“Living as a dry leaf taken by the wind of the divine inspiration which takes it anywhere it wants” Maulana Sheikh Nazim Al Haqqani
Sultan Valad from The Skills of Soul Rapture :
- Die Before You Die
“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth.” (Qoran 24-35)
God, the Most High, declares: “I am the Light of the heavens and the earth. If you see darkness, light, life or beauty in the heavens or on the earth, consider them all coming from Me. In reality, everything with goodness is Myself. Since you do not have direct vision of My Beauty or Goodness without intermediary or association, I show it to you by means of forms and veils. Since your Incomparable Soul is intermixed with form, and that which is adulterated cannot see that which is pure. My Virtue is adulterated to enable you to see It. Existence is like a being whose head is the heavens and whose feet are upon the earth.”
The human form lives due to the soul. The head, like the heavens and the senses, like the stars as the eyes, the ears, and tongue, are all alive, see, hear, speak, and smell, due to the soul. The vision, clarity, life, the faculty of the eyes to see, and the other senses of perception all stem from the essence. We perceive the essence by the intermediary of that ensemble of senses. When the soul leaves the body, the virtue, beauty, and luminance do not remain. Therefore, it is clear that all things exist by virtue of the soul that appears through the form.
In the same way, the body of the universe; the heavens, the earth, the stars, the sun, the moon, the freshness of the earth from people, animals, birds, inanimate objects, plants, trees, and fruits, is composed of the Light of God. Life and the rise of all things come from the Light of God. In the same way, the light of the body – from the forehead, the face, the eyes, the eyebrows, the lips, the mouth, and the seven members (the seven parts of the body that touch the ground during the ritual prayer: forehead, hands, knees, feet)- comes from the soul.
In this way, when the soul says; “I, Who am the soul, am the light of the body, its head and its feet.” This means that freshness and life come from the soul. When the essence separates from the body, the body becomes ill and is destroyed; the stars of the heaven of the head, which are the senses: that is, the eyes, the ears, the lips and the nose, all become idle, lightless, fall apart, and cease to exist. In like manner, the other members, like the forearm, arm, thighs, knees, feet, hands, veins, tendons, joints and the body articulations are pulled apart and crumple into pieces. This is similar to the Day of Resurrection and Judgment in relation to the entire Universe.
The Light of God is the Soul of the Universe. This means that, like the Day of Resurrection, the heavens and the earth will crumple when God separates His Light, and the Universe will be without Essence. Humans, who are the parts and fruits of the Universe, die at the age of seventy or eighty years. The Universe has a longer life – just as the fruit of a tree falls each year and does not survive, but the trees in the garden survive for many years.
The end of the Universe will be the Day of Resurrection. The heavens, which are the head of the Universe, will be torn to pieces and split – “When the sky is rent asunder.” Qoran 84-1) – and the bright sun will darken, the stars will fall, the mountains will be severed, wild animals will be assembled, and the seas will boil until they become fire. ( Qoran 81 1-6).
Regarding the transience of existence – despite those, who in their blindness and denial, believe that the world is eternal and will always remain – the sky will rend, the stars will fall, the seas will overflow, washing out the mountains and turning them upside down. God says; “When the earth is shaken to its utmost convulsion.” This means that the earth will be shaken and throw up her burden from within, that is, the treasures and the dead. The mountains will be carded out like wool, and God will transform this earth and this sky into another earth and another sky. “One day, the Earth will be changed to a different Earth, and so will be the Heavens, and men will be marshaled forth, before God, the One, the Irresistible.” (Qoran 14-49).
These verses describe the death of the Being of the Universe. When the microcosm of the Being of the Universe – that is man – becomes lifeless, the sky of his head shatters and splits into pieces, and the earth of his feet is torn into bits and destroyed. The macrocosm – the Being of the Universe – which is the whole, is like a tree. Its death is similar to the death of its parts and its fruits. There will remain no sky, no earth, no sun, no moon, no seas, and no mountains: everything will be dislocated, separated, and dispersed. After death, in the body of the human being, his eyes will go to one corner, his ears to another; his nose to one location, his mouth to another location; and the rest of the parts – from bones, to veins and tendons – all become separated and turn to dust. Some of the dust turns into a pitcher, some into a bowl, some into bricks, and some into lumps of clay. They asked these separate parts, “Why do you become separated, since you were previously together as one object?” They answered, “We can not deny that the soul collected us together. We were originally separated and widely dispersed. The soul unified us and, because of the soul, we became one. Based on our initial condition, we again became separated and dispersed when the soul fled.” In the same way, the parts of the Universe that appear to be one, such as the sky, the earth, and the mountains, were originally small pieces that were scattered.
They were merged into one by the Order of God, but when they became separated from that Light – their Essence – they shattered into pieces and became scattered. Similar to the human body, all Existence that has appeared and become manifest, perceptible, or created, turns to nothing and is destroyed. Note that the meaning of “Everything will perish, except His own Face” and “God is the Light of the heavens and the earth” (Qoran 28-89 was described above.
“The parable of His Light is as if there were a niche.”
A niche is like a window in ancient days where lanterns were hung. “…within it a lamp” means that there is a light in that lantern. “The Lamp enclosed in Glass: the Glass as it were a brilliant star” means that from that lantern shines a light, like a luminous shining star. The lantern of Existence is the Friend of God, his heart is the pure Oil – the fodder for the Light of God. That heart is absorbed into God in the same way that the candle will be absorbed into the flame and become its nutriment. So, there is a homogeneity and a Secret Unity between the Oil and the Light, because the Oil is merged with the Light, even though its own light does not display outward or inward manifestations.
Likewise, meadows, gardens, prairies, running streams, the song of birds, and the melodies of musicians are all similar to the Being of the Universe. Since the Being of the Universe receives assistance and power from this group and prides Himself, then it must be from His Quality. Everything that is not assisting or developing the individual is not from the same Quality and, in fact, is against him. He does not gain benefit or strength from it, even though it is like him in appearance, and seems to be from the same material. Water receives aid from water, and fire from fire. Whatever increases the fire is of the same quality and similar to fire even though it is not apparent. For example, firewood does not appear to be similar to fire, but because it increases the fire and gives it strength, we must know that it is of the same nature.
In the same way that charity is mercy; illumination and obedience for the people is of the same quality as the slaying of the impious. Even though the torment of the despot seems to be opposite and not of the same quality, because both actions are deserving of reward, mercy, and illumination; and both increase the illumination and purity of the person in relation to God, they are similar in quality. Many times things appear to be similar and of the same nature, but are opposite because they do not aid each other and they do not grow and increase from the quality of the other. So, everything agreeable to the inner quality of something, which causes its strength to increase and grow is similar and of the same quality as that thing.
Everything will be annihilated and destroyed: the pure and gentle souls, the heavens, the earth, the Empyrean, the celestial Throne, the Tablet, the Pen, etc… But the death of the believer, even though in appearance it is death and annihilation, is not called death. The good that existed in him appears destroyed and obliterated, but has multiplied a thousand fold. This is not death – death is when one dies. When the body does not die – then one does not become a thousand. It is like a grain of wheat or a fruit pit buried in the ground. This grain breaks out in the earth. It is destroyed, rots, and is annihilated. But when the trumpet of Spring sounds, the annihilated one resurrects with a hundred thousand times more goodness than before. So in truth, this seed was not dead.
What grain buried in the earth has not sprung out?
Why do you doubt the seed of humanity?
Real death is that of a bitter seed or a sharp thorn – constantly crying out: “May I have not existed and may I have not come into this world.” When it dies and is annihilated, ugliness multiplies a thousand times more. This kind of dying is called death. Perhaps, this state is even worse than death because there are many men, who in the course of torture or pain, desire death.
Similarly, when the unbeliever sees his own hideousness, he cries out: “I wish I was once again dust and had never come into being.” They beg God with all their existence for their own death and annihilation. God does not grant their plea. It is like the fire burning their skin and flesh and God renews their skin and flesh each time to be burned again. Since death is better than this state, it is not untrue to call this state death. It is not even the hundredth portion of the Truth. The death of the evildoer and the vicious is truly death. Because on the Day of Resurrection, their evil acts become one thousand fold.
As for the death of the believers, the men of good, and the Saints, their death is not death but life. Do not suppose that those who lived for God, sacrificed themselves, and were killed are dead. They are alive in the presence of their Creator. In that state of “not being”, God provides sustenance and they are content with that provision. Truly, they have known that the wheat of their existence will not eventually become barley or millet grain. It becomes wheat again and is multiplied a hundredfold. In the state of dying, the believer – similar to the sweet grain of wheat – is saying in the language of ecstasy;
If I die, do not say that I am dead
Say, he was dead but became alive
and carried away by the Friend
The interpretations and comments given here are in conformity with the sayings and beliefs of someone who says: “All things perish, except His Face.” The verse demands and means that everyone dies; the believers, the angels and the pure men. Nothing remains but God alone. They have depended on this ordinance, and we have corroborated that such a death, even though it is death and non-existence, is life itself. We reproach those who do not plant the wheat grain saying: “Why not resuscitate the grains in order that what exists may become a hundred or a thousand times greater; and why not plant these grains in the earth instead of keeping them in the house?”
Because in so doing, you are doing an injustice to the wheat and to yourself. Therefore, we understand that such death is life itself .
- The Caliph of God
“God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. The parable of His Light is as if there were a Niche, and within it a Lamp: the Lamp enclosed in Glass; the Glass as it were a brilliant Star lit from a blessed Tree; an Olive Tree neither of the East nor of the West, whose Oil is well-nigh luminous, though fire has scarcely touched it. Light upon Light! God doth guide whom He Wills to His Light. God doth set forth parables for men: and God knows all things.”
This means that God is the Light of the heavens and the earth. It is like a lamp, arching in the direction toward the Source. In the corner of the wall there is a brightness in that Niche, a glass lantern, which seems like a shining, blazing star – kindled from an Olive Tree – which is neither from the East nor the West. The Oil of this lantern, like a Flame, gives Light.
This Niche is the being of the Saint. The Oil is his pure heart. God, the Most High, resides in this heart and is connected to it.
“I am not contained in the heavens or the earth, but in the heart of My faithful servant.” The Being of the Universe is luminous and living from the image of the Light of that lantern. Not even a portion of this Light is tangible, but it is intelligible. Incomparable and unparalleled, it shines in the souls and intelligences. From the souls and intelligences it shines upon the animals. And from the animals, it shines upon the vegetal substances that grow and increase. From the vegetal substances it shines upon the minerals in order to cool or heat them. These radiant emanations are the result of the image of that Light. Thus, real life belongs to the Saint who is sustained by God – the Caliph of God in the heavens and on the earth. The rest of the creatures are alive because of the image of his Light. For them life is transient, like the heat and reddish glow of an iron – the transient representation of fire in the iron. But when the iron is separated from the fire, the heat and red color disappear. On the other hand, the fire has the heat and reddish color of itself – these two attributes are not borrowed, but are the true essence of the fire.
The Qutub (the Pole) turns around himself, that is, he does not receive help from anyone. All others revolve around him, receiving his help and benefit according to their capacity. Likewise, the Sun in the fourth heaven spreads its rays first over the fourth sphere, then over the third, then over the second, until it reaches the sphere above the earth, and finally the earth. Now the Qutub – who is the sun, the souls and intelligences – shines first upon the first rank, those who are close by; then reaches the other degrees, rank by rank, station by station. Like the heavens and the earth, each with seven levels, the luminous veils are similar to the seven levels of the heavens, and the veils of darkness are similar to the seven levels of the earth. Except that the heavenly veils are spiritual – like the nature of angels, believers, and Saints – and the earthly veils of darkness are similar to demons, peri and devils. All receive help from Him according to their nature.
The essence of the Qutub is the Light of the heavens and the earth. In the same way that any light on the wall comes from the Light of that Lantern. Narrow minded people suppose that the light comes from the being of the wall. But those who are aware understand that the Light comes from the Lantern. We can know and see the image of life in the body of man from his radiance. Although, without the body, we cannot see it – it has no sign and is unparalleled. Thus, the body was created to manifest the soul.
If someone asks: “What is life?” We answer; “O, blind ignorant! How can you ask? Can a dead body without life ask such a question? Can a body without life walk, or grab with the hand, or see with his eyes, or hear with his ears, or talk with the tongue?” Life is not a wall that we cannot touch. Life is a reality that animates and bestows movement upon whatever it touches. The body of all things are worthy of life. The discerning of the musk and the rose is an act of the nose; the discerning of the bass and treble is an act of the ear; the discerning of the bitter or sweet is an act of the mouth and palate. You will never see the face of a man with your ears; you will never hear a voice with your eyes. To discern the plum is to know that it purges the intestines; to discern almond oil is to know that it removes dryness of the body; to discern wine is to know that it brings drunkenness. The form of the spice is its quality, but only to the extent of the quality of the seeker. Seek them, become a wise customer and buy them for the highest price. We cannot see their properties with the eyes, but we can see them with the eye of understanding. Similarly, we cannot see the meanings of the Koran with our eyes. We only see them with the eye of understanding and intuition.
Life, when it is in you, is something that makes you living. And with that life you produce a hundred thousand activities: walking, grabbing, speaking, hearing, rest and sufferance. And when life leaves you, these activities no longer come from you. You become like a solid or a lump of earth. So, you donkey! – even though you discern the soul – how could you ask, “What is life?” In the end, seeing the profound sense consciously becomes more evident and is more powerful than to see it tangibly.
For example, you see the body of a person with the sense of sight. When you close your eyes, you do not see him. Or when you hear the words of someone, if you stop your ears, you do not hear him any longer. However, when inwardly there is a pain or a joy, you tell people; “At this moment I am happy,” or “I am sad.” When you close or open your eyes or ears, that joy or sadness does not disappear, vanish or withdraw.
Therefore it is certain that what is felt consciously, is more apparent than perceptible things. The joys and pains that sometime grow and sometime wane – like wrath, patience, generosity, greed, bravery, concupiscence, desire, love – can all be seen. Then you say: “I am at this moment in such or such a state.” While life is with you night and day, how can you ask what it is? It is surprising that no one has told you: “What a strange donkey and cow you are!”
Your body is the place for the manifestation of Life. Life is in each part of your being from head to toe – in the health of your body, the movement of your limbs, the glow of your face and your eyes. The stars of the senses that are in the head – like hearing, sight, smell, taste, feeling – become incapacitated and corrupt when the soul departs. The strength of the legs, feet, fingers and their movements – which are the earth to the sky of your head – disappear and are ruined. The foundations and ligaments of ankle, knee, and fingers become open and separate from each other.
The bodies of the sky and the earth are also alive with Life, so that when that Life leaves, the freshness, the glow, and the beauty disappear in them both. That is why the sky shatters, the stars fall, and the sun and moon die out.
The Caliph of God – who is the Qutub – makes men, the heavens and the earth, luminous and alive by the reflection of the radiance of his Heart. The Oil of this Lantern, which is his life and heart before becoming the Qutub and reaching Perfection, is brilliant and radiant. The expression “Light upon Light” refers to the moment when the light of the lover is united with the Light of the Beloved, when the part unites with the whole, and the drop returns to the Ocean. If he himself was not part of this Light, he could not unite with it. All the movements of the parts are directed toward the whole. Only Light can combine with Light.
Only God can see God,
how can a stranger be contained in Him?
In the Ocean of Unity, a stranger is nothing but an outsider.
If poverty(Faqr) reaches perfection, it is close to God.
Since the Sheikh has said: “I am the Truth” and has reached his Goal, He has won over all his blinded enemies.
When the existence of the Servant
has been negated of the Presence,
O, stubborn one! Consider – what can be left?
If you have eyes, open them and see.
After negation, what will remain?
Before reaching union, the soul, which is a particular light, was separated from the Light of God, but it drew its radiance from that Light. Now that the Light has reached its Perfection and is united with its Origin, the glow increases and arrives at its apogee, becoming the Pole of the age. “God doth guide whom He will to His Light.” (Qoran 24-35).
This means that He does not guide or conduct any and sundry toward the Pole, but only the Elect and the Beloved, who come from the same origin. From wretchedness, God originally created those who have not received any trickle of this Light, and their existence has been subjected to darkness and bewilderment. There is no possibility for them to reach the Pole.
Those who have been attracted to God from the Day of Covenant, Are forever drunken with God.
“Blissful is he who is blissful
from the womb of his mother;
miserable is he who is miserable
from the womb of his mother.”
The organ that we call the heart does not consist of pieces of flesh and drops of blood. Such a heart exists in all animals. The cow, the donkey, the mule and the sheep all have a heart, lungs and liver. The Unparalleled Light that manifests and passes through a drop of blood is what we mean by the heart. Such Light is Infinite and Unlimited. It is like the light of the eye, which has nothing to do with the whiteness or blackness of the organ itself, but with the visions that pass through the form of the eye. Likewise, hearing is more than the ear and the bone. They are merely the form through which the hearing passes. The senses are similar to channels that pass water. Even though the five senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch – are different, they are only alive and functioning due to Life, which passes through the five channels of the senses.
This is similar to the situation where one lights a candle or a lamp in a house and hangs mirrors – right and left, front and back – on the walls of the house. Outside the house, the mirrors show brightness from the light of the candle in all directions. Even though the mirrors are many, the light comes from a single candle. The difference is that inside the tangible and inanimate room, one observes that each mirror reflects the same candle as the others. This is in opposition to the mirror of the senses belonging to the animated room of the human body. The light that reaches them produces, in each, a different effect and manifests another aspect. The light that reaches the form of the eye gives sight; in the form of the ear bestows hearing; in the form of the mouth gives taste; in the form of the hands, bestows touch to discern the difference between the soft and the coarse. In each form, it operates a different action so that when that Light arrives, each one performs an action that the others cannot.
The same applies to Spring and its warmth. When Spring reaches the walnut tree it gives walnuts; when it reaches the palm tree it gives dates; when it touches the apple tree it gives apples; and thus ad infinitum.
The Spring season is only one thing, but produces a specific effect and appearance for each tree that is different from the others.
The same is for the trees of the senses. The spring-like Life, which is one reality and one Light, produces an action and an effect specific to each sense. When this Light reaches different senses, each one manifests another operation, another property, and another action. When this Light reaches countless numbers of men, from Byzantium, Zanzibar or Turkey, it produces a different action and effect and triggers a different activity or work for each one. This Light makes one a tyrant, another just, another evil, another generous, and another greedy.
A single particle of Light places all these multiple operations into effect. Those who perceive that this diversity comes from a Unique Light are able to recognize the Oneness of God. For them there is no duality. They say, “For us, all these things are one.” These various images and forms allow them to reach this Unique Light, which is their ultimate goal. It is as if you were looking for a certain person; first a Turk and then an Arab shows you the person that you were looking for. In this case, the Turk and the Arab are aspects of one for you, because they have served one purpose and have guided you toward your goal.
Impiety and faith, both searching in His Way,
Saying, “He is Unique, He has no associate.”
The above verse reflects the spiritual state of such a person. For example, a painter can create a portrait of a beautiful face, but is incapable of drawing the image of an ugly one. Another painter – who can paint both images – is certainly a greater artist. Even if the image portrays an ugly face, it demonstrates the perfection of the artist. Those who investigate this painter through his work will see the perfection of his art. Beauty and ugliness are both present in the art as manifestations of the painter. Again, in reality, all is but one.
If you are good,
do not regard the ugly with contempt,
Because on this road,
the fly plays the same role as the peacock.
The peacock is an object where the perfection of Divine Work is manifested, but the fly is also a manifestation of this Perfection. In this respect, both are similar, expressing and performing the same action.
As for those who are not aware of the existence of the painter and do not seek to know him, they have limited themselves to the form and they worship the form. From their perspective the ugly form and the beautiful form cannot be the same. How could bitter and sweet be the same? It is beyond their capacity to perceive the “taste” and speak of the world of Unity. They are a multiplicity in themselves. By neglecting Divine Unity they have become prisoners of multiplicity. If they pretend that ugliness and beauty, bitter and sweet, are but one – they lie – and only repeat what they have heard, attributing words that are not their own to themselves.
Such a person is like a soulless painting – a lantern without light. No one benefits from their words. He who seeks the One above all owns the right to speak. The more images he sees, the more he advances towards Oneness. From all things, his goal is Him and not the things themselves.
You are like the Intelligence
whose Magnificence comes from a hundred arts.
If you look carefully, all is but one, not a hundred.
The Ocean is one, but its waves are many.
If you surpass multiplicity, you will see the Ocean in the wave.
A friend, who is close to you, performs a thousand different actions, sometimes peaceful, sometimes rancorous, sometimes greedy, sometimes generous, sometimes ruinous, sometimes prosperous, sometimes brave, sometimes fearful, sometimes insolent, sometimes polite, sometimes joyful, sometimes tearful, sometimes silent, and sometimes distracting. The same essence that you love is in all these manifestations and you acquire knowledge of this essence. Thus, the more multiple actions you see from him, the less they effect his uniqueness and you like him even more.
Likewise, you must know that God manifests Himself in so many powers, marvels and works. He manifests Himself as the rotation of the heavens and the earth, as lands and oceans, as different seasons, as different creatures, as people, birds, fish, and so on ad infinitum. These manifestations are there for you to know His Uniqueness and to love only Him. In every moment, in His Magnificence, His Power, His Benevolence, and His Perfection, you may be continually intoxicated and submerged in the love of Him – so that nothing but Him may attract your gaze.
You see, know, and become familiar with each other through your different states, behaviors, and languages. On this basis, you become intimate and comforting with each other. You say that you are acquainted; have seen many states and moods and now deeply know each other. The same applies to the Acts and Books of God – countless and infinite. There is no place you can look that His Work and His Art is not visible to you. If you look upon the sky it is His Art. Forward, backward, left and right, all belong to Him. Everything that there is in the six directions are all His. Anyone who manifests himself by certain actions, you see and know him. “How is it that, I, who manifests in all things, you do not see or know?” You resemble the idiot who says: ‘I see a bird in a tree, but I do not see the tree, or I see a single hair but I do not see the head. I see a tent in the desert but I do not see the desert.’ It is a laughable matter! Can we call this understanding an intelligence? Can we call such an understanding comprehension? “God is even more manifest than the sun; anyone who seeks an explanation after seeing it in plain view is in ruins.
God, the Most High, is more apparent and manifest than the sun. He who sees with his own eyes and demands explanation and proof of the existence of what he has seen is more foolish than an ass. He is in error and useless. The sun has two properties, warmth and brightness. Thanks to these two qualities the sun is evident to everyone. It is not surprising that the Creator of the sun could be veiled to the eyes of such a gross and ignorant donkey.
He is the First and the Last,
He is the Hidden and the Manifest,
He is the One who is in the thought.
The One who is the Mystery,
and all are ignorant of this secret.
- Inner Meaning
The forms reveal and explain the Inner Meaning, because not everyone can discern the Inner Meaning or be able to see its beauty with their eyes. The form sees the form and the life sees the life. It is necessary to clad the meaning within a form. Those who know the form may discover the life of the Inner Meaning, begin believing in the Inner Meaning and be informed. The sky/climate was created with a very high appearance to inform us of the heights and skies/climates of the Inner Meaning.
There are climates in the realm of the Life or Life-force
that govern the climate of this world.
(It has been chosen to translate “air”, “sky” by the word “climate”.) <French: climat <latin: climate-inflected form of clima ‘climate’, eig. ‘Bending of the earth from the equator to the poles ‘clinging, inclining’, a clinging, from Greek: klinnei, meaning bowing down, tending. for the Sufis the climate is regulated by God, and Saint can summon rain or storm).
Since the elevation of the heavens is unique and without qualification, its height is beyond spatial measurement; it is the realm of Inner Meaning. The same applies when stating that, “This man is superior to that other man.” Such superiority does not depend on appearance; it depends on the esteem, the value, and the degree of perfection. Similarly, when you say, “The dinar is superior to the dirham”, its superiority does not depend on its shape, but on its value. If we place the dirham on the roof and the dinar on the ground floor, the dinar remains superior, because its superiority does not depend on the place it occupies.
The heights of Inner Meaning were incomparable in the realm of meaning and the world, and the people of the form were not capable of perceiving them. The form of the heavens came from those heights, as a symbol, so that height could be known and understood. In the same way, the earth symbolizes lowness so that people can understand it. If high and low did not exist in the realm of meaning, we would not have had these two portions. Likewise, when a state befalls you, you describe it so that the sense may be grasped. If that state did not befall you – you would not be able to describe it.
Wonders and miracles came to the realm of form in the same way; for deniers and ignoramuses who are unaware of the inner wonders and miracles.
When a Master seizes a disciple and resuscitates his dead heart – making his blind eyes see, so that his darkness can become full of light – he transmutes his copper existence into gold, and extends the heart and mind of the disciple to Infinity. He makes a hundred thousand gardens of wisdom, rose gardens of knowledge, science, and vision grow in him; he makes palaces and Houris (Celestial Beings, the physical manifestations of ideal forms in Paradise) appear in him. A disciple who has seen his Master constantly carrying out such miracles has no interest in the wonder of foretelling what he had eaten the previous night or what he will do the next day. How could he take such actions into consideration at all? These apparent miracles are intended for the weak who cannot access real miracles.
Thus, the Flood of Noah symbolizes the flooding of the soul. The metamorphosis and swallowing of the earth symbolizes the phenomena in the world of souls. The souls of thousands of people who were crude, ill behaved, opposed to the Commandments of God and lacking submission toward Him were metamorphosed. This metamorphosis is not perceptible to everyone. Therefore, the metamorphosis of the form has been made apparent to those who are narrow minded and only see the form. In this way they can understand and know, even if just a little, the meaning of metamorphosis.
Everything that has taken the shape of a form, be it good or evil, is intended as an illustration of the Invisible World. In this way, the people who are attached to the form are allowed to perceive part of its Inner Meaning. Trees, gardens and rivers are like emanations from the Paradise of Inner Meaning. The witnesses of the form are symbolic indications of the peace, joy and harmony of the pure beings of Paradise. In this way, God has sent a sample of His treasures from infinite worlds to the people who are attached to the form. For all these treasures would not fit in the world of form. We cannot pour the ocean into a jug; a jug could not contain it. This world and the skies are but a plaything in comparison to the other World; they are merely figurative representations of that Reality.
God has called life here “an amusement and play”. It is like children who play in the neighborhood and decide to choose one to be their king, another to be their minister, another chamberlain, courtier, and so forth. They ride a stick and raise the hem of their robes. In their games they mimic that which is serious and real. If they had not seen these things in their real form, how could they have invented their amusement?
Each play imitates what exists in Reality and each metaphor comes from that Reality; each counterfeit has its original, and a corresponding Truth. The false is presented as the original in order to convince people that it is genuine, and be accepted as such. Lies are disguised as truths so that people believe them. If there were no originals, counterfeits would not exist in this world. If Truth did not exist, no one could tell a lie.
In the midst of games and metaphors, the wise man possesses certitude that is serious and authentic. He sets himself to seeking the real phenomena. He exerts himself to reach the essential by means of the secondary. He makes efforts to find the man by means of the shadow and not be lured by the usefulness of the shadow. If, for years, you shoot arrows at the shadow of a bird, you will not be able to hunt the bird. If, for a century, you look at water and pursue the reflections of the sun, the moon, the stars and a tree, you will never gather the fruit of that tree, or lean on it, or reach the stars. For what appears in the water is not reality, but only its reflection and image.
The wise man seeks Truth through Its reflections and images. This world is the reflection and the shadow of the other World. This is why wise men study this world. In this way, wise men may understand the other World and reach Permanency and Eternity. They have arrived at the Infinite Treasure and tasted the benefits of Paradise and enjoy them still. But those who fall in love with this world and give their whole life to it do not succeed. In the end, they leave this world with nothing.
This world is an imagination, and yet it is Real.
Whoever understands this is unique in the Mystical Way.
- Know Yourself
The souls within the bodies resemble water in ponds. Preoccupations, worries, and attachment to this world are like the soil that muddies clear water. Because of this murkiness, no matter how deeply a man scrutinizes his own soul, he cannot see anything. He rapidly runs away from his interior, and turns his eyes towards the people in order to distract himself and spend his life.
The same holds true for a man who does not have fine furniture, carpets nor delicious food in his house. Instead, he finds a shrewish woman in his house and does not spend much time there. He escapes to wander in the bazaars and watch other people.
This is the opposite of the man whose house is prosperous, decorated with many ornaments, and occupied by a beautiful woman full of joy and mirth. How could his heart allow him to renounce these joys and pleasures to leave his house? Even, if perchance, he must leave to do some work or to attend to important business, his soul remains in the house. He performs his work swiftly so he can return as quickly as possible. What he has at home is much better, more agreeable and more harmonious than anything that he can see outside. He finds excuses to refuse the company of friends who call at his door and ask him to go out with them. He instructs his doorkeepers to say that he is not at home so that he may avoid leaving. For such a person, leaving the house is painful and torturous. As for the man first mentioned, returning home is agonizing and repugnant. What is agreeable to one is painful to the other.
It was for this reason that God commanded Muhammad,
“O, Muhammad! Leave the house of your interior and carry from Us the news to men. Guide them and bring Our Message.”
Leaving the privacy of his interior dwelling to address men seemed a difficult and bitter task to Muhammad for which he felt a great repugnance. No one need force the hungry to eat soup or the thirsty to drink water. But any compulsion to change presents itself as a painful effort that man does not readily accept.
In the privacy of his interior dwelling, the Prophet had flourishing places for contemplation and prayer. In addition, he was the intimate Friend and Companion of God. But he was asked to leave this company and mix with a handful of destitute, miserable, unpleasant, deprived, proud and frustrated men. He had to step into the mud of this world and extend his hand to pull these men out. Because they were foolish, ignorant and blind, they treated this unique King as if he was indebted to them. They said, “We have made an effort to come and listen to your words.” How could Muhammad have preferred such a situation to his previous one? How could he not feel repugnance while comparing these new companions to his former One? The Order to spread the Message was issued because this mission was difficult, and required an enormous effort.
Therefore, when a man is inwardly busy it is an indication that he possesses some inner treasures; when someone is busy with others, it demonstrates his misery and uselessness.
May I, and a hundred others like me,
Be the servants of he
who has made himself an intimate Friend.
In reality, these unlucky ones were not abandoned. They made themselves miserable because they did not dedicate their lives to self-study. They did not seek themselves as God sought them, because whosoever finds himself has found God. “To know your own being is to know your Lord.”
He who knows himself knows his Lord.
In the beginning, the water of your soul was from a pure source. You have made it ugly, troubled and black with the muddy waters of preoccupation and the twigs of temptation. When you dedicate yourself to the remembrance of God, take the Love of God as your one true compass, renounce the attachments of this world – its preoccupations and temptations – and purify yourself from everything that does not lead you to God, you will become pure and clear.
Like veritable men, reject your egotism (mani);
Do not be like those who accept egotism (mani).
Note: This line of poetry has another meaning which is more vernacular. The Farsi word “mani” has both meanings of egotistical, and seminal fluid. The more vernacular meaning of this line is, “be like men who reject to discharge semen, and not like women who only receive it.
Since you have chosen the Existence of God, forget your own existence. Since your intention is to see God, renounce your own desires. Since you are in love with Divine Majesty, abandon your pride and become a mournful lover. Do not be involved in tormenting anyone. Be indigent, submissive, and dead. Abandon tyranny and injustice to the carnal self. For pride in me and us is a dark veil that separates you from God. It is like Pharaoh, who considered himself the equal and associate of God. The origin and essence of all occupations, temptations, and attachments to this world, are the “me” and the “we”. The “we” and the “me” are the origin of it all. Even when the branches of a tree are cut, other branches will grow if the root remains. In this search, you must not balk at anything, even though there is knowledge and practice; wealth and possessions; miracles and stations. For, O way-farer, the veils are countless before you – the veils of darkness and the veils of light. You must courageously pass through them all. Your means are pain, sincerity, love and desire. “The pain must destroy the pleasure, and the man must make the step.”
Even if a pregnant woman knows a hundred techniques and methods regarding childbirth, they will not help her much at the time of delivery. Her knowledge will not be the means by which she will give birth to the child. It is not science or art, but rather pain that will allow her to attain the goal. When pain invades her body, the child will be born. It was the pain that brought Mary to the palm tree at the moment of giving birth to Jesus. It was the palm tree that allowed her to give birth to the Spirit of God.
Note: According to the Koran, the pains of childbirth drove Mary to the trunk of a palm-tree, where “But a voice cried to her beneath the palm tree: ‘Grieve not! For thy Lord hath provided a rivulet beneath thee. And shake toward thyself the trunk of the palm tree: it will let fall fresh ripe dates upon thee’.” (Sura 19, verse 23).
Your body and your mould are like Mary. The carnal soul is similar to a woman, and a man may symbolize the faculty of intellect. Your faith and knowledge, which come from the Supreme Intelligence, are your Jesus. If the pain of Divine Truth relentlessly invades and dominates you, there is no time for other preoccupations. Without doubt, Jesus, who is the Spirit of God, will be born from your carnal self – that is your Mary. Once you have understood this do not preoccupy yourself with arts and crafts. Increase your sincerity and your pain so that you may always be submerged in Love. Distance yourself from anything other than the Beloved and from anything other than contemplating Him. In this way, you may be able to remove the veils.
– Note: The soul of the mystic, Rumi teaches us, is similar to Mary: “If your soul is pure enough and loving enough, it becomes like Mary: it generates the Messiah.
And al-Hallaj also evokes the same idea: “Our spirit is one Virgin where only the” Spirit of Truth can enter ”
In this context, Jesus symbolizes the forefront of the Spirit present in the Human soul: “Our body is like Mary, each of us has a Jesus within us, but if the pain of childbirth does not manifest in us, our Jesus is not born ”
The essential search is similar to the suffering of Mary who drove her under the palm tree: “I said:” O my heart, I am looking for the universal mirror, – go to the sea, because you will not reach your goal “near the river alone” ! ”
In this quest Your servant has finally arrived at the scene of Your House because the pain of the pain of giving birth led Mary to the palm “.
Mary and the Birth of Jesus
Last night in a dream, a Master told me:
“The danger in the Way of Love comes from ‘me’ and ‘us’.”
I asked him, “What is ‘me’ and ‘us’,
For all these difficulties are solved by You?”
He answered, “Everything other than Truth,
Is ‘me‘ and ‘us’ and they are the source of all error.”
When you act thus, and set your foot on the step of ascent,
you become intoxicated and say:
Our “us” moved away from us when You turned toward us.
Enter, O my life! You came, full of Beauty
When You heard our sorrowful cries.
Suddenly, You appeared without veils.
Everything is filled with many flowers
Since You have penetrated our very life.
Man alone cannot eradicate “me” and “us” in himself by any efforts of willpower. He does not have the strength to put such an enemy to flight. However, God said, “Lament and wail to Me because it is not possible without My Absolute Power to chase away this enemy. Such is My Law, O My servant! Even though you are impotent while facing this enemy, make at least efforts, and do not make peace with him. Be always at war with him. Fight his hostility as much as you can. Humbly implore Me and My Help with your prayers. When you ask My Help with a sincere heart, then I send My Power to your hands. With My Power and your sincerity, you may cut off the head of this adversary. Verily it is I, and not you, who destroys this enemy. But I will compliment your effort and give you the title of hero. As a wage for the task that you have accomplished I will grant you a robe of honor, gifts, and the Eternal Kingdom.”
You would say, “O My Lord! I have not carried out this task; how could I have gathered enough strength to face such an enemy? This adversary opposed You and disputed with You, saying, ‘I am better than he; You did create me from fire, and him from clay.’ Being weaker than a straw, how could I rip up a mountain, crush it like pebbles and throw it to the wind like dust?”
God, the Most High, said, “When My force attaches to a straw, the mountains are less than a speck of dust. Despite being impotent and weak, you attested your faithfulness by leaning on Me. With trust in Me you faced such an enemy and considered me as Willing, Seeing and Dominant. For that reason, I bestowed strength upon your impotence and transformed your weakness into force.”
“I accept everything from you and I am obliged, but in reality, it is I who have done everything. Like a father who treats his son affectionately; placing a heavy load in the hand of the child, holding his hand and lifting the load; he then compliments the child saying: ‘Such a hero! Bravo, so strong!’ Even though it was the father who lifted the load and not the child. It would be surprising that My Affection, My Generosity and My Tenderness, even though I am the Creator, could be inferior to that creature.”
“ I grant the strength to My servants and I guide them so they can chase away the enemy. I accept their effort, I am obliged, and I credit it to them. In return I will give them numerous recompenses and unlimited Blessings; I will praise and compliment them in a thousand tongues; I will swear by their name. Each Mercy I spread to the creatures is by means of them. And every Wrath I show, and every pain I inflict on the rebels is to avenge the good servants. To serve them is to serve Me. Those who have seen them have seen Me. Whoever makes them their object, makes Me his object. Those who choose them chose Me. Friendship towards them is friendship towards Me. Whomsoever is hostile toward them is hostile toward Me. The cause of anyone that I forgive and show Mercy is contenting and pleasing to them. The cause of anyone that I afflict with wrathful Hell and torment is the pain and suffering that My servants have endured. For I am God, I am free of friends or enemies and without opposites. I have created My servants and I allow them to come toward Me so they may be the mirrors of My Existence. There is a connection, unlike any other connection, between them and Me. There is no place in that connection for any separation which would enable opposition and hostility toward Me through their intermediary. He whoever shows opposition and hostility towards them are showing enmity toward Me.” Whoever desires to become the companion of God, and talk to Him, must frequent a veritable sufi. “He who desires the company of God must be in the company of Sufis.”
Say to him who desires the company of God,
“Remain in the company of Saints.”
If you move away from the presence of Saints
You will be annihilated, for you are a part and not the whole.
God said to Moses, “I was ill, and you did not visit Me. I, God, was suffering, why did you not come to see Me?” Moses answered, “O, My Lord! I do not understand. How could You be ill?” God repeated this chastisement again. Moses was amazed. Finally, God said, “My servant was ill, and you did not visit him. Did you not know that his pain is My pain, and his recovery is My recovery? By showing him your affection you are showing Me your affection.”
What we have just exposed is merely a drop of the sea, a speckle from the sun, a grain of wheat from the wheat fields. Only a small portion is spoken here in accordance with the level of human comprehension and understanding, but the volume is immense.
“Speak to people according to their level of understanding,” is worthy of the great intelligences who are familiar and close to Him, and possess great breadth and patience. Any intelligence that cannot withstand this and become distraught and bewildered cannot attain this peace.
As stated earlier, pure essences are like the waters of the ocean. Removed from the ocean, they remain prisoner in the container of the body like water in a basin. If they abandoned the professions, temptations, and attachments of this world – that which rendered these pure waters muddy, slimy, and troubled -those afflictions would deposit at the bottom of the basin, which is of mud. “All things return to their origin.” This is exactly the description for it. In these pure waters, they see the reflection of the heavens, the faces of angels, the Tablet, the Throne and the Empyrean in themselves. There will be nothing hidden to their eyes of the Wonders of God. What a place this is, where the creatures and the Creator can be seen at the same time.
They see at the same time both the Design and the Designer, At the same time Fortune and the One who distributes it.
The preoccupations and attachments of this world are the rust that covers the mirror of the heart. If there is a little rust, then the mirror may still reflect some blurred images. But if the mirror is completely covered with rust, then nothing can be seen in it. God and the Work of God appear in this mirror only when the rust is removed by means of self-discipline, honesty, and love. At that moment it is possible to find oneself, discover God in oneself, and never again see Him separated from oneself. This is what is meant by:
“He who knows himself, knows his Lord.”