Volume V - Spiritual Liberty
Part V: PEARLS FROM THE OCEAN UNSEEN
There is an innate desire in every human being for knowledge. The child wants to know the cause of everything, and asks countless questions. The desire for knowledge, if our eyes were but open to perceive it, is even in the plants. It is this desire, which develops the mineral into the vegetable, and the vegetable into the animal, and the animal into the human being. It is well developed in man, and fully attained in the master mind. The Sufis say that the whole of creation took place to satisfy the desire for knowledge.
With man this desire is never satisfied. He always wants to know more. There is ever a restless craving within him for knowledge. This is because he does not look for the cause in the right way. He only sees the external causes, and not the cause underlying the cause, and below that, the primal cause. For example, a man who has become estranged from his friend only sees perhaps the superficial cause, and calls his friend unkind; or he may even admit that he himself is at fault, or he may go still deeper and say that owing to a certain planetary influence they cannot be friendly. Yet he has not probed the cause of this cause.
If we study nature aright, we shall find that its whole being is wisdom. Life itself is wisdom. Look at the delicate structure of the eye, and the protection afforded it by the eyelid. Does not this prove that nature's wisdom is much more developed than the science and art of man? Has man ever been able to create what is not in nature? We know that the rain falls and waters the ground, and makes the plants grow, and we say that the rain is the cause of all this. But if we delved deeper, we should discover the cause of the rain. Even then, the inner cause remains hidden.
For this reason the religions taught the God-ideal, that the primal cause might be sought through the pursuit of God. It is when man has lost the idea of duality and feels himself at one with all creation, that his eyes are opened and he sees the cause of everything. A scientific man comes forward and claims to have made some new and wonderful discovery, but as Solomon says, 'There is nothing new under the sun.' Christ said he had come not to give a new law, and Muhammad said he had come to reveal the same law given by the teachers in the past, which had been corrupted, misunderstood, and forgotten by its followers. The mystics have possessed all knowledge from the beginning, and yet have never claimed it as their own, recognizing that all knowledge is possessed by One Being alone, and will always be so.
What is called supernatural becomes natural to one who understands, but to the ignorant it remains supernatural. He calls it a miracle or a phenomenon if he believes in it. If not, he mocks at it.
There is a light within every soul. It only needs the clouds, which hide it, to dissolve for it to beam forth. This is the light of revelation. It is like a lantern to us, it lights up every dark corner we wish to examine, and gives an answer to every question we would ask. This light can only shine where the heart is pure, and in order to purify the heart, the Sufi has a contemplative process suited to the evolution of each individual.
There is a beautiful Indian tale that illustrates the meaning of this light. It is said that there is a certain kind of cobra, which has a diamond in its head. When it goes into the jungle, it takes out the diamond and places it on a tree. By means of its light, it searches all it wants, and when it is finished, it puts the diamond back in its head. The cobra represents the soul, and the diamond the light of inspiration guiding it.
The same truth is portrayed in the story of Aladdin and his lamp. The lady he loved represented the ideal of his soul. The lamp he had to find was the light of inner guidance, which when found, would lead him to the attainment of his ideal. Starting on the spiritual path is like descending into the dark, as man knows not what he will find.
Mystics in the East have spent many years in the jungle on this spiritual quest, and later have come forth to show the way to mankind. This is a path, however, which cannot be taught; it must be realized. For language is inadequate to express even the experience of the heart, so how can the soul's experience of its highest attainment be explained in words?