It is the coming of the soul from its original place
to manifestation and its returning again from manifestation
to its original condition that makes life's journey. The
meaning of life as we understand it is merely this journey.
The condition of the soul before this journey and after
this journey is not recognized, not acknowledged by man.
In reality before this journey the soul is not a soul, nor
does the soul remain as a soul after this journey. But for
people who hold on to their personality and who have not
yet probed the wider horizon of knowledge, it is very difficult
to absorb this knowledge. And as all that they know is themselves,
God being no more than an idea to them, they sometimes get
disappointed and discouraged. Yet whatever conception may
be given to them, it does not take away the fact that a
soul only exists as an individual soul from the time it
shoots out as a current through the different spheres until
the time when it goes back and meets its original Being.
There is a difference between eternal and everlasting.
The word 'eternal' can never be attached to the soul, for
that which has a birth and a death, a beginning and an end,
cannot be eternal though it can be everlasting. It is everlasting
according to our conception. It lasts beyond all that we
can conceive and comprehend, but when we come to the eternal
that is God alone.
Different spheres such as the angelic sphere and the
jinn sphere are like a clay which is made for the soul to
use. In other words, the soul borrows from the angelic sphere
the matter of that sphere. It is called matter because there
is no other term for it except the matter or substance of
that sphere. Then from the sphere of the jinn it gathers
the substance of that sphere, and that substance covers
the substance which it has already gathered in the angelic
sphere. And after this the soul gathers around itself the
substance of the physical sphere.
By analyzing the substance of the physical sphere we
can arrive at a better conception of the idea that the whole
of creation was made in order that man might be created,
that all that went before was a preparation. Even the angelic
sphere and the jinn sphere were preparatory stages for the
soul coming towards manifestation.
Thus we come to the analysis of the four different clays
of which the body of man is composed. The first clay comes
from the mineral kingdom. Rocks and mountains were made
first. Trees and plants came afterwards. And the third process
was that the same substance which first was rock and mountain
and then became tree and plant, afterwards became still
more living and manifested in the form of animals and birds.
And it is from this same substance that the body of man
was made. It is as if God had made a clay for man which
was first dense in the form of a rock and in the form of
a tree, then less dense in the form of an animal, until
it was made still finer so that in the fourth stage it might
become the substance for the body of man.
It is for this reason that man depends for his sustenance
on all these substances. There is mineral substance which
is good for his health, there is the vegetable kingdom on
which he depends for his food, and there is the animal kingdom
which also serves for his sustenance. Because his body is
made of these elements it is also sustained by these elements.
Man is made of these four substances, the flesh, the blood,
the skin, and the bone representing the four different clays.
Besides from infancy and childhood man begins to show
the qualities which he has gathered from the different spheres.
For instance, infancy shows the sign of the angelic world.
In the form and face of the infant, in its expression, in
its smiles, we can see the angelic world. An infant is like
an envoy sent from heaven to the earth. And early childhood
begins to show the quality of the jinn world: the inquisitive
tendency to ask of everything what it is, the love for all
that is good and beautiful, all that attracts the senses,
these qualities of the jinn world manifest in a child. The
child takes such keen notice of everything, the child remembers
more than ten trained grown-up persons remember, the child
is keen to understand everything that it encounters, eager
to learn and happy to remember. All these are jinn qualities.
Afterwards, with youth, the qualities of the world become
When man advances in age he shows a return of the same
qualities. First the jinn quality. When he has had all the
experience of the world and has reached a certain age he
becomes most keen to express all that is beautiful. At this
age human beings become intelligent, they speak, they teach,
they understand things which young people cannot understand.
The jinn quality develops. And when he advances further
in age, then the angelic quality develops, then innocence
comes with its engaging smiles, then all malice and prejudice
are gone and a quality of continually giving out begins
to manifest. If one does not see these qualities developing
in some people this is usually because they are more engrossed
in the world, and then the natural development does not
In infancy man also shows a mineral quality, and that
is the slow perception of everything. An infant is living
just like a rock, sitting or lying, and it does not move
as quickly as an older child. In seeing, in hearing, in
responding, in perceiving, in everything it has a slow rhythm.
It shows the rock quality. And with childhood appears the
vegetable quality: as vegetables grow so the infant grows,
and as trees and plants are responsive to human sympathy
so the child begins to respond. With a loving person the
plant grows more quickly and flourishes better, and so the
child grows up more harmoniously with a loving guardian.
But where that love is not given, then just as plants and
trees wither so the life of the child becomes ruined.
In youth the animal or bird quality begins to show, and
that again demonstrates the continuity of the same process,
the process of the angelic sphere, of the jinn plane, and
of the physical world. With age it is again the same process,
but the other way round: first the vegetable kingdom begins
to show, a person becomes milder, more gentle, thoughtful,
and considerate, just like trees compared with rocks. And
as one advances so one comes closer to the mineral kingdom;
then a certain exclusiveness, a remoteness, a wish for retirement,
a love of solitude develop which are all qualities of the
There is another most interesting side to this subject,
and that is the spiritual development. A man who develops
spiritually also shows the qualities of those spheres whence
he has come, and of those substances on which he has lived.
For instance, the first quality that a spiritually advanced
person shows is that he is more perceptive, more observant,
more responsive, more outgoing, more appreciative, more
sympathetic, more harmonious. Where does it all come from?
It comes from the animal kingdom.
As he goes further, man begins to show the vegetable
quality: gentleness, mildness, kindness, and above all,
the bearing of fruit and giving it to all, to the deserving
and to the undeserving alike. The one who can reach the
branch of the tree can take the fruit. People throw stones
at trees and cut them, but although no doubt this hurts
the tree, the tree does not blame them. It has borne fruit
and it is willing to give it to them. And this becomes the
condition of the spiritual person: willing to serve all
who need his service, bearing fruits and flowers which may
nourish and please others.
Afterwards, man adopts the stone quality, which is to
endure heat and cold and wind and storm and to stand firm
through them all. The soul who has advanced further spiritually
becomes like this. Everything that falls on him he accepts.
He loves retirement. He loves solitude, and at the same
time the world may drag him out of it and life may compel
him to be in the world. But the rocks always seek the wilderness.
They belong to the wilderness. They live in the wilderness;
that is their seeking; that is their place.
There have been many kings and rich people in the history
of the world, but they have never been so loved and honored
and held in so much esteem by human beings as the spiritual
souls. Why is this? Because it is out of the rock that the
idol of God is made. And when man has become a rock, then
he is worshipped, then he becomes a living idol. And if
one asks why man has to become a rock in order to be worshipped,
the answer is because the rock is not conscious of itself;
that is why. People prefer to worship a rock rather than
a man. So, when the spiritual soul has reached the state
of becoming a rock, no more conscious of his little self,
unaware of his limitation, not concerned with anything,
detached from all things and beings, then that soul is to
There are three higher qualities which also manifest
when a person becomes spiritual. The human quality manifests
when he develops personality. This is the first step. When
there is spiritual advancement personality blooms. The jinn
quality manifests in the next stage when a spiritual man
begins to teach, when he shows genius in his inspiration
and in his insight into human nature, into past, present
and future. And when he reaches the stage where the angelic
quality manifests, then he begins to show innocence, simplicity,
love for all, sympathy, and God-consciousness. The angelic
quality manifests in the spiritual man when he has withdrawn
himself from the world, when he has centered his mind on
the cosmos, and when his consciousness is no longer an individual
consciousness; by that time he has become God-conscious.