The Supplementary Papers
A Universe in Man (1)
We can best understand a universe in man first by comparing a drop of water with the sea. The water has the same tendency of responding to the air, whether it be in the ocean, the sea, in a river, or in a glass of water. Even in the glass of water it responds to the air, and if there were room there would be waves. In the river there are waves, in the sea there are bigger waves, in the ocean they rise much higher still. The same tonic, properties, that doctors find in the water of the sea we can find in the drop of water. The microbes, the germs that exist in the ocean, live also in a drop of water.
So we see that the water in the ocean, in the sea, the lake, the river, is the same as it is in a drop of water. The best way to explain what the ocean is like to a child that has never seen it, would be to show him a little pool and tell him, "It is like that, all water." He at once imagines what it is like. From the part he imagines the complete. All that is in God, the Whole Being, is in man. Because it is seen in man, we understand that it is in God. If man had no mercy he would not know that God is merciful. If man had no wisdom he would never have known the wisdom of God.
Therefore it is no exaggeration to say that man is made in the image of God. If a person wishes to know what the Taj Mahal is like, he can go to the Victoria and Albert Museum and see the model. That shows him at least what it is like. It is only man who is made in the image of God. It is not the lion, the elephant, however big and strong a creature he is, who is made in the image of God.
Someone may say: "Why is it man who is made in the image of God? Why is not the lion, the elephant, the dog made in the image of God?" If you take the model of a turret or a roof of the temple at Benares, that cannot give you the idea of the whole temple. In man's physical constitution the elements of which the whole universe is made, are found. In the bones the earth element, the rock. The flesh is made of the water element a little solidified. The fire-element is the heat in man's body, the glow, the expression in the face. When the fire is less, the expression of the face becomes faded. The skin shows the effect of the air element. It changes in accordance with the effect of the air upon it. The ether is shown in the hair, which is much less sensitive than any other part of the body. If we cut the skin or the flesh, we feel pain. When the hair is cut we feel nothing.
Poison is also found in man. In all animals, in the fishes, there is a small bag of poisonous substance which is taken out before the meat is cooked. Otherwise it would all become poisonous. In the snake there is poison in its teeth. It is a great mistake that people often make, and the sciences such as phrenology, physiognomy, and so on, encourage them in this, that they say: "I have not this attribute, it is not in me. I am not musical, I have no musical gift," not thinking that it is all in him, if he could bring it out. And by thinking that he has not the faculty, he makes it less and less. There are some whose thoughts are like jewels. They are collected and treasured and valued more than diamonds. Sometimes a thought brings us a peace, a joy, in whatever difficulties or sorrows we may be. There are others whose thoughts are like pebbles. When he speaks his wife is annoyed, his friends want to fight with him.
There are the feelings of love and sympathy. These are in the soul. This is the angelic world in man. Muhammad said: "At every moment man creates an angel." One may think, "How can man by his thought create an angel?" But to me the thoughts are more living than the living beings. We may say: "If the whole universe is in man, then Shaitan must be in us too." He is. The thought that we are something different from others, better than others, and deserving all that is best, looking down upon others and thinking: "they are foolish," or "he is a thief," not thinking that these same attributes are in us, that is all Shaitan. If they were not in us, we should not know what they are. If you ask a little child what a thief is, he does not know, because that quality is not yet developed in him. There is no pride in saying: "This bad attribute is not in me." There is no wisdom in saying: "I have not this faculty."
It is that which prevents our being sociable, being kind. It is this that makes us unhappy. Have you known what it is to give your meal to another and to go without yourself? It gives a happiness that no dinner eaten by yourself can give. Have you known what it is to give your coat to another and do without it yourself? It gives a joy that the satisfaction of your own wants cannot give you. Even that perfect peace and calm which is the eternal life is in man and can be attained by man.
A Universe in Man (2)
The perfection of God's manifestation is man. When man reaches perfection His manifestation is perfect and without man's perfection God's manifestation would not be perfect. Perfection is reached when man becomes altogether human. This is what we are, the dogs of the world. The nature of the dog is that where he sees some food, some bone, there he runs, and if another dog comes near, he wants to bite him. He does not want the other dog to share his bone. And if you give a dog food, he wants to snatch it out of your hand before it is given. We are like this. Where we see some benefit, there we run. We do not walk, because we might lose time. And we do not want another to share our benefit.
God's desire to realize Himself fully evolved and produced man. The rocks, the planets, the animals were all produced in order that man might be made. If we look at the pattern that the designer draws for the wallpaper, the flowers that he has drawn, we see the outline of man's face. If we look at the veins in the marble, we see man's face. If we look minutely at the sun, you will see in it, indistinctly the face of man.
In America even, there are rocks that show man's face, (in Springfield). If you look into the flowers, you will see in them the face of man. All this shows us that the aim of the whole manifestation was to produce man. Through the mineral, the plant, the animal, the soul reaches the stage of man. In man it has reached its final, its ideal expression. The Qu'ran says: "Man is made in the image of God." In man God's desire to know Himself is accomplished, and in man all the universe is united. He is mineral in his bones, vegetable in his hair, animal in his passions, man by his realization.
To be man is the greatest privilege. In the Sermon on the Mount it is said: "Ye are the salt of the earth." That means Ye are the greatest of creation. A Hindustani poet has said: "Man was created for sympathy. For worship the angels were enough in heaven. And for cruelty the animals were enough on earth." The angels are always ready to worship God and animals ready to fight and kill. Man is made for sympathy, for feeling.
Man's heart is the most feeling. What man is it of whom God is proud? In Persian there are two words for man, insaan and adami. Insaan is the man who is man in mind and man in form. Adami is the man who is man in form only, but not in his mind.
Man has two natures, the angelic and the animal. The angelic nature is only his kindness, his love, his sympathy, and his desire for knowledge. His desire to eat, to drink, to sleep, his passions, his anger are from the animals, and his jealousy, his fear of one stronger than himself, his envy of those better than himself. A Hindustani poet has said: "We created man for feeling, for sympathy, if not, for Our praise the angels were enough in heaven." There are two ways open before man. He can develop his angelic qualities. Then he becomes angel, and he becomes God. Or he can develop his animal qualities. Then he becomes first animal. He wishes then to satisfy his animal desires which the animal qualities enjoy. Soon he wishes to satisfy them by whatever means, at whatever cost, at the cost of others. Then he is worse than the animal. He becomes devil. He becomes such that the very Shaitan runs away from him, because Shaitan is from the angels. He has not the animal qualities. Therefore the Qu'ran says:"Guide us in the right way, and guide us not in the way of those who go astray."
The liking of the soul is to become human. To become an angel is not very great, to be an animal is still easier, to be human is very difficult. A great Hindustani poet says: "What shall I tell you of the troubles of life, since it is even difficult for a man to be human." We are human and yet we cannot rightly be what we are. Why is it so great a privilege to be man? There is a legend which explains this very clearly.
The angels once rebelled against God, saying: "Why should man be made higher than all other creatures? Man has the animal attributes. Man needs to eat. We do not. Man needs to drink. We do not. Man needs to sleep. We do not." God said: "We will decide this question after a trial." and He said to one of the angels: "Go upon earth and see what man's life is." The angel flew down to earth. He saw a tree. He was so delighted with the tree that he climbed down upon it and he began to eat its fruit. He was so enchanted that he thought: "This is the best place to live. I was a miserable creature when I did not have this." Then he saw a young girl passing beneath the tree selling fruit. He was charmed by her beauty and asked her to sell him the friends; they became lovers; they married and had children.
At first the angel was very, very happy; but when the freshness, the newness went, the charm and the happiness wore away. He began to find that those who had been his friends yesterday were not his friends today, that those who had been kind once were kind no longer. Life became very difficult. All the burdens and cares of life fell upon him. He felt oppressed, suffocated, and he grew very unhappy and complained of his life on earth.
Then God said to another angel, "Go and see what your brother is doing." The angel went down to earth. He too was delighted with the earth, its trees and fruits. But when the other angel told him of his life and all its difficulties and troubles, he flew back, and so was saved from these experiences. When the angels appeared again before God, God said, "When even the angels are tempted by the earth and forget Me, should I not be proud of man when he, having all the troubles and difficulties and burdens of life on earth, sometimes remembers Me, thinks of Me?" This shows us that our wish to become ferishta, angel, to become godhead, is a false wish. Our wish to become animal is folly. What we must wish is to become human. This is the most difficult. All else is easier.
Q. Is man a divine being, or does he by participation in the divine nature be or become a divine being? A. Man has two natures, haivaniat and ferishtagi. Haivaniat is man's body, and that nature that needs food and drink and sleep and the satisfaction of all its passions. In this man is the same as the animals. Ferishtagi is that nature by which man is different from the animals, which goes back to its source. It is not his intelligence. The animals also have intelligence, but the animals' intelligence cannot ask, "From where have I come? And for what purpose am I?" When man knows this, when he recognizes his origin, then he is a divine being.
Why have all religions taken the symbol of Satan, considering Satan as a separate entity? The idea has often been laughed at. It is laughed at by a Hindustani poet who says: "How ridiculous man is. He does wrong and then he blames Satan." Yet the religions have always taught this idea. God is always given all the credit, and Satan is given all the blame. We cannot say that there is one atom or one vibration that is apart from God. No-one whether Sufi or not, who has risen to inspiration and revelation has ever thought that there was anything apart from God, only it is covered over.
No-one likes what is wrong. However low, however foolish and ignorant a sinner he may be, if you explain before him what virtue is and what right is, he will like it. This is because his real self does not like what is wrong. The nature of the self is to like what is good, to do good. The religions have called this spell Satan, that we may recognize its deluding nature.
It is always there all our life, waiting to delude us. While we are lying comfortably in bed, we can never appreciate another's troubles. If we are full of pudding, we cannot feel for another's hunger. No-one has risen above the delusion of this life without giving up some of the habits, some of the inclinations, some of the tendencies of our everyday life in the pursuit of truth. If God were a third person, man would have idealized two other beings, Rahman and Satan.
God bless you.
The question is always brought, "Is there a power which rules the universe and controls all our actions? Or, are we free to do what we please, and are our situations the result of our good or bad deeds? Or are our actions and situations governed by the influence of the planets?" In answer to this, I will say first the contradiction of each. If God makes us act, then we are not responsible. Then it is all God, and we have no responsibility. If we are quite free, then, I will say, you are your own well-wisher. No-one will be his own ill-wisher. Then, whatever you wish for, success or riches, or whatever it is, you will have it. But it seems that it is not so. If happiness and good fortune were the result of good actions, then everyone would be good, no-one would be bad. And we see that many very wicked people are very fortunate. Every day a wicked deed, and every day a good fortune. And many very good people are always unfortunate and in difficulties. Christ had so many difficulties, and all the prophets and saints have had great adversities.
If everything is the influence of the planets, then I will say that you should stay in the room when there is a planet that is unfavorable to you. You should do nothing. And when there is a planet that is favorable, you should do nothing, because the planet will bring you everything by itself. I have told you the contradiction, now I will tell you the truth of each principle. There are four great powers that govern the world, Qadr and Qaza, Jalal and Jamal. Qaza is the power that governs the whole. The king governs the whole country, but power is given to viceroys, and governors. The governor governs a whole province, but power is given to a commissioner. The commissioner governs his district, he knows more about its affairs than the governor knows, and the governor does not interfere in his district. Each human being is given a power. This is Qadr. Just as the mother allows the child to go as far as the end of the room, but no further. From here as far as the end of the room, let it destroy as much as it pleases, but no more than that.
There is a Hindustani saying: "We see a wicked person very happy and we may think, Has God forgotten him?" No, but his jar is not yet full. When it is overfilled it will overflow and bring destruction to himself and those about him. Sometimes a very good person is very unhappy in life. But when the jar of his good actions is overfull, it overflows and brings happiness to him and to those about him. We have some power, but our action is so limited, our power of seeing is so limited. We are very small.
The forces of Jalal and Jamal are the creative and the responsive force. We are sometimes creative and sometimes we are responsive. The Jalal is creative and the Jamal is responsive. The singer is creative and the one who hears and enjoys is responsive. All our troubles are owing to our lack of the creative or the responsive power. If we are in a situation which is difficult for us, which is hard, which we dislike, this is owing to our lack of creative power to make another situation for ourselves. When the situation, the opportunity, would benefit us and help us, and we are not benefitted, it is owing to our lack of response. Everything in the world is creative or responsive. The benefactor is creative, and he who is benefitted is responsive. But I would say, however interesting, however attractive these things are, the name of God is much greater. Without the study of the name of God they are nothing. This is the only thing that is great, the only thing beautiful, the only thing of value, the only thing worthwhile.
Q. What quality or power in the planets gives to each its peculiar influence? A. The soul before coming on earth passes through the sun, the moon and the planets. As there is only one sun and one moon, each soul passes through sun and moon. There are many planets, and each soul passes through one planet, not through all. This gives to the soul an affinity with a certain planet, and by this affinity the planet has its influence upon the soul, the individual. There are of course, in man's life, many other circumstances and influences, besides that of the planets, and the other influences, man's will, also may be stronger than the planet.
The soul on its return journey has also to pass through the planet, the sun and moon. The creation was made by the activity of the consciousness. You will say: "How is it with predestination?" What is predestined is not predestined, but as it has gone one way, it goes that way again. It is as if someone went to Tottenham Court Road. The first time he goes to Tottenham Court Road. The second time he thinks: "I should stop at Bond Street." The third time he thinks: "I should go to Oxford Circus." The fourth time he thinks: "I shall see Hyde Park." Because he had started on that way.
The question is always asked, When someone is told from the cards or from the smoke, or in whatever way, what he will do in his life, and he does it, does this show that it is predestined for him? Some people tell the future by the tea-leaves, and some by the cards, or by the smoke, or by looking in the sky, or by looking in the corner. I know someone who was such a great person in this, that when he smoked a big cigar, an Indian cigar, he then looked at the smoke, and told the whole course of a person's life. When the things happen as they were told, this may be that the words, the telling, has impressed the mind of the person. The fortuneteller makes the program for your life, and you perform the program. People have become heroes by reading the lives of heroes. They were impressed by what they read. Or it may really be predestined. Then it is revelation. This revelation comes also in dreams. Sometimes, if a misfortune is going to happen to us or to those near us, we dream of it. Or if some good fortune is going to happen we dream of it. The warnings and signs are revelations.
Q. Is there such a thing as fate or kismet and can it be avoided? A. Every person has his fate, but, if he has enough knowledge, and if he has the possibilities of avoiding it, he can avoid it.
God bless you.