Githa with Commentary
Pir-o-Murshid Hazrat Inayat Khan
Murshid Samuel L. Lewis
(Sufi Ahmed Murad Chisti)
Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty,
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 1
GITHA: Before practicing psychic power, one must know the law of its operation, and its moral.
TASAWWUF: Even among many who are acquainted with psychic principles very few know its law, and among many people, how few are even acquainted with psychism. There are people who employ psychic power at all times and may not even know they are doing anything unusual. Or if there is a recognition it does not mean that there is understanding. Every movement of the body, of the arms, of the feet, of the eyes, of the tongue, of the breath, involves psychic power. It operates along with physical movement yet is also connected with speech and thought. The nerves carry the psychic power as well as physical and mental pulsations. And in the aura around man the psychic vibrations have their abode.
This ignorance has led man to draw upon the psychic power of others. The older people dominate the young psychically, which is wrong, though they should be given mental and moral precedence. All kinds of perversions are practiced in different parts of the world. There are lecturers who draw upon the magnetism of their audience and feel very satisfied; they may even hypnotize the audience so that their hearers will not be aware of anything at the time. There are others who go to lectures just to draw upon the psychic power of the speaker.
What is first necessary is to recognize the psychic forces in and around and about us. The Gathas are taught to awaken this in a disciple. Then with the movements of prayers the best aspect of these forces is drawn upon. Many esoteric practices also involve psychic forces, until the mureed can draw incessantly upon the power of space. But he must recognize that that is not ego-power, that something which is far more than he is, is the Source and Sustenance of that power.
GITHA: The first thing that one must consider in this way of healing is that it is not necessary that one should try to heal every disease and every patient. There is no use in employing horses when an engine can serve the purpose, and it is not wise to let men carry a load when there are donkeys to answer the purpose.
TASAWWUF: The same principles may be applied to chiropractic, osteopathy and all drugless treatments, as well as to the orthodox methods. So today we find that many machines and devices are available which break up congestions and restore circulation, which cleanse the body and the blood and which help an ailing person. And again, there are drugs and dietetic and nutritional preparations which are very valuable. Many diseases may be caused by filth of some kind or other and can be met with accordingly. In other words, it is not necessary for a spiritual person to take on another person’s load.
There is a different attitude here between the people of the East and the people of the West. Orientals recognize Karma and do not believe that man should tamper with karma. They say that every individual should work out his own karma. Westerners, on the other hand, have been influenced by the golden rule and are attached to what they call “goodness.” They do not suspect that morality may obey laws like that of light and that effort may be reflected, refracted, polarized and reversed. So the goodness may turn into badness, or instead of thanks and appreciation fear or repulsion may be caused. Or again it may lead to extreme vanity.
Shifayat must understand both of these attitudes and more than that. A foolish person may be eager to try out his psychic power, assuming that he will be helping others thereby. But the psychic power and even more the spiritual power behind it, is ineffective when the patient or person to be helped is not responsive. It is one thing to water the ground trusting that crops will grow; it is another thing to pour moisture down a crevice. This can go on and on without any results. And the same thing applies to the use of psychic power, most of all in healing.
GITHA: There are ailments that a little drug or herb can cure; to use the power of the mind of these would be nothing but waste.
TASAWWUF: The curative power in anything comes from life. Life is a manifestation of God-activity. When the personal mind is used instead of a drug, it is almost like placing man before God. Then man forgets his own purpose and also he is unaware of the manner in which God works. God created the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms and placed all things at man’s feet. Wise and learned persons have discovered the use of many things and taught them to others.
A spiritual person would say that a drug which is drawn direct from nature, or compounded simply, may be efficacious. But those drawn from the synthesis of coal-tar dye derivatives are not from life. They come from the reverse side of Prakriti. The alleviation they give can be but temporary at best, and never can such things benefit the mind of man.
GITHA: Therefore healing is necessary in such cases where medicine is not required or where medicine has no power. Diseases of the nerves, particularly, are mostly cured by the mind, and medicine can never cure them completely. In such cases healing is necessary.
TASAWWUF: Medicine has succeeded in curing some diseases easily. In other instances the medical doctors admit that they have no cure. They are spending millions of dollars in external research, not knowing the metaphysical principles of the human body, or human constitution. Besides, if the skin were the proper entrance to the body, we would have skins that would absorb foods from the space. In a certain sense they breathe now, but the organs of respiration are not the avenues of food; indeed either food goes down the gullet or air down the windpipe. This structure has been based upon the movements of Purusha and Prakriti.
It has been stated that the nerves carry the psychic impulses as well as other vibrations. Change of diet and rest are not sufficient to amend neuropathic conditions. And we shall be seeing this more and more because of the war and its aftermath. On the other hand, those who store up psychic reserve and know how to use it have several means at their command by which they can actively and actually help others without any fear of danger to themselves.
GITHA: In cases also where one word of suggestion can impress the patient, where one word of consolation can bring the patient cure, where a touch of the hand can relieve a patient from pain, it is not necessary to waste time in the pursuit of medicine.
TASAWWUF: We must first note that the economy of time and energy is most important. Those who treat diseases professionally, have, of course, the right to go slow or move ahead with speed. But the one who employs psychic power has to beware at all times to keep the ego out of the picture. It is unimportant as to who does the curing, it is most important that the patient be properly healed.
Even medicine admits today that psychological methods have been successful. And it is most difficult to ascertain just what part suggestion plays in every cure. Suggestion, however, is more than employing words. The words must have power, must have life, to produce the intended results. Words of consolation are deeper than intellectual suggestions for they touch the heart. However, it is foolish to pretend to console when one has not the ability. Then it is better to use a direct suggestion with force behind it. That will work upon the mind of the afflicted and bring a degree of life to them.
Healing by touch is also important. It is possibly an element in all forms of manipulation. And there are people who have a healing touch. But on the spiritual path one learns whereby the increased psychic power can go out of the fingers and with or without contact, one can relieve pain. One can also communicate energy thereby and in cases of anemia and weakness often stimulate the patient so that he thereafter absorbs more power from space and more vitality from his foods.
GITHA: But, besides healing by psychic power, objects can be gained and affairs can be accomplished and minds can be controlled, and this is the time when we ought to be more cautious than ever.
TASAWWUF: More attention has been given to healing by psychic power than anything else, for as one grows along this path, the ability to heal often comes unconsciously. And again, those who are interested in healing gain more direct benefits by their knowledge of psychic power in theory and in application. But there is no power on earth or in heaven that can be restricted to two or three uses.
One may not suppose that objects can be gained by psychic power. Yet this is being done when one develops skill in concentration. Concentration is a faculty whereby one can fashion his affairs more and more as he progresses. And he also learns more and more just what the limit of his consciousness is. He learns more as to what he is. The concentration of the cobra, as a symbol of wisdom, can be employed to draw things to us in accordance with our dharma.
The accomplishment of affairs is an extension of the same practice and same methods. It requires greater proficiency and comes at a later stage. One who succeeds in that can become a Wali, provided he keeps before himself at all times the consciousness of the Divine Presence.
The control of minds is even more delicate. There are successful hypnotists who can throw groups of people into a trance. This is valuable for making constructive suggestions. It may be necessary at times when the mob should be controlled or the multitude assisted. Jesus Christ used this method in feeding. He actually hypnotized thousands and divided the loaves and fishes among them. They thought they were receiving physical food. They were sated by his inner feeding.
Mohammed had tremendous psychic power. He employed his voice to instill fear in his enemies, courage in his friends. He won the hearts of many by his skillful use of it, but he warned that excessive loudness did not in any sense indicate psychic power. It might just be an overflow of physical power.
GITHA: Every profit in the world has its disadvantages, to balance life; and the profit of psychic power being great, its dangers are great too.
TASAWWUF: This is most obvious in the case of clairvoyants. They can become confused between the affairs of this world and the next to the degree that they may succeed in neither. Those who have clear hearing need even a greater faculty of discernment. That is why lessons on Insight are offered before the talib is shown how to increase his psychic power.
Again, the power of attraction may become so great that one loses ability to sift. The blessings of God fall upon the just and unjust and no person who has gained the Grace has the right to distinguish. He may, however, like Mohammed, extinguish his healing faculty so that he will not be incessantly disturbed by the unworthy. And then there are those who are subject to the temptations of sex lure, power and prestige. In the end they will be pulled down even more than they may have been elevated.
GITHA: There is a time when an officer, a chief, a king, rules all those under him, and there is a time when the wheel goes the other way, so that those whom he ruled begin to rule him. The Tsar, whose command was in the East and West, had to obey the Cossack who was his guard. And such a time comes when the psychic moral is disregarded.
TASAWWUF: It has been stated that the Orientals are very careful, even overcautious regarding karma. Occidentals either know nothing of it, or accept it in such an intellectual fashion that psychologically they may just as well be ignorant of it or disbelieve in it. All scriptures present this law in their own fashion. The Psalmist said that every valley would be exalted and every high place laid low. But the consciousness of the generality, and even of its leaders, has not been touched much by this teaching.
Rulers only maintain their positions by their mastery of power. It is said that the last Emperor of Austria moved on his throne when a fly lit upon his hand during the coronation. Nearby officers who saw this trembled, feeling that they were being called upon to serve a weakling. On the other hand, the Rajputs of India were instructed in the development and use of this power, yet had to be chivalrous and high minded. Today they are famous the world over.
GITHA: Playing with psychic power is like playing with fire, your life is always in danger. He only is safe in using psychic power freely to whom the interest of another person comes first and his own after, who is unselfish, and willing to sacrifice his own benefit for another.
TASAWWUF: This indeed is the supreme moral law for all those who seek self-sufficiency through union with God. They become channels of Baraka rather than of psychic power by itself. There are many worldly people who have psychic power because of karma or development, but they are not channels of Baraka, even when gifted with insight.
The teachers of Sufism are given the practice called Amal. Amal may turn a person into an angel or into a devil. He advances as if in both directions at once. His power-capacity is increased. He may become exceedingly destructive or very constructive, spreading his blessings to all about. The murshid has to be more careful than anybody else. If he has weaknesses the shadows of those weaknesses spread all about him. If he has blessings, his disciples reveal it in their development.
The theme of self-sacrifice is most important yet difficult to impart. People may be willing to give up their money, their possessions, even their dearest delights, but their ego they will hold on to.
GITHA: But one must not be afraid of developing this power and using this power.
TASAWWUF: The same might apply to any gift or faculty which comes to one whether on the path of self-realization or on the path of ordinary knowledge. It has been said that knowledge is power. All power can be harmful if there is not enough wisdom attached to it. Wisdom is not so easily cultivated, yet when there is the growth of heart, one is little likely to cause others difficulties. Indeed initiation is always a step in an unknown direction. He is a coward who is unwilling to take such a step.
GITHA: It is no sin to possess wealth, it is a sin when you make bad use of it.
TASAWWUF: Indeed as one has ability he may become wealthy. There are people who are avid in their pursuit of wealth, they are lucky ones, they are those who have reward of skill or merit and again there are those who gain wealth through concentration. It is not wrong to have a goal in life and to attain the goal. The difference between the Sufi and the ordinary man is this: that the average person sees and seeks attainment and when he has reached that point thinks he has completed his career. The Sufi sees three parts of concentration, Urouj, Kemal and Zaval. This last stage is the one of assimilation which is overlooked by the majority.
GITHA: And so it is with psychic power.
TASAWWUF: It has been stated that there is a moral law in connection with the use of psychic power. And again, one can not overlook karma. And also, that concentration is needed. In bringing these together, in the study of results, or the Zavalist stage of activity, one will find that the achievement is much greater than in the mere use of physical forces or even than of mental forces connected with ego. The prayer says, “May the message of God reach far and wide.” This applies to the Zaval stage. All forces enter that stage and then we see their fruit. In order that the tree may bring forth good fruit, as Jesus Christ has said, control over one’s ego is needed more than anything else.
GITHA: You must acquire it, you must develop it, and you must utilize it, as long as you are confident of yourself and you are sure that you will do no one harm, and would rather benefit another person than yourself.
TASAWWUF: Here it may be said that we do acquire it and often we develop it and sometimes we utilise it without knowing what it is. And there are others who may be afraid and that does not mean that they do not acquire or even that they do not develop. Every breath brings psychic energy—every breath. We can not shut it out any more than we can shut life out. When we desire health, strength, vigor, usefulness, we are demanding psychic power. These things go together. Even our wishes and fears will not keep the power away. It comes because it belongs to life. And what we really are doing and need to do is to develop this life.
Therefore we should use life and all its faculties as if a loan from the Grace of God. There are those who practice ahimsa, harmlessness. Yes, that is one side of it. But that is not enough, for life is not negation, life is affirmation, life is construction. The gifts that God has given us, the reserves that are there in the cosmic karmic bank are placed before us as a duty, the pursuit of which constitutes the nexus of our purpose of life.
Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty,
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 2
The Use of Psychic Power
GITHA: It was thought by the orthodox that psychic power and its use were both dangerous and it was considered as magic and its practice was forbidden by the religious authorities.
TASAWWUF: The ancient Greeks and Romans had some knowledge of it, perhaps derived in part from the Egyptians who were adepts in this field. The first Christians were divided into sects which variously interpreted the teachings and traditions of the Master. Some of these fiercely attacked all the institutions and doctrines which even vaguely resembled those of their predecessors and rivals, and to make these attacks more effective, persecuted and destroyed the older pagan churches.
One unhappy result was that ignorant persons often came into high positions. Favors were offered to rulers and others in authority to win them away from the infidels. The lower classes were more attracted by the new religion anyhow because it gave them hope. But the triumph of the ignorant brought on the Dark Ages. Learning of every kind was discouraged, and unusual faculties were regarded as obsessions by the devil. No doubt there was some truth in it, too. Yet religious authorities have only too often discouraged the popularization of learning, fearing that it might lead to their own loss of power. And in turn the learned have only too often put their knowledge to this selfish scheme instead of keeping within their own stream.
GITHA: Saying that psychic power is undesirable is as absurd as saying that muscular strength is undesirable, or that to be wealthy is undesirable, or saying that strength of any kind or every kind is undesirable.
TASAWWUF: Jesus Christ has said: “He that believeth in me the things that I do shall he do also and greater things than these shall he do.” But the churches and sects have steadfastly refused to accept this dictum of the master. They have even persecuted those in whom it might be a possibility.
In his Epistle to the Corinthians Paul gave them instructions concerning spiritual gifts (beginning with the Twelfth Chapter) and also explained in part the relation between the spiritual and the psychic. The traditional religion has not been able to keep in his footsteps. The spiritual emancipation which every religious leader has vouchsafed becomes lost under priestcraft and sectarianism. Both deny the freedom of the individual, except in rare instances. Thus the 44th verse of the Fifteenth Chapter actually reads: “It is sown a psychical body, it is raised a spiritual body. There is a psychical body and a spiritual body.”
The translators, devoid in lofty insight, have kept to the words that they themselves understood and thus closed the doors to the tremendous possibilities laid before all believers by the Founders. Indeed this is more or less true of all religions.
The disciples in the Kadiria school have specialized in the development of psychic and occult powers. They are largely of the Jelali temperament. Their great Pir, Abdul Kadir-i-Gilani, had obtained power over the forces of nature, and was a veritable master. To assure his disciples and to protect them, he demanded that they adhere to orthodoxy, lest they go astray first morally and then psychically.
GITHA: The man who looks at psychic power with contempt, it would seem, has no right even to call God Almighty, for might in its depth is in psychic power. It is psychic power which is the proof of God’s might in man.
TASAWWUF: As psychic phenomena have been noticed in mediums and other negative persons and as they have been imitated by charlatans it has been assumed that there is nothing in it. But the mere fact of phenomenon needs an investigation and to call names proves nothing, except perhaps, egoism on the part of the caller. And to see only the negative people does not mean that there are not positive people. Travelers like Mme. Neel, Yeats-Brown, Thees Bernard and all the scientists who have attended the expeditions of the famous Sven Hedin have been won to the recognition of the positive side of psychic power and psychic phenomena. There are many well authenticated books on the subject today. To be ostrich minded, so to speak, means to be negative, oneself.
The strange thing is that if one wants to duplicate or see duplicated the type of “miracle” which Jesus performed, he has to go to non-Christian peoples. The Tibetans, it is true, may go to the opposite extreme, in their intense interest in psychic power. But the wise among them know of its high origin. And those who would fulfill the functions of master and saint, as well as the prophets depend upon it.
GITHA: Yes, one must know, even before he possesses psychic power, and should consider after he possesses the power, what manner he should adopt in using it, with the thought of reason and justice, to what extent man has the right to use his power on another.
TASAWWUF: For it is not difficult to invoke this power and employ it even in simple matters. By regarding it as a spiritual gift one is safe. If one performs Darood or Fikr he is safe. And if one wishes to manifest his ability in Darood, Fikr or Zikr, it comes out in the psychic power. The esoteric practices are the means, the psychic power is the end.
GITHA: There is a saying of a philosopher, “Exercise power when you have it.” There is a quotation from Gilani, who says, “My mureed, do not shrink from using power, if thou hast any.”
TASAWWUF: When we look out into the world and see all the misfortune around us, we may want to blame God. We see that so many prayers and so many devotions only prove to be empty, devoid of result. Is there truly a loving, kind God? Yes, and before one can prove that to the world he has to prove it to himself. He has to have the realization and the knowledge.
Now if one has the power and he keeps before himself the sacred phrase, “Allaho Akbar” he demonstrates it only to the degree that it conforms with dharma. Repeating mentally or audibly such sacred words he cannot do that which is not consonant with them. If man calls upon God, he cannot at the same time be selfish. He will merely be ineffective. And if man empties himself he can become the channel for the power of God. In that way the Master performs all his deeds.
GITHA: With this liberty a knowledge is necessary of the outcome of the exercise of psychic power in every case. Sometimes man’s own noose catches his throat. Many times a net becomes a prison to the netter; many times man knocks his own head against the wall when trying to knock the head of another.
TASAWWUF: We find in the world today many who are more interested in occult and esoteric teachings than in direct self-advancement to the divine realization. No doubt these people must not be expected to show possibilities beyond their grade of evolution. But the unfortunate result is that they become more involved in phenomena than in self-discipline. The chemist in the laboratory, the machinist in his shop show more care and concern, while they are dealing with externals than do some students who must make of themselves channels for the powers with which they are dealing.
The masters and saints in Sufism are given what in some respects is a very rigid training. Their duty is to watch constantly the surface of their hearts. They discover the relationship between the world without and that within. They repeat the sacred phrases. And these sacred phrases become the source of their success or their undoing. If they follow their dharma, they will meet with success. If they are negligent they will bring harm to themselves and others.
There are many dangers in the application of psychic power which have been dealt with in a paper called “Psychism.” Too many interested people actually go backwards. They think that to remove the consciousness from the material world is enough and they care not whether they are going higher or lower. They disregard the animal psychism which Mary Baker Eddy thought was one of the most dangerous and distressing forces around man. Indeed these people are little removed from the opium eaters and smokers who also go backward. There is quite a difference of impulse, but their courses are parallel.
There are other people who open the door in both directions. They do not know how to protect themselves. Instead of making themselves negative to God alone or to higher forces, they merely open the door. Muslims repeat “Fateha,” which is the opening and most important Sura of Koran because by that means the devotee is protected against the malignancies of both the material and psychic worlds. Else by repetition of Fikr one will drive away all things connected with fancy and with the imaginative portion of psychism.
GITHA: There is no greater power than psychic power.
TASAWWUF: This indeed is the highest power which can manifest on the physical plane. The power of the masters, adepts and all the wise is psychical in this world. For the psychic is the chain or stream whereby the forces of the highest planes make their appearance. There are many stories told of miracles and they appear to be so unreasonable that by some they are rejected and by others they are regarded as the best evidence of development. No doubt the latter viewpoint is nearer the truth, but it is not true that there is no law connected with them. The psychic does not contradict the physical, it merely transcends it.
It may be objected that there are higher planes than the psychic and therefore higher forces. Yes, this may be true. But these forces remain on their own planes and do not manifest upon other planes. It is the psychic stream, connected with the breath, by which even God has acted directly in his dealings with this world.
GITHA: To play foolishly with it would be like playing with something worse than fire. Many when trying to kill another have killed themselves. Many trying to separate two loving friends, have separated in the end their own body and soul.
TASAWWUF: Never was this knowledge needed more than at this hour when great governments have made use of psychic power to force material ends. They have done this without regard to the moral, to justice, to humanity, to nobility or to any ideals. The end can only be hell and destruction. But the end may not come so quickly as its enemies may wish for they, instead of applying the psychic power, have depended too much upon material means alone. These, even when coupled with morality, do not always prevail in the beginning. They require more time to work out their ends.
To overcome these devotees of diabolism, one must either “Lull the devil to sleep rather than arouse him by your opposition,” or else, “Knock for knock, only harder.” It requires a strong person to follow the latter course, yet it is a worthy one. It is the path taken by masters and even by many Sufis.
Much has been written about the struggle between black magicians and white magicians. These stories are often preserved by the ignorant who do not recognize their ignorance yet they are not altogether untrue. As light of itself dissipates darkness, so divine wisdom can overcome all things. Sooner or later wicked people overdraw their accounts in the cosmic karmic bank and they must pay the drafts that are presented to them. And it seems then as if they have sold their own souls.
Bulwer Lytton has written most interesting and powerful stories on this subject, and in modern times Talbot Mundy has adopted the same course. But there are two classes of people to deal with, those who are outwardly wicked, and those who are obsessed. It requires much more power and sagacity to overcome the former, and sometimes one must be patient and let them exhaust their karma. The obsessed can be treated directly by spiritual healing and by other methods.
GITHA: Therefore this law should be observed when using psychic power that we must send with this power such a thought that in the event of its returning to us, it may bring a thousandfold more benefit to us than it brought to the one to whom we sent it.
TASAWWUF: That is why movements have been carefully selected to coordinate with the prayers. In the fourth year of instruction, or in the fourth degree of Sufism, when the subject of psychic power is introduced in the Githas, along with a study of spirit phenomena, one also learns the constructive spiritual sciences: esotericism, concentration and mysticism. To these meditation has also been added. These help the disciple to control whatever is given to him that he never become a slave to any process that he learns and that by all means he avoid obsession.
In the Healing Service the members are shown how to protect themselves and also to draw upon the force generated for their own benefit. It is explained, in the commentaries on this service, that it may be used for other purposes than healing. Indeed whenever there is no known hierarch the Healing Service will suffice for the generation and application of psychic power. The parts and words have been most carefully chosen so that only spiritual good will result. No harm can possibly be done by such means.
And when an individual uses psychic power, he must repeat Allaho Akbar or some other Wazifa, in its own form or as a Darood, or even as a Fikr. This is more than self-protection. When he reaches the Zaval stage of it he will benefit even though his intentions originally were most unselfish.
Toward the One, the Perfection of Love, Harmony, and Beauty,
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 3
The Use of Psychic Power
GITHA: The use of psychic power is allowable to those who have insight into the law of nature, but without this knowledge the use of psychic power would be most harmful.
TASAWWUF: When we investigate the mediums and clairvoyants we find that they do not study, may not even think, take no direct interest in world affairs and otherwise circumvent their horizons. To a Sufi there is nothing grander than an ever enlarged horizon and outlook. The development of the faculty of insight (Kashf) is therefore impressed upon mureeds even from the beginning of their discipleship.
Insight is a heart faculty which enables one to attune to everything in nature and to penetrate the meanings of things. While in a sense it is beyond law, nevertheless there are definite ways in which it can be acquired, developed and used. In other words the psychic without insight is negative and in many ways below the average man while the psychic with insight is positive and has completed his human stage of evolution.
GITHA: By psychic power one can heal oneself and another, one can construct one’s own affairs as well as the affairs of others, one can acquire riches and position also one can destroy things.
TASAWWUF: There are several directions in which this power can be applied. Those who have the talents of the genius may direct their psychic power in artistic creations or wherever concentration is needed (and where is it not?). The study of any of the arts from the spiritual standpoint quickly clarifies this point. Many of the differences in artists’ representations of the same model or theme are due more to psychic than to physical differences. Some are quite aware of their faculties and others do not know they exist.
The application of psychic power to healing has been given more attention than to other aspects of this subject. It is also developed in the papers on Shafayat. All self healing also is effected by its application to oneself. In a higher sense it is used in meditation and contemplation, wherein it is poured back into the inner personality and sublimated.
In Sufic occultism it is also employed. And if this power and the art of concentration are used one can begin to work out one’s karma first, and then direct one’s own future. It may seem impossible. What happens is that the power definitely affects mental atoms and vibrations and changes take place in one’s inner world. Later these changes come to the surface, and though the time be long or short, eventually they manifest.
It is questioned whether this power should be used for acquisition, it may be answered that psychic power, directed with a devotional feeling, is the only method a spiritual person should use if he wishes wealth or position. He must constantly repeat “inshallah”—“if it be the will of God.” But neither should he accept poverty or his immediate situation because he might suppose that to be rich is contrary to the will of god. One should ascertain that will first, then go ahead. The faculty of insight (kashf) is most necessary here.
The use of any power for destructive purposes is most delicate. Yet in disease one may be destroying germs or combating elementals. In combating obsessions, there is a degree of destruction. Every Nasoul movement, that is to say, all associated with exhalation, are destructive in a certain sense, but only in a limited way. The Master who is called upon to protect the world from evil and danger may at times have to destroy. If he does so it is through his use of psychic power. There are many instances in Sufic records as to why and how this was done.
GITHA: The difficulty is in this question, what is really beneficial? For man’s fancies in life change at every moment, and what at one moment he thinks good and attainable, at another moment he thinks useless. At one moment he thinks a certain thing profitable, and the same thing after more reflection begins to seem disadvantageous.
TASAWWUF: The very nature of the manifest life is to change. Change appears to be inherent in things. If this were not so, there would be no breaking of the sway of nufs, and no union between man and God or between man and man. It is not wrong to change. Every advancement, every passing from grade to grade indicates that. Therefore the wise have their methods by which they test themselves. Performing Darood or Fikr they hold an idea before them. Perhaps they repeat “inshallah” also. If there is no break in the rhythm of breath they feel that the idea is a worthy one. If there is such a break they know immediately that what was in mind was not in accord with dharma.
GITHA: For instance, by psychic power a person attracts wealth, and perhaps the same may have become harmful to his children. Or one desired a position and occupied it by psychic power and situated himself in a position where there was danger to life.
TASAWWUF: One should bear in mind that every one born into the world has a certain psychic credit or balance, so to speak, in a cosmic karmic bank. Others develop it consciously or unconsciously. It is this reserve which makes a thing right “psychically” regardless of its moral tenor or psychosocial import. In a sense every person has a different right and wrong. And again, we are not to judge by the outer action and circumstances. And again, it may be that at the time the psychic power is being used for certain purposes the conditions of the world are favorable, and at other times they are adverse.
It is also noticeable that among those who use psychic power for selfish purposes there is comparatively little happiness. A man acquires wealth and power and finds himself not trusting his wife. He hires nurses and governesses for his children, believing that these are the best things for them and discovers that they do not love or respect him. His psychic power has been employed outward to the neglect of his love nature. This is always dangerous, and is the cause of so much inharmony in the world.
GITHA: One always sees this by deep study of life, that one gain causes a loss of a certain thing and one loss brings about a gain of a certain kind, and this is the necessary thing in life; there would not be a balance if it were not so.
TASAWWUF: There is a principle called compensation or reciprocity. It is almost the equivalent of karma. Karma is the law of cause and effect, indicating that for whatever we sow, thence we reap. Compensation holds that in the long run there is a balance between blessing and pain, between loss and gain. Reciprocity includes both ideas and dominates the moral sphere for all people under the sway of ego and for every action, thought or word given out or held with the thought of self before one.
In the Sufic teachings and in the aphorisms this idea is constantly held before the pupil. Many have great gains with few losses and many great losses with few gains until one might suppose that there is little justice in the universe. Yet if we examine the history of even great souls like Solomon and Akbar we find that there was a certain balance. Both of these men were master minds, great rulers, still greater geniuses so that it seemed that success followed their every undertaking. Yet they were unfortunate in their family relations and many wives did not give them many loyal sons, men who followed in their fathers’ footsteps on either the path of genius of the path of spirituality. And we can see the same thing today, when we investigate the lives of the successful. They could not assure themselves success in all things, leastwise in the preeminence of their offspring.
It is not noticed that if this were not so the universe itself would be out of balance. Large as the earth is, it is still a finite body. Great as the mind of man may be, it is still small compared with the cosmos. And if everybody could gain outwardly that would not insure happiness. While if happiness were the desire of every soul it could only be purchased at the cost of surrender of many things that delight the eye or the appetite.
GITHA: The first thing that is desirable, or that which is most desirable in life, is wisdom, the next is power.
TASAWWUF: We may say that the path of Jelal leads to power and that of Jemal to wisdom. Some Sufis have held that the saint occupied the highest position, who was more concerned with the acquisition of wisdom than with anything else. Yet this acquisition is not enough; it has to be shared. Thus among the followers of Buddha, the early schools from which the Southern or Theravadin Buddhists have descended were utterly concerned with liberation and wisdom and still are. There were others who insisted that enlightenment was to be shared and the blessings thereof bestowed upon all. In order to do this they sought power, too. No doubt some of the Northern Buddhists have been too concerned with power and have been distracted by its phenomena. But the union of wisdom and power leads to perfection.
In the outer world sight has been lost of wisdom. Power has become the aim of all. The age is called the power age. And the unbalanced power has brought the most damaging and damning destruction.
When Solomon was asked by God which blessing he desired above all else, he asked for wisdom. His early life attests to that. But afterwards he obtained power also and he became blinded by it. Therefore if there is any inclination it is safer to lean toward wisdom. Yet wisdom without action, in other words, without power, may be ineffective.
GITHA: A foolish man would not be able to make good use of his wealth, so a person with psychic power without wisdom is apt to harm himself with his own power rather than to do any good.
TASAWWUF: This is manifest everywhere. There are persons with wealth who are so attached to it that they become its slaves. There are others who exceed in generosity and give to the most unworthy without question. They attract leeches and parasites and do not see that they are harming anybody. Then, after a time, when they are in need of funds, they are without resort. Their would-be friends can not or do not help them and those with money, perceiving their former foolishness, do not like to take the risk.
The same thing is observable with psychics. There are those who are willing to demonstrate before anybody. Some pride themselves that they do their work without material compensation. They do not realize that they are actually harming others, and even harming themselves. People begin to depend upon them and when these people falter they blame the psychic. And the psychic, instead of devoting his faculties to profit, becomes confused by his own conceit.
Jesus has illustrated the principles of profit and compensation in his parables on the talents. He was not opposed to profit or gain. Rather was he opposed to lethargy and to that attitude of attributing everything to karma, to the destruction of self assertion. And what he taught may be applied completely to psychical things as to physical. If one has a talent, a genius, he should use that in the highest sense. Otherwise it is no more spiritual than the acquisition of wealth or material position.
GITHA: Every atom in this world has its peculiar charm and attraction. And mankind, so attracted by things that seem for the moment attractive, whether wealth, power, position or a friend, does not necessarily know the outcome of their attainment.
TASAWWUF: God has given us this world in order that we may create beautiful things out of it. The pursuit of beauty is natural and normal. Only it must be understood that personal possession of a thing does not prove the existence of aesthetic appreciation. This is both an inner and outer faculty and has to be expressed in both directions to become elevated.
These teachings hold that one of the weaknesses of the generality is the lack of understanding of Zaval, the outcome of any undertaking or concentration. It is the harvest period. Not only do material things have their harvest period, but all that belongs to the mental and psychic realms also. In the beginning one is under the confusion of Urouj, which brings enthusiasm and also a blinding enthusiasm. A sort of mist is created before the ends of the mind. A degree of intuition may urge a going ahead, but the right rhythm is not established. Then success comes marred by unhappiness, because the whole outlook has never been taken into view.
GITHA: Every man is as blind in his desire of attainment as a child attracted to anything beautiful, be it a toy or a knife.
TASAWWUF: In one respect this makes life hard. Lacking a goal or purpose, man wastes much time and effort. The world, the environment, the society in which he lives and the education that has been given to him offer him an outlook which may or may not be satisfying. He is often torn between heart and head. And he is pulled by a thousand forces into the stream of gratification of desire. The chief result of this is that it does not bring much joy or peace. And from a rational point of view, too often a person finds so little satisfaction in his attainment that he might have spent his efforts in some other accomplishment.
GITHA: And when man cannot attain to it, he feels as disappointed as a child that is not allowed to play with the knife.
TASAWWUF: Even though he may have been given a teaching that the kingdom of heaven is within, the whole stress of life is toward outer accomplishment. Besides this adds a certain zest. It gives an incentive, even a purpose. A spiritual person would not say that this was wrong, only that in addition to what the world offers man must come to view everything with a sort of indifference. If his affairs go right he should not exult so as to lose his balance and if they go wrong he should not become so befogged as to hinder his further efforts.
GITHA: And it is keen sight into life that makes man see what is really good for him in his life.
TASAWWUF: Therefore the cultivation of the heart faculties stand above anything else. The acquisition of psychic power, for instance, depends upon the mind, and the mind, in turn, relies upon the heart. In the instruction for all the arts, in order to avail them for the spiritual life, the lesson of heart-centering and heart-concentration is constantly repeated. It is by this means that man’s innate faculties assist him in his needs. Not only the sight of the eyes is needed, but the sight of the soul; not only the satisfaction of the outer existence is to be acquired, but inner satisfaction also. And after man develops and uses his heart’s faculties he at least can see a little way ahead and know what is advantageous and disadvantageous for himself.
GITHA: Selfish are both the wise and the foolish, only that the foolish with his selfishness meets with disappointment, while the wise with his selfishness gets the benefit.
TASAWWUF: Spiritual philosophy is not laden with “Do’s” and “Don’ts.” The wise teacher will instruct the pupil on the pathway of insight so that the pupil himself can mark his own progress. He can distinguish between impulse and impression by watching the results. Besides an impulse does not remain and an impression may stay.
If there were no purpose or duty neither could man progress in the world. We would not be much better off than the animals. A goal is set before every one. The fool is not always so conscious of his goal, or if he has an immediate objective, he becomes such an all-absorbing aim that his whole life becomes involved in it. So he does not grow. The wise man is one who has a goal and is not the servant of that goal.
GITHA: The nature of power is to cover the eyes and hide from one’s sight the true nature of the things one wishes to attain.
TASAWWUF: Movements of power carry so much before them that unless one is a master of rhythm and has acquired the faculty of insight that he is himself pulled into their stream. It is one thing to be in a boat and have oars and the ability to use the oars. It is another thing not to have oars or to be unable to control the boat because of the swiftness of the current. So in life’s battles many become selfish who do not wish to be, many lose their perspective and consideration of others. Very few, indeed, can look years ahead and work constantly toward a distant goal.
GITHA: When power leads and wisdom follows, the face of wisdom is veiled, and she stumbles, but when wisdom leads and power follows, then they arrive safely at their destination.
TASAWWUF: The truth of this has become an objective lesson. Even the teachings of the wise have not moved the hearts of men much. And those who have been fortunate enough to have a worldly teacher set the example before them have not profited as they might have. The result is that the whole world has been drawn into a maelstrom. And to arise out of it it is not so necessary to have a thousand revolutions or even one revolution. A simple lesson is needed, its practice must be verified objectively, and that is, the balancing of the power by beauty, and the leadership of both by wisdom.
The Prophet has said, “Verily with difficulty cometh ease.” A relaxed, receptive attitude, constant watchfulness over the heart, caution with regard to the rhythms of the breath and a recognition of the divine presence as a reality will help man to overcome his social and personal difficulties. It may require some time and patience but in the end it will be worth the effort and more. Ananda, the beloved disciple of Buddha, did not attain to illumination despite his years of attendance on the Master, until this lesson became his.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 5
Fancy, Action, Result
GITHA: It is necessary to have insight into the laws of nature before one makes use of psychic power.
TASAWWUF: This subject has already been discussed. By “nature” here one means both the seen worlds and the unseen worlds because the psychic power extends from one to the other. Some knowledge of physics and physiology helps. The former of these treats with forces of all kinds, their behaviour, and their effects upon bodies. The second of these sciences is concerned with the living human body. Knowledge of metaphysics is also valuable here as well as in every application of spirituality.
What is asked for, however is insight. The scientific view is not enough. Every instant brings us conditions and combinations of conditions which we may never have experienced before. Textbook reading and even skill and laboratory technique will not always avail. The intellectual attitude therefore is to be completed by mystical insight.
GITHA: To work with psychic power is like playing with fire.
TASAWWUF: This has also been discussed. One may also say it is like playing with electricity or with explosives. These forces can warm, stimulate and help to soften hardness. But they can also destroy, break and damage.
GITHA: There are three stages of action: fancy, action and result. Fancy is the infant stage. In this stage one hopes for a result and one forms a picture in his mind.
TASAWWUF: These stages correspond in a sense to Urouj, Kemal and Zaval, the stages in concentration. However they are all stages of activity, of doing, and not of thinking alone. In the Urouj stage of concentration attention is paid to preparation and to the success on the inner plane. And there is some difference between imagination and fancy. In imagination the will-power is used on the mental plane to control the wild activity of mind which has been making pictures and dreams without order, direction or plan. In fancy, too, the activity is without order, direction or plan until the motive is directed by will.
But the attitude is the same as is taught in concentration. One has to be hopeful, one has to have a plan and one must make constructive use of the imagination. Then when one’s forces are harnessed together success is in store.
GITHA: In the action he is so engrossed in the effect that action produces, that he thinks little of the result, yet he has some idea about the result.
TASAWWUF: This is the characteristic of Urouj. The average man is usually absorbed in what he wants, so much so that he is not so trained in the control of his steps toward those results. There have been many discussions as to whether the end justifies the means or the means the end. The monist does not separate ends and means.
Every thought of ours, good or bad, harmonious or inharmonious, tends to disturb things as they happen to be. Not only is the universe in a flux but we ourselves are in a flux, in a whirlpool of constant change. We help to change the world and it helps to change us. So there are constant stresses of forces running in every conceivable direction, able to help each other, interfering, opposing and working at cross purposes. This is the confusion of the world.
An example of it comes when one is in a throng, and perhaps the throng is dispersing and every one wants to go his own individual way. When there is a traffic officer some order may come quickly. But when there is not, it takes a long time before the chaos is reduced.
GITHA: But the third stage, which is the stage of result, shows its effect much clearer than ever before; and often one finds one has arrived at quite a different port from the one he has intended at the time of sailing.
TASAWWUF: In Concentration this stage is called Zaval. It has to do with the end of things, with the harvesting of crops, with the reaping of results. Even one who plants a grain of corn cannot always tell what will happen thereafter. He can do what he may, but he has not given that corn its life, nor was he the cause which makes growth possible. All things obey similar laws. Our right, as the Bhagavad Gita teaches us, is to action. The fruits of action we must leave to God.
Yet man is not a mere mechanism. He has untold possibilities. And by the strict application of Concentration both in the sphere of psychic law and elsewhere man begins to control his own affairs and those of others. The teaching of this is presented in the lessons on Occultism, in the commentaries on Murakkabah and in many of the higher studies. It may be supposed in the beginning that man’s success is a result of his selfishness. This is only part of it. The whole universe is waiting for every man to succeed. All the kingdoms are looking for the master-mind who can promote the universal evolution as well as his own.
GITHA: There is a saying “Man proposes, God disposes” which may be interpreted. Thus: there is one ray from man’s mind working toward a certain destiny, and perhaps a thousand rays, or perhaps innumerable rays, may be opposing. And how can this one ray stand against a thousand rays, unless this one ray has developed a thousand rays? Even then before innumerable rays it may fall.
TASAWWUF: The example of the dispersal of a throng has been given. This may have been a throng at a political gathering or at a football game, where there was no particular enmity before the persons. But it can be observed with more force when crowds of ladies rush toward a bargain counter, each intent in grabbing one of the few articles on sale. It illustrates what is going on constantly in the world of thought.
The cultivating of heart qualities enables man to develop the powerful ray in his own being. When this sun shines, the rays come forth and they are more penetrating than the rays of other people. In that sense spiritual power manifests through psychic power and can dominate all psychic forces.
GITHA: Therefore there are a thousand things one should consider when working with psychic power.
TASAWWUF: One has to consider all the forces involved in concentration. These are entangled with everything in one’s mind. When one has an object in life he has to pull himself together, so to speak. He has to remove every obstacle which he has set before himself. And then he has to combat millions of impulses from the minds of others. But as the application of psychic power ends in the world of action, he not only must be prepared against mental interferences, but also with psychic, emotional and physical interferences. In other words he is fighting the eternal battle against the whirlpool of Nufsaniat.
GITHA: Among them two are most necessary: one thing, which begins from strength of character and culminates in the might of God.
TASAWWUF: To assist the disciples in this respect there have been many moral teachings given and also there is the work called Character-Building and the Art of Personality. These lessons bring out the moral strength but they do more. They help to elevate the consciousness and bring out those qualities which ultimately win success in the battle of life.
Although it does not say so directly, the fulfillment of these measures comes in the pursuit of Hierarchal Law. Hierarchal Law demands. Hierarchal law is based upon strength of character and constant reliance upon the Presence and Blessing of God. It is hard to say whether a man selects the path of the Master or is chosen for it. The constant usage of “Allaho Akbar,” in word, in thought, in deed, brings to man a strength which he might not even conceive before trying. And though his physical strength be limited by his muscles, his sinews and his bones, his psychical strength is not so limited.
Why? Because the greater the accommodation he makes for the divine light within his heart, the greater are his possibilities. This light can flow through the vehicles of any person. It can illuminate the mind and bring that psychic power which can be directed intelligently in any direction. It then can be used not only to help individuals, but to help areas, to help groups and in the end, to effect the destinies of nations.
GITHA: The other is wisdom to begin with, when it has developed it is insight into things and their result.
TASAWWUF: This faculty of insight depends upon our looking beyond the range of the ego. Its laws are unfolded in the Gathas and their commentaries and in many lessons.
Here it must be observed that the one who follows Hierarchal Law really should never choose for himself whether he is to serve God as master, saint, or in any capacity. A saint without strength might be useless, and a master without wisdom would cause destruction. Therefore the preparation training for saint, master, seer and sage is the same.
GITHA: It is to swim with the tides, and that no one can see except the one who has gone through crucifixion in life and has experienced bitterness through patience and through sacrifices, renunciations, disheartenments and disappointments, and who has learnt by this the lesson of resignation and contentment with the Will of the Supreme Being.
TASAWWUF: Again it is stressed that the continuance on the Sufic path brings one to the door of Hierarchal Instruction and Hierarchal Unfoldment. Heart-aches are not necessary, but love does not unfold of itself. Even when there is a will-to-love that may not suffice. One has to change oneself, and every change is accompanied by pain of some character. One may have to give up some pleasure, or break with some friend or undergo one of a thousand tests in the daily battles of life.
According to Eliphas Levi there was fierce training on the occult or magical path, especially the tests of earth, air, fire and water. The test of fire was to go through fire, the test of water was to battle against a current in a rapid stream and the test of air was to climb a mountain during a storm. These symbolize or actualize what one faces in his struggle to the attainment of psychic power and perfection together, which prepare him for the highest accomplishments a man may attain on earth in the line of spiritual duty. After that his karma will have been achieved and he will be joining the ranks of the Holy Ones.
Resignation and contentment are only proven by experience. One has to keep before himself the eternal presence of God. This culminates in the practice of Contemplation wherein although man may appear to be practicing Concentration or Meditation, he also acts as if he were not. In the end it would appear as if God were looking upon His Own Face.
Then outwardly every sort of pain, hazard and frustration must be met with indifference. No longer is it “myself” who is struggling forward to a clear or dim goal, but God Himself Who is struggling. “My” success is therefore much more than the success of me. In a sense the whole universe is working forward with me and in me. No longer do “I” expect goodness, no longer must “I” remain from goodness, but my every action must be accompanied with wisdom and “I” am always resigned to the Will of God.
GITHA: He can see with open eyes the way the tides flow, and he swims with the tides, and his position in life is like the position of one swimming with the tide, in which he does not help himself much, it is the tides which take him in their arms.
TASAWWUF: Very often a spiritual person seems to move in the midst of failure. He cannot take one step forward with success. Yet this may be only an appearance. The average man sees before himself the material forces, and that is all. Of mental and psychic currents he is unaware. So he is unprepared for the morrow. The sage does not want to win a momentary victory which will only insure ultimate defeat. He has to look ahead constantly and yet be aware of what is going on every moment.
When Jesus Christ was on the cross he declared that if the Father willed a multitude of angels might have come to his rescue. This would have only been the rescue of his ego. It would have been his success and the sacrifice of the world. It was the opposite that he sought and achieved - the sacrifice of himself that the world might succeed.
GITHA: And imagine the position of one who is swimming against the tides, his two weak arms fighting a battle against a thousand strong arms of the sea!
TASAWWUF: This is the condition of the generality. Even where people succeed they do not find happiness. They have fought, perhaps, a successful material battle at a psychic or emotional loss.
They have measured success only by the appearances. They do not realize beforehand, or even afterwards, how much they have lost in such a battle.
Astrology has been offered as an excuse that people might have before them what amounts to a huge psychic field of forces. Yes, these forces are constantly changing, but man can orient himself with respect to them. The one who has his horoscope prepared or his fortune told, if the prognosticator has been correct, is better prepared than another person because he is aware of these psychic forces. He is one great step ahead of the man who has only the material foresight.
The sage does not stop there. He looks deeper into the worlds unseen. The knowledge of breath and the faculty of insight take him where no astrologer can go. Skill in concentration takes him still another step, that not only can he see rightly but do rightly also. And that is the habit of the master-mind.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 7
GITHA: Psychic power is like a spring of water, ample water and constantly pouring, and motive forms a channel for this water and thereby limits it to a certain extent. As by the channel formed by water, the farms are supplied and the water can become useful, so by a motive psychic power can become useful—without a motive it is useless.
TASAWWUF: Revelation XXII, 1 reads: “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.” For “water” one should read “fluid” and also “spirit,” for there is a constant outpouring as if from the throne of God (arsh in Sufic terms). The Lamb is the perfect person who directs these currents for the use of mankind, otherwise they might be wasted or useless.
John IV, 13-15 reads: “Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman said unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.”
Here Jesus Christ was speaking of the same thing. The real psychic spring is spiritual. The spiritual forces become linked with the material things through these psychic channels. When the heart currents are made available through purification and selflessness one attains to that “immortal fountain” which has been the goal of many seekers. There have been times when people sought a fountain of youth or fountain of immortality. It was this ever flowing spring of fluid within themselves that they were seeking. But the constant tendency to externalize truth has caused confusion and voided the psychic life of man.
GITHA: As many motives, so many channels, and as many times the water divided so many times the power divided. It is therefore that people with many motives have much less success, but with a single motive a sure success is achieved.
TASAWWUF: Therefore concentration is taught so that forces will be directed into a single conduit. The trouble is that many, especially those with authority, are constantly forcing others to divide their energies that they do not make much headway. And the lesser personalities, with their eye upon money or material reward, and knowing nothing of psychic law, permit it and are eager to obey.
If a person concentrate entirely upon one thing, devoting all his time and energy to it, foregoing pleasures and even necessities, the chances for his success are much greater. Today the dictators are successful because they are doing just that. They have a single motive which entirely occupies their minds. They may be selfish and immoral but they are availing themselves of this psychic power. What they fail to understand is that the ultimate source of it is in spirit and when they have overdrawn they shall pay the penalty.
In order to clarify this further we shall study some motives and see that the right use of psychic power is the thing needed to bring success in each case. For instance the preservation of youth. What is youth? Youth is that period of life in which psychic power is received faster than it is used. Then it pours through the body promoting growth, strength, enthusiasm, vitality, eagerness and those qualities associated with Urouj. Next it attacks the sex organs, and deposits energy there that is not utilized elsewhere. One who is interested in both intellectual and physical pursuits will pay less attention or be less subject to distraction. The hormones are created within the body by this psychic force which comes to man constantly through the established channels.
If one wishes to preserve youth he has to maintain a degree of egolessness which is not common among older people. He also has to maintain Urouj without letting it dominate. For as the body grows older, and the mind becomes warped, either the channels are minimized or less current flows through them. We become settled in our habits and that is the end of youth. Not that one should seek to maintain this youth, but one should understand its law.
A related subject is longevity and naturally people who desire to live long do not want to be feeble. In this case the quest of Urouj is not so important as the warding off of Zaval. If the stage of motility and utility (Kemal) could be maintained, this would be possible. But the average person suffers from fatigue and ennui, and he cannot battle forever against every kind of opposition and competition that he meets. Therefore to stand up he has to rely upon something greater than himself - in other words, upon God. The difference between Sufism and traditionalism is this: that Sufis offers a technique, the technique of increasing and using psychic power in accordance with universal law.
Another subject which suggests itself is beauty. There is no one road to beauty and there is beauty that can be poisonous and destructive. Even then it is fed from psychic sources. But if one desires that radiant beauty which of itself is independent of age, but not of life, then one has to direct the psychic currents through the proper channels. The earlier traditions were that those currents should be sent to the centers called “chakras.” Today we are not uncertain of our physiology and can nourish the glands, especially the endocrines. For that definite meditations and concentrations are necessary and these must be accorded to the seasons of the year so that a person takes advantage of both terrestrial and cosmic currents. Or here, one might draw to himself the psychic associated by astrologers with the planet Venus.
Motive not only makes possible beauty, youth and longevity but success. And success is important. There is no reason why man should constantly fail. The question before him should merely be in what he should succeed. This of itself is the central theme of the Githas on Sadhana, the Path of Attainment.
GITHA: When a person has no motive it is no fault of psychic power if nothing is accomplished. Even in a motiveless person it is possible that there may be a store of psychic power.
TASAWWUF: One may have noticed a great change in America when Franklin Roosevelt succeeded Herbert Hoover. It seems that a wave of optimism spread over the land and touched many people. Mr. Hoover cannot be called a bad man but he does not seem to have been aware of his psychic power. Mr. Roosevelt on the other hand, despite his infirmities, had an intuition about it and was religious in a different sense. And as there was the greatest need for motive, he was most successful.
It has been explained that there is a deposit of karma with psychic power available to every one. The listless person is either unaware of it or indifferent. And sometimes he assumes that time will heal all things. Yes, in a sense that is true, but not in a constructive or evolutionary sense. To make this world a better place man himself must act, for only through man can psychic power manifest in a higher form.
GITHA: When psychic power is directed in a channel it becomes like sweet water of a river, for by motive several virtues are developed.
TASAWWUF: By virtues living faculties are meant. Virtue originally meant that which is endowed with life, or value. It does not mean negative goodness. People who demand a finer moral outlook are at a loss to explain how it can be accomplished. Mostly they suggest the ways that have been tried times innumerable and failed. The true morality must have power with it. Indeed there is a sphere or “field” of moral magnetism bathing the personality, out of which all fine qualities come. But to reach the surface in their best form, they too, must flow through the same psychic channel with the other heart faculties and qualities.
GITHA: When psychic power is stored and there is no motive, perhaps it is as wide as an ocean, but it is brackish water. Without motive a person is indifferent to everything.
TASAWWUF: In the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew the parable of the talents is presented which reads in part (verses 14-18): “For the kingdom of heaven is as a man traveling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several abilities and
straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them another five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained another two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth and hid his Lord’s money.”
As has been explained, every person born into this world has a credit to his account karmically, of psychic power. He can draw upon this credit and use it as money is used, in investment, in business, in pleasure, in needs, or be wasted. Every man is in a sense free, but having acted, he must accept the further karma thereof. So in the parable Jesus says that the master thanked and blessed those that had increased their wealth, but of the other he said:
“Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.” For this is the law of psychic power. The power that remains in a place becomes stagnant. To be of value it must move. Life and power both depend upon movement.
GITHA: There are great souls in the east who are called madzub [majdhub].
TASAWWUF: The Madzub is explained in “Confessions: Autobiographical Essays of Hazrat Inayat Khan” and “The Inner Life” and the commentaries thereof. Nevertheless he has been a source of mystery to the Western peoples who are too steeped in intellectualism. The intellectual person consumes psychic power and may be aware of it, but he is so surrounded by thought that he cannot pierce its veils.
GITHA: In their fullness of spiritual perfection they naturally have no motive, for no motive seems to them worth caring for in life, and therefore, with ocean-like psychic power, they accomplish nothing.
TASAWWUF: This would seem to be a contradiction, for the Madzub may be one of those who have realized God. No, not every Madzub has reached that state, yet many of “The Arrived Ones” take on that cloak of protection. For it is true that the attitude of a little child may be a sign of his spirituality, and the cultivation of it is often most helpful to those who are struggling eagerly toward the goal.
When there is no thought, no sense of self before one, he may be consciously attached to the source of all power. But he does not draw upon it because at the instant there is motive, there is also thought and his condition changes from that of Madzub to what men call sanity.
GITHA: Those who know about their power get some benefit out of their power, but they consider it as dangerous to approach them as to play with fire.
TASAWWUF: The madzub cannot say “no,” especially when his guise is discovered. Therefore he assumes madness or idiocy. For the ignorant and selfish would come to him and make requests of all kinds. Mohammed had this great difficulty in the latter part of his life. When he won the hearts of the people they all gathered at his doors and requested blessings and spiritual favors. It was hard for him to say “no” and it was dangerous for him to say “yes.” If he granted their desires, he knew that afterwards they would reap the dangerous karma which comes to people who attain their ends without hard striving. Besides we should go to God and to Him alone for favors.
GITHA: If anybody can get them to consent to his wish it is sure to be granted, for it is just like the whole ocean making waves to grant their desire, and yet from their part there is no movement.
TASAWWUF: The great problem before all the spiritual teachers has been to interest people in God and the kingdom of God and to take away their distraction caused by the intoxications of life. All we may see of a holy man is his body. Yet that which has brought his holiness is the touch of the divine consciousness. Before this anything is possible. And as he has built a channel for the waters of life and offered them freely people come to drink. But they always want the drink that satisfies a particular desire instead of the drink that touches the soul itself. They do not know that they have a spigot for the same waters, only it has been turned off and rusted.
The consciousness of a holy man is like the surface of calm body of water. That is the condition of the surface of his heart. Keeping his mind, his breath and his body still, he draws incessantly upon the divine Baraka. His sharing thereof with others constitutes communion. For this meditation is most valuable.
GITHA: If they have said “Yes” with the “Yes” of another, they have not meant it.
TASAWWUF: People go to a spiritual teacher and ask for things. Invariably the teacher will answer “Yes” and sometimes he will bless them. If they only knew it, the “Yes” without the blessing has no meaning. The teacher has become a mirror of light and will throw back whatever is put before him. So then his “Yes” is the “Yes” of the seeker and not the true affirmative. But sometimes the holy man or the madzub will grant requests, and then a person is blessed.
During the time when the church opposed magic and psychism there arose the legend of the mascot. A mascot was a person whose very presence brought good luck to those around him. The idea was that either the Queen of the Fairies or God or Saint Mary caused the mascots to be born to fight the devil and all his mischief and evil. But they also had wishing wells, generally dedicated to Saint Mary and it was supposed that anything that was thrown into the well would reflect back upon the donor with a multitude of blessings. This institution still exists.
GITHA: The Madzub is a marvel, and in the form of the Madzub the secret of God is hidden, for if God ever walks on earth He walks in the form of the Madzub.
TASAWWUF: This may seem to involve a contradiction. It has been taught that the right use of psychic power leads one to the grade of master, saint, prophet or sage. In all these causes one is a channel for the power, which is used in accordance with the Divine Will. But then one is not necessarily the power itself. God is All Aspects of Existence and to emphasize or exclude any one means that Fullness has not been reached, or at least is not being displayed. For that reason Buddha proposed that there was Something beyond Creator, Preserver and Destroyer. These terms are mutually exclusive and cannot connote the Highest Reality.
Many people are looking for a Saviour or for Maitreya Buddha. They look everywhere and they have exact formulates by which they can tell, each one to his own satisfaction, just how the Messenger of God will appear, and when and where, and what his characteristics are. One listening to them might even declare that one has taken on the post of a divine messenger-boy. Yet there may be a truth in it, that Maitreya or the Anointed may appear when the ocean of man’s inner personality will be clear and bright and untrammeled. Then all who stand before such a one, will receive back blessings.
Indeed if a great soul uses power at all, he is liable to cause a disequilibrium. It is only by the attainment of that state called Nirvana by which one can attain to equanimity. Then through his emptiness of self he channelizes the divine waters so that they reach the earth.
It is useless to seek a Madzub, especially for a selfish end. Nor does one have to go on such a path, which again, is selfishness unless he is impelled by his own insight. But one should not criticize anybody for having such faculties, and, if he himself is wise, he may know how to go before the Madzub and draw through him upon the supreme fountain of life.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 8
GITHA: It is a most important rule of psychology that every motive that takes its root in the mind must be watered and reared until it’s flourishing, and if one neglects this duty one not only harms the motive but by this the willpower becomes less and the working of the mind becomes disordered.
TASAWWUF: If the motive does not take root it is like a weed or like a flower choked by weeds. Weeds grow in places where they are not wanted. They draw upon the substances in the soil which could be absorbed into fruits or flowers for better purposes. And the same thing goes on constantly in the mind of man. Nests of little ideas and impulses affect the photographic surface of the mind. If their impressions remain they draw upon the latent psychic power and consume it. Then there is less power in speech, thought and action. The idea of “Toward the One” holds not only in the search for God but in every aspect and department of our everyday life.
Concentration strengthens the thought by bringing it the psychic power drawn from the will. And it is also true that as the will-power is drawn into thought and used, it grows and becomes stronger itself. While the divided will, functioning in the person who is divided and distracted in a thousand ways, can never exhibit its force.
GITHA: Even if the motive be small and unimportant, a steady pursuit after its attainment trains the mind, strengthens the will, and keeps the inner mechanism in order.
TASAWWUF: The term “butterfly” is given to people who have no particular motive, who flit from place to place, from pleasure to pleasure, from desire to desire. They seldom grow strong and they may sap the strength of others. There are men who enjoy this class of women, believing that they can supply psychic power for both. There are women who enjoy living that way, finding that they are able to sap the vitality from men; not that they intentionally become parasites, but that is their way of life.
These “butterflies” are often quite good people. But lacking reserve, they are more subject to disease than others and they are often delighted, in a strange way, by the thought of disease and their own ailments. So they summon the physicians and many physicians have been successful because they have this kind of patient.
To counteract this tendency concentration is taught, wherein each talib has a motive or an ideal before himself. He can build his life around it. The ideal in itself is unimportant because after success, he must break it. But in the pursuit of it, one has to draw his forces together, look deeply into his own being and avail himself of the faculties God has given him or which he has developed by himself.
GITHA: For instance, when a person tries to unravel a knot and then he thinks, “It is no use spending time in this” he loses an opportunity of strengthening the will and attaining the object desired.
TASAWWUF: That thought has set a line of activity in the mind-world. Each breath connected with it strengthens it. That collects the psychic power around the thought. So long as the thought is held, the psychic energy collects, but if suitable action does not follow, the collection of that power is of no avail and it is wasted. This especially occurs in the lives of people who have defects in respiration, most of all in those suffering from tuberculosis. They may have a gay and optimistic mental attitude, but find it most difficult to translate thoughts into action. So their thoughts go in one direction and their actions go elsewhere. This consumes psychic power and diminishes resistance to disease.
In order to counteract this possibility the disciple in Sufism is encouraged to complete what he has in mind, even though it be a very small task or insignificant ideal. Then he is not divided in himself. Not being divided he draws the strength which may insure his success in a larger task. Thus he grows. And when he has a thought he seeks to complete that thought with action, and by maintaining the unity of feeling, thought, speech and action, power is increased.
GITHA: However small a thing may appear to be, when once it has been taken in hand one must accomplish it, not for the thing itself but for what benefit it brings.
TASAWWUF: There is a saying “Success leads to success, failure to failure.” If a mureed is unable to have a small success, then he must still seek a smaller one. There should be no failures on the path of wisdom, but there are many failures because reason dominates insight and the ego is not removed as easily as may be supposed. The lessons in concentration therefore begin on a very small scale in order to bring the disciple into the stream of success. It does not matter in the beginning whether he goes forwards or backwards. He must reach that stream of success; then he can progress with safety.
There is sometimes a tendency in teachers to distract their pupils, assuming that the task before the pupil is a small one compared with the great work to be accomplished in the spreading of the Message of God. This is a serious mistake and once it is permitted it is not easy to correct. Besides there are many pupils who are willing to follow the teacher and they may even make needless sacrifices. These sacrifices do not bring them closer to God, nor do they help the Message. For the Message is not to be spread at any such cost. For the pupil the task of the moment is all-important. He must succeed in it, with God’s help, God being willing.
GITHA: Yes, thought must be given to its importance and value in the beginning when the motive begins to take root in the mind, and one must prevent an undesirable or unimportant motive from taking root.
TASAWWUF: The practice of Fikr and Darood enables the vigilant disciple to keep out of his mind all thoughts and motives which should not take root there and concentration also enables him to handle impressions, removing those which bring dissatisfaction and concentrating upon those which will help him in life.
GITHA: But once the motive has taken root in the mind, one must try to accomplish the aim.
TASAWWUF: It is the same as placing a plant in the ground. If the plant grows it will sooner or later give forth leaves and then flowers or fruit. It will live through its cycle after which it may die. A weed, indeed, is nothing but a plant which is unwanted by the gardener because it does not fit into his designs or needs. In Ziraat this doctrine is explained symbolically as well as directly.
Now it is a mistake to hold any thought and consider that thought unworthy. We often see a peculiar sense of shame in the faces of the young who do things that their parents might not like, or that they themselves feel to be wrong - and often they are not wrong - and this division in attitude produces weakness. Therefore a fearless sinner is to be preferred to a saint who lives in fear.
GITHA: If repressed or destroyed in some way, or otherwise neglected, then it takes some other form for its accomplishment and the outcome is not the desired one, for the desired result can only be achieved by directing the motive through a certain channel.
TASAWWUF: Too often a person or group gives attention to a certain idea. They discuss it for a while, even strive to accomplish it and then abandon it. It is not to be supposed that the idea dies thereby. It remains in the mind-world and works out its intended course. It may lead a kind of dreamy existence, but it sends out its vibrations and now and again a sensitive person will pick up these vibrations. For once powerful thought is directed toward an idea, it does not die readily until it has complete its purpose in action.
The study of repressions throws much light upon human suffering. In the Sangathas the extreme democratic, position is shown to be not entirely spiritual. Too often people are willing to crush the suggestions or hopes of a sensitive but responsive person. That person picks up impressions, even spiritual intuitions. The intellectual, the worldly-minded and the selfish unite in opposing him. They do not see that they are damming back the flow of spiritual psychic force. They crush that soul who may have been bringing them blessings.
The dream-life often reveals repressed desires. The mystic can agree with Freud that dreams throw much light upon the inner personality. He may even agree that thought and desire ought to find their outlet in action. But he does not agree that every desire should be given a place in the mind or consume psychic power which has higher and better uses.
What is the way of the spiritual person? It is to select carefully those impressions, those ideals, those purposes, those motives which he finds will be of value to him. Then, even of these, to concentrate so far as possible on one. He should keep a reserve and even silence so that the psychic power will be available and not wasted. And if there is any thought placed before him which might bring pain, he will not accept it, he will refuse to make accommodation for it.
GITHA: When the motive does not receive direction it does not necessarily die away, it then takes its own path and culminates in some shape or form quite different from what one had desired.
TASAWWUF: If one plants a shrub and neglects it that shrub may not die. Its growth will depend upon its environment and circumstances. There is no human will directing it. The same thing applies to all thoughts and imaginations of man. Some find little accommodation in the universe and die. Others take root. Even a little wish of a person may take root. And it will grow and work out its intended destiny. It is like water which, instead of going through the sluice box into the irrigation ditch, makes its own stream as if in an independent matter. But once that water has been drawn from the dam, it cannot be pumped back.
GITHA: All ugliness, crookedness and defect that appears in nature and art is caused by this.
TASAWWUF: Just as there are ugly children, misshapen by lack of love or neglect or because of social disease, so there are thought-forms. Some forms even become monsters. They seem to belong to nobody, yet they can not die, at least not until they have completed a certain destiny. Even a counter-thought will not suffice, for a counter-thought is a thought on the same subject with a different attitude. Sometimes only silence in the mind, keeping it entirely free from thought will suffice.
There used to be much talk of witches. Ugly, bent, old women were especially identified as witches. They were supposed to serve or to be served by the elementals of the other world, and to gain power to obsess others. This was due to an intuition, that there is a connection between crooked habits of thought and breathing and crooked forms. Crookedness in breath occurs when the air element is not controlled and there is lack of moral stability. Then, when psychic power is also lacking, or when it is used only to feed crooked thoughts, there are actual thought-forms created that way. And the result is that those thought-forms aid in the production of corresponding material forms. The worst are what are called monstrosities, but all the strange art-forms that we see today are nothing but the successors of those concerned with witch-craft not many generations back.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 9
GITHA: Man’s greatness and smallness depends upon his motive, not necessarily upon his conditions, environments and surroundings.
TASAWWUF: Conditions, environments and surroundings constitute the part that karma plays in life. Besides this there is the factor called the will-of-man which constitutes his individuality. He is created as if an individual in order to mold his surroundings, and the reaction of these surroundings upon him help to build his personality. One can say in this that these things form the maze through which he must struggle. His motive, on the other hand, is himself, as he works along.
The motive depends upon his general evolution or heart development. If he is big the motive will be big, and if he is small the motive may be small. One can easily discover the motive of most people through their conversation. Some talk often on small things and some speak seldom and make every word count.
GITHA: No, the conditions, environments and surroundings of man are created by his motives.
TASAWWUF: At the first stages this may not appear so. The world is the same for all people and yet every one has his distinct actions and reactions. The fact is, that as he is, so do things affect him. The same things may affect a thousand people in a thousand different ways. And as one progresses he begins to realize that the universe is, in a sense, within himself and he can mold it.
The Hindus have three aspects of life or qualities which they call gunas. There is Sattva, representing life and goodness; Rajas meaning activity and passions; and Tamas, the quality associated with darkness, inertia and lethargy. Sattva may be said to represent God, Rajas the personal will and Tamas the reflex of conditions. The Sufi advises the combination of Sattva and Rajas, to the exclusion of Tamas. The exclusion of Rajas is all right for the Madzub but not for other people. The right, even the duty to action has been proclaimed by the spiritual teachers. Spiritual democracy is the result of man’s effort in the right direction.
GITHA: A man of noble motive is surely noble; a man with evil motives is certainly wicked. A man’s form, movement, expression, voice, word, atmosphere, everything speaks aloud of the motive he holds in his mind, and it is impossible to hide the motive.
TASAWWUF: Motive attests to the inner coloring and is a reflection of man as he really is. And when he holds on to the object of his heart’s desire and pursues it, it affects every aspect of his personality and of his life. The life force flows through the breath, qualified by motive, and in turn determines the external habits.
GITHA: The difference between a sane and insane person is that the sane person knows his motive, holds fast his motive, and looks forward to its fulfillment, and perseveres patiently in its path.
TASAWWUF: The teachings of Metaphysics which are presented in the Gatha studies seem so simple that some students are irked and conclude that they are not learning anything. Yet every lesson has its purpose and when all of the teachings are integrated and assimilated, one will find the way much easier as one comes into higher studies. Sufism is not a system of intellectual doctrines. It does not impose anything. It proposes a way of life from the finite to the infinite.
If one has assimilated the teachings, and especially those of Concentration, he will find that he is shaping the affairs of the world. He may be concerned principally with his own affairs. But where do the affairs of self begin and the affairs of the world end? In God’s sight there is no difference. So man’s success helps to shape, even to benefit the world. This gives still more power to the one possessing insight.
“The Purpose of Life” was written to teach people that they could regulate their affairs and bring harmony into them. There is too much of the attitude that the world being what it is, we can do nothing about it. But we can re-shape ourselves and it is this re-shaping which is all that is needed.
GITHA: Whereas the insane person is not decided about his motive, he cannot hold his motive, and, as he is undecided about his motive he does not know what he is pursuing.
TASAWWUF: Perhaps this indicates a different interpretation of “insane” than is usually meant. Many classified as such would be regarded as obsessed personalities by the mystic. The truly insane man is one whose mind is not working right because of itself or because of himself regardless of any other forces. It means the man has no clear picture before him, that he is unable to control the mind and its functions, and therefore he is constantly losing mental magnetism and psychic power to no purpose.
When children go to school they have their lessons and these lessons provide them with motives. When they grow older economic necessity makes its appearance. And too often the chief reward of merit comes in the monetary payments. Unless man already has a clear outlook he is constantly buffeted about thereafter. Yet one can read many advertisements urging people to clarify their outlooks and giving concrete suggestions as to how this may be done.
GITHA: Something he desires, and something else he does, and still something else is done.
TASAWWUF: Few claim happiness and many declare themselves either deluded or disillusioned. It is apparently easy to talk and plan. Yet one has to have strength of purpose or he will change his mind. A single or a thousand things will come before him and that is his test. Not that we should stubbornly hold on to every little idea and impulse that comes to us, but if we constantly change we do not build up a reserve.
And then it happens that having planned something and acting, the result is not the same. For instance one or several people plan a party. They take care of every detail possible and arrange their programs. Yet it does not turn out that way. Those who attend may have ideas of their own, or they do not enjoy what it was expected they would like. Or it may be that some one has another idea and that is put on instead. So it is said that the greatest joy is in the anticipation.
Another source of man’s woes comes from marriage. It is not that marriage is wrong. What happens is that people have been made to feel that there is a certain magic in it. When one fails he looks for success in another. Whatever his lack be, he expects somebody else to supply it. The wife looks to the husband and the husband looks to the wife. Yes, each gives the other something he or she has needed and thus helps. But the help does not always come in the manner anticipated and the result is seldom the same.
The weakness here comes from the ego outlook. Neither husband nor wife, neither man nor woman is to blame. It is the ego-outlook which is to be blamed. One will find perfection only in God. We have no right to demand from others, even to seek in others for that which we want. The kingdom of heaven is within each one of us.
One can try a little experiment or make a game. Blindfold some people, and then either turn them around or do not turn them around. Have them walk in the direction in which their breath guides them. One will walk in a straight line and another will take a circular or crooked path. One will go to the right, another to the left. This will reveal to the seer the psychic forces which dominate them, and to which they are subservient. Spiritual dancing is one of the ways in which such weaknesses can be overcome.
GITHA: That shows that the path of mastery is the path of attainment, which depends upon the quality of discrimination, the power of preservation, and the capability of accomplishment.
TASAWWUF: These principles are unfolded in the lessons on Sadhana. Every one is urged to have a goal and to struggle unceasingly to attain it. At the same time he is urged to discover what things are profitable, what things are worthwhile. St. Paul said: “Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” (Phil. I, 8)
Good will and morality alone do not make one master of the psychic law. Discrimination is needed, as Paul has pointed out. This has a negative and a positive aspect. The negative aspect consists of avoiding whatever is not beneficial. The positive method is the selection of the goal or ideal, and the constant effort toward its attainment, but never to forget the cosmic principles while laboring.
The power of preservation consists of continuing what one has done until it is accomplished, to harmonize all details of it while the effort is going on and to maintain outer harmony so that power will not be wasted in conflict. It also means that one should not heal or help every one that comes for assistance especially during the time of striving lest in that way valuable energy and precious time be lost. Indeed during the period of acquisition one should not dispense, and during the period of giving, one should only receive as God wills.
The line of accomplishment means actual doing. Sometimes this means ego activity and sometimes others come to our help. That does not matter so long as one continues in his concentration. It was the duty of Rassoul King Solomon to plan the temple. The master builders had charge of each department and the workers completed the details. This shows that what is to be done in life does not depend upon oneself alone but that all are linked. The group-unity or I-I or integrated-individual consists of two or more people who work as if one, sometimes many working as if one. They are limited by psychic power. The greater the authority given to anyone in such operations, the greater must be his control over psychic power, and his ability to direct it into constructive channels only.
GITHA: Motive is life, and in the absence of motive life is supportless.
TASAWWUF: This has already been explained. But it should be noted that those who contemplate suicide are often lacking in motive. Obstacles alone do not daunt man. It is when he has not a clear picture before him that he feels abased. A person with a clear motive can stand up even against the world.
GITHA: By a keen study of death one will find that most cases of death occur by the lack of motive, and again people live much longer than their mind or body could allow them to, merely by the power of motive.
TASAWWUF: The negative side, that of suicide has been presented. Yet if we were to succeed in wringing confessions, especially from the young, we would learn that many times as many plan or ponder over suicide than actually attempt it. And there is no question but that the affairs of the world are exceedingly hard upon sensitive people.
On the other hand we find men like John D. Rockefeller and Henry Ford whose bodies are hardly examples of manly vigor, who live for a long time, and that chiefly because of motive. Whatever may be said in criticism of these persons, there is no doubt that they seldom attempted anything without a motive. In that way they preserved their psychic power. Then the vital force did not run out; its channel outwardly remained and so they remained.
In A Search in Secret Egypt Paul Brunton discusses the methods used by adepts who may preserve their bodies for centuries. The first thing to be noted is that they have a strong cosmic motive. There is nothing personal or selfish in it. They have already learned to master the breath in all its aspects. Then they can draw incessantly upon the etheric fluid. This, incidentally, is the way in which the Hindu Yogis suspend animation. The methods are analogous and in some respects identical.
GITHA: Motive is not life-giving but power-giving, for all power and influence belong to motive.
TASAWWUF: Motive is not the source of life; life is the source of motive. The one who has made the greater capacity for life will have the grander motive. If that were not so, the moral or psychological outlook would be beyond the spiritual outlook. Spirituality is the highest of all and all things are derived from it. But given a great life, and adding a wide horizon, the motive is sure to be big.
Life, to manifest, has to have channels as well as vehicles. Form, or prakriti, furnishes the body. Personality, or urusha, supplies the vital energy. The channels thus being established, the vital force sends out its currents which increase psychic power according to the motive. The motive is what holds these currents in one direction, giving them a set purpose.
GITHA: As large as is motive so large a means it requires, and as Providence supplies food to every life according to its demand, so the means are provided for every motive.
TASAWWUF: This is little understood. One opinion is that if a thing is right and God has sanctioned it, one should work incessantly for it, for it will be achieved. The difficulty with this point of view is the assurance that God has really given Divine Approval. It is not an easy thing to demonstrate. By that means very often the best and most sincere people have brought misery to others and failure to themselves. Therefore the Sufi urges the cultivation of insight.
It may be correct for a person to hold a concentration which requires the cooperation or assistance of others to perform. This is the concentration of the executive. It is not the same as that of the simple man. The best example is that which was held by King Solomon and which is explained in literature and lessons. The Healing Service demands a group working as a unit. Indeed as Jesus Christ said, “I am the vine and ye are the branches thereof,” so it should be seen that one life flows through us all. When an individual makes of himself the channel for this life, by a sort of sympathy he gains a right of leadership.
The master-mind will therefore think as if for others and plan as if for others. But it is also possible for a group to unite and meditate or concentrate for a common objective. Either of these means helps to integrate plans and ideas which otherwise might have conflicted. In this way is harmony attained.
GITHA: Of course, there are right motives and wrong motives, and there are motives that are beneficial and unbeneficial. There are motives which are our friends and motives which are our enemies.
TASAWWUF: First the motive has to be established. We do not have to decide what is morally right or wrong or beneficial or otherwise. By the performance of Fikr one can determine his own dharma. And if he does that faithfully he will not have to worry over either the objective or the outcome. The motive that is held in view together with contemplation is sure to be justified and profitable in the end.
GITHA: Therefore, in studying motive according to the psychological point of view one should remember that in its practice the moral law must be considered first.
TASAWWUF: By moral law one means especially that of renunciation. The moral law of reciprocity is for all. There is no assurance of lasting gain if one works in that field. Gain and loss ultimately balance one another, so there is no particular advantage.
In following beneficence personal gain may have to be sacrificed. Yet the wisest thing is to work for a gain and then help others afterwards. Here one must observe the difference between that doing good which is nothing but vanity, and that doing good which is beneficial. Vanity demands of us and it does not stop to consider whether other people want our help, need our help, or would accept our help with thankfulness. Morality says that we must become strong and then we can help others without being pulled down.
Now under renunciation there is no ultimate failure. One may seem to be without things, one may constantly be making willing sacrifices, yet if he denies loss to himself, then there is no loss.
the Only Being, United with All the Illuminated Souls
Who Form the Embodiment of the Master, the Spirit of Guidance.
Githa with Commentary Series III: Number 10
Progress Backward or Forward
GITHA: Man is progressive; so is a nation or a race or the world. But he progresses either forward or backward, and often man progresses forward and backward both, and this may be understood by studying the motive.
TASAWWUF: The nature of life is movement. When man falls into lethargy of the spell of tamas he goes backward. He can not help it. And we can trace this reaction in peoples in every part of the world, for there is hardly a race or nation which at some time or other has not been highly civilized in some sense. It has not always been a mechanical or scientific culture, but wisdom has manifested none the less.
The evolutionary doctrine suggests or supposes that the race is mounting ever higher rungs on a ladder as if impelled by an unseen destiny. Science would not go so far as to declare that mankind has an ultimate purpose but it cannot disprove that. Nevertheless the examination of history shows constant rises and falls and every rise is not necessarily higher than the previous one. And if so in mechanics, then not necessarily in morals, and if in morals, then assuredly not in art. In fact it is difficult if not impossible to say with any finality when the highest aesthetic progress was achieved.
One sign of progress is the recognition that there has not always been progress. It would seem as if God Himself were the original Scientist. In every aspect of life He manifests anew. And different ages have been known by different names. Although they follow one another in time, there are periods which have such thought-patterns that they receive names like Renaissance, Tokugawa period, Tang Dynasty, Moghul Empire. Each of these means something in art, in culture, in statecraft and life of the people.
Our progress today has been forward in mechanics and science. In morals we seem to go in both directions at once. There are more and more individuals, and even more and more leaders who have attached themselves to the broadest views, or been educated thereto, or recognize that wisdom and broadness go together. And yet there are others who have declared that the end justifies the means to the degree that even the end is lost and any means are justified and an end is assumed in order to justify means. Then man sinks into animalism and diabolism, and cries out it is to make a better world. But it cannot be a better world that is coming thus. If a better world is to come it will be under the opposite leadership, under the guidance of those with the broadest and most tolerant views.
GITHA: A man who thinks, “I must rise to the position of prime-minister of the state,” and who works for it, and when somebody says, “If you give up your perseverance in that direction it would be possible for you to have some decent post,” ceases his activity in that direction and turns his activities to the other - as soon as he has done so has progressed backward.
TASAWWUF: This is working contrary to the law of psychic power. A man who determined to climb a mountain and bought all the equipment, clothes and transportation to go to the place and had completed all the necessary preparations would be regarded as a fool if, then, he suddenly took an ocean voyage on somebody’s invitation. He would be regarded as unreliable. Yet there are those who do the same thing psychically. They are simply called “opportunists” and perhaps no more thought is given to them.
What happens then to the thoughts that they have been holding? What of the efforts they have put out? No, they are not lost. They can even become destructive, or obsessing. That is what is meant by progressing backward. Whenever a person stands in his own light, says one thing and does something else, thinks one thing and does something else he goes backward. He draws upon his psychic reserve and wastes it. Thus he wastes his vital force and becomes subject to age and disease. All the apologies in the world will not clear him in the court that controls the psychic research. He is working opposite to the laws of life.
The question may be put, is it best then to concentrate or merely let life take its course without putting too much thought on the morrow. Putting thought on the morrow means that one is fixing the time for duty. The work of a master is to concentrate his efforts about a thought held with feeling, but not to determine the time at all. Man should work, man should think. It would be a foolish farmer who, when sowing a crop, was more concerned with the day of harvest than with the quantity and quality of his returns. He would never be successful.
Many a person who has sought a high goal has been bribed, so to speak, to accept something else. Others have been most stubborn. It is not wrong to be stubborn, only one should be careful about the harmonies he establishes with others, and most of all with himself. The person who constantly changes his plans or permits himself to be led astray by others is not in harmony with himself. Unless there is this self-harmony there can be no power. No genius was ever acclaimed who did not centre all his efforts upon his work. If we study the lives of the great musicians and painters we can find many examples of it. Concentration in itself is more valuable than anything at all. The master of it can attain what he wishes or needs more rapidly than others.
GITHA: Therefore the best thing is to look forward and proceed on from a motive to a greater motive, and so, conquering the affairs of life, to arrive at the destined goal.
TASAWWUF: The companion lessons in Sadhana and Murakkabah are based upon such principles. Sometimes it is wise for the mureed to assume a sort of spiritual childhood and go back to a small beginning. Then he may make his progress step by step. In that way there is small chance for “backward progress.” Besides, once getting into the stream of moving onward, he will enjoy it and be able to understand what he is doing. This progress takes him on through all stages from the seen to the unseen.
GITHA: It is foolish to have an unwise motive.
TASAWWUF: That is why in Sufism the disciple has recourse to the teacher. The teacher does not detail his life for him or give exact advice. This would prevent the mureed from growing. And if there is no teacher one can always hold a motive up before the inner eye and test it with Fikr. If it is wise, it will remain in the consciousness and even grow stronger. If it is unwise, it will not stay. But even for that a teacher is needed to instruct the pupil in the various types and grades of Fikr. Otherwise while there may be outward growth and success the pupil himself will not become greater.
GITHA: And it is more foolish to waver after having determined on a motive, and it is weak not to proceed with the motive for lack of means or talent.
TASAWWUF: This, as has been explained, leads to psychic loss and to waste of energy in every sense. One grows through his ability to handle his own affairs and to meet the obstacles of life. One who is constantly buffeted and thrown about by the wind will neither gain strength nor progress at all. While no doubt harmony is an essential, it means not to throw others over, and to be careful in one’s dealings with them. But at the same time one has to protect oneself and not permit others to deter him from his task.
GITHA: Since means or talent are no doubt as wings to the bird, but they are man’s natural inheritance, and it is the power of motive and the eagerness to carry it on which will produce in man talent and will create the means.
TASAWWUF: We must bear in mind that there are two aspects of personality, that which man seems to have brought over by himself from the unseen, and that which he receives from his family, environment and ancestry. There is also the time of meeting to consider, for that affects the future by supplying a “psychic field” through which he must work. It is this “field” which is studied by astrologers, but they, with all their skill, cannot fathom a man’s evolution, nor determine the course of his will.
The power of will is the means that man has to further his position in life and he is a numbskull or fool who depends upon conditions. For if conditions elevate, they can also throw down. By keeping a motive and holding on to it as one would hold on to a refuge during a storm, man begins to become master of life.
GITHA: If the optimistic is laughable the pessimistic is pitiable. The world may laugh at the hopeful, and yet he alone has the chance of gain.
TASAWWUF: The optimistic person, while to be commended for his attitude, is often prone to close his eyes to the conditions and thus stumble where there was no need for it. The pessimist will be so aware of conditions that they cause him to pause constantly. So he does not move ahead even when there is the opportunity. He does not measure his strength nor try to improve it. The hopeful person may seem a fool to the world because he struggles onward despite conditions. After a while little things will not bother him.
GITHA: But the one whose lack of hope deprived him of holding fast to his motive is lost in the mist.
TASAWWUF: The value of hope is impressed upon the members of the Elementary Study circle in the papers on Metaphysics. When they receive the instruction intellectually it benefits them little if at all. Then they do not become hopeful. It is this attitude which enables man to withstand the ravishes of time. It is this faculty which gives rein to the will. It is this that keeps one from faltering or drawing back. Thus hope is needed if progress to continue.
GITHA: Life is a struggle of gain and loss, and gain is always on the side of the one who even in his loss yet holds hope, and he has not lost who has the slightest degree of hope, and there may be every means on the side of man, and without hope he will never accomplish.
TASAWWUF: Life must be considered from its broadest view. It extends beyond all things, all accomplishments, all possessions, all positions and fame. Yet it may include them for even these things depend upon life. Without the life they cannot be sustained. And what is the value of an accomplishment? If the fame, position or power is the goal, then when one leaves this world, he leaves them behind. Jesus Christ said to lay up treasures in heaven. This does not mean to live a life of poverty. It means not to overlook God in everything one does.
The great Sufi saint, Abu Sa’id abi-l-Khair, sued to instruct his disciples in the ways of worldly success. He said that they should go into the market place, conduct their business, work, and act in all things like everybody else, but never forget the presence of God for one moment. This is the secret of the heavenly treasure. We do not have to be failures, we do not have to be weaklings, but we can succeed through and in our reliance upon God. The way in which this is done constitutes the nexus of the eternal life even now.