The Vision of God and Man, Confessions, Four
"Whatsoever road I took, it joined street which leads to Thee." - THE DABISTAN.
I WAS born in Baroda, India, in the year 1882, when a great religious reform began, not only in India itself, but the entire world over, and which was the first source of our present-day awakening. I am sure it was the planetary influence which existed at that time that has kept me busied all my life in seeking the divine truth, which is as the garment of God's glory.
Music and mysticism were my heritage from both my paternal and maternal ancestors, among whom were numbered Maulabakhsh, whom people called the Beethoven of India and whose portrait is in the Victoria and Albert Museum as South Kensington, and Jumma Shah, the great seer of Panjab. I have ever felt much embarrassed when I was compared with these masters, and this humility brought the old saying to my mind, "Have pride in thine own merits rather than in those of thy ancestors."
"I also came out as a brook from a river; and as a conduit into a garden." -ECCLESIASTICUS.
My curiosity about the hidden secrets of nature was early aroused, and I made frequent inquiries concerning the mysteries of religion, such as, Where does God Live? How old is God? Why should we pray to Him? And why should we fear Him? Why should people die? And where do they go after death? If God has created all, who was the creator of God?
My parents, Rahemat Khan and Khatija Bibi, would patiently answer me in the simplest and most plausible manner possible, but I would prolong the argument until they were wearied. Then I would ponder upon the same questions.
"Mankind's great enemy is idleness. There is no friend like energy, and if you cultivate that you will never fail." -BHARTRIHARI.
I was sent to school when quite young, but I fear that I was more inclined to play than to study. I preferred punishment to paying attention to those subjects in which I had no interest. I enjoyed religion, poetry, morals, logic, and music more than all other learning, and I took music as a special subject at the Academy of Baroda and repeatedly won the first prize there.
I had so much curiosity about strangers, fortune-tellers, fakirs, dervishes, spiritualists, and mystics, that I would very often absent myself from my meals to seek them out. My taste for music, poetry, and philosophy increased daily, and I loved my grandfather's company more than a game with boys of my own age. In silent fascination I observed his every movement and listened to his musical interpretations, his methods of study, his discussions and his conversations. My attempts at writing poetry without any training in the art of meter and form induced my parents to place me under the tutorship of Kavi Ratnakar, the great Hindustani poet.
I also began to compose, and sang a song of prayer to Ganesh in Sanskrit before His Highness Sayajirao Gaikwar, Maharaja of Baroda, who rewarded my song with a valuable necklace and scholarship. This encouraged me to advance further in music under the guidance of Maulabaksh, who inspired me with music from kindred soul to soul.
"He was born the Lord of what is, who by His majesty is the one King of the moving world that breathes and closes its eyes."
My kinfolk were Muslim, and I grew up devoted to the Holy Prophet and loyal to Islam, and never missed one prayer of the five which are the daily portion of the faithful.
One evening in the summer time I was kneeling on the house-roof, offering my Nimaz (prayers) to Allah the Great, when the thought smote me that although I had been praying so long with all trust, devotion, and humility, no revelation had been vouchsafed to me, and that it was therefore not wise to worship Him, that One whom I had neither seen nor fathomed. I went to my grandfather and told him I would not offer any more prayers to Allah until I had both beheld and gauged Him. "There is no sense in following a belief and doing one's ancestors did before one, without knowing the true reason," I said.
Instead of being vexed Maulabakhsh was pleased with my inquisitiveness, and after a little silence he answered me by quoting a sura of the Qur'an, "We will show them our signs in the world and in themselves, that the truth may be manifested to them." And then he soothed my impatience and explained, saying, "The signs of God are seen in the world, and the world is seen in thyself."
These words entered so deeply into my spirits, that from this time every moment of my life has been occupied with the thought of the divine immanence; and my eyes were thus opened, as the eyes of the young man by Elijah, to see the symbols of God in all aspects of nature, and also in that nature which is reflected within myself. This sudden illumination made everything appear as clear to me as in a crystal bowl of a translucent jewel. Thenceforth I devoted myself to the absorption and attainment of truth, the immortal and perfected Grace.
"Wisdom which is the worker of all things taught me, for in her is an understanding spirit." -SOLOMON.
I first studied comparative religions with an open mind; not in a critical spirit but as an admirer and a lover of truth in all its guises. I read the lives of the founders, prophets, and seers with as much reverence as their most devout adherents. This brought me the bliss of realization of one truth, which all religions contain, as different vessels may yet hold the same wine. It was the conception of truth in all its manifold forms and expressions, ever borne by different messengers, who most wondrously, by their very diversity of grab, civilization, nationality, and age, revealed the one Source of the inspiration. To me their sole difference was caused by the laws of space and time.
It was therefore natural for the messengers of truth to convey their message in the language of the land wherein they were born, and in the style suited to the life of their period. For each one was needed in his place and adapted to his era, and the difference between them existed only in those principles and rituals which were given to the people of that time and harmonized with their standard of intelligence and evolution: even as a physician has to change his prescriptions according to the patient's state of improvement before he can bring about the cure; or as in school, at each term and in every year, a new course of study is taught through different grades.
Man, not generally understanding this fact and its motive, and owing to the blind dogmatic faith which obsesses him, has always clung to the originator and ignored the new prophet. Such was the common lot of Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed, and of all the Masters and Shining Ones who have revealed in the sorrows they had to bear during their own lives in the struggle between the cross and the truth, which is expressed by the symbol of the cross. The hurt from which the prophets have ever suffered lay in the rebellion of the ignorant, who were unable to realize the truth hidden in their teachings, and thus mocked and scoffed at them. But all the true messengers justly asserted the truth in a way to suit the period wherein they brought their message.
"Whosoever in Love's city enters finds but room for One, and but in Oneness union." -JAMI
The masters of the Hindus, such as Shiva, Vishnu, Rama, and Krishna, claimed each in his turn to be a reincarnation of one another, or in other words an incarnation of Brahma, the supreme God, because the people would not have listened to them without this proclamation. In this way the materialists who never move an inch without definite reason and logic were trained by the Buddha Gautama, who explained the great truth to them in the simple words of their own language.
Zoroaster imparted the law of action and nature-worship, the mystical import of burnt offerings and fire, the symbol of love, light, and purity, and adapted these to the intellectual standard of his followers. King Solomon revealed the truth from his throne when his simple subjects adored him as God, and Abraham preached when devotion was idolized, and was willing even to sacrifice his own son to the divine Will.
When the world was awakened to the loveliness of music, David sang forth the same truth in his most melodious voice, and when beauty reigned in her fair dominance, Joseph appeared in all his youth and charm. Moses came when men where athirst for miracles. And in the age of hereditary power, Christ, as the Son of God, stayed the world from ignorance and error, and sowed the seed of spiritual freedom; this in time grew and brought forth the epoch of democracy, wherein Mohammed carried the last message of the religious republic, Islam. and claimed to be Abda, the servant, and the Rasul of God.
This implies that each one of these, though still the bearer of the mission, the herald of God's decree, was also a new step in human evolution, at those times when the world was ripe enough and ready to receive the message, not from a superior claimant but from one among the Shining Hosts.
Mohammed's saying, "None but God exists", explained the essence of all previous messages most clearly. The lesson of Mohammed, once learned, left no need for continuance of prophetic teaching, because it proved that each being bears the divine source thereof within himself, and that the evolution of man has now prepared him for the Kingdom which is within.
Indeed, all the prophets from Adam to Mohammed, who was the fulfillment of God's tidings, have revealed to us the numerous aspects which the same truth can bear, or, in other words, truth has manifested itself in various names and different forms to attain its glorious end. But the manifold aspects of truth have not been recognized in man's ignorance, and thus all the racial and religious prejudices among creeds and castes, as well as the wars and differences between nations, have arisen from his narrowness and slowness of perception. Each one called the other heathen or pagan, Kafir or Mlench, upholding his Master as the only true initiate, as though the Master were his own personal property. Yet the Masters were born not for one family or one nation or race, but verily for all mankind. Truly only followers and zealots of different religions fall away from the truth, for they are blinded by patriotism and have raised pedantic prejudices against the teachings and spirits of those pure Masters, who had neither any concern for their religion nor their own name and personal appearance but lived only in the cause of truth.
This error is due entirely to those disciples who swear by the mortal names of the Masters and recognize their personalities alone, instead of accepting them all as one boundless embodiment of truth. The Masters have never desired their human bodies to be adored as saviors; this is merely an exaggeration and the mistaken conception of their followers. Their bodies were but as the vessels of truth and the truth they brought to us is the only savior, then, now, and forever. As the Bible declares, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Truth, the real savior and messiah, is untouched by death and disease; it is everlasting, omnipresent, and omnipotent. Truth, indeed, was Adam, Moses, and Christ, and the very truth was Mohammed.
Yet, although every religion comprises a large number of followers, each person has his own religion peculiar to himself. He is sometimes unaware of this fact and attaches himself most enthusiastically to the religion of his race and nation.
If he only knew the true religion, which God has intended for him, all his struggles would be at an end. Those who judge a religion by its principles are mistaken, for good or bad as well as right and wrong depend on one's own point of view, and are therefore sometimes liable to mental inversion. Those who fight for their religion on the authority of history are fanatics, for they must know that history is man-and not God-made, and that many truths are lost in the lapse of time, while many exaggerations attain favor or disfavor through the biased personal opinions of the historians. He who adheres to his beliefs and disbeliefs without reason is blinded with bigotry.
Still, were a Buddhist to come to me saying, "Our Lord Buddha was the only true teacher", I would answer, "Verily!" And if a Hindu cried to me that Krishna is the ideal master, I would say, "You speak rightly." And if a Christian should declare that Christ is the highest of all, I would reply, "Undoubtedly." For it is the nature of man to consider as best that which he can idealize best. But if anyone came to me saying, "I cannot believe in all this talk for I can only recognize the same truth within each one of these", I would say, "You, my friend, are the one who really knows, for you have understood and unveiled the real secret of God's nature."
Rumi says, "The Sufis take the meat, leaving the bones for others to fight over."
"The world shall live in me, not I in it." -AKHLAK-E JALALI.
GLORY be to God that this universal belief saved me from falling into the crooked paths of bigotry and prejudice, on which so many children of God pass the night of life like a flock of ignorant sheep. They walk in herds unto the very gates of death, unaware of their Why and Whither, while even the voice of immortality cannot recall them, and they are lost unto the ages!
When Maulabakhsh, my grandfather, died I was in deep despair. I grieved for a very long time over the loss of my musical guide and inspiration, realizing the uncertainty of this life, and that my own existence was only worth enduring if I could be of some use to the world. I appreciated the great service Maulabakhsh had rendered to India by giving its music its music a feasible system of notation, and wondered how I could carry on his work.
At one period music in India was regarded not only as a medium for perfecting humanity, but also as a spiritual manifestation. My grandfather, with his intense feeling for both his art and his people, believed that music could only be raised from its present degeneration by using it as a teacher of morals and a prophet of the Lord's glory.
Once, in my utter despair at my futility in comparison with him, I broke down completely, crying, "Allah! If our people had lost only their wealth and power it would not have been so grievous to bear, since these temporal things are always changing hands in the mazes of Maya. But the inheritance of our race, the music of the Divine, is also leaving us through our own negligence, and that is a loss my heart cannot sustain!"
I invoked the name of Sharda, the goddess of music, and prayed her to protect her sacred art.
And thus it cam about that I left my home with the view of creating a universal system of music. I started out on this mission when I was eighteen years old, and was welcomed at the courts of Rajas and Maharajas who greatly encouraged and rewarded me for my efforts. From all the leading cities of India I received addresses and medals in recognition and appreciation of my music, and thus increased the number of my friends, pupils, and sympathizers throughout India.
"He who though dressed in fine apparel exercises tranquility, is quiet, subdued, restrained, chaste, and has ceased to find fault with others, he indeed is a Brahman, an ascetic, a friar." -DHAMMAPADA.
The Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Mahebub Ali Khan, a great mystic ruler of India and a devotee of music and poetry showed me special favor. Several times my playing moved the Nizam to tears; and when I had done he asked curiously, what mystery lay in my music?
Then, answering him, I explained, "Your Highness, as sound is the highest source of manifestation, it is mysterious within itself, and whosoever has the knowledge of sound, he indeed knows the secret of the universe. My music is my thought, and my thought is my emotion; the deeper I dive into the ocean of feeling, the more beautiful are the pearls I bring forth in the form of melodies. Thus my music creates feeling within me even before others feel it. My music is my religion; therefore worldly success can never be a proper price for it, and my sole object in music is to achieve perfection."
This explanation, together with my playing, charmed the Nizam so much that he presented me with a purse full of golden coins, and placing his own precious emerald ring upon my finger named me "Tansen", after the great Indian singer of the past. This incident brought me gifts and titles from all parts of India. But honors for myself did not really satisfy me. How could I be content with my own exalted position when my fellow musicians were looked upon with contempt by conservative India?
Naturally I realized that it was due partly to the musicians themselves, who are as a rule illiterate and who look to the princes and potentates for support, feeding their false pride with flattery and subservience, and thus losing the independence and inspiration of their art. Then again, the masses are untrained in the subject, while the educated classes are far too busy adopting Western ideas and sacrificing literature, philosophy, and music to polo, cricket, and tennis. I met many of the latter, who made it a boast that they knew nothing about the music of their own country, furnishing their homes with blaring gramophones and hiding their sitars away in disgrace.
"O Thou whose kingdom passes not away, pity him whose kingdom is passing away!" -dying words of CALIPH VATHEK.
To my amazement and horror, all the medals and decorations which I had gathered as emblems of my professional success, and which are a source of pride to me, gained as they were by so much endeavor, enthusiasm, and the labor of many years spent in constant wandering from place to place, were in a single instant snatched away from me forever. In a moment of abstraction they were left in a car, which could not be traced despite all my efforts. But in place of the disappointment, which at first oppressed me, a revelation from God touched the hidden chords of my mind and opened my eyes to the truth.
I said to myself, "It matters not how much time you have spent to gain that which never belonged to you but which you called your own; today you understand it is yours no longer. And it is the same with all you possess in life, your property, friends, and relations; even your own body and mind. All that you call "my", not being your true property, will leave you, and only that which you name "I", which is absolutely disconnected with all that is called "my", will remain. Why not go forth and strive for that which is worth gaining in life? Why not thus attain to true glory, instead of wasting your valuable opportunities in vain greed for wealth, fame, reputation, and those worldly honors which are here today and forgotten tomorrow?"
I knelt down and thanked God for the loss of my medals, crying, "Let all be lost from my imperfect vision but thy true Self, Ya Allah!"
I then set forth in pursuit of philosophy, visiting every mystic I could on my journeys to different Indian cities. I traveled through jungles, across mountains, and along riverbanks in search of mystics and hermits, playing and singing before them until they also sought my society.
It was in Nepal, during the pilgrimage of Pashpathinath, that I met a Muni among several sages. He was a Mahatma of the Himalayas and lived in a mountain cave, and untouched by the earthly contact, ambitions, and environments, he seemed to be the happiest man in the world. After I had entertained him with my music he, without seeming to notice, revealed to me the mysticism of sound, and unveiled before my sight the inner mystery of music. I thereafter met other mystics, with whom I discoursed on different subjects, and whose blessings I obtained through my art.
"Well-makers lead the water; archers bend the bow; carpenters hew a log of wood; wise people fashion themselves." -DHAMMAPADA.
AT Ajmer I visited the tomb of Khwaja Moin-ud-Din Chishti, the most celebrated Sufi saint of India. The atmosphere of his last resting-place was in itself a phenomenon; a sense of calm and peace pervaded it, and among all that throng of pilgrims I yet felt as if I were the only one present. At nightfall I went home and said Tahajud, the midnight prayer.
And lo! At the end of my prayers there came to me a voice, as though in answer to my invocations. It was the voice of a fakir calling the people to prayer before sunrise, and he sang, "Awake O man, from thy fast sleep! Thou knowest not that death watcheth thee every moment. Thou canst not imagine how great a load thou hast gathered to carry on thy shoulders, and how long the journey yet is for thee to accomplish. Up! up! The night is passed and the sun will soon arise!"
The unearthly quiet of the hour and the solemnity of the song moved me to tears. Sitting on my rug with my rosary in my hand, I reflected that all the proficiency and reputation which I had achieved were utterly profitless in regard to my Najat or salvation. I recognized that the world was neither a stage set up for our amusement nor a bazaar to satisfy our vanity and hunger, but a school wherein to learn a hard lesson. I then chose quite a different path to that which I had followed until then; in other words I turned over a new page in my life.
The morning broke and the birds began their hymn of praise to God. I heard men and women pass by below, some going to the mosque, others to the temples, and the general masses to the toil that yields their daily bread. Then I too fared forth and, lost in thought, not knowing my destination, made my way towards the jungle, with an inner yearning to be apart from the world and give an outlet to the thoughts and emotions with which my mind was occupied.
Thus I arrived at a cemetery where a group of dervishes sat on the green grass, chattering together. They were all poorly clad, some without shoes and others without coats; one had shirt with only one sleeve and another lacked them both. One wore a robe with a thousand patches and the next a hat without a crown. This strange group attracted my attention and I sat there for some time, noticing all that was going on yet feigning to be utterly indifferent.
Presently their Pir-o-Murshid or Master came towards them, even more scantily dressed than they, and with a group of dervishes circling round him as he approached. Two of the latter led the odd procession, and with each step they cried out loudly, "Hosh bar dum, nazur bar kadum, khilwat dar anjuman!" - Be conscious of your breath and watch every step you take, and thus experience solitude in the crowd!
When the Murshid arrived at the assembly of his disciples each one greeted the other, saying, "Ishq Allah, Mabud Allah!" -God is love and God is beloved! It was this very greeting which later unveiled for me the Bible words that God is love, and also the verse of the Arabian poet Abulallah, who says,
Church, a Temple, or a Ka'ba stone,
Qur'an or Bible, or a martyr's bone,
All these and more my heart can tolerate
Since my religion is of love alone.
The solemnity of the sacred words they uttered found their echo in my soul, thereupon I watched their ceremonial with still greater attention. Naturally at first sight their dire poverty was puzzling, but then I had learned before I saw them how the holy Prophet had always prayed to Allah to sustain him in his life among the Mesquin or dervishes, who voluntarily choose this humble way of living. The queer patches on their garments reminded me of the words of Hafiz, "Do not be fooled thyself by short sleeves full of patches, for most powerful arms are hidden under them."
The dervishes first sat lost in contemplation, reciting charms one after the other, and then they began their music. I forgot all my science and technique while listening to their simple melodies, as they sang to the accompaniment of sitar and dholok the deathless words of the Sufi Masters such as Rumi, Jami, Hafiz, and Shams-e Tabrez.
The rhapsody, which their ecstasies conjured up, seemed to me so strong and vital that the very leaves of the trees seemed to hang spellbound and motionless. Although their emotions manifested themselves in varying forms, they were regarded with silent reverence by all that strange company. Each one of them revealed a peculiar mood of ecstasy; some expressed it in tears and others in sighs, some in dances and yet others in the calm of meditation. Although I did not enjoy the music as much as they, still it impressed me so deeply that I felt as if I were lost in a trance of harmony and happiness.
But the most amazing part of the proceedings came when the assembly was about to disperse. For one of the dervishes arose and, while announcing Bhundara or dinner, addressed them in the following terms, "O Kings of Kings! O Emperors of Emperors!" This amused me greatly at the time, while I regarded their outward appearance. My first thought made them merely kings of imagination, without throne or crown, treasury, courtiers, or dominions-those natural possessions and temporal powers of kingship.
But the more I brooded upon the matter, the more I questioned whether environment or imagination made a king. The answer came at last: the king is never conscious of his kingship and all its attributes of luxury and might, unless his imagination is reflected in them and thus proves his true sovereignty. For instance, if a baby were crowned and seated upon a throne he would never comprehend his high position until his mind evolved sufficiently to realize his surroundings. This shows how real our surroundings seem to us, and yet how dead they are in the absence of imagination. And it also reveals how fleeting time and the changes of matter make all the kings of the earth but transitory kings, ruling over transitory kingdoms; this is because of their dependence upon their environment instead of their imagination. But the kingship of the dervish, independent of all external influences, based purely on his mental perception and strengthened by the forces of his will, is much truer and at once unlimited and everlasting. Yet in the materialistic view his kingdom would appear as nothing, while in the spiritual conception it is an immortal and exquisite realm of joy.
Verily, they are the possessors of the kingdom of God and all His seen and unseen treasure is in their own possession, since they have lost themselves in Allah and are purified from all illusive deceptions. "It is by them that you obtain rain; it is by them that you receive your subsistence," says the Qur'an. And Omar Khayyam said,
Think in this battered caravan-serai,
Whose doorways are alternate night and day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his pomp,
Abode his hour or so, and went his way.
They say the lion and the lizard keep
The courts where Jamsheyd gloried and drank deep;
And Bahram that great hunter, the wild ass
Stamped o'er his head and he lies fast asleep.
Thus I compared our deluded life with the real, and our artificial with their natural being, as one might compare the false dawn with the true. I realized our folly in attaching undue weight to matters wholly unimportant and how apt we were to laugh at the dreamer building his lovely castles in the air. I saw who our fleeting affairs are blown about as chaff is blown in the wind, while the imagination is difficult to alter. It is possible for the land to turn into water and for water into land, but the impression of an imagination can never change.
I felt that we were losing the most precious moments and opportunities of life for transitory dross and tinsel, at the sacrifice of all that is enduring and eternal.
When I became familiar with the strange life of the dervishes I admired the best in them and was able to recognize the Madzubs, who are the extremists among them. These are so absorbed in the inner vision that they are absolutely unconscious of the external needs of life. Sometimes they are both fed and clothed by others; their neglect of the physical self and their responsibility towards the world make it seem at first sight that they are insane, but at times, by their miraculous powers over phenomena, they are distinguished as Madzub. They are understood to be the controllers of the elements, some with regard to certain portions of the land or water, and some even for the whole world.
Their thought, words, and actions are truly found to be those of God Almighty. The word is scarcely spoke before the action is accomplished. Each atom of the universe seems to be awaiting their command.
I once saw a Madzub in Calcutta, standing in the street and gesticulating as though he were directing all the traffic. The passers-by laughed at his insanity. But for all his weird looks he had most brilliant eyes, shooting forth strong magnetic vibrations, which attracted me so much that I wondered if he was a Madzub in the guise of a lunatic; this dissimulation is often practiced by them in order to escape contact with the world and all life's cares. If they did not adopt this method it would be harder for them to study the natural hallucinations of humanity. As Sa'di says, "Every man on earth has a craze peculiar to himself."
The truth of this was shown to me by the way the Madzub laughed at seeing the people in the street hustling and bustling along as if their small affairs were only important things in the universe. I sent the Madzub word, and asked him if he would care to come and honor me by his presence, but he sacrificed my request to the call of the children who suddenly came running and took him away to play with them. I understood that he preferred the society of children, the angels on earth, to association with grown-up sinners, who know nothing but the ego and its ulterior satisfactions. I waited patiently after this until I next saw him, and sent a message begging him to give my music a hearing. After that he came and when he entered the room I rose from my seat to do him honor and saluted him with both hands. His only answer was that he did not require this homage, as he received the same under different attributes and aspects from the whole universe.
In order to be quite sure of his Madzubiat I asked him whether he was a thief. He smilingly replied, "Yes", which conveyed to me that all good and bad attributes, as well as all names and forms, were considered by him to be his own, and that he was thus raised beyond good and evil as well as above the praise and blame of the world.
Then he sat down and began to discourse and act in such a manner that all in the room should consider him insane. But I told him in a whisper that I knew him well, that he could not fool me, and requested him to favor us with his inspiring words and blessings. He then began to speak of the journey he made on the spiritual path, describing each plane as a fort he had to destroy with guns and cannons, until he arrived at the home of his Father and embraced his true spiritual Lord. And he went on to tell how at last the Father was also dead and he would inherit His kingdom in the end.
It was all related in such a quaint language, that none of those present save myself could understand him, and even I only did so with a great mental effort.
A Madzub attains perfection through innocence and from childhood, learns of the true inner bliss of which we are deprived by our most deluding knowledge of the outer world. Yet it is not the path for all to follow; but we can derive the truth of existence from it and lead a balanced life, as the Salik do among the Sufis.
"He breathes not the fragrance of divine mysteries whose head is warmed by his heart." -WALI.
MY interest in Sufism made me very friendly with the dervishes. I learned to love the sweetness of their nature and the innate perfume of their manner of using music as the food of the soul.
I began at first to imitate their habits and methods, and spent a few hours in silence every day. Once in a dream I saw a great gathering of prophets, saints, and sages, all clad in their Sufi garments, rejoicing in the Suma or music of the dervishes. I was absorbed into their blissful state of ecstasy, and when I was aroused I still felt the exultation my vision had brought to me. After this I heard continually, waking or sleeping, an unknown voice which cried to me, "Allah ho-Akbar!" -God is great!
I also had visions of a most haunting and spiritual face, radiant with light, during my concentration in the silence, which heightened my interest in mysticism still more, especially as I could not divine its meaning. I feared to ask for its significance lest others might laugh at my fancy and ridicule it. At last, when I could no longer control my impatience, I described my golden vision to a friend who was also a lover of the mystical, and begged him for an interpretation.
He answered that the dream was a symbol of my initiation into the Sufi Order of Chishtia Khandan, and the words I heard were the crying of Haq or truth, while the vision was the image of my spiritual guide and protector. He also advised me to undergo the initiation of Sufism, although I had always considered myself undeserving of initiation in that Brotherhood of Purity. But I had a little courage, hoping I might at least be used as a waste-paper basket is employed for torn scraps of wisdom, which would quite suffice me. I visited several Murshids with this purpose, but they made no response, although I had the privilege of studying their various views and methods of teaching.
Thus I learned to know four true kinds of masters and four false ones. Among the true I saw first the one who would never answer the appeal of a seeker until he was fully prepared. The second kind would not initiate anyone until a long and trying period of probation had been undergone by the disciple. The third, in order to keep away undesirable adherents, would make himself appear so utterly disagreeable that everyone would run away at the sight of him. And the fourth would so disguise himself to escape the praise and publicity of the world that none would believe for a moment that he was truly a Murshid.
Among the false teachers I first met the hypocrite, who increases the number of his adherents by telling most wonderful stories and showing them tricks of phenomena. The second apostate was pious, disguising his infirmities and failings under the cloak of morality and always busy with worship and prayer. The third was the money-taking master, who eagerly seized upon every opportunity of emptying the pockets of his pupils. The fourth was he who was greedy for the adoration, worship and servility of his followers.
This experience of different Murshids prepared me for the ideal master, and after six months of continual searching I chanced to visit an old and revered acquaintance, Maulana Khairulmubin, to whom I confided my desire to embrace Sufism.
While reflecting on the matter he suddenly received a telepathic message that his friend, a great Murshid, was about to come to him. He at once arranged a seat of honor, placing cushions upon it, and walked towards the gate in order to bid him welcome.
After a period of suspense the Pir-o-Murshid entered, bringing with him a very great sense of light. As all those present greeted him, bowing down in their humility, it seemed to me all at once that I had seen him before, but where I could not recall. At last, after gazing at him earnestly, I remembered that his was the face, which so persistently haunted me during my silence. The proof of this was manifested as soon as his eyes fell on me. He turned to his host, saying, "O Maulana, tell me who this young man may be? He appeals intensely to my spirit."
Maulana Khairulmubin answered, "Your holiness, this young man is a genius in music, and he desires greatly to submit himself to your inspiring guidance."
Then the Master smiled and granted the request, initiating me into Sufism there and then.
"The day is short, the work abundant, the laborers inactive, the reward great, and the master of the house urges on." -Hebrew saying.
Mohammed Abu Hassim Madani belonged to a distinguished family of Medina, and was a direct descendant of the Holy Prophet. My joy in him was so great that it found its expression in poetry and music. I had at last found my pearl among men, my guide, my treasure, and beacon of hope. I composed a song and sang it to him, and this I feel certain has brought me all my success and will aid me in my future life.
And this was my song:
Thou art my salvation and freedom is mine,
I am not; I melt as a pearl in sweet wine!
My heart, soul, and self, yea, all these are thine;
O Lord I have no more to offer!
I drink of the nectar of truth the divine,
As Moses thy word, as Yusuf they shine
who walk in thy ways; and Christ is thy sign:
Thou raisest to life everlasting!
Thou art as Mohammed to them that repine,
My spirit is purged as the gold from a mine!
I only know that my heart beats with thine,
And joys in boundless freedom!
My Murshid greatly appreciated this outburst of love on my part and exclaimed in deep emotion, "Be thou blessed with divine light and illuminate the beloved ones of Allah!"
From this time a spiritual attachment between myself and my Murshid was firmly established. As it grew more and more it opened up in me the ways of light through my attachment to that inner radiance, which can never be gained through discussion or argument, reading, writing, nor mystical exercises.
I visited him at the expense of all my affairs whenever I felt his call, receiving rays of his ecstasy with bent head, and listening to all he said without doubt or fear. Thus the firm faith and confidence I brought to bear upon my meditations prepared me to absorb the Light of the World Unseen.
I studied the Qur'an, Hadith, and the literature of the Persian mystics. I cultivated my inner senses, and underwent periods of clairvoyance, clairaudience, intuition, inspiration, impressions, dream, and visions. I also made experiments in communicating with the living and the dead. I delved into the occult and psychic sides of mysticism, as well as realizing the benefits of piety, morality, and Bhakti or devotion. The more I progressed in their pursuit, the more unlearned I seemed, as there was always more and more to understand and acquire. Of all that I comprehended and experienced I valued most that divine wisdom which alone is the essence of all that is best and attainable, and which leads us on from the finite world unto infinitudes of bliss.
After receiving instruction in the five different grades of Sufism, the physical, intellectual, mental, moral, and spiritual, I went through a course of training in the four schools: the Chishtia, Naqshibandi, Qadiri, and Sohrwardi. I still recall this period, under the guidance of so great and merciful a Murshid, as the most beautiful time of my life. In him I saw every rare quality, while his unassuming nature and his fine modesty could hardly be equaled even among the highest mystics of the world. He combined within himself the intense spell of ecstasy and constant flow of inspiration with the very soul of spiritual independence. Although I had found most wonderful attributes among the mystics I had met, some in greater and some in lesser degrees, I had never until then beheld the balance of all that was good and desirable in one man.
His death was as saintly as his mortal life had been. Six months before his end he predicted its coming and wound up all his worldly affairs in order to be freed for his future journey. "Death is a link which unites friend with Friend unto the Beyond", is a saying of Mohammed.
He apologized not only to his relatives, friends, and mureeds, but even to his servants, lest there might be anything that he had done to their displeasure and hurt. Before the soul departed from his body he bade farewell to all his people with loving words. And then, sitting upright and unwavering, he continued Zikr; and lost in his contemplation of Allah, he, by his own accord, freed his soul from the imprisonment of this mortal frame forever.
I can never forget the words he spoke while he placed his hands upon my head in blessing, "Fare forth into the world, my child, and harmonize the East and the West with the harmony of thy music. Spread the wisdom of Sufism abroad, for to this end art thou gifted by Allah, the most merciful and compassionate."
"The lover remains solitary among people and mingles with them as little as water with oil." -RUMI.
FOLLOWING my decision and the call of God, I left India in 1910 to sojourn in the Western world, strong in the courage of the most blissful command I had received from my Murshid and in the glory of the noble object he had awakened in my soul.
Naturally it was a great change in my existence to leave India, the most spiritually awakened land, and start for the West, and especially for America, that modern home of material progress. It was very opposite of the dream I had just experienced. The great activity of the people and the rapidity of things in general, the rush of machinery above, below, and all around; the transitoriness of affairs; men running hither and thither for trains and cars with newspapers and parcels in their hands -all this kept me under a complete spell of silence and bewilderment.
It was as if I had gone to sleep at home and had found myself in a bazaar on awakening. But being a Sufi I very soon became accustomed to this change of life by attuning myself to my surroundings, and I found that they were indeed true lovers of Dunia, the material world about which Rumi has written in his Masnavi.
Every race and nation has its infancy, youth, and age, as also its birth and its death. And just like every individual it even undergoes the evolution one passes through during the different stages of life. For from a philosophical point of view all the sons of the world are like little children, and their most important affairs are of no importance than a child's top. As a new nation America naturally appears childish owing to its youth, although its material progress is proportional as great as the spiritual progress of India. But America is a land of promise; in time it will rise to be an ideal child among the children of God and a leader of reform.
It was very hard for me to keep a balance between my mission and my profession, which were so different from each other. On the one hand I had to be a teacher, and on the other and artist, and especially the interpreter of an art which was so little known abroad. This could never be understood by a people accustomed only to look at the external aspect of things. It was not as in India where Kabir, the great poet, preached while he sat weaving at his loom; where Guru Nanak taught within his prison. For some of the greatest teachers the East has produced were also masters of music, such as Narada, Tumbara, Bharata Muni, Tansen, Tukaram, Surdas, Amir Khusrau, Mirabai, Avicenna, and Farabi.
Also, being a stranger, without any influence or good introductions, which a teacher never requires in the East, it was a long time before I became acquainted with the right people. In due time, by the mercy of God, my path was opened and I cam into contact with those interested in music.
At first I performed and lectured on music at Columbia University, winning the warm commendation of several professors and students. This was the beginning of my professional career in the West, and I started on a tour comprising nearly all the well-known cities of the United States, where I spoke at universities, before intelligent and appreciative audiences, on philosophy and music. This duality heightened their interest in my work, and as I grew familiar with the American people I began to realize to my joy that, despite their commercial trend and materialistic ambitions, God has not deprived them of that treasure which is love.
Their hearts are even as ours although their artificial life makes it more difficult for them to achieve that peace which we can so easily attain in the calm of the East. They also have a strong desire for spiritual progress, for as far as man is concerned, it matters not whether he belongs to the East or to the West; in time he is inevitably attracted to that eternal Source of Love which can never be eluded.
When I arrived in San Francisco I found much to interest me there, and my desire for the revelation of truth had its outlet. I have never approved of the idea of mission work, especially at this period of human evolution when a new awakening is imminent all over the world. I escaped the appearance of being a religious zealot or one who wishes to convert people, for I bore that message of universal truth which would harmonize East and West by spreading the idea of unity and which is Sufism.
I spoke at the universities of Berkeley and Los Angeles in California, where my music and my discourses on philosophy, as expressed in the realm of art, attracted much attention. Although my professional tour did not permit me to do as much as I otherwise could have done, yet it was the only means of fulfilling my mission, which had no other support than that of God. This tour aided me greatly in establishing the Sufi Order in America, with the following objects at heart:
(1) To establish a human brotherhood with no consideration of caste, creed, race or religion; for differences only create a lack of harmony and are the source of all miseries.
(2) To spread the wisdom of Sufism, which has been until now a hidden treasure, though it is indeed the property of mankind and has never, belonged to any particular race and religion.
(3) To attain that perfection wherein mysticism is no longer a mystery but redeems the believer from falling a victim to hypocrisy.
(4) To harmonize the East and West in music, the universal language, by an exchange of knowledge and a revival of unity.
(5) To promote Sufi literature, which is most beautiful and instructive in all the aspects of knowledge.
Praise be to the name of God, that those who were attracted by the message of truth were for the most part in earnest and very devout. Indeed, their sympathy made me almost forget my yearning for the East, and I felt at one with them. Some very wealthy mureeds wished me to give up my profession, and proposed to help me materially in order that my needs should be satisfied without trouble, and that I could thus be enabled to devote all my time to the Sufi call.
I gratefully refused this proposal, for, being a Sufi, I did not care about appearances, believing always that the self was the one dependable staff of life; while music, being my very religion, was much more to me than a mere profession, or even than my mission, since I looked upon it as the only gateway to salvation.
My associates, among whom were my two brothers, Maheboob Khan and Musharaff Khan, and my cousin Mohammed Ali Khan, rendered their utmost service by devoting themselves to the establishment of the Sufi Order which, in due course, was set on a firm basis. As mysticism had hitherto been made a hidden and esoteric thing by some teachers, who taught it only to those who belonged to their own race, religion, nation, or class, it was my task to impress upon the world that it belonged to them all; and that as I had acquired it from man, I must impart it again to man, without questioning his right, his caste, or his creed.
After my American journeying I came to Europe and visited England, where I immediately sought for my own countrymen in the hope of seeing familiar faces once again, as I had beheld so few since leaving India. But to my great disappointment I discovered them to be the very reverse of my expectations; some seemed to be avoiding their fellow-countrymen purposely, and the others were set on keeping to their own clique. This revealed a wrong influence of Western culture upon their lives.
At last, by continual effort, I gathered my spiritual fellows from among the Europeans around me, and these proved to be more at one with my soul than my own people. I found much more sympathy and response from the English than I had ever expected from then when in India. Their gentle and courteous nature revealed a sharp difference between the Old World and the New. But there was little curiosity concerning India and her people, and I found it very difficult at first to come into contact with minds open to philosophy.
It was on hearing the voice of the Suffragettes that I felt a new religion of sex arising, which would bring freedom to women in all phases of life. Women seemed to me to be prepared for science, art, religion, and philosophy, while her suffering in life also brought her nearer to the wider fields of intellect. I saw a lack of harmony between men and women, of that harmony upon which the true happiness of nations depends. The secret of this sad state, which is unknown to either sex, lies in the lack of thought cultivation and in the desire for worldly gain at the sacrifice of all else, while both sexes must meet on the same plane of evolution before the ideal phase can possibly be reached.
I appeared several times in public, and eventually before royalty, and thus prepared the ground for sowing the seed of Sufism in England. A Sufi Publishing Society was established, a most necessary organ for the propagation and maintenance of the Order, founded with the laudable object of publishing works on both ancient and modern mysticism, philosophy, religion, art, science, literature, and music.
My journey to Paris was more for music than for philosophy. Through the kind efforts of such friends as Debussy, the famous composer, I was able to carry out my mission through the medium of my art with great success. As my long stay in the West as well as my close friendship with several musical scholars had trained my ear to Western music, I especially appreciated that of France, which is so full of love and emotion. I spoke at the Musical Congress, the Musee Guimet, and at the University. The sensitive and idealistic tendency of the French helps to develop those qualities of the heart, which are attuned to devotion. Their Catholic training also influences them towards the devotional aspect of worship.
My visit to Russia struck another chord in my nature, for it recalled the East to me again. I found the people open both to modern progress and ancient thought. I met the leading musicians, poets, and literary men, who proved to be absorbed in their work, appreciative, kind, and hospitable, all of which promises much for their national advancement. Their voice cultivation and keen interest in all aspects of art especially pleased me. This concern shown by many prominent Russians made a lasting impression upon me. I also found there that Eastern type of discipleship which is natural to the nation where religion and self-sacrifice are still in existence, although the bigotry of the Orthodox Church stands in the way of the highest spiritual awakening.
Before I could bring my message of peace to the rest of Europe this distressing war convulsed the world.
All that I, as a Sufi, a universal being, have learned from my experience in both east and West is that I can now appreciate the merits and also understand the defects of both impartially.
Although the East has progressed to an inconceivable extent in certain aspects of life, this has never been fully recognized. In other words it has not been sufficiently fruitful, because its progress has been individualistic and not general. Also self-satisfaction, linked with laziness and recklessness, retard it from material advancement to a great degree. It is sad to see that Eastern students usually adopt the most undesirable qualities of the West, such as extravagance, excessive gaiety, and exclusiveness, instead of its courage, power of organization, and its most wonderful knowledge of administration.
In many cases Westernized Orientals grow indifferent towards their own people, owing to the varied direction of thought which retards their unity. The present unbalanced condition of the East is such that the man with intellect is, as it were, unbalanced in body, while the sane in body are unstable in mind. The spiritual person is lost in the spirit, and the material person is absorbed in matter; thus the one is an angel while the other is an animal. No doubt the unbalanced state of the East has deprived it for the present of both the world and God.
The East can learn a lesson of order from the West. for the lack of this is at the root of its downfall. She can also learn balance and moderation in most things, and co-operation among all classes regardless of caste or creed. Although the East has taught the lesson of brotherhood to the world, yet her children seem to forget to practice it among themselves; the brother drags his brother down and selfishness is on the increase, especially in India.
The East should also imitate the regularity of Western methods of work and rest, as well as its commercial activity, together with its love of research.
The independent spirit of the West is most praiseworthy among women as well as men. Their love of travel, the neatness and convenience of their homes, and the companionship of man and wife- all these are very praiseworthy, and especially at the present time when two extremes, either a great adoration or the complete subordination of woman, exist in the Orient.
"Man is placed in the prison of the earth, to prove him bankrupt towards God." -RUMI.
On the other hand, the West should adopt the East's adaptability to circumstances and its simplicity of living. At a time when modern civilization is increasing the needs of artificial life to such an extent, and the richer a man gets the more avaricious he becomes, then the most worthy and needful lesson for the West is the Eastern code of morality, which European travelers often overlook under its mantle of simplicity.
Eastern morals extol tolerance, renunciation, confidence, faith, and trust, together with innocence, contentment, patience, modesty, sympathy, hospitality, and a love for humanity which can even rise to the utmost heights of self-sacrifice. These merits, although they are to be found all over the world, are especially idealized and reach their culmination in the East. If the above truths could be fully understood by those students who are busied with the interchange of ideas and thought-forms in either part of the world, the Great Harmony which is prophesied for us all upon the marrow would assuredly come today!
"Love is the net of Truth." -ABU SAID.
The rapid evolution in material life seems to have brought the West to such a pitch that its religion seems lost in its bigotry and narrow-mindedness. At the same time, its progress being one-sided, the number of unbelievers has increased. As well as a few believers there exist many who are interested in mysticism but are only actuated by ignoble curiosity while remaining absolutely regardless of faith or belief, of God or apostle. These are constantly delving and diving into mysticism and the secrets of phenomena, which they desire to use in place of more materialistic media in order to accomplish their worldly ends and aspirations.
I have also found some religious enthusiasts who extol Christianity as a purely Western faith, forgetting that Christ himself was from the East, and that the East has understood and adored him much more than is generally known, although the Christian Church may not be established everywhere and the East may worship in other houses of the Lord.
Fain for salvation I would come to Thee,
The guide to cross the forest-wilds of life;
Wilt thou not heed when Passion's robber-band
Would snatch from me Thy Treasure's Trinity? -JAIN HYMN.
There seems to be a growing yearning for esoteric studies in Europe represented by different so-called mystical and spiritual societies and institutions for mental healing, but I found most of these to be on a purely commercial basis. Still, I would not blame them, seeing that the commercial trend of the age would surely not allow even Christ to preach as he did formerly. Also, this new awakening has produced one good result, which must not be overlooked. It has aroused the interest of the people in something higher than the world of flesh, and a door is opened in the West to allow the Eastern winds of divine wisdom to bear its spirit on towards an ideal end.
But although this wave of thought has created a longing for golden paths of mysticism, yet is has in a way degenerated, owing to its abuse in two directions: the desire to attain the requirements of daily life through mysticism, and the placing of the higher aspirations on a lower level.
Among those who are interested in mysticism there are some who have various objects of gain in view, and thereby, in the place of the true goal of mysticism, they direct all their energies to experimenting and phenomena. Some desire psychic powers, others wish to reach the planets, some hanker after glorious reincarnations in return for their virtuous acts. Some depend on spirits to guide them, and some do not rise above their undeveloped ego. Others dabble in mysticism out of inquisitiveness, some for a pastime, others as a profession, and yet others relish the notoriety their association with the unseen brings to them. I have met some who never knew what they were seeking, and yet were inordinately enthusiastic.
With the exception of a few chosen ones of God, who were inspired by the light and glory of truth, I found great difficulty in turning the interest of the people from the objective to the subjective world; in other words from illusion to stability, and from egoism to self-negation. It was like steering a ship against the tide. It is the same even in the East; otherwise every Oriental would be a saint. Still, the environment and training of the East surely help them in smoothing the path towards the ideal life.
"Verify the believers are brethren." -QUR'AN.
IN the East religion is sown in the heart of the child from birth, no matter to what religion he may belong. The invocation of the name of God becomes a daily custom, which he consciously or unconsciously repeats in sorrow as well as in joy. "Bismillah"-In the name of Allah, or "Alhamdolillah" -Praise be to Allah, or "Allah ho-Akbar"-God is great, and "Ya Allah"-O God; such expressions as these are used at the beginning and the end, as well as in the midst of every ordinary conversation. This attunes the believer and even attracts the unbeliever to the thought of God, which in the end leads the seeker to self-realization and the peace of God.
In good homes morality is taught to every child in unity with religion; by checking all its egoistic leanings it teaches the child to become humble, modest and respectful.
There is a little story told of the grandson of the Holy Prophet. The child, on addressing a slave by name, was corrected by his grandfather who exclaimed, "Nay, those are not good manners; although he is a slave he is older that you, so you must call him "uncle"."
If this courtesy were practiced in modern civilized countries such as America, where a strong prejudice against color exists, how much better it would be for the nation! Courtesy to strangers is taught as a virtue in the East, while the selfishness of modern civilization prevents strangers from entering Western countries without fear. This is quite an inhuman tendency, and reminds one of dogs who bark and drive away a stranger from their own habitation.
Overlooking the faults of others with politeness, tolerance, forgiveness, and resignation is regarded as a moral virtue in the East. Man's heart is visualized as the shrine of God, and even a small injury in thought, word, and deed against it is considered as a great sin against God, the Indwelling One. Gratitude is shown by the loyalty of the Orient and by being true to the salt; the hospitality of a day is remembered throughout all the years of life, while the benefactors never forgets humility even in the midst of his good deeds. There is an Eastern saying, "Forget thy virtues and remember thy sins."
"Chained with gold chains about the feet of God." -TENNYSON.
Thus the heart, developed by religion and morality, becomes first capable of choosing and then of retaining the object of devotion without wavering for a moment. Yet in the absence of these qualities it remains incapable of either choice or retention.
There have been innumerable devotees in the East, Bhakta or Ashik, whose devotional powers are absolutely indescribable and ineffable. To the ignorant the story of their lives may appear exaggerated, but the joy of self-negation is greater than that of either spiritual or material joy.
Devotion sweetens the personality, and it the light on the path of the disciple. Those who study mysticism and philosophy while omitting self-sacrifice and resignation grow egoistic and self-centered. Such persons are apt to call themselves either God or apart of God, and thus make an excuse for committing any sins they like. Regardless of sin or virtue they misuse and malign others, being utterly fearless of the hereafter. Yet they forget that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life", as the Bible says.
The fire of devotion purifies the heart of the devotee and leads to spiritual freedom. Mysticism without devotion is like uncooked food and can never be assimilated. "I am the heart of my devotees," says Krishna in the Baghavat Gita. And Hafiz says, "O joyous day when I depart from this abode of desolation, seeking the repose of my soul and setting out in search of my Beloved."
Philosophy, which is the forth stage of development, has five aspects: physical, intellectual, mental, moral and spiritual, These cannot be learned by the mere perusal of books, and by listening to the discussions of philosophers. For philosophy is not a study which is taught in the universities alone; it contains quite an opposite path to knowledge, and it can only be truly studied under the guidance of a Murshid. In him the mureed has perfect trust and confidence, as complete discipline even to the sacrifice of free will is required. At first this appears to be a loss of individuality, while the ego rebels at being thus crushed and submerged beneath the stronger laws of will and reason. But the battle against self gives a mastery over self in the end, which in other words is a mastery over the whole universe.
But it is well to remember that such utter trust should never be reposed in a Murshid until the self has gained entire confidence in him, and every doubt has been subdued. When once this confidence is given, there should be nothing on earth, which could break or cast it down for the whole gamut of eternity. These are some who consider it most humiliating to be guided by another, but they are greatly mistaken, for in the light of truth there is but One. The intercourse between Murshid and mureed is preferable to any other fellowship in the world, when one considers that a friendship in God is the only true friendship, which endures forever. "Sprinkle with wine thy prayer-rug if thy Pir-o-Murshid says so. The guide is not unmindful of the customs and ways of the Path," says Hafiz.
A Murshid is a gateway unto the unseen Master and a portal unto God, the Unknown. But yet in the end neither God, Master nor Murshid appears in the most dazzling light of divine wisdom, which alone is "I Am."
"Everything shall perish except the face of Allah." -QUR'AN.
Mysticism is the last grade of knowledge, which can only be rightfully achieved by passing through all these preceding stages, and it is only then that it is a mystery no more. Once it is know one realizes by one's past delusions how far and remote has been the goal, and how long the journey unto its distant shores. One beholds for the last time the mountains of virtue one was forced to scale in order to seek its rose-crowned heights, and then they vanish away like a dream in the morning.
"Everywhere Thou art, nearest of all Thou art, and yet nowhere Thou art, O all-pervading self." -ZAHIR.
It is degrading the name of mysticism when people claim to be Christian or Jewish mystics, for mysticism is pure from distinction and differences. My Pir-o-Murshid once gave me a goblet of wine during a trance, and said, "Be thou intoxicated and come out of the name and shame! Be thou the disciple of love and give up the distinctions of life! Because to a Sufi, "I am this or that" mean nothing."
All mystical powers such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, thought reading and prognostication, psychometry, telepathy, ecstasy, and various other spiritual manifestations from the world beyond, are disclosed in one glorious state of vision.
The life of the mystics, both the inner and the outer, is shown as a wondrous phenomenon within itself. He becomes independent of all earthly sources of life and lives in the Being of God, realizing His presence by the denial of his individual self; and he thus merges into that highest bliss wherein he finds his salvation.