Manifestation - Gravitation - Assimilation - Perfection
THE ABSOLUTE in its manifested or unmanifested condition
is intelligence and the different manifestations of this
intelligence may be called light, life and love. It is the
dense form of the intelligence which is light. As the sun
is the source of the moon, of the planets, of the stars,
of fire, of the flame, of the glow – of every aspect of
light – so the supreme Spirit is the source of all aspects
The sun is the centralizing of the all-pervading radiance.
In other words the all-pervading radiance has gathered itself
together in order to centralize in one spot, and this has
become the source of the creation, the whole physical manifestation.
So the omniscient Spirit by centralizing in one spot has
become the source of the whole seen and unseen manifestation.
It is therefore that in all ages the wise have worshipped
the sun as the symbol of God, although the sun is only the
outward symbol of God.
A minute study of the formation of the sun and its influence
in all things of life illuminates us so as to understand
the divine Spirit. Heat, gas light, electric light, coal
fire, wood fire, the burning candle, the flame rising from
an oil lamp, all these different manifestations of light
have their source in the sun; it is the sun which is showing
itself in all these different forms. Often we separate the
sun from all other aspects of light. So it is with the supreme
Spirit which is manifested in all forms, in all things and
beings, in the seen and the unseen worlds, and yet stands
remote as the sun stands remote from all other forms of
light. The Quran says, 'God is the light of heaven and of
earth', and in reality all forms, however dense they may
be, are a certain degree of radiance belonging to that Spirit
which is all light. All the different colors are different
degrees of that light.
The supreme Spirit, the source of all things, has two
aspects: audible and visible. In its audible aspect the
Spirit is the Word, as the Bible says, or sound, as the
Hindus say calling it Nada. In its physical aspect the supreme
Spirit is the light, in its finer aspect the light of intelligence,
and in its dense aspect the radiance of all objects. The
manifestation is the phenomenon of light playing in three
directions. This is really the meaning of Trinity. One direction
is the light that sees, the other is the light that is seen,
and the third is the light that shows all things. More plainly
speaking: the eyes which see and the object that is seen
and the light that enables the eyes to see the object –
all three are different plays of one and the same light.
In the Hadith it is said, 'I have made your light and by
your light I create the universe'. In other words, the all-pervading
Spirit says to the centralized aspect of Himself, 'I made
you first, and of you I have made the whole universe'. In
this is the key to the whole creation.
The process of manifestation is like the projecting of
rays out of the sun. Why does the sun shoot out its rays?
Because it is its nature. And to the question, 'Why does
the supreme Spirit manifest?', I will give the same answer:
'Because it is its nature'. No sooner has the all-pervading
light centralized in one spot and formed the sun, than the
rays begin to shoot out. In the same way, the moment the
omniscient light centralized itself in one spot, it began
to shoot out its rays. These numberless rays shot out are
the various souls – the souls of the good and the wicked
both coming from the same source.
As these rays go forward the first plane they strike
is termed the angelic plane; the second plane they strike
is termed the plane of the genius and the third plane is
called the physical plane. Now rises the question, 'Have
these rays left the supreme Spirit in order to come to the
angelic plane, have they left the angelic plane in order
to come to the plane of the genius and have they left the
plane of the genius in order to come to the physical plane?'
No, they have passed through, but while passing through
they have received all that is to be received from there,
learned all that is to be learned there, gathered all there
was to be gathered on their way – and they still are in
those planes. They do not know it, they are only conscious
of that plane in which the ray has opened its eyes. In other
words, we are sitting in this room, we see what is before
our eyes, but we do not see what is behind our back. Thus
every soul has behind its back the angelic plane and the
plane of the genius, but before its eyes there is this physical
plane. Therefore the soul is only conscious of the physical
plane and unconscious of the planes from which it has turned
The souls who have opened their eyes fully to the angelic
plane and became interested in that plane have remained
there, and the inhabitants of that plane may be called angels.
The souls who did not open their eyes fully there only passed
through it, and if they became interested in the plane of
the genius they remained there. The ancient people called
them jinn or genii. The souls who went still further towards
manifestation and reached the physical plane, the ultimate
call of their destiny, opened their eyes there and became
interested in the physical plane. Among all living beings
human beings are the most widely awake.
A person who has left America for Europe and has gone
from Europe to the Orient has brought something from America
with him to Europe and has taken something from Europe to
the Orient. So every soul who has come on earth has brought
with him something of the angelic plane and something of
the plane of the genius, and he shows in his life on the
physical plane that which he has brought from these two
planes of existence. Innocence, love of beauty, deep sympathy,
love of song, a tendency to solitude, love of harmony, all
these belong to the angelic plane. Inventive genius, intellectuality,
reasoning, law, justice, love of poetry, of science, all
these belong to the planes of the genius. It is therefore
that, without knowing this, people say of those who show
any of these qualities, 'Here is an angelic person', or
'Here is a genius'.
Now coming to the subject of gravitation: gravitation
known to science is the material gravitation. All that belongs
to the dense earth is attracted to the dense earth, but
it is the same theory to say that all that is attracted
to the spirit belongs to the spirit. Therefore man is pulled
from both sides. Man is pulled more so than any other creature,
for he is closer to the spirit. On one side the earth demands
his body, on the other side the spirit asks for his soul.
If man gives in to the attraction of the earth then the
body drags the soul towards the earth. If man gives himself
to the attraction of the spirit then the spirit drags the
body to the spirit. In this way man is subject to the law
of gravitation from both sides, from the earth and from
As to the subject of perfect assimilation, I have just
explained how the soul passing through the different planes
has borrowed from each of them things that belong to that
plane: qualities, tendencies, ideas, thoughts, feelings,
impressions, flesh, skin, bone and blood. That which the
soul has borrowed he must give back when it has done its
work; it was borrowed for a certain time and for a certain
purpose. When the purpose is fulfilled, when the time is
finished, then every plane asks for that which the soul
has borrowed from it, and one cannot help but give it back
to that plane. It is this process which is called assimilation.
Since man is born greedy and selfish he has taken all things
willingly, enthusiastically – he gives them back grudgingly
and calls it death.
Assimilation therefore is to give back the physical matter
which one has used on this physical plane – to give it back
to the earth. It becomes assimilated by the earth and the
soul becomes free of that burden which it once carried.
It begins to experience a greater liberty and a greater
ease, for going beyond is only releasing the soul of limitation
and of a great captivity.
Life in the world of the genius is longer compared with
life on the physical plane. It is this life which may be
called the life in the hereafter. But there comes a time
when all that was borrowed from the plane of the genius
has to be given back to that plane too, for it did not belong
to the soul. It is according to the same theory that our
body will not have what does not belong to it; it will throw
it out or, if the body cannot throw it out, it will be thrown
out of life. So no one can carry the substance of another
plane beyond. Each substance has its own plane and must
be returned to that plane. This is the only way the soul
can be freed from that plane in order to rise above it.
When the soul soars higher it must also give up the angelic
qualities. They will be assimilated in the angelic plane
before the soul can dissolve into the great Ocean, the supreme
Spirit: that dissolving which is called merging into the
real Self. One most important thing is to be learned from
this process: every soul coming from the source towards
manifestation gives what it brings from the source to the
souls who meet it – the souls returning from the manifestation
to the source – and receives from these souls certain impressions
to which it is attracted. It is this exchange which is the
cause of the various conditions of life in which a man is
born on coming on earth. One is intelligent, another is
simple, one is born in a rich family, another in a poor
family, one is healthy, another weak, one will have a great
purpose, another does not know what he must do. It is all
determined. By what? A soul coming from the source has collected
impressions on its way from souls returning to the source.7
For instance a business man was going to Jerusalem in
order to lead a retired life. He met someone in Europe who,
coming from the East, was going to the United States, and
he said to him, 'For forty years I have been in business
in the United States. If you are going there to do some
business I can tell you of my experience. I have a business
established there, I can give you my heritage, I can give
you all help if you continue that business. I will give
you letters of introduction to help you to find sympathetic
surroundings'. Another man, also coming from the East, met
someone who never had luck and who said to him, 'Are you
going to the United States? I have been there for sixty
years without one friend, with nothing but ill luck'. This
disappointed the man. He came there and found the same ill
luck of the person he had met, while the first one came
in the midst of friends; all was prepared for him, he had
only to continue the thing he was sent for.
Now we come to the final question: what must be the purpose
of the whole creation? Is there anything to be gained by
it? Yes, what is to be gained by it is the realization gained
by the experience of life. What does divine experience mean?
It means the soul's experience when this experience has
led it to that height where it is no longer only an individual
soul, but where it is conscious of all planes of existence,
of the source and of its limitation both. When all the inspiration
and power latent in man are within his reach, then that
realization is called perfection and it is that perfection
of which Jesus Christ has spoken in the Bible, where it
is said, 'Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect'.
Question: Are not those planes rather mental conditions
Answer: Yes, they are. But what we call a place
also is a mental condition. Because it has a rigid physical
appearance we think of it as a place, but really speaking
it is a mental condition. Therefore those who have understood
this have called it an illusion.
Question: Is one direction better than another?
Answer: One thing leads to another. As in life
one success brings many times more success and one failure
brings more failures, so the interest in one direction leads
to a deeper interest in the same direction. People say that
nothing succeeds like success and that it is money that
can make a person rich. That law always is the same; if
a person has knowledge then he is directed to greater knowledge.
In the same way if a thief goes to a large city he will
be the first to find thieves. Another person who is perhaps
ten years in a large city will not find one thief, but I
would not be surprised if the first man the other person
met was a thief. Like attracts like, every impression gathers
with that same impression. If a person goes towards happiness,
success, riches, knowledge, wisdom, he goes deeper and deeper
into it because it interests him. It is the same with all
wickedness when a person is attracted to it. A little inclination
towards wickedness, towards evil, leads him more and more
towards it. Whether he loves it or not he gets accustomed
to it and goes on in the same direction.
Question: Does cremation free the soul more than
Answer: No, the condition of the body has nothing
to do with the freeing of the soul. Only, cremation can
shock the soul more than burying in the earth; since the
body is made of clay it belongs to the earth. If a person
says that a body belongs to water too – water is in the
depth of the earth; it belongs to earth just the same.
Sufism is religion, philosophy, science, art and mysticism
at the same time. The greatest scientists of today will
agree with the Sufi conception that the origin of life is
motion. The Sufi sees this motion in two aspects: audible
and visible. Motion is first audible, then visible. Therefore
we read in the Bible – which hints at this idea – that first
was the Word and then came light. From a metaphysical point
of view it means that motion or vibration originating in
the Absolute first became manifest as the Word, audible,
and after that became visible in the form of light.
What is the sun? The sun is the centralization of the
all pervading radiance; the light which was spread all around
functioned in one spot. There it became more radiant, more
glowing, more powerful than the radiance that was left in
space. This light again functioned in the moon; its different
currents functioned in different planets and stars. This
is exactly the picture of the origin of the creation: the
all pervading light of intelligence first centralized itself,
thus making itself the Spirit of the whole universe, and
from there it began to manifest. The reason why in ancient
times people worshipped the Sun-God was that the sun is
the exact simile of God, the Spirit of the whole universe;
this Spirit of the whole creation formed itself in the same
way as the sun.
As there are many rays of the sun, so there are many
rays of the Spirit of intelligence, in other words of God,
the real Self, and each of these rays is a soul. The ray
therefore is the manifestation of the sun; man therefore
is the manifestation of God.
The rays spread forth and reach far, yet they are still
connected with the sun. The law of gravitation, compared
with the law which governs the relation between the sun
and the ray, is a similar law. The ray never leaves the
sun; its inner tendency is to reach far and to withdraw
and to come towards the sun, in other words to merge into
the sun. The same is the inclination of the soul. However
much the body depends upon the dense earth and the mind
revels in the intellectual spheres, the soul's continual
inclination is to withdraw itself to its origin. Since the
physical manifestation speaks loudest and the mind makes
its own noise, the gentle cry of the soul remains unheard.
Nevertheless, as it is said in the Quran, 'All have come
from God and to God is their return '.
Coming from its origin towards the manifestation and
going back to the goal is the soul's journey. In order to
come to the physical plane the soul has to pass through
two principal planes: first the angelic and then, before
it reaches the physical plane, the plane of the genii. The
condition of each of these planes is that, in order to pass
through or to exist in it, the soul must borrow a body belonging
to that particular plane. So the soul cannot pass through,
cannot exist in the angelic plane unless it adopts an angelic
form, and the soul has to adorn itself with a body from
the plane of the genii in order to exist there. On coming
to the earthly plane the soul has to adorn itself with the
earthly body. This means that the soul has put on an inner
garb and an outer garb, and the mantle that it puts over
it shapes the soul completely as a human being belonging
to the physical plane.
One garb is hidden in another garb. One might think that
the garb of the plane of the genius must be smaller in size
than the physical garb and that the garb of the angelic
plane, covered under the garb of the plane of the genius,
must be still smaller, but this is not necessarily true.
All that is visible to our physical eyes must have a certain
rate of vibration: the physical vibrations of matter make
it visible to our eyes. The vibrations of the garb of the
plane of the genius are so subtle that our physical eyes
cannot see it, but therefore it is not necessarily an undergarb;
as much as it might be an undergarb, so much is it an outer
garb. Its size need not be as small as the size of our physical
form or frame. Its size is incomparably larger.
It is the same with the garb that the soul has adopted
from the angelic plane: it is not necessarily so small as
to be covered by the two garbs just described, but it is
even larger and finer. Only, the eyes of this plane cannot
see it; its rate of vibration is greater. We see things
because of their vibratory rate; if they are invisible it
is not because they are invisible by nature, but because
they are invisible to our sight. Since we are dependent
upon our physical eyes in order to see, that which the physical
eyes cannot see we naturally say is unseen. It is only unseen
because we cannot see it as a form.
So it is not an exaggeration to say that man is at the
same time genius and angel, for he has passed through these
two planes. He does not know it, but he shows the qualities
of these two planes. The love quality in man, love of beauty,
joy, aspiration, all these tendencies, besides the innocence
of human nature, come from the angelic plane. The purity
in the face of an infant gives us proof of its having just
arrived from the angelic plane; its smiles, its friendliness
and its readiness to appreciate everything beautiful, its
love of life, all these things show the sign of the angelic
As a soul remains longer on earth he loses the angelic
qualities and adopts new qualities. An infant shows the
angelic quality, and a child the quality of the genius by
his love of knowing names and forms, by asking questions
to his parents with great curiosity. When that stage is
passed he seems to be full of miseries, worries, helplessness.
Do we not see in some people the angelic quality predominating?
They are good, kind and innocent, forgiving, pure-hearted,
righteous, virtuous, lovers of beauty, always inclined to
high aspirations. If we studied human nature more keenly
we would find a great many examples of the angelic nature.
Also there are poets, composers and intellectual people,
writers and inventors who show the quality of the genius
– in an Eastern language called jinn.
Those who show the human quality are still more in number.
They can be divided into three classes: there is the humane
quality, there is the animal quality and there is a devilish
quality. This is shown by the rate of their vibrations and
their rhythm. Intense rhythm produces the devilish quality,
moderate rhythm shows the animal quality, even rhythm shows
the humane quality. The form of these rhythms may be explained
thus: the humane quality is mobile, the animal quality is
uneven, the devilish quality is zigzag.
Death is nothing but the taking off of one garb and giving
it back to the plane from which it was borrowed, for the
condition is this: one cannot take the garb of the lower
plane to the higher plane. The soul is only released when
it is willing – or compelled – to give its garb to the plane
it has taken it from. It is this which releases the soul
to go on in its travel. And as it proceeds to a higher plane,
after its stay there it must again give its garb back and
be purified from it in order to go further.
If people knew this they would look at life from a different
point of view; they would understand the meaning of the
moral: you cannot get away with anything that does not really
belong to you. And they would come to realize after the
study of philosophy that even their body does not belong
to them; it is a borrowed property and must be returned
one day. Therefore the wise disown it before they are obliged
to give it up. All the spiritual exercises given by teachers
are practiced for this purpose: that we may begin to disown
our body from today, that we may not have the remorse of
having lost something we thought to be most precious.
This knowledge also throws a light upon the question
of death. Death is not really death; it is only a passing
stage, it is only a change, as changing clothes. One might
think, 'Do we not become less by dying?' It is not so. We
become more by dying, not less, for once the physical garb
has been thrown away the soul enjoys a greater freedom,
a greater liberation for the reason that the limitation
of the physical body is great. The physical body weighs
heavy on the soul and the day when this burden is taken
off, the soul feels lighter, its faculties, tendencies,
inspiration and power, all manifest more freely. Therefore
death is no loss.
Now we come to the question: what is it that brings about
death? Either the body, owing to weakness, is not capable
of serving the soul properly, or the soul has finished its
mission in that plane; it no more wants it. The body clings
to the soul and the soul holds the body: that is the position.
When the body is too feeble it naturally loses its grip
on the soul and gradually loses it more and more till it
can no longer hold the soul. Or the soul holds the body
as long as it has to accomplish something, and when the
soul sees no purpose then it loses its hold upon the body
and so gradually the body drops out of the hands of the
soul. It is by this process that death is brought about.
What about birth? Human bodies are the clay needed to
make a body for the soul. The soul has to knock at the door
of the physical plane and a body is given to it. Cupid is
the symbol of this idea, of this philosophy.8
There is give and take in the two planes through which
a soul has to pass, a give and take between the souls who
are going from the source towards manifestation and the
souls who are returning from manifestation towards the goal.
As a traveler coming from Asia to America and a traveler
going from America to Asia who meet in Europe exchange money
and thoughts with one another, so those souls take upon
themselves the debts of one another, the knowledge of one
another, the happiness, the misery of one another. In the
same way we experience our life on earth. One soul, without
knowing it sometimes, may take a route which leads him to
riches, to success. Another soul may take a route that leads
him to failure, to errors. It all depends upon what route
they have taken from the beginning. Hafiz has described
this idea in a beautiful way, saying that each person has
his own wine, and his love is according to the wine he has
taken. If it is the wine of happiness, if it is the wine
of joy, if it is the wine of sorrow, if it is the wine of
misery, if it is the wine of courage, of fear, of trust,
of distrust, of faith, of disbelief, it is in the intoxication
of this wine that he acts, presenting the effect of the
wine to the world. So we each have our own wine.
In this exchange of souls going from the source to manifestation
and souls coming back from the manifestation to the source,
one takes the wine of selfishness, another of unselfishness.
A Persian poet says, 'Before dawn the wine was poured out.
No sooner I opened my eyes than a glass of wine was given
to me. O Saqi, thanks for whatever wine you gave,
for it intoxicated me and made me lose myself'. The dawn
that the poet expresses as birth is the time when the soul
began its journey from the angelic plane. The first cup
it drank determined its life afterwards.
It is not true that, as they say, a man when he goes
higher in evolution is richer in knowledge. No, higher evolution
itself is a knowledge. The knowledge one gains from earthly
sources is not a coin that is current in other planes. The
coin of this plane, a plane so small, is as limited as this
plane – and man makes so much of it! It is amusing when
a person comes to me and says, 'I have read so many books
on occult science, I think I am quite ready to be initiated'.
It amuses me very much.
Imagine! Reading occult science should entitle someone
to spirituality! The language of that country is different
and intellectual knowledge is not current there. Learning
that language is unlearning what we have learned here. Therefore
the question of spiritual attainment is quite different
and must be dealt with from quite a different point of view.
What I have to say in conclusion about Sufi philosophy
is that what we call individuality is a momentary state,
and this conception of individuality as it is found today
– do not think that it will be the same tomorrow.
Omar Khayyam says,
'O my beloved, fill the cup that clears
today from past regrets and future fears.
Tomorrow, why tomorrow I may be myself
with yesterday's seventy thousand years.'
As soon as the soul has awakened, it no more gives much
importance to individuality – a thing made of garbs borrowed
from different planes; it is a doll of rags. All importance
we give, we should give to the soul which is real, which
comes from the real and seeks after the real.
Question: Is the soul not attracted by action?
Answer: The condition of the soul is likened to
a mirror: it mirrors so long as it reflects the object which
is standing before it. Yet that object is not engraved in
the mirror, it occupies it at the moment it veils it. So
the soul is covered by experiences. In other words, our
experience may delude the soul, cover it, bury it, but at
the same time cannot penetrate it.