Githa with Commentary
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 1
To Develop Psychic Power
GITHA: Concentration is the first necessary thing in developing psychic power, because it is exercise for the mind, as for the body there are gymnastics. No power has ever developed his power, nor has been able to make use of it, without the development of concentration.
TASAWWUF: Concentration is an all important art and science. It opens up all the paths from the world without to the world within and from the world within to the world without. No doubt the breath is an excellent channel of communication but it is often an unconscious one. By Murakkabah one is able to awaken his inner personality. It is like attaining the Kingdom of Heaven. All blessings and faculties result thereafter.
Even magnetic exercises are not enough to increase psychic power. The psychic who talks about development often borrows from one faculty to assist another. And speech in this respect weakens the storehouse of power. Very often one has to become responsive rather than expressive. If there is economy of the use of psychic power, the power itself will become stronger and purer. The psychic power desired by the initiate is that which is valuable in a practice manner, which will not turn him aside from humility nor affect his ability to learn from others.
There are many exercises which help collect psychic power. Some of these are for the body, the body being its instrument. Sometimes one draws power from the space. One must have a strong mind for this, one which is active, and protected. The spirit of devotion is one of the best protectors in this respect.
GITHA: There are two great blessings in man’s life: power and inspiration. Concentration brings power; meditation, inspiration … the former being constructive while the latter is toward the ideal of annihilation, which in other words may be called absorption within.
TASAWWUF: We can call power the perfection of Jelal and inspiration the perfection of Jemal. There is a path of power which leads to mastery and there is a path of inspiration which leads to holiness or sainthood. It is a mistake, however, to assume that such power and such inspiration are entirely the result of one’s efforts. Yes, a person has to perform his devotions and his concentrations. But blessings are the result of Divine Grace.
Here one can observe the difference between fana-fi-Sheikh and tasawwuri Murshid. Fana-fi-Sheikh, as well as the higher stages fana-fi-Pir, fana-fi-Rassoul, etc., means the absorption of the spirit of the disciple in the majesty of an ideal personality. Responsiveness is requisite on the part of the pupil. By that he may increase his telepathic receptivity, he will more readily follow guidance, his inner faculties will be refined and he is walking toward God. He is walking toward God because he is sublimating his ego.
Tasawwuri Murshid enables the disciple to be active and successful. It is used in the everyday life. It also establishes harmony between teacher and pupil but for another purpose. Here the pupil is active, he increases his capacity through effort and deed. He may even become the channel by which the spiritual forces touch the earth. The psychic stream assists in the directing of these forces downward.
Summing up one may say that concentration enhances the active mind, while meditation brings repose. Meditation enables the disciple to overcome the false self, while concentration helps the true personality to manifest. The inspiration that follows is natural. The inspiration has always been there only it has been covered by the weight of nufs.
GITHA: Psychic power is developed by making use of thought at will, creating in the mind the object of concentration and retaining it—which takes a great deal of willpower.
TASAWWUF: There are several obstacles to be overcome in this. The first is the supposition that psychic power is something magical. Yes, no doubt as one progresses along this line he becomes aware of new or of higher faculties or of proficiency in his former blessings. He should retain his devotional spirit and show no fear, realizing that all comes from God.
The lessons in Superstitions, Customs and Beliefs in the Gathas prepare the student for this training. He must be impressed that ceremonies, rites, prayers and movements are all channels for spirit, and that they become the avenues by which psychic power manifests. Indeed there is hardly any physical movement which does not have its psychic counterpart or aftermath.
Another obstacle to be overcome is wishing. Wishing is too often a sign of selfishness. Many desire and wish but will not work. Others believe that wishing is working. They do not want to concentrate step by step, stage by stage. Yet power of mind can never be gotten by wishing. For it single-mindedness is needed, and so concentration and willing also.
Those who are interested in the occult arts emphasize this method of holding before the mind and object and concentrating. The difference between their way and the way of Sufism is this: that no doubt the details are similar and even the ideals and goal may be the same; but the Sufi never forgets that God is the Source and Goal, and that He alone exists. Therefore without shunning phenomena he does not seek them for their own sake.
GITHA: It is like lifting the chair on the tip of a finger under one of its feet, and keeping at the same time the balance, that it may not fall.
TASAWWUF: Nor is this feat impossible. One may develop psychism in the finger tips and power there also. But what is most important is balance. Power without balance too often leads to destruction. Therefore one has to gain the capacity for the psychic power and for that purpose the exercises have been devised, both those given by the teacher to the pupil in secrecy, and those in the lessons which are for the class as a whole.
Psychic power is very delicate. One has to be careful in learning how to use it, even in creating capacity for it. One has to bear in mind the moral law, too. There are people who employ faculties for their selfish purposes. One of these is to gain wealth or power. The other is to use it for faculties such as healing and helping. While that may seem noble the disciple must become more aware of the good-will of God than of his own ability.
Psychic power is not necessarily mediumship. One can develop it without resorting to trance at all. One does not develop it at the expense of any other faculty. It is gained in the light and works best in the light. Indeed it increases the light in and around the personal atmosphere and aura.
GITHA: Concentration is still more difficult. It is like making a pin stand on the tip of a finger, which has always a tendency to fall.
TASAWWUF: Mureeds who practice it know this to be true. It is not an easy thing to hold a form before the mind’s eye. It will not keep its equilibrium. To bring about this equilibrium and balance, breathing exercises and Fikr are needed. Fikr helps to remove the ego-excrescences which are always interfering. Careful breathing brings about balance and order so holds things in their proper places.
GITHA: The nature of the mind is such that it creates a thought and throws it over for another thought to take its place.
TASAWWUF: This is always true when one is under the sway of ego (Nufsaniat). The child is curious and forever interested in something new. An older person has a power of imagination which makes it easy for him to create thought, and these thoughts wander in and out of the mind which itself is not dominated by will. Then when one begins to concentrate instead of subduing the thoughts at first it would seem that even dormant ideas come to life. So there is a constant battle against them.
For that reason meditation is also needed, as well as Zikr and Fikr. These help to subdue the ego. When that is accomplished the mind becomes tamed even as a wild horse is tamed. After that concentration becomes much easier.
The main object in concentration is the creation and holding of desirable impressions and the removal of undesirable impressions. If one passes through each stage carefully he will gradually increase the capacity for the light of the soul upon the waking consciousness, which process makes for mastery.
GITHA: This being the nature of the mind, it makes it difficult for one to concentrate upon one object steadily.
TASAWWUF: There the teacher gives private instructions to the pupil and the lessons in Murakkabah offer several suggestions. If these are followed, though the pupil may not notice it, he will increase in his capacity to concentrate. He will find the simple lessons easier and easier. Also feeling and love are needed and when they are not created in the heart, life brings them to us through trial and hazard.
GITHA: The mind of an average person may be pictured as an unruly horse that jumps and kicks and throws any one that tries to ride it.
TASAWWUF: This simile is offered in the Gathas and is explained there and elsewhere in the studies and literature.
GITHA: Masters of the world are those who have mastered themselves, and mastery lies in the control of the mind. If the mind became your obedient servant, the whole world is at your service.
TASAWWUF: Sufic concentration begins with a series of rather simple exercises. As one progresses in it there is an increase of insight and of all mental faculties. One learns what the mind is from direct experience. One discovers what is beneficial to it and what is harmful for it, and also how to use it to advantage and to avoid using it to disadvantage. One becomes free from the constant stream of thoughts, impressions and impulses that bombard one every moment.
Many people will say, “Stop worrying.” These words alone are not very helpful. One has to control the shadows over the mind and the constant waves of agitation. Fikr and esotericism aid tremendously in it. The disciple may think he is overcoming his weaknesses. He does not always realize that there and then he is on the highway toward mastery. While there is a special training for the masters and for the saints, one of the main elements of it is this, that the mind must be controlled every step of the way.
There is a correspondent link or wave between everything in the mind and everything in the world. If this were not so, one could not give heed to the external world. If there is an impression, there must have been something to send out that impression and something to receive it. There must have been an attunement which made each stage possible. One can send out a telegram on a wire over which one has received one. Edison even made it possible to have multiple sending and receiving. So the mind that is impressed can send out return messages. By this and similar means the master, by constant watchfulness, gains controls over the world which appears to be without.
GITHA: The king of mind is greater than the king of a nation, and in order to get the mind into control, one ought to train the mind as one would train a horse that afterwards can be used for the purpose for which it is.
TASAWWUF: What is the purpose of mind? First one has to learn its nature and significance. The training of Sufism enables the talib to understand himself. Its metaphysics give him the inner knowledge which at first is learned in a manner similar to science or book-knowledge. After that there is a change in attitude and consciousness so that this knowledge becomes his very own. It becomes his own when it becomes part of himself.
Then he can convey ideas to others, he can influence others, he can help others. And as he has the links by the unseen sympathetic vibrational wires to all the universe over which he has thought and understanding, he is not limited by time and space any more than his thought is so limited. That is why the king of mind is ever so much greater than the king of any nation can be.
GITHA: People make concentration as a part of their everyday work, but mystics make their everyday’s work their concentration.
TASAWWUF: That is to say, people have to concentrate in order to succeed in their work. If their minds wander their efficiency decreases. The mystic would say this is excellent but of itself not sufficient. For that does not increase the scope of personality. It limits it to one’s work. If one wishes to prepare for greater deeds he has to have a larger capacity. And concentration also offers the means toward the attainment of this enlarged capacity. The increased proficiency in concentration, in turn, enables one to occupy a grander sphere in life. This is a sign of growth.
To a mystic wrong thought is not a certain thought or kind of thought to which there is an opposing thought which may be called right thought. Rather, a wrong thought is a wrong process, a method of thinking which constantly takes away the mental magnetism and psychic power. To overcome this the talib is instructed to hold the thought with the feeling and to recognize mind as the surface of the heart. As the faculty of insight grows there is less mischance. In other words right thinking is directing the mind correctly, not of insisting upon certain ideas or views. The manner of thinking, not the color of the idea is important.
GITHA: When the concentration is developed, one may do one thing or two things, or ten or a hundred things at a time and at the same time.
TASAWWUF: The first stages in concentration are based upon single-mindedness, which is to say, holding simple impressions or the impressions of a single thing or thought or concept. Before passing one stage to enter a higher grade, one also learns to hold a thing with details or to keep a group of more or less related things before the mind. What is needed here is unity of mind, which is the aftermath of single-mindedness.
Actually the secret of this comes from the development of feeling. Feeling is a heart faculty. Will power is also a heart faculty. The growth of the heart brings out these and other facets of the inner personality. And although will-power is needed for concentration in its turn concentration also develops will-power. Then, as the heart grows, it exhibits many sides or facets even as a diamond or other gem has many faces or facets. And each aspect of mind represents a set or series of thoughts or impressions which it is holding. By the inner unity—which is related to the Sufi Invocation—this becomes possible and practicable.
GITHA: The one who concentrates well, his thought becomes living. When there is less power, it is as a vegetable. When more, it is as an animal; when more it is as man, and if still more it becomes superman.
TASAWWUF: It is explained and taught in Sufism that man has within himself aspects of every department and kingdom of the universe. In his life upon earth he exhibits these according to his age and evolution. In the early part of his life the vegetable faculties may be more apparent. But they also appear in sick and decrepit people and those unfortunates who succumb to dope. The wisdom of the vegetable is expressed in tropisms, response to environment, to light, rain and wind, and to nature in general. He is as a creature of chance with very little will.
The animal has the faculty of motion. He can change his place when the weather is unfavorable. He can go in search of food. An animal may develop psychic power and the faculty of concentration as does the snake and other reptiles. He has a degree of the power of thought. He has psychic faculties not found in the vegetable, and even a modicum of love.
Man recognizes himself as a separate ego. This step marks a great advancement and enables him to become free from chance but not from the law of cause and effect. The innate human faculties have built the civilizations though the principles upon which they have been established may have spiritual inspiration and blessing. Man can tame the animals, cultivate the plants and overcome the exigencies of environment. He is now able to even live in a higher dimension since the advent of the airship in its many phases.
The superman marks another degree. The skill of man is limited largely to matter. The sway of the superman is over mind. There is even a series of popular cartoon labeled “Superman” which are based upon the existence of a being who is unaffected by material limitations but who, on the other hand has not majesty of heart. However his mental faculties, achievements and abilities are far beyond that of the ordinary man. He concentrates with ease. The universe in a sense is within him.
GITHA: His thought becomes his friend, his ship in the sea and his airship in the air.
TASAWWUF: These are characteristics of the stage of superman, which may be considered as those of the human developed to that degree that he can be called hu-man. Then there are no interpositions of ego-shadow. He sends out and receives rays of light which are thoughts and impressions. His faculty of insight is so enhanced that he appears to be a super-being.
GITHA: If still more deeply we think on this subject, we shall find that the secret of all creation, natural and artificial, is mind, which has created this all by thought.
TASAWWUF: The Hebrew and Aramaic Targums which are paraphrases of the oldest books on the Bible held that the opening passage of Genesis should be translated either “With Wisdom God created …” or “By thought God created …” The word bara as well as create meant to make a thing out of something which until then was not thing. What made this possible? The use of thought made it possible. Thought by what process? Thought through centration or better, concentration.
The world is held together by thought. It can be destroyed by thought. The Christian Bible calls it Word. But it is more than word; it is also intelligence. Our very sun draws its vitality from some inner source. Its rays depend upon the power derived from the mental sphere. When man knows this, and uses this knowledge he can create a better world for himself and everybody.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 2
Stilling of the Mind and Body
GITHA: Activity weakens and repose strengthens the mind and the body. By the word “strengthens” is meant that they get life from within, not necessarily from their own element.
TASAWWUF: The average person supposes that the best way to strengthen the body is to perform exercises, such as those offered in gymnastics, or to perform manual labor. Yes, these do strengthen the body, but they also may cause strain. It is rather difficult to say just at what point one overdoes. We do know that athletes suffer from heart strain and heart disease and many are much worse off in middle life than those who may have been comparatively puny or weak in youth.
A similar commentary may be made of some intellectual persons. They constantly exercise their minds with puzzles, studies and games. They consume considerable energy at their work. They do not realize what the source of their vital energy is nor that every thought draws upon the breath which must go to the reservoir of life and borrow. What is borrowed is not from the element of breath or of thought, but as the Githa suggests, it comes from the store of life that man has access to, whereof the key is in the heart. When he draws too heavily upon it he ails or ages.
Now if it is possible to draw upon this inner fountain without wear or tear to the outer personality man is indeed fortunate. And that is one of the reasons for following the spiritual life. Every action of body and mind, all effort at speech and action, deprives man of some of this inner energy. It is therefore taught to disciples in their very first year of study that it is necessary to “rewind” and revivify, even every day. Therefore meditation and esotericism are offered, so that man, by connecting his life with that of God, can draw unceasingly upon the storehouse of the universe.
In the instructions on spiritual art, which are chiefly commentaries on Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, detailed methods are given by which one can overcome lethargy, ennui, fatigue and weakness. A common secret to these methods and exercises is repose. Too often one regards repose as a greater state of inactivity than is sleep. It is greater than sleep in one respect, for sleep often only reinvigorates the body. Repose is incomplete unless the mind is also rested.
There are several ways by which repose of body is attained. Sitting in a chair, or sitting in posture or lying down in one of a number of relaxed positions will accomplish this. One can watch the dog and cat and other animals and learn from them. One should make every endeavor to throw off the cloak of thought then.
Repose of thought may come from meditation, from ability to throw out thought with the breath, from the great feeling of heart-love, even from watching the pulsations and vibrations of heart. If any means are ineffective, one can repeat Fikr or one of several kinds of Darood. All of these things help to clarify the inner personality.
These stages all belong to fana, self-effacement. However it is not to be supposed that that is all there is to them. For what is effaced is the ego side, the limitation of man. When the limitation is overcome the perfection manifest of itself. “Overcoming self, the Universe grow I” was an ancient saying, or truth. It ever holds.
GITHA: One may ask, “Would sitting idle help a person to become muscular, and lack of thinking make one wise?” The answer is no.
TASAWWUF: Even the postures or asanas of the Yogis are not mere negative positions, to stop or restrain processes. If they inhibit one course of mind or body, they open to channel for other aspects of these same vehicles. For the sake of purity it is often wise to empty the body, even to purge it. The same holds for the mind. But after that food is needed—physical food for the physical organism, and mental food for the mind.
Yes, there is the symbol of the empty cup. This is an attitude. The heart is able to throw off all thought, but it does not do that merely to become empty. We have a prayer: “May the star of the divine light shining in Thy heart be reflected in the hearts of Thy devotees.” The star is symbolic of the creative function. It makes man living and active. The perfection of action comes when no attention is offered to anything but the deed at hand. Such deeds constitute dharma. When they are mixed with or contaminated with something else they become impure or adharma. The same holds for speech and for thought. That which is direct, unmixed and firm is pure.
GITHA: Activity would help a person to be muscular rather than stillness, and thinking would make man wise rather than the silence of thought; but activity in both the mind and body would bring to them their own element.
TASAWWUF: When we consider it from the highest standpoint, why did God give us a body? Why did He create the accommodation of mind? It is because they were and are to be used. The growth of vegetable, animal and man all show that there is a physical perfection to be sought. Only it happens that man loses more than he gains. If he would study the giant trees and gain wisdom from them he would notice that they can live on and on and grow stronger and stronger with the passing years. What is their secret? Repose is surely part of it. If one studies the rings on trees he can discover their period of activity and period of repose. Each season has its duty for them. The Bible says of God: “Thou bringest them their food in due season.” So it is for man to learn from the lesser creatures.
The animal has a faculty of thought which the plant does not possess. But if one studies the thinking animals he will discover that they have their periods of repose and meditation. One can almost feel that then they are not thinking, do not wish to think. Rather are they recharging their vehicles which will facilitate both thought and activity thereafter.
GITHA: In other words, the body by activity would become muscular and the mind would become thoughtful.
TASAWWUF: That is why the Sufi differs from the devotees of some other schools. He lives in the world without living for it. He does not become a recluse. He seeks the perfection of the body and he uses it as he sees best before the world. In that he does not seem to become so different from his neighbors. Therefore one in the spiritual life not only can continue to do what everybody else does, but to do it even better. For that reason psychic power is developed. Everybody has it but most people know not of its existence, less even of its secret.
GITHA: But it is stillness alone which can give them the life from within and the light from within.
TASAWWUF: This subject is present in In an Eastern Rose Garden and is developed in the commentaries thereupon. Its importance to the world can not easily be exaggerated. We can see all the passing events and how they are drawing man further and further into the vortex of emotionalism. The result is that even when there is a will to improve conditions or to combat evil the way is not open. Man does not know how to do what he desires to do, what he needs to do.
This is especially true of men who are compelled to fly in the air for commercial or martial reasons. Their living at several heights, breathing the atmosphere under all kinds of conditions, often upsets them. Actually this condition can easily be counteracted. One of the easiest and best means to do this would be by breathing in repose. Simple, rhythmical breathing, coupled with the thought of God on every breath, will help to restore vitality and to counter the ill effects of the daily life.
The heart is a living light and eternal fountain of life, when once the doors of it are opened. The purpose of the esoteric training is to make it so. That is the first step. Then one avails himself of this knowledge. He can not only do this in the life to come, he can accomplish that here.
GITHA: Therefore, the body and the mind of a master Sufi may not seem to be stronger than those of another person, and yet they have a life peculiar to them, which everybody does not possess.
TASAWWUF: To begin with Sufis have included exercises in their devotions. The Prophet Mohammed, upon whom be eternal peace, having before him a wild horde or undisciplined and unrestrained men, added movements in the prayers which are among the best sets of exercises ever devised. These are blood washes for the brain and clear out the mind. Therefore it can be said of them that they do give sustenance to body, heart and soul.
The prayers of the Sufis of the new age have other movements in them, because the nimax of Islam might be too severe for some women and is not needed by them when they have other exercises and physical culture. But there are both physical exercises and postures included in the esoteric instruction, together with sound breathing, which help to develop this side of life.
The same is true of mind. The prayers, devotions, concentrations and various forms of Fikr and Darood are the best of medicines for the mind. Indeed the development of mind is an integral part of tasawwuf. But exercise and increased capacity are of themselves not enough. To them inspiration and power have to be added. This is the purpose of the psychic training. And in turn the psychic channels open up passages for the inner life and light to manifest in and through the personality. This enables man to pursue his eternal purpose and attain the highest grades without leaving the flesh. The Sufi does all he can to further his evolution here and now.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 3
The Use of Psychic Power
GITHA: Psychic power must be used after having been collected.
TASAWWUF: Jesus Christ has said: “To him that hath shall be given and from him that hath not shall be taken away all that he hath.” Gayan teaches: “Give all you have and take all that is given to you.” Both of these may be applied to the psychic laws as well as to life in general.
There are those who consume psychic power without having collected it. That is to say, they draw upon their life’s reserve. They waste their life-substance as did the Prodigal Son. There are prodigals who waste their vitality in pleasure or in vice. There are other prodigals who waste their psychic substance in folly or for the sake of phenomena. There are others who waste it because of vanity and perhaps this is the largest class. For speech, perhaps, consumes more energy than activity, and hastens on age and weakness.
In a sense it may be that every person has to his account when he comes into the world certain credits. These credits are placed in a sort of universal karmic bank. A man may be granted so many cycles of respiration or so many ergs of energy. He is free to draw upon them in a short time or in a long time. He may even add to them if he knows how, although most people do not know how. There is a saying, “Burn the candle at both ends.” This applies in extreme cases and although youth may never repent of folly, the karma of youthful existence works out later in life through the principle of Zavaliat.
Others collect psychic power without using it. They may hanker after youth, beauty or selfish desire. There are others who take naturally to repose. There are lazy people and others who leave everything to chance. They say: “I have such and such karma. Nothing can change it. Therefore I shall do nothing about it and receive the reward or punishment that God has intended. For God is All-in-All.” They are verbally correct, but overlook that God is Love and Compassion and Forgiveness.
While it may be said of the users that they rush through life without obtaining the sweetness of it, it may be stated concerning the collectors that they exist but do not live. They overlook the fact that life has a purpose and each one of us is here to fulfill that purpose. They do not make of themselves vessels of life or servants of God.
The spiritual person collects first, uses later. He makes himself a sort of channel for the currents which may flow freely through his personality. Just as the qualities of metals and conductors of electricity determine their resistance to flow, which ought to be minimized, so the ego of man establishes resistance, which also can be minimized.
GITHA: Therefore, the desire of healing and of magnetizing should be kept aside until the power is developed so that it will overflow.
TASAWWUF: It ought to be clear that every breath taken with the praise of God before one, or every sort of holy breath, increases temporarily or for a longer period the psychic energy upon which one must draw. The reserve may be likened to a tank. There is always some water in the tank while one is on earth. When that tank is empty the dense body will not suffice so one is withdrawn. It can not hold the physical magnetism for physical magnetism depends upon psychic power, and mental magnetism also depends to a great degree upon psychic power.
Young people can sometimes heal because their tanks are full. Many sexual crimes are not performed because of lust or lasciviousness in an animal sense so much as for the sake of this psychic energy. The extreme instance of it is found among black magicians who strive to draw energy out of others. But it is true that the spiritual path brings one added reserve and when the tank of it, so to speak, is filled, it overflows. That makes magnetizing easy and healing possible.
There are also exercises given to the talib by which he can draw upon the energy of space. The details of it are offered in the commentaries upon healing. Nayaz, the first breathing practice, opens the door to it. They body becomes refined gradually, step by step. This first increases capacity and as the tank, in this case, would be made larger, it could hold more in reserve. That is what happens. But the flow also becomes steady. So then one can help himself and another more. Meditation, Khilvat and all forms of repose are excellent in this regard.
GITHA: And that is the time to make use of it. Otherwise, instead of helping others, the psychic ruins himself.
TASAWWUF: One, especially he who has had training in Shafayat, will feel the power and know when to use it. If he is required, for any reason, to perform healing of any kind, and feels depleted, Fikr and healing exercises are available. Indeed once one had had some progress along this line, there is little to fear except forgetfulness of the Divine Presence.
On the other hand there are serious dangers when psychic power is not used. Too much power of itself is destructive. When it leaves the finger tips in healing, playing a musical instrument, in art, in dancing, wood carving or any other art or craft, the magnetism goes into the space. It is said that God, by the hand of man, works out His intended purpose in nature. Every time man becomes an instrument or channel, the atmosphere benefits. Not only that, but the continual use of psychic power refines the personality and enables one to assimilate more refined vibrations. The question is always, how to balance the power and refinement.
There is also a false reserve which forces energy into the sexual channels or back waters them into those conditions of maladjustment known as perverse. Right repose and right action can save man from either of these two dangers.
GITHA: The best vehicle that gives expression to this power are the eyes.
TASAWWUF: The eyes are said to be windows of the soul. Christ called the eye, the light of the body. The eye is of quite a different nature from the skin or fingers or any portion of the surface. It is really a highly specialized nerve. As a nerve it carries finer vibrations, and does not alter them so much as the skin on the surface of the fingers or toes does. The eye has less resistance to physical light and also to the interior light. Dreams and visions demonstrate that. But dream and vision, or no dream nor vision, the vibrations can be collected and used through the eyes.
GITHA: The psychic first drills the eyes and makes them accustomed to operate in one direction in which he may desire them to work.
TASAWWUF: There are two distinct lines of development of the eyes. In the one called tawajjeh the teacher trains his energy upon the pupil. The pupil may gaze at the teacher and the teacher may gaze at the pupil. Or the pupil may be instructed to gaze at the picture of the teacher or hold a vision of him. The teacher has collected finer vibrations than the pupil, vibrations coming from more subtle planes. He gives his blessing through the eyes and helps the pupil on the spiritual path. The Pir is one who employs this method for elevating disciples, in contrast to the Sheikh who is better known to the world and who also uses verbal methods. The Buzurg is one who does this to help humanity in general without letting it be known that he is a helper.
There is another kind of training, the object of which is to benefit the pupil and assist him to practice sulp. Sulp is the use of the eyes to bless, to heal, to aid. It requires steadiness of gaze to begin with. There are special exercises for this purpose which can be practiced to one’s benefit. They aid in certain stages of concentration. They bring magnetism and refreshment to the eyes. One set of exercises consists in holding the gaze steadily upon a horizontal line, head turned upward. Another consists of looking at a line on the head level. Another consists of looking at a line lower down. Concentration upon a point may harm the eyes, causing astigmatism and other difficulties. This is a first stage in the training of artists, too.
Fikr and rhythmical breath are also required. And before applying sulp at any time for any purpose one should repeat Fikr. It makes one realize his dependence upon God and thus restrains nufs. This in turn makes it possible for the finer vibrations and particles to pass through one’s personality.
GITHA: The glance of the psychic must become, when required, as the sharp knife of the surgeon, and when required, it should work as gently as a powderpuff.
TASAWWUF: In the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse it repeats a phrase, “His eyes as a flame of fire.” This refers to a perfected person, whose eyes radiate both light and energy. There has to be balance, for too much energy, the solar quality, can become destructive: while too much light, the lunar quality, may be ineffective. Jesus Christ therefore told his disciples: “Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves.”
At various times the problem of the evil eye has presented itself to humanity. There is no doubt that people are attracted more and repelled more by the eye. They feel these radiations without being able to explain them. There is an instinct or impression or intuition and it invariably proves true. And there are some physicians, who, by looking into a person’s eye can tell the disease he has, as well as the diseases from which he has suffered and also those from which he is not immune. The difference between the spiritual psychic and such a physician is that the former can perceive the condition of the inner bodies as well as that of the flesh.
GITHA: Until this control is gained, the psychic may help some and harm some, not knowing what helped and what harmed.
TASAWWUF: Many people discover that they have a gift of healing, either by laying on of hands or by gazing or massage or some more metaphysical method. But they are ignorant of the law that water seeks its own level, electricity its equilibrium and other energies follow the same principles.
So long as one is strong he can give out to a patient. But if he is weak or receptive by nature and the other has what may be called “leakage,” then instead of radiating vitality he draws it in and the patient, instead of being healed, may have a relapse.
There are people who hold each others’ hands, feeling comfort. Sometimes it is a true comforting. At other times sex magnetism or psychic power are exchanged. Then the benefit is of a doubtful nature.
GITHA: The tips of the fingers of the psychic and the palm also must become the means of directing the power.
TASAWWUF: This subject is developed at length in the lessons in healing and also in the work called The Bestowal of Blessing. Around the body there is an aura or cosmo-electrical field, consisting of all kinds of vibrations which accumulate about the personality. The nature and refinement of these vibrations depends upon one’s immediate condition and also upon his state of evolution. It is evident therefrom that certain vibrations and atoms there are constantly altering, coming and going. On the other hand, some remain, holding together those qualities which form the core of personality.
Just as electrical energy collects and leaks around points, so do these energies collect and emanate from the hands. There they are used in blessing, comforting and healing. There are many operations which appear different and which are of interest to different people, but whose nature is the same. Playing the violin, healing by massage and blessing are examples of it. All depend upon the psychic power that comes to the palm and finger tips.
GITHA: The whole being of the psychic becomes a magnet.
TASAWWUF: This is further explained in lessons on power such as appear in In an Eastern Rose Garden and its commentaries. Also in Cosmic Language and its commentaries. Every breath that touches man, coming from a more subtle sphere, piercing the ego-mind or mind-mesh, brings cosmic power. Every breath in devotion, utilizes this power to purify and refine heart, body and mind. The energy collects in the aura. It can be used in any aspect of concentration or in the faculties that follow skillfulness in concentration. It also breaks down barriers before oneself.
GITHA: The great psychics have a healing effect even in the soles of their feet.
TASAWWUF: So far as the laws of energy are concerned, there is no reason why the psychic power should not go out of the feet as well as through the hands. However there is another principle which operates here. One can be given a breathing exercise by the teacher and feel the power go out of the finger tips, and also feel the power go out through the feet. This increases the capacity and brings psychic energy. However God made the hands and feet of man dissimilar, whereas in the monkeys they are very much alike.
The fingers can be used to draw the energy of the sphere and return it to the sphere. In other words the blessings of purusha would go through the fingers and the fingers are used in blessing. But the feet touch the ground and one can draw upon the magnetism of rock, soil, sand, grass and all the things close to earth through the feet. There are practices which can be given to disciples who need help along this line. There are also technical methods by which healing can be effected, either self-healing or healing by another.
In Kashmir and neighboring lands, when travelers are weary, they walk up and down each others’ backs. This is found to be most refreshing. The psychic power is drawn from the earth, passes through the body and out of the feet into someone else. Many of these people are Muslims. Their religion is rather strict about bathing the feet. That not only cleans them but helps them to become better channels for psychic power. Non-Muslims have been abashed when the devotees lave, drink and wash their feet in the same water. They are not aware that disease does not follow. They know nothing of Baraka, the blessed psychic vibrations which collect in fountains and streams and hallowed wells.
GITHA: It is therefore that an Eastern disciple prides himself on being even as the dust under the feet of his master.
TASAWWUF: Jesus Christ established a custom—which has not been particularly followed—of people bathing each others’ feet. Not only the servant would do this for the master, but the master for the servant too, and the host for his guests. And this taught humility, comradeship and psychic exchange. The water so used should be blessed and used only for blessed purposes. When that is done the highest kind of psychic power is obtained, that which has already received a blessing and therefor contains spiritual power, which is the need of every soul.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 4
What Nourishes Psychic Power
GITHA: Psychical power is a power of mind, and it is repose of mind that develops it; in other words, stillness of mind.
TASAWWUF: There are two manifestations of power of mind. One comes in audible expression, the other in silence. Audible expression is exhibited through mental magnetism. It gives polish of speech and personality, wit, cleverness, agility, consideration and that sense of being wide awake. It is most valuable in general human relationship. If indulged in too much the same laws apply to it as apply to psychical power—that is to say, the storehouse may be depleted or one has to draw further upon one’s vital energy and so consume one’s “karmic reserve.”
The silent manifestation comes in the solution of problems, such as those with which mathematicians, philosophers, composers and scientists deal. It helps to sublimate vital energy and consume it mentally. It is also required by the artist and thinker. Thinking benefits more from silence than from anything else.
Every breath coming to man brings him something from the sphere, and every breath from man confers something upon the sphere. When there is repose of mind, when there are no agitative movements from the ego, the inner personality becomes quiet and receives the blessings of the universe.
GITHA: Activity of mind lessens the power. A person who thinks more, who is always absorbed in imaginations, who worries more, fears, doubts or becomes anxious about anything loses this power.
TASAWWUF: The secret of this power is in life itself. Thinking draws upon it unless one knows the secret of repose or the secret of breath. Fikr is a most valuable practice because it enables man to continue what he is doing without fear of loss. Fikr also prevents undesirable states of mind.
Imagination weakens because it sets the mind in motion without control of will. The wagon which is not drawn by the horses may leave the road and then it is subject to much wear and tear. Imagination can be very valuable, and it is studied by Sufis (e.g. in Cosmic Language). But the development of the will and of heart-faculties is far more important.
Of course fear, doubt and anxiety only deplete one. They consume mental magnetism to no purpose. They are not in any way constructive. They act upon psychic power like open valves through which the water runs. When one is unable to control these states his power goes from him.
GITHA: Of course, the mind should not always be still, for lack of activity also destroys power.
TASAWWUF: It has already been stated that those who assume that everything depends upon karma and will, do nothing, add nothing to life. They do not further their own evolution and they add nothing to the world. Besides, one who does not use his mind becomes an idiot, not a sage. There was a man who came to America after he had been silent for seven years. He announced that he would soon break his silence and utter divine prophecies. But when he reached the States the tongue had become atrophied, and he could not speak. And there was a similar instance in Germany once. Trying to discover the primordial language, a number of children were locked up and not taught how to speak. When the experiment was ended it was discovered that they had all become idiots.
Everything in this universe has its place and value. Misuse brings harm. “Right thinking” according to Buddha meant thinking in accordance with cosmic law and the principles of harmony. Every person, indeed every thing had its purpose or dharma. Man was here to discover his purpose and follow that line. And in order to make this discovery repose was needed. Proper balance between repose and activity brings perfection.
GITHA: But one must be able to exercise the mind by thought and to still the mind by the will. This gives health to the mind, and thereby psychic power is developed.
TASAWWUF: There are three states to be considered. When the mind acts free from the will, imagination dominates. This consumes psychic power and also tends to elevate man from the earthly scene into a world of dreams and reveries. It would seem that vegetables are not that, sleeping and dreaming, without the power of thought. Thought shows will and mind acting together. Mind, drawing upon the energy of will, cultivates or creates thought. And in the third stage will and mind are also separate but here the will dominates the mind. This brings repose, health, inspiration and power.
GITHA: The breath is the principal thing in life which absorbs the real nourishment for both body and mind.
TASAWWUF: It has been stated that every breath confers something to the sphere and also draws energies from the sphere. Nayaz is first offered to talibs that they can begin very gradually, without any strain. They do not realize what is really going on. Constant application of Nayaz greatly increases the psychic power in the body and also the ability to draw incessantly from the sphere. After that, one can have other practices which bring in the refined vibrations.
In the first stage the body will receive the most benefit. That is necessary. Without a suitable body spiritual development is most difficult to achieve. With such a foundation one begins to assimilate finer vibrations. This brings power of mind and elevates the body to a still higher state.
GITHA: It is therefore that those who cannot breathe rightly can never be healthy; no food can nourish their body.
TASAWWUF: Breath is needed from the very beginning. It brings us what we need. And today while people are talking of vitamins, saying that the body needs vitamins, they do not know what a vitamin is, or how it adds to health and vigor. For instance not only man, but plant and animal increase their own vitality through breath. There is a store of psychic energy, according to its kind, in every green leaf and fruit and honey. These contain the maximum of this energy in food. But it is also in all raw foods, including meat. The principle of cannibalism was this: that man was supposed to be able to draw in more psychic power than plants or animals. Therefore if he was eaten physically, those who feasted upon him would obtain his faculties and share that psychic power.
A higher aspect of this comes in communion. Christ said, “Take, eat, for this is my body.” Actually he was sharing the Divine breath or Holy Spirit. When he blessed the food, his spirit went into it. The same principle is retained by the Catholic Church which insists that the wafer of communion is the veritable body of Christ.
GITHA: And it is always the disorder of the breath which is the hidden cause of unsoundness of mind.
TASAWWUF: We can trace this by a study of people mentally diseased. Invariably they have short or uneven breaths. They can not collect energy and send it to every part of the body. They are uneasy or nervous. And we see this more today when the multitudes are suffering directly or indirectly because of war and its many attendant afflictions.
It is not yet understood that the breath is the link between God and man. Therefore it is a link of life and along it vitality moves, revivifying the body through which the soul functions. Prayer and devotion may help some, but it is the constant realization of the importance of breath which avails most.
GITHA: The breath absorbs from the sphere nourishing properties for both mind and body. Therefore there is no psychic who has developed his power without the development of the breath.
TASAWWUF: The subject of breath is discussed at length in the Gathas and commentaries thereupon as well as in other lessons. Every psychic, even those without inner training, have well developed breaths. It is breath which makes visions possible and furthers the faculty of insight. It is breath which can become dense and a weight, and it is breath which can become refined and a channel of living light. Only by proficiency in meditation and Zikr can one prove it. Meditation refines processes which manifest in profundity of mind and Zikr refines processes which transform the body into the vehicle of the Holy Spirit—that is to say, of breath in its perfect state.
GITHA: A person is not equally gifted with power and with inspiration. These two are like two eyes, two hands or two wings which are not equal in strength.
TASAWWUF: The Jelalis are gifted with power by nature or evolution and the Jemalis are more likely to experience inspiration by nature or evolution, because they are responsive. Very few people have these aspects of personality balanced. If one is given a concentration like the Egyptian Lardi or the Sufi Symbol, he may have difficulty in holding it in position. This will be because his breath is not even; he tends to one side or the other. The teacher, noticing this, corrects him accordingly to produce that balance which more than anything else, is needed for success.
GITHA: Therefore, one finds that most inspirational people lack power and most powerful people lack inspiration, and it is the constant striving of the Sufi to balance the two. The reason of this is that power is grosser. It produces a mist, so that the intelligent is confused. If the mist is cleared, the power is cleared away too, and then inspiration comes.
TASAWWUF: There may be a question as to whether this inspiration should be desirable if it is gained at such a price. Yes, it is desirable until one attains it. But after one has the secret of inspiration he should also gain power to have balance. That is one of the many reasons why so much attention is given to psychical power.
If inspired people do not have sufficient power the psychic energy will come into their bodies and minds and they will become more and more refined. They will even be angelic. There is a difference between angel and saint. Both are most refined, gentle and lovable. The angel is so because he can not help it, while the saint is so because of choice. The saint has strength underneath him though he may never show it. And since we are here to complete our humanity, any such one-sided gentleness is not sufficient.
Likewise the ruffian is not a master. The master has power but he can be kind and refined. He is not permitted to use his faculties spiritually until he has developed the other side of his nature. Otherwise he might destroy even himself. Balance is his protection and that of the saint also.
Power is used on the physical sphere. When it is not used the personality becomes refined. The nirmanakaya body results from transformation of physical atoms and vibrations. By that means Jesus was able to walk upon the water, and after his transition his body dissolved into the sphere. On the other hand, he did not remain in the flesh long. The flesh was too refined to hold together.
Sufis ascribe Kemal, or perfection to God. Every one is encouraged to walk toward this path of perfection no matter what his apparent nature is, and regardless of the line of his interest and development, inner or outer.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 5
What Should Be Practiced in Everyday Life to Develop Psychic Power
GITHA: Psychic power, in plain words, may be called power of mind, and power of mind in reality is called power of feeling.
TASAWWUF: In the usual explanations about the aura, or the field of force about a person, especially about a person’s body, it is held that this contains a mixture of physical and mental vibrations or emanations. These result on the one hand from biophysical vibrations which form a field, comparable to a magnetic field. But the biophysical vibrations include those which travel upon the nerves. The nerves carry impulses which are physical, such as those which come from the movement of muscles and which produce acids and waste products. They also carry mental messages and they are also the vehicles for the emotions. Just as a railway train carries people, baggage and general freight, so do the nerves serve for vibrations and impulses of different types. These types have their vibratory rate, their basic field and their realm of application which we know variously as physical, emotional, mental and psychic.
Some of the auric vibrations are quite physical although unseen by the eye. There is nothing strange in that, for infra-red and ultra-violet light are also unseen. Yet they affect bodies and emanate from forms. Biophysical vibrations may be considered psychic in so far as they are the source of ectoplasm, which, although it appears to be derived from the body, does not distinctly and directly obey the physical laws.
Now the question is how to strengthen the fields of force. If there is a source of power which of itself gives rise to other forms of force that would be regarded as fundamental or essential. There is a fundamental or tonic note which produces overtones in music. We speak of the note and its pitch, yet in actuality we are discussing what is a chord of a certain character. Physical vibrations, however, become weaker and weaker in their production of overtones; the overtones are obscured. But vibrations do produce undertones. Thought is essential for action; the vibrations of mind give rise to undertones or correspondences which manifest emotionally, psychically and physically. Therefore so far as the aura is concerned and so far as the rays which emanate from the eyes, feet and hands are concerned, the ultimate source of power is mental. The stronger and more efficient the mind, the greater the psychic power.
The next question is, is the mind of itself fundamental? There are many who would answer, “Yes.” There are many who declare that reason is the highest faculty of man. The mystic does not agree. He finds that villain and hero, attacked and attacker, externalist and internalist all summon reason to support themselves yet reach digress and even quite opposing conclusions. And in the Gathas this subject is given some attention. The logical conclusion concerning logic, reason and mind is that they are not the ultimate sources of power. The spiritual life, with its many ramifications, proposes and then proves the feeling is the source of power in the mind. Feeling is a current from heart to mind which brings the energy to the mind.
GITHA: Feeling is the spirit of thought as speech is the spirit of action.
TASAWWUF: Considering speech first. We know that it is the result of thought, operating through the breath and availing itself of the channels and organs thereof to produce intelligible sounds. Speech is intelligible sound, sound which has mental magnetism in it. And what makes that mental magnetism manifest upon earth? The channels of psychic power. The mental magnetism is transformed into psychic power and we can discern that power in speech. Much speech consumes it more than anything else and brings and inner and outer fatigue. This proves that mind is not ultimate, that intellect is not infinite.
The breath that moves between heart and mind is refined and delicate. In the Gathas mention is made of coarse and fine vibrations. The coarse vibrations of breath operate between mind and body, the fine vibrations move up and down between heart and mind. However the processes take place iso-chronically. That is to say, they occur at the same time, belonging to the same general act of breathing. This internal breath carries the power of the heart to mind. This is the nexus of feeling.
GITHA: Therefore, concentration is the first essential thing for the development of psychic power.
TASAWWUF: For concentration makes available the energy which moves up and down between body and mind, and also makes available the subtle energy between mind and heart. If thought dominates the psychic power will run out. If feeling dominates, this does not mean dispensing with logic, with reason, with creative thought or with any faculty of mind. It means adding life to that thought, reason or view. And when the heart is not only awakened, but resorted to as the centre of one’s being, the energy at one’s disposal may be so much greater, one can almost say it is infinitely greater than with the ordinary man.
GITHA: Besides that, strong feeling, void of all bitterness, worries and sorrows, fears and anxieties, is necessary.
TASAWWUF: Bitterness mars concentration. It draws power to another centre. It places the ego in consciousness where it out not to be. It is like taking water from a dam and directing it to the side, or tapping a central main and drawing the water therefrom for a side purpose. This naturally weakens the supply and the power.
Worries and sorrows, fears and anxieties, prevent one from using power at all. They are born out of man’s weaknesses and increase his weaknesses. They are all agitations of nufs. Therefore Fikr must be constantly repeated both in the generation and application of psychic power. Besides this, these things are the shadows which fall across the feelings, cutting the lines of supply, so to speak, between heart and mind. Once overcome and the brilliant inner light (buddhi) flows upon the mind.
GITHA: In order to express psychic power, one must have strength of body.
TASAWWUF: If the feeling, with heart and mind, forms the generator of psychic energy, the body is its motor. That is to say the body is an implement which acts as a condenser for the energy and when the tap is open this energy manifests and works. Yet any instrument is impeded by weaknesses and sources of resistance. To lessen the resistance, skin, muscles and nerves must be in suitable working order. And if one has psychic power it will help these organic functions. But first one has to heal oneself; else, in attempting to do external work, he will draw more from the sphere than give.
In the Kadiria school of Sufis much attention has been paid to this subject. The mureeds are trained in strength of every kind. And they find that the more they reserve it the more they can use it internally. But as the house depends upon its foundations for strength, so does psychic power depend upon the body.
GITHA: Regular breathing, with rhythm and good circulation of the blood, is necessary. If not, while sending power outside for healing, one gets the disease of the person whom he heals; or when wishing to master something in life, he himself becomes mastered; when wanting to catch someone he becomes captive.
TASAWWUF: Before going forward on this path one must become master of himself. A power or an electric cell which has not collected more energy than its surroundings will never be an effective instrument. A proper instrument must collect enough energy both to perform its work and to keep itself in condition. One sees this often in the battery in the motor car. It may run down suddenly and yet it can easily be reconditioned.
The teachings are clear upon this point. To understand it completely one has to have knowledge of breath. This is offered in the commentaries upon the Gathas thereof, and to a degree in the lessons on mysticism and elsewhere. But practice is still more important for the true understanding comes from practice based upon knowledge, not upon knowledge alone nor practice alone.
GITHA: Sometimes in people physically weak, one finds great psychic power, but it is neither useful for them nor for another, because it makes a person weaker when he is already weak in constitution.
TASAWWUF: This psychic power is due to a sort of leakage. There are those who have mental vigor but being defective in respiration, can not obtain the vitality for the body that they need. They speak, think, work and write forcefully. They are often quite skilled in concentration and calculation. But because of their difficulty in breathing their bodies are not strong and they may even die before their supposedly allotted time.
Some of these people can heal by the touch because of this leakage. They are successful with magnetic passes; indeed they can not help it. They are in a sense channels, yet they are unwise. For it was intended that this body should become a perfect vehicle, and the best help can be received from one whose body is also strong.
GITHA: In the Hindu religion, where harmlessness is the ideal and flesh-eating is prohibited among them, Shiva, Lord of Yogis, has allowed meat for the psychics, for the very reason that psychic power is power of mind and the body must be so strong as to sustain it.
TASAWWUF: The reason for cannibalism and the essence of the vitamins has already been given. The Chinese have divided foods into Yang and Yin types. We might equally call them Jelal and Jemal types. Yang foods are energy foods and Yin foods are cleansers and purifiers. Yang foods build up strength in the body but too much of them produces disease. On the other hand Yin foods purify but do not strengthen. One has to have energy foods to be strong of body.
There have been a great many arguments over this food question. Sufis are urged to understand and not to argue. Indeed there have been wicked people who have abstained from meat. Nor did Buddha disallow it. He taught that sick and weak people might have meats, practically the same meats that Moses and other great teachers have permitted. Milk and honey are also valuable in this respect but meat often does something for the blood which other foods cannot do. Yes, after a person has established a strong body it may be a matter of indifference. Yet it is also true, that psychic power apart, flesh foods do not contribute to well being along the spiritual path.
GITHA: Another thing that is necessary for a psychic is steadiness in his habits and tranquility of mind.
TASAWWUF: The subject of tranquility of mind has been presented. That is needed to obtain a maximum of the vital power which comes through the heart of man. Every ripple and ruffle on the surface of the mind lessens the power and magnetism that comes to the surface. In this respect it should be noted that spiritual magnetism underlies all other forms.
Steadiness of habit establishes particular channels. If a person does one thing one day and something else the next, if he has irregular hours for rising and sleeping and eating, his mental form, so to speak, can not be built up. There is no concentration upon anything in particular. In other words irregularity shows lack of concentration in the objective life, and makes it most difficult to direct psychic power. It is just like water going over a dam into spillways instead of into the pipes and tubes which would carry it to its intended destination.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 6
The Development of Power in the Fingertips
GITHA: The hand is the most active organ that man has; and at every inclination of doing any sort of work, man puts his hand forward to accomplish it. This shows that man’s power of action is expressed through his hand.
TASAWWUF: It has already been explained that the vital energy and psychic power tend to radiate from the finger tips. But if we study the animals most related to man, that is to say, the monkeys and apes, we notice that they use their hands constantly. That is to say their actions depend upon their hands. If one breathes with the idea of movement the hands and arms begin to swing. If one thinks of power he will want to use his fists; he will either clinch his closed fist or move them like a boxer or both. The thought and the movement are as parts of a single psychic impulse.
GITHA: So psychic power also can be better expressed by the hand than by any other organ.
TASAWWUF: The relation of the hand to the body is known instinctively. Many of the body’s actions require movements of the hands. Many physical tasks require the use of hands. But as there is a field of force around the body, and as energy radiates from the fingertips, every psychic movement is also apt to involve the hands. An example of this is seen in the military salute. More power is involved in elevating the arm outward; the Fascist salutes have considerable power. And in the Sufic prayers there is a movement of outstretched arms. This involves most power, power which is balanced because both arms are used together.
GITHA: The fingertips are as rays of this light which is called psychic power. Fine rays of power manifest through man’s fingertips.
TASAWWUF: Clairvoyants have seen this light. It collects around the fingertips. These tips can be sensitized, too, so that they may attain a faculty like seeing. In the starfish and related animals the function of sight is through the tips of the arms or radiating appendages. The aura is strongest there and ectoplasm also escapes from the fingers.
Kabbalists have a custom of washing the hands the first thing in the morning. They say that spirits become attached to the hands. This means that the psychic forces collect there. A sensitive person will notice that too. It is often advantageous to wash, not so much to remove the physical dirt as to get rid of these psychic accretions. Produced by one series of thoughts they can throw shadows or resistances against on-coming thoughts if they are not removed. In that event fatigue comes more easily. People are often refreshed by washing and think it is the water. Yes, there is something in that but the psychic cleansing is even more beneficial.
GITHA: This is the secret of shaking hands, which in reality is a psychic help to each other.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in the Gathas, especially those on Superstitions, Customs and Beliefs, which deal more or less indirectly with psychic laws. Another aspect of it is taken up in The Bestowal of Blessing. Every laying on of the hands carries energy and it is one of the easiest means by which an adept can help another, with or without speech. The best speech then is the one which invokes God’s blessing.
The shaking or holding of hands in any manner results in the exchange of energy which is an exchange of life. There is a lover’s clasp and there is a clasp of brotherhood and there is the sacred handshake which is used at Bayat. Many secret organizations have their special grips, and besides the secrecy there is a psychic motive to it, which the fraters may not understand, but to which they are drawn instinctively.
The use of the hands by chiropractors and osteopaths is a great step forward. Although they are concerned with adjustments, these adjustments are both mechanical and psychic. They open up the channels for nerve energy, and so increase the movement of the life fluids in the body. The stopping of such blockages also benefit the mind. Then they have learned to treat the autonomic nervous system through its terminals and this is still another step forward.
GITHA: As by working with a machine, a person makes his hands capable of mastering the machine, and as by playing the cello a person makes his fingers capable not only to play the right notes but even to express his feeling and his emotions through them. So it is with psychic power.
TASAWWUF: It has been explained that the psychic field contains vibrations which may be called physical, emotional and mental as well. All action by nerves involves a degree of intelligence. That is why there are skilled mechanics who seem to rely upon their fingers and touch to tell them what to do. Or if investigating a broken or impaired bit of machinery they can often discover the difficulty without looking.
It is that same principle which enables the musician, such as the cello player, to put the finer magnetism into his playing. The psychic power also draws upon the feeling and as one develops it, he can pull feeling into his work. This is also true of artist, sculptor and textile worker; indeed it holds for all people who use their fingers and hands. As they become more skillful or more sensitive the fingers seem to develop their own wisdom more and more.
Exercises are given to mureeds to increase their psychic power. They do not then or even later notice that the same exercises also make the fingers more sensitive. They become instruments of light and life.
Psychic power can also be summoned for lifting great weights and performing feats of physical prowess. It is not always wise to resort to it but at the same time if one has the faculty he may rely upon it in times of need. It is a valuable asset if it does not become a source of play or a means to attracting attention.
Three or more people can assemble, hold each others hands, invoke the blessing and power of God and function in the highest degree. Christ has said: “Wherever two or three people are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” The Hebrew word for name is shem. It also means power, light and degree. So when two or three are gathered in the light of Christ, or in the power of Christ, or in the degree of Christ, they serve the Celestial Hierarchy.
An example of it is found in the Healing Service. There a group of people come together, form a circle, join hands and invoke the presence of God. This can even be called spiritual magic. What one of them can not do alone, they all can work for together. This group forms an “I-I,” a group-unit in which all individual egos are sublimated. Each of them then exhibits power or inspiration or both. This secret was known to the Egyptians and made possible the building of the pyramids and mighty temples there.
GITHA: Every person has more or less of this power, but he can develop it by certain exercises which the initiate learns from the Murshid.
TASAWWUF: It has been explained that every person has a certain reserve as if to his deposit in a cosmic karmic bank. He can draw upon it at any time, and there are periods in his life when he may add to it, although very few people know how to do this consciously. There are esoteric practices, some of which are offered in these lessons and in the commentaries on Shafayat which help to develop this power. Another aspect is presented in the explanations of the Healing Service, which, however, is a group function. Then there are other exercises which are given to the disciple in trust and secrecy, by which he can help himself, and others.
GITHA: When the power is developed, then the fingertips throw out the psychic power that attracts and heals.
TASAWWUF: The teaching are mostly concerned with healing. They state how the power increases in the finger-tips partly because of one’s efforts to develop it there. But as man becomes a reservoir for more of this power, so also his finger-tips benefit in capacity and function. As there is life behind it, growth of this power may be a sign of growth of life. And life calls unto life.
There are people who have what are called “itchy palms.” They have a feeling for money and that feeling can become a factor for attracting it. Not only money but many things can be drawn to one by psychic power.
GITHA: Its development also depends upon the health and strength of body and mind.
TASAWWUF: It has been explained that if the body is weak, then as one draws upon the psychic power and increases his capacity for it, it is used in the restoration of health. In Nayaz one can sometimes feel the power go out the finger-tips. At a later stage he may be instructed to concentrate there and that increases the power. But when one uses this power while the organism is depleted he increases his own weakness.
Strength of mind is also needed, as has been explained. For the breath passes through both body and mind. Any impairment of either is communicated to the breath. The breath carries all the energies and vibrations from the source to the manifestation. An undeveloped mind will sift these vibrations out and they will remain unassimilated or else wasted. As the mind grows it assimilates vital energy to a greater degree and this is reflected in the increased psychic power.
GITHA: By the power so developed, man can work wonders.
TASAWWUF: It has been explained that there are two ways by which wonders may be accomplished, that is, by the individual, and by the group. Both must invoke the name of God if they would succeed. Another secret is to keep in view that God is all in all, and that the same life runs through oneself and through all things. When the bar of separation is removed, one can throw one’s breath over any thing or person and can accomplish his desire in that regard in so far as it is in accord with the Divine Will. Just so much and no more. But the Divine Will requires a person of strong psychic development to make itself known unto man. Adepts, masters and saints therefore must have it.
Many of the miracles of the Bible and other scriptures become clear in the light of this. Thus the destruction of Jericho by Joshua and the many healings by the wise and their ability to foretell the weather, or even to effect it are also understandings through psychic law.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 7
The Development of Power Through the Eyes
GITHA: The finest means of reflecting power is the eyes in the body, for they are radiant and the radiance of psychic power can easily pass through them.
TASAWWUF: The eye is in many respects the most wonderful organ of the body. Man depends upon it to see this world, to translate his intuition of space into experience and memory, and to learn objectively. The eye is not only material, it is also mental. It is formed out of a very specialized nerve, and being a nerve, carries and radiates the same kind of vibrations and pulsations which travel along the neural trunkwork. For that reason it is possible to tell something of a person’s character through the eye.
The eye is even more. It radiates living light. One speaks of “the glittering eye.” The magnetism of the will power emanates from it and by it hypnotic spells and acts of attraction and repulsion are possible. It is also the organ of the “love-light.” Not only lovers recognize it but many people. And if the eye can carry will-power and love-faculty then it is an organ of the heart. All the functions of the heart reach the surface through it.
It has been explained that psychic power depends upon development of mind and that that, in turn, depends upon feeling. It may be stated conversely, that as the faculties and functions of heart increase, the mind benefits, and in turn the psychic power available is augmented. The question then arises, how is it made available? The hand is the servant of the mind but the eye is the window of the soul. So the power and magnetism that reach the eye come in a higher and purer fashion. Only it requires increased spirituality to be able to use this power.
GITHA: Therefore, the power of the eyes can help more in healing than anything else.
TASAWWUF: This is explained in the lessons on healing, in the book Health and, of course, in the commentaries. But the importance of the eye and the glance is introduced into the Gatha studies and not once, but twice, because one ought to become impressed with the truth of it. All the mystics agree on this point.
It is easier to discern the spiritual status of another person by the eye than by any other means. One can sense the degree of magnetism and even be intuitively impressed by the feelings of another through the eye. The eye is silent and yet always speaks.
GITHA: As weakness is seen in the body by its unsteadiness and by the lack of control in one’s movements (which we term nervousness), that is most seen in the eyes.
TASAWWUF: The nervousness may be the result of the air element. When one has not control of his breath—and this is generally true—the air element remains active and is like an untamed steed. Its vibrations are not directly assimilated. The result is that the nerves are unsteady, their pulsations irregular and the whole organism is affected unfavorably. The eye, being a nerve, reveals this unsteadiness. A person blinks often; he can not help it. He does not understand repose and he requires repose more than anything else.
GITHA: The eyes are strained more than the other organs of the body, for every moment they are busy. That takes away the steadiness of sight and the control of the glance from every man, and it is never considered a lack, it being a general disease.
TASAWWUF: A question may be asked, will exercises in steadying the glance help with the nervous adjustment, or should one first have repose? The answer is that these things go together. Repose and meditation help one to control his agitations, and conscious effort at self-control benefits the nerves. Besides that they bring about coordination between mind and body which everybody needs.
In the Gathas on Khilvat and the glance, the methods employed by people in retirement or engaged in sacred studies are discussed. The object is to shut out everything that does not concern spiritual development. We can not very well do that in the ordinary everyday life. But we can resort to repose, we can practice meditation, and we may try to enter seclusion on occasions. We also can learn to conserve the glance, both for the sake of the eyes and for the sake of the nerves.
GITHA: A child in his infancy shows in the steadiness of his eyes what nature has given to man.
TASAWWUF: The child repeats the angelic life in a certain sense. He has no thought of self. Light shines directly from his eyes. One may even speak silently to the infant. And then one ought to be very careful of the thoughts he holds, for the baby picks up the emanations and vibrations and his emotions are affected though he may not receive the thought.
The infant is not so conscious of space nor of color or line. These things come later. The sage is conscious of all that man is, and at the same time he has recovered the blessings of infancy. How? By his constant battle with the self, his determination to pacify agitative tendencies, by indifference and constant inner watchfulness.
GITHA: But as he grows older, he is curious and attracted by every object that invites his attention, and so activity in time takes away the steadiness of the glance.
TASAWWUF: The infant requires much sleep and therefore does not use the eyes much. Then a new sense dawns upon him and his curiosity is aroused. He may want to eat everything he sees because eating is an instinct or faculty which he already knows. Then comes the period when his education begins and this taxes the ingenuity of every parent. Some in eagerness to show off a “prodigy” encourage his early development without realizing the effects, beneficial or doleful later in life. To counteract the harm the child may be instructed in repose from an early date and not encouraged to read or draw or overtax his eyes or body before its suitable destined time.
GITHA: It is for this reason that many people complain about their eyes.
TASAWWUF: This is really a fatigue-complaint although not recognized as such. The average person understands when his arms or legs or torso are tired. They need rest. He may also recognize fatigue in the eyes, but sleeping apart, he does not know how to relax them.
Modern civilization has made a multitude of demands upon the eyes, actually altering them in function at least. Reading may be a blessing but it is a blessing that is imparted from man to man and does not arise out of nature. It is possible to impart early education without using the eyes in reading, studying, art or manual effort of any kind. This will give the muscles ample opportunity to develop and for the nerves to bring in a suitable supply of energy. If this were done glasses would be needed much less than they are now and even the “civilized” people would recover their natural functions.
GITHA: The mystic, therefore, takes great care of the eyes.
TASAWWUF: This subject is discussed in the Gathas and in other lessons. There are esoteric exercises which benefit the eyes and there are others which incidentally impart the repose which is needed. Although every person may not be ready for such exercises, there are a few which can be done. One is to lie down relaxed and look at the sky or clouds. Then one should hold no thought whatever. One may also do this looking at a calm stretch of water. It is not advisable to watch a turbulent sea. That is fine, no doubt, for inspiration but not for repose. Or one may close the eyes and watch the procession of colors, with our without conscious control of the breath.
GITHA: In ancient times, the mystics, kings and commanders used to wear a thin veil over their eyes to protect them against being much strained, thereby preserving the psychic power of the eyesight.
TASAWWUF: One can see this in the head-gear of the ancient Assyrians, Persians and other people. The Hebrews have continued to wear phylacteries through the ages. The Psalmist sang; “I will lift mine eyes to the mountains, whence cometh my help.” That is to say, to strengthen the eyes and to pacify the inner personality, one may uplift the glance. One can sit in quietude gazing at a distant mountain or the outlines of the hills and after a while be blessed by both power and repose.
Of course there may be another meaning. That is to say, the mountain may refer to an inner state, and the eyes be regarded as the organs of the inner light. In meditation and in concentration the eyes may be kept closed, and in the latter, in particular, the inner faculties be built up. While one may not be thinking of it, such practices benefit the eyes very much.
This does not mean that one needs to cease to attend the cinema or to read. It means that one should recognize that the eyes have been used so much artificially that they have lost their natural faculties, and that these faculties or their equivalent can be restored.
GITHA: What difference is there when one speaks on the telephone and when one speaks in the presence? What is absent? The voice is not absent; it is the eyes. Words can never convey that which the eyes can.
TASAWWUF: This has been generally recognized in radio broadcasting. Actors feel it. Ordinarily they have an audience and by looking at or toward that audience they vibrate and their whole life goes into their words. When they address a microphone, speech is most important but not glance. Then something goes out of them which they feel and they find it much more difficult. With the coming of television the unseen audiences will benefit, but the actor will only do his best at the theatre or when he can use his eyes directly.
GITHA: Humor, fear, strength, weakness, pleasure, displeasure, willingness, unwillingness, the eyes can express most.
TASAWWUF: That is to say, all the feelings come to the surface through the eyes. Then, no matter what the tongue says, if it is not in accord with truth, the eyes will keep on with their steady message. Ignorant people can be deceived by diplomacy, bombast and assumed mannerisms. The body, the gesture may change, but the eyes and the atmosphere are not so easily altered. And no one can simulate the light of the inner being. At least not before an intuitive person. Therefore healers and teachers watch the eyes of those who come to them whether for help or not, and they can read the language of the eyes through their insight.
GITHA: The steadier they are, the deeper the man is, and as much control of the glance he has, so much power he possesses.
TASAWWUF: The state of peace is one of absolute calm. As man very rarely attains to it but is more or less agitated, the agitations set up waves of irregular pulsations. These pulsations penetrate the entire personality, from without to within and from within to without. Every such pulsation causes the eye to blink. Whether the source is physical or mental, psychic or emotional, the eyes will blink. They impulsively react to all such movements.
There are persons who become clever at staring. This shows some will-power. There are others who have what is known as the “poker face.” However, this is steadiness without life. And their lack stands clearly before them. They have control of the eyes, sometimes of the hands, but not of the tongue or the skin or the vitality. This is not the way of the sage. The sage watches his inner agitations closely. He looks at the surface of his heart to control it. And the efficiency of this control is manifested by less blinking of his eyes, by steadiness of gaze and mannerism.
GITHA: No doubt, the power is of the mind, not of the eyes, and yet the eyes are the only means through which the psychic power can work satisfactorily.
TASAWWUF: Because here the mind and the inner being touches the surface. We have an objective and a purpose in life, we are here to accomplish things. Faculties are not given to us for their own sake. We have them in order that we may succeed, or that we may overcome the karma that stands before us, and that sooner or later we can progress on the path of perfection.
If one can continue his feeling of inner security, he can radiate blessings upon every one that he sees, upon the land through which he travels and upon the ground over which he walks. This is a greater healing than one of touch. And in a higher state he can use this power in concentration and contemplation which is at the same time a blessing and a benefit for himself and for all the world.
GITHA: There are three necessary things, therefore: to keep the eyes clean, to keep them from straining, and to control the glance by concentration.
TASAWWUF: To keep the eyes clean is the physical part. The eyes, after all, belong to the body. Cleaning them is a form of refreshment. It also removes particles which impair the glance. It also brings them the magnetism of the water which they need, for the eye is largely composed of water.
Straining shows mental and psychic fatigue as well as physical weakness. It can be corrected through care. No doubt the tasks of the daily life often make it imperative to employ the eyes in a certain fashion. Then one should not continue to use them in that fashion when away from work. Repose, eye exercises and any activity which releases the eyes is helpful. Even ordinary conversation, while drawing the psychic energy aside, at least does not make such demands upon the eyes.
The control of glance by concentration is physical, mental and spiritual together. The exercises for it depend upon physical and mental repose. Magnetism and power are drawn to the eyes, and can be used thereafter. And when one masters the early difficulties if he continues with the same exercises he can even surcharge his eyes with power and use that power everywhere.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 8
Development of Power Through the Breath
GITHA: The breath is the only power which works directly or indirectly.
TASAWWUF: One can prove this very quickly, by merely closing the nostrils or otherwise interfering with respiration. In the very first series of the Gathas the importance of breath is stressed. It is stated that the knowledge of breath is the first lesson and the last. One has to be reminded constantly in the Gathas, in the Githas, in the literature, in the commentaries, in the healing lessons, that the breath is the soul in action, that the breath is God in action. This truth is too simple and yet too subtle. Yet until it is learned the greatest lessons of life are shut out from our consciousness.
GITHA: It works indirectly when it works through channels. It works directly when one is inhaling and exhaling.
TASAWWUF: One can easily discern inhalation and exhalation. In the esoteric practices and also in the studies on mysticism one ascertains their importance. They are not simply material operations. They have a significance which extends as far as the universe extends.
The other channels of the breath are of two sorts. First there are those connected with respiration, such as the sinuses, larynx, and lungs; and the gates where power is distributed such as hands, feet, tongue and eyes. The second is the body in general beginning with the bloodstream, then the glands and then all parts of the anatomy. They receive the energy of the breath in the lungs and the blood distributes it.
GITHA: Its channels are not only the physical organs of the body, but all organs of the body radiate the power of the breath.
TASAWWUF: The breath is the very life of the body. Animal forms evolved from single cells of the amoeba type. They depend upon respiration for their life. The animals in the sea which are shut off from the atmosphere draw their breath from the air dissolved in the water. The cells of the body, shut off from the atmosphere, draw their vital energy from the blood, which in turn receives it from the breath. To call this energy prana is not sufficient. One has to know what prana is and how it works.
GITHA: One who knows how to direct its power can even turn water into tonic and food into medicine.
TASAWWUF: From the healing point of view there are at least two methods by which this may be done. One is called Tawis which is the magnetization by the hands. Then one holds the container of the water or food and magnetizes with the tips of the fingers. He performs Fikr or Darood first to as sure himself of power. The other is by the gaze or Sulp. For this, too, Fikr is necessary but in using it one should repeat mentally “Ya Shaffee, Ya Kaffee.”
There is also a direct use of breath called Dum. This is discussed in the following lesson.
Today we hear a great deal about vitamins. According to the metaphysical view a vitamin is a living energy which has been absorbed by the physical atoms, especially those of the cells, and has been retained, not lost. This energy can be imparted from body to body by processes of respiration, transpiration and digestion. Water is not the simple thing it appears to be. The Bible uses the phrase, “living waters.” The process in plants known as transpiration consists in movements of these living waters. All water absorbed by vegetation is living and is the secret of cleansing following the eating of certain fruits and vegetables.
Now there may be a question, does man have to depend upon these things which are outside of himself? Can not he draw upon the water directly, just as the vegetable does? The answer is that he can. He can do it by magnetization, he can do it by purification, he can do it in gratefulness (use of Nazar), he can do it by sipping, just as it “drinks in” air in the second phase of Nayaz.
The benefit from food and drink is greatest when the body has been properly cleansed and purified. All breathing and spiritual exercises work toward this end. The more refined the body, the more it will draw upon the vitamins of food and the more it will create its own vitamins. After all, what is a medicine? A medicine is a tincture or essence of living materials, usually compounded by an apothecary, externally. The same work that the apothecary or druggist performs exteriorly the body of the adept performs interiorly.
GITHA: He can send with a flower the healing power.
TASAWWUF: Flowers can be magnetized with touch, sight or breath, the last being most powerful. The Shifayat uses this in healing. Sufi teachers have a custom of sending flowers and gifts with blessing. These blessings are called Baraka. They are dependent upon spiritualized psychic power. They contain magnetism and vitality. In the Healing Service flowers are used and they receive such blessing and magnetism. Therefore it is counseled to send them to the sick after the service, so that at least one person gets a double benefit of the healing.
GITHA: He can charge any object with the electricity of his breath.
TASAWWUF: Esoteric practices refine body, mind and breath. Then the mureed is able to absorb ever finer particles and vibrations. His body becomes more delicate and his breath absorbs vibrations of intense fineness. He becomes a vehicle for the Divine Breath or Holy Ghost. The body, being finite, cannot hold or contain all these vibrations. They radiate through the aura. But they can be directed by the breath not only upon things in one’s immediate presence, but even to a distance. This makes healing at a distance possible and is the first step toward the type of work performed by master, saint and sage.
GITHA: The finer the substance the more power it absorbs. For instance, bread or wine can be more charged with psychic power than stone or wood, although powerful breath can affect anything, however fine or gross it be.
TASAWWUF: In his time Jesus Christ blessed bread and wine and gave them to his disciples. There have been discussions through the ages of the significance and interpretation of this deed. Without taking sides the mystic would say that Jesus Christ did communicate the blessings of the very fine vibrations he had collected. He had collected them by means of his body, and what his body had collected could be transmitted. And it may be said here that the Hindu teaching, “Tat twam asi” would hold here. That is say, that the life within and without are one, and that although objects may be external in space, they can become one in spirit, through the extension of the breath to include them.
The blood within the body collects the vibrations and blessings from the breath. The blood itself corresponds to the ocean without. But if the blood can collect and hold, it can communicate. Therefore what the solid part of the physical organism, that is to say, the flesh, had collected, could be communicated to solid objects, that is to say, bread. While what the ocean of life within the body had collected, which is to say, the blood, that it could impart to living liquids external in space, which is to say, the wine.
The Divine Breath interpenetrates all space and is collected around objects, according to their status. There is little of it, comparatively speaking, in the mineral world. More in vegetation, e.g., wood. As things are handled by man, they are refined. Bread is a refined product drawn up out of the earth and wine is a refined product of fruit. Therefore they can collect around themselves more vibrations. Furthermore bread and wine can more readily change their states than do rocks and trees. This shows that their anfs (or anfas) are weak. It is the weak nufs which is “poor in spirit” and therefore blessed.
GITHA: The presence of a spiritual person has a soothing and healing effect, and cures a patient. The secret is that the breath which is purified and developed becomes a stream of nectar.
TASAWWUF: In healing there is a practice called Dum, which consists of the conscious directing of the breath toward the patient. While breathing toward him (in contra distinction to Sulp which consists of gazing toward him) the healer should repeat sacred phrases mentally or softly. These may consist of a special or general sacred phrase or of a passage from a holy scripture. The Qur’an was so employed for centuries by Sufis. In recent times, since the advent of Mary Baker Eddy, the Bible has also come into general usage for a similar purpose.
The difference between certain modern schools, usually called schools of Christian healing, and the Sufis is this: that the former regard the Bible as the end and man as the means while the Sufis regarded the sacred phrases as the means and man as the end. That is to say, the body of man is the real temple of the Holy Spirit, as the Bible itself teaches. A phrase contains only a modicum even of known teachings. The refined breath is the source-fountain from which all teachings come. A blessing said with words objectifies the magnetism; a blessing said silently with every breath touches the unseen or hidden side of life. As most disease is of a psychological nature, its source can be reached only by that which penetrates.
GITHA: In the first place, breath is life, and when its current is attached to the inner life, the life eternal, it becomes more radiant life and it gives life to all mortals.
TASAWWUF: That is to say, the higher and deeper the current of breath goes into the cosmos, the finer the vibrations that are absorbed first into it, then into the vehicles of the soul, ending with the flesh. As the finer vibrations are absorbed, the health improves because health after all is a sign of life. The greater the life the greater the health and all disease is a sign of absence of life in some respects. The heart-education of the mystics enables them to draw incessantly upon the life within to turn it into blessings for the world of manifestation.
GITHA: It cures illness, because illness is caused by lack of life.
TASAWWUF: The lack of life may be interior or exterior. The breath can be directed toward the source of weakness, even as water runs down hill to fill depressions. The care of body, mind and breath which is taught to talibs enables them to heal themselves and then to help others. And as they mount the ladder of breath they discover that at the same time they are mounting the ladder of life.
GITHA: It takes away depression, for it is light; when it is arisen, it takes away the clouds of depression.
TASAWWUF: Therefore the refined breath should be cultivated for self-healing. When one is depressed he should watch his breath closely even if he knows the cause for his weakness. He can appeal to the breath as the channel of divine grace. He might repeat “Allah Nuri” or “Ya Nuri” or Fikr. They will refine the breath and weaken the hold nufs has. Then having attained that state, by keeping a wall of smiles, he protects himself and prevents his weakness from being communicated to others.
The next stage is to use these practices to help others. After one has done that for himself, that step is not so difficult. Besides, one has self-assurance and that faith is of the greatest advantage in healing.
GITHA: In the East, people seek the presence of a spiritual person, and often among them are such who never speak or teach or argue or discuss. There are some who do not even utter a word of blessing.
TASAWWUF: To become a healer one should carry an atmosphere of peace and blessing. Any kind of controversy disturbs that atmosphere. Speech breaks up the silent flow of refined vibrations, and utilizes magnetism on the mental plane. Therefore the sage who can heal has a specialized life. He may even be a muni, or silent one. In modern Sufism those who are healers are not trained to become teachers while the teachers are only instructed in detail in specialized manners of healing though they may know all the practices and can give them to suitable pupils.
Today suggestion is regarded as very valuable and it is doubtful whether any kind of physician or healer dispenses with it entirely. But the people who are suffering are victims of a world in which there is constant movement, constant emotion, constant agitation and they need peace and repose above all else.
GITHA: And yet their contact gives life to the lifeless, takes away depression and sorrows, clears away confusion and heals all maladies, for it is life that they radiate, and those in contact with them are benefited.
TASAWWUF: This same lesson is given in the teachings on healing as to the healing power of the presence. The secret of that is in the atmosphere. Sometimes when there is no one person who has that ability, a place may be sanctified and ill people brought there. But blessed is he who has reached that state of mastery that he can carry the blessings about with him. It is his repose which is his power. The secret of the mystic is in his silence.
GITHA: It is an evident phenomenon which needs no proof. The atmosphere that a spiritual person charges with his magnetism is the testimony to his power.
TASAWWUF: That is why the Sufis say that claims do not make the teacher. The true teacher is the one who has radiating power, who is a battery of life. Others can feel that life without a word being spoken. Fikr and other exercises tend to crush the nufs. And as the ego is sublimated the light of the soul makes its way toward the surface. In this is fulfilled the ultimate purpose of life.
GITHA: People call it psychic power, and yet psychic power without spirituality is a lame power and a blind power.
TASAWWUF: There is no reason why it should not be called psychic power. It uses the same channels and manifests in the same way as does psychic power. The difference is that with an adept the battery is easily recharged. Like some batteries it may even be recharged while working. And the wise do not have to depend upon any external conditions or upon other persons. They collect, so to speak, the blessings from heaven.
While the collecting of Baraka, or magnetized spiritual blessings, is not the purpose or the duty of anybody, as the atmosphere becomes purified, it can collect and hold the finer vibrations. These are laden with life. They are easily communicated, yet can be withheld. If the spiritual forces did not enter the psychic channels they could not be withheld at all. A gifted person would have his gifts but would have no choice to whom he should give them. He could neither hide his light nor protect himself. Therefore a Wise Creator has fashioned it so that these powers use the psychic channels.
The ordinary psychic, who is not vicious or perverse, often has to abort some other part of his nature. He cuts off certain channels of flow, so to speak, so that all the water goes into one stream. Therefore he may appear to have the same power as a master. But it is a restricted power. He probably does not read or study philosophy or engage in commercial pursuits or do the things that ordinary people do. He would and could do these things if he connected his psychic stream with the eternal power of God.
GITHA: When the psychic becomes spiritual, or when the spiritual person develops in him psychic power, he becomes the fountain of life, continually flowing in this mortal world.
TASAWWUF: Therefore psychic people are not disbarred from Bayat. They may even be welcomed. But they must cultivate a devotional attitude and a spirit of humility. Whatever power or faculty they have they must recognize their dependence upon a Universal Being endowed with all powers and faculties. If they continue onward so their powers will be enhanced, they will become blessed and need not worry over fatigue or that kind of emptiness which often comes to apparently gifted persons.
Seers and other types of adepts often rise out of the ranks of psychics. They gain that wisdom which balances and enlightens their power, and in a sense they may even become the prophets of the world.
Spiritual people often develop psychic power without being particularly aware of it. Their constant attention to their higher duties builds around them a great aura which is filled with many kinds of light and magnetism. When they use this they are using psychic power. They may use it outwardly or they may keep it as a channel of inspiration. So they stand between heaven and earth, ready to serve Heaven and at the same time willing to elevate humanity, in whatever way they can.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 9
Development of Power by Blowing
GITHA: One sees healers among the Sufis who magnetize water, a flower or fruit, as a remedy for any disease. The secret of it lies in the power of the breath.
TASAWWUF: The water, flower or fruit receive the surcharge of magnetism from Shifayat. While such magnetism may slowly disappear, it can remain in the water, flower or fruit a little while. If the patient eats, drinks or smells, he receives the healing blessing. That is the secret also of talisman. A talisman differs in that it was supposed to retain the blessing indefinitely, just as a bar of steel, once magnetized, may retain its power for ages.
GITHA: When a person repeats a word over a thing, then the vibrations caused by that word magnetize the thing accordingly.
TASAWWUF: Any object or thing can be magnetized by embracing it with the breath. While the idea of Yoga or union is directed toward God, we can also bear in mind that the divinity is in everything. It is therefore possible to hold communion with any object. Thus in lifting weights one extends one’s breath as if to cover or embrace the load. The breath becomes adjusted and what might otherwise have been a most difficult task is quite often easily accomplished, providing of course, that the body is sufficiently refined to carry on the process.
Objects are magnetized without complete union when instead of holding the divine thought upon the breath, it is spoken. The nexus of union is the same. The breath is the connecting link. This is the secret of grace in meals and in prayers and blessings generally.
Although Nazar is repeated at the beginning of meals there is no reason why it should be so restricted. One may repeat Nazar on the receipt of anything or say “God bless you” to the giver.
Of course the development of the breath must go on if one wishes this power. The outward use of it is not enough. One must constantly feel the Divine Presence.
GITHA: Even by blowing on the affected part, a person can heal another from pain. But this power is developed by the development of the breath.
TASAWWUF: This exercise is called Dum. Its power is not so much of force as of fineness. This fineness is not a delicacy so much as the ability to seize, hold and utilize the finer spiritual vibrations. Therefore Fikr is constantly repeated, until one becomes the veritable channel of the Holy Spirit. It is the energy from the highest spheres which confers the most benefit.
GITHA: In the East, the poison of the snakebite and of the scorpion and of the mad dog and of the bee is always cured by blowing.
TASAWWUF: Much of the material here appears in the lessons on Shifayat. These lessons may be studied separately by those more interested in healing than in anything else, who may never advance far in other directions and who may not be so interested.
At first sight this method of healing bites may appear to be a superstition. So many methods of distant people appear to us to be superstitious when they do not coincide with our traditions. It happens, however, that sympathetic scientists in Russia began to test the so-called superstitious traditions of the Asiatics and one after another they found that they proved to be beneficial. And on the other hand, many of the treatments of the apparently more advanced Europeans and Americans do not always work, especially in the above type of case.
Chemical analysis shows that snake poison has almost the same albumen as does the white of egg. And this brings up the question, why then, does it poison? Fear aside, all these afflictions are accompanied by a very harmful depleting negative animal magnetism. They have been given in hate, fear or revenge. It has been learned that these states produce toxins in our own bodies; why not also in the bodies of others? The difference is that the snake, scorpion, dog or bee have infected us with their poisons.
To counteract them we must add the opposite or the completing element. The etheric breath purifies and heals all things when in the hands of the adept. The holy spirit blots out all weaknesses and heals. Therefore the blowing is the putting on of life where before there was no life, where the life had temporarily disappeared. Nevertheless the devotional attitude is more important than the cultivation of phenomena if one wishes to succeed in this regard.
GITHA: The Hindus call magnetized food or drink or a flower prasad, and the Sufis call it tabarruk. They repeat words over it. Really speaking, it is the breath which charges the food or drink with life.
TASAWWUF: The word tabarruk means that which has received Baraka, the spiritual magnetized blessings of which so much mention has been made. These blessings contain both spiritual and psychic vibrations. They are communicated through the breath, silently or orally. While silence is powerful, the repetition of sacred words removes any attitude or feeling that “I am doing this.” It keeps the refinement about the personality. And when a person has love or response to the blesser he increases the help given to him.
GITHA: After all, illness is caused by lack of life, and its cure lies in life.
TASAWWUF: That is why breath is so often stressed. We are here to increase our capacity for life, and even to add to the life of the world in whatever way we can. When a person is harmed or shocked, he does not breathe fully, and perhaps is quite unaware of his lack. The sage has to correct this basic defect and then the healing becomes easy.
GITHA: All curatives, besides nourishing food and fresh air, help to develop life in a person. But if one person gives from his life, life to another, it is more than food, drink, or even fresh air.
TASAWWUF: Food is needed for the atoms of the body, to strengthen them and to enable them to function. Fresh air brings the gases needed in respiration and is also the vehicle of breath. But the average person has not a perfect body nor has he perfected respiration. So he suffers from disease and can not be cured completely over the same route that has the defects which brought on the disease.
There is a saying, “Heart speaks to heart and soul to soul.” In this respect the healer draws upon the divine life and shares it with another. This life, coming from the perfect source, is bound to be successful.
Jesus Christ has said, “Greater love hath no man than this, that he will give up his psyche for his friend.” This has been translated as “life.” Psyche does not mean life, it may mean ego and it does mean psychic power. The person who is willing to lay out his psychic power to help another is performing a holy duty. It is the sign of love, it is the sign of following the path to God.
This does not mean that we are to dispense with other curative. There are many herbs, whose essences are valuable. There are foods endowed with energies and atoms which are most helpful. But until man contacts spirit he will remain subject to ill.
GITHA: When the breath is developed, only then may one make use of it for every purpose. But so long as it is not developed, it is advisable not to make use of it, for one may, instead of curing another, partake pains, diseases and depressions from another.
TASAWWUF: It is neither necessary nor important that every talib go on the path of healing. One has to have an aptitude for it. There must be a feeling of compassion, an altruistic attitude. This clears the way for the heart. And it is the heart which feeds the mind, which in turn nourishes psychic power.
Many people are very anxious to open the door. They do not see that an open door is both an entrance and an egress. If one is not strong, he can not shut out weaknesses. A person may take hold of another’s hand and attempt to soothe it. He may try massage, he may even perform Sulp or dum. And then, if he is sentimental or sympathetic, without being strong, he will surely share in the disease. And it is a most unfortunate thing that there are people who want to be healers or who want to exhibit, and after they try a few times, they themselves begin to show weaknesses. For that reason even in the Healing Service there is a silence so the participants can fortify themselves against taking on the undesirable conditions of anybody they are trying to assist.
GITHA: When a person’s breath is not sufficiently developed, he, instead of curing, would do harm to himself as well as to the other. Therefore development is necessary before its use.
TASAWWUF: In the Healing Service the participants have to dedicate themselves to a holy task. They also fortify themselves against weaknesses creeping in. The same is true of the Shifayat. Even those who have a natural healing gift are not always encouraged by Murshid to use it. It may not be the only gift that they possess. And it is certainly true that weak psychics too readily take on pains, aches and troubles from others. It is sympathy without wisdom to be able to do this. The wretched are not benefitted when others feel their wretchedness. They are only helped when others are able to elevate them from that condition.
And the same thing applies to all aspects of the spiritual life. There are advanced persons who may be able to assist in other ways than by healing. This is possible when they have cultivated indifference, at least toward themselves. They do not have to show concern openly. But when they come together with another one, they must be sure that their breath is strong.
It is taught that a strong breath controls a weak one. That is most important. One does not have to show his will power or any forcefulness in speech. He can attune his breath to the highest degree for which he has capacity, through Fikr or Darood. Then the vibrations that he has collected will pour over another person’s breath and by that means he communicates blessing, strength, love and all the spiritual qualities.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series II: Number 10
Development of the Power of Presence
GITHA: There are different ways through which the psychic uses his power, but the power of the presence is most powerful and best of all.
TASAWWUF: The power of the presence is the complete power. One might see the water behind a dam. There is a tremendous quantity of it. When one sends it through a channel there is only a portion of it. Or again, whatever is in the canal is less than in the river, whatever is in the sluice box is less than in the canal. Indeed the power of the presence is the soul-power; in other words, all the power that there is, filtered through the personality. The less the shadow of the ego covers it, the greater the power that will manifest.
GITHA: By a keen study of life, we shall notice, especially with people who are sensitive or ill, that one person, when he comes into the room, brings with him an atmosphere of ease, and there is another person who, when he comes, adds to the pain or restlessness of the patient; and also, one experiences that the presence of a person may be so that it may bring illness to the one who is well.
TASAWWUF: There are people who are sensitive by nature and others who become sensitive when they are ill. They notice things that otherwise would not touch them. The atmosphere of a person may be felt by anybody, even by those who do not think they are sensitive. Even then they may pride themselves by their ability to judge human nature. Sometimes they call it “common sense” but it is much more than that. And it is not entirely intuition either. For the bio-electro-magnetic aura about one is filled with lines of force which attract or repel the corresponding lines in other people’s auras, even without thought or sensation.
The Sufi, coming into the sick room will notice the reaction of the patient. Then, especially he tries to carry his ease with him. If he has any pain or tribulation, at that time he will not show it for it would have a more baneful effect than at other times. It is even well to simulate cheerfulness and to make pleasant suggestions. But calmness is still more powerful for it can touch the inner personality.
GITHA: This proves that there is a certain power in the presence of man that heals or that brings ease, sometimes without an effort. The mystics develop this power.
TASAWWUF: All persons on the path are given this opportunity. Some psychic power comes naturally because of one’s strength of personality or character. Some is gained by the disciplines and exercises that one follows in his sacred duties. And still more is obtained by following special exercises for this one particular purpose.
While this power manifests in acts and one is called upon to use it, it actually surrounds one with vigor and this vigor can be directed as one sees it. But the best way to accomplish this is to attain to a state of calm and indifference. Otherwise though one may wish to send it out in a conscious and straightforward manner, his own agitation will prevent him. So the power is best transmitted through repose and when one can confer peace upon another, he then transmits a maximum of psychic power also.
GITHA: The whole secret of this power is life. A person with life in the body, in the mind, in the soul, gives life to those with whom he comes in contact.
TASAWWUF: When one speaks about life it seems so simple, so self-evident that one may suppose that there is no philosophy in it. Some people want a moral instruction in words, they delight in words. But although the word “life” is a simple word, and although we may recognize life all around us and in us we can not always define life. We may know what it is intuitively yet we can not exactly define it. Besides, philosophy is a mental reflection and it depends upon the state of mind which in turn depends upon the quality and quantity of life assimilated.
Yet there are parallels and examples that help us to understand it a little. Thus it is said that water seeks its own level. A gas will move from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Electricity is constantly seeking an equilibrium. So, perhaps, in an analogous fashion life may move from the one who has more of it to the one who has less of it. We may get a faint idea of that also in the sexual relationship. But the spiritual outlook is much grander, except that the advanced person may seem to have a surfeit of it and offer it to others. It may seem a sharing, it is a blessing, it is a communion.
GITHA: A person without that, instead of giving life, takes it.
TASAWWUF: For the same law or principle holds. There is a seeking of equilibrium, of balance. The flow of all liquids, gases and energies follows that principle. It does not differ with vital life force. When two people come together naturally the weak would gain from the strong, although the direction of will also has something to do with it. But a negative person pulls from others. He sometimes pulls even when he may suppose that he is giving. Those who come to him apparently for help may feel a momentary stimulation, as in the drinking of alcohol; afterwards comes the inevitable reason and they may be worse off than before.
GITHA: The mystic, therefore, by the development of power, means the development of life, that he absorbs life from within and without, since the space is full of life, if one only knew how to get from it.
TASAWWUF: Space has been called akasha which also means ether. The element called ether is found everywhere in space. The scientists have not discovered it although they have intuitively guessed its existence because it is immeasurable. No instruments can test it except in so far as it enters into union with the other elements, earth, air, fire and water. Some aviators have had psychical experience in the lofty atmosphere because the ether is still there, life is there. Creatures of the unseen may live in the same general akasha as we do, but they are not so affected by the quantity of material air there.
The mystics and munis who go to the Himalayas and other high places have learned to absorb from the ether directly. For that a knowledge of mysticism is also needed as well as proficiency in esotericism (ryazat). But when the body can sustain refined atmospheres the mind benefits and the heart benefits much more. The Tibetans say that the wise go to the high places because in that manner they can send blessings and help afar. They are not so much impeded by denseness.
But it is also true that one can draw upon this infante supply which is connected with ether without going to the high mountains, without leaving the place where he stands. God is everywhere and the divine forces are in and around us everywhere.
GITHA: Mystical practices, especially those with the breath, are meant to help man to absorb life which is so ample around and about him.
TASAWWUF: Mystical practices have several aspects. In one of them the talib learns to distinguish between earth and water and fire and air and the combinations thereof as these manifest in the breath. He can discern their directions, the forces involved and his own ability to assimilate and interpret. He can learn what actions and thoughts are in harmony with each of these elements and combinations and their attendant conditions, and also what conflicts therewith.
Another aspect of breath is the understanding of inhalation and exhalation. This knowledge helps us to understanding past, present and future; to distinguish the way of life for ourselves and others; to work out paths of harmony; and to correct the corresponding weaknesses in others as well.
Another aspect of it comes in our understanding of Jelal, Jemal and Kemal. It is this last which is important here. The deeper instruction of Kemal can not ordinarily be given because it is destruction to everything associated with ego even in the most direct fashion. In a sense it is closer to akasha. But it is the agent of God in this world and in all worlds. It takes one beyond Nufsaniat, the sphere of limitations and troubles.
The understanding of these principles aids one finitely and infinitely. In the finite sense it helps one to adjust and bring to himself or to another that which is his immediate need. In the finite sense, too, it directs us toward the successful pursuit of our immediate duty. In the infinite sense it reveals that there is no end to blessings and possibilities, even though man of himself be quite imperfect.
GITHA: But when man does not know this, he is thirsty on the bank of a river. Water is there and he does not see it. More than drugs and herbs or any kind of tonic, the absorption of energy from the space is beneficial.
TASAWWUF: We live and move in this ocean of life. The instruction to feel the presence of God with every breath has no other purpose than to enable us to absorb this life every instant. The more we feel it, the more we rely upon it, the more we can help ourselves and others. When we come into the presence of the imperfect or the ill, Fikr is needed not only to bring to us the maximum of the prana of space, but also to harmonize the atmosphere and to overcome any difficulties because of poisons in it or because of the nufs of the person to be helped. Failure to recognize this is often the cause of failure in healing.
When this is known more, even the chiropractors, osteopaths and masseurs will succeed in ways that are beyond them at the moment. For with every adjustment and handling they will draw upon the space. They may seem to be doing a physical work, and it is so, but at the same time they will be making mental and spiritual adjustments.
GITHA: Then, use is made of this energy for the purpose of healing, and the person who has developed this power of presence does no other way of healing. His presence itself is energy.
TASAWWUF: Therefore the training of the Sheikh and of the Shifayat are different. The Sheikh and those who follow the path of Shuyukhuyat must develop this power of the presence. All the proficiency in meditation and silence help. It becomes more evident, too, when one has to meet the problems that people are constantly giving him and for which no physical adjustment will help in the least. But the way the hands are clasped at Bayat suffices, for then the exchange of power and magnetism touches even the physical plane. For that reason too, the teacher takes a hand of a pupil or friend in both of his hands, saying, “God bless you.” That enables him to send the Baraka of space even into the body of another.
GITHA: He can change the atmosphere of a room in which he may be sitting, or of a hall in which he may be walking. He can spread the atmosphere round and about him which can give ease to anybody in contact with him.
TASAWWUF: This is also explained in The Bestowal of Blessing. It is elaborated in the lessons for the teachers because their silence must work as well as their speech. Constant repetition of Fikr in walking or repose is most valuable in this respect. That is why there have been adepts whose very presence heals. No word is spoken but there is a blessing.
GITHA: This is the secret of the great healing power of sages.
TASAWWUF: It is a divine power, vouchsafed to the men of Kemal. It is the sign of their attainment. It proves that God can manifest to mankind upon earth, but for that a human agent is needed. The body of man alone can assimilate the akasha of space; the personality of man alone can manifest the Kemaliat of God.