Healing, Mental Purification, and the Mind
The mind world in the terms of the Sufi poets, is called, Aina Khana, which means the Palace of Mirrors. One knows very little of the phenomena that this palace of mirrors has in it. Not only among human beings, but also in the lower creation, one finds the phenomena of reflection. In the first place, one wonders how the small germs and worms, little insects, who live on other small lives, reach their food, attract their food. In fact, their mind becomes reflected upon the little lives, which then become their food. The scientist says that the animals have no mind. It is true up to a certain point. They have no mind, not what the scientists call mind, according to his terminology. But, according to the mystic, the same intelligence, which is in man, is to be found, to a lesser degree, in the lower creatures. They have a mind, but not such a clear one. Therefore, comparatively speaking, one might say it is the same thing as having no mind. But, at the same time, for the mystic, who calls the mind a mirror, it may not be so clear, yet it is a mirror.
Friendship, hostility, the fights, which take place among birds and animals, their becoming mates, all this takes place not as thought or imagination, but as reflection from one mirror to the other. What does it show? It shows that language man has made, and he has gone far away from that natural intuitive way of expression. You may ask any rider about the joy of riding, which he considers greater and better than any other form of sport or enjoyment. He may not be able to give the reason for it, but the reason is this phenomenon of reflection when the reflection of his thought has fallen upon the mind of the horse, when the two minds are focused on each other and the horse knows where the rider wishes to go, the more sympathy there is between the horse and rider, the greater joy one experiences in riding. After riding on horseback, instead of feeling tired, one feels exalted. The joy is greater than the tiredness. And the greater communication there is between the mind of the horse and the rider, the greater the joy the rider derives from it, and so does the horse. The horse begins to feel sympathy with his rider in time.
A story is told of an Arab rider who fell on the battlefield. There was no one near to take care of his dead body, and his horse stood there for three days in the scorching sun without eating, till people came and found the dead body. The horse was guarding its masters body from vultures. There is a story of a dog that howled for three days after the death of its mate, and died at the end of the third day. That is a reflection by which they communicate with one another.
Often one sees circus horses and other animals, working wonderfully according to the commands given to them. Is it their mind? Have they learned it? No, they have not learned it. It is not in their minds. It is at the instant when the man stands there with his whip that the reflection from his mind is mirrored upon their minds. If they were left alone, they would not work, they would not think about it. The reason is as it is said I the Quran, that man has been made chief of creation. This means that all creatures around him, large or small, are attracted to his magnetism. They are all attracted to him, they all look up to him, for he is the representative of the divine and they unconsciously know it and surrender to it. Elephants in Burma work in the forests, carrying logs of wood. But, it is the thought of the man who trains them, mirrored upon them, that makes them do the work. When one studies it minutely, one finds that it is not a training, it is a reflection. That which man thinks in his mind, the animals do. They, so to speak, become the hands and legs of their master. Two beings become one in thought. As the Persian verse expresses it, when two hearts become one, they make a way through the mountains. A relationship can be established between man and the animal, but it is difficult to establish that oneness among human beings.
There is the story of Daniel, who entered a den of lions, and the lions were tamed instantly. Did he will them to be so? No. It was the calm and peace of the heart of Daniel reflected upon the lions that made them quiet like him. His own peace became their peace. They became peaceful. One might ask if after Daniel had left the lions den, they remained the same. It is open to doubt. Although this does not mean that something was not left there. But, the predisposition of the lions remained, and no sooner was Daniel out of the den than the lions woke to lionhood again.
Very often birds and animals give warning of death in the family. One might think that they know from somewhere, or that they have a mind that thinks about it. The condition is reflected upon them. The condition of the person who is dying, the thought of those who are around him, the condition of the cosmos at that time, the whole environment, everything there is reflected on their mind. And they know they begin to express their feeling, and they become a warning of the coming death.
Do animals project their thought and feeling upon the human being? Can man reflect the feeling of an animal? Yes, sometimes human beings who are in sympathy with a pet animal feel its pain, without any other reason. The animal cannot explain its pain, but they feel how the animal is suffering. Besides, the most curious thing is that on farms one sees shepherds, reflecting the feelings of the animals. They make noises, sing, or dance in a way that resembles animals sounds and movements, and show in many ways the traits of animals.
It is most interesting to watch how the phenomenon of reflection between animals and man manifests to the view of one who observes it keenly. It explains to us that language is an external means by which we communicate with one another, but the natural language is this reflection, which is projected and reflected from one another. And this is the universal language. Once this language is understood, not only can one communicate with human beings, but even with the lower creation. It was not a fantasy when people said that the saints in ancient times used to speak with animals and birds. It was the truth. Only, they did not speak with them in language such as we use in our everyday life. They spoke in that natural language in which all souls communicate with one another.
Other instances are to be found in the bullfights that take place in Spain and the elephant fights that are known in India. It is not often that elephants fight in the forest. It is the mind of the spectators, who wish the elephants to fight, which gives a stimulus to their fighting nature. That desire reflected upon the animals makes them inclined to fight the instant they are free. Thousands of persons who watch these sports all expect them to fight, and the expectation of so many minds being reflected upon these poor animals gives them all the strength and desire for fighting.
There are snake charmers, who are supposed to attract snakes from their holes. Indeed, it is the music of the flute. But it is not always the music; it is the mind of the snake charmer reflected upon the snakes that attract the snakes out of their holes. The music becomes an excuse, a medium.
There are men who know a magic to drive certain flies from a house or garden. It has been known to happen that one of these men was able to drive all the flies from a place in one day. It was his mind reflecting upon their little insignificant minds. The power of affecting the mind of insects is an evidence of power, not a peculiarity. No doubt the human mind is incomparably greater in power and concentration, and naturally it projects is thought upon the objects it chooses to project upon. It is only the one who knows how to focus his mind who can do so. If a man drives flies away from a place, it does not mean that he has in his mind, a fly element, only that he can focus his mind upon flies, which another man would not be able to do. Because a person does not generally give his thought to it. He does not imagine that such a thing could happen. As he does not believe it, he cannot concentrate his mind on it. Even if he did reflect, just for an experiment, he would not succeed.
The will power develops by focusing ones thought on a certain object of ones concentration. Therefore, one can develop that particular thing better than any other thing by ones will power. For instance, those who play brass instruments in a band, naturally develop the power of blowing instruments. They will also be able to play the wood instruments, clarinet or flute. But, at the same time, if they have practiced the horn, they can play the horn yet better than the flute, because, although there is blowing in both, they are accustomed to that special instrument.
So, it is with concentration. For instance, if a snake charmer with all his power of attracting snakes went near the bank and wanted to attract a purse, he could not very well do it. He can attract snakes, but he cannot attract a purse. At the same time, once the will power is developed in any direction, it will prove to be useful in all things one does.
There have been cases of horses having been able to give the answer to complicated mathematical problems to which those who put the question to them did not know the answer. It is the reflection of the teachers mind projected upon the mind of the horse, for the horse is not capable of doing mathematics, nor can it be made to be. In a kind of mediumistic process, a mathematical idea is projected upon the mind of the horse. It is possible that even the person who does it does not know it. But, his very effort to make the horse do mathematics has produced the result. The power of projection can be increased with the increase of will power. It can be developed by the development of will, of thought, of feeling. There is so much that we could learn in little things, which can reveal to us the greatest secret of life, if only our eyes were open and if we were eager to observe the phenomena.
The phenomenon of reflection differs in its nature and character, especially by reason of the nature of different personalities. In the first place, the person whose thought becomes reflected in the heart of another, may have a concrete form in his thought, may be able to hold it as one design or a picture. In that case, the reflection falls in the heart of another man clearly. But, if the mind is so weak that it cannot hold a thought properly, then the thought is moving and it cannot reflect the mind of another properly. If the mind of the person is not in good condition, then the picture is not clear. If a persons mind is not clear, if it is upset or too active, then that mind cannot convey the reflection fully.
The mind can be likened to a lake. If there is a wind blowing and the water is disturbed, then the reflection will not be clear. When the water is still, the reflection is clear. And so it is with the mind. The mind, which is still, is capable of receiving reflection. The mind which is powerful, capable of making a thought, a picture, holding a thought, can project its thought beyond any boundaries that may be standing there to hinder it.
Does the heart reflect the mind or the mind the heart? In the first place, it should be known that the mind is the surface of the heart, and the heart is the depth of the mind. Therefore, mind and heart are one and the same thing. If you call it a mirror then the mind is the surface of the mirror and the heart its depth. In the same mirror, all is reflected. Mirror is a very good word, because it applies to both the mind and heart. If the reflection comes from the surface of the heart, it touches the surface. If it comes from the depth of the heart, it reaches the depth. Just like the voice of the insincere person: it comes from the surface and it reaches the ears. The voice of the sincere person comes from the depth and goes to the depth. What comes from the depth enters the depth, and what comes from the surface, remains on the surface.
Nothing can separate two minds, which are focused on one another. No person with an affectionate heart, with tender feeling, will deny that two sympathetic souls communicate with one another. Distance is never a bar to this phenomenon. Have we not seen in the recent war the womenfolk of the soldiers, their mothers, their wives, their children, linked with their dear ones fighting at the front and feeling their conditions and knowing when a soldier was wounded or killed? Many will say that it is the thought that reaches. But, at the same time, even the thought vibrations in the profound depth become a picture, a design. One thought, one particular design, one particular picture becomes reflected, and because it is so mirrored upon him, the other person feels it in an instant. Reflection is not like a conversation. In a conversation every word unfolds the idea more, and so the idea gradually becomes manifested. But, in the reflection, in one instant, the whole idea is reflected, because the whole idea is there in the form of a picture, and it is mirrored in the mind, which has received it.
This theory helps to reveal the mystery that lies in the connection between the living and the dead. The idea of obsession may be thus explained: that a reflection of the thought of someone on the other side, held fast by a living creature on the earth becomes an obsession. Very often it may happen that when a young anarchist has assassinated someone, in the end, one finds that there was no great enmity between him and the person whom he killed. The mystery behind it is that some enemy of the person, who was killed, on the other side, reflected his thought in the passive mind of this young man, who through his enthusiasm and strength felt inclined to kill someone, himself not knowing the reason. One finds such cases among anarchists especially. Owing to their extreme points of view, their heart is in a condition to be receptive. They can receive a good reflection or a bad reflection, and act accordingly.
Is it possible for a person living on the earth to project his thought on those who are on the other side? Every religion has taught this lesson. But the intellectual evolution of these times has not grasped it fully. For instance, among Hindus, there is a custom today of offering to the dead, all that they loved in the form of flowers and colors, in the form of natural environment, river, stream, mountain, tree. Of all that their dear one loved, they make an offering to him.
Among some peoples there is a custom of making delicious dishes, of burning incense, and preparing flowers and perfume. Then, after offering it to the dead, partake of it themselves. Because, however strange it may seem, if they partake of it, it is their experience, which is reflected. Therefore, it is right for them to partake of it though it is offered to the dead, because it is through them that the dead receives it. They are the medium for the offering. It is the only way in which they can give it.
This teaches another idea: that those who mourn over their dear ones certainly continue to give pain to those who have departed. Because, from this world, instead of having a better world, experience and reflecting this to them, they gather pain and offer it to their dead. The wisest thing that one could do for those who have passed is to project the thought of joy and happiness, of love and beauty, of calm and peace. It is in this way that one can help the dead best. One may ask if one can influence a soul that has passed beyond this world to such an extent as to make him exert a special action on the mind of another person on earth. It is a thing possible in theory, but why trouble that spirit? If you are able to influence that spirit, why not influence this person who is on earth?
At the present time, when materialism is increasingly prevalent, very few recognize the cases of obsession. Very often, those who are obsessed are sent to the insane asylum, where they are given medicines or different treatments, the physicians thinking that there is something wrong with the brain of the person, with his mind, or that something has gone wrong with his nerves. But, in many cases, this is not so. It is only the outcome of it. When once a person is obsessed, naturally, he has lost his rhythm, his tone, and therefore, he does not feel himself, he feels queer. A continual discomfort causes a disorder in his nervous system, causing thereby different diseases. But, at the root of it, there is obsession.
Obsession can be caused not only by the dead, but also by a living person. In the case of the former, it is called obsession. In the case of the latter, it is called impression. But what generally happens is that the souls who are attached to the earth, are either earthbound, or inspirers or the protectors of the earth. The love of those inspirers and protectors of the earth comes like a stream. No doubt, it could come to individuals, but actually it is mostly for the multitude. Therefore, it cannot be classed with what we call obsession. It can be called a blessing. But the other souls, who are earth bound, when they reflect it is for the reason of want. However great a reason or a want may be, it is imperfection, because it is limited. Besides, creation is a phenomenon whereby every individual must have his freedom, to which he has the right. When he is deprived of that freedom by obsession, however much helped, that person remains in a limited condition. Furthermore, it is possible that obsession may become most interesting. If the obsessed one is cured of his obsession he does not feel himself. He feels that some life that he has experienced for a long time has been taken away from him.
The inclination for automatic writing comes from a mediumistic tendency. A person who has a mediumistic tendency is naturally inclined to automatic writing. The reason is that by automatic writing he begins to feel in connection, he forms a connection with souls floating in the air. It does not matter what soul he contacts, from that soul he begins to take the reflection and then begins to put it on paper. There are some who, if once they have become interested in a soul on the other side, focus their attention on this particular soul. Then a connection is formed, and it is natural that day and night, or on many occasions, communication is established. But there is a danger in this play. It is interesting to begin with, but later it can be most difficult to get rid of.
The story is known of a person who had put himself in spirit communication so profoundly that the spirits would not leave him alone for one moment. It was just like a telephone ringing any time of the day. And the most curious thing was that he used to live with them. He used to say, I dont want you. Go away, go away. But, they came again. Day and night the poor man was exposed to his telephone ringing. He could not protect himself once he had laid himself open to them. He had focused himself on the other world, and then he could not close the doors.
Besides this, it is a great strain on the nerves because the nerves must be fine in order to get a communication. The intuitive centers in the body are made of fine nerves, finer than one can imagine. They are not matter; they are not spirit. They are between. When once these fine nerves have become sensitive, then the communication is open with the other side. But then the difficulty is that the gross vibrations of this earth are too hard on the nerves. The nerves cannot answer the demands of this gross world, this material world, they become too fine. The result is a nervous illness.
It was for the benefit of some mediums who were used by the great explorers of spiritualism that I showed my disapproval of that line; not as an unbeliever, nor as someone who makes fun of these things, only for the welfare of those simple ones who are made use of, and whose lives are ruined in order that the others may find out some secret of it. But what secret do they find after all? Nothing. It is not the spectator who will find the secret of a play; it is the player himself. That is where the joy is. If they want to experience, they must experience themselves and take the consequences. But this way of taking a young, inexperienced, mediumistic person and profiting by his ruin neither brings a blessing nor does it bring the knowledge, which they seek. In short, either a communication between living beings or a communication between the living and souls who have passed from this earth is in the reflection, a reflection which depends upon the power and clearness of mind.
A thought may be compared with a moving picture projected upon a curtain. It is not one picture, but it is the several parts of this picture that, changing every moment, complete the picture. And so it is with the thought. Everybody does not always hold a picture in his mind. As a rule a person makes a picture by a gradual process of completing it. In other words, the thought picture is made in parts, and when the thought is completed the parts meet to form one picture.
It is according to this theory that the mystics have made Mantra Shastra, the science of psychological phenomena of words, which the Sufis have called Wazifa, because for a concentration of thought the holding of a thought in mind is not sufficient. In the first place, it is not possible for everybody. Only some people can hole a thought as a picture. If there is any possibility of completing a thought, it is only by repetition. Eastern art also shows this tendency for the same reason. If a border around a wall is made of roses, it is a rose repeated 20,000 times, in order that the picture of a complete rose may be had when no single object can be held in thought. Therefore, the best way of contemplating that the mystics adopted was to repeat a word suggestive of a certain thought, a word that caused the picture of a certain idea by its repetition.
Yet repetition alone is not sufficient for the purpose. In order to engrave a certain figure upon a stone, one has to carve it. And so in order to make a real impression of an idea, deeply engraved on the subconscious mind, an engraving is necessary. That is done by the repetition of a word suggestive of a certain idea. No repetition is wasted. For every repetition not only completes it, but also deepens it, making thereby a clear impression upon the subconscious mind.
Apart from the mystical process, one sees people in ones everyday life who have perhaps repeated in their minds the thought of pain, of hatred, of longing, of a disappointment, of admiration, of love, unconscious of the work it has done within themselves. And yet, a deep impression of it has been produced in the depths of their heart, and that becomes projected upon every person they meet. One cannot help being drawn to a loving person, and one is unconsciously drawn to an affectionate person. One cannot cover ones eyes from the feelings of hatred that come from someone. One cannot ignore the feeling of pain that comes forth from a person, for the pain is engraved in his heart.
This is the phenomenon of reflection, reflection of one mind upon another. There are people who may sit together, work together, live together for their whole lives, and yet they may be closed to one another. It is the same reflection. If the heart of one person is closed, its influence is to close the heart of another. A person with closed heart will close the heart of another. A person with closed heart will close the heart of others everywhere he goes. Even the most loving person will helplessly feel the doors of the heart closed, to his greatest regret, not knowing what has happened. It is an unconscious phenomenon.
Therefore, pleasure and displeasure, affection and irritation, harmony and agitation, all are felt when two persons meet without speaking a word. It is our words, which hide reality. If it were not for our words, the phenomenon of mirror land is such that it would seem as if the whole universe were nothing but a palace of mirrors, one reflecting the other. If we do not see it, it does not mean that we cannot see it. It only means that our eyes are not always open, so we remain ignorant of the condition.
If this is true, there is nothing in this world which a person can hide. As the Quran says, on the Day of Judgement your hands and feet will give evidence of your doings. But every moment of the day is a Judgement Day. We need not wait till Judgement Day to see this phenomenon. We see it; we experience it always, yet we do not pay sufficient attention to it. Whenever we have a kind feeling, goodwill towards someone, or irritation, agitation, an antagonistic, hostile inclination, we cannot keep it from another. And this is sufficient for us to know that innermost truth, that absolute truth of the whole universe that the source is One, the goal is One, and the many are only its covers.
The impression that is made upon the mind has quite a different character from the impression that is made upon objects. Man is living, therefore creative. Whatever impression his mind takes it not only holds as a stone holds an impression, but it produces the same several times in a moment, thus keeping it a living impression. And it is that life of the impression, which is held in the mind that, becomes audible to the ears of the heart. It is in this way that we all, more or less, feel the thought or the feeling of another, his pleasure or displeasure, his joy or disappointment, for it is continually repeated in his mind.
The impression of the mind does not stand still like a picture. The phenomenon of memory is such that one creates all that the memory holds, not only the vibrations that the memory holds, but the vibrations or forms in answer to it. For instance, a person has a deep impression of fear in his mind. The consequence is that the mind is at work to produce an object of its fear. In the dream, in imagination, in a wakeful state, that fear is created. One can easily understand that it is created in the dream, but how in the wakeful state? Everything that is around a person, his friends, his foes, conditions, environments, all take a form which will frighten the mind that is holding fear in it. How wonderful then the plane of the mind is! The mind is its question, and is itself its answer. Thus, miseries are attracted especially by those who fear miseries. Disappointment is brought about by those who expect disappointment. Failure is caused by holding the impression of failure. Often people say, I shall never succeed, I shall never succeed. Everything I do goes wrong, there is something wrong. It is a very good thing that there are stars, so that they can attribute their miseries to the stars! But these miseries belong to them; it is they, in reality, who is holding them in their minds.
When a person is continually thinking, Nothing will happen right. Nothing good will come, failure is anticipated. And even if all the stars of heaven were in his favor, he would still meet with failure. In this way man is the creator of his condition, of his fate. Many there are who see no prospects before them in life. Does that mean that the world, the universe is so poor that it cannot provide for all their need? There is abundance, but by thinking continually that there is no way out of it, a person becomes fixed in his thoughts and brings about despair.
When man is thinking or feeling he is at the same time emitting what he thinks or feels as a fragrance. He is creating around himself an atmosphere, which expresses it. And it not only conveys to another his thought and feeling, but it creates for him an answer. For instance, a person who before leaving home, thinks, I shall have a motor accident, is reflecting that thought, perhaps, upon some motor driver. His thought has struck the driver, and when he approaches that car there is an accident. And so it is with success. When he goes out in the world and says, in my business I think I will be successful, he attracts all that is necessary to make him successful.
There was a girl who had learned a new theatrical song, the words of which were, How suddenly my fate has changed! she took such a liking to it that whenever she was about the house, she hummed and she said the words. And what was the outcome? She was looking down from a balcony of the house, and she fell from it and was killed. Those who knew her said that she was particularly happy three days before she was singing this song.
The Emperor Zafar of Delhi, or the Moghul dynasty, was a great poet, a poet of the highest order. So delicate in his expression, such a great master of words his imagination so beautiful and refined. His poetry was nothing less than a marvelous picture, a work of art, and so was he himself. But, as it is natural that an artist, a poet, interests himself more in tragedy than in comedy, so this poet began to write the words of a tragedy. What was the consequence? After the book was finished his tragedy in life began. He came to decline, and his whole life was repeating the same tragedy. Life repeated the same poetry, which he had written.
Sometimes warnings of accidents reach people in this way. But sometimes also a fortune teller tells you that something is going to happen to you, an accident or an illness, or such and such a thing. In the life of one it comes true, in the life of another it does not come true. And you will find that in the life of one who is impressionable, it comes true, because he has taken to heart that such and such a thing is going to happen. Therefore, especially in India, where the science of astrology is so advanced and for thousands of years the life of the people depended upon it, they have a saying: Never consult a foolish astrologer. He may be a good astrologer, but if he is foolish, never consult him. He will say things that will impress you. And when this idea is not taught, what happens? A person easily says something in fun; for instance, a person says to another, Dont go there; you will be killed. He does not think anything of this, it is a joke. But, he does not know that it may make an impression that will cause the death of that person.
If the warning of an accident really comes from another persons thought can we then avoid danger by using our thought power to counteract the other persons thought? We can if we know how to do it. For that is the practice of denial. Self-denial apart, we again come to the work that is done in the Sufi method: to deny even the thoughts and impressions which we do not wish to come to us. It is not allowing our minds to be stained by those impressions, which we do not desire that helps us to avoid them. We must rise above every impression that is against us. Only, what is needed is to know the science that we may act wisely towards others. Suppose we rise above it, or we do not care for it, or we do not believe it, yet we may still do harm to others. But, if we are careful and conscientious about what impression we make on others, that will make a great difference in the lives of our friends.
One may ask why prayer is used, if it is in our own power to have success or failure. It is in our own hands to say a prayer or not to say a prayer. It is doing our work. Prayer is a certain kind of work. We are doing it, if we did not do it, it would not be. Prayer from the depth and prayer from the surface are two prayers. One can utter what Christ has called vain repetitions, just repeating the prayer; one does not fix ones mind on the meaning of the prayer. If the depth of ones heart has heard the prayer, God has heard it, because God hears through the ears of man. When man prays, through his own ears, God hears it.
A person not capable of praying so deeply, can learn to pray deeply by practice, as a person who is not able to draw a straight line, by drawing a straight line a hundred times, a thousand times, will get accustomed to drawing it; so it is with prayer.
One can change the condition of the mind of a person who is repeating the same reflections over and over, by giving him quite another direction, a direction which would interest him most.
What we must first accomplish in life is to clear the reflections from our own heart, reflections that hinder our path. Once a businessman came to me and said, Well, I cannot understand. There is some sort of bad luck with me, so that I always fail, and I cannot understand why I fail. I went to spiritualists, I went to clairvoyants, and I went to people who make ones horoscope. Some said one thing, some another thing, now I cannot make out what is right. I told him,
The right and wrong is in yourself. Listen to yourself. Find out what is going on in your mind. Is it not the memory of the loss that you have had? It is a kind of continual voice going on in your heart. The astrologers will say it is something that is around you. The spiritualists will say that some ghost or spirit is behind it. There may be ghosts or there may not be, but what really happens is that in your heart a voice is saying, You have failed, you have failed. Can you make this be quiet, be silent? As soon as you get rid of this reflection, all will be well with you. He said, What must I do? How can I do it? I said, Determination. Promise me that from now on you will never give a thought to your past failures. Past is past, the present is present. Proceed with hope and courage; all will be well.
You will always find that those who say, Everything is going wrong with me are hearing the voice aloud; it is their own failure talking to them. As soon as they have been able to silence this voice, the failure is ended; a new page in the book of life turned, and they can look forward to their life with a greater courage and a greater hope. That person is brave who, in the face of a thousand failures can stand up and say, Now I am not going to fail. The failure was only a preparation for my success. That is the right spirit.
How can one wipe out all the innumerable pictures which hinder one? The whole process of the Sufi method is this: to make the photographic plate of the mind clear. This can be done by the practice of concentration. The horses in the forest will not come if you call them to come to you, nor will they walk as you wish them to walk, because they are untrained horses. So are ones thoughts and imaginations. They go about in the mind without harness, without rein. And when this is taken in hand, then it is just like the trainer in the circus who tells the horse to come, and the horse comes, and then he tells the horse to go, and the horse goes; he tells the horse to run, and the horse runs; to stop, and the horse stops.
Working with thoughts is just like what the circus man does. This is the first lesson and the most important lesson that you have to learn in Sufi work. This is the foundation of the whole of mysticism and the practice of philosophy that you are able to move your thoughts about as you wish. When you wish to think of a rose, a lily must not come to your thought. When you think of a horse, an elephant must no appear before you. You must keep it away. This teaches you to create a thought and hold it, and to expel every thought that you do not wish to have. In this way you become master of your thoughts. You train them, you control them. And then you use them to your benefit. Does it not prove to us that this is a mirror land? A mirror land with a living phenomenon, living because the mirrors are living. It is not only projecting and reflecting that takes place in the mirrors, but a phenomenon of creation: that all that is projected and reflected is created at the same time, and materialized sooner or later.
It is in this that the Sufi finds the secret of mastery; that besides all the ideas of fate and worldly influences and heavenly influences, there is a creative power in man, which works. In one person, perhaps, the creative faculty of his being is at work one degree, and the mechanical part of his being is at work ninety-nine degrees. In another person, who is more evolved, ninety-nine degrees of creative power may be at work and perhaps one degree of the mechanical part of his being.
It is the mechanical part of ones being, which is subject to conditions, environments, and which is helpless. And it is the creative part of ones being, which is creative, which produces phenomena. And in this aspect the divine essence is to be found.
The phenomenon of reflection is such that every action, every thought, is reflected in oneself, and there starts a production. Something is produced, something which gives a direction to ones life and which becomes a battery behind everything one does, a battery of power and of thought. There is a saying that mans real being speaks louder than what he says. It shows that in this phenomenon of reflection every person is exposed to all the mirrors, and there is nothing in the world which is hidden. What one does not say, one reflects. So therefore, there is no secret.
The words used by Solomon, under the sun, are for both night and day. The real sun is the intelligence. In the light of that sun all mirrors, which are human hearts, reflect all that is exposed to them without any effort on the part of man. This is the reason why the desire of a person, if it is a real wish, becomes fulfilled sooner or later; for it is reflected, and through that reflection it becomes living. That reflection gives it a life, because it is not in a dead mirror. It is in a living mirror, which is a human heart. It is nothing to be surprised at, that if a master of a house wished to eat fish, the cook had the desire to bring it. It is natural. It is nothing to be surprised at, if you have just thought of a friend, and the friend happens to come to meet you while you are going to do something else. It is unexpected outwardly; inwardly it is arranged, because your reflection rising in the mind of your friend has arranged your meeting.
Someone asked me once, In the hereafter, shall we meet those around us here? I answered, Yes, we shall meet in the hereafter, those whom we love and those whom we hate. He was rather pleased with the first thing, but much displeased with the other. Then I explained further: You think of two persons, the one whom you love most and the one whom you hate most. You cannot help thinking of them. You can either be praying for the friend or cursing the enemy, but you will be thinking often of both. And the most wonderful thing is that those whom you love or hate in life, you meet unexpectedly; without any intention on your part, you attract them. He asked, What shall we do? I said, The best thing is not to hate anyone, only to love. That is the only way out of it. As soon as you have forgiven those whom you hate, you have got rid of them. Then you have no reason to hate them, you just forget.
It is this reflection, which we see in the success and failure of business. When one person goes to another on some business, he reflects. If he has failure in his mind, he reflects failure in the other person. From all around, what comes is the condition of bringing about a failure for him.
If a person goes with success in mind, he reflects success in the heart of every one whom he meets, and nothing comes out of it but success. Therefore, it is those who are obsessed by failure that have failures. Those who have the impression of success, they have success. We read in history that there have been heroes, generals, kings who had success after success. And there are many examples to be found in our everyday life of those who have failure after failure. There is no end to their failures. Everything they touch is shattered. Why? Because destruction is there. They have it in themselves; it is only reflected in all things that they touch.
The great Hindustani poet, Amir says, My eyes, you have the light of the Perfect One, and you cannot see. It is not the lack of light in you. It is only because you keep covered. Man is continually seeking for a clear vision, wanting to see light, and yet he covers his very eyes, the sight, which has divine light in it, by covering his heart.
No one can teach anyone, nor can anyone acquire that power of seeing clearly. Man is naturally a seer. When he does not see it is surprising. The seers do not only see an individual when the individual comes before them. They are capable of seeing, if ten thousand persons are sitting before them, all as a multitude and each as an individual. The reason is that the larger a mirror becomes, the more reflections it accommodates in itself and therefore, in one person a multitude can be reflected at one and the same time, the hearts, the souls, and minds, and all. No doubt it begins with seeing the reflection from one; but as the heart expands, so it takes the reflection of the multitude.
It is in this that there is the mystery of the spiritual hierarchy. It is only the expansion of the heart. Do we not see this in our everyday life? There is one person who says, Yes, I can love one person, whom I love; but then I cannot stand the others. It is only the limitation of the heart. There is another person who says, Yes, I can love my friends; those with whom I feel at home and feel a contact, but not the strangers. I cannot love them. Before them I am closed. And he really is closed before strangers. He may be a loving person, but in the presence of strangers his love is closed.
In proportion, as the heart becomes more free of this limitation, naturally it becomes larger; because the capacity of ones heart, as Asaf has said in his verse, is unimaginably great. Asaf says, that if the heart of man were expanded, it would accommodate the whole universe in it, just like a drop in the ocean. The heart can be so large that it can hold the whole universe all. And the heart that can hold all can see the reflection from all; because the whole process of evolution is getting larger. Getting larger means getting freer from limitations, and the outcome of this condition is that the vision becomes clearer.
How can the minds of the multitude be reflected in the heart? In the same way that the picture of a group is taken on the photographic plate. There may be a crowd, but the photographic plate will take them all. If it cannot take them, it means it is limited, it is too small. The whole of life is an absolute intelligence; it is a mirror land in which all is reflected. When we think of it deeply, we find that in the daylight we close our eyes and sleep.
The heart, which is called a mirror, in Sufi terms, has two different actions, which it performs. Whatever is reflected in the heart does not only remain a reflection, but becomes a creative power, productive of a phenomenon of a similar nature. For instance, a heart, which is holding in itself and reflecting the rose, will find roses everywhere. Roses will be attracted to that heart; roses will be produced from it and for it. As this reflection becomes stronger, so it becomes creative of the phenomenon of roses. The heart that holds and reflects a wound will find wounds everywhere, will attract wounds, will create wounds; for that is the nature of the phenomenon of reflection.
Very often people have superstitions about a lucky or unlucky person coming to the house: a lucky person brings good luck, and an unlucky person brings bad luck. What is it? It is only that the one who reflects bad luck creates bad luck. Wherever he goes he produces bad luck in the environment. A mistress of a house said to a sage, Since this maid has come to my house, every day glasses break and saucers break, and things become spoiled and destroyed. The sage could see the reason of it. He said, As long as she lives in your house that will continue.
One often finds that a person joins a business, an industrial office, and perhaps he has not much means, but he has himself. Since he joined it there has been greater and greater success every day in that business, that industry.
The more we think of this phenomenon, the more we find that if there is anything that is reflected in our mind, we reflect it on the outer life. Every sphere of our heart has touched; it has charged that sphere with that reflection. The best explanation of the word reflection would be in the projection of a picture from a magic lantern upon a curtain. That curtain reflects the picture, which the magic lantern has thrown upon it. And so the whole of life is full of reflections. From morning to evening we are subject to reflections. The association with the restless gives us restlessness. A certain person may not speak to us, but because he is restless, our heart reflects it. And so the contact with a joyous person makes us reflect our joy. The whole day this goes on with us, without our knowing it.
Sometimes the person whom we reflect has gone from our sight, but we are still reflecting him. That is the reason we can give for some tendency to do harm, or laugh, or cry without reason. It is all from reflection. A man whose heart is reflecting joy, wherever he goes will make people happy. The sorrowful, the troubled ones, the disappointed, those heartbroken, they will all begin to feel life. Food will be given to their souls, because this person is reflecting joy. And the one who reflects pain and depression will spread it the same in his environment, and will give pain and sorrow to others. Life is such that there is no end of pain and sorrow and trouble. What we need is the souls that will reflect joy in order to liberate those in trouble, sorrow, and pain.
There is another aspect of this reflection, and that is what one thinks, one becomes. One becomes identified with it. Therefore, the object, which is in ones thought, becomes ones own property, ones own quality.
A person observing this phenomenon of reflection once had an amusing experience when he went to see a kings footman. When he went into the house of the kings footman, he was very surprised to see that it was arranged on the model of the palace. The way the footman came forward, the way he took him into the house, the way he made him sit, his manner, every word he spoke, were kingly. What was it? Being the whole day in the presence of the king, he was reflecting the king. A child, who is impressed by soldiers from childhood, acts like a soldier. When he is grown up, he becomes a soldier. The quality of a soldier is developed in him. The child who has thought of an artist and has been impressed by an artist, by his art, his personality, that reflection has grown in him. As he grows up, that quality of the artist develops and he turns into an artist. And when you read the history of great poets, philosophers, musicians, and their rare merit, has it only come by their studies and their practices, by the gift that is in them? Very often it has come by the impression that they have received from someone. A reflection, which has been developed gradually in their heart, has produced in their soul the qualities, which belonged to the one they are impressed by.
There are numberless examples of this to be found in the history of the world, but especially in spiritual work; work which cannot be accomplished by a whole lifes study, nor completed by the meditation of a hundred years in solitude. To try and attain spiritual knowledge by meditation or by learning only is like saying, I will make a language in my lifetime. But no one has been able to make a perfect language in his lifetime. It is a tradition, which makes a language. It is during centuries that people have developed language. It cannot be made by one person alone. It is something that each person has inherited, acquired. And so it is in reflection that a person develops the attribute belonging to the object, which he holds in thought.
There are examples to be found in the world of people, who by retaining a thought have created on the physical plane, its manifestation, and its phenomenon. The reason is that the phenomenon is not only a picture produced in the mirror, but that reflection in the heart is the most powerful thing. It is life itself, and it is creative. Therefore, the person who has understood the secret of reflection has understood the mystery of life.
Is a reflection a conscious action on the part of the reflector, or does it work subconsciously? It works in both ways. It works sometimes by a conscious action on the part of the reflector, but it always works subconsciously. For instance, a person with a pious mind, good thought, a peaceful spirit, his spirit is what one is trying to reflect. It is reflected in those who come in contact with him, and they take it with them. Some absorb it and keep it, and others lose it. But the idea is this: that when one is not conscious of which reflection to keep and which reflection to give away, one will take perhaps a reflection of sadness or sorrow and all undesirable reflections, and may keep them within, because one receives them. Therefore, one must know that the whole of life is a life of reflections; from morning till evening we receive reflections. From those near and dear to us, from those who dislike and hate us, and from those on the other side who have passed. We are always exposed to reflections.
One might ask, if it is a good thing to receive reflections. But you cannot help receiving them. You may consider it a good thing, or a bad thing, but it is what it is. If our heart is clear we receive it consciously, and the reflection is distinct. If it is not clear, we receive it unconsciously, and the reflection is not clear, but we cannot help receiving it. For instance, if there is a gong and a piece of wood, both will receive vibrations. But one is sonorous and will resound; the other will not resound. Yet, both are affected by the vibrations just the same. If the heart is clear enough to receive reflections fully and clearly, one can choose for oneself, which to retain and which to repel.
A clear vision depends upon a clear heart, open to reflection. Jelal-ud-Din Rumi begins his Masnavi by speaking about the mirror quality of the heart. Also, by telling that this mirror quality sometimes disappears when a kind of rust covers the heart. And then he goes on to tell us that by purifying the heart from this rust, one makes this mirror of the heart clear to receive reflections.
Speaking about the science of telepathy, my Murshid once said, It is reflection. If your heart is clear, then you must only know how to focus it, and you need not do anything else. It is a mirror and all that is before it will be reflected in it.
Therefore, it is not surprising if the seers see the soul of every person as clearly as an open letter. For it is the nature of sight. If the sight is perfect, it must see whatever is before it. It cannot help seeing it. It is not that the sight desires to see. It is natural if the eyes are open; all that is before them is reflected in them. So the seer cannot help seeing the soul of another, perceiving the thoughts and feelings that a person has. If he made an attempt to do it, it would not be right. The heart is the souls private chamber. No one must intrude upon any ones privacy. No one has the right to try and find out the thoughts and feelings of another person. But as the eyes cannot help seeing what is before them, so the heart, once made clear and pure from the rust, then sees as the eyes see.
But the eyes can see so far and no farther. The dimension, which is before the eyes, is different. Before the heart there is another dimension, and that is the heart of man. While the eyes see the surface, the heart sees the depth of a person. Never, therefore, think that a real mystic does not see into a persons life. Never think that a mystic is unable to see a certain side of a persons nature. No, he sees all, if only his heart is clear.
But now the question is: what is the rust? What is it made of? The rust is made of the dense outcome of the mind itself. It is its dense part, which comes to the surface, and thereby covers it, covering at the same time its mirror quality. The heart becomes covered by confusion, fear, depression, by all manner of excitement that disturbs the rhythm of its mechanism. As the health of the body depends upon its tone and rhythm, so the health of the heart depends upon the regularity of its tone and rhythm. A man may be virtuous in his actions, pure in his thought, and kind in his feelings. At the same time if he has ups and downs, then the rhythm is not kept right. Then he cannot see the reflection clearly. For the mirror is clear, but when the mind is continually moving the reflection is blurred, the reflection does not show itself clearly.
Once we think of it, we begin to see what a wonderful instrument this human personality is for perceiving and experiencing life fully. If there were a mirror sold for a million dollars, which showed the condition of thought and feeling of every individual, there would be a great demand for it. The man who made that mirror would certainly get numberless orders, even at a million dollars, for such an invention. And here man has it, and is unaware of it. And as he does not believe in it, he would rather spend that much money and buy a mirror than try to cultivate a thing in which he does not believe.
He does not believe in himself. And as he does not believe in himself, he does not believe in God. His belief in God is mostly superficial. Numberless souls believe in God, and yet they know not if He really exists. They only believe because others believe in God. They have no proof, and they live their whole life without a proof of the belief in God. And there is no way of getting proof of Gods existence, except by becoming acquainted with oneself; by experiencing the phenomena which are within one, and the greatest phenomenon that one can experience, which is ones heart. Could anything, therefore, be more interesting in life, more precious to give life to, than the thought that you could be an instrument for knowing all that is in the person who is before you, his nature, his character, his condition, his past, his present, his future, his weakness, and his strong points? Nothing in the world could be more interesting and more precious than wealth, or power, or position, or anything in the world. And this is something, which is attained without cost, even without the hard work, which man does for his livelihood. When we think of this, we feel man thirsts for water, standing near the stream. What man thirsts after is within himself. And, what keeps him from it, is the lack of belief in himself, in truth, in God.
People try to study the outer life. But for this study the sight must be the first thing. This outer sight can show the surface of things. It is the inner sight that is the seeking of the soul. Science as we know it is built on the study that one has made of the things, which are visible, which are on the surface, and therefore, that study is incomplete.
That study can be completed by seeing the inside of things. For even the beginning of science can be traced as the outcome of intuition. The ancient physicians used to follow wild animals, such as the bear and others, who sought for different herbs when they were in need of a cure for some illness, because their intuition was clear. Physicians used to live the life of solitude, the life of meditation, they used to live a pure life; and from that they got their inspiration. And from that inspiration they knew what to give in order to cure different diseases.
The science, which we have today, is borrowed from what was once known to them, although it was not called science at that time. It is a heritage of the ancient people, which we call science. But its beginning was intuition. And, if ever a scientist today discovers something new, something wonderful, he is again indebted, not to the outer studies, but to intuition. If this is true, then the faculty of intuition must be developed, the heart must be made clear, so that even if someone is not a spiritual person, but a man of science, he could be benefited in his study and practice in life.
The soul is likened to a caterpillar. As a caterpillar reflects all the beauty and color that it sees, and out of it turns itself into a butterfly, so does the soul. When in the angelic world, it reflects the angelic beauty, manifesting itself in the form of an angel. When in the world of genius, it reflects the jinn qualities, covering itself thereby with the form of a jinn; when in the world of man, it reflects human qualities, manifesting itself therefore, in the form of man. If the caterpillar is impressed by one form or by a number of forms of leaves and flowers and colors, it reflects them, and it becomes them. Very often you will see that a caterpillar has the color of its surroundings, the leaves or flowers or whatever is near to it. It becomes that. It does not take the color and form of trees and flowers, which are at a distance, which it has not touched. Such is the condition of the soul. It partakes of the quality of all that it comes into contact with, color and perfume, reflecting it and in time becoming that which it reflects.
This proves to us that the mirror like quality of the heart does not only show when the soul is on the earth, but it shows it from the beginning of the souls adventure towards manifestation. Therefore, the souls captivity and freedom both come from itself. Kudsi, the great Persian poet, has said, It is thou thyself who becomest a captive, and again thyself who becomest free from this captivity. Both these things, captivity in this body of clay, and liberation from this dense earth, the soul brings about itself. And it brings them about by one law, and that is the law of reflection. There may be different ideas, dogmas or speculations, expressed by different wise people as to the souls coming on earth, as to the souls return from here. But the thoughtful souls, however different they may be in their conception of the divine law of nature, cannot deny for one single moment this principal law working as the most powerful factor in the souls journey towards manifestation and in the souls return to the goal.
Therefore, naturally a mystic thinks, What is past is past, what is done is done. I do not trouble about it. What I am concerned with, is to make the present moment as I wish it to be, and to make the road which leads to my destination in the future easy for me. On this principle, the whole of mysticism has been based.
The Sufi concerns himself little with what happened yesterday. Yes, if the knowledge of yesterday has a relation to the things of today, if that knowledge can help him to make life better, in that case alone he consults the past. But not for the sake of the past. As Omar Khayyam says,
Tomorrow? Why, tomorrow I may be
Myself with yesterdays sevn thousand years.
Which means, If I lived for seven thousand years in the past, what is it to me just now?
The greatest problem that faces man is, Today, just now, how can I make my life best for myself, for others? If he occupies himself with this science, there is not one single moment that he can spare. It will occupy his whole life to make the best of just now. And after all, it is just now which repeats, and it is now which makes the future.
Besides, it is the science of reflection, the study and practice of which brings a person to that attainment, which is the quest of every soul. As Zeb-un-Nissa, the Persian poetess says, If thou thinkest of the blooming rose, thou wilt become a rose. And, if thou thinkest of the crying nightingale, thou wilt become a nightingale. Such is the mystery of life. If thou thinkest of the divine Spirit, thou wilt reflect It and thou wilt become It.
Why does not a mosquito turn into a butterfly, for a mosquito also sometimes dwells among beautiful plants and flowers? Because the mosquito is not interested in listening. It is interested in speaking. It does not learn, it teaches. So it remains what it is. The caterpillar on the contrary is silent. It silently meditates moves gently, quietly sits and meditates. That is why in the end it turns into a butterfly.
One might ask why it is that one soul reflects the properties of a murderer and the other those of a saint, both souls being equally divine. As the caterpillar, which first reflects and then becomes what it reflects, so it is with the murderer and the saint. Thus the murderer reflects a murderer because he has gradually turned himself into that reflection. By trying to erase from his heart sympathy, kindness, tenderness, by trying to be blind to that aspect of his own being, and by trying to cause harm and hurt another, he has gradually developed in that way. Very often, a young murderer is reflecting somebodys thought, either on this side or on the other side. Very often quite innocent people are arrested as anarchists who have no enmity towards the person whom they have killed. It has only come as a reflection on the mind, projected by someone who was an enemy, and this person has simply become an instrument. But when one asks if he is not responsible for it, the answer is yes. For he prepared his mind for that reflection.
There are many teachings, doctrines, speculations, and ideas as to the hereafter to be found. But if there is anything that could explain the nature and character of the hereafter, it is one word, and that is reflection. From whatever point of view one looks at it, it is one thing, and that is reflection, either from the point of view of the one who believes in heaven and hell after death, or from the point of view of the one who believes in reincarnation, which follows after death. For there is not one place built like a town for those who have done good deeds, so that all the good people should be in one town called Heaven or Paradise, while there is another town for the ones who have been sentenced to another place.
In the first place, each individual has his own way of looking at life, and according to his attitude towards life, according to his outlook on life, there is a hereafter. And therefore, the heaven of one person cannot be the heaven of another person. As there are different ideals of different people, so there is a particular wold of every person. And what is that world? That world is his spirit. And what does that world contain? That world contains all that the spirit contains.
The soul is likened to a photographic plate. A photographic plate may contain the reflection of one person or it may contain the reflection of a group or a view of thousands of souls. It is capable of accommodating in itself the reflection of the world before it. So is the soul. Then, one says, what is the hereafter? The hereafter of each one is what his soul contains. If his soul contains heaven, the hereafter is heaven. If the soul contains something else, then the hereafter is that.
Some people ask, Is it not the soul, which comes as a reincarnation? Yes, a soul. Certainly a soul comes. But what soul, which soul? A soul, which has a reflection in it. It is that reflection, which is its reincarnation. But if this is so, then one might ask whether it does not make everything unreal, just like the play of shadows. But is it not that? If it is not the play of shadows then what is it? If man finds reality in unreality, if that is consoling for him, he may console himself for some few days. But unreality is unreality. Unreality will not prove satisfactory in the end, because satisfaction lies in the knowledge of truth. For the time being, if unreality satisfies one, to think that this is real, one may continue to think in that way. But it must be said that in the end this will not prove to be real. In order to avoid future disappointment one must find it out soon in ones life if one is to be capable of grasping and then assimilating the ultimate truth. What is the condition of the soul that experiences the conditions of heaven or hell in the hereafter? The condition of the soul is that it is surrounded by what it has collected. As Christ has said, Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also, so whatever the soul has treasured in this life, it is that which is the future of that soul.
What difference is there between these two distinct ideas, the first that the soul goes on in the wheel of reincarnations, going from one thing to another, and the second that after death the soul experiences heaven or hell, and so it goes on towards God? There is only the difference of two different ways of looking at this one particular soul. The one, who calls personality the soul, sees that personality continuing from one condition to another. He thinks that the personality, which he has once seen, has not ceased to exist in the world, but is going on with its reflections repeatedly, one after another. And when he sees that personality as soul, he calls it the chain of several reincarnations, one after the other. The other person, who sees the soul as independent of personality, who considers personality as the garb of the soul but not the soul itself, then sees the actual condition of that ray of divine Intelligence which has come to the world as a soul. He sees its projecting outward and withdrawing inward. He understands this projecting as manifestation, and withdrawing as returning to the goal.
But one might wonder whether there is not anything of that soul left to go on. The soul, which has journeyed to the goal, certainly left something behind. When the body is left in the earth, something has become of this body. Either this body has been eaten by an animal and that animals being has become at one with this body; or insects have eaten it and through them it has manifested. This body has achieved some result just the same. But at the same time we do not consider this body as the person. We say: this was the body of that person; that person is gone away. And therefore, we do not take account of that body. But if we study and analyze the different conditions the body has gone through, we find that it has become food for different creatures and different objects, manure for flowers and fruits and plants, and directly or indirectly it has reached the animals, the birds. Besides, the little lives that have been created from it, blown by the wind, have reached far and have been breathed by many, and have been absorbed in the breath or water by many beings.
If we look at it that way we shall find that nothing that has once been born has been entirely lost. It has just been changed. And that change has used it for a new life. Therefore, the death of the body has been nothing but a kind of illusion to our eyes, and behind this illusion there has been something accomplished towards the continuance of life.
Is each soul an individual ray, or has one ray more than one soul in it, like a group soul? Even the ordinary individuality has a certain illusion in it. For instance, man thinks his body separate from everybody else. He says that the body itself is the sign of individuality; and at the same time each atom of his body has an individual and exclusive life, every blood cell has its exclusive life; it has its illness, it has its death and birth. And it is very interesting to see, in blood research, how every blood cell is a living being, and that it can die, and that it can be ill, and that it can cause death to the other blood cells also. No doubt, this cover of the body hides it from our eyes, and so far as we can see, this body is individual. But how many individuals are there within us?
Besides, a family also has a kind of individual significance; a country, a nation has an individual appearance. The world, a planet, is a kind of individual. And yet as a cell of the body makes a part of the body, so we all make a part of the country, so we make a part of the world, and the planet makes a part of the cosmos.
What is the individual? There is one individual. And all else that seems for the moment to be an individual, we may call an individual if we see it thus. When we no longer see it, we may no longer call it so. When we see an entity, standing remote, exclusive, separate, we call it an individual. But it is owing to our eyes that we see it as separate. There comes a time that we do not see it as a separate entity; we see it linked up with all else that exists. Therefore, naturally the Sufi, after observing life keenly, arrives at the idea of one Individual, and he sees the whole being reflected in one Individual. It is towards that idea that we have to develop.
And then we come to what we call the world of mind, of personality. Personality is a picture, which the soul reflects in order to manifest according to that design. It is something of which the soul partakes. For instance, a person goes on a journey, and finds snow on the way. He is covered with snow. Then he comes to a place where it is dry. But, at the same time, he has brought snow with him. So it is with the manifesting soul. It is that personality, which is now designing his destiny in the physical world, which is now building his form in this physical world. Therefore, if one must give a name to something, which the soul has already brought, one can give it. But, the soul does not start originally with personality; it starts as a divine ray.
Then, the expression an old soul is not true, as the soul is new. What really happens is this, that instead of calling it old personality, people call it old soul. But we must always understand it as an old personality,
Because the soul as we know it is garbed in a personality, which we generally call soul. In that sense we may say old soul. But, in reality, it is old personality.
The personality is another garb of the soul. This also goes on, just as the body goes on. The personality is also partaken of by one or by many wayfarers coming from the source. Arriving at manifestation, showing at the same time the same personality, for it is the same personality. The caterpillar is representative of the flower, of the tree, of the plant that it has absorbed in itself. The caterpillar is the reincarnation of that which it has taken into itself. And yet the caterpillar is itself an entity, which is known by us as it appears to be. A personality representing a complete person certainly has absorbed that which it is reflecting. In other words, that which it has taken into itself, which has been projected upon it, which it has borrowed. And it is of that personality that it may claim to be the reincarnation.
What is done with the body after death is different from what is done with the personality that survives. The body, being a substance, is eaten and absorbed. But, the personality, being a picture, is reflected in the mind world. Therefore, as a reflection of a person on a photographic plate does not rob the person of his existence, so the reflection fallen upon a soul from a soul does not rob the soul of its personality. The personality continues to journey towards the goal through the necessary processes. It is its reflection, which builds another personality on the same design, which is known as reincarnation.
Then, the question arises if there is any connection between these two personalities, which are alike. Certainly, like attracts like. If in the plane of the jinn a sympathetic link is established between two souls, it continues to exist. In this way it is natural for the spirit of Shakespeare to continue to inspire the Shakespeare personality on earth. The question if there can be more than one incarnation of the same person at the same time, may be answered: yes, a person can have many pictures, so there can be many reflections of one personality manifested on the earth.
One might ask if the personality is the same as feelings and thoughts that continue in the hereafter. Certainly it is. But at the same time, you can look at it from different points of view. There are two points of view: one is that a body remains with us as we go on in life; the other is that by cutting the nails or the hair, a part of the body is separated. That part, which is separated, is not lost. It is not destroyed. But, one does not think about where it has gone and what has become of it.
And, so it is with every thought and every feeling. Sometimes, the thoughts become elementals. They become living beings. They become living creatures. They work for you or against you. And, it that is true, then it is the same as with different parts of ones body. Sometimes, with people wounded in war, hands cut off, fingers gone, the person does not think any more about that part, which is gone. But that part has been utilized by nature too. That part is existing somewhere.
The world is a place where nothing is lost. It is only changed. A finger or leg cut off is going on. And so is everything that has been separated from ones mind. It has gone in the spheres, but still it is continuing its life. And, as parents find that their children live after them, continuing their life, so every thought and feeling is also continuing its own life in the mind sphere. But, at the same time, having lost one finger or leg of the body we still live. So the thought and feeling go on as living individuals. Man does not lose his individuality after death. That personality is making his hereafter.
When we come to the soul, around which the body was a cover and the personality was a cover that is just a divine ray, if we can understand the ray as a soul, which is difficult for every mind to grasp. But if intuition, inspiration, permit a mind to grasp it clearly, that person has seen a soul, not a personality. Not a body, but a soul, an independent entity by itself, as an angel or a jinn. And even passing through those conditions and arriving at its origin, which is the only purpose, that is in the depth of its heart. A new ray vivifies each incarnation. For the action of the soul is not to go out and to come halfway back and to go out again from there. Neither is the action of breath that. The action of the soul is the same as the action of breath. It goes out fully and it is drawn in fully. Each breath must touch the innermost of ones being in order for one to exist, for life is impossible unless ones being is charged at every moment by the innermost spirit. Every breath that a person takes touches the innermost spirit. It would not be possible for anyone to live if the breath did not touch the depth of life. Therefore, although we think that it is nourishment, or food, or outward things, which keep us alive, it is really the life of God, which we take in at every moment, with each breath.
As the seer says, this whole manifestation before us is a play of shadows. It continues for the night, and in the morning it is all over. One might ask, If that is the case, then what are we supposed to do? By considering it unreal we do not seem to arrive at anything. But at the same time by not considering it unreal, we stay in the unreal, and we do not open our eyes to the real.' The idea is to make the best of this world, which is unreal. And at the same time, to hold fast with both hands to the knowledge of reality, which alone is the savior in which we find our liberation. Verily, truth is inspiring and truth alone will save.
There is little consideration given at this time of the worlds evolution to what may be called inherited qualities. It is partly because individual progress is lacking, and partly because of materialism growing every day more and more. If it is a question of buying a dog, purchasing a horse, one gives thought to its ancestors because one attaches value to the dog or horse according to its origin. But in man, one is apt to forget it. As the days pass, less and less consideration is given to this.
No doubt, it has its advantages. Nevertheless, there remains the fact that the qualities of the ancestors on both sides are manifested in the child. Therefore, upon what the child inherits from its parents and from its forefathers, the building of its life and of its lifes career is placed. That is the foundation of its life. And if upon a weak foundation a large building is erected, that foundation will prove in the end to be not strong enough to hold the building. And if upon a good foundation a building is erected, you can always be sure that it is secure.
How does a child acquire its qualities? If the child is like one of its parents or its relations on its mothers side or on its fathers side one sees the reason, but with the mind of the child one is apt to forget the question as to how a mental quality appears. But it must be understood that the body is the expression of the soul. And if the body expresses the parents and the ancestors, the mind also represents them. For the body is the outcome of the essence of mind. Besides, the image that a child shows of its parents or of ancestors is not physical, it is mental. If the mental image is outwardly manifested in the visage of the child, certainly the qualities of the parents and of the ancestors are also reflected in the mind of a child.
What about the qualities a child shows which are quite different from the qualities possessed by its parents or ancestors? In the first place, one knows so little about ones genealogy, as far as one can trace back. Also, very few people know more that five generations of their family. But a child may inherit qualities of his ancestors six or seven generations back, which are not known to the family. And those may manifest in quite a concrete form.
Another way of a souls inheriting qualities, which do not belong to its parents and ancestors, is the reflection that a soul has brought with it before it has come to this physical plane. Those qualities may be even more clear in the life of a soul on earth than the qualities it has inherited from its parents or ancestors. It is for this reason that one sometimes finds a hero, a king, a poet, a general, a great politician, born into a most ordinary family when there is no trace of such knowledge to be found among his ancestors or in his parents. Nevertheless, he may be a representative of Shakespeare, or of Alexander the Great, from the higher sphere. But still he has some property in his body and his mind inherited from his parents and ancestors, which also remains as a reflection fallen upon his soul.
Which quality is greater in a soul, the quality of the ancestors and of the parents, or the quality that the soul has brought with it from the higher spheres? In the depth of that soul there is the quality, which it has brought with it. On the surface is that quality which the ancestors have given. If that innate quality is greater, then it may also manifest on the surface, covering that quality, which the parents and ancestors have given. But, if that quality is not profound enough, then the outer qualities, which manifest on the surface, will be the principal qualities showing as the characteristics of that person.
Often a child is very like its mother in face and like its father in character. For this there are many psychological reasons. In short, it may be said a child is an outcome of reflections of both the mother and father. It is on the greater or smaller degree of concreteness of the reflections, and also on the greater and smaller degree of conceiving those reflections, that the face of the child depends.
Does the soul consciously and intentionally choose its parents? Yes, according to its consciousness at that time. It may consciously enter a burning fire, but it is not conscious of its result yet. That consciousness comes afterwards. Are children responsible for the sins of their parents? Not at all. But suppose a child is entitled to inherit the wealth of its father. If that is so, he is entitled also, to the debts that his father has incurred, to pay them back.
Are children who live apart from their parents and are brought up by spiritual guardians, free from the influence of a parent whose nature is not a good one? Spiritual influence is unlimited. It can bring about any desired results; it can turn a thorn into a flower. For all these influences of parents, or ancestors, or inner influences, which a soul has brought with it, are reflections, shadows.
The real is in the depth of every soul, however high or low. And if a real soul meets with these children, or if they are brought in contact with a real soul, that real soul will sooner or later penetrate through all reflections, which cover the real that exists in every soul.
That is the meaning of Christs constantly pointing out to humanity the Fatherhood of God. To see the Fatherhood in God, and so inherit the qualities of God, which are great and superior and kingly and noble, and which are divine, and which no one in the world, or those whom one has met on the way, possesses. The Sufis call these qualities Akhlak Allah, which means the manner of God, or divine manner. A seeker after truth, a worshipper of God need only believe in one Father, and that is God. And not only believe, but know and be conscious of One, and inherit from that perfect source, perfecting ones life with it; and it is that heritage, which is called divine.
A soul inherits qualities from the parents and ancestors, and also qualities, which it has brought with it from the higher spheres. But a soul also inherits the qualities of the teacher, especially in spiritual culture, although from all different teachers one inherits certain qualities. When a child goes to an elementary school even, there he learns something from the teacher, which is not only taught by the books the teacher is using; but from the spirit of the teacher. It is very often found in schools, where children go to learn that the influence of a certain teacher makes a great impression upon their character and upon their progress.
Since spiritual guidance is not necessarily a study, the teaching, which reaches from a teacher to a pupil does so in the form of a reflection. This teaching is called, in Sufi terms, Tawajoh. Of course, one learns from books. But what one learns from a spirit, from a soul, is learned from a living source. For instance, the same thing read in a book does not reach so deep as when it is spoken. And when it is spoken by the teacher, it goes still further. Hearing from a teacher is a direct reflection. It is not only the word that a teacher speaks, but also even the silence, which is a still greater reflection. Sometimes words written on paper by the teacher also make a reflection if they have come from the depth. But, if the same words are spoken by the same teacher, that reflection is greater still. When Tagore recited his poetry himself, it was twenty times more effective.
The words of Rumi from the Masnavi still have a living charm. It is long since the Master passed away. But the words had risen from his soul, and their effect is so great that when one reads the words of Rumi they penetrate to the soul.
It is on this account that mystics used to give names to their pupils. It is not only a reflection like a moving picture upon a curtain. It is a reflection upon a soul, which is productive, which is creative, which is living. In the spoken word the impression is greater, because a spoken word enlightens one, inspires one. The same word read in a book has not the influence.
I remember hearing the first time in my life, a sentence, which made such a living impression on me that I could not forget it for weeks together. Every time I pondered upon that sentence it brought a new light. And when I heard that sentence, it seemed as if it was spoken by my own soul, that my soul knew it, that it was new, but most dear and near to me. It was a verse, a couplet; it runs it is an address of a bubble to the sea Though I am a bubble and Thou art the sea, still I and Thou are not different. It is a single sentence, but it went into my heart just like a seed thrown into fertile ground. From that time it continued to grow, and every time I thought about it, it brought me a new reflection.
I often had the experience that a mureed, having read a certain idea, a teaching, in a book four or five times, only understood the meaning fully, when I told him. Telling him once was more helpful to him than if he had read the same idea fifty times over. The letters on the paper sometimes reach as far as the eyes, but the word coming from the soul reaches the soul. Therefore, that which is learned by the phenomenon of reflection is of greater value than learning in any other form, especially in the spiritual line.
There was once a conference of religions in Calcutta, and representatives of all mystical schools were invited to this congress. Shankaracharya was the leading representative of Brahmanism present there. After a most impressive lecture, Shankaracharya wished to sit in silence, but there was a desire on the part of the audience that some of their questions might be answered. Shankaracharya looked here and there among his disciples, and asked one of them to answer the questions. Which disciple was this? It was someone who was not even known to Shankaracharyas pupils, for he was mostly occupied in looking after the sages dinner or dusting the room and keeping it in order. So the people who were known to be something were not asked. This man was asked. They did not even know that he existed. He had never done a thing like that in his whole life. It was only because he was asked that he stood up without thinking whether he would be able to give the answer or not. But the answer he gave to every question was as if it was given by Shankaracharya himself. The pupils of Shankaracharya were filled with admiration and bewildered at the same time, not having seen this man among them. It is this, which is recognized by Sufis as Tawajoh, reflection. It was not that pupil; it was the teacher himself who was speaking there.
Reflection also comes from the teacher from a distance. Distance makes no difference. The pupil, who is near to his teacher, though he may be at the other side of the world, is closer than a person who is not near, and who may be all the time at his side is. Although in the path of spiritual progress, a meeting on the physical plane is necessary, and a contact is valuable. It is just like the winding of a clock.
It is possible for someone to speak by reflection without himself understanding what he is saying, but at the same time, a reflection on the mind is not the same as a reflection on a photographic plate. A reflection on a photographic plate remains, but does not live. The reflection on the mind lives, and therefore, it is creative. It does not all live, but it helps one to create within oneself the same thing.
This brings us to the question of mediumship. Sometimes people may sing songs, which do not belong to them, which they never have learned, which they are not supposed to know. There was a young girl in Bombay who never knew Persian, but there used to be times when she would speak Persian. And the Persian was so good, that learned Persian scholars used to come and discuss with her. She used to discuss points of metaphysics and would always stand firm in her arguments. And they were deeply impressed by it. And then at other times she did not know Persian.
But it is mostly so with poets, especially mystical poets. They write things sometimes, which they themselves do not know. Sometimes they can interpret or they can understand their poetry better after ten years. A friend of a mystic wrote poetry, using in it terms which are only known to high initiates. The mystic was very much astonished and asked him, What do you mean by this? Then the poet realized that he did not know what that part meant. But no poet can be a great poet if he is not by nature mediumistic. For the perfect Source is within, and the reflection, which comes within is more perfect than what one has learned here.
Besides, what is called the chain of Murshids, which means the passing on of divine knowledge from one soul to another, and from that soul to another, yet again, and so on and on, this is also a reflection. A treasure, which cannot be gained by meditation or by study, is gained by reflection. No doubt study makes one understand it. Meditation prepares the heart to take a reflection better. But the wonder that reflection of the mind produces is far greater than any attainment made in the spiritual line by studies.
There are wonderful experiences to be found in the ancient schools of mysticism, among Sufis, among Yogis, among Buddhists also. The knowledge, which has been given perhaps four thousand years ago, is put in clearer language and explained better, and yet it keeps the beauty and characteristics of the whole tradition. And the beauty of mystical knowledge is this, that whatever school it may be of and from whichever part of the world, that central theme of the knowledge of truth is one and the same.
People who have attained knowledge of different aspects of life may differ in their expression, they may dispute over it, they may not agree upon certain things. But those who have touched the ultimate truth have reached the same truth. Evolution or involution, nothing diminishes it nor adds to it. It is what it is. And it is best attained by the way of reflection.
All that one learns and expresses in ones everyday life has been learned by the way of reflection, and this can be well studied if one observes the lives of growing youths. For the way of walking, of sitting, of speaking that a youth shows, is always from a reflection, an impression which has fallen upon his heart, and he has caught it and expresses it as his own manner, movement, and way of expression. It is not difficult for careful parents to realize how a youth suddenly changes the manner of his movements, suddenly takes a fancy to a certain word that he has picked up from somewhere, and suddenly changes his bearing. And there are youths in whose lives you will see every day a new change. A change in voice, word, and movement. Even he himself does not know where it has come from, and yet it has come from somewhere. The voice, word or movement, manner or attitude, which has impressed his heart, has changed his everyday life. There is no doubt that as a person grows old there is less change. Because that is the time for the collected impressions o appear in all that one says or does. But a child, a youth, is especially impressionable. And all that he expresses is what he has caught from others.
There is a custom in the east that no one is allowed to see a newborn infant except those esteemed in the family; whose impression is considered favorable, inspiring, and a good influence. It has been found very often that a child has inherited its foster mothers qualities; not only physical elements, but also the foster mothers qualities are more pronounced in the child than even the qualities of its own mother. It does not mean that the infant does not possess the qualities of its mother rather than the foster mothers.
It means that the foster mothers qualities are on the surface and that they are more pronounced.
Very few know or think about this question of what a great influence a nurse or governess has upon a growing child. It is the nurses faculties, which develop in the child unknowingly. And in the artificial life of today the parents, who neglect their children so much that they give them entirely into the hands of another person, do not know of what they deprive the child. They deprive the child of the influence of its own parents, which would perhaps be more advisable, although no doubt in some cases, the influence of the governess is better than the influence of the parents. Nevertheless, the child receives impressions and reflections deeply when it is an impression, which has first fallen upon it in infancy, whether it came from its foster mother or was gained from the nurse or a governess, who has taken care of it.
Do we get a reflection only if we love and admire, or also if we do not? We get reflections of both those whom we admire and those whom we hate. One may say that in the latter case, there will be repulsion, but repulsion comes after we have already got the reflection. Before we see ugliness, the ugliness has been reflected in our eyes. The mind is just like the eye. We say, This is ugly, but before we say, This is ugly, ugliness is reflected in our eyes already.
One can open oneself to beautiful reflections by being ones own master in everything that one does, by mastering ones life; and that comes by self discipline. However high a person rises or evolves, if he is without control, he has no credit for his evolution. The credit for his evolution is due to one who evolves intentionally. He evolves because he wishes to evolve that is the mastery of himself. And the credit is in the mastery.
For instance, an adept was sitting in a ship with an ordinary person. And this person said, Oh, how terrible this noise is, continually going on! It breaks my nerves to pieces. Terrible, terrible, terrible! Day and night, to hear this going on. It almost drives me mad! The adept said, I did not hear it until you reminded me of it. I hear it when I want to hear it, I do not hear it when I do not want to hear it. That is the idea. Both had the sense of hearing, but one had the power to close it and to open it. The other had the power to close it and to open it. The other had the doors of his hearing sense open but he could not close them.
And now, coming to the lives of the great personalities in the world. Most of the great souls, poets, musicians, writers, composers, inventors, have had a reflection of some personality upon them. They maintained it consciously or unconsciously, till it grew and culminated in a great personality. For that reflection grows just like a seed, and it brings the flowers and fruits according to its nature and character. Roses grow in the environment of roses, and thistles I the place of thistles. The shadows of great personalities produce great personalities. For what is it all? It is all a reflection, the whole phenomenon is of reflections, and therefore, the reflection which is worth while must bring forth worthwhile results.
The reflection of a great personality can also reach someone else through his works, for instance that of a poet, a painter. It is at such times that he does the greatest work he has ever done in his life, a work which makes him marvel at it, so that he cannot understand how it has been done.
In the case of the sages of India, Krishna and Rama and Mahadeva, who were known as the avatars or incarnations of divine personalities, what was it? The divine personality reflected in them. The numberless avatars of whom we read in the traditions of the Hindus have been the manifestations of that reflection. In the case of the Christ-like personalities which we find among the saints of ancient times, what was it? It was Christ manifested in their hearts. The inspiration of the Twelve Apostles, the Holy Spirit descending upon them, what was it? Was it not the reflection of Christ himself?
We need not go far to find support for this argument. The Khalifs after the Prophet Mohammad, Omar, Sadik, Ali, Usman, showed in their character, in their nature, the fragrance of the Prophets life. And then we come to the line of the great Murshids among the Sufis, and we see the reflection of Shams-e-Tabrez in his mureed, Jelal-ud-Din Rumi, the author of the Masnavi. And especially in the school of Chishti, which is the best known school of the ancient Sufis, we find perhaps more than ten great personalities at different times who prove to be the examples of souls which won the world by the divine manner of their personality.
It is our everyday experience that every little change we find in ourselves, in our thought and feeling, in our word and movement, is also caught by us unconsciously from someone else. The more intelligent person, the person who is more living, is more susceptible to reflections; and if that person happens to be more spiritual, then he has reflections from both sides, from the earth and from the other side. You will find in him a change every day and every moment, a certain change, which is again the phenomenon of reflection.
A person in an abnormally negative state also gets reflections from the inner world. You will find in the insane asylum many cases of mediums. The physicians may not acknowledge it, and they may call it some kind of hallucination, but it is really a mediumistic soul, which is open to another reflection from the other side. But, as Omar Khayyam says, A hairs breadth divides the false from true.
Such is the condition between normal and abnormal. It is just a hairs breadth. It is the same faculty, the same condition of spirit that could make one illuminated, and just a little difference can make a person insane.
One might ask if there is not a certain characteristic in every persons character, which he keeps throughout his life in spite of all reflections, which change him continually. Nobody has his peculiar characteristics, although everyone thinks, I have a certain character, and everybody is pleased to say it. To no one do these things belong. The soul came forth pure of all these things. It receives them on its way. But what belonged to a person yesterday is his own character, as we know it. And what he shows today we think he partakes of from someone else. Therefore, the best way of knowing what belongs to us is to know that all we know belongs to us.
Has God a consciousness of the whole creation besides the consciousness He has of separate beings? This may be explained in this way: every part of ones body is conscious of the pain that it has, if it suffers through pain from a sting or anything; but at the same time it is not that particular part only which is conscious of it. Ones whole consciousness shares in that pain. That means that the entire consciousness of a man experiences the same pain, which a part of his body experiences. And sometimes an illness in a part of the body has an effect upon the whole body. No doubt the part of the body which is affected by illness may show the sign of illness, while the other parts of the body may not show the sign of illness, yet in some measure they are affected and suffer through it. If God is all and in all, then He does not only experience life through all forms and through all entities separately, but also collectively, as the pain of one organ is experienced by the whole body.
We see that our life is full of impressions, which we receive consciously or unconsciously, and from these we derive either benefit or disadvantage. We learn from this that if we had the power to receive or to reject reflections, we should become the masters of life. And now the question is how to learn this. How can we manage to receive impressions, which are beneficial, and also to reject those that we do not wish to receive? The first and most essential thing is to make the heart a living heart, by purifying it from all undesirable impressions; by clearing it of fixed thoughts and beliefs, and then by giving it a life. And that life is within itself, and is love. When the heart is so prepared then by means of concentration one must learn how to focus his heart to receive a certain reflection. A poet, a musician, a writer, a thinker, unconsciously focuses his mind on the work of someone who has lived before him, and by focusing his mind on the work of a great personality, he comes in contact with that personality, and he drives benefit from it, very often without knowing the secret. A young musician may be thinking of Bach or Beethoven or Wagner. By focusing his mind on that particular work, he derives, without knowing it, a reflection of the spirit of Wagner or Beethoven, which is a great help to his work. And he expresses in his work the reflection that he receives.
This teaches us as we go on in the path of spiritual attainment; we arrive at a stage when we are able to focus our mind, our heart on God. And there we do not only receive the reflection of personality, but the reflection of all personalities. Then we do not see in the form of a drop, but in the form of an ocean. There we have the perfect reflection, if we can only focus our heart on God.
Why is it that among simple and illiterate people a belief in God is to be found, and among the most intellectual, there seems to be a lack of that belief? The answer is that the intellectual ones have their reason. They will not believe in what they do not see. And if methods such as those of the old faiths and beliefs were prescribed, of worshipping God by worshipping the sun, or a sacred tree, or a sacred animal, or worshipping God before a shrine or altar, or an image of some idol, the intellectual today would say, This is something which I have made, this is something which I have known. It is an object, it is not a person, and in this way the intellectual person seems to be lost. The un-intellectual ones have their belief in God and they stay there, they do not go any further, nor are they benefited by their belief.
But the process that the wise consider best for the seeker after truth to adopt is the process of first idealizing God and then realizing God. In other words: first make God and then God will make you. As you read in the Gayan: Make God a reality, and God will make you the truth.
This may be understood by a story. There was an artist; this artist was devoted to her art. Nothing in the world has attraction for her. She had a studio, and whenever she had a moment to spare, her first thought was to go into her studio and to work on a statue that she was making. People could not understand her, for it is not everybody who is devoted to one thing like this. For a time a person interests himself in art, at other times in the theatre. But she did not mind she went everyday into her studio and spent most of her time in making this work of art, the only work of art that she made in her life. And the more the work progressed, the more she began to feel delighted with it, attracted to the beauty to which she was devoting her time. And it began to manifest to her eyes, and she began to communicate with that beauty. It was no longer a statue for her, it was a living being. The moment the statue was finished, she could not believe her eyes that it had been made by her. She forgot the work that she had put into this statue and the time that this statue had taken, the thought, the enthusiasm. She became absorbed in its beauty. The world did not exist for her. It was this beauty which was produced before her. She could not believe for a moment that this could be a dead statue. She saw there a living beauty, more living than anything else in the world, inspiring and revealing. She felt exalted by the beauty of this statue.
And she was so overcome by the impression this statue made on her that she knelt down before this perfect vision of beauty, with all humility, and asked the statue to speak, forgetting entirely that it was her won work, that this was a statue she had made. And as God is in all things and all beings, as God Himself is all beauty that there is, and as God answers from everywhere if the heart is ready to listen to that answer, and as God is ready to communicate with the soul who is awakened to the beauty of God, there came a voice from the statue: If you love me, there is only one condition. And that is, to take this bowl of poison from my hand. If you wish me to be living, you no more will live. Is it acceptable? Yes, she said. You are beauty, you are the beloved, you are the one to whom I give all my thought, my admiration, my worship. Even my life I will give to you. Then take this bowl of poison, said the statue, that you may no longer be. For her it was nectar to feel, I shall now be free from being. That beauty will be, the beauty that I have worshipped and admired will remain. I no longer need be. She took the bowl of poison and fell dead. The statue lifted her and kissed her by giving her its own life, the life of beauty and sacredness, the life, which is everlasting and eternal.
This story is an allegory of the worship of God. God is made first. And the artists who have made God were the prophets, the teachers, who have come from time to time. They have been the artists who have made God. When the world was not evolved enough they made God of rock. When the world was a little more advanced, they gave God words. In praise of God, they pictured the image of God, and they gave to humanity a high conception of God by making a throne for Him. Instead of making it in stone, they made it in the heart of man.
When this reflection of God, who is all beauty, majesty and excellence, is fully reflected in a person, then naturally he is focused on God. And from this phenomenon, that which arises out of the heart of the worshipper is the love and light, the beauty and power which belong to God. It is therefore, that one seeks God in the godly.