1. 'Eat My Flesh and Drink My Blood'
There is a remarkable phrase in the Bible, where it says,
'Eat My flesh and drink My blood', says Christ. What does
He mean by saying this? He means in the first place that
what a living being loves most is his food, what he loves
most he eats. It has been proved in ferocious and dreadful
famines, by people eating their own children, that food
is dearer than their own child. The word of Christ, therefore,
'Find out, what it is in Me that you love, which may become
your nourishment, which may become your food. It is not
this, My flesh and blood; this will not be sufficient to
satisfy your appetite. There is another part of My being,
which is in abundance and can nourish My numberless devotees.
Therefore before trying to eat My flesh and blood, try to
find out on what plane I really exist and what is My true
being'. The lives of all the great saints show that not
only their adversaries and opponents but also their near
and dear friends have proved to be among their worst enemies.
There is a creature which loves its mate so much that it
Now as to the question: what it is that Christ speaks
of as his flesh and blood. His flesh is the knowledge of
God and His blood is the love of God; because it is love
that has a tendency, so to speak, to excite the circulation,
and it is knowledge which has the tendency to strengthen,
making man firm of which flesh is the symbol. One thing
without the other would be abnormal. For instance flesh
without blood, or blood without flesh, both are not normal
conditions. What gives normal health to the body and to
the soul is flesh and blood both. In the religious custom
of the sacrament of bread and wine it is this secret which
is symbolically expressed.
2. Customs of Courtesy
There was a custom in the old, aristocratic times, which
is even now observed in the East and somewhat in the Western
part of the world, of taking steps backward when leaving
someone who was respected. It was not only a custom but
it had a psychological point of view. When two people are
talking to one another, facing each other, a current of
sympathy is established which chiefly runs through the breath
and through the glance, and necessarily, one of them is
expressive, the other receptive. When their backs are turned
that current is broken, and the idea of the people of old
was to retain that current, which they thought was valuable,
as long as possible.
There was another custom of courtesy of the ancients
which still exists in certain places, that in order to show
respect to someone they bent their knees. This had a psychological
reason: that every influence of love, affection, or sympathy,
benediction, or blessing, is poured through the glance,
through the breath, and through words, and if the receiver
was taller than the bestower, the influence would go into
the ground instead of touching the person. Especially the
influence of the glance, which surrounds on with sympathy
and good wishes, has, mostly, a downward direction, and
it is naturally so with the breath also.
In the salutation made by putting one knee on the ground,
the knee resting on the ground expresses readiness to receive
the command and the knee that is up is ready to go forward
to carry it out.
But besides their psychological influences, different
manners of courtesy have been the outcome of human progress
in the direction of refinement. And yet progress in every
direction is like a wave in the sea – it rises and it falls.
So it is with manners. This time seems to be the time when
the wave is coming back. However, doing a thing is one thing,
and understanding it is another thing. Whether one does
a certain thing or does not do it, that is another question,
but in the understanding of all things lies the purpose
3. Customs of the Marriage Ceremony
India, the land of mysticism and philosophy, has symbolism
in all its customs. Even in the marriage ceremony everything
that is done as a custom or rite is symbolical. Both bride
and bridegroom wear on their hand a pearl-embroidered heart;
they wear saffron-colored garments for the ten days that
the wedding ceremony lasts; they are anointed during the
wedding ceremony on their heads, shoulders, elbows, and
chins, and on their knees and feet. The bridegroom has a
sword in his hand during all those ten days. On the last
day of the wedding both bride and bridegroom are veiled
with a low-flowing veil made of jasmine flowers and trimmed
with roses, and after the conclusion of the marriage ceremony
they are unveiled.
Now, the meaning of this veil of flowers is that a new
phase of life begins for them. They are no more the same
as before; new responsibilities, new hopes, and a new life
they have to begin. The meaning of the sword in the bridegroom's
hand is that the bridegroom shall uphold the honor and dignity
of his family, of his wife, that he shall stand in arms
to defend the honor and dignity that the union of bride
and bridegroom has completed. And the heart on the hand
denotes that both of them shall let their action be directed
by their heart. The anointing means that the hands and feet
and head of either shall be ready to serve the other when
occasion arises, that they shall not be stiff at any time
when their service is called for. Saffron color, in the
East, is considered to be the color of all sorts of good
luck. It is the imperial sign. Love-letters are written
in saffron color. The invitations for the wedding are written
in this color, for this color represents light. Light in
heaven and gold on earth, both are yellow. Therefore yellow
is preferred to all other colors to be the omen on some
good occasion in life.
4. The Horse
The horse has been considered a lucky animal in all ages,
for the horse represents energy, strength, activity, and
life. The horse was conspicuous in Greek art, as also in
the art of the ancient Persians. In the courts of the ancients
kings in the East there used to be Chama, fans made
of horse-hair; and the horse's head was used as a decorative
emblem in the palaces, and before every entertainment something
was spoken about the horse first. The comedians of India
have that custom still existing: the first item of their
program is an imitation of a horse. A story of a horse is
always interesting. A sportsman and thinker, who differ
so much in their likes, unite in admiration of the horse.
The Prophet Muhammad admired the horse as one of the objects
worth attaining in life. The most interesting part of the
Ramayana is where Lahu, the son of Rama, goes in pursuit
of Kalanki the ideal horse. In the sacred book of the Hindus,
Mahabharata, it is Krishna who is the charioteer of Arjuna,
Hassan and Hussein, the great martyrs of Islam, whose day
has been celebrated year after year for ages, are represented
with their beautiful horses called Duldul.
The horse is the symbol of the mind. When the mind is
under control it is like a horse broken in, when it cannot
be controlled it is like a restive horse, when its rein
is not well in hand it is like a wild horse roaming about
in the wilderness. Then the horse is the symbol of life,
representing its energy, activity, and beauty. The horse,
with its strength and activity, is harmless, useful, intelligent,
has feeling, and is different to the donkey. The horse is
the comrade in war, and is the dignity of great warriors.
The unity that is established sometimes between the soul
of the rider and the spirit of the horse is most wonderful.
The horseshoe is considered lucky in all countries, for
it reminds one of the horse and conveys the impression of
the horse's vigor, activity, life, and beauty.
5. Oracles Among the Ancient Greeks
In ancient Greece often questions were asked of an oracle,
which were answered by a woman, who sometimes gave a plain
answer and sometimes one the meaning of which was veiled.
It was the same thing that today is called a spiritualistic
seance, a mediumistic answer, the interest of which is alive
in all ages though in different forms. Among all the occult
and mystical interests the interest in the medium has a
very great attraction for the average mind. A woman was
often chosen for this work, on account of woman's sensitiveness,
which always exceeds that of man, and this is the secret
of intuition in human nature. Especially a celibate woman
was chosen for this purpose, as in her is to be found more
susceptibility to intuition. The question was supposed to
be asked of a god, a god who was distinguished by a particular
attribute, of poetry, of the sun, or any other attribute.
The secret of all this is that the priests, by their
hypnotic power and suggestion, wakened in the woman that
particular attribute of the Spirit within, Who is the possessor
of all knowledge, especially that pertaining to the attribute
with which He is identified. God is already in the heart
of every person, only, to wake Him and to make Him rise,
He should be called upon. He then, so to speak, takes birth
from the heart of a sensitive woman, whose innermost can
easily be touched. God has many attributes, He has many
ears and many tongues to speak with, and through every form
He answers whenever one reaches Him. Spiritualists call
Him a spirit, but even through the spirit of an individual,
dead or living, when God is called upon, God answers. Those
who play with spiritualistic seances would give it all up
in a moment if they only know that God always answers whenever
He is called upon.
6. The Greek Mysteries (1)
The little that is known of the Greek Mysteries has been
very variously interpreted. Some have supposed them to have
been a course of agriculture, taught secretly, others a
mummery carried on for centuries by the priests. What is
known with certainty is the high esteem in which they were
held and the strict secrecy which attended them. The word
means silence; to be initiated was 'to be made silent.'
Access to the lesser mysteries was easy. Tens of thousands
were initiated. The temples in which the rites were practiced
were under the protection of the state. In them were enacted
the lives of the gods in whose name the mysteries were celebrated,
and great use was made of music. The mysteries were held
to remove the fear of death and to give assurance of the
survival of the departed. Those who had been initiated were
believed to be happy after death, while others led a dismal
life hereafter, clinging to their graves.
The preparatory training for the greater mysteries was
very severe. Fasting was undergone, abstinence of all sorts,
extremes of heat and cold had to be endured, and the candidates
swam through water for days and had to walk through fire.
The training often lasted many years. After initiation,
in the beginning all was darkness, dread and dismay; then
a marvelous light was seen and shining forms came to meet
the initiate. The initiate experienced while on earth the
state of the soul dissociated from the body. A Greek writer
says, 'Here all instruction ceases, one beholds the nature
of things.' Apuleius, who had received all the initiations
of the mysteries, says, 'I went to the boundary between
life and death, I passed through the four elements, I stood
on the threshold of Proserpina, at the time of deepest midnight
I saw the sun shine in brightest splendor, I saw the greater
and the lesser gods and revered them near at hand. The initiate
was said to be received, while living on earth, among the
immortal gods, and made as one of them.
7. The Greek Mysteries (2)
This was really a Sufi institution, though not called
by this name, for exactly the same thing is to be found
today in the schools, of Sufis in India and Persia.
The lesser mysteries were Ilm-i Rabbali, the mystery
of gods, in other words the mystery of the different attributes
of God. For when the proper name of God is repeated a certain
number of times some particular effect is produced by it,
resulting in a desirable object. Before Islam the different
names of God were considered to be different gods known
by different names and identified with different attributes
and characteristics. By invoking the names of different
gods a person accomplished his object in life, as now Wazifa
is practiced by the Sufis. The music which the ancient Greek
knowers of mystery had as a means of their spiritual development,
the same is used even now in the Chishtiyya schools of Sufis,
where the Qawwali meeting, which is call Sama, is
held, in which music is played and sung for awakening the
emotional nature, which is the secret of revelation.
8. The Greek Mysteries (3)
The fasting and abstinence, and all these things, were
taught in order to develop the will power, which results
in self discipline and which is the secret of all mastery;
and it is by the power that the kingdom within is attained.
Once man has touched his self within, the illusion becomes
dissolved. The fear of death is caused by the consciousness
of mortality. As long as one is unaware of one's immortal
self one has the fear of death. Once the immortality of
the soul is realized and the realization is no longer in
one's imagination but has become a conviction, then one
rises above the fear of death. This knowledge is gained fully
when an adept is able to detach his soul from his body.
It is this state which is called by Yogis Samadhi
and by Sufis Nayat.
Every soul that treads the path of initiation takes his
first steps through the darkness; as Ghazali says, 'The
spiritual pursuit is like shooting an arrow through the
darkness.' No doubt as one approaches the goal the light
comes; as the Quran says, 'God is the light of the heavens
and of the earth.' Then, once the sight has become keen,
there is no further instruction needed. One gets insight
into the hidden laws of nature, all things seem to speak
to the seer of their character, nature and secret. This
realization removes the boundary between life and death.
One rises above the elements which have formed this mortal
abode – the body and mind – for the soul's experience, when
one touches one's true being, the soul. It is the soul-realized
man who stands above all matter, and in this way the spirit
gets victory over matter. Under all conditions of life which
produce obscurity and confusion the soul-realized man sees
the light, and to him all men, of lesser or greater degrees
of evolution, are nothing but different forms of the Divine
Immanence. In this way the man who has probed the depths
of the mystery of life becomes God realized. When he no
longer has his limited self before his view then only he
experiences the state of which Christ has spoken: 'Be ye
perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.'
9. The Banshee
There is a very widespread belief that in certain families
warning of the impending death of a member of the family
is given always in the same way. In some families a certain
bird is seen by some member of the family before a death,
in others the church bell rings without being tolled, in
another one or more flagstones of the pavement of the chapel
are seen to be wet while the rest are dry, and the number
of wet flagstones tallies with the number of deaths. In
Ireland such warnings are particularly frequent, and often
occur in the form of what is called the Banshee, a screech
heard by members of the family, but inaudible to others.
This explains the truth that life is a revelation in
all forms and is not restricted to any particular form.
The death of an individual is apparently the death of one
person having its effect to some extent upon that individual's
surroundings and on those concerned with him, yet inwardly
the influence of the death of one individual reaches the
whole circumference of the universe. No object, no being,
is left untouched by it; only this manifests to those who
are subject to be more affected by the death of someone
they are related to. To them the warning of death takes
some form that might be perceptible to them, and told by
them to their relations and descendants, that particular
form then becomes a special alarm clock of death for that
particular family, and it continues for a considerable time,
until someone is born in that family who ignores it absolutely
by his disbelief.
One learns by this that life is revealing by nature;
it is man who becomes blinded by nature. There is no creature
in this world so absorbed in the outer life in the world
as man; so man, with greater capability of knowing, knows
least of all creatures. There are birds who give warning
of death. Dogs, cats, and horses perceive the coming death
of their friend or neighbor or of their master. If man is
open to the knowledge that life reveals continually, his
body and mind with his intuitive centers and perceptive
faculties can know the secret and the meaning of life most.
10. The Psychology of the Shadow
Among the Hindus there has been an old belief, which
is now taken to be a superstition, even in India. Every
Brahman avoided or in other words took great care to keep
himself, his shrine of worship, his food, woman during maternity
period and the new-born child away from the shadow of a
Shudra or outcast.
Now, the times being different, naturally that belief
is seemingly meaningless; but in point of fact there was
an occult meaning hidden behind it. Shadow is caused by
the wall of a person standing against the sun, the sun which
is life-giving to plants and human beings, to animals and
to all, and the direct rays of which give all things new
life. Places which are hidden from the sun, flat or mountainous,
become the center of all diseases. The personality that stands
in the light of any person, causing thereby hindrance in
the life of that person, is an example of this.
The difference between the true teacher and the false
– both of whom have always existed in the world – had been
distinct. The false one stood in the light of his pupil;
the true one showed him the way by standing on the side.
The psychology of the shadow is very complex. The shadow
of an unholy person falling upon food will certainly take
away the living substance from it; if it fell upon a person
in a negative state, a woman sitting aside, or a child,
it would produce exhaustion and lifelessness, also in souls who are going through a process of recuperation or
growth. Very often a tree standing above a plant, keeping
from it the light, hinders the growth of the plant; so is
the shadow of the unholy. It can for the moment darken the
soul of those passive and receptive of spirit. No doubt
the power of darkness and illusion itself, as shadow, has
no existence in reality. However, it is evident; so is the
influence of immature souls.
The spiritual souls have a contrary influence to this.
Their presence is a stimulus to intelligence; their influence
is comfort giving and inspiring. The phenomenon of a spiritual
personality is that in his presence the memory becomes keen,
the waves of inspiration rise, the clouds of depression
clear away, hope springs from the depth of the heart and
the soul within begins to feel living, love manifests through
thought and feeling, and all that was once dead lives again.
This shows that personality is a mystery. It gives life
and causes death; it raises one to heaven, and throws another
back to the depths of earth. The influence of personality
may change one's life, environment, and all affairs. Its
influence can turn the wheel of life to the right or wrong
side, turning thereby the trend of all the affairs of life.
Very often most innocent, good and pure-minded souls,
owing to the lack of positiveness in their natures, become
the victims of undesirable personalities, personalities
that stand in their lives, obscuring the light for which
they crave; and this may continue for a long period of time.
Once a person is accustomed to being in the shade, then
he is afraid to come out in the sunlight though inwardly
he may be drawn to it.
The denser a person is, the grosser is his shadow. In
other words, the more material a person is, the heavier
is his influence.
The whole idea of life is to live freely; to look through
space freely, having nothing to hide or conceal; allowing
the light of truth to shine from within and the light of
the sun without; light all around, no shadow of any kind
hindering the light, which is the soul of every being.