Insight may be likened to the view one obtains through a
telescope. From a distance one can see a wide horizon, but when
one is close to things one gets a limited horizon. By getting
this smaller horizon things become clearer because one sees
them in detail. When there is a larger horizon things are not
seen in detail but then there is a general outlook. And the
same law can be applied to insight. When one looks at a person
one gets a glimpse of his character, and when one looks at an
assembly one gets a feeling of the assembly.
The heart is the telescope of the soul, and the eyes are
the telescope of the heart. Just as when seeing through spectacles
it is the eyes that see, not the spectacles, so when seeing
through the heart and through the eyes, what sees is the soul.
The eyes have no power to see; the eyes have only the power
to help the soul to see. The moment the soul departs the eyes
do not see. And so even the heart is a telescope, which helps
one to perceive and to conceive, all that one seeks. Yet at
the same time the heart does not see; it is the soul that sees.
Just as there are some who have short sight and others who
have long sight, so there are some who see things at a far distance
with the eye of their mind but who cannot see what is near them.
They have long sight. Then there are others who have short sight;
they see all that is near them, but they cannot see further.
It is said that there is a third eye that sees. It is true,
but sometimes that third eye sees through these two eyes and
then the same eyes see things more clearly than they would otherwise.
By the help of the third eye one's eyes can penetrate through
the wall of physical existence and see into the minds of people,
into the words of people and even further. When one begins to
see, what happens first is that everything one's eyes see has
a deeper meaning, a greater significance than one knew before.
Every movement, every gesture, the form, features, voice, words,
expression, atmosphere, all become expressive of the person's
nature and character. Not knowing this secret, many people want
to study physiognomy or phrenology, handwriting or palmistry.
But in comparison with the clear vision all these different
sciences are limited. They have a meaning, but at the same time
when one compares these limited sciences with the insight that
man has; they prove to be too small. Besides character reading
is not learnt, it is discovered. It is a sense that awakens.
One does not need to learn it. One knows it.
This is one kind of insight but there is another insight,
which is insight in affairs. Be it a business affair, a professional
affair, a condition, a situation in life; once the insight is
clear one has a grasp of the situation. For what makes things
difficult in life is lack of knowledge. There may be a small
problem, but when one does not know it, it becomes the heaviest
and worst of all problems, because one cannot understand it.
And one may analyze a problem and reason it out, but without
insight it will always remain puzzling. It is the development
of insight that gives one a clear vision in affairs, conditions,
and the problems of life.
The faculty of seeing needs direction. For instance, in order
to look to the right or left, or before or behind, one must
direct the eyes; and this directing is the work of the will.
In the twenty-four hours of the day and night it is perhaps
at most for five minutes or fifteen minutes that one sees under
the direction of the will; all the rest of the time one sees
automatically. In other words one's eyes are open, one's heart
is subject to all that can be seen, and one catches unknowingly
the different things that attract the eyes and mind. All that
one sees during the day and night is not what one intended to
see, but what one is compelled by the life around us to see.
That is why the thinkers and sages of the East in ancient times
used to have mantles put over their heads, so that they did
not see anything or anybody and could control their sight. The
Sufis of ancient times used to keep their heads covered like
this for many years, and in doing so they developed such powers
that their one glance would penetrate rocks and mountains. It
is only control of the sight. Yogis in all ages have worked
not only with their minds but even with their eyes, attaining
such a stability of glance that they could direct their sight
to anything they wished to examine or penetrate. Eyes, therefore,
are the representatives of the soul at the surface, and they
speak to a person more clearly than words can speak; to one
who can read they are the signs of the plane of evolution a
person is on. A person does not need to speak to one; his eyes
tell one whether he is pleased or not, willing or unwilling,
whether he is favorably inclined or unfavorably inclined. Love
or hate, pride or modesty all can be seen in the eyes; even
wisdom and ignorance, everything, manifests through the eyes.
The one who can trace the condition and character in the eyes
certainly communicates with the soul of another person.
Not very long ago in Hyderabad there was a mureed, rather
an intellectual pupil, and he liked to talk. His teacher was
interested in his intelligent inquiries, and so he encouraged
him to talk, whereas it is the custom in the East for the pupil
to remain silent before his teacher. One day the teacher was
in a condition of exaltation and his pupil as usual wanted to
discuss and argue, which was not agreeable to the teacher at
that time. He said in Persian, 'Khamosh,' which means silence.
And the pupil became silent; he went home and remained silent.
And no one heard him speak after that, no one in the house nor
outside; he never spoke anywhere. Years passed by and the man
still kept silent. But there came a time when his silence began
to speak aloud. His silent thought would manifest and his silent
wish would become granted; his silent glance would heal, his
silent look would inspire. His silence became living. It was
the spoken words, which had kept him dead all this time. The
moment the lips were closed the silence in him began to live.
His presence was living. In Hyderabad people called him Shah
Khamosh, the king of silence, or the silent king. By this I
wish to imply that everyone has eyes, but to make the eyes living
takes a long time. For eyes see so far and no further. It is
the heart connected with the eyes that can see further, and
if the soul sees through them it sees further still.
An entirely different question is how to get the eyes focused.
If one wishes to look at the moon one must look at the sky instead
of looking at the earth; and so if one wants to seek heaven
one must change the direction of looking. That is where many
make a mistake. Today in the West, where there is a very large
number of students eagerly engaged in looking for the truth,
many among them are mistaken in this particular respect; in
order to see what can be seen within they want to look without.
It is, however, a natural tendency. As a person looks without
for anything he wants, he naturally looks for inner attainment
also on the outside.
How can we look within and what shall we see? In the first
place, to a material person 'within' means in the body, inside
the body. In reality 'within' means not only inside, but also
outside the body. This can be seen by the light inside a lamp:
the light is inside the globe, and it is outside the globe too.
So is the soul; it is inside and outside too. So is the mind;
it is inside and outside, it is not confined inside the body.
In other words, the heart is larger than the body, and the soul
is larger still. At the same time the soul is accommodated within
the heart, and the heart is accommodated within the body; this
is the greatest phenomenon and is very difficult to explain
in words. There are intuitive centers; and in order to see into
the intuitive centers one has to turn the eyes back, turn the
eyes within; then the same eyes which are able to see without
are able to see within. But that is only one phase of seeing.
The other phase of seeing within cannot be seen by the eyes;
it is the heart that sees. And when one is able to see that
way, the pain and pleasure and joy and sorrow of every person
that comes before one manifest in one's own heart; one actually
sees it. One sees it even more clearly than one's eyes can see.
But that is the language of the heart. The eyes do not know
Sages in the East used to be called Balakush, which
means 'He who took the draught of all difficulties.' They regarded
the difficulties of life as a wine to drink; once you drink,
they have gone. They were not afraid of it; they did not want
to keep out of it. They said, 'If we keep out this time, next
time it will meet us; it will meet us one day. If we escape
one moment, another moment it will meet us. So let it come such
as it is and let us drink it as wine.' The principle of Mahadeva,
of the dervishes, of the great faqirs of all ages is this one
principle: to drink all difficulties as a wine, Then there is
no more difficulty. When one is in tune with life, life becomes
revealing, for then one is friends with life. Before that, one
was a stranger to it. Attitude makes a great difference, and
it is the difference of attitude that makes a person spiritual
or material. Nothing else need be changed only the attitude.
The lesson we learn from the developing of our insight is
not to become excited by any influence that tries to bring us
out of rhythm, but to keep in rhythm under all conditions of
life; to keep our equilibrium, our tranquility under all circumstances.
It is sometimes very difficult to keep our equilibrium when
the influences of life are shaking us, and to keep our poise
through it all, it is difficult in the face of influences, which
are opposed to keeping a friendly attitude. But at the same
time, because it is difficult it is a great attainment. To attain
anything valuable and worthwhile we have to go through difficulty.
But we do not pay for it; we learn without paying for it. It
is something that we can practice in everyday life because from
morning till evening we are continually among jarring effects
from all sides. There is plenty of opportunity for practicing
this lesson of keeping a friendly attitude towards everyone,
of meeting every condition courageously, and of taking upon
ourselves all influences that come along. It is in this way
that a greater insight into life is attained.
If there is anything that can make our comprehension clear,
it is reason on one side and feeling on the other. A man in
whom feeling is not awakened is awake and asleep at the same
time. That which is living is not reason, it is feeling. Many
think when the brain is working it is something tangible; one
does not notice it working in feeling. But in reality feeling
takes the part of the engineer and the brain is like the mechanism.
The mechanism cannot work without the engineer; so the brain
cannot work without the feeling behind it. These two things
are needed to make knowledge clear. When a person cannot understand
himself, his own imagination, and his own problems deeply, then
how can he understand the problems of others? Then there is
no communication between one person and another. Today friendship
often means only a professional interest; human relations are
formed by certain interests, worldly interests. Therefore man
does not know what feeling is. The alliances of nations, the
unions of working men, all these things are being formed on
the basis of self-interest. I am your friend if you defend my
case! Therefore when feeling, which alone is divine in man,
which is the proof and sign of the spirit, and which is a divine
heritage, becomes blunted, then naturally whatever life may
be it cannot be civilization, even if one calls it civilized.
The day will come when man will live a fuller life, a more
complete life of high ideals and great principles, when feeling
in man will be as much awakened as reason. When that day comes
the knowledge will be spiritual knowledge, not book-learning.
One can feel everywhere, in colleges, in societies, in clubs,
in any of the professions, that every person is seeking directly
or indirectly for some knowledge; man feels that there is a
knowledge which is more real. Every person seems to be disappointed
with his experience of life. He may be most successful in the
world, it does not matter. He may be a rich man, he may have
a high position, but he is disappointed, he is longing for something
which will satisfy him. What is it? It is not outside. It is
within himself. He will find it on the day when he awakens to
the reality of life. Once a soul is awakened to the reality
of life, all other things matter little. What matters is that
he understands clearly that what satisfies is within.
Besides, when once the heart begins to live, another world
is open for experience. For generally what one experiences in
one's everyday life is only what the senses can perceive and
nothing beyond it. But when once a person begins to feel and
experience the subtle feelings of the heart he lives in another
world, walking on the same earth and living under the same sun.
Therefore be not surprised if you find beings who are living
in another world while walking on this earth. It is as natural
as anything can be for man to live in his heart instead of only
living on the earth. The people in the East call it Sahib-i
dil, that is the mastermind.
And then if one goes still deeper within, one begins to live
in the soul. Inspiration, intuition, vision, revelation are
natural to this person. The soul begins to become conscious
of its own domain. And it is the same kingdom of which it is
said in the Bible: 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God....' It
is the soul which begins to see.
And one can see still further. What enables one to attain
to this stage is the way of meditation under the guidance of
the right teacher.
The first thing to do is to get control of the glance. The
next is to get control of the feelings. And the third is to
get control of the consciousness. If these three things are
attained then one begins to look within. Looking within helps
a person very much in looking outside; then the same power with
which the heart and eyes are charged begins to manifest outwardly.
And the one who looks within finds, when he looks without, that
all that is within manifests without. His influence is healing
and consoling, uplifting and soothing. His sight, too, becomes
penetrating, so that not only human beings but also even objects
begin to disclose to him their nature, character, and secret.