing, either for himself or against himself.
TASAWWUF: This is the lesson presented in the Gayan, the Vadan, the Nirtan and other aphorisms. Many people have memorized some or all of these aphorisms. They are like the Hafiz of the Qur’an. They may know all the words, but this does not necessarily mean they have the enlightenment connoted or kindled by the words. And the vastness of this outlook is so great its very vastness makes it difficult to absorb.
Another aspect of this is in the teachings of the Bodhisattva and in particular the Vows of the Bodhisattva. These vows indicate that true heart can be greater than anything and everything. And in whatever form the Bodhisattvic oath is taken or given, it always indicates unending responsibility. It is much more than the biblical, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” It is as if one were everybody’s keeper. And in one of the schools of Mahayana, the Avatamsaka or Garland of Flowers School, it is indicated or openly taught that everybody may be responsible for everybody else.
This also is the logical conclusion of the prayer, Khatum.
GATHEKA: How can a thought live? In what way does it live? Has it a body to live, has it a mind, has it a breath? Yes. The first thing we should know is that a breath which comes directly from the source seeks a body, an accommodation in which to function. A thought is like a body, that thought which comes from the source as a ray of that spirit which may be likened to the sun.
TASAWWUF: This teaching also appears in “The Mind-World” and elsewhere. Even though there is in the theosophical tradition that there are elementals or thought beings, the followers of that school have usually not taken it very seriously. Often they do not take their own thoughts or anybody’s thoughts seriously, which is against their basic teachings.
We must not suppose that spiritual teachings come out only from the Sufi schools. God is the Universal Teacher and He guides whom He pleases, a point neglected by most Muslims who have harmed their religion by presuming that God (Allah) only guides and inspires those with certain devotional outlooks. The whole history shows that God may be guiding all kinds of persons. And the same is true of thought; thought may come to any kind of person. His faith does not determine his ability to think.
Many people nourish their thoughts as they do flowers and others neglect them, so they grow as weeds seem to grow. This does not mean that neglected thoughts are necessarily weeds. Both observed and cherished and neglected thoughts follow the same type of existence. They have their births, maturities, and disappearances. But the wise try to keep the mind free from unnecessary thoughts as possible and this can be done by the aid and application of Esotericism.
GATHEKA: This makes the thought an entity; it lives as an entity. It is these entities that are called in the Sufi terms Mutawakkals, which means elementals. They live; they have a certain purpose to accomplish. They are given birth by man and behind them is a purpose to direct their life. Imagine how terrible it is if in a moment’s absorption a person expresses his wrath, his passion, his hatred; for a word expressed at such a moment must live and carry out its purpose.
TASAWWUF: There is a science of Magic which gives particular attention to Elementals. But the main work of man is to rise in the sale of evolution, and even knowing he is creating many such forms to regard them as shadows rather than as important realities. Many people involved in spiritualism are over concerned with all sorts of beings and become captive of them. The wise learn to direct and control thoughts and thought-beings. The more attention is given to God and the purpose of life, the less apt is one to be carried away by these forces, of his own creation or the creation of others.
GATHEKA: It is like creating an army of enemies around oneself, perhaps one thought has a longer life than the other; it depends on what life has been given to it. If the body is stronger, then it lives longer. On the energy of mind the strength of the body of that thought depends.
TASAWWUF: By giving too much attention to thought, and to particular thoughts, one consumes magnetism. If one performs the esoteric practices; if one practices the presences of God, then those thoughts which are attuned to the purpose of life will flourish and those not needed for the purpose of life will perish. One need not give too much attention to thoughts. One should practice the Divine Presence.
According to the Sufic concentration (Murakkabah) the adept becomes able to select those thoughts which he needs for any purpose, to build them, and strengthen them. Then by their very “karma” they may serve him without any particular attention being given to them. One does not watch one’s shadows as one walks. One goes towards one’s goals. So one need not be too concerned with every little detail or samsara.
GATHEKA: Once someone asked me what the elementals are like. I answered, “Elementals look exactly like your thoughts. If you have the thoughts of human beings, then the elementals have human forms; if you have the thoughts of birds, then the elementals have the forms of birds; if your thoughts are of the animals, then the elementals have the form of animals; for elementals are made of your thought.”
TASAWWUF: An aspect of that is seen in dreams, that whatsoever we dream has form adapted from our own knowledge and experience. We do not dream up something of which we have not been aware beforehand. The symbols of dreams are copied from the life of each individual, and not necessarily from a Platonic sub-world. For they are drawn from each person’s backgrounds, in some way. So dreams are not themselves cosmic.
Mohammed has said that dreams are of Satan and visions are of God. In other words, dreams are of nufs, the ego, while visions come from the cosmic light as it manifests on different planes and at different levels. And so it is with the elementals, that they will appear according to one’s understanding and evolution.
GATHEKA: Elementals are created by man. When the winds blow and the storms rage and create all destruction, one looks at it as a mechanical action of nature. But it is not only mechanical action, it is directed by man’s feelings, by the intense feelings of human beings.
TASAWWUF: Were this not so, we could predict the weather with great accuracy. The seasons would be more alike, the changes would be more predictable. Here we have an example of scientific methodology not bringing about predictions. There is something lacking; there is the blind assumption that there is a physical world entirely separate from a mental world. And the karma would be operating just like the physical laws.
It does operate and it has laws but they pertain to the parts of the universe beyond sense perceptibilities. The seer who can see, so to speak, the mental as well as the physical operations is much better able to know about the seasons beforehand. Still if we really look the birds and animals know beforehand whether winters will be severe or mild. Those close to nature can see for karma always shows its signs and only those blind, those enmeshed in the denseness of earth are unable to perceive by these signs.
The first Suras of Qur’an are full of such indications, such principles. The words have been memorized. But the goal has been the visions of Mohammed, not the faculties, and he said he was not different from other people. Every person has the potential of understanding signs both of the seen and unseen.
GATHEKA: These feelings turn into huge beings, the beings that direct. They push as a battery behind winds and storms and floods and volcanoes. And so it is that those thoughts which call for blessing, such as rainfall, must bring the mercy of God on others. In the East they call the rain the divine mercy.
TASAWWUF: We have two things to consider which may be called “good” and “evil” and which from another point of view also represent Jelal and Jemal. Karmic factors may accumulate into huge forces, and unless directed otherwise, they “blow” so to speak, in the easiest direction like winds do. When there is no counter force, the evil accumulations in the world of mind manifest in unfavorable weather according to the dominant element as fire into heat, air into wind-storms, water into floods and delusions and earth into dust and sand-storms. Or they may combine, two or more elements as in smog. Or again the earth into earthquakes when the etheric protection is withdrawn.
So we have the two sides which are like destruction and mercy. Mohammed has said that the Merciful always lean to the side of Mercy and the Hebrew prayer book says: Ki Leolom Chasdo which means that Mercy penetrates all time and space. So it is that those who are the members of the Hierarchy or the servants thereof may, by their practices and devotions, protect a smaller or greater area no matter how dire the predictions or how horrible the accumulation of unfavorable forces.
GATHEKA: The sunshine when the sky is clear and all other blessings of nature, the pure air that is exhilarating, the spring, good crops, fruits, flowers and vegetables, all these different blessings which come to us from the earth or heaven, are also directed by forces behind them. As the mechanical working of nature raises the vapors to the sky, and they all form together in clouds and cause rain, so the thoughts and feelings and words and actions have their mechanical work to do also; and that work directs the action of the universe. This shows to us that it is not only a mechanical work of nature, but human intelligence mechanically working, directing the whole working of nature.
TASAWWUF: It is the work of those who practice Contemplation or Mushahida, that they cannot only see into the Asman, the accommodation, the Ether, but after seeing they begin to understand. Man, being greater than any of the other forces of creation, has within him the power to re-direct and control in a limited degree those forces according to his penetration into the cosmos and also to his selflessness before the Divine Mercy. When one begins to feel this Divine Mercy, one also becomes stronger. It is not strength or power but the Mercy itself which brings the Power.
By summoning strength one can only exert the strength for which he has capacity. By surrendering to the Divine Mercy one has before him all the power of the universe. This comes when one sur
renders to Allaho Akbar. It is the same Allah Who is the All-Merciful and All-Powerful, so that the Merciful have the Power and the Powerful have the Mercy. This is the secret behind the Saints of All Faiths. They are not weak, puny, deplorable characters seeking the pity of others; the real saints demand nothing from others, seek nothing and it has been a shame and weakness of religions that they demand obeisance and devotion from their communicants. Rather the Hierarchy seeks to extend blessings, to help humankind and to ask for nothing.
GATHEKA: This gives one the idea that man’s responsibility is greater than that of any other being in the world. It is told in the Qur’an that God said, “We offered our trust to the heavens and the earth and the mountains, and they did not dare to receive it; but man accepted our trust.’
TASAWWUF: The Holy Qur’an, derived from the sacred manuscript of nature, was set as a model for humankind. But behind the Qur’an is Umm Khitab, which has been called “the mother of the book” and this is the Divine Mother or Sophia from which all can learn. This manifests in kashf, the lifting of the veils and the awakening and growth of understanding.
Besides in the culminating esoteric contemplation practice of Mushahida man actually accepts the responsibility, man is the Khalif or Vice-Gerent on earth. Sooner or later both religionists and non-religionists must come to this conclusion. The belittling of mankind by religion and society has been one of the darkest spots in all history. So there is a revolt now that the evolution of man has taken Allah up on these words to see that they are true and function accordingly.
And as man’s vision grows, so does his responsibility. Also as man’s responsibility grows, so does his vision. In this is the hope of the world. And one can notice that often there are predictions of terrible calamities and they do not occur for God (Allah) has his Vice-Gerent on earth.
GATHEKA: This trust is our responsibility; not only our responsibility to those around us, to those whom we meet in everyday life, or to the work that we are engaged in, or to the interest that we have in life; but our responsibility towards this whole creation; what we contribute to this creation and whether it is something agreeable to bring about better and harmonious conditions in the sphere, in the world, on the earth. If we do so, then we know our responsibility; if we are unaware of it, we have not yet known the purpose of our being here.
TASAWWUF: We must return to the first lines of Gayan. Many have memorized Gayan, few have the key-note. From the very beginning there is an emphasis and mankind has put emphasis on everything else excepting what has come from God. Even when he verbally accepts surrender, even when he prays over and over again, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven” it is not so. And why? Because of nufs, the ego. Man has proclaimed himself. When he proclaims himself, he serves himself. When he serves himself he is not serving God.
God has not demanded from man the service and subserviency which the priestcraft of all religions have demanded. If this were the way there would not be constant turmoil and confusion. It ought to be obvious to anyone and everyone that demanded subserviency can never lead to liberation. God has not demanded from humankind at all. God is Infinite Love and Grace and Compassion. It is there, but the interposition of man’s mind and man’s ego has prevented it from manifesting.
By practicing a little Tat Tvam Asi, by seeing the divinity first in one’s fellow man, the vision would be increased. And by the surrender to the Teacher on earth also the vision would be increased. The
Teacher does not give anybody anything, but by attunement to him, the disciple reaches the same grade of awakening and enlightenment. For every one has the perfection as taught by Christ, by Mohammed, by Buddha but as not taught by the creeds and churches and sects that divide men, that see people as apart from each other and not as components of the One Only Being.
The Spirit of Guidance or Bodhisattva is not only in each of us, but is each and all of us. And as we see the imperfections in ourselves and others, we permit the storms, the earthquakes, the miseries, the turmoil on earth. We need not hypocritically pretend to see goodness or purity or perfection, but so long as we try to present a particular philosophy of even goodness or purity or perfection and impose it on others, we either create division or maintain the confusing differences and divisions which divide men.
St. Paul, the Pioneer Christian, urged that we be of one mind. But the introduction of the ego-reality which came soon after upset his work; and the revealed religion, given to assist mankind, became so veiled it is hardly recognizable. But it is there. And when we set aside the ego and the ego-mind (manas and ahankara) we shall be able to reveal the much better universe which is there.
GATHEKA: There is childhood, when a child knows nothing. He destroys the things of value and beauty owing to his curiosity, his fancy. Then when the child is grown-up he begins to feel his responsibility.
TASAWWUF: We can read everywhere, in the press, from radio and television, from books, from the pronouncements of governments, all the faults of others and sometimes even one’s own faults. But we do not see the responsibility. Everybody wants to throw the responsibility elsewhere. It has even come that inept generals, losing all battles, are not deposed. In other ages the losing general was removed; now, not that. Everybody wants authority, nobody wants the responsibility.
This shows the childishness. Even the Secretary of the United Nations, perhaps the highest authority on earth said, “What we need is a moral and spiritual revolution.” U Thant regards himself as a Buddhist but he is a politician and the audiences applauded and the politicians thrive on the applause of audiences, and so the most pressing problems remain. The world has officials for authority but none for responsibility and until the leaders in and out of government are there for responsibility, no matter how many revolutions or suppressions of revolutions, the confusion will continue.
GATHEKA: The sign of maturity is the feeling of responsibility. So when a soul matures, it begins to feel its responsibility. And it is from that moment a person begins his life; it is from that moment that the soul is born again. For so long as the soul is not born again it will not enter the kingdom of God.
TASAWWUF: The first stage is no doubt the word, the verbalization. Somebody has to give a teaching and then sometimes the words are memorized. But that does not always mean deep impression, it does not mean that the enunciation of words, even revelation of words immediately or later causes much change. These words are like seeds. They are not even sown. They are there; before there were not the seeds, now there are seeds.
And the next stage is the mentalization. It is like sowing the seeds. The seeds are not only there but they are in the ground. This does not mean they grow. Jesus Christ in particular has given the parables, but they have remained. The parables have been verbalized, they have been thought and they remain. There is no life, there is no growth if there is no life. So nothing much happens. The ground is not cultivated, it is not watered. There is not growth and fruit and returns just because the seeds are sown.
So we have the traditional religions. They have taken the words. They have valued the words, they become the ground for the seeds but there is no growth. And it is only when there is responsibility that there is growth. A word like “Church” or “Sangha” is offered. It may even be called Brotherhood. It may have authority, churches have taken all authority, but there is no responsibility, and until there is responsibility no real spiritual birth, or re-birth as it is called, can happen.
GATHEKA: The kingdom of God is here. As long as man is not conscious of his responsibility he does not know the kingdom of God. It is his becoming conscious of his responsibility which wakens him to the kingdom of God in which is the birth of the soul.
TASAWWUF: This very simple teaching did not impress the world in Nufsaniat, samsara. The ego of man was made into a reality, or into reality. This naive assumption of ego has disrupted every form of logic and philosophy. It even disrupted science. Until Einstein explained the Michelson-Morley experiments and the variability of the word “space,” there was an unconscious egocentricity. But the same is true in everything, and the wisdom of Buddha and some schools of Buddhism with their ancient teachings of relativity, also, did not impress mankind much.
Successful governments have been those that assumed responsibility. The Spiritual Hierarchy is based on responsibilities and not authorities. The adept says: Allaho Akbar, that God alone has Power, is Power. He means just that and by God he means what he realized, what is realized, not a conception, not a thought. And the Hierarchy has maintained Order and Harmony in the universe by its assumption of responsibility. It is not only that one is his “brother’s keeper,” so to speak, it is much more than that.
GATHEKA: Furthermore, in support of this idea there is a word that is used for the God-conscious people in the Sanskrit language; and that word is Brahman, creator. No sooner has a soul realized this idea than he begins to know that every moment of his life is creative, either outwardly or inwardly.
TASAWWUF: The great revolution of Buddha was that in his time it seems that there was a naive assumption of cosmic evolution, that without any effort on man’s part the soul was raised in progress from life to life. And when one reached a higher stage instead of assuming responsibilities for others, others were compelled to assume responsibility for him. And beyond those in authority were all kinds of beings called “gods” (devas) who were worshipped and adulated and instead of their protecting mankind, human beings were expected to protect them.
In this, the whole course of evolution was actually inverted, and human beings were placed lower both than the creatures of this world and their own thought-forms in the unseen. Until it became as Kipling has said, “Only man was vile.”
Indeed it is exactly the opposite. Buddha strove to teach the supremacy of mankind and the place of responsibility in leaders and leadership. That they had to answer for the conditions of the world, that they were to blame and not the persons who had no power nor authority.
It has been so ever since with few exceptions. The authority has been given to the few who assume or receive credit for everything good accomplished. The responsibility has been placed on the many who are always blamed. We have seen all kinds of political and social revolutions, in all directions. Mostly they result in the displacement of those in authority, another group takes command. Only occasionally do they accept responsibility. And until leadership and responsibility go together we may not always see the solution of problems.
GATHEKA: And if he is responsible for his creation, he is responsible for every moment of his life. Then there is nothing in life that is wasted. Whatever be the condition, however helpless or miserable, yet his life is not wasted; for there is the creative power working through every move that he makes, every thought that he thinks, every feeling that he has; he is always doing something.
TASAWWUF: That which Buddha called “Brahman” is what the Mahayana schools of Buddhism called “Bodhisattva.” Only in the Pali Scriptures there is the theory and in the Sanskrit Scriptures there is the responsibility. The theory is not different from the responsibility and the responsibility is not different from the theory. Only the Bodhisattva puts it into practice; he takes the vow and must live the vow to put into practice what was originally given.
It is also like a difference between philosophy and psychology. Philosophy has all the words, all the thoughts but not the living examples. So we gain by studying both aspects of Buddhism, the theoretical and the practical. And once we see this in one religion, we can also see it in all religions.
GATHEKA: There is another word in Sanskrit for Brahman, which is Duija, meaning: the soul who is born again. For the moment one has realized all this, then the soul is born again; because one’s realization of life is different then, one’s plan of life becomes different, one’s action becomes different.
TASAWWUF: The idea of re-birth is found in the Christian Bible as well as in Hindu Scriptures. It seems to have been offered to everybody. It is said that this was offensive to the Jews who regarded themselves in some sense as a whole twice-born people just as the upper castes in India. Buddha had his own protest, his own formula. And although Buddha is said to have opposed the ego-self, it is hardly an ego-self if, without effort, one is given privilege and authority and this is said to be the result of stored up karma and good deeds from a previous life.
No doubt there is stored good karma, there are good deeds, but we have no proof that the universe is controlled by mathematics or accounting. This all makes God a sort of huge mechanism and this is exactly what Buddha protested against, not the existence of Deity but the presumption that there could be any Deity limited by rules or concepts of mankind.
It is much better to assume that God made man in His Own image and also the teachings of Qur’an. Qur’an is in many ways the final revolution which proclaims not only the Oneness and Uniqueness of God but also the glorification of all mankind over and above all the creatures of the seen and unseen. And whether this is absolutely true or not, moral behavior can only reach its highest development when humankind acts accordingly with human beings. Any moral code without complete humanism and humanitarianism falls short of the ideal.
And when one is reborn, what happens? One becomes like the Cosmic Mother, finding all humankind without. It is only a stage in development when one adulates Mary or Kwan Yin or Kali. That helps, but not much. The kingdom of heaven is within, and while all such devotions have served their place they also have put artificial limitations on humanity. Mankind must break these limitations.
The wise may continue the worships, even of the Divine Mother, while recognizing the limitations. Sri Ramakrishna could see the Divine Mother in every woman. This is an ideal.
GATHEKA: Now going a little further, there are souls who sometimes seem to be doing nothing; and a person thinks, “Yes, they are most spiritual people, I suppose. But what are they doing?” Because what we know about doing is hustling and bustling and being busy all the time. However unimportant, yet something must be done; that is the thought. But when a person is evolved, even if outwardly he may not seem to be doing something, he is doing, and he can do, much greater works inwardly than one can notice outwardly.
TASAWWUF: The commentator was once on a ship as an observer. A big boiler was to be introduced and eight hours were reserved for this purpose. Hours went by and all he saw was two men who made some measurements, careful measurements no doubt. That was all. He waited a long time and then a great crew came on and in two hours all the work was finished, completely finished.
So it is with those who are responsible. They have the overall vision. When one has the overall vision he does not attend to details. Sometimes the details are attended to along with the larger items. All fit together. There is a oneness and in accomplishing that oneness all small things are also accomplished. They go together.
The seer has the integrative outlook, the Vijnanavada. It includes all things. And it may be like a button which, when pushed turns on all the machinery. There was a time when different people managed the different machines and parts and now there may be a button; just pressing the button puts the whole factory into operation. So it is with the work of the seer, the mahatma.
GATHEKA: There is a story of a madzub. A madzub is a person who is not considered as an active person in the world; many think of him as someone who is not quite balanced. In the East there are some who know about such beings, and they have regard for them.
TASAWWUF: The place of the madzub is explained in The Inner Life and its commentaries. When one has met madzubs he begins to discover much greater order in their lives, that they may be operating on several planes at a time; or even if in the physical body they may be more active in the worlds unseen. They have consciousness deeper than that of human beings, jinns and devas.
There are many people in the Western world, who reading about madzubs, deceive themselves into believing they understand them. Then when they meet real madzubs or are in the presence of a western person who is in the madzub “state” they become repelled and say that it is not a real madzub, that something is wrong. What is wrong is the ego which is self-deceiving.
GATHEKA: There used to be a Madzub in Kashmir some centuries ago; and he was allowed by the Maharaja to roam about in the palace and the gardens wherever he wanted to, and he was given a piece of ground where he could dwell. He was allowed to walk everywhere in the Maharaja’s gardens. And there was a miniature toy cannon in the garden; and sometimes this Madzub used to get a fancy to play with it. He used to take this gun and he would turn it, either to the south, or to the north, or elsewhere; and then he would turn it again and he would make all sorts of gestures, and after making those gestures he would be delighted. It used to seem as if he were fighting; and as if after that fighting, he was now victorious and delighted. And every time he acted this way Maharaja Ranjit Singh used to give orders to his army to prepare for war; and there was success. The war had been going on for many, many years, and it was going slowly and nothing had happened, but every time the madzub played with the cannon, results were achieved.
TASAWWUF: For every war, every great event occurs in the worlds unseen before it manifests on earth. And when it is explained people say they understand and often they do not. For it takes a long time to comprehend true seers and adepts who have cosmic vision and kashf and peer into the unseen; or the unseen manifests through them. Therefore in parts of the Orient people may deify the insane.
There is a great deal of difference between idiots, insane and the mast type as Dr. Donkin has explained in “The Wayfarers.” An accomplished person learns to distinguish them; a person who has the discursive, analytical mind cannot.
There have been oracles who could see into the unseen; they are persons dedicated to God. They do not serve political forces, kings and ministers. It is for the kings and ministers to serve them. When the governments of the world again hearken to the wise we shall see the solutions to many problems.
GATHEKA: There was in Hyderabad a madzub whose habit it was to insult everybody, to call people such names that they would go away from him. But still one man dared to go there in spite of all the insults. The madzub said, “What do you want?” He said, “My case is coming on in the court six days from now, and I have no money, no means. What shall I do?” The madzub said, “Tell me what is the case about; but tell me the truth.” So the man told him all, and the madzub listened to it; and on the ground he wrote, “There seems to be nothing in this case, so it must be dismissed;” and he said, “Go, it is done.” The man went to the court. From the opposite party many barristers and pleaders were there; on his part there were none, because he was a poor man. The judge heard the case from both sides and then spoke the same words that the madzub had written on the ground.
What does it mean?
TASAWWUF: We pray, “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and this prayer has been said over and over again. People presume that by repeating the prayer something will happen. But in the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer Jesus Christ distinctly says that the heathen assume by much repetition they will gain their ends by prayer. And Jesus said not to do what the heathen people did, and for centuries the religious people have repeated the words of Jesus in the manner he told them not to. And so their prayers are seldom answered, many times they pray, and seldom are they answered.
Buddha has told us not to use means that do not work, and the devotees of all faiths are concerned with the means and not with the results. This is very wasteful, very unscientific, and yet it is done. So the time has come again when people do not want means that do not work and they are repelled when they hear others defend the means. The means become most important, the goal is lost.
Gayan says that the question always contains the answer. We look as if question and answer are different; we see these things as outside ourselves and they appear different. And also we do not get the answers. We do not realize that the answers are there. The answers are always there in ourselves and others, but as we do not see them; the discursive intellect and ego are in the way.
GATHEKA: It only explains to us the words Christ has spoken, “Enter the Kingdom of God:” that every soul has in himself a kingdom of God. To become conscious of this mystery of life is to open one’s eyes to the Kingdom of God; and then whatever one does has a meaning, an influence; it is never lost.
TASAWWUF: We must always come back to Gayan and the Aphorisms and their literal and hidden meanings. We have to see the great side of life. Vedic religion taught Mahat, and we have still the word “Mahatma” which means “great soul,” realized person. But we also have the Bodhisattvic teaching that all of us are Bodhisattvas. Some are asleep, some are awake. The rebirth means awakening again; realizing what we really are.
GATHEKA: If it is not materialized, it does not matter; it is spiritualized. Nothing is gone, nothing is lost here. If it has not produced on this plane, it has been produced on another plane.
TASAWWUF: That is why Jesus said we should gather our treasures in the heavens. We have not gathered the treasures in the heavens. Many people believe if they are poor, especially if they are poor because of lack of effort, they are going to be wealthy in the hereafter. And often because of karma this does happen. But the mystic does not care for that type of wealth. It is in the unseen but it is not eternal, it is still maya.
And then there are those who strive and they also have some treasure in the heavens. But that is real treasure, that is not the result of karma. Therefore Sri Krishna has said we must strive, we must be continually striving, and this also means fighting.
GATHEKA: But still it reflects on this plane, because there is always action and reaction between both planes. It only means that what one does, if it is not materialized on this plane, is reflected from the other plane onto this plane, and then materialized; that is all. If a person thinks, “I have not materialized it,” it only means that the time and the condition have not allowed it to materialize. But if it is once sent out, it must ultimately be materialized.
TASAWWUF: Because as Lord Buddha has taught we are the result of our thoughts. Thoughts are not necessarily real and matter unreal, nor is matter real and thought secondary. Only thought can control matter and the material world. And all the teachings, when brought together and synthesized and integrated will show that “Truth in the end shall win.”
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Thought and Imagination
GATHEKA: The mind has five aspects; but the aspect that is best known is that for which we use the word “mind.” Mind means the creator of thought and imagination. Mind is a soil upon which, in the form of thoughts and in imaginations, plants grow. They live there, although there is continual fresh growth, those plants and trees which have been created before are hidden from one’s eyes, and only the new plants springing up there are before one’s consciousness. It is because of that that one does not think much about thoughts and imaginations which are past, nor are they before one; but at the same time, whenever one wishes to find a thought which has once been shaped by one, it is immediately to be found, for it still exists there.
TASAWWUF: There are many kinds of regression, as it is called, looking back to earlier experiences and memories. Sometimes this is the result of deep concentration. Sometimes by chemical or mechanical means the past is open to one. Sometimes by the help of a sensitive or psychic and sometimes a clairvoyant can look at one and tell from the vibrations and emanations all about the past.
The mystic can also do this by the help of breath, for everything that one has ever been connected with is there. And there are some who claim even to look into the past lives, that one is never entirely disconnected there either.
There are now psychic sciences and they are becoming more and more accepted and important, that the line between past and present, and also the lines between the seen and unseen diminish because what is unseen to some, is nevertheless seen by others, more awakened or sensitive.
GATHEKA: That part which consciousness does not see immediately is called subconscious. What is called consciousness remains on the surface, making clear to us that part of our thoughts and imaginations which we have just had and that we are still busy looking at. Nevertheless once a person has had an imagination, a thought, it still exists.
TASAWWUF: It has been explained that the thought has a birth, a growth, a maturity, a decay. Until it is wiped away entirely it remains. It cannot be wished away nor wiped away until the whole mental level is reconstructed at spiritual rebirth. While we hold onto the self all things connected with that self remain, conscious or unconscious.
GATHEKA: In what form does it exist? In the form which the mind has given it. The soul takes a form in this physical world, a form which is borrowed from this world. So the thought takes a form which is borrowed from the world of mind.
TASAWWUF: This subject is given detailed consideration in The Mind World and in other places. While it is to some advantage to know of the world of mind, it is also very important to know of this world while we are in the body, and also even to see beyond the Mind-World into the depth of self. And if we are too concerned with the Mind-World, it is like studying again the outside, the Prakrit, the Maya, although it may not seem so.
The other aspect comes in the science and art of Murakkabah, Concentration, and in the esoteric sciences generally.
GATHEKA: A clear mind, therefore, can give a distinct life, a distinct form to the thought; a mind which is confused produces indistinct thoughts. And one can see the truth of this in dreams; the dreams of the clear-minded are clear and distinct; the dreams of those of unclear mind are confused.
TASAWWUF: There is also a science and art of dream interpretation. It is regarded as an Occult Science and it can be called an Occult Science. But the first duty of the interpreter is to ascertain whether the dream is clear or unclear and what part Light plays. Otherwise the interpretation is all about form.
While there are many efforts to have scientific interpretation of dreams, these are like studying Horticulture without examining the soil. The dreams are the crops of the soil and if there are appearances in Light they are much more vivid and important than the shadow-forms. The shadow-forms are only surface plays, and they will not affect life much. They do not throw light on the future, they do not help one on the way.
GATHEKA: Besides, it is most interesting to see that the dreams of the artist, of the poet, of the musician, who live in beauty, who think of beauty, are beautiful; the dreams of those whose mind has doubt or fear or confusion are of the same character.
TASAWWUF: Actually many pictures of artists, especially since the rise of expressionism, show their own mind world. When they are not giving their impressions of the world outside, they are giving pictures of the world inside themselves. They may think they are showing objectivity, but they are revealing their own subjectivity. Whether it is beautiful or ugly, harmonious or inharmonious reveals their own condition. Therefore, many artists and poets and musicians are not telling us much; they are only showing their own interiors, and if they are not awake and advanced, their creations will not last long.
GATHEKA: This gives proof that the mind gives a body to the thought; the mind supplies form to each thought, and with that form the thought is able to exist. The form of a thought is not only known to the person who thinks, but also to the one who reflects the thought, in whose heart it is reflected.
TASAWWUF: There are many artists who say that their pictures have not much meaning but that they help others to reflect their own meaning. Yes, but what value is there in it? If one looks into a placid pool there is a certain reflection. If one looks into a crystal ball there may not be only a reflection but a penetration. Even an ink-spot may be helpful here. But a smear of lines and forms and colors with no particular pattern, what does it reveal? It reveals only a confused artist, a man who, unsure of himself, is trying to express his uncertainty to the world and is asking the world to benefit from his uncertainty. It cannot.
On the other hand there are some Ch’an paintings with a few lines. They not only express deep and clear thought, they help those who look at them to have a clarity of mind. They are very beneficial.
GATHEKA: Therefore there is a silent communication between people, the thought-forms of one person reflecting in the mind of another. And these thought-forms are more powerful and clearer than words. They are very often more impressive than a spoken word, because language is limited, while thought has a greater scope of expression.
TASAWWUF: Yes, all the arts have greater scope for expression. Not only thought, but feeling may go into them and even the depths of feeling. That is why pictures, poetry and music impress the soul of man. One feels and even sees something. The mind is here by-passed, and when one touches the depths of life beyond the mind-world, one is most fortunate and also most living.
The study of poetry, and indeed painting and music enables man to receive the jinn-expressions of the creative artists. For most art-works come from the jinn state. But when one merely wishes to express his thoughts and impressions and there is no depth to it, we see combinations of words and sounds and lines that present only the unsettled state of the artist. And as there is no exact definition of art, and as anybody may be accepted as a poet, as an artist, as a composer at any time, the mere fact that a work is by an artist does not make it Art in the true sense. That is why both Plato and Mohammed have acclaimed against what has been called “Art” which are not creations but reactions, born not of the depth of spirit. These, also called art-forms, are nothing but the materialization of samsaras and belong not to the Cosmos, but to the Chaos, and their mission is not that of Cosmic Language, but of Chaotic Interference.
GATHEKA: Imagination is an uncontrolled thought. One might ask if it is good to have a strong imagination. It is good to be strong oneself. If one has strength, then imagination is strong, and thought is strong, and one is strong oneself. Furthermore, a strong imagination means strength going from oneself, reaching out without one’s control. Therefore a strong imagination is not always promising; it is strength of thought which is desirable. For what is thought? Thought is self-directed and controlled imagination.
TASAWWUF: An American Mathematician and Philosopher has written The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking. He has explained what rigor is in thinking. But he has not always impressed the scholars and much less the public. The generality has ridden along with the least resistance, and surface imagination has taken the place of deep thought. That is why, with all the growth in technology, problems mount faster than solutions appear; or if they appear, they are not known by the masses. And without the deep and lucid thought man is caught even more in the samsara.
The term “self-directed” here is most important, and that is why Concentration is used. Otherwise minds flit from thought to thought, they are easily bored. They tire when they have to work. And if science progresses more, it is because it offers the discipline of concentration, self-direction and adheres to one subject, not permitting the mind to wander.
GATHEKA: But if thought has a body, is it then bound to a place, or does it spread equally throughout the whole universe? It is a subtle question. In the first place, if a person is in a prison, is his mind also in prison, or can it reach beyond, can it go out of the prison? Certainly it can. It is the body of the man which is in the prison, his mind can reach anywhere.
TASAWWUF: Here we can see that poets penetrate where philosophers do not go. The weakness of the philosopher is that he tries to put boundaries around thought, around particular thoughts and all thought and about the mind. There is something very unnatural when the mind seeks to bind the mind, imprison the mind of oneself and others. It cannot really do it.
Even though many poets have been little more than dilettantes or sycophants, as soon as they apply to their craft they are putting on wings. When they put on the wings and when they discard the depths of thought, they are only giving more freedom to the imagination, and by giving freedom to the imagination which is part of the mind, they are also giving some freedom to the whole mind. So often unconsciously there are poets who have brought mankind to freedom without intention.
GATHEKA: Perhaps a thought produced in the mind-world is made captive by its object or motive, or by its source, or its application in a sphere, within a horizon where it is working out its destiny. Nevertheless it is thought, and it is capable of reaching every part of the universe in a moment’s time.
TASAWWUF: Even in the science of Physics, especially in Mechanics, it is recognized that a single motion may have unlimited effects. It may be measured in a selected portion of space but there is no proof that its karma, so to speak, does not radiate in a much larger, even in an unlimited area. Only, as there is inertia in the physical world, it also leads to forces and movements which impede actions.
The mind-world is much freer in this respect. Thoughts may touch people far away, by reading, by radio, by cinema, television, all sorts of devices. And beyond these is telepathy. And once a thought enters its own sphere it may be picked up. That is why sometimes two inventors discover the same thing or invent the same things in different places; they are far away in the physical world but they are not so far from each other in the mind world.
GATHEKA: There is another most interesting aspect in studying the nature of mind: that every mind attracts and reflects thoughts of its own kind, just as there is a part of the earth which is more suitable for flower to grow, and another part of the earth more suitable for fruits, and yet another part of the earth where weeds grow.
TASAWWUF: We can see this in mob-activities, in the rise of groups of people who are aroused emotionally, that their minds seem to pick up the same thoughts and they act as if a single line of thought were touching them or touching them off, so to speak, in the same way, at the same time.
This is also considered in the studies on Psychology where one finds that suggestion plays an important role. This may come from the minds of others, from persons or the generality. And again it will rise from impressions received in the subconscious which may be the result of interaction of forces, or even of the dominant themes in the sphere. While man need not react to the sphere itself, he cannot remain impervious to it. For Time itself acts as if a factor in events.
GATHEKA: Thus a reflection that falls from one mind upon another mind only falls upon the mind which attracts it. This is the reason why like is attractive to like. If a robber or a thief goes to Paris, he will certainly meet with a thief. He will easily find out where the thief lives; he will see him at once because his mind has become a receptacle of the same kind of thoughts. As soon as their glances meet there is a communication established; the thoughts are alike.
TASAWWUF: The principle that like attracts like applies to all people. A rather ugly example has been given, and those who are still in the stages of discursive mentality will not always be able to apply this principle universally for themselves and others. For it is not only the thieves and lawless but the poets, the artists, the business men, the housewives, the students, all groups gravitate to their kind. And this shows there is a cosmic language, an attunement to the same vibrations and a natural drawing together.
GATHEKA: One sees in everyday life how like attracts like. The reason is that the mind has developed a certain character; and the thought-pictures of that particular character appear in it. And it is so very interesting for anyone who sees this phenomenon in ordinary life, that there is not one moment when he does not see the truth of it.
TASAWWUF: It has been indicated that there is the rise of consideration of what is called “Metalanguage,” that many people give out gestures and signs and symbols which indicate what is going on in their minds. Some interpreters of dreams see the dreams as a universal, cosmic language. They are right in supposing that there may be such a language, that there is a universal in which we all play a part.
For example, we all breathe the same air. From that air we draw certain vibrations. These are not all the physical, material vibrations. A knowledge of breath enables one to see far beyond the sense world, and sometimes even beyond the ordinary mind-world.
GATHEKA: High minds will always reflect and attract the higher thought. From wherever it comes, it will come to them; it will be attracted by the ground of mind which is prepared for it. An ordinary mind is attracted to ordinary things. For instance, a person who has a habit of criticizing people is very eager to open his ears to criticism, because that is the subject which interests him; his pleasure is there. He cannot resist the temptation of hearing ill of another, because it is most dear to his heart, for he speaks of it himself.
TASAWWUF: We often meet people who will read these words and assent. They will presume they reflect higher thought. Many people making this presumption are still inclined to gossip, and to tear down. They are unaware of it; they are unconscious that they are making for themselves a heaven which is not very ideal, which is not filled with love and joy and truth. For although it has been said that for every idle word man suffers in the day of judgment, it is peculiar that often among religious people we find more back-biting and gossip: they are unaware of it, they think they are good people.
The ordinary people think they can stop this evil by prohibition. It has not worked that way. Having negative commandments or passing laws does not necessarily make people good. We have a guidance at all times. Thus we can examine our breath and when we pass beyond moral behavior the breath becomes irregular. And we can do the esoteric practices, getting the breath in rhythm, and having a devotional attitude. Then it is easy to see when we transgress. Nobody has to tell us. The breath will tell, the countenance of eyes will tell, the heart will tell.
GATHEKA: To the ears of the person to whom that thought does not belong, it is a foreign note which he does not want to hear. His heart has no pleasure in it; it wants to throw off anything that is inharmonious. Therefore the mind-world is man’s kingdom, his property; whatever he sows, that he reaps; for whatever purpose he keeps that property, that is produced in it.
TASAWWUF: Many people would like to gain magnetism. They want to own magnetism like they possess property or things or fame or position or worldly attainment. And then when they accept in thought the tearing down of others, they lose magnetism. If we only knew it, every time we deride another, every time we speak ill we lose magnetism. It is a cosmic law. All are the creatures of God, the Perfect. Even the imperfect have been made by Him.
Then there will be another question, should we not refrain from negatives and ill-will. The answer is that we do not have to forbear correcting the world or our friends or ourselves. We must know that the negative weakens the magnetism; we can replace it. So it is that Tauba, repentance, does not mean so much contrition as turning in the direction of God, feeling God, relying upon Him. Then the magnetism may be restored. And also if we rely on God as a Reality, we shall not be drawn so much into negatives; it will not happen so often.
GATHEKA: Now going into the deeper metaphysics, what is it that forms the thought-picture? It is a very subtle question. A materialistic scientist will say that there are thought-atoms which group and make the form; joining together they compose the thought-form. And if he wants to make it more objective, he will say that in the brain there are little thought-pictures just like moving pictures, and that moving successively they complete a form. For this person does not see further than his body; and so he wants to find out the secret of the whole life in his body and in the physical world.
TASAWWUF: But this is no longer the trend. There are trends toward uncertainties and there are trends toward the acceptance of a psychic world; there are even trends toward mysticism. For scientists do not like to be caught and not explain phenomena; they will usually change their opinions in order to explain in some way.
There are now many different trends. Sometimes it is held that dreams are very real. Indeed some cultures hold that they are more real than the events of the physical world. And even those who pretend that the objective world is “maya” and therefore “illusion” or unreal, nevertheless do not always have a positive standard upon which to build. Science is seeking positive standards and so there are constant changes in theories, and also growing outlooks toward an integrative outlook and what is being called “Psychologics.”
GATHEKA: In reality the brain is only an instrument to make thoughts more clear; thought is greater, vaster, deeper, and higher than brain. The picture of thought is made by the impressions of mind. If the mind had had no impressions the thought would not be clear. For instance, a blind person who has never in his life seen an elephant, will not be able to form an idea of an elephant, because his mind has not the form ready to compose at the command of the will. For the mind must know it first in order to compose it.
TASAWWUF: The world moves toward a more universal approach. Wars and systems of communication have brought people and ideas closer together, and some, who are not ego-bound, also examine the ideas and explanations of others. For instance, in both Sufism and Vedanta there are world outlooks. These world outlooks are bound to replace egocentric outlooks, scientific or not. Besides, the limited explanations do not explain everything.
We have seen in the physical sciences how the discovery of radio-activity compelled a complete re-examination and revaluation of all doctrines about matter. This has occurred. Also there are being discovered more and more psychic and mental phenomena which are not explained by a single mind. A single mind is not science, no matter how great the personality. And no single mind seems to have explanations for all phenomena.
As more and more experience something not merely on the surface, not merely connected with sense-phenomena, so there will be progress also to explain the mental phenomena.
GATHEKA: Therefore the mind is a storehouse of all the forms which a person has ever seen. But cannot a form be reflected upon a blind person’s mind? Yes, but it will remain incomplete. If a thought is projected on a blind person, he takes only half of it; for he will not have that part which he should take from his own mind, and so he only takes the reflection which is projected upon him. Therefore he has a vague idea of the thing, but he cannot make it clear to himself, because his mind has not yet formed that idea.
TASAWWUF: Actually, we find this all over. People without fine sensitivity will not understand psychic phenomena. They are apt to condemn what they do not experience or understand; they are like the blind people. And in the story of One-Eye, Two-Eyes, and Three-Eyes, it is easy to see where One-Eye falters. But the two-eyed people could not understand the Three-Eyes. She is also condemned and so it has been. But as in the science of Physics; radio-activity, the laser-beam and the ultra-microscope have been discovered and invented, beyond the traditional sense-phenomena, so it is in the psychological and mental worlds, there are things undiscovered by the traditions.
Actually the traditions always stand in the way. They are like Inertia in the scientific and mechanical world. But the minds of the fixed persons try to impose some will-power, and they make a will-power not based on realities. So it has been that not the Will-of-God but the Will-of-Man has predominated, and a veil retained over much of life.
GATHEKA: The form of a thought which the mind holds is reflected upon the brain. The brain may be likened to a photographic plate. The thought falls upon the brain just as a reflection falls upon the photographic plate; both one’s own thought and the thought of another. But there is another process, and that is that the thought is developed like the photographic plate. And what is it developed with? Is there some solution in which the photographic plate is to be put? Yes, and that is the intelligence.
TASAWWUF: And neither religion nor the generality has accepted too much the existence of three bodies and three worlds, all efforts have been made to explain by the phenomena that are understood. And what has been understood? Mostly the physical things. No doubt there are those who deny matter and then they rely on thought. But what thought do they rely on? They rely on their own thoughts. They make realities of their own thoughts which is proper. But at the same time they do not make realities of the thoughts of others. Consciously or unconsciously they either degrade others or elevate themselves. Therefore, a Sufi is said to be one who sees life from the thoughts of others, as well as of himself. Recognizing the thought-world, he sees it universally. And in all people, as Whitman says, he sees himself.
Usually this does not occur. This is due to the absence of Intelligence which is called Vijnana in Sanskrit and Akl or Ilm in Arabic. The Western people must penetrate to it.
GATHEKA: Through one’s own intelligence it is developed and made more clear to the inner senses. By inner sense is meant the inner part of the five senses. For outwardly it is these five organs which give us an idea of five senses, but in reality there is only one sense. Through five different outer organs we experience different things, and this gives us the ideas of five senses.
TASAWWUF: In The Unity of Religious Ideals the story of Lot is presented and explained esoterically and symbolically, but people mostly only see the symbolism and not the reality behind it. For this is explained according to Taitteriya panishad. There is the doctrine of Five Sheaths, Bodies, Vehicles, called kosha. But it is exactly as in the myth; most understand the Physical and Vital bodies and the mind. They do not understand vijnanamayakosh and anandamayakosh.
The last two may be called Bodies of Understanding (or Intelligence) and Bliss. We are not concerned with the Bliss here. The word vijnana has been translated and interpreted or misinterpreted so no one meaning is clear. This is because the writers may have much mental development but not Intelligence. If they had the Intelligence, they would recognize Vijnana as such.
And then we have two derivative terms: manovijnana and alayavijnana. Manovijnana means the inner senses, the intelligence of mind as is presented here. It is the inner side of the Five Senses. It is given great consideration in the cosmic psychologies of both Hinduism and Buddhism. But as the priestcraft and rituals became more important and as people were usually not concerned with the depths of religion and understanding, this sort of tradition became confined to books and to the few. It was not so “esoteric” in the sense of being hidden, as in the sense of being ignored.
Alayavijnana is different, and this really corresponds to the vijnanavada of the Hindus. They still fight over the words, and this is because the philosophers have not had the experience. They are not mystics, they are not awakened. But the alayavijnana corresponds to what has been said: “But in reality there is only one sense.”
GATHEKA: There are visionary people who have conceptions of the different colors of thoughts and imaginations and feelings, and different imaginary forms of thoughts and feelings. No doubt this is symbolical rather than actual. The color of a thought corresponds with the condition of the mind. It shows the element to which the thought belongs; whether the thought belongs to the fire element, to the water element, or to the earth element. This means that it is, for instance, fire which is behind the thought; that fire produces its color around the thought as an atmosphere surrounding it. And when such visionary people see the thought-form in the form of color, what surrounds the thought is according to the character belonging to that thought.
TASAWWUF: This is a very big subject. It forms part of the study of Sufic mysticism.
It must become clear that the mental analysis of mysticism is not mysticism. We can make charts, we can study the colors and the elements, but that will not be the experience. The reflection is not the experience. Just as the blind man cannot understand the outer colors, so the intellectual man does not comprehend the inner colors. He may analyze them, he may take the experiences or conclusions of others, but they do not belong to him, just as the blind man does not see the visible world. So the intellectual does not see the invisible.
Then there are those who see reflections. It is like something in the life of the fish; the fish sees only what is under the surface of the water. He does not see out of it. You can go up to the glass in the aquarium and the fish will not see you. It is like his being in another world, another dimension. You are in the same space, so to speak; the fish does not know that. So the mental man does not see beyond what he has capacity to see.
Still as we take advantage of the knowledge of radio-activity and the laser beam and the ultra-microscope, we can learn at least indirectly about the knowledge of mystics and others who penetrate beyond the obvious, which is called “common-sense.”
GATHEKA: A thought connected with earthly gain is of the earth element.
RYAZAT: The earth breath is one on the surface; it does not involve a long inhalation or retention. It comes out quickly, indicating that it must be followed by action to be effective. An earthly breath or earthly thoughts without action is enervating. It is best used when there is an action, a plan, an immediate motive. And also when one wishes something of the world one must begin with the earth-plane. But if the goal is acquisition there should be a more effective inhalation and if giving or acting, a more effective exhalation—as in attending the needs of the body, etc.
It is not “wrong” to use the earth-element thusly. It is really much worse to confuse the elements, and safa, purification, means to learn to use the elements each in its place and for its particular purpose.
GATHEKA: A thought of love and affection represents the water element, it is spreading sympathy.
RYAZAT: The water-breath is in the left nostril and involves a more determinate exhalation than inhalation. Inhalation brings to oneself, exhalation gives or bestows to others, and in sympathy the consideration of others is foremost.
GATHEKA: A thought of revenge and destruction and hurt and harm represents fire.
RYAZAT: The fire element is in the right nostril and involves a strong inhalation and a weak exhalation. Its movement is upward.
TASAWWUF: It must not be presumed that these are the only aspects of these elements. It is treated one way in the esoteric lessons, another in The Mysticism of Sound and still another way in the little brochure called Metaphysics. Every element has both positive and negative aspects, and each element may be used alone or in combination with others, either as a dominate over recessives or in conjunction with other elements.
At the same time these thoughts bring on the fire element and are also indicative of the influences and radiations attributed to the planet Mars or Aries in Astrology and kindred occult sciences. But when one is able to overcome the afflictions indicated by the elemental or planetary influences or attunements, one may avoid the unfavorable or undesired results.
There are several ways of doing this. In Mysticism one learns to modify each element with the Ether or Akasha. In Occultism one learn to introduce counter-forces. And in Esotericism one learns to rise above all dualistic factors in life.
GATHEKA: A thought of enthusiasm, courage, hope, aspiration represents air.
RYAZAT: The air element has a strong upward movement; retention is easy and expiration difficult. Sometimes also the breath, taking a zigzag direction changes from one nostril to the other.
TASAWWUF: These thoughts bring on the air breath and also the air breath is needed for each of these thoughts but in different ways. Still they are all helpful and involve more or less the etheric breath or the refinement needed. Enthusiasm is without the refinement and does not always lead to the goal. It is good for immediate impetus but one can become enticed by it. Courage, hope and aspiration all lead to goals. Therefore the air element was often associated with the Brahman caste.
GATHEKA: A thought of retirement, solitude, quiet, peace, represents ether.
RYAZAT: The etheric breath, while self-containing, comes through refinement. Also there is a state of development when it would seem the breath is entirely suspended. This is the subtle breath. The more subtle the breath the more the etheric element predominates.
TASAWWUF: It follows from this that external action is impossible, even unnecessary, with this breath. The thoughts of solitude, retirement, quiet, peace and such principles help bring on the etheric element but do not sustain it. One must rise above the sphere of thought to sustain it. But when this is accomplished, and especially by esotericism, one can reach these. Once having this ability one can master the elements and their associated emotions. This can lead to exaltation.
GATHEKA: These are the predominate characteristics of thoughts in connection with the five elements.
TASAWWUF: These are not the only ones and especially in The Mysticism of Sound this teaching has been presented both analytically and synthetically.
GATHEKA: There is no superiority of one element over another. The superiority of thought is according to the outlook of the mind.
TASAWWUF: The use of the etheric element represents the mission of the late Ramana Maharshi. He was a master of everything but action. He did not act. But perhaps he fulfilled the state, as taught in the Bhagavad Gita, when action results in non-action and non-action represents action. Therefore he leaned toward one type of perfection but not all perfection.
It is said that Mahatma Gandhi, whom some have called a saint, held to the opposite course of life. He was all action. He did not rest much and found a near-perfection in what might be called “non-non-action.” This was also the blending of rajas with sattva which is the point of view of most Sufis. Also, the Bodhisattvic oath and the attitude arising there-from encompasses both these presumably extreme and opposite views.
GATHEKA: For instance, a person standing on the ground sees a horizon before him; this is one outlook; another person is standing on the top of a tower and from there he is looking at the wide horizon; his outlook is different.
TASAWWUF: This is illustrated also by the extremes of the Maharshi and the Mahatma. Both may fulfill their purposes but in quite different ways.
GATHEKA: It is according to the outlook that the thought is superior or inferior. Besides, no one can take a thought, any thought-picture, and say, “This is an inferior thought,” or “This is a superior thought.” Thought is not an earthly coin which is inferior or superior; what makes it inferior or superior is the motive behind it.
TASAWWUF: Through the teaching analogy is given between the mind and a field. We have the consideration of the soil, the consideration of the seed, the consideration of adaptability, and consideration of care during growth. Without all these and other factors, we cannot be too sure.
Besides we see some seeds fructify quickly and others do not. There are so many conditions involved. But every thought makes a groove in the mind and also every thought takes one away from primordial peace.
GATHEKA: The form of thought also has its effect upon the form and expression of someone. For a thought has a particular language which manifests in a kind of writing, if one could read it.
TASAWWUF: It is said continually that heart is the depth of mind. It is emphasized continually that there is the faculty of Insight by which all things become clear. This is true also of the teachings. With thought alone one is touching only the skin. With Insight one reaches the depths.
GATHEKA: This language can be read in the face and form of a person.
TASAWWUF: This was given out by Hazrat Inayat Khan in his “Natural Science,” copies of which have been withdrawn. It expressed everything analytically and if memorized one might be able to read as Phrenologists and Palmists do. But there is another aspect that every line, every breath, every movement, every everything has a key to its interiority.
Thus there are the lines and they have meanings. And the expressions and also whether there is blood in the cheeks or not. Also the lights of both eyes and countenance. All tell something to the seer. This is also considered in the lessons on Kashf, Insight, in the Gathas.
GATHEKA: Everyone reads this to a certain extent, but it is difficult to define the letters, the alphabet of this language. There is one mystery which opens a door into thought-language, and that is the vibrations and what direction the vibrations take.
TASAWWUF: This is especially presented in the lessons and literature on “Mysticism” but for this also Kashf is needed. Memorizing all the elements and factors and details is wearing and touches only the surface. Insight and attunement touch the depths. And the more one practices it the easier the art becomes.
GATHEKA: A thought works upon and around a person’s form, and becomes manifest to the eyes upon his visible being. And there is a certain law which governs its work; and that is the law of direction; if the forces are going to the right, or to the left, or upward, or downward. It is this direction of the vibrations of thought which produces a picture, so that a seer can see this picture as clearly as a letter.
TASAWWUF: No doubt this comes with Kashf, Insight. And there are liftings of veils as is taught in Kash al-Mahjub of Hujwiri. But also the eyes can be trained and especially with deep meditation. A key to this is offered in The Soul, Whence and Whither, showing the three vehicles. Each has its eye, so to speak. Each is expressive and responsive to and with certain kinds of lights, light-rays and phenomena. Only the deeper one goes, the more is involved with these light-rays.
Thus on the physical plane one gets warmth and magnetism. On the mental plane all thoughts and qualities are associated with the light. And on the heart plane from Djabrut all feelings of any and every kind. These are in the light and with the light.
The seer practices both the deep Meditation and Contemplation. Then with attunement he rises above the distinctions and differences which divide men. He seems to be reading another; actually he is reading the self. But this “self” is of a quite different nature. It has been written with capital letters as the Self, and also called Atman. But this wording does not by itself bring any hidden faculty. Rather the awakening of the hidden faculties bring meanings to the words.
GATHEKA: No doubt for a seer it is not necessary to read the thought from the visible form of a person, because he cannot be a seer if he is not open to reflection, so that every thought is reflected in him, which makes things even more clear. Besides that, he need not see the picture of a thought on the visible form in order to know it; the atmosphere tells him. The thought itself calls out, “I am this thought,” whatever it may be; because thought has a language, a voice; thought has a breath and has life.
TASAWWUF: This is reflected in the breath of every person. The seer can tell at once the nostril being used, the inhalation and exhalation and direction. He thus knows which elements are active and which dormant, and this directs the flow of life. It cannot be otherwise; if otherwise, there would be chaos. But there is order and system and behind these the actualities of Love, Harmony, and Beauty.
Nothing is hidden, and the master of breath easily becomes master of thought. Only he does not use the breath and thought to collect power, possessions or anything any more than the average person uses the eyes alone to accumulate what he desires.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: Memory is a mental faculty as distinct as mind, a recording machine which records all that falls upon it through the five senses.
TASAWWUF: Memory may be regarded as a negative or Moon factor of the mind. It does not create nor can it destroy by itself. It is dependent upon the outer life, the senses and direct experience, although if man has an inner experience this also can be recorded in and by the memory.
GATHEKA: What one sees, hears, smells, touches, tastes is recorded upon the memory. A form, a picture, an image, once seen, sometimes remains in the memory for the whole life if it is well recorded by the memory.
TASAWWUF: Although the sense of sight is emphasized here one can also record loud or strange or impressive noises and especially music which is liked or extremely disliked. And also if one has burned oneself or has had sharp and impressive tastes, all these remain in the memory and form the compendium of likes and dislikes.
GATHEKA: In the life of the world one hears so many words during the day, and yet some words which the memory has recorded remain for the whole life, as living as ever. So it is with music. Once a person has heard wonderful music and it is recorded on his mind, it remains forever and ever. And memory is such a living machine that you can produce that record at any time; it is there.
TASAWWUF: This would indicate that there are sense impressions which remain into the after-life in the next world. Those experiences which are only concerned with the surface of life may perish. But those experiences of our jinn-nature remain on. They do not disappear at death. They have touched the depths of mind and perhaps even what the Christian Scientists call “immortal mind” although nothing with name and form persists forever. But the deep impressions persist and exist along with the mind. And our jinn-nature and accumulations do not disappear with the dissolution of the flesh.
GATHEKA: A good perfume once experienced, once perceived, is remembered. The feeling of taste remains; the feeling of touch memory holds.
TASAWWUF: Hindu philosophy teaches the existence of inner senses and a sensorium which all the senses are related to. And the Hindu Scriptures say that the devas are particularly affected by perfumes and nectars. These seem to persist on and on, closely connected with our innermost personality. Therefore those who deride sense impressions are as much at fault as those who deride our inner beings.
GATHEKA: Things do not remain in the memory as in a notebook. For as the notebook is dead, so what remains in the notebook is dead; but memory is living, and so what remains in the memory is living also, and has a living sensation.
TASAWWUF: Thus there are the impressions or samsaras. And they build up the lattice-work of cause and effect. Karma as separate from the activities of this world and the next is meaningless. Karma as a term considered as a dictionary definition is like a corpse. Samsaras are seeds which grow and blossom and bear fruit; the mind has been likened to a field both in philosophy and in the mysteries. It is foolish to consider it otherwise.
GATHEKA: A record of pleasant memory is sometimes so precious that one wishes to sacrifice this objective world for such a record.
TASAWWUF: In Theravadin Buddhism advantage is taken of that. Buddha taught that separation from the pleasant is painful and attachment to the unpleasant is painful. But attachment to the pleasant and detachment from the unpleasant also produce samsaras. So long as ego-attachment persists there will be the attachments and samsaras. So meditations are given to enable one to rise first above all that is unpleasant, and later on to become detached, if necessary, from all the components of life.
GATHEKA: I was very touched once by seeing a widow whose relations wished me to tell her to go into society, to mix with people, to live a more worldly life. I went to advise her on that subject. But when she told me gently, “All the experiences of this world’s life, however pleasant, do not afford me pleasure. My only joy is the memory of my beloved; other things give me unhappiness, other things make me miserable. If I find joy, it is in the thought of my beloved,” I could not say one word to change her mind. I thought it would be a sin on my part to take her away from her joy.
TASAWWUF: There are detailed records of the life of Mother Krishnabai of Anandashram in southern India. She went through something like this, but she became even more involved in an attachment to sorrow and repentance. No doubt repentance (tauba) is the first step in spiritual awakening. It is only the first step and if one remains attached to it, he will not rise in the scale of love, joy and peace. The soul is longing for freedom and for no form of attachment (detachment being negative attachment) to anything.
In this instance, when Krishnabai met Swami Ram Das she began her long and successful journey to spiritual freedom and liberation.
GATHEKA: If the memory had been a misery for her, I would have spoken to her otherwise. But it was a happiness for her, it was the only happiness. I thought that here was the living Sati. I had only a great esteem for her, and could not speak one word.
TASAWWUF: Sati is, of course, the Hindu widow who sacrifices herself either on the bier of her husband or in some ceremonial. There is both a beautiful side to it and a very ugly one. The ugliness came when it changed into a custom and even a compulsion. The great love of the Soul is God. This can only be proved by living experience, by heart-awakening. When one has not reached that stage, the love between mates is of the highest benefit. It should not be tampered with.
GATHEKA: In memory the secret of heaven and hell is to be found. As Omar Khayyam has said in his Ruba’iyat, “Heaven is the vision of fulfilled desire, and hell the shadow of a soul on fire.” What is it? Where is it? It is only in the memory. Therefore memory is not a small thing. It is not something which is hidden in the brain. It is something living, and it is something so vast that a limited mind cannot conceive of it; it is something which is a world in itself.
TASAWWUF: There is a mental counterpart of everything in manifestation. At one time much consideration was given to “The Science of Correspondences” and there have been both psychologists and philosophers who were concerned with parallelisms, correspondences, interaction and such possible explanations of the relation of the physical and mental. We cannot say that they are all wrong; we can say there may be several ways of explaining what is actually functioning.
Only from the earth point of view, as we can only see the abstraction side of thought and not its dynamism we have often concluded that there was no particular life or growth going on. Actually, everything is as Buddha said, subject to incessant change. This of itself does not tell us what or how change works. But this is a necessary first step to prevent the error that forms persist. Nothing persists, everything is always changing, some items slow, some more rapidly and some, like the clouds, exceedingly rapidly before our eyes.
GATHEKA: But people might ask, “What is it, then, if a person has lost his memory? Is it caused by a disorder in the brain?” In the first place no one really loses his memory. A person may lose his memory, but it does not lose him; because the memory is one’s own being.
TASAWWUF: Whenever there is an impediment in the breath there is a break between the coordination of the bodies. It may come directly from the defect in breath or it may come indirectly when the channels and tubes of the body are clogged. The unclogging of the channels and tubes often by itself clarifies the condition.
GATHEKA: What happens is that the disorder of the brain makes it incapable of distinguishing what the memory contains. Therefore a person who has lost his memory owing to the disorder in the brain, still has a memory just the same. That memory will become to him clearer after death.
TASAWWUF: This can easily be proved by hypnosis, often by suggestion and also by the use of carbon dioxide gas which, under certain conditions promotes regression and also acts like an ultramicroscope on the memory. True, Edgar Cayce could go naturally into a trance and be very clear-sighted. All people have this potentiality and while artificial means are often used, the time may come when one can naturally regress or look deep into his memory. He will find it is unimpaired. For the memory receives its vitality from within as from without and touches the Alaya, the cosmic memory.
GATHEKA: For the mind is quite distinct from the body; it is something apart, standing independent of the body. The mind is dependent on the body for perceiving the outer experiences which it takes in through the senses; but the mind is independent of the body for holding its treasures which it has collected through the outer world and retaining them.
TASAWWUF: One very definite difference between mind and body is that the cells and organs of the body are always changing. They are renewed and revivified whether we are conscious of it or not. This is a function of breath and as one becomes master of breath this function becomes perfected. But the cells are different; even the bony structure is subject to change. But the memory is not like that. It is not subject to change and renewal. It is the same memory for the personality until he reaches what has been called the River of Lethe, the river of forgetfulness. But actually this may continue, though hidden, and there are some who claim to have the faculty of tracing earlier lives of others and some who claim to be able to do this for themselves.
Whether this is personal or not does not matter. For all the records of the universe are in the Alaya, the cosmic depository. Seers are able to function in and with it. And one can look backward indefinitely. Madame Blavatsky called this the Akashic Records but there is little evidence that the theosophical and other orders and organizations have retained such a faculty. Still it is there.
GATHEKA: As we are accustomed to experience everything through the vehicle of this body, even our feelings, this makes us dependent for some time upon the body; but it does not mean that we cannot experience all that belongs to the mind without the help of the body. Also, if a person lifted himself from his objective being, he would find his memory intact.
TASAWWUF: One of the purposes common to the Sufi Movement and the Theosophical societies as well as kindred organizations is that they were established to awaken or re-awaken the hidden potentialities in man. Some groups have a philosophy of it, which is without flaw, but perhaps useless, because accepting that there are latent faculties does not awaken them. It does not even mean recognizing them in those in whom they have been awakened.
The esoteric sciences either have this as a purpose or bring it about naturally with spiritual growth. But there are many signs of independence. Thus the existence of clairvoyance and clairaudience, which may be extensions of ordinary functions into the subtle world. Their presence or acquisition may not of itself indicate spiritual growth (though it is usually a sign of evolution). But it does show the practice and acquisition of faculties beyond that of the ordinary senses, if there is anything which can be really ordinary.
Then there are awakenings, and this occurs when disciples begin to merge into the teacher, whether this teacher is on the earth in their presence, on the earth but not with them physically or has left the world but has been able to communicate through love. This requires no trance and never, never another person as medium, any more than love requires another person as medium.
GATHEKA: Only, the memory cannot function in the brain which is out of order, but the impressions during the time that a person has lost his memory are still recorded; they come back later on. Only at the time when a person has lost his memory, the memory is not actively taking the record of things given to it.
TASAWWUF: The psychologist, Mesmer, seems to have openly recognized it. Before his time this knowledge was retained only in the occult and esoteric schools. The authorities held such knowledge as dangerous, even diabolic.
But we must be concerned more with the great possibilities in man, not just with his defects, his morbid, irrational or pathological state. This knowledge is necessary for the understanding of self; it is not something to dwell on much because we do not meet so many cases of it.
GATHEKA: To have a good memory is not only a good thing; it is a bliss, it is a sign of spirituality; because it shows that the light of intelligence is clear and is illuminating every particle of the brain. A good memory is a sign of great souls. Besides memory is the treasure where one’s knowledge has been stored. If a person cannot draw the knowledge he has collected from his memory, then his dependence upon the book is of little worth.
TASAWWUF: The proof of the commentaries is in this: that for commentaries to be of any real value, they must also demonstrate this, that there is some inner light focusing upon the mind and making it possible not only to draw upon the past, but also on thoughts and words that have accumulated in the past.
The science of commentaries was originally presented as an analytical view of faithful disciples. But if it were only that, it would not help much. For just as many persons drawing from a model would both see differently and draw differently, so many persons commenting would be different. But the real commentary can come only with the development of insight or attunement and in no other way. Commenting comes from the Intelligence, and the Intellect at best can only be its tool.
GATHEKA: One day, six months after I had been received by my Murshid as his pupil, he began to speak on metaphysics. Being metaphysically inclined myself, I eagerly welcomed the opportunity. During these six months I was never impatient, I had never shown any eagerness to know more than what I was allowed to know. I was quite contented at the feet of the Master; that was everything to me.
TASAWWUF: And in this is one of the great keys to spiritual development. It comes with the attunement, whether in feeling or thought or otherwise. It is like a sharing, a feeding. The words and thoughts of a spiritual teacher hardly convey an inkling of his communications of wisdom. These are in his atmosphere, his personality, his entire being. Even if he tries to give out his intellectual accumulations, as his mind and memory are acute, they seem to be greater than those of other people. Actually it may not be so. Actually he is in tune with the Akasha, so to speak, so that whatever he has obtained in this world is at his command. A master has all his possessions before him, so to speak.
When we add to this the super-universe of heart and wisdom, he becomes like a god. Indeed all of us are gods in reality, but we have come to regard man as separate and much below the angels. This is not so and this is one of the lessons for human-kind to learn. All of us are universes.
GATHEKA: Nevertheless it was a great stimulus to my mind to hear from him something about metaphysics. But as soon as I took out my notebook from my pocket my Murshid ended the subject. He said nothing; but from that day I learnt a lesson: “By this he means that my notebook must not be the storehouse of my knowledge. There is a living notebook; and that is my memory, a notebook which I shall carry with me all through life and through the hereafter.’
TASAWWUF: Specifically attunement replaces notes and physical aides. We not only carry our minds, our memories, we carry and are carried by Cosmic Intelligence. This term as one of abstract philosophy has often produced confusion. Statements do not connote realities, but neither are they contrary to realities.
The disciple, adhering to the teacher and teachings, learns to attune to the “higher mind” of the teacher and this takes him up a grade of “union with all the Illuminated Souls Who form the embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.” The pupil may see a form, a name, but this is only the shadow of the Master. However it is a shadow of the Master and not a mere empty shadow. It reflects the Master and the more one finds his way to this Spirit of Guidance the more he will both carry and be carried by wisdom itself.
After this is attained, the line of demarcation between here and hereafter will disappear. One will find himself in a larger universe and also a larger universe within himself.
GATHEKA: No doubt we always write on paper things belonging to the earth, figures and other facts; but things pertaining to the spiritual order of things, to the divine law, are of much greater importance. The notebook is not made for them, it is in the memory they must be treasured, for memory is not only a recording machine. It is at the same time a fertile ground; and what is put there is continually creative; it is doing something there. Therefore you do not only possess something that you have deposited, there is its interest also.
TASAWWUF: The commentator was somewhat amazed to find a noted professor giving examinations on what is called in the West, “Zen Buddhism.” By the accumulation of facts, of names and forms, scholars were given credentials and then they went out to teach what is known as “Oriental Philosophy” in the West. It has nothing to do with the philosophy of Orientals. It is a compendium of names and forms and acts, and is not philosophy at all.
Once the celebrated Zen monk sent out an examination questionnaire of almost the same type as did this professor, the same questions about names and forms and history. It was sent to a simple American who was a cowboy by profession. When the cowboy received the examination questionnaire, he took the paper, crumbled it up and returned it to the Zen monk. What do you think happened? He was given a perfect mark—no ego, no intellect, no facts; he gave evidence of spiritual awakening, not knowledge of names and forms, or what passes for names and forms. This is the real Zen, not some mental erudition which tells nothing of oneself, another, or of the universe.
GATHEKA: But at the same time we learn in the Sufi path how to erase from the record a living memory of something in the past; that is the work which we accomplish by concentration and meditation.
TASAWWUF: By concentration and meditation we mean the actual functions and not any reflections or reactions to such functions. Zen has been attacked by those who have never taken part in its proceedings. Anyone can attack any group, who has not taken part in their proceedings. This is a common way of the people of nufs and they can appeal to prejudice and ego and often get a following. This is a negative way, leading nowhere.
The disciple in Sufism has to deal with nufs, the ego. In meditation he silences the ego and in concentration he puts it to work. Then the ego finds its own reality. But there are also the processes of safa, purification and sometimes to become effective it is necessary to give the mind what is a veritable vacuum cleaning.
GATHEKA: It is not an easy thing; it is the most difficult, but also the most valuable thing there is. This is why we keep our teachings free from speculations and belief and doctrines and dogmas, for we believe in actual work with ourselves.
TASAWWUF: This shows a great chasm between metaphysicians and most philosophers, and mystics. Actually the mystic is nearer the scientist who depends upon experience. True it is outer experience mostly, and may be superficial as far as obtaining the deep knowledge of the universe or of oneself, still it is valid, it is based on effort and not on merely looking into one’s ego mind and thinking he is finding the universe there.
Speculation has been decried by the great Masters of wisdom and speculation has become the great tool of the followers of the followers of these Masters. Speculations, known as theology or metaphysics have been dominant factors in the operative world. It is necessary to clean them away to obtain the divine wisdom, to gain the knowledge of self.
GATHEKA: What if you were told a thing one day and you believed one day, and next day you doubted and did not believe? If you were told there is a house in the seventh heaven and a palace, what would it do for you? It would only answer your curiosity; it would take you nowhere.
TASAWWUF: Scriptures infer pictures or ideas of heaven. They are not the same, but they have in common the apparent fulfillment of desire. Buddha taught to suppress the desire nature and also not to speculate, but there are so many heavens in the Buddhist metaphysics, so many heavens. One is told that he must not take anything on blind faith, he must question and challenge, and yet among the Buddhists there is little questioning and challenging. One accepts, one does not question. So there are many schools of all kinds of beliefs and it is very hard to reconcile these with the Teachings of the Master.
Besides, mostly one does not find examples of spiritual awakening. There are just enough actual cases to indicate the Dharma may be very real indeed.
GATHEKA: It is therefore by the way of meditation that we attain to those things. We can erase from the memory what we wish to; and in this way we are able to make our heaven ourselves. The whole secret of esotericism lies in controlling the mind and in working with it as an artist would work on a canvas and produce whatever he likes.
TASAWWUF: In other words mysticism is operational; in this it is like science. It deplores speculation and it brings to conscious realization those teachings which religion reflects. Religion advocates principles and rituals or dogmas. They remain outside oneself. Mysticism does not refute them but by showing the way, meaning operations and experiences, it brings them to man as realities.
GATHEKA: How can one destroy undesirable thoughts? Must they always be destroyed by the one who has created them? Yes, it is the creator of the thought who must destroy it; and it is not in every person’s power to destroy it.
TASAWWUF: But it is within the divine power to destroy it. By summoning God (Allah) both in essence and attributes man can destroy everything his ego has accumulated. It is within his grasp. It is not gained by wishing, by proclaiming or acclaiming; it is gained by experiencing. So the constant use of La Illaha El Il Allah cleanses man of all impurities, of all that has been accumulated by the ego, and even though this might involve complete purification of and by essence of mind, it is within everyone’s grasp.
GATHEKA: Yet the same mind which has reached mastery, which can create as it wishes, can also destroy. When we are able to produce on the canvas of our heart all that we wish, and to erase all we wish, then we arrive at that mastery for which our soul craves; we fulfill that purpose for which we are here. Then we become the masters of our destiny, it is difficult, but that is the object that we pursue in life.
TASAWWUF: The Hebrew term, Malkuth Ha-Shemayim, which is usually rendered as “Kingdom of the Heavens” has the same meaning as the Sufic Malakut. It is almost obvious that the Hebraic Malkuth and the Arabic Malakut are the same. The Hebrew and Christian peoples, who have been subjects of kings and empires, began to envision heaven as a perfect earth, but the Arabs who had not been so subject to kings and empires would be unable to see it that way. Their ideal Eden would have been different. So they did not picture the Heavens as a glorified earth of a different kind. They want the streams and trees and plants and no kings. So the picture in the Qur’an is very different and yet it also has an appeal of democracy and humanity. Besides, Mohammed said that the Qur’an was given in seven different dialects, each with an inner and outer meaning. And when we come to the inner meanings, it is more than the picture, it is more than a sculpture or city planning, it is something very vast and also very glorious.
The Christian teaching in their Scriptures is that the eye has not seen, nor the ear heard, nor the mind dreamed of what the heavens are like. But religion has given us the pictures and mysticism the realities behind those pictures.
GATHEKA: Sometimes memory is weakened by too great a strain upon it. When one tries to remember, it puts a strain upon something which is natural. It is the nature of memory to remember. But when you put a strain upon it: “You must remember,” then it will forget. For the very fact that you have strained it will make it forget.
TASAWWUF: The very word Zikr really means “remembrance,” and although it is used with respect to God (Allah) it is actually keeping the mind free. The remembrance of God affects the remembrance of everything. As Jesus has said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of the Heavens and then all else shall be added.” But people have seen in the kingdom of the Heavens, the fulfillment of desires, selfish and unselfish, whereas the wise see kingdom over desires. And when one approaches life from that angle, he begins to achieve the mastery. He will no longer be a slave of desire.
By the practice of Zikr one is really expressing reliance on God, and this brings all faculties into life, not only the memory. And when one repeats the same phrase, La Illaha El Il Allah in thought (Fikr) one vivifies and revivifies the whole mind so that all its faculties move towards excellence.
Another practice is Akhlak Allah, the presence of God and this removes all tensions on every plane and from every aspect of personality.
GATHEKA: One must not try to impress one’s mind more deeply than it naturally becomes impressed. It is not necessary to use the brain when trying to remember something, because by using the brain one only strains it. The memory is at the command of a person. If he wants to know about something, without his straining the brain it must come instantly. It is an automatic machine; it must bring before you instantly all that you wish to know. If it does not work in that way, there is something wrong with it.
TASAWWUF: Buddha first gave the pragmatic approach, that if a series of practices, disciplines, rituals and dogmas do not work, the fault may be in them, not in the person. Exoteric religion teaches the eminence of institutions; esoteric religion the eminence of man. This is the most important difference between them.
GATHEKA: Certainly, association of ideas helps. It is just as when a person has lost the thought of the horse from his mind, and the stable reminds him. Your attention is quite enough; will-power must not be used to remember things.
TASAWWUF: It has been stated that the memory is in a sense the “moon” aspect of mind. There is receptivity. When will-power is used this is like the Chinese Yang; there is positivity, there is not receptivity. The more one meditates in complete relaxation the more one contacts his own inner personality and sometimes the very depth of personality. There can be no tension, not even any sense of self as a discrete being.
GATHEKA: And it is a wrong method that people are applying at present, when they say that in order to remember things one must will it. By willing one weakens. Besides this, a balance between activity and repose is necessary.
TASAWWUF: One of the main points here is this, wrong method does not work. It becomes an axiom and a dogma and when one fails in it, the person, not the method is blamed. Yet meditation and complete relaxation of mind bring the photography of the inner being to the surface.
GATHEKA: Memory is never lost. What happens is that when the mind is upset the memory becomes blurred; because it is the stillness of mind which makes one capable of distinguishing all that one’s memory contains. When the mind is upset, when a person is not tranquil, then naturally one is not able to read all that the memory has recorded.
TASAWWUF: One can imagine a record in which one carved hieroglyphs. They would remain for a long time. The wind and the weather would not affect them much. Besides we must bear in mind that the mind itself is like a field or a series of fields in which thoughts and impressions are planted and grow (or fade). The roots remain, even when there may not appear any growth above ground.
The field may seem to be abandoned by the farmer, but there it is. And either conditions or the ego can change it very quickly. The only way to uproot is to uproot everything; the desirable and undesirable. This is part of the process which mystics call “dying before death.”
GATHEKA: It is not true that memory gives away what is stored in it. It is only that man loses the rhythm of his life by over-excitement, nervousness, weakness of nerves, anxiety, worry, fear, confusion; and it is that which causes a kind of turmoil in the mind, and one cannot distinctly feel things which have been once recorded in the memory.
TASAWWUF: When the trend of the times is toward excitement, it is this spirit of agitation which is the essence of nufs, and the behavior of nufs ammara. As there is no counter movement, no general trend toward tranquility, it is thus that over-excitement, nervousness, weakness of nerves, anxiety, worry, fear and confusion arise. These are all products of this general tendency.
Since there is no counter movement, it is not strange that diseases arise from this psychological imbalance. All kinds of medicines and drugs are used; they do not correct the condition of mind and if the physicians say that a certain disease is cured, or eradicated, as the general state of ill-health of mind remains it only means that other, perhaps new forms of illness appear. There has been no general correction and all the pills and virus adjustments do not change, do not amend the state of mind. So ill-health remains and will remain until we have real doctors of mind, as there are presumably physicians of the flesh.
GATHEKA: For instance, a person who cannot easily learn by heart, in order to better this condition must make his mind tranquil as the first thing.
TASAWWUF: Gayan teaches (and it is repeated elsewhere) that meditation has the seed of cure for all maladjustments. Whether the difficulty be physical, psychological, mental, moral or others, the practice (and not any philosophy about it) will correct the condition. Also there are inner sciences based upon practicing the Presence of God which help cure any and all illnesses.
GATHEKA: That is the mental way. But a physical way of making the memory better is to eat less and sleep normally, not work too much, not worry very much, and to keep all anxiety and fear away.
TASAWWUF: One can of one’s own self eat less. One does not need a teacher for that. The advantages of the teacher are several. In the first place no one is equipped to be a spiritual teacher who succumbs to fear. He only can be spiritual teacher whose heart is strong and vibrant. This very strength, this very vitality is communicated directly and indirectly through atmosphere and speech.
Then there is need to rise above the earth element from which these weaknesses arise. Thus one can practice with movements the passage from Saum: “Raise us above the denseness of the earth.” If one did that ten times a day even it would help one to rise above the denseness of earth and so above and beyond fear and anxiety. And also to have a less dense breath; they would take one from the denseness. All these and other very practical means are used by seers.
GATHEKA: One need not work with memory in order to make it clear; what is required is to make oneself tranquil and rhythmical and peaceful in order to make memory distinct.
TASAWWUF: Memory is developed by working with the mind as a whole, as if it were a field that needed plowing and weeding, watering and fertilizing. Then all the crops would grow. Tranquility and peacefulness both arise from meditation, calm breathing and adoration. Adoration takes one above all thinking, and is positive while meditation alone may be negative, or as the Sufis say, brings attainment in fana. But the other side is baqa, the spiritual life and this is the result of adoration and transformation of personality.
As for rhythm, this comes first from the rhythm of the breath. In the first stages this may be from listening to music, dancing or walking in cadence. One is in rhythm but one is still the slave of rhythm. But as one advances on the spiritual path and practices control of breath and meditation and concentration one masters all these shortcomings.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: Will is not a power, but it is all the power there is.
TASAWWUF: In other words, Will is power operating through the personality. In The Arabian Nights it is constantly reiterated, “There is no Power nor Might save Allah.” Even the religious people do not really believe that. They like to assert it as a dogma but do not practice its reality. It has been mostly the poor and unimportant people socially who accept God thus. Those who have achieved name and fame become deluded. Social prestige has nothing to do with spiritual attainment; it does not bring it nor does it necessarily deter one on the path to God, with God.
There is an interpretation of Allaho Akbar, Peace is Power. This is another way of saying Allah is both Zat (essence) and Sifat (attributes). In the infinite these are together; in the finite they are apart. And when we attain the Peace, we can exert the power just as the kinetic energy comes from the potential energy in mechanics.
GATHEKA: How did God create the world? By will. Therefore what in us we call will-power in reality is a God-power, a power which by our recognizing its potentiality increases and proves to be the greatest phenomenon in life.
TASAWWUF: In Saum it is said, “To Thee do we give willing surrender.” It would be most wonderful if man could really practice this surrender, becoming empty to God in all things. This is easy to assert verbally. To reach this state there must be constant watchfulness over the ego, by the refinement of breath and the repetition audibly or mentally of the Divine Being. Then one will unconsciously assimilate the cosmic power; then one’s own will will be attuned to the Divine Will.
GATHEKA: If there is any secret that can be learned behind the mystery of the world of phenomena, it is will-power; and it is by will-power that all we do, physically or mentally, is accomplished.
TASAWWUF: Those who exert their own wills may be called magicians and those who empty themselves even while asserting, may be called mystics. We do not have to distinguish between good and bad, white and black magicians in the first instance. Anybody who has read Eliphas Levy on magic will see that there are laws, ceremonials, rituals and one must discipline oneself to perform them. They are acts of positivity, not of surrender. They are not necessarily evil, indeed they are seldom evil. Such magicians are as concerned or unconcerned with the Being of God as are the scientists.
GATHEKA: Our hands, with all their perfect mechanism, cannot hold a glass of water if there is no will-power to support them. A person may seem to be healthy; if will-power fails him, he will not be able to stand. It is not the body which makes us stand upright; it is our will-power.
TASAWWUF: While man in the Greek language means he who stands or looks upright, there is no question that in examining the differences between the higher apes and man, that man has the upright position, the upward look and speech. And all of these arise out of Will. Will is something that God has implanted in mankind and upon it is based a difference from animals, thus establishing a different kingdom in Nature. And if this does not appear from the purely physical point of view, from the psychological and mental points of view it becomes more obvious.
GATHEKA: It is not the strength of the body that makes us move about; it is will-power holding the body, which makes it move. Therefore in reality birds do not fly with their wings, they fly with will-power; fishes do not swim with their body, they swim with their will-power. And when man has the will to swim, he swims like a fish.
TASAWWUF: This can be proven that in heavenly bodies of water man cannot sink and also after he is drowned, often the body comes to the surface. Specific gravity does not account for drowning; it is mostly fear that accounts for drowning. And so the education of the Will should be part of the education of everybody. It is lacking in most places; it is overlooked or taken for granted.
There have been many philosophers, especially in the nineteenth century who emphasized the Will in some respects. They had many views, many explanations. And when in the twentieth century these views were by-passed or forgotten, not only did philosophy lapse into confusion, but confusion became greater all over the world.
GATHEKA: Man has been able to accomplish tremendous things by will-power. Success and failure are its phenomenon. It is only the phenomenon of will which brings one to success; and when will fails, however qualified and intelligent the person, he fails.
TASAWWUF: If this were not so the idealists would be victorious all the time. They have dreams, but they lack something. On the other hand the practical man may not have great dreams or ideals, but he has will-power and from that stamina. This may not belong to intellect but it belongs to intelligence and so often the practical man succeeds because his egocentricity does not take him away from life.
It is very hard to learn that what man calls “goodness” does not assure success. This has even lead to absurdities that success itself establishes goodness. Success always rises out of application. The Sufi metaphysics teaches that patience, endurance and such qualities are most helpful, but a belief that they are most helpful does not help at all. These qualities are to be awakened in man, and they can only be aroused by the use of will-power.
GATHEKA: Therefore it is not a human power, it is a divine power in man. And its work with mind is still greater. For no man can hold a thought in his mind for a moment if there is not the strength of will to hold it. If a person cannot concentrate, cannot keep his thought still for a moment, it means that will-power fails him; for it is will which holds a thought.
TASAWWUF: This can also be learned by observing the breath. The breath will change with every change of thought. It is by the mystical development that one can control the breath and every effort in this direction is also a strengthening of will. It is not intensification but rhythm which brings this about.
GATHEKA: Now coming to the question of what will-power is made of: in poetical words will-power is love, in metaphysical terms love is will-power. And if one says God is love, it really means God is will; for the love of God manifests after the creation, but the will of God caused the creation.
Therefore the original aspect of love is will. When a person says, “I love to do it,” it means, “I will to do it,” which is a stronger expression meaning, “I fully love to do it.”
TASAWWUF: The Sufi term is Ishk and this means not only love but adhesion, cohesion, gravitation and other forces. Only, they operate in the lower manifestations without full force of consciousness. It is this force which propels the blood, which gives it its wisdom, conscious and unconscious. The difference between the blood in man and the higher animals is not only chemical and magnetic and subtle but there is the full force of Ishk which is the Divine Love. It is operative whether it has been awakened consciously or not, whether man is awake or not.
GATHEKA: Also, will and consciousness are fundamentally the same. It is the two expressions of one thing which make them distinct; this duality comes out of unity. It is God’s own Being that in expression is will, in response consciousness; in other words in action it is will, in stillness it is consciousness; just as fundamentally sound and light are one and the same thing. In one condition the friction of vibrations produces light; in another condition the same vibrations are audible. This is why the nature and character of sound and light are one and the same.
TASAWWUF: This is what makes for unity of being. What is there which chemically assesses that animals will function as single units? It is the whole blood-function in them and we can see that as they develop, as the higher forms evolve from the lower ones, also this blood-function becomes more and more marvelous, more complicated and still more miraculous. Mechanical laws cannot explain this.
GATHEKA: And so are the nature and character of consciousness and will, because fundamentally both things belong to God’s own being.
TASAWWUF: This is something that can be known only by attainment. All the descriptions, analysis, deductions only lower the threshold of activity. To get to the depths of personality one has to have the experience. That is why it has been said, that by God-knowledge one gets to know oneself; or from the Hindu point of view, Atman is Brahman. Still this is only philosophy or religion until one has the conscious awareness of it which comes by spiritual unfoldment.
GATHEKA: The Qur’an says, “We said, ‘Be’ and it became.” This is a key to the world of phenomena. To the progressive world, to the advanced thought, this is the key which shows how manifestation came into existence. It came into existence in answer to that Will which expressed itself in saying “Be;” and it became. And this phenomenon does not only belong to the origin of things; this phenomenon belongs to the whole being of things, to the whole process of manifestation.
TASAWWUF: We do not reach understanding by analysis. Millions of people sit in audiences and listen to lectures, lessons. They only hear the words. It is only when they have the same knowledge which makes lessons and lectures possible that they really understand. And as man begins with the supposition that he is, he cannot get the supreme point of view.
The supreme point of view is that God is, and therefore to find reality one must go on the God-search. It is on that search that one comes to the depth of his being. That is why not only is “Toward the One, etc.” repeated but Zikr and other sacred phrases that the influence and suggestion of these phrases and sometimes their very sound brings on the state of awakening and understanding.
GATHEKA: We are apt to look at this whole creation as a mechanism, as man today looks at it; and we do not stop to think how a mechanism can exist without an engineer.
TASAWWUF: The Masonic Order has offered the viewpoint of God as the Grand Architect of the Universe. For a long time masonry was an occult science and art and there are traces of occultism and esotericism in the work of the Masons as a lodge. The secret has, in a sense, been lost, but the point of view has not.
There is much to be gained from this outlook and some say it is superior to religion. But everything can be superior to religion if it is based on life and not on speculation.
GATHEKA: And what is mechanism? It is only an expression of the will of the engineer, an engineer who for his convenience made the mechanism. But as we do not see before us the engineer, and only see the mechanism, we involve ourselves in the laws of the working of this mechanism, and forget the engineer by whose command this whole mechanism is going on.
TASAWWUF: It depends on the point of view. It is possible to begin and end with the existence of God as if that were the only thing that mattered. It is also possible to assume that the ego exists or the opposite, that it does not exist or is an accident. Any of these or other assumptions automatically determine the result. We assume there is a logic, and there is a logic, but the logic predetermines rather than determines the end result.
GATHEKA: As Rumi, the great inspirer and philosopher, has said in his Masnavi, “The earth, water, fire, air, these seem to us like things or objects; but before God they are living beings; they stand as His obedient servants, and they obey the Divine Will.”
TASAWWUF: Some day this will be understood. It is easily understood if we begin with the existence of God. If we assume God we immediately establish Him as ground-work, the absolute fundamental from which all else is derived. You cannot prove this God by the ordinary logic because the ordinary logic naively assumes the existence of egos. If we assume the egos we get into difficulties—different points of view, religions, politics, social orders and all kinds of things are presumably based on absolute fundamentals but no agreement as to what the absolute fundamental is. And for the sake of brotherhood and harmony, the assumption of this Supreme Major Premise can do more than anything else to bring mankind together.
GATHEKA: A part of that Will we inherit as our own divine heritage, and it is our consciousness of it which makes it greater; if we are not conscious of it, it becomes smaller.
TASAWWUF: There was a little known French philosopher of the time of the French Revolution and the first Bonapart empire who wrote extensively on this subject and from this point of view. He has been very little known and his writings are hard to get. But we can also see the relation of the Will to mankind behind the words Ishk and Ayesha for man and woman, which represent the will-in-action. The same is also reflected in some other languages.
GATHEKA: It is the optimistic attitude towards life which develops will; the pessimistic attitude reduces it, robs it of its great power.
TASAWWUF: This has been discussed in the little brochure, The Smiling Forehead and in other places. For if one can maintain the smiling forehead under all conditions, he radiates an atmosphere which benefits others; and this benefit to others is reflected back into the sphere, so that he too will gain, as well as everybody else. Besides, this shows benefit from the Divine Light which shines in the hearts of all, no matter how covered.
GATHEKA: Therefore if there is anything that hinders our progress in life it is our own selves. And it is proved a thousand times over that there is no one in the world who can be a worse enemy to us than ourselves; for in every failure we see ourselves to be standing in our own light.
TASAWWUF: Although Gayan states that one’s worst enemy is one’s own self, reading it does not always produce the proper stress. The whole universe that we see and feel and which also we take as objective and apart is not separate from our innermost being. In a certain sense man never experiences anything which is not himself, although we are all subject to change, and constantly. Consequently we really have unlimited power, power to overcome all obstacles. If something impresses us at all, we have ability to counter-impression through our reliance upon God.
Understanding this we can concentrate upon light. We can take the attitude of Mohammed, to praise God in prosperity and surrender to Him in adversity and there is no absolute failure in the world; only loss of opportunity with some situations.
GATHEKA: The earth holds the seed; and the result is that a plant springs out of it. And so it is with the heart: the heart holds the seed of thought, and there also a plant springs and brings the fruit fulfillment. But it is not only the thought, but the power of holding the thought which is of very great importance.
TASAWWUF: Thousands of repetitions, “The kingdom of heaven is within you” have not always produced the desired results. It takes more than the words. It takes the deep feelings. Once deep feeling is aroused in a person, then a hidden dynamo, so to speak, is awakened within him. This not only gives power but also direction to success in every undertaking. But the feeling is needed more than the thought, more than the sentiment though these also are needed.
GATHEKA: Therefore the factor of the heart, a factor which holds the thought, is of very great importance for the fulfillment of life’s purpose. Often a person says, “I try my best, but I cannot concentrate my mind, I cannot make my mind still.” That is true; but it is not true that he tries his best. “Best” does not end there; “best” really brings the purpose to its fulfillment.
TASAWWUF: Self-surrender is not an easy accomplishment. Many people become too tense and then blame either the teacher or themselves. Any form of blaming is a tension and when tension is applied and relaxation and loosening is needed, success cannot be achieved. If one can get a sense of not-being and if one can grow in the feeling, it is very different. Therefore disciples are given the Heart-concentration, both feeling the heart in the flesh and feeling by the heart of that which is beyond the flesh. This inner heart is most alive and also most wise and most powerful, as it is said in Khatum.
GATHEKA: The mind is just like a restive horse. Bring a wild horse, and yoke it to a carriage; it is such a strange experience for it that it will kick and jump and run, and try to destroy the carriage.
And so it is a weight for the mind to carry when you make the mind take one thought and hold that thought for a while.
TASAWWUF: It is, therefore, that in the lessons on Concentration (Murakkabah) one is told to hold the thought by the feeling and also keep the breath in rhythm. It is not always easy to hold the thought with the feeling, but it becomes easy to keep the breath in rhythm. By this means and the practice of esotericism one learns to concentrate.
Also in the lessons there are many references to taming the horse as illustrative material. If one regards one’s mind always as a sort of wild horse and applies the discipline to it and not some philosophy about discipline, one will surely grow.
GATHEKA: It is then that the mind becomes restive, because it is not accustomed to discipline. The mind by itself will hold a thought; the mind will hold so fast to a thought of disappointment or a pain or a grief, a sorrow or a failure, that you cannot take away from its grip that which it holds by itself.
TASAWWUF: When the Message was first introduced into the West and for a long time thereafter, it was more mature people who were attracted. Though often very sincere they were unable to loosen the hold of the ego. As they had lived for several years and had suffered from pain and disappointment, these things seemed real to them, more real than anything else. This caused them to live in a shadowy world. They could receive the word “divine light;” they could and did accept the proper philosophy, but the veils of ignorance were not lifted.
This made it hard for those who had either some awakened or awakening inner faculty. And the result was that those who had some inkling of the latent powers in man, of their place in life, of their potentialities and functions, found no placed in the organization. The organization itself was not subject to the disciplines that individuals had to face and became a thing of itself. This has happened to so many churches and similar institutions all over the world.
But as is taught in The Way of Illumination under the section on “The Spirit of Guidance,” gradually enough powerful younger ones, or younger ones who became powerful, began to assert themselves, and so a great step was made toward the attainment of the objectives of the Sufi Movement.
GATHEKA: But when you ask the mind to hold this particular thought, then the mind says, “I will not hold it.” When once the mind is disciplined by concentration, by the power of will, then the mind becomes your servant. And once the mind has become your servant, then what more do you wish? Then your world is your own, you are the king of your kingdom.
TASAWWUF: There is no other kingdom than this. What Jesus meant by the “kingdom,” what the Kabbalah teaches, is the same as the Sufic Malakut. It has been pictured as a kingdom similar to the kingdoms of the world, past and present. But it is not so. Rather these kingdoms have been based on it; it is the other way around. For Malakut not only means “kingdom”—in a certain restricted sense—it also means the depository of the message; it has many meanings. As a single phrase it has been called Mind World, and if we deeply study that book we can get some ideas.
But when we have advanced in the concentration and other practices, we shall have the direct experience. It will be no more book learning. It will be direct knowledge and insight which is the goal of every one.
GATHEKA: No doubt one might ask why we should not let the mind be free also, as we are free. But we and mind are not two things. It is like saying, “Let the horse be free and the rider be free.” Then the horse wants to go to the south and the rider wants to go to the north. How can they go together?
TASAWWUF: It is most difficult to picture the mind with the mind. Is the thought we are holding about mind one of a multitude of thoughts? How does it operate? In the Michelson-Morley experiment the scientists placed themselves within a space which space they also placed within themselves. It was both an enigma and an absurdity. We do not mind the enigma; we expect that but we do not welcome absurdities.
It is only with the deep vision which is obtained after one goes deep into Concentration, and perhaps not until one reaches Contemplation (Mushahida) that one gets the full import of this. Still every one can develop feeling; everyone can try to hold thought with feeling. Then one rides so to speak, and it no longer matters whether one is horse or rider or whether these are two or one. But they are not separate from oneself.
GATHEKA: There are people who would even say, “Let us be free, and they will be free.” But what are we then? Then we are nothing. Discipline has a place in man’s life. And self-discipline, however difficult and tyrannical it might seem to us in the beginning, yet is that which in the end makes the soul the master of self.
TASAWWUF: One might ask, what is meant by being free? Free from what! This has a meaning when mankind used religion to become free from sin (as it is called), or from pain and suffering. Then it had a meaning. But otherwise what is meant to be free? Some want to get rid of all thoughts and all obstacles, but if we could get rid of thoughts, how would we meet obstacles? How could we stop others from putting obstacles in our path? It becomes all empty words. There is no meaning.
But when one seizes the self, when one regards the ego as a horse to be trained and restrained, and when one says “no” to oneself, then many lessons are learned, many abilities are achieved.
GATHEKA: It was not in vain that the great sages and adepts led an ascetic life; there was a purpose in it. It is not something to follow, but it is something to understand: what use they made of it, what they accomplished by it. It was self-discipline, it was the development of will-power.
TASAWWUF: Although many times, and especially by Mohammed, asceticism was decried, nevertheless in all ages many people have resorted to it. And some even regard it as an ideal. But it may be asked, is it an achievement? Is it not rather an escape mechanism? Are we not then escaping from problems we ought to be facing? Are we not running away from life?
The ideal of the Bodhisattva is to face life where he is. One does not have to run to monasteries, to the forest, to the desert. One works with mankind, and faces the obstacles in himself and others as facets of the same difficulties. One trusts in the living God Who is everywhere. The Psalmist asks, where can one go to escape God? and where is He not? But religion has become quite different. Religion has made great differences between God and man, pulled them far apart and made man to appear weak and helpless. It is not so. By self-discipline man can become very strong indeed.
GATHEKA: All the lack that we find in life is the lack of will, and all the blessing that comes to us comes by the power of will. Some think that power of will does not depend upon ourselves; that it is given to some as a grace, as a blessing. It does not depend on ourselves, but it is ourselves. It is grace and blessing no doubt, but at the same time it is to be found in ourselves, it is our very being.
TASAWWUF: All religions seem to be divided on this point and not so much one religion against another, but within each one those who see the value of will power and discipline and those who see the tremendous unfathomable Grace. But this difference is by the untrained mind, from ignorance. When there is knowledge these two will be one. So in some forms of Buddhism, for example, they have combined them. And when man has the experience of awakening either explanation will do.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: When we analyze the word reason it opens before us a vast field of thought. In the first place every doer of good and every evil-doer has a reason to support his action.
TASAWWUF: This subject is considered also in the Gathas on TASAWWUF (Metaphysics) and in the commentaries on the subject. But lesson, commentary, meditation and even discipline does not change the human nature that much. And sometimes when people call “reason” may seem ludicrous to others. It is like constant self-defense, sometimes very automatic, reflexive and with no power or sense behind it.
GATHEKA: When two persons quarrel, each says he is in the right, because each has a reason. To a third person, perhaps, the reason of one or other may appear to be more reasonable, or perhaps he will say that both have no reason and that he has reason on his side. All disputes, arguments and discussions seem to be based upon reason.
TASAWWUF: It has been said that reason could solve all our disputes, our perplexities, our wars. It is not so. Reason cannot prove itself, and it can be questioned whether it can even give a good definition of itself, both as to what it is and what it is not.
Of course there is a harmony in the universe. There are laws. They can be ascertained, studied. And perhaps reason comes from this. These harmonies are fundamental. Without them there would be no “cosmos” at all, for that is what cosmos means, in contradistinction to “chaos.”
GATHEKA: And yet reason is something which, before one has analyzed it, is nothing but an illusion and keeps one continually in perplexity. The cause of all disharmony, all disagreement, is the perplexity which is caused by not understanding another’s reason. But one might think, what is reason?
TASAWWUF: At one time geometry was regarded as a prize accomplishment. It seemed to be a product of reason which could be verified, which was used in architecture and navigation and the study of the heavens. It seemed to be self-evident. And then some savants tried to apply it to philosophy and to everything, and they were only successful by twisting the meaning of words so that words could mean anything. And this also was called “reason” or “logic.” Instead of clarifying understanding it only produced more misunderstanding.
It was only in the nineteenth century it became clear that this geometry and this logic were conveniences, not absolutes, and in this sense not “truth.” There were found many ways sometimes to explain the same phenomena or to serve the same purpose. Any one of several might do. So reasoning is really an art, not a science.
GATHEKA: Where does it belong? Reason belongs to both earth and heaven: its depth heavenly, its surface earthly; and that which fills the gap in the form of reason, between earth and heaven, is that middle part of it which unites it. And therefore reason can be either most confusing, or most enlightening.
TASAWWUF: When we look at politics, the disputes between factions and between nations and even the differences between religions, we find nothing but confusion. No doubt there are certain groups which seem entirely “right,” but what is “right?” What are the fundamentals? What are the bases? What are the premises? Mostly we cannot find them. And without some fundamental, some basis, some major premise, one can go on and on and there will never be a satisfactory conclusion. There must be some other way out.
GATHEKA: There is the depth of reason, the most perfect reasoning, which belongs to heaven; and there is another reasoning which belongs to the earth. If a person says to someone, “Why did you take another person’s raincoat?” he may answer, “Because it was raining.” He has a reason; another reason is needed to think, “Why, I must not take another person’s raincoat. Although it was raining, yet it was not my raincoat.” That is another reason altogether.
TASAWWUF: This may be put in another way and that is the involvement or non-involvement of nufs, the ego. One can always find some excuse for what he does that is called “reason.” Yes, it is reason, it is earthly-reason, it is ego-reason. It has no depth, no consideration.
The reasoning used in the sciences is different. It is mostly devoid of ego. It should be, it usually becomes universal and that is why the sciences progress. Where the reasoning is not universal it becomes shallow excusing, and while it may seem to bring a comfort, in the depths there is no comfort. Besides this kind of earthly reasoning ignores the moral laws. Satisfaction at the expense of another may be supported by the earthly reasoning, and that is all.
GATHEKA: Do you think that the thieves and robbers, the great assassins have no reason? Sometimes they have great reasons, but reason on the surface. Can a thief not say in order to justify his action, “What is it to that rich person if he lost so much money? Here am I, a poor man, I could make better use of it. I have not robbed him of every penny; I have just taken as much as I wanted. It is useful, I can do some good with it.”
TASAWWUF: If we examine these phrases we find the constant use of the personal pronoun “I.” Everything is involved around the “I” here. There is no consideration of others. Yet there are characters in folk-lore who have performed acts of robbery and brigandage and they have become heroes in stories and legends. It may depend upon many points of view. It might even depend on how the rich person became rich, and that might be a part of the reason for taking from him. Or it might be quite otherwise, but none of this is deep reasoning. It may save a person from the jail or punishment, but that kind of reasoning does not help the world.
GATHEKA: Besides, reason is the servant of mind. The mind feels like praising a person: the reason at once brings a thousand things in praise of him, in his favor. The mind has a desire to hate a person: at once reason brings perhaps twenty arguments in favor of hating him. And so we see that a loving friend can find a thousand things that are good and beautiful in his friend; an adversary will find a thousand faults in the best person in the world, and he has reasons.
TASAWWUF: The word “reason” has been used in innumerable ways for innumerable purposes. It has been praised to the heights and yet from time to time even by memorable philosophers themselves it has been condemned as having many shortcomings. How is it then that philosophers may see the shortcomings of something called “Reason” while other people not prone to serious thinking nevertheless praise “Reason.” It is not true reason they are praising but their own habits which they have disguised under this word.
A term so disguisable with so many facets, so many outlooks cannot thus be of great value. Yet pure Reason is of greatest value when it is disjoined from egocentrism.
GATHEKA: In French conversation they say, “Vous avez raison,” but one can say that everyone has reason. It is not sometimes that one has a reason; everyone always has a reason; only it depends which reason it is. Is it the earthly reason, or is it the heavenly reason, or is it the middle reason? It is natural that heavenly reason does not agree with earthly reason.
TASAWWUF: The American philosopher, Cassius Keyser, has written, The Human Worth of Rigorous Thinking. Where others may have used the term “reason” or “logic” he used the term “rigor.” Rigor has no scope for egocentricity. It must be universal, it must be impersonal. And no matter who uses such processes they should come with such answers.
If we examine the work of the more serious scientists and some technologists, we may find examples of it. If an engineer does not resort to rigor he may construct a bridge or a building that might collapse or fall. Simple reason would be of no help. Many times buildings have fallen because of short-cuts or short-comings in their erection. Sometimes it is too late to detect these faults but now there are building inspectors all over the world to check this profession and often they discover weaknesses which superficial reasoning would not have disclosed.
GATHEKA: Now coming to the essence of things, where do we get reason, where do we learn it? The earthly reason we learn from our earthly experiences. When we say, “This is right, and that is wrong,” it is only because we have learnt from the earth to say, “This is right, and that is wrong.” An innocent child, who is just born on the earth and who has not yet learned to know right and wrong, to him it is nothing; he has not yet acquired that earthly reason.
TASAWWUF: There is a story in Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tales, The Emperor’s New Clothes. All the people were praising the presumable clothing and the child who was innocent remarks, “Why he has nothing on at all.” This is very shocking to the populace, and yet in this case the child was right.
Yet it is hardly true that there is not an earthly reason. Euclid’s Geometry, was for centuries the basis not only of mathematics but also of engineering and to some extent also of nautical science and music and astrology and astronomy. It served many purposes. Yet a time came when it could not fulfill all purposes. Some deeper mathematics was needed and the minds of deep thinkers brought out that mathematics. And the same holds true for many branches of science and art.
GATHEKA: There is also a reason which is beyond earthly reason. The person who has taken someone’s raincoat has a reason “because it was raining.” But there is a reason beyond it; and that is that it does not belong to him. He should rather have gotten wet through in the rain than taken this raincoat. That is another reason; that is reason behind reason.
TASAWWUF: We find this in the spiritual moral teachings. There one may begin with the Law of Reciprocity and go on through the Law of Beneficence and ultimately arrive at the Law of Renunciation. The one who would not take a coat would be following Renunciation. That is the highest and best. And if one actually followed it he would also be finding Divine Protection and Grace. He would be trusting God and so either be protected from the rain and wetness or would not regard them as evils at all. He might even see in them examples of Divine Grace.
GATHEKA: Then there is the sense of reason, which is heavenly reason. It is that reason which not everyone understands; it is that reason which is discovered within themselves by the seers and sages and mystics and prophets. It is upon this reason that religions are founded; in the soil of this reason the ideas of mysticism and philosophy spring as plants, and bear fruits and flowers.
TASAWWUF: There is an Arabic word Akl, and it is usually translated as “reason” which does not mean reason in the ordinary sense. The same is true of the “Logos doctrine,” and although logos is often translated as “word,” it is not word in the ordinary sense; there is another term in Greek for that. But there is the Divine Word, and there are words and thoughts which spring from heaven and are made known to the world through seers and prophets. Grammatically they may be no different, but they carry a magnetism that is profound, and we can rely on them and draw conclusions and deductions from them. They are the fundamentals; in logic they would be known as Ultimate Major Premises or Axioms. They have to be accepted by Intuition. There is no way to reason them out, and yet from them we can do much reasoning, draw many deductions and conclusions, and life will bear out these deductions and conclusions.
GATHEKA: When a pupil is expected to listen to the reason of his teacher instead of disputing over it, it is in order to recognize that heavenly reason behind it; and to know that there comes a time in one’s life when one’s eyes are open to the essential reason.
TASAWWUF: This is a difficulty which many spiritual teachers experience. They are often worshipped by disciples, but not obeyed. Even those who take oaths of obedience—and they are often emphatic in taking greater oaths than asked, find some excuse for their stands on many subjects.
The spiritual teacher is not like the intellectual teacher. He employs what is called “the reason behind the reason” to help awaken disciples. Often they want some help in material matters, in personal matters. Or again they find some rationale to go contrary to the teacher. From the worldly point of view they are usually right; from the heavenly point of view, seldom. And the events will prove afterwards that the teacher has been right and the pupil, the disciple, wrong.
It is a very difficult thing to have complete surrender to God. Even those who are very devout, when the test comes, they will not always see God in the helpful friend or inspiring teacher. It is very trying, and many times teachers have had to take losses to preserve the love which unites pupil and teacher, teacher and pupil.
GATHEKA: And what is that reason called? That reason is called Bodhisattva. Sattva means essence, and Bodhi or Buddh means reason; from this word comes the title of Gautama Buddha.
TASAWWUF: This is the all-inclusive reason. What is called “higher” also means wider and more inclusive. When the Bodhisattva reaches the state of Perfection he holds in his consciousness the good of the entire humanity. But it may be necessary to pass through different stages while maintaining the ideal. No doubt many devotees repeat, and rightly, “Thy will, not my will be done.” But how is this translated into action? It is translated into action when one actually denies his own will in view of the grander outlook; not the suppression of will for the sake of suppression (although this is sometimes profitable) but the suppression for the sake of the higher idea. And the more one works in that direction the greater the reward in the end. Actually the effort is the reward itself if one only knew it.
GATHEKA: How is one to arrive at that reason? By arriving at that rhythm which is called sattva. There are three rhythms: Tamas, Rajas and Sattva. A person whose rhythm of life is Tamas knows earthly reason.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in so many places it need not concern us here. But the mere intellectual acceptance of this situation, of the three basic rhythms and their offshoots, does not always give one the deeper insight into their meaning and by treating the subject superficially, which is usually done, there is not much gain. This is the explanation also of the Gita, the beautiful Scripture only too often treated superficially.
GATHEKA: He whose life is Rajas knows beyond earthly reason, a reason which is hidden behind a reason.
TASAWWUF: The rajasic attitude involves effort and many shun effort, even to the degree of falling into tamas rather than making efforts. Yet perhaps most all the so-called “progress” in this world has come out of the operations of this guna. It is therefore not shunned by Sufis who combine rajas with Sattva which is possible when one is attuned to the Divine Wisdom.
GATHEKA: And the one who begins to see or live in the rhythm of Sattva, begins to see the cause of every reason, which is in the profound depths of the whole being; and that is God’s reason.
TASAWWUF: Although efforts have been made to raise the human consciousness to see God’s reason as well as man’s reason, as most people, even devotees, actually see other people and do not see God, the philosophy of this is not very beneficial. What is beneficial is the awakening of heart, the rise of the inner faculties which are centered in heart, and above all, the development of Insight. If there is any word which can be used in application here it is Kashf, insight, which also means spiritual insight and the view of wholeness rather than of partiality. It is that which Buddha called Samma Dhrishthi.
GATHEKA: Reason is attached to an impulse, and reason is attached to thought. The reason which is attached to thought is the middle part of reason; the reason which is attached to impulse is the lower part of reason.
TASAWWUF: Much of the difficulty between men and women arises because women are more prone to impulse and men to some form of reason. But often impulse is right, and often this reason is wrong. This kind of impulse has been wrongly called “women’s intuition.” It is not intuition, it is not insight, it is the moon reflection of light, whether from sun or earth. It need not be entirely wrong, it will never be entirely right.
Much of the so-called war between the sexes has come from this; and many spiritual movements have restricted women because of their reliance on this faculty of impulse. Impulses are reactions from and never direct activities of light itself in any form.
GATHEKA: But the reason which is inspiring is heavenly reason. This reason unfolds divine light; it comes by awakening to this reason which one finds living in the heart of God.
TASAWWUF: Here there is no sex, for also here one is not dependent on either reason or impulse. There are many women who are attracted to spirituality because it is not dependent on reason, and there are many men who shun spirituality because they believe (falsely) that it is contrary to reason. It is contrary to the reason, not in the sense of irrationality, but in the sense of super-rationality. And Sri Aurobindo has pointed out that the whole race is working toward super-rationality.
Besides this, there is always elation and increase of magnetism when one experiences this state. It makes one feel the presence of Divinity, though God may appear in a personal or impersonal capacity.
GATHEKA: There is a story that Moses was passing with Khidr through a country. Khidr was the Murshid of Moses when Moses was being prepared for Prophethood. Moses was first given the lesson of discipline, to keep quiet under all circumstances. When they were walking through the beauty of nature, the teacher and pupil both were quiet. The teacher was exalted in seeing the beauty of nature; and the pupil also felt it. And so they arrived on the bank of a river, where Moses saw a little child drowning, and the mother crying aloud for she could not help. And then Moses could not keep his lips closed. He had to break that discipline and say: “Master, save him, the child is drowning!” The Murshid said, “Quiet!” and Moses was quiet. But the mind of Moses was restless, he did not know what to think: “Can the Master be so thoughtless, so inconsiderate, so cruel, or is the Master powerless?” he asked himself. He could not understand which was which; he did not dare to think such a thought, and yet it made him very uncomfortable.
As they went further they saw a boat sinking; and Moses said: “Master, that boat is sinking, it is going down.” The Master again ordered him to be quiet; so then Moses was quiet, but he was still most uncomfortable. When they arrived home, he said, “Master, I thought that you would have saved that little innocent child from drowning, and that you would have saved the boat which was going down in the water. But you did nothing. I cannot understand, but I would like to have an explanation.” The Master said, “What you saw I saw also. We both saw. So there was no use in your telling me. You did not need to tell me what was happening, for I knew. If I had thought that it was better to interfere, I could have done it. Why did you take the trouble to tell me, and spoil your vow of silence?”
He continued, “The child who was drowning was meant to bring about a conflict between two nations, and thousands and thousands of lives were going to be destroyed in that conflict. When he was drowned this averted the other danger which was to come.” Moses looked at him with great surprise. Then Khidr said, “The boat that was sinking was the boat of pirates and was sailing in order to wreck a large ship full of pilgrims, and then to take what was left in the ship and bring it home. Do you think that you and I can be judge of it? The Judge is behind; He knows His actions. He knows His work. When you were told to be quiet, it was to keep your lips closed and to observe everything silently, as I was doing.”
TASAWWUF: This story of Moses and Khidr has been told many times. Some people have used it to show that Moses was not such a perfect Prophet. But he did not start off with the perfection; there is no claim that he was born miraculously or had a divine mother—indeed there is some question as to who his earthly mother really was. And there is a constant teaching in the Hebrew Bible, and even in the Christian Bible which follows it that the instrument of God may be borne under any circumstances and have any background whatsoever.
The intellectual people and devotees say they understand it, and then they limit it only to the particular cases which are mentioned. But the missions of Moses and Khidr are both cosmic and tremendous. The minds of ordinary people do not comprehend. The minds of ordinary people tend to reject those who are serving the prophets, and even more those who have had the actual initiation of Khidr. It is a very terrible thing to judge an advanced person.
GATHEKA: There is a Persian verse which says; “It is the gardener who knows which plant to rear and which to cut down.’
TASAWWUF: Unless one can apply the philosophy of these words, they are illusive and deceiving. It is a most easy thing to say: “To Thee we give willing surrender.” Every Muslim says that, but, with all the millions saying that, the evidence of the manifestation of the Divine Will on earth is small.
Christians say and pray: “Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But how? How can the divine will be accomplished on earth? And even after reading the lesson, there will not always be a willingness to accept the advice of gardeners. Yet if one does not listen to those in low estate, how can one say and pray, “Thy Light is in all forms.” This is very dangerous; it can even become hypocrisy, a fault to be avoided at any cost.
GATHEKA: Shall we take the same attitude? Shall we not go and help? Yes, you may help. But at the same time if a spiritual person does not seem to do what you expect him to do, you do not need to talk about it; for you must know that there is some reason. You do not need to judge him. For the more you evolve the more your reason becomes different. And so no one has the power to judge another; but one may do one’s best oneself.
No doubt in the present time education is a great hindrance with children. The children are taught to reason freely with their parents; by reasoning freely when they come to a certain age, they do not stop to think; before they think they argue, they dispute, and ask “Why not?” “Why?” and in this way they never get to that heavenly reason.
TASAWWUF: One school of Buddhism proclaims: “To argue is to lose the way.” It may not be that the parents are wise but it is a wise thing to accept the parents, and if one shows this sort of wisdom, he will gain in wisdom. And if his will be thwarted, it is not his will, it is his ego that is being thwarted. Very few know what their will is, many people know what their ego is and these are confused.
When the ego has its way there may be a temporary elation, which is rather euphoric, a feeling of satisfaction. This does not persist. When there is elation, this persists. But elation only follows when one is in the stream of life which Buddhists call “the stream.” Then one has elation and magnetism. The ego never manufactures magnetism; indeed it always leads to the wastage of magnetism.
GATHEKA: For in order to arrive at that heavenly reason a responsive attitude is necessary, not an exerting attitude. What today a child learns to do is to take an aggressive attitude. He imposes his knowledge upon others. And by the lack of a responsive attitude he loses his opportunity of ever touching that essence of reason which is the spirit of Bodhisattva.
TASAWWUF: Nyogen Senzaki, the Zen monk, often cleared his Zendo of everybody. He chased everybody out. That was actually symbolic, it was emblematic of the complete purification of mind when all thoughts, impressions, samsaras have to be removed. And if people came back the next session, not a word was said. Everything proceeded exactly as if nothing was said, nothing had happened.
This is an illustration of a habit of the wise. If one sees only the external activity, one will lose a great opportunity in life. Over and over it is said that the mystic teaches with a puzzle, and when he actually imposes a puzzle it is missed; what is wanted is common-sense, and common-sense is of no use in awakening the inner spirit in man. It does not come that way.
GATHEKA: This has always been the great difficulty in the lives of evolved souls. What happened with Jesus Christ? In the one place there was earthly reason, in the other there was heavenly reason.
TASAWWUF: This is a most subtle lesson. Even if we convince some people as to the supreme value of the heavenly wisdom, it is also true as Gayan teaches, that it takes all of life to live. Others will be born and grown up and mature with the same egocentric outlooks. It is a never-ending battle. And yet once the spirit of devotion becomes uppermost, once the heart awakens, it becomes totally different.
And once there is a heart-center established, it is like an altar, a shrine and one can worship at it in feeling and thought as well as in form.
GATHEKA: Once I looked at my Murshid and there came to my inquisitive mind a thought, “Why should a great soul such as my Murshid wear gold-embroidered slippers?” But I checked myself at once, and it was only a thought; it could never have escaped my lips, it was under control. But there it was known. I could not cover my insolence with my lips; my heart was open before my Murshid as an open book. He instantly saw into it, and read my thought. And do you know what answer he gave me? He said, “The treasures of the earth I have at my feet.”
TASAWWUF: It is so easy to question and have questions. This is a state of mind. No doubt it comes from ego, but we do not have to regard it as necessarily evil when it comes from that source. Still it shows duality. If one has even the slightest question there is duality and dualism.
No doubt there are all kinds of earthly matters in which a teacher is far from perfection. In some schools the teacher operates almost as an autocrat. This can even be a shield to pretense and hypocrisy, but at the same time it is good for disciples. The disciple does not learn self-effacement by repeating the words of self-effacement. He comes even more into delusion by repeating a thought “self-effacement.” Psychologically this is a positive thought; its grammatical negativity does not change. There is the same operation in the nervous system, the same establishment of samsaras. Even the thought of “no-thought” is still a thought, and neurologically it operates as a thought. It is very different from keeping the mind in the state of non-thinking.
GATHEKA: Once a Murshid had been to the city, and on his return he said, “Oh, I am filled with joy, I am filled with joy. There was such an exaltation in the presence of the Beloved.” Then his mureed thought, “There was a beloved and an exaltation; how wonderful! I must go and see also if I cannot find one.” He went through the city, and he came back, and he said, “Horrible! How terrible the world is! All seem to be at one another’s throats; that was the picture I saw. I felt nothing but a depression, as if my whole being was torn to pieces.” “Yes,” the Murshid said, “you are right.” “But explain to me,” the mureed said, “why are you so exalted after going out, and why I must be so torn to pieces. I cannot bear it, it is horrible.” The Murshid said, “You did not walk in the rhythm that I have walked in through the city.” And that means that it is not only the slow rhythm of the walk, but that rhythm with which the mind is moving, that rhythm with which the observation is gained: it is that which makes the difference between one person and another; it is that which brings about the harmony between one person and another.
TASAWWUF: Now disciples are learning many rhythms, many walks. Sometimes the walks determine the rhythm of breath and sometimes the rhythm of breath determines the walking and sometimes they go together. Whatever it be it will affect the operations of mind and also the emotions that will follow.
So the disciple learns to become the master of rhythm and walk. No doubt every city has what the novelist O. Henry called “Voice.” But this Voice itself has certain rhythms and certain combinations of elements. To overcome these one either harmonizes or sets himself in a mood that he will not be affected, no samsaras will arise. This comes out of the practices of esotericism. One becomes a master over himself and by mastery of self he becomes inured to all unfavorable conditions.
GATHEKA: The person who says, “I will not listen to your reason,” no doubt has a reason as everybody has a reason. But he could have a better reason still if he were able to listen; if he were able to understand the reason of another.
TASAWWUF: Sufism teaches to look at the viewpoint of another as well as of oneself. And in this instance we have an example of application of surrender. For by it one puts oneself in the right rhythm, by walking, by breathing, by meditation, whatever be the problem, the perplexity, the obstacle, the change in rhythm will help one conquer one’s own short-comings. That is why it is said, for the mystic, the real battle is against one’s lower self. And also by walking one can get into the rhythm of one’s teacher and by means of the lessons of the teacher to get into the rhythms of masters and saints and thus oneself become a kind of master.
GATHEKA: The reason of a person’s mind is like this: it is just like making circles. One person’s mind has made one circle in a minute; another person’s mind has made a circle in five minutes; the reason is different. Another person’s mind has made a circle in fifteen minutes; his reason is different again. The longer it takes, the wider is the horizon of his vision, and so is his outlook on life.
TASAWWUF: There is a school of philosophy called “Logical Positivism.” They claim that all metaphysics is useless because the reason involved is circular. This is called tautology. It seems to be based on premises and reasoning, but actually, the conclusion was there from the beginning in the assumptions of the truths of the original premises regarded as Axioms. And it can be questioned whether any axiom is true from the standpoint of logic, but many who believe they are strict logicians declare that the Axioms come from Intuition and not from Reason. So even from the most logical of the philosophers, to overcome circular reasoning we must accept intuition or insight in some form.
But still, reasoning is not useless. And it is not only the Astrologers but many who have discovered the rhythms in life. Many of the advanced sciences depend on it; they have their principles and laws, and the deeper one goes into them, the more one seems to be supporting the mystical outlooks.
So, it may well be that everything has its particular rhythm and also every situation and by a knowledge thereof one can learn to be a master of all complications within and without.
GATHEKA: Reasoning is a ladder. By this ladder one can rise, and from this ladder one may fall. For if one does not go upward by reasoning, then it will help one to go downward too; because if for every step one takes upward there is a reason, so there is a reason for every step downward. No doubt this distinction is made to enable one to understand that there is one reason in reality, it is one faculty. One may divide the human body into three parts, but at the same time it is one body, it is one person. Nevertheless, reason is a great factor and has the possibility in it of every curse and of every blessing.
TASAWWUF: As taught in the Gathas, there are these outlooks, these possibilities. And if one studies philosophies, the philosophies of all times, one can see there are limits to reason because of the vast differences in conclusion of those who acclaim reason and believe they are using it. If there was a valid universal reason, by using it people would come to unity and harmony.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: When we think of that sense and that feeling, or that inclination, which makes us affirm the word “I,” it is difficult to point out what it is, what is its character; for it is something which is beyond human comprehension. That is why, when a person wishes to explain, even to himself, what it is, he points to what is nearest to him, declaring, “That is the one whom I have called ‘I.’”
TASAWWUF: The subject of the ego is an important one in the spiritual training. It is found in the teachings on Morals and also in The Mysticism of Sound there is a Sufi explanation. Also we find it in many Sufic writings, especially Kashf al-Mahjub, but still it is a most difficult subject.
Buddha did not teach so much the non-existence of the Ego as that all things are subject to constant change and being subject to change it was neither logical nor helpful to give them a name and keep that name as if it were not subject to change while its referent, a person or thing, was changing all the time.
In the twentieth century there were two approaches to this subject which confirm the Sufi’s point of view. One was the school of Neo-Realism which was centered mostly in the City of New York which pointed out that most philosophic schools were subject to the egocentric predicament and they had no solution. They usually ended in what is called “tautology” or “solipsism.”
Tautology is that psychological method by which one is always going around in circles, and although he may be using deduction and even clear deduction, all the inferences were already there from the beginning. Perhaps that is why the Sufi says that the answer is in the question. It is not so much the verbalization of the question, but the attitude of the questioner. He is throwing out a challenge to somebody else to answer his predicament. But the predicament is in himself.
Of course when it comes to knowledge of name and form, that is different. But learning names and forms is not necessarily acquiring wisdom or even knowledge. It is piling up facts, often very useful for limited purposes.
Solipsism is the subtle assumption that I am more real than you. The solipsist does assent that you are but you can never be more right than he is. He is caught in a web of dilemmas. So he multiplies his words and thoughts and thinks he is building up a philosophy—really a system of dialectics, and there is some question whether this solves anything.
GATHEKA: Therefore every soul which has, so to speak, identified itself with anything, has identified itself with the body, its own body; because that is the thing which one feels and realizes to be nearest to one, and which is intelligible as one’s being.
TASAWWUF: Neophytes repeat, “This is not my body, this is the temple of God.” The consciousness is not fixed in space; the ears and eyes look out beyond the body and so does the sense of smell. But actually even taste and touch have subtle overtones though one may not always be aware of them.
The infant does not always have this sense of identity and when one has any sort of ecstasy, he realizes otherwise. And there is no question, whatever harm there may be in psychedelics (not necessarily “drugs”) they make one aware that life is more than the body and that this identification is an illusion.
GATHEKA: What a person knows of himself is his body; that is the first thing; and he calls himself his body, he identifies with his body. For instance, if one asks a child, “Where is the boy?” he will point to his body; that is what he can see of himself, or can imagine of himself.
TASAWWUF: That becomes a fixed habit, and also there is some identification which carries over into other sciences. No doubt in Anatomy and to some extent in Physiology this is necessary, although it does not explain the epidemic diseases, and it is almost useless in examining the psychological backgrounds of disease.
When we come to Psychology, there are so many schools, and if we look at all of them, we find very different attitudes toward the body. Even those who believe they are stark materialists constantly make speculations and abstractions and fail to agree with each other. And when they are called upon to deal with those sick in mind, they neither are in agreement nor often very successful in effecting cures that are cures.
GATHEKA: This forms a conception in the soul. The soul conceives this deeply; so that after this all other objects, persons or beings, color or line, are called by different names, for the soul has not conceived of them as itself, as it already has a conception of itself; and that is this body, which it has first known or imagined to be itself. All else that it sees, it sees through its vehicle which is the body, and calls it something separate, something different.
TASAWWUF: There are several ways to unlearn and unlearning is a component part of spiritual development. This permits knowledge to stand of itself apart from ego. Or, as it is stated in the teachings, man becomes a five pointed star and then a cross; he becomes the cross when the sense of self is eliminated.
The natural sciences give examples of knowledge standing without the interposition of ego. Scientists do not generally hold that a doctrine or conclusion is true because some one has promulgated it. Egocentric philosophies and many psychologists do that. Unconsciously they are following in the footsteps of theologians who call their conclusions “truths” although there may be no evidence and sometimes especially when there is no evidence.
According to Zen Buddhism all conceptions are out of place. Meditation is practiced to get to the essence of mind beyond the faculty of conceiving. This does not eliminate this faculty, but one is no longer a slave to it. One does not know he has become the slave of his own concepts, and this leads to differentiations at all levels. In the higher knowledge we pass from differentiation to synthesis, integration and harmony.
GATHEKA: In this way duality in nature is produced; from this comes “I” and “you.” But as “I” is the first conception of the soul, it is wholly concerned with this; with all else it is partly concerned.
TASAWWUF: Many schools and cults speak of the true I. But how does one know there is any such “true I” unless one has experienced it? And when one considers that which he has not experienced, sometimes never experienced, as being more true than that which he has experienced, he is indeed in confusion.
Wisdom does not come from the piling of learning, of knowledge of facts, names and forms. It comes when one uncovers the essence of mind beneath. Not until one uncovers this essence-of-mind has he any sane right to speak of any “true self.” Then the conclusion may well be that the “true self” about which he has been arguing is even more false, more evanescent than the ego-self which does the arguing.
GATHEKA: Everything that exists besides this body which it has recognized as its own being, it calls according to its relation with it. And that relation it establishes by calling it “my,” which is between “I” and “you”: “you are my brother,” or “my sister,” or “my friend.” This makes a relationship; and according to this relationship the other object or person stands nearer or further from the soul.
TASAWWUF: This is a great illusion and the source of endless illusion. If one comes to real consciousness, one may be standing outside the ordinary time and space. The whole outlook may be different, and one may even see oneself in others. Then where is the self?
One may be seeing oneself in others; one may be seeing oneself with others. When one is in the mob one assents to the mob-consciousness. What is the ego of the mob-consciousness; it is questionable whether it can be pointed out. When one looks at a herd of cattle, at a flock of birds, at a swarm of bees, where is the ego? And at the other end, when one finds himself identical with a group, with a family, with a district, with all the members of a commune or brotherhood, where is the ego?
GATHEKA: All other experiences that the soul has in the physical world, in the mental spheres, become a sort of world around it. The soul lives in the midst of it; yet the soul never for one moment feels with anything that it is “I.” This “I” it has reserved, and made captive in one thing only, and that is its body.
TASAWWUF: This whole subject is carefully explained in The Soul Whence and Whither. It is not that Sufis are dogmatic, but they point a way, a way toward both understanding and self-knowledge. Besides this there are practices, and not only are the Zen practices accepted by Sufis, or rather the Chinese Ch’an from which Zen stems, but many other methods, sometimes in common with other schools, sometimes different, but a Sufi never disclaims any method that works.
This was the standpoint of Lord Buddha. Buddha was not a Buddhist. He believed in the Dharma and would have accepted any method or practices that worked, for which there was evidence and would have disclaimed all presumed methods which did not work, and for which there was no evidence.
GATHEKA: Of everything else the soul thinks that it is something else, something different; “it is near to me, it is dear to me, because it is related; it is close to me, but it is not me.” “I” stands as a separate entity, holding, collecting all that one has got and which makes one’s own world.
TASAWWUF: Here by “soul” one means the nufs. It is both an outlook and a limitation. It is an outlook because without some focus there could be no accumulation of knowledge of any sort. But it is a limitation. When a surveyor operates he has to have different points of view, he has to have what are called frames of reference. Without them his craft would be useless. And the same is also true in spiritual psychology, that one has to learn to see life from views other than his own to be sure his own view is correct. Otherwise how can he really know he is right. It is just opinion and often empty.
GATHEKA: As one becomes more thoughtful in life, so this conception of “I” becomes richer. It becomes richer in this way, that one also sees that, “it is not the body only, but it is also the thought which I think that is my thought; the imagination is my imagination; my feelings are also a part of my being; and therefore I am not only the body, but I am my mind also.”
TASAWWUF: The mind is also ego, although it is much wider. The spiritual teaching is that one should be as wide as possible, cultivate the wide horizon. This is very different from traditional goodness the meaning of which is not clear and which may be different in different parts of the world, and for different people, for different groups within a nation, and each nation different from the others. Still, this is much broader than the strictly individualistic outlook.
All the sciences and arts and much social morality springs from such outlooks, and this makes it possible to establish a community, whereas, identification with body keeps everybody apart, every man his own community.
GATHEKA: In the next step taken by the soul in the path of realization the soul begins to feel, “I am not only a physical body, but also a mind.” This realization in its fullness makes one declare, “I am a spirit,” which means, “The body and mind and feeling, all together, with which I identify myself, it is these which are the ego.”
TASAWWUF: This may be called the higher ego. It is still ego, but it is very great, very broad. In the ancient Vedic teachings this was known as Mahat, greatness. It is necessary to restore this outlook. We can no longer afford to look upon the world, each person for himself. And there are schools of philosophy which persist in this outlook. In the end they succumb to loneliness, there is no room for any love which can overcome the boundaries between person and person. But then there is no constructive force operating. It all leads to confusion.
GATHEKA: When the soul goes further in the path of knowledge, it begins to find that there is something which feels itself, or which feels the inclination to call itself “I,” that feeling of “I”-ness; but that at the same time, all with which it identifies itself is not itself.
TASAWWUF: This subject has been treated in detail in The Inner Life and the commentaries thereon. In the different literary articles different views are taken but with the same outlook which is the cosmic outlook. The Inner Life leads to the cosmic outlook which is, in a sense, the opposite to the individual outlook.
GATHEKA: And the day when this idea springs up in the heart of man he has begun his journey in the path of truth. Then analyzing begins, and he begins to find out, “This is my table, and this is my chair. All that I can call ‘my,’ belonging to me, is not really myself.”
TASAWWUF: The disengagement of a person from his body and his possessions is really a wonderful step forward. People admire the Tibetan Saint, Milarepa, and yet they would not do what he did, they would not make the sacrifices and suffer the trials. Yet it is not so necessary. Mohammed, who closed the manifestation of Messengers of God bringing codes, always said, “The Merciful leans to the side of Mercy.” Every Sura of Qur’an has the Bismillah, to proclaim both God and His primary manifestation as Cosmic Compassion and Cosmic Mercy or Beneficence.
We do not have to submit to austerities. Sometimes a choice is made between austerities and possessions, and this is also a choice of delusion. The perfect way is a middle path, but not necessarily a path midway between two extremes, but a path which surmounts extremes and does not exclude them, even less be bound by them. To disentangle the ego is the main task in life not to consider austerities, not to consider wealth.
GATHEKA: Then he also begins to say “I identify myself with this body; but this is ‘my body,’ just as I say ‘my table,’ or ‘my chair.’ So the being which is saying ‘I,’ in reality is separate; it is something which has taken even this body for its use; this body is only an instrument.” And he thinks, “If it is not this body which I can call ‘I,’ then what else is it? Is it my imagination with which I should identify myself?” But even that one calls “my imagination,” “my thought,” or “my feeling.” So therefore even the thought, feeling, or imagination is not the real “I.” What affirms “I” remains the same even after he discovers the false identity.
TASAWWUF: This is a very complicated subject, made complicated because of the tendency to look upon others as authorities. And those who do not look upon others as authorities, they also have an authority for that. And Buddha, whom some take as an authority, definitely said that his words should not be taken because he said them, they should be put to the test, they should be tried out. But it seldom happens. There is blind acceptance of authority as an excuse not to accept other authority.
This subject is very easy also. When one drops everything and resorts to meditation and other sacred practices; when one performs these practices assiduously, he finds an independence and this independence works wonders.
GATHEKA: You read in the “Ten Sufi Thoughts” that perfection is attained by the annihilation of the false ego. The false ego is what does not belong to that ego, and what that ego has wrongly conceived to be its own being. When that is separated by understanding life better, then the false ego is annihilated.
TASAWWUF: Language cannot explain annihilation. As soon as words are used, there is a mark in the ethers, in the space. These marks establish thought-forms which live on, and the thought of annihilation is a thought like other thoughts, and it is not a subject which thought itself can control.
Buddha had another view, and it is not so different from the Sufi view, that thinking might go on without a thinker. But Buddha also taught that without the unborn and imperishable, the born and perishable could not be. This is a basic principle of Buddha but it is hardly noticed by the multitude of Buddhists and other than in its literary form it has not been considered seriously by scholars. Some see only the literature, some see the philosophy, few go through the process.
Yet it is necessary to go through the process. In Sufism this is done by the affirmation of God until the God-reality is impressed upon the consciousness. When the God reality is impressed upon the consciousness annihilation may be easy and automatic.
GATHEKA: One need not develop for it. In order to annihilate this body or in order to annihilate the mind a person has to analyze himself and ask, “Where do I stand? Do I stand as a remote, exclusive being? If this is a remote and exclusive being, then it must be found out.” Then the question is how to find out.
TASAWWUF: If we study the sciences, we soon find nothing is remote and exclusive. Even the diamond, the firmest and most lasting of objects is not entirely exclusive. The cells of the body do not stand forever, and the single celled animals are subject to all sorts of forces. And people who come to the conclusion of separateness and remoteness see only a small part of life, of nature. When they become very dogmatic they set up what is called a philosophy, and sometimes their prestige is very great. But the ability to solve problems is not so great; the problems remain.
GATHEKA: If once this is realized, the work of the spiritual path is accomplished.
TASAWWUF: The Sufi would accept what Jesus said, “I am the Vine and ye are the branches thereof.” The Sufi does accept, “Love ye one another.” There are so many commandments, so many directions, and the words are kept, but the essence is not kept. When we come to the essence, when we learn thereby the Oneness of life, we see from an entirely different point of view.
Mystics do not see any separateness. They find unity. All the mystics of all the schools, of all the religions unite in this. That is why it has been questioned whether there is really such a thing as a Christian mystic, Hindu mystic, or mysticism attached to a particular religion or school. Mysticism means allness, all-seeing.
GATHEKA: As in order to make the eyes see themselves one has to take a mirror to see the reflection of these eyes, so in order to make this real being manifest, the whole being, the body and mind, have been made as a mirror, that in this mirror this real being may see itself and realize its independent being. What we have to achieve by the path of initiation, by the path of meditation, by spiritual knowledge, is to realize it by making ourselves a perfect mirror.
TASAWWUF: This has been beautifully reflected in many of the great Sufi poems. The idea was that God knew Himself in a certain sense, but could not see Himself. So he built a palace of mirrors in which His Essence was reflected and then He fell in love—with Himself, of course. But out of that came Ishk, the Love in its highest expression.
In order to explain this idea the fakirs and dervishes have told a story. A lion roaming through the desert found a little lion cub playing with the sheep. It happened that the little lion had been reared with the sheep, and so had never had a chance or an occasion to realize what he was. The lion was greatly surprised to see a young lion cub running away with the same fear of the lion as the sheep. The lion jumped in among the flock of sheep, and roared, “Halt, halt!” But the sheep ran, and the little lion ran also. The lion pursued the lion cub only, not the sheep, and said, “Wait, I wish to speak to you.” The cub answered, “I tremble, I fear, I cannot stand before you.” The lion said, “Why are you running about with the sheep; you are a little lion yourself.” “No,” said the cub, “I am a sheep, I tremble. I am afraid of you, let me go, let me go with the sheep.” “Come along,” said the lion; “come with me, I will take you and I will show you what you are before I let you go.” Trembling and yet helpless, the lion cub followed the lion to a pool of water. There the lion said, “Look at me, and look at yourself. Are we not closer, are we not near? You are not like the sheep, you are like me.”
Through the whole spiritual process what we learn is to disillusion this false ego. The annihilation of this false ego is its disillusionment. When once it is disillusioned, then the true ego realizes its own merit. It is in this realization that the soul enters the kingdom of God; it is in this realization that the soul is born again; a birth which opens the doors of heaven.
TASAWWUF: In the first stages of philosophy one learns this background. It is symbolic or intellectual. It is needed as reminder, and as one becomes a devotee he begins to identify himself with the Ideal and not with the ego which is his limitation. This is needed first. Then he begins to feel the separation, and often this is accompanied by heart-longing. One does not necessarily understand this heart-longing but one experiences it, one experiences it in many ways.
It is thus that pain and suffering are often most helpful on the path toward realization. For they always make one realize his non-identity with the false image one has made of oneself. And every healing is a step out of this false identity and so is a growth. So illness and delusion are not necessarily evils. They can often be of tremendous advantage in disengaging one from the false identification and leading one to the true.
GATHEKA: In order to be conscious of itself, the soul need not have mind and body to exist; it does not depend upon mind and body for its existence, for its life; just as the eyes do not depend upon the mirror to exist; they only depend upon the mirror to see their reflection.
TASAWWUF: This subject is treated at length in The Soul, Whence and Whither. It comes by inference in much of the literature. It is part of the Grand Picture which comes very clear on spiritual awakening. It is repeated over and over again in aphorisms but as aphorisms are, by their very nature, intellectual productions, they are never so noble as either music or silence, two grand ways by which the Wisdom of God can become part of man’s understanding. The mind can write on indefinitely or speak; the soul has the understanding without words or crutches.
GATHEKA: Without it the eyes will see all things, but they will never see themselves. An example is the intelligence. The intelligence cannot know itself unless it has something intelligible to hold; then the intelligence realizes itself.
TASAWWUF: Ch’an and Zen masters, working from very high levels of consciousness, have expressed themselves in enigmas. We have some parallels like in Synthetic Geometry which pictures a high level in terms of a lower one. It is used by engineers and architects, it is a form of scientific short hand. Also when Masters use it it is a form of cosmic shorthand. It is intelligible when used by them.
This has brought about art forms which try, sometimes with success, sometimes without success, in which a few words may connote universal wisdom; or in which a few words connote just what a few words can connote, almost nothing. By the wise it is used as a cosmic short hand and by the unwise it is used to promote personal self-satisfaction. In outline and form they resemble each other. In actuality it is like comparing people who have similar shadows.
GATHEKA: A person with a poetic gift, who is born a poet, never realizes himself to be a poet till he has put his idea on paper, and his verse has struck a chord in his own heart. That is the time when he thinks, “I am a poet”; till then there was a gift of poetry in him, but he did not know it.
TASAWWUF: It is the same with other creative arts. They are based on some universal esthetic principles. But the ego-mind has taken advantage to express or create what does not come from the higher side of man at all. It is the compilation of names, forms and matter. It is put together and often called “Art” as is explained in “Art: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”
GATHEKA: The eyes do not become powerful by looking in the mirror; only, the eyes know what they are like when they see their reflection. The pleasure is in realizing one’s merits, one’s gifts, what one possesses; and it is in realizing that the merit lies. But no doubt it would be a great pity if the eyes thought, “We are as dead as this mirror,” or if in looking in the mirror they thought, “We do not exist except in the mirror.” So the false ego is the greatest limitation.
TASAWWUF: This problem of ego is a most severe problem, yet it is the most fundamental of all problems because out of the assumed existence of an independent ego all other problems arise. Even the story of Abel and Cain in the Hebrew Bible represents it. Cain is the egocentricity and egocentricity automatically rules out the possibility of everything else. It was and is in this sense that Cain killed Abel. When one is aware of the presence of God then we have another condition. But Seth represents a third, that it is possible to be aware of both the infinite and finite at the same time. Man may live as man and yet be God-realized.
GATHEKA: Though the soul feels apart from other being, does it not feel one with God? Not even with God. How could it? A soul which is captive in a false conception, which cannot see the barrier removed between itself and its neighbor, how can this soul remove its barrier to God, whom it has not known yet?
TASAWWUF: We are witnessing the downfall of religion. In the place of traditional religion will arise the Teachings, which may be called Din or Dharma, the actual teachings found in the Scriptures, and also perhaps beyond the Scriptures. They are very different. The Christian Bible affirms and reaffirms that if one does not love the brother whom he has seen, how can he love the God Whom he has not seen. But multitudes claim they have loved God and then they have performed all sorts of deplorable acts.
Mohammed proclaimed surrender to Allah alone. Multitudes have come and declared they surrender to Allah alone. They do not know what “Allah” is and they do not know what “surrender” means. Yet they proclaim surrender to Allah. This is even more complex than with the Christian dilemma because there is some sense of what love is, though not applied. But there is no sense of what “surrender” means. How can it be applied?
That is why the Sufi Message has proclaimed the need of man getting together with mankind beyond all boundaries. It is there in the statement. It is hoped it will become a reality and it will become a reality as soon as people apply teachings first to themselves and for themselves.
GATHEKA: For every soul’s belief in God is a conception after all; because it is taught by a priest and written in a Scripture, because the parents have said that there is a God; that is all. That soul knows that somewhere there is a God, but it is always liable to change its belief; and unhappily the further it advances intellectually, the further it goes from that belief.
TASAWWUF: There is no fundamental platform here. A belief which is accepted because it is passed from generation to generation has no foundation. It can easily be upset. So when people apply for admission into the Sufi Movement, this is one of the first lessons presented.
But the whole problem of egocentricity may be called “the problem.” It becomes complicated because it is so easy to attack nufs as people used to condemn the devil. It is not temptation that man needs to be free from, but from the sense of “I” am “I” and basing all his efforts upon it. Even after long study of morals, after discipline and practices of austerities, it is so easy to find fault with others, so difficult to recognize one’s own shortcomings.
GATHEKA: A belief which a pure intelligence cannot always hold will not go far. It is by the understanding of that belief that the purpose of life is fulfilled. There is a saying in the Gayan, “The uncovering of the soul is the discovering of God.”
TASAWWUF: We can take all the Gayan, even Vadan and Nirtan, and find beautiful statements and also build whole philosophies on them. But this does not necessarily remove the ego. It may refine it and even the angelic beings can refine their own egos. Which does not establish knowledge or perform what God wants to have performed, His Own realization through all His creatures.
GATHEKA: It is not easy for the soul to dismiss mind and body in death, when even in life a person cannot dismiss his thoughts of depression and sorrow and disappointment. The impressions of happiness and of sorrows in the past one holds in one’s own heart; prejudice and hatred, love and devotion, everything that has gone deep in oneself. If the ego holds its prison around itself, it takes this prison with it; and there is only one way of being delivered from it, and that is through self-knowledge.
TASAWWUF: One of the hardest frames to break is the unconscious assumption that if one has a formula, one has knowledge. One can own all the cookbooks in the world and die of starvation. One can have all the blue-prints yet not have a home. One can have all the words and repeat them endlessly yet have neither love nor wisdom. Because in all this one is tied by the bonds of his own self outlook.
A mother with her infant learns for a while the binding of heart to heart and through it a degree of selflessness. It does not always last. The child becomes a possession, it becomes an article. Man is concerned with possessions and in the end is owned by them. He cannot get away from them, yet he cannot take them with him; only the thoughts can he take.
Therefore, the mystics of all ages have made endless efforts to find their true Nature, and one of the most excellent steps is to proclaim God, not because God is or is not, but by this proclamation, one breaks the hold of ego.
GATHEKA: The ego itself is never destroyed; this is the one thing that lives, and this is the sign of eternal life. In the knowledge of the ego there is the secret of immortality. When in the Gayan you read, “Death dies, and life lives,” it is the ego which is life, it is this false condition which is death.
TASAWWUF: When a mystic progresses and begins to assimilate in the spirit of his perfect ideal, whether it be Rama or Krishna, Shiva or Buddha, Moses or Jesus or Mohammed or any other Messenger of God, there is a heart-communication which persists and it forms a link between the here and now and the forever. One does not have to leave the body. The body is almost a playtoy, a form which is used like electricity uses the wire. It does not need the wire but it uses the wire. So life does not need the body, but uses the body.
It has been said, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” But it is also true in this sense, “Buddha the same yesterday, today and tomorrow; Mohammed the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.” The Spirit of Guidance Which manifested in and through time is the universe itself.
GATHEKA: The false must fall away some day; the real must always be. And so it is with life: the true living being is the ego; it lives; all else that it has borrowed from different planes and spheres, and in which it has become lost, all that is put away.
TASAWWUF: This is also the teaching of The Soul, Whence and Whither and attendant literature. Until one has practiced the real meditation, the real effacements, the real esotericism and has advanced on the Path to God with God, it may seem like a lot of words. It is a lot of words. We can only put life into those words by our own increased assimilation of life itself. This comes by various ways as breath, love and sight and insight. But these are real; these can be taken with one. But the words and the thoughts on these subjects, they are limited. They do not necessarily stay with one forever.
GATHEKA: Do we not see this with our own being? Things that do not belong there do not remain in it, in the blood, in the veins, anywhere; the body will not keep them; it will repel them. And so it is in every sphere; it does not take what does not belong to it. All that is outside it keeps outside. What belongs on earth is kept on earth; the soul repels it. And the destroying of the ego is a word. It is not destroying; it is discovering.
TASAWWUF: This lesson is taught by every religion. When there is a funeral service words are repeated. But whatever is said then is not kept in view otherwise. It is as if death were an accident and one is passing from the real to the unreal. Even the devout Hindus who constantly pray about passing from the unreal to the real do not always accomplish it. Billions of people say the words, but they are not very magical, it does not often follow.
GATHEKA: Very often people are afraid of reading Buddhistic books, where the interpretation of Nirvana is given as “annihilation.” No one wants to be annihilated, and people are very much afraid when they read “annihilation.” But it is only a matter of the word. The same word in Sanskrit is a beautiful word: Mukti.
TASAWWUF: No doubt there has been a terrific mixture of good and evil by the acceptance of translations by people who have not the experience, must less the wisdom. It is considered bad faith for a non-scientist to translate and explain scientific books. How does he know? He knows the words, he knows not the processes. In some lands non-scientists are not permitted to interpret the new findings. But in other lands where the literary traditions are strong they are so permitted and often cause unlimited harm and misinterpretations.
The same is even more true of the Buddhist literature. Anyone with a knowledge of certain languages can engage in translations. Sometimes the translations are good, sometimes not so good. But they go on to interpret, and it is very interesting, very exciting. They are believed. They have had no deep experience but they are believed. So all kinds of interpretations and doctrines and rituals are spread in many lands and called, “Buddhism.” They have nothing in common. And although Buddha disclaimed the reality of a persistent ego, it is very funny.
People visit the lands of Buddhist people and find everybody believing in reincarnation. They verbally hold to the non-existence of ego, and then also hold to reincarnation. From a strictly logical point of view, that cannot be, and yet it is. And what is this due to? It comes from the translations and interpretations of persons who have never participated in the processes referred to in the texts.
GATHEKA: The Sufis call it fana. If we translate it into English it is “annihilation”; but when we understand its real meaning, it is “going through” or “passing through.” And to pass through what? To pass through the false conception, which is a necessity first, and to arrive at the true realization.
TASAWWUF: A great deal is made of esotericism and exotericism. Yet it is simple. The esotericism is the one inside, to understand the Greek eso; and the exotericist is the one who stands outside (to understand the Greek exo). It is a matter of participation or non-participation. And when people learn that the teachings of the Prophets can be their experiences and they seek those experiences, and seeking find, there will be an entirely different outlook. Literature by non-participants will be respected as literature, but not as Divine Wisdom.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Mind and Heart
GATHEKA: There are four things: will, reason, memory and thought together with the ego as the fifth of principal thing, that make up the heart; it is these five things that may be called the heart. But in definitely naming the different parts of this heart, we call the surface of it mind and the depth of it heart.
TASAWWUF: This is also reflected in the Chinese words SHIN which has been variously interpreted as mind or heart or intelligence or consciousness and all of these translations are in a sense correct. But our work is to make the heart alive and not to analyze it verbally. Functionally it does not work that way either. We can in anatomy, break down all the parts of the body, even know the names of the cells, but that does not necessarily explain the intelligent work of the body.
So in the spiritual life the inner practices are given so one can have an intelligent and conscious operation. When that knowledge is gained one can make use of the heart faculties which are asleep in most people.
GATHEKA: If we imagine this heart as a lantern, then the light in the lantern makes it the spirit. We call it a lantern when we do not think of the light; but when there is a light, then we forget the word lantern and call it light. When we call the heart spirit it does not mean spirit void of the heart; just as it does not mean the light without the lantern, but light in the lantern; although the right use of the word spirit is only as the essence of all things.
TASAWWUF: Sufism as Divine Wisdom means something more than the application of words and thought. It means the intelligent awakening so that whatever processes we are studying and learning are processes of our own selves. In this respect, perhaps, we may say that all true learning is learning of one’s self. There is no limit to it. So it is with the inner being. We are now trying to study the inner being as if it were something without to be studied and examined as in the sciences.
This of itself is not wrong. But it is incomplete. We are not like the chemicals in a test tube or a leaf under a microscope. We have to study ourselves without being changed by the study, and this requires a different process. The practices of esotericism awaken in us much that was hidden. When these inner processes come into conscious operation, we not only learn much more about ourselves, we are able to apply it to life. It is not otherwise. Our life means our life, our spirit; and not some reflection about it.
GATHEKA: The essential light and life from which all has come, that is the spirit. But we use the word spirit also in its limited sense; as light is also of the sun, all-pervading light, and at the same time the light in the lantern; that also we call light.
TASAWWUF: Even on the physical plane, in the sciences we have learned that there is much more to light than that which the human eye receives. All beings do not respond to the same light, and there are plants which benefit or falter between the different colors and also with some aspects of infra-red and ultra-violet light.
There are so many rays of light to which the human eye is not directly sensitive. But they affect us just the same and they also affect the nerves, and the qualities of various radiations of light are quite different. So we should not limit light to just what affects our eyes immediately. There is more to light than would appear, and if this is true on the physical plane, how much more true of subtle light and beyond.
GATHEKA: People also call a part of one’s breast the heart. The reason is that there is an organ in this breast of flesh which is most sensitive to feeling; and naturally, as man cannot grasp the idea of a heart outside the body, he conceives the idea of the heart as being a part of his physical body.
TASAWWUF: This is true so far as the physical body alone is concerned. But there is more to life than the body as the Bible teaches. And if we try to feel deep into the heart and with the heart, we find we are feeling deeper into the pulse of life itself.
The heart-concentration is given for a various number of purposes and these are revealed by the practices, especially when the doors to the inner being are opened. Here the mind is of no use. The deeper in concentration, the deeper with concentration, the more of man’s inner being is revealed to himself.
GATHEKA: The ego stands separate from the above-mentioned four faculties: will, reason, memory and thought. It is just like four fingers and a thumb. These four faculties are faculties, but the ego is a reality; it holds and accommodates within itself the other four faculties, and in order to distinguish it as different from these four faculties we call it the ego.
TASAWWUF: In the spiritual life we sometimes overcome the ego by very delicate breathing and having the ego-consciousness identify with the breathing. Then it cannot be conscious of itself. It begins to fade in and out with the breath. And this is one way of overcoming the ego. It was presented by Lord Buddha, and by pursuing the path of Buddha and not some doctrines supposedly emanating from him, we can realize this. In other words, practice brings realization; doctrines do not.
Another way to overcome the ego is to merge more into the heart-consciousness in, with, and to love. This can be a great reality. This is at the very depth of mind. But it can also come with the most refined breathing and in turn it produces the most refined breathing. The more selfless, the less the weight of breath, and the purer the personality.
GATHEKA: The difference between thought and imagination is this, that imagination is an automatic working of the mind. If the mind is fine, there is a fine imagination; if the mind is gross, there is a gross imagination; if the mind is beautiful, there is a beautiful imagination.
TASAWWUF: There it is not necessary to destroy the imagination. We can train and purify it. It enables the soul to see better on the various planes; it can become the servant of man. Any restriction on vision tends to make the ego more powerful. By absorbing the divine qualities through the practices of wazifa and Sifat-i-Allah man becomes able to utilize all faculties to his own advantage and also to grow further in all directions.
GATHEKA: Thought is also an imagination, but an imagination held, controlled and directed by will. Therefore when we say, “He is a thoughtful person,” it means that this person does not think or speak or act on impulse, but behind everything he does there is a will-power which controls and directs the action of the mind.
TASAWWUF: The more one depends on this will, the more one comes into line with the Divine Will. Certainly the human will can act as if independent of the Divine Will. But as it acts in accord with the Divine Will, it becomes stronger. Besides this, there is the faculty of Insight which may operate from the depths of personality. This is the Spirit of Guidance within man which is always alive though we are not always aware of it. When insight and will become conjoined, man is on the way to becoming superman.
In Sufism there are generally three grades of nufs presented: nufs ammara which is concerned only with his sense gratifications; nufs lauwama which repents after he has done wrong; and nufs mutmaina which follows the above pattern. Beyond these are nufs salima which finds peace and nufs alima which means either the highest state or one who is a gnostic.
GATHEKA: As the surface of the heart is known by the imagination and thought, so the depth of the mind, which is the heart, is known by feeling.
TASAWWUF: This is taught from the very beginning of discipleship. But feeling does not always develop by intellectual means. In Gayan it is said that pain opens but pleasure blocks the door to inspiration. There is another way and that is love. But excepting a man has suffered much or loved much it is improbable that he will have the deep feeling.
The work of esotericism is to help awaken the depths in man. And for this usually a teacher is needed. We do not obtain the fineness by will. Indeed if will alone is used without the love, it will soon exhaust itself; it will become demagnetized. If one has a guide, the guide can protect him and at the same time the love for the teacher awakens love in the heart more than anything else. So a devout person need not suffer so much; a devout person can become selfless through love. That is both a protection and a blessing.
GATHEKA: There are nine principal feelings, which can be distinguished as mirth, grief, anger, passion, sympathy, attachment, fear, bewilderment, and indifference.
TASAWWUF: These are presented and analyzed in the teachings on metaphysics which have been published in Volume V of The Sufi Message.
GATHEKA: Feelings cannot be limited to these nine, but while we distinguish numerous feelings we may reduce them to nine distinct feelings which one experiences in life. And there are six diseases which belong to the heart: passion, anger, infatuation, conceit, jealousy, and greed or cupidity.
TASAWWUF: These are the causes of all the virulent diseases. While the teachings in “Health” deal largely with the psychological causes of disease without neglecting those of purely physical nature, when we go further, we find that without the correction of these emotions it is practically impossible to get rid of the most virulent diseases such as cancer, sarcoma, diabetes, tuberculosis and others. They all indicate the dominance of nufs in some way or another.
That is why there are metaphysical methods and schools which sometimes succeed where medicine fails. We need them together, corrections of prakrit in the form of medicines, in particular what are called herbs; and corrections of purusha which manifest through master of ego, by breath, by love, by self-sacrifice, by devotion.
GATHEKA: The heart is one of the soul’s bodies, the first body of the soul, which goes a long way with the soul, even on its return journey. The heart is the same as the angelic body.
TASAWWUF: This subject has been dealt with considerably, not only in The Soul Whence and Whither, but also in many essays. But what is needed is the awakening, the development, to make man conscious of this. The Bible has been wrongly translated when it says that God made man a little lower than the angels because elsewhere it says man was made in the Divine Image. The angels are not made in the Divine Image. No doubt they have transcendental faculties, but they are not perfect beings. A perfect being is one who has experienced every sort of imperfection and then becomes perfect.
GATHEKA: The world of feeling is higher than the world of thought.
TASAWWUF: In the Upanishads the Vijnanamayakosh and the Anandamayakosh are mentioned. These are also the subject of “The Story of Lot” in The Unity of Religious Ideals. But to know the symbol is not the same as knowing the essence. For this experience is needed and this experience is called “awakening.” It is the destiny of every soul, every soul was created in the divine image.
Now, how can we experience it in the here and now? We can experience it by the growth of feeling, of tenderness. Every Sura of Qur’an has Bismillah, and one way of interpreting this is that Allah is the Feeling, the Feeler and the Felt. Whenever there is tenderness, compassion, mercy, that is a sign of divinity. And this sign of divinity is in man, and it comes to its highest station in developed feeling.
Even such a savant as Karl Jung has recognized this. But his dialectics and his analysis have brought confusion, because the lines between thought, feeling and emotion are not as he said. Even a study of the nerves in the body show that we can neither equate them nor entirely distinguish them. The feeling is the depth and it is the power and motive behind all the nervous activities, perhaps behind all activities conscious and unconscious.
GATHEKA: One may say that in a certain way the heart is nearer to the soul, and the mind nearer to the body. But at the same time the soul experiences through the whole being, through the body, through the mind, through the heart, as it happens to be in different planes of existence.
TASAWWUF: This theme is also dealt with in The Soul Whence and Whither and elsewhere and no further comment is needed here.
GATHEKA: The more one thinks on the subject of the heart, the more one finds that if there is anything that can tell us of our personality, it is the heart; if there is anything by which we feel ourselves, or we know ourselves and what we are, it is the heart and what it contains. And once a person understands the nature, the character and the mystery of the heart, he understands, so to speak, the language of the whole universe.
TASAWWUF: There are great esoteric or internal sciences as there are great exoteric or external sciences. The great esoteric or internal sciences include Irfan, the greater Jihad or Mujahida, and cosmic contemplation or Mushahida. When we look out we see each from a point of view which even spatially cannot be the same, so there are differences. No doubt part of life is to harmonize those differences which exist.
When we look within we may have almost identical or similar or harmonious points of view. It cannot be otherwise. But the philosophy of this does not mean its attainment. Many people use the words. They even use the words to express a difference from others and especially to try to make others uncomfortable. Our prayer is “Raise us above the distinctions and differences which divide men.”
This happens when we begin to develop through the inner sciences. For instance, in Irfan all use the term “Allah” and begin to find His Presence everywhere. This is done in all sorts of ways: play, imagination, suggestion, effort, listening, devotion. When we make a Reality of ALLAH we find that reality, and there is no better place to start than in man’s own heart.
MUJAHIDA is a profound internal science by which man learns to correct outside disturbances by the purification and perfection of himself. He learns to get rid of all the disturbing and negative emotions. He does this by counter effect. This means not so much fighting the shortcomings but acting in an entirely different counter direction. Fear may be overcome by developing self assurance; anger by developing bravery. This also includes the true Alchemy: the use and control of all aspects of earth, water, fire and air within oneself. But it comes through self-discipline and growth and not by having any ideas about it.
MUSHAHIDA is the contemplation where one learns to assimilate the Divine Spirit and look upon this universe as if one were God Himself. Marie Corelli has a given us some splendid parallels in A Romance of Two Worlds and other of her writings which pose as fiction although often based on cosmic experience.
Another aspect of this comes in the Bodhisattvic Oath wherein man takes upon himself the burden of the human race. That is one way, in the Oath. Another is by identification with any actual Bodhisattva, be this a historical or archetypal character. Then one assimilates the perfection of qualities such as mercy, compassion, patience and all noble features. One may seem to be imitating an external being; what one is doing is awakening the soul in one’s own heart so that the functions become cosmic rather than personal.
Another is the Mushahida itself. Shahud is very important in both the external and internal aspects of Islam. Every Muslim constantly repeats Ashadu. Many do not know what it means; even those that speak Arabic do not always know. It means bearing witness from direct experience. One testifies because one knows. And the more one tries it the greater the vista, the more one understands and apprehends as well as comprehends.
After a while he can see the whole world within himself and finding the whole world within himself he can help purify, revivify and adjust it.
There is the legend of Jonah that he went into the belly of the whale. But the explanations are that he went deep into his own heart. He found all treasures there and all power and all wisdom. Every thing. That is why Jesus has said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of the heavens” and “The kingdom of heaven is within you.” Ages of ignorance cannot change the Truth; it is still there and by Mushahida one can come into realization.
GATHEKA: There are three ways of perception. One way of perception belongs to the surface of the mind; that is thought. Thought manifests to our mind with a definite form, line and color.
TASAWWUF: Mohammed said, “Seek Wisdom even as far as China.” Unfortunately, religionists have changed all that, and they find wisdom only among their own people and very seldom. The result is obvious: Mohammed and his Khalifs were always successful, and those who have adhered to pathways of limitation and separateness have not always succeeded. And they will not change and they keep on with methods that have never succeeded, and perhaps cannot succeed, for they may be without the approval of Allah.
Still, we can go into the Sciences and we shall not find another truth. No scientist has ever uncovered anything contrary to divine teachings. Sometimes there are periods when some scientists come out with contrary conclusions, but this is always only for a short time.
GATHEKA: The next way of perception is feeling. It is felt by quite another part of the heart; it is felt by the depth of the heart, not by the surface. And therefore the more the heart quality is wakened in a person, the more he perceives the feeling of others.
TASAWWUF: The constant repetition of this is not always suggestive. What is needed is more than suggestion. What is needed is for every devotee to look into his heart as if it were a universe and he will find it is a universe. He will find that everything that occurs, that has made an impression on him, there is also a corresponding chord in his own self. And if he can find that chord, he can delve deep and bring up a harmony out of chaos.
No doubt that is the work of the adept. The adept controls the world outside, in a sense, by finding the corresponding key inside himself. The American transcendentalists of the nineteenth century believed that thought could control anything external and that feeling could control thoughts. This is an excellent philosophy. The question is how to apply it. It can be applied by constant awareness of one’s own heart, as if it were a giant receiving set that picked up all the vibrations of the world, and kept them on file. By having access to these files one would know automatically by Kashf what to do. Therefore, awakened insight is more valuable than anything else. We have all the answers, but we do not know this.
GATHEKA: That person is sensitive, because to him the thoughts and feelings of others are clear. The person who lives on the surface does not perceive feelings clearly. Also, there is a difference between the evolution of the two, of the one who lives on the surface of the heart and the other who lives in the depth; in other words, of the one living in his mind and the other living in the heart.
TASAWWUF: We can see with all the disturbances going on that each group justifies itself. It has facts, thoughts, imaginations, prejudices, all sorts of weapons and yet problems are not solved, difficulties continue. And although many proclaim that words do not solve anything, they keep on using the words.
It is not a question whether words solve or do not solve, but what is behind. The Gita preaches interminably against manas and ahankara and the pundits, relying on manas and ahankara preach interminably. So the stages of awakening which are presented in the Gita are not always reached by man, or if so reached, not always known to the world. For the pundits and preachers have wide influence and know how to appeal to masses, whereas the sage may be appealing even to one person. Mohammed started out appealing to one or two. In the end the whole world came to him.
GATHEKA: But there is a third way of perception, which is not even by feeling, which may be called spiritual language. This feeling comes from the deepest depth of the heart. It is the voice of the spirit.
TASAWWUF: Gayan says, “Heart speaks to heart and soul to soul.” But it is not exactly a speaking of soul to soul, but an immediate understanding as if both were drinking from the fountain of eternal wisdom and automatically understood both each other and any subject under consideration. When the Bible says that in the beginning was Logos it means that this Infinite Knowledge is there, and out of it came everything. In Sufic language this would be Ilm. The Hebrew Olam meaning “universe” comes from this very root. And the Buddhist dharmakaya has the same significance. This shows that all the prophets and messengers of God partook of the same infinite wisdom and this is the real cosmic language. It is there, for in this sense in wisdom we live and move and have our being.
The whole subject is presented in the sections on “The Spirit of Guidance” in The Way of Illumination and elsewhere. The fact that The Way of Illumination is studied before or even immediately after the Bayat does not mean that it should be considered an elementary work. Nothing is elementary; it all depends upon which keys are struck and which chords resound. The soul is all knowledge, all wisdom.
GATHEKA: It does not belong to the lantern, it belongs to the light; but in the lantern it becomes more distinct and clear. And this perception may be called intuition, there is no better name for it.
TASAWWUF: This is presented in the studies on Kashf, insight, which form part of the work of the Elementary Study Circle. From another view this is Prajna and while we have many who have acclaimed Prajna, they do not always exemplify it. For it is beyond distinctions, differences and divisions and does not set anybody or anything apart. It is the wisdom of the whole and in this sense Divine Wisdom and we all have it. It is chiefly a problem of looking deep.
GATHEKA: In order to study life fully these three perceptions must be developed. Then alone one is able to study life fully; and it is by studying it fully that one is able to form a judgment upon it.
TASAWWUF: Therefore we do not discard the intellect, we use it. We also realize that along with it we can use heart and feeling. All parts of mankind can be used. We may start, “This is not my body, this is the temple of God.” It is even more true that this is not my mind, not my heart; these are all facets in the Grand Temple of the Universe constructed by the Grand Architect of the Universe.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: Intuition rises from the depth of the human heart. It has two aspects: one is dependent upon an outer impression, the other is independent of any outer impression; the former is called impression, and the latter intuition.
TASAWWUF: The French philosopher, Henri Bergson, caused quite a stir in intellectual circles by his affirmation of Intuition. But there are signs that he did not always use it. This gave the people opposed to him to call his teaching “anti-intellectual.” It was not anti-intellectual, it was trans-intellectual. Or it may even be that the intellect, to perfect itself, did not regard itself as infallible.
It is easy to see, taking the whole world into consideration, that intellect does not lead to agreements. There is something missing. It has been said that if the animals had to conceive a God or god it would be like themselves. One can go further and say that if a rock or a mineral had to conceive a god it would be in its image. And the same is true of processes, they are not different from beings in this. If they had to conceive perfection it would be their own perfection or perfectibility. It would not be all inclusive.
It ought to be obvious that a complete intellect would leave room for philosophy, sciences of all sorts, arts of all sorts, mathematics of all sorts and perhaps other avenues of communication, being and knowledge. Each tends to see in terms of itself. The Michelson-Morley experiment showed the difficulties mankind gets into in trying to express experience in terms of one’s own self, or of past knowledge. There is always something more. If there were not something more there could not be growth or progress. The whole world would be stale-mated.
The thinking people know that and also know the limits of their own abilities. It is the emotional people who do not conceive and keep the world stirred up. And as they have a sort of communicating magnetism, they are successful in their stirrings. This maintains the nufsaniat or samsara, the endless confusion of ego-efforts.
GATHEKA: Intuition is a fine faculty, therefore a feminine faculty; for it comes by responsiveness, and woman is more intuitive by nature than man.
TASAWWUF: Saum proposes surrender; Salat says, “And speakest the word that is put into thy mouth as the light filleth the crescent moon.” Prayer is not its realization. It is only the key, the first step toward it. For the higher steps there must be esotericism, the deep devotion, the concentration upon the moon so that one becomes as the moon. Then indeed is one fully receptive.
The word for a “female” in Hebrew means a receptive or negative person. This receptiveness was once used in the mysteries of religion where women served as Oracles and Priestesses. Even among the Hebrews one of the first Judges was Deborah. Deborah not only means a “bee,” but derived from the Hebrew word it means “oracle.” And many Hebrew prayer books to this day have a prayer for the restoration of the Oracle, but nothing is done about it nor can anything be done about it until woman takes her place beside man. Not above him, not a partner or superior in masculine pursuits but in the fulfillment of feminine pursuits.
When the institution of the Oracle is restored it will be like bringing Jacob’s ladder down again and to function.
GATHEKA: Very often someone says, “This person gives me such and such an impression,” but at the same time there is no reason to prove it; he is perhaps not capable of finding any reason to prove it; nevertheless the impression is right.
TASAWWUF: Impressionability is developed by the refinement of breath and also by the keen observation, to become capable of responding to every vibration that touches one. Theosophists have a doctrine that there are many ethers. These are accommodations for receptivities according to the fineness or grossness of the active vibrations. One may not be openly conscious of these ethers but one can respond to them. The finest are called “Akashic Records” and perhaps that is the only possible term that can be applied to them.
GATHEKA: There are some persons, also some peoples, who are naturally intuitive. For an intuitive person it is not necessary to wait till he finds out about a person; all he needs is one moment. Instantly, as soon as his eyes fall upon someone, it gives rise to an impression which is the former kind of intuition.
TASAWWUF: It was said, during World War I, that the Arabs in Palestine always knew what was going on and that they were aware of the Armistice long before it was declared. Actually, all of us can become aware of past, present and future, although it requires much concentration not to brush off impressions which one does not think are important and also remove one’s personal opinions and reactions. If one wishes to retain ideas and views he cannot be so intuitive. That is one reason why Jesus said we must become as little children to inherit the kingdom of heaven.
To develop or awaken one must learn to trust one’s first impressions and not to change at the proposals of others. No matter what one’s ideas or views are sooner or later someone will come along and try to change them. This is nothing but nufs, the ego.
Stand fast by your impressions and they will stand fast by you.
GATHEKA: A person with a fine mind and with a still mind generally has intuition; someone with a gross mind and a restless mind lacks it.
TASAWWUF: By fine here is meant keen, one who can observe, who grasps both details and principles, who is not swayed by his own ego or that of others. Most scientists and many artists have this kind of mind.
By still mind is meant that of a sage. A sage does not have to be an intellectual giant. But when he can keep his mind at rest, he can easily discern what is true. Many under-developed people, some of them perhaps even illiterate, have still minds. Stillness of mind has been cultivated by generations. This has been particularly true among many natives of the Americas. They do not always reach the depth or wisdom of Asians but neither do they need it. For their inner peacefulness means more to them than anything else. Some animals are this way too, but they are not wise in the same sense.
Stillness of mind is developed mostly by meditation and has been considered in In an Eastern Rose Garden and elsewhere.
GATHEKA: Intuition is a supersense; it may be called a sixth sense; it is the essence of all senses. When a person says he sensed something, it does not mean that there were objective reasons to prove that it was so; it means that without any outer reason or objective signs he has sensed it.
TASAWWUF: It has been said, “In God we live and move and have our being.” Wisdom also has been identified with God. How can it be other than that man lives in the midst of wisdom. He is not aware of it. For the space is actually filled with different levels of Light and Knowledge, and all that has to be done is to become attuned to them. It can almost be said that by a man’s attunements you shall know him.
When the breath is refined, when the personality is refined, the ability to have direct knowledge and direct perception becomes automatic.
GATHEKA: Intuition which is independent of impression is of a still deeper nature. For this comes so that before you wish to begin a thing you know what will come of it; before the beginning of an enterprise you see the result of it.
TASAWWUF: At one time Hazrat Inayat Khan gave out teachings on Occultism. They were never published, but by them one could be able to have this knowledge if he became impersonal, if he removed the interpositions of the ego. For also in mysticism the veils of past, present and future are removed, so in this occultism the veils of past, present and future are removed.
These are very different from the perceptions of trance-psychics. These people are still in the person states. Their visions are clear. They see but it is like a telescope or a glass, their sight is limited to their concentrations. With the adept there is no limitation. He can see and know whatever it is necessary for him to see and know, and immediately. This also is an attainment of Zen Masters, the real Masters.
GATHEKA: Intuition is sometimes a kind of inner guidance; sometimes it is a kind of warning from within.
TASAWWUF: This subject is dealt with at length in the articles on “The Spirit of Guidance.” But one can learn also from the European Occultism, especially of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries of warning from within.
Once the commentator was living in East Hollywood, California. There was a sort of canyon which was also a pass to the valley to the north. He wanted to go there, and every time he tried he was attacked by a flock of birds, many birds. They would never let him proceed. So he waited until the winter when they were gone. He got into the entrance of the canyon but not very far. He was immediately attacked by a brute, half-dog, half-wolf, and was saved only by the appearance of its owner.
We need not go so far as to accept that the crossing of one’s path by a black cat means defeat or frustration, but there is a whole occult science by which one can learn from signs. However, this becomes mental and external knowledge and is wearying. It decreases magnetism. One can more quickly become aware of warnings from within with no loss of magnetism.
GATHEKA: How does one perceive it? It is first expressed in the language of feeling; that feeling spreading within the horizon of mind shapes itself; becoming more narrative of its idea; then mind turns it into a form; then language interprets it to you. Therefore it is the feeling heart to which intuition belongs.
TASAWWUF: Something like that also happened when one turned to writing the commentaries. At first it looked like analysis and personal views. But as one became more attuned to the subject he found the ether, so to speak, which recorded the state of mind of Hazrat Inayat Khan and he attuned to it. He had already learned to attune to Hazrat Inayat Khan when in the flesh; now he was able to attune to the mental imprints.
Then the next stage is to touch the heart-life. This is universal. It penetrates everything of the physical and mental worlds. There is a picture toward the end of The Soul Whence and Whither which symbolizes it. While a symbol, it is also like a chart of reality. The awakened heart can attune to and select everything in the lower worlds. An Edgar Cayce could do this with the physical body; a seer can do it with the mental body also and with events, and knowledge.
GATHEKA: Intuition turns into three different conditions in order to become clear enough to be distinguished: a feeling, an imagination, a phrase. One person hears the voice of intuition even when it is in the first process of development; it is he who is more capable of perceiving intuition, and it is he who may be called intuitive.
TASAWWUF: In the early stages of development the commentator could hear. He was engaged to be married to a young lady who could see. Whenever she saw something he could tell her the conversations going on. She was of a very pure character and her vision was remarkable, but she became convinced by social pressures that this was a strange faculty of no use in the world. After she departed from his life the commentator also began to develop vision when it was needed for the Cause of God and the sake of humanity. But he was not understood, he was never understood for a long, long time yet all his intuitions and forebodings came out because they were impressions from the imprints of the ethers, the Akasha.
GATHEKA: Another person distinguishes it when it expresses itself in the realm of thought.
TASAWWUF: This also came to the commentator. There was a tree at Kaaba Allah in Fairfax, Calif. It was very crooked and he said there was no place for crooked trees on holy grounds. The disciples did not agree. Then a big wind storm came and knocked the tree down. He said not to touch it, but it was touched; only the root would not come out. He said that he would take the root out but could not. He tried and once hit his knee with the ax handle. There was a severe pain. He heard a voice say, “Grab your breath, do not grab your knee; grab your breath, do not grab your knee.” He did that and immediately ninety percent of the pain disappeared. What remained did not bother him.
So he went again and tried to get the root out. Strong men had tried before and failed. He tried again and again and then a Voice came and said, “Hit it from the other side.” It looked so foolish but nothing else worked. So he summoned all his strength and not only knocked out the root but also himself in the effort. He never forgot from that and always listened, so that did not bring him friends. It was too strange for others.
GATHEKA: And then there is a third person who can only distinguish his intuition when it is manifested in the form of a phrase.
TASAWWUF: This is the way in which Poetry started. Also the Vedas and the early poetry of the Greeks and the psalms of the Hebrews. They began with phrases.
Once the commentator was meditating on the subject of peace through religion and suddenly in the middle of the day he saw in letters of living light:
Trace in the Immortal Silence the Words Inscribed on the Book of Life.
A Camel’s Hair-brush Dipped in Centuries Book Relates the History of the World,
But the Tale of Heaven! Ah! The Tale of Heaven!
Look! The New Revelation! The Day Is Come!
Now years before the great and holy Saint, Khwaja Khizr had manifested to him. The manifestation was accepted by Hazrat Inayat Khan but not by his disciples of opposing camps. Khizr gave him the choice of poetry or music and he selected poetry and after many years great cosmic poems came but were slow in gaining public attention. But also then the music came. And after a long while, the dance, too, and choral singing.
GATHEKA: It is the kind person, the loving person, pure hearted, of goodwill, who is intuitive.
TASAWWUF: The converse is also true, that the intuitive person will be loving, kind-hearted and of good-will. The Christian phrase might read: Peace is good-will for humanity. But the dualistic interpretations of the followers hide this. There is always blame on someone, meaning someone else. When blame goes, the veil will be lifted and good-will will bring the peace. It does not come from homilies, sermons or anything external.
GATHEKA: Intuition has nothing to do with learning. An unlettered person can be much more intuitive than one who is most qualified, for it is in quite another domain of knowledge; it comes from quite another direction.
TASAWWUF: The waves of wisdom are different from the waves of knowledge. Knowledge comes piece-meal and generally in and from name and form. Intuition is like perceiving light or even lights of various waves and colors but it comes as a whole. It is not disjunct. It depends upon perceptibility, tenderness, impressionability and receptibility. But it can be developed until the whole spirit of the Universe is contacted consciousness, if the ego does not intervene.
Both as subject-matter and as form we find this in the verses in Nirtan. They deal with Intuition and Cosmic Language. Also the purest words of Buddha come in “Udana” which mean also outbursts, or inspirations.
GATHEKA: Very often an intuitive person makes a mistake in catching the right intuition, for the intuition comes from one side and his mind reacts from the other side, and he does not know which is which.
TASAWWUF: The vibrations of the mind are always heavier. But this very heaviness makes a stronger impression. One has to be very aware. It is delicate in every sense, but at the same time there is a power in this delicacy and it is really the Voice of Truth. This also appears in the Hebrew Bible that God is in the still small voice but for practical purposes orthodoxy has rejected that.
GATHEKA: If he takes the action of his mind for an intuition, once disappointed he loses faith in himself; and so naturally he no longer gives thought to intuition; and that faculty diminishes in him more and more every day.
TASAWWUF: This also appears in the words of Jesus Christ that to him that hath shall be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he has. This refers to the heart-qualities. They become covered by the denseness of earth and the operations of ego. But that covers, it does not destroy them.
GATHEKA: In the first place, to catch an intuition is the most difficult thing. For in a moment’s time both are working, intuition on the one hand and mind on the other; as if two ends of one stick which is placed in the centre upon another stick were to move up and down, and one did not notice which end rose first and which after.
TASAWWUF: The situation is made more difficult, for the mind of man will argue for the intuition, but this very argument, this very series of self-made thoughts only obscures the intuition more. It does not come alive by speaking in its behalf. It becomes alive by its speaking and one’s listening. So the ear is a most important instrument, especially to pick up all impressions from within.
GATHEKA: And therefore one needs to take very keen notice of the action of the mind, which is gained by the thorough practice of concentration. One must be able to look at one’s mind just as at a slate before one; and while looking at it one’s mind must be able to shut one’s self off from all other sides, fixing one’s mind solely upon one’s inner being.
TASAWWUF: In this Fikr is a most helpful practice. This does center one on his inner being by invoking the Name of God at all times and by thought which is much more powerful than action, if we only knew and practiced it. Once one gets into the swing of Fikr, all thoughts and impressions which do not accord with divinity will cause a change in breath and in calmness, producing a new set of emotions. It is easy to say that one should keep firm against such changes, but the Sufis have the methods, and by holding to the methods one does not have to worry, much less degrade oneself for failure. One keeps on performing the Fikr all through life, and this effort alone gives one the inner strength and perfects the surrender to Divine Will. In that way one truly becomes a servant of God much more than by philosophy or theology.
GATHEKA: By developing concentration, by stilling the mind, one can be tuned to the pitch which is necessary to perceive intuition. Besides, if one has once been disappointed in perceiving one’s intuition, one must not lose courage; one must go on following it even if it seems a continual mistake. If one continually follows it, then one will come to the right perception of it.
TASAWWUF: This requires practice. It is like looking and one must keep on looking, both as a method and for the end results. If one stops, one will fail. We can see it also in the lives of scientists like Gauss and Faraday and others, that when they had some intuition they kept up their efforts and in the end were rewarded. In this field success leads to greater success.
GATHEKA: The impulse of an intuitive person is very often guided by intuition; the impulse of a person who lacks intuition may come from another direction, from the surface. Impulse directed by an intuition is desirable.
TASAWWUF: There may be a question of how far one should be guided by impulse. The false impulse fades away; the true impulse remains. That is one way of distinguishing them. Another is to test with Fikr. This is like letting in a light and again the true impulse will remain, the false one disappears. But it is better to keep on trying.
Many people confuse impulse with temptation. They are not alike. One can find temptation connected with certain centers, with certain desires and always it moves toward a selfish end. It is always personal. The impulse, good or bad, right or wrong, is often impersonal.
GATHEKA: Impulse is just like a little straw floating on the surface of the water; and this straw becomes an impulse when it is pushed by a wave coming from behind. And therefore for a right impulse a man gets credit, for a wrong impulse he is blamed. If one saw what is behind the impulse, one would be slow to express one’s opinion on the subject.
TASAWWUF: There are two aspects of this: one is forbearance and the other is skillfulness in perception. One should always try the latter. There are pictures of the Tibetan Saint, Milarepa, with his hand to his ear. He is listening to and for cosmic sound. This is the sound in its fullness. But there are also sounds derived from it, messages derived from it, guidance derived from it. It goes on continually. It is like a constant moving belt, and if one gets the right rhythm, one can get on it and be moved by it, with it.
GATHEKA: The dream is another wonder, a phenomenon of the mind. In the dream it is not only imagination and thought that work, but also intuition. Intuitions which rise in the waking state, rise in the dream state and become more clear; for at that time a person is naturally concentrated, his eyes being closed to the outer world.
TASAWWUF: The soul not only sees, it is always seeing. Sleep is a cover of the ego. The Bible states that God never sleeps, and Mohammed taught that sleep was one of the methods by which the ego covered the consciousness. But although the consciousness seems covered, sight goes on. And thus we have dreams derived from direct or indirect perception of life.
Sometimes the reflections in dreams are from the past and mostly so, sometimes they are derived from the present, and when the sight becomes keen and the vehicles purified there is sight and insight, not only into the future, but into the future generally, both of oneself and what seems to be outside the self. But of course nothing is outside the true self, and there is no upper or outer limit to perception.
Many people confuse impulse with temptation. They are not alike. One can find temptation connected with certain centers with certain desires and always it moves toward a selfish end. It is always personal. The impulse, good or bad, right or wrong, is often impersonal.
GATHEKA: The dream is another wonder, a phenomenon of the mind. In the dream it is not only imagination and thought that work, but also intuition. Intuitions which rise in the waking state, rise in the dream state and become more clear; for at that time a person is naturally concentrated, his eyes being closed to the outer world.
TASAWWUF: The soul not only sees, it is always seeing. Sleep is a cover of the ego. The Bible states that God never sleeps, and Mohammed taught that sleep was one of the methods by which the ego covered the consciousness. But although the consciousness seems covered, sight goes on. And thus we have dreams derived from direct or indirect perception of life.
GATHEKA: But then also there is the same problem. No sooner has intuition risen from the depth than imagination rises from the surface, and one does not know which is which. That is why many dreams are confused: a part of the dream is expressive of some truth, and a part of the dream is confused.
TASAWWUF: As the sight increases in power, it moves on all planes and in both the conscious and unconscious state. It becomes as if the “palace of mirrors” was reflecting light, and it is reflecting light, in all directions. The mirrors may be far from perfect, they may be curtained or veiled, but the perception continues. That is why esotericism is so beneficial for those seeking insight and divine wisdom.
GATHEKA: There is no dream which has no meaning. If the dream has nothing to do with intuition, it is purely an automatic activity of all that the mind has gone through in one’s work during the day; it goes on automatically just like a moving picture before one.
TASAWWUF: There is a Buddhist teaching that mind and body are one. This has often become so dogmatic that it is not necessarily true. No dogma is true; perhaps nothing is self-evident and most of all nothing can be self-evident before those who teach that there is no self. Yet the connection between mind and body is intimate, the samsaras cover both, and all nervous impulses which touch either touch the other. Therefore dreaming is often automatic, there is an after-vision of thoughts and samsaras which appear as perceptions.
GATHEKA: But even behind that is a meaning, for nothing is projected on the curtain of the mind which does not take root in the soil of the heart, producing similar flowers and fruits. If in the dream intuition is working, then the dream is narrative of something in the past or present, or coming in the future.
TASAWWUF: The main mystery of dreams is that man has made them mysteries. In some parts of the world, among Malays and Oceanic peoples, the dream is often considered more real than the waking life. Both are said to be subject to illusions, but as the mind has higher faculties than the body, so the dream is considered more important, and much of the turmoil of the outer world is considered as not too important.
There is actually a lesson to be learned here. Man is too much affected by all sorts of unimportant details which have no meaning to the soul, which are exciting and being exciting are presumed to be interesting. But to the sage, this is not so.
GATHEKA: A very advanced person does not dream much, nor a very dense person, who never troubles his brain to think. He is quite happy and contented without troubling to think; he does not have many dreams. And do not think that you seldom find such souls; you often meet with souls to whom thinking is a trouble; they would rather not trouble about it.
TASAWWUF: Much of the turmoil in the world comes from these unthinking people. They will accept tyranny or despotism, any kind of government or leader so long as they are not disturbed. Very often peasants have become the dupes of powerful leaders who have taken advantage of this state.
Still it is a question as to whether one must have a particular kind of government or ruler. The mystic says that a ruler is he who is ruler of himself, and he therefore tries to build up all faculties, and encourages the awakening of all faculties in every one, without resorting to external power or privilege. Thus he obtains peacefulness of spirit.
People who accept leadership, themselves being moved as Christ says, like reeds in the wind, either do not dream or have only disturbing dreams and make much of them. Some people consider all dreams as most significant and symbolic and thus avoid facing life.
At the other extreme has been the Zen Master, Sokei-an Sasaki who claimed he never dreamed, that his sleep was never disturbed. Yet he was able to pass on the dharma transmission to others and this included insight into the use of cosmic language, far above and beyond symbols.
GATHEKA: The mind has a reaction upon the body, the body has a reaction upon mind; and therefore it is natural that a bodily disorder may throw its shadow upon the mind and produce in the mind the same disorder.
TASAWWUF: This naturally follows when we study the science of impressions and samsaras. It also appears in the lessons on “Health.” It also occurs sometimes during initiatory processes, particularly those of purification, that one will have symbolic dreams and visions; even disorders which are called “nightmares” and are like obsessions, very disturbing.
GATHEKA: Dreams of suffocation, continually coming, of drowning and inability to walk and speak, do not come from a condition of health; they are the results of the impressions which have been held in the mind. It is a kind of psychical disorder of the mind; it is a disease of mind; the mind must be cured of it.
TASAWWUF: This is the theme of Mental Purification. There the subject may be studied and also the means to prevent and cure such complications. They are natural; they occur to everybody but they need not occur and there are spiritual methods by which these difficulties may be overcome.
Of course suffocation indicates interference with the air element; drowning with the water; walk with the earth, but these are just indicative of the general condition. Purification of breath and mind enables man to overcome them.
GATHEKA: Dreams of flying have much to do with the idea of biology; also psychically they are expressive of the soul’s continual effort to rise above this imprisonment of limitation which it experiences in this earthly life; also the dreams of flying signify a journey awaiting one in the future. And it is the dance of his soul that makes a person sing during sleep.
TASAWWUF: It is more important to protect and pacify the mind than to be concerned with dreams and their interpretations. Some metaphysical schools make much of them. But they are by their very nature connected with maya, that is the universe of limitations. Indeed Mohammed has said that dreams come from Satan and visions from God. It takes considerable insight and wisdom not only to know the difference but to explain and weigh their values. And when we say La Illaha El Il Allah, we should be impressed that only God is, and all manifestations and experiences are like shadows in the Presence of Allah.
GATHEKA: There is a kind of dream which shows everything upside down, just like a mirror which shows a fat person thin and a thin person fat, a tall person short and a short person tall. Such a condition of mind comes about also, where everything appears quite the contrary to what it is. But this fault can be traced to a fault of the mind. The mind has turned upside down, and therefore all that a person sees looks upside down, especially in that dream state.
TASAWWUF: This can be corrected by devotion. Even simple devotion places the upward things upwardly and the downward things downwardly. But also the control of breath and especially the mystical wisdom which coordinates all psychological activities with the breathing produces a kind of insight and sanity so that one can read his own being directly and not depend on dreams or impressions which are reflections and therefore indirect. Purification of breath produces endless wonders.
GATHEKA: Sometimes this dream shows quite the opposite to what was, what is, and what is going to be. If a person did not understand this kind of dream, he would interpret it quite contrarily to its real nature.
TASAWWUF: We have had all kinds of false auguries, wrongly called prophecies. There is nothing prophetic about them. Prophecies come from God and auguries from the worlds of limitation. But many people regard anything uncertain or mysterious as “occult,” they call it “occult” and want to believe it is more true than the ordinary things of life. Yes, no doubt it is extraordinary but it is also untrue. There is no life or light in it.
In the Qur’an the Sura on Light not only explains the phenomena of light upon light but also the piling of darkness upon darkness. Those who accept the unseen as occult and the occult as true not only delude themselves but spread delusion. And the sad part is that they are not easily corrected. They put the blame everywhere else when things do not turn out the way they expected.
GATHEKA: The symbolical dream is the working of a subtle mind, and it is a most wonderful working.
TASAWWUF: Too many without the subtle development become concerned with dreams and their interpretations and so lose sight of life and its purposes. As one develops in subtlety, the vision becomes clear. To repeat Ya Latif is not only to remind one that God is Ruler of the Subtle, but it also awakens the subtle side of man. And we cannot explain subtlety in ordinary language. It has a language of its own, sometimes called “Metalanguage.”
GATHEKA: As subtle as is the mentality, so subtle is the symbol in which the imagination or the thought is expressed. It has been therefore most easy for the mystics to see the evolution of a person from his dreams. The subtler his dreams, the subtler the person is in his evolution.
TASAWWUF: Disciples are given studies in Symbology, Naqshibandi, in the elementary study circle and these are continued. It is not only to give some intellectual knowledge. One can get that in anthropological and theological studies. It has been explained that every symbol is a key. And as all the knowledge of keys tells us little of locks; of locks of doors; of doors of the houses upon which they open, it takes a keen mind to perceive interpretations. And it is useless to permit the ordinary mind, the manas, to be over-concerned, for this leads only to confusion, to the memorizing of rules which have no depth, and this keeps a person at his own state of evolution without carrying him further.
GATHEKA: Nevertheless the virtue is not only in subtlety; it is in simplicity. Poets, musicians, thinkers, writers, people of imagination have wonderful dreams; and the splendor of their dreams is in their marvelous symbology.
TASAWWUF: One of the beat examples is in the poem called “Thanatopsis” which came to the American, William Cullen Bryan, when he was very young. It produced its own vision and its own symbology. The semi-mystic Blake is also full of symbology, a symbology to which he seems to have held in all his works.
But there is a natural, universal symbology also, and the closer one comes to that, the clearer his perception and his comprehension of others. While Zen Masters do not seem to employ symbols, they actually find symbols in everything and use whatever is nearest at hand. Thus there is a saying, “A Zen Monk should live among mountains.” This has been often interpreted literally, so many monks became hermits and escaped mankind. But if we understood the Bodhisattvic oath, this is not only not necessary but deluding. It means that an advanced soul should live in the company of other advanced souls, and also should maintain his consciousness at the highest level in which he also can keep his balance.
GATHEKA: There are dreams which may be called visions. They are reflections; reflections of persons, of their minds, of worlds, of planes upon which the mind has become focused.
TASAWWUF: Mohammed encouraged visions. Indeed the Bible says that a people without vision perish but orthodoxy has ignored that and has substituted all kinds of replacements, none of which seem to have worked during the ages. So it is part of the work of the Message of the day to reawaken the latent faculties in man and to review more seriously those inner experiences which may be called vision. And how does one know they are visions? Visions are always backgrounded in light and bring more magnetism. One can have elation or exaltations from visions which do not necessarily accompany dreams.
GATHEKA: If the mind is focused upon some outer world, then the dreams are of that world; if a person is focusing his mind upon himself, then his own thoughts come to him; if the mind is focused on a certain person, then that person, and what is within him, is reflected in the dream; if the mind is focused upon a certain plane of being, then the conditions of that plane are reflected upon the mind.
TASAWWUF: The sciences of Murakkabah and Mushahida bring man to that knowledge. In Murakkabah one may be conscious of his own being. He may have his concentrations and then he will learn to produce changes apparently in his mind. Then one does not know whether these are inner or outer changes nor does it matter. For in time one learns to control the atoms and vibrations and thus attain the object of his desires or needs. The further one is in dharma, the closer to divine purpose, the easier it is to operate as master mind. This is both science and art.
In Mushahida one internalizes the universe. All is as if within him. He may seem to see himself as the only being but actually he is then using the mind-of-God so to speak. This is a great step toward what the Hindus say, “Atman is Brahman.” But the saying means little until there is the accomplishment. And for this a skilled teacher is needed to show the way.
GATHEKA: The conditions of dreams are the same as the conditions after death. The deeper one goes into this subject, the more one finds that in the understanding of the dream, its nature, its mystery, its character, one may understand the secret of the whole of life.
TASAWWUF: Comments keep one at mental levels. Here it is necessary to have direct perception; to look into oneself, to see, to find what is in the heart and to do this seriously.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
GATHEKA: Inspiration is a higher form of intuition, for it comes as an idea, as a complete theme with its improvisation, as a phrase creative of a poem. Inspiration is a stream, a stream of wonder and bewilderment.
TASAWWUF: It is not always easy to explain inspiration to those who have not experienced it. For there is a passing away of the ordinary separative human consciousness. One may continue to feel that he is, but not that he is separate from others or from the stream of life. The Buddhist “Diamond Sutra” does offer an inkling as to the kind or consciousness that prevails.
Mostly those who have the inspiration feel, so to speak, like a creative god on the one hand, and like nobody in particular on the other, as if an agent of the universe. The stream of inspiration is strong and all-compelling. But this strength and compulsion seem to have no relation to one’s character, outlook or anything else. When the universe expresses itself through an individual, the individualism disappears.
GATHEKA: For the really inspired person, whether a writer, a poet, a composer, whatever be his work, when once he has received an inspiration he has found satisfaction, not with himself, but with what has come to him. It gives his soul such relief; for the soul was drawing from something and that object from which it was drawing has yielded to the soul, has given it what it was asking for. Therefore inspiration may be called the soul’s reward.
TASAWWUF: It would seem also during inspiration there is exaltation. In the intuitive state, whatever blessings come they seem to be limited to the individual. But in inspiration, with exaltation, there is something to be shared with everybody. Poetry is of no value unless it is read by others; music is of no value unless it is sung and played, or at least heard by others; painting and architecture are of most value when they inspire others. It is not that the artist is purposely humanitarian or engaged in propaganda, it is that pure art is an effort of the universe to speak and express through one person so that others can benefit.
GATHEKA: It is not by being anxious to receive something that one is able to receive it.
TASAWWUF: Instead inspiration comes when one is entirely relaxed. Sometimes the spirit is so strong it relaxes and exalts; at other times it comes because it is already relaxed, at ease and therefore receptive. And there have been poets and artists who have tried to verbalize such conditions. Unlike philosophy, however, it is not always communicative in that way. How can one explain to another what the other has not experienced, and sometimes cannot even conceive?
GATHEKA: It is not by straining the brain that one can write poetry; it is not by worrying for days together that one can compose a piece of music. One who does so cannot receive an inspiration. The one who receives an inspiration is quite tranquil and unconcerned about what is coming.
TASAWWUF: The inner listening is the most valuable of functions. It has been proclaimed by all Messengers and it also is explained in The Mysticism of Sound and in other places in the literature. But it takes much more than the discoursive mind to comprehend it. It is like a response to an ocean in which we live and are no more aware than the fish is aware he is in the ocean.
Modern civilization has produced a number of noises and sounds that fill the atmosphere, and not only are there the physical vibrations but also subtle vibrations of all sorts, the overtones of physical activities and the undertones of mental activities. All act and react on the sphere, the etheric ocean which is everywhere and which keeps the flow of samsara. Yet it is within this very flow of samsara one can find the peace if the ear is sufficiently keen and the heart sufficiently alert.
GATHEKA: Certainly he is desirous of receiving something, he is passionately longing to conceive it. But it is only by focusing his mind upon the divine Mind that, consciously or unconsciously, man receives inspiration.
TASAWWUF: We live and move and have our being in an ocean of grace; we live and move and have our being in an ocean of glory; we live and move and have our being in an ocean of wisdom; we live and move and have our being in an ocean of joy; we live and move and have our being in a super-ocean of peace. All these are like oceans, grander than the oceans of the world. They penetrate and interpenetrate, are within and without and actually permeate every atom of our being. All these atoms are derived directly or indirectly from Universal Light, its play and interplays. Everything is before us, around us and within us, once we overcome the perturbations of ego, once the ear becomes keen.
GATHEKA: The phenomenon is so great and so wonderful that its joy is unlike any other joy in the world. It is in this joy that the inspirational genius experiences ecstasy.
TASAWWUF: And it is from this joy that the adept offers blessings to all who are near and dear to him. The Bodhisattva does not reserve wisdom for the elite; when he finds this joy it exudes from every particle of his being, from every cell, from every atom. That is why the Sufis have offered music and poetry and dancing that the whole world can have joy in receiving the blessings from their Lord.
GATHEKA: It is a joy which is almost indescribable; it is the upliftment of feeling that one is raised from the earth when one’s mind is focused on the Divine Mind. For the inspiration comes from the Divine Mind.
TASAWWUF: It is therefore that the new music, the new poetry, the new dancing, many new arts are coming, are bringing a perfection of beauty to the earth which has not been known, or if known has been so lost it requires more than a restoration. But it is a restoration, a New Life, when the general evolution has gone forward, making possible the type of being in the flesh predicted by so many seers.
This is a totally different ecstasy from that limited to certain functions, to certain portions of the anatomy, to only certain aspects of our being. It involves the whole of man, body, heart and soul, so to speak. It brings the delights of oneness, and yet it is here and now with or without an accompanying philosophy; certainly without any dogma.
GATHEKA: What the great musicians, poets, thinkers, philosophers, writers and prophets have left in the world is always uplifting. Although it is not every soul who comprehends their work fully, and therefore can enjoy it fully. But if you can imagine their own enjoyment of what has come to them, there are no words to express it.
TASAWWUF: But as the Message is for all people; as the wise have taken the Bodhisattvic vows to share blessings with all humankind, it is now being brought in such a way that the consciousness can appreciate it and join the bliss, the ecstasy and what the Sufis call sukr or spiritual intoxication. Once this is experienced, then much of what has been written becomes clear even if one has not had the full benefit of divine awakening. Yet now the blessings are being offered to the people, to the intelligent and not so intelligent. It is no longer a matter of words, it becomes a direct involvement. Everybody can join in. We give the world a fine and more universal communion with and from God.
GATHEKA: It is in inspiration that one begins to see the sign of God; and the most materialistic genius begins to wonder about the Divine Spirit when once inspiration has begun.
TASAWWUF: Each Grand Sheikh of the Sufi Order presented some way of inspiration which purported to make possible the direct experience of inspiration by followers and disciplines. The general effects of music and dancing seem to have been greater than others because by their very nature they involve something from the depths of soul, something more than mind can offer—though mind might appreciate. And now we bring into actualization the words of the Christian hymn, “Joy to the World, the Lord is come.” The Lord has always been there; it has been only the matter of our awakening to it.
The Hindu teachings are that Brahma is Sat-Chit-Ananda which means roughly “Being-Consciousness-Bliss.” This means little or nothing unless it can be demonstrated. The Upanishads proclaim that each grade of evolution, as we rise toward realization, brings with it a tremendously increased capacity for bliss. This is theory. To actualize it there must be demonstrable methods and that is the work of the Divine Message.
GATHEKA: Does it come as a finished picture? Does it come as a written letter? No, it comes to an artist as if his hand was taken by someone else, as if his eyes were closed, his heart was open.
TASAWWUF: This is evidence of the experience coming to the writer. Many people write without experience. Then they resort to exhortation. This may bring a momentary intoxication, but it is generally what is called “the intoxication of life” which keeps man in confusion. Until the universe speaks through one, uses one, one does not have the platform from which to speak. And there is always a sign of difference between the true and the false; the true inspires one to follow in his steps and have the same realization; the false cannot do that. He may rouse an emotion and that is all.
GATHEKA: He has drawn something, he has painted something and he does not know who painted it, who has drawn it. It comes to a musician as if someone were playing, singing, and he were only taking it down, a complete melody, a perfect air. And after he has written it down, then it enchants his soul.
TASAWWUF: The true Dharma-transmission is like that. We may be living in an ocean of bliss but we are unaware. We are surrounded by light and love and joy and yet this is not our experience. And there are like veils over us. They can be lifted. Mystical literature tells us they can be lifted.
Reading thus does not do it though on rare occasions it does happen that one reading from a Scripture or poem breaks through the walls of limitation. Then he is free. An example of this may be found in St. Vincent Millay’s “Renascence.”
GATHEKA: To a poet it comes as if someone were dictating and he were only writing. There is no strain on his brain, there is no anxiety in receiving it.
TASAWWUF: This is one of the differences between the cosmic poetry and other writings. Superficially there is much poetry, verse which from the literary point of view is better. It may be recited before larger audiences, it may bring wealth, acclaim, but in the end it will die. It is only the living poems that do not die. How can they? In the Zoroastrian religion we read often: “The Spirit of Wisdom said thus.” Of course it did. That gave birth to “Gathas.” Gathas are a form of divine poetry and the word is found in many places, in many ancient religions and their literature. They were all like that. Not only the Vedas but other inspired poetry.
GATHEKA: Because of this many confuse it with spirit communication. Many inspirational people are glad to attribute the inspiration to a spirit, knowing that it does not come from them.
TASAWWUF: For the spirits per se do not necessarily have more wisdom. Discarding the physical body is a negative move and it does not add though no doubt once one is released from the denseness of earth his faculties are much more free. But this alone does not add content or ability; it is an increased capacity no doubt. And the very fact that one seems to be connected with spirits shows that there is still a door shut before the spirit of the universe. One is not yet free.
GATHEKA: But it is not always spirit communication. It is natural that it comes from a living being just now on earth, or from someone who has passed; and yet the most perfect inspiration is always from the divine Mind, and to God alone the credit is due.
TASAWWUF: This is also evidence of the difference between the mystic and others. The mystic sees no barriers and does not set them up. He may not even analyze his experiences; that is for others. The more one feels, the more one loves, the greater the capacity for radiation and inspiration.
No doubt at times one receives from what is called “the other side.” But on the other side, so to speak, there are beings of lesser degree, of the same grade and of higher evolution. Still if one learns at all, it is not pure inspiration, it can never become a life-giving work.
GATHEKA: Even if an inspiration comes through the mind of a living person on earth or through a soul that has passed on to the other side, still it has come from God, for all knowledge and wisdom belong to God.
TASAWWUF: If one has a true communication or lifting of the veils and he says it is from Akasha, many will believe him, they will accept it and he will be acclaimed. But what is this Akasha? It is the accommodation God Himself has created so that deeper knowledge and love and wisdom can come and be assimilated by the minds of mankind. To make it mysterious does not make it more true. Neither does it make it less true.
GATHEKA: There are three forms in which inspiration comes by the mediumship of a living being; when you are in the presence of someone who is inspiring; when you are in the thoughts of someone who is inspiring; and when your heart is in a state of perfect tranquility, and inspiration flowing through the heart of an inspirational person is coming into your heart.
TASAWWUF: The great work of the masters of wisdom has been to enable others to reach their status. Jesus has said, “He that believeth in me, the things that I do shall he do also, and greater things than these he shall do.” Has it been that way? Has anybody come forth and declared that anybody has performed greater works than Jesus? Very few have dared to so proclaim and yet it may be true. With all that man judges, especially man who judges his fellows, hardly one has been objectively honest on this point. But then what is a greater work? It can be only something that inspires others, actually. And by inspiring, we mean making the heart feel free.
GATHEKA: It is just like the radio: sometimes you connect it with a certain station, from which you are to receive the music, and sometimes you do not connect it; but it remains a radio machine. If anything passing through it is not received, it is not heard; but the sound is there just the same. In the same way one receives inspiration from the above three different sources.
TASAWWUF: In performing the commentary work, this is what happens. It may seem that one is writing but it is more clear that one is receiving. One becomes inspired and hopes one can carry that through and inspire others. It may almost be parodied, “By their inspirations ye shall know them” but this is also a variant, “By their love and joy ye shall know them.”
GATHEKA: There are different processes in inspiration. It all depends upon how the heart of a person is focused upon the divine Spirit. There may be someone whose heart is focused upon the divine Spirit directly; there is another to whom the divine Spirit is too remote.
TASAWWUF: This may depend on the grade of ego and grade of evolution. Mostly people must experience the intoxication to get over the worldly sobriety and then, passing through types of intoxication reach a heavenly sobriety from which they are not easily moved. The sobriety of the scientist is usually that he is not consciously focused on the Divine Spirit and the sobriety of the sage persists though he is focused upon the Divine Spirit. And the elation from them is different. We can enjoy and appreciate what comes from the sober soul but the inspired person brings us joy and gladness, for a little while, for a longer while.
GATHEKA: His heart is focused on a centre, the centre which is focused on the divine Spirit; therefore he receives his message. But it all comes from the Divine Spirit just the same.
TASAWWUF: When a person begins to study Sufism, even before he receives Bayat the lesson is stressed that God is the only Being, not only Divine, but the Only Being. It takes a long time to appreciate this although every breath brings something to us. We may not be aware of it, but it is true just the same.
GATHEKA: It is a fault on the part of mankind to attribute it to some limited being, who is nothing but a shadow concealing God. Besides, when a person believes that an old Egyptian comes from the other side to inspire him, or an American Indian comes to lead him on his way, he is building a wall between himself and God.
TASAWWUF: When we look at all the marvels and especially the accomplishments of mankind, these accomplishments are so vast that it is almost terrifying to compare them to the little knowledge which may have come from subtle sources. Man has grown in certain directions, overcoming time and space, conquering nature, building cities and factories and works of art without any such real or fanciful intervention from the unseen. God is working through man all the time though man may not be aware. As Gayan teaches, it is God through the hands of man who works out His intended purpose in Nature. God is the doer and man is the instrument.
GATHEKA: Instead of receiving directly from the source which is perfect and all-sufficient, he is picturing his limited idea, making it a screen between himself and God. The easiest way for the genius is to make himself an empty cup, free from pride of learning or conceit of knowledge; to become as innocent as a child, who is ready to learn whatever may be taught to him.
TASAWWUF: Some look for these qualities in others and it is true, if we can look with steady eye, objectively and impersonally we shall find just that. Many have noted that among the greatest scientists and artists quite a few are that way. When we go down the scale to the less noble, they are less that way.
GATHEKA: It is the soul who becomes as a child before God, longing and yearning at the same time to express music though his soul, who becomes a fountain of God. From that fountain divine inspiration rises, and brings beauty to all those who see the fountain.
TASAWWUF: There is one phase of science which is far above religion, and that is: the scientist does not make the differences which are bars to receptivity. The religionist, with all his wisdom, with all his profundity adheres to the principles of sect, making divisions among mankind and limiting thus the transmission of inspiration. Scientists and inventors, whether they are lead by inner motives or zeal for money do not make that mistake. Even the zeal for wealth may not always be so bad in the long run as continuing the idea of divisions, of refusing to look at the grandeur of those with different outlooks.
As the world becomes more universal there will be more inspiration because of the passing of differentiation. And then we shall see the manifestation of higher minds. The world will be ready for them.
GATHEKA: There is one step further, and that is when a person has no longer remained simply a poet or a musician or a philosopher, but has become God’s instrument only. Then God begins to speak to him through everything, not only in a melody or in verse or in color or light, but he begins to communicate with God in all forms. Everything he sees above or below, right or left, before or behind, either heavenly or earthly is communicative. He then begins to speak with God, and it is this step which is called revelation.
TASAWWUF: The theory of this is found in “Ten Sufi Thoughts.” The realization of this makes a “Sufi.” It is realization, experience, and not a particular outlook which brings this about. Indeed any outlook may be regarded as a limitation. Besides how is one going to explain a breaking through in the language of those who have not broken down the limits of their being?
GATHEKA: In the story of Moses it is said that he was looking for fire to bake bread, when he happened to see a light on the top of a mountain. And so in order to take this fire he climbed to the top of the mountain. But that fire became lightning. Moses could no longer withstand that great flashing and he fell to the ground; and when he woke up he began to communicate with God.
This is allegorical. The idea is that Moses was looking for light to make it his life’s sustenance; but he had to climb on to the higher planes. It was not possible to get it on the earth where he stood; it was necessary that he should climb to the top.
TASAWWUF: This symbology is found in all faiths. All the religions speak of the mountain as representing higher stages of consciousness and that God-attainment may be likened to existence at the summit of the highest mountain. The word “Ararat” in Hebrew really means “the piling of light,” or “light upon light.” This is reflected in Qur’an but the symbology is found everywhere.
It is also true that when one has the subtle breath, either by effort or as a result of inspiration, the breath becomes light and delicate like on the top of a mountain, and some people feel so purified on high mountains that they attain spirituality better there.
GATHEKA: And then it was not only a light, but it was lightning; it was a light which was beyond the power of Moses to withstand; and he fell down. What is this falling down? To become nothing, to become empty.
TASAWWUF: This is reflected in the religious ceremonies and most of all in Sajda, the prostration on the ground used by Muslims in connection with the repetition of “Allaho Akbar.” This means that God is mighty, God alone is mighty and that man by himself has no strength. He is really empty.
In Sufism we make use of this emptiness in the processes of fana, or self effacement. In the Prajna-Paramita school of Mahayana Buddhism emptiness is affirmed almost as if it were something positive. In Sufism there is self-effacement and one is assimilated in turn into the spirit of the living teacher, the human ideal and the divine ideal. These are stages in effacement, fana. But they bring with them also life and accomplishment, baqa which is positive. The negative and positive seem to go together like a cosmic night and day, only in the cosmic processes they are not separate and we find the day in the night and in another sense the night in the day.
In this sense one can almost say Christ (total abnegation) is God (total affirmation). But such equations have no value. Equations apply to finite values. In the infinite not only values but all forms of intellection are transcended.
GATHEKA: And when he reached that state of emptiness, then his heart became sonorous, and he found communication with God through everything in the world. In the rock, tree or plant, in the star, or sun, or moon, in whatever he saw he found communication with his soul.
TASAWWUF: This is the fana-fi-Lillah. This is the fountain of inspiration for all the great poets and sages of Sufism and in a sense with the deeply inspired of all faiths.
GATHEKA: And so everything revealed its nature and its secret to Moses. It is in connection with this revelation that Saadi says, that every leaf of the tree becomes a page of the sacred Scripture once the soul has learnt to read.
TASAWWUF: And so we find in the ultramicroscope and newer inventions and discoveries, only further elucidations that God is Light. And we can study in the deeper Buddhist texts also that everything is reflected in everything, for as the Christian Bible also says, God is all in all.