Volume VI - The Alchemy of Happiness
Communicating with Life
From the point of view of the mystic, life in all its aspects is communicative; if one only knows the secret of communicating with life. As long as one is ignorant of this secret one is deaf though one has ears and blind though one has eyes. There are stories of sages and saints who spoke with trees and plants and rocks, with mountains and with seas. People take these to be legends, but it is as true as anything else in this world of variety. It is not only true of the past but it can always be possible, if one knows how to communicate with life.
In the lower creation we recognize a faculty which we call instinct: the tendency that makes the bird fly and the fish swim without learning. This instinct also appears as intuition among the lower creation. Many scientists today say that animals have no mind, but in reality all creatures have a mind, even plants and trees. Those who live close to nature, those whose life-work is agriculture, those who live in the solitude among animals, know the fact that animals often give a warning of illness or of death, of a storm or a flood. They have intuition. The mechanism of man's body and mind is finer still; man is capable of a greater intuition; and yet it seems that animals perceive some things sooner than man. The reason is that man is so absorbed in his outer life, in his object in life, that it is very difficult for him to believe in intuition, and therefore his intuitive faculty becomes blunted and he proves to be less intuitive than the lower creation.
Those living close to nature in the solitude, or peasants living in the country, have greater intuition than intellectual people who live in the midst of worldly life. This shows that the life we live today in large towns is an unnatural life, lived in an artificial atmosphere, eating artificial food, adopting artificial ways. So one loses that heavenly quality, the divine heritage of man which is shown in the intuitive qualities. Fine persons seem to have more intuition than gross ones, women seem to have greater intuition than men. The reason is that woman is by nature responsive. It is the receptivity of her more mature being that makes her more intuitive. Sometimes man reasons and argues, but woman says, 'Yes, but I feel it is to be this or that'; and her feeling proves to be right, although she cannot give a reason for it.
In every person there exists to a greater or lesser degree a faculty of perceiving impressions, and that is the first step towards intuition. The finer the person the greater his perception. But everyone at times feels, as an impression, the conditions of a place, the character of the people he meets, their tendencies, their motives, their desire, their grade of evolution. When this happens and one is asked why one feels like this, one cannot always give an explanation. One may say it is from the person's face, or from the atmosphere, or from what he has said. But in reality it is a feeling which is beyond description. A fine, sensitive, intelligent person always gets an impression on seeing someone.
The next stage is intuition. By intuition one receives warning of a coming danger, the promise of success, or the premonition of failure; if any change is to take place in life one feels it. But very often by not having self-confidence one loses that intuitive faculty. One fears that one's intuition is wrong; and in this way one loses self-confidence. One often thinks that perhaps one's intuition is not right; by following one's intuition one will fail, and so one takes another course. That is the way of reasoning, of logic, but naturally one's intuition becomes blunted after some time. If one does not make use of this faculty it disappears, and someone who is capable of perceiving intuitively then loses that faculty.
Another wonderful thing about intuition is that one is blessed with intuition according to one's sincerity. If a person is earnest, sincere, sympathetic, kind, he will be blessed with intuition; but if these qualities are lacking, intuition will be lacking too. Also, those who have no intuition have difficulty in attaining to the spiritual ideal, for spiritual belief does not come from outer experience, it does not come by reason and logic; it is a belief that springs from within in the form of intuition. And if the intuitive faculty is not developed that person's belief is not strong. Someone who lacks intuition lacks belief too; and if he has a belief, that belief will not be strong enough, for it is not built on a sound foundation.
The next step along the path of intuition is inspiration. Poets, writers, musicians, thinkers, philosophers, are able to make use of this faculty. Others have it but they do not know how to use it. In art, poetry, or music one can create in a few moments through inspiration that which one could not otherwise create in ten years. It is a natural flow; one has no difficulty in working it out. What is inspired comes already arranged beforehand and there is very little to be done by the brain and by the mind. Besides everything that comes through inspiration is living and is most beautiful, most harmonious, compared with the art or poetry or music that is the outcome of the brain. Music of the great musicians of the past such as Wagner or Beethoven is still living. And no matter how often one hears it one always thirsts for it. Modern music has not that appeal.
It is the same thing with ancient art. There is something living in that art, and today with all the progress made in art that something is missing. It is the same with poetry. In Persia there were great poets such as Hafiz, Rumi, and Sadi, whose works are still studied today and highly esteemed by millions of people in the East; they consider that without these works there would be no human culture. Their work was the foundation of human culture in the East; many later poets have tried to produce the same kind of works, but they have not yet succeeded even after many centuries; it seems that the inspiration is lost. Inspiration whenever it comes is living and life-giving; and it will always last and one will never get tired of it.
What is the theory of inspiration? Where does one find it? Where does it come from? There is one treasure-house where all knowledge collected, experienced, learned, and discovered by human beings is stored; and that treasure-house is the divine Mind, a mind with which all minds are linked. There is no experience we go through that does not remain or that is not recorded in that treasure-house. Every good or bad experience we have, every new thing we learn, every discovery we make, is all stored in that treasure-house. But one might ask, 'How does one find in it what one wants? If we have a large store, perhaps hundreds and thousands of things, it is difficult to find anything we want at a moment's notice!' The power of the mind, the will power, is such that if one has enough of it one can find anything one wants to find. It is related that someone with great will power wanted to buy a certain piece of furniture. In the first street he went to after leaving his house he saw exhibited in the show-room the very piece of furniture he desired. He was guided towards it.
What one really wants is attracted by one, and one is attracted by what one wants. It is the same with the poet, the musician, the thinker. When he is deeply interested in what he is doing, then he has only to wish; and by the automatic action of the desire his wish becomes a light. This light is thrown on the divine store-house, and it is projected on the object he wants. Such is the phenomenon of will and inspiration, that no sooner is an inspired person moved by the beauty and harmony of life and wishes to express his soul, than the light of his soul shines on that particular object or on that particular knowledge. It comes instantly to his mind, expressing itself outwardly through his mind. All that is brought from within in this way is perfect, harmonious, beautiful, and has a wonderful effect.
In ancient times the Shah of Persia expressed the desire to have a history of Persia written. But he was told that the records were lost, and that it would be very difficult to trace the accounts of the kings who had lived in the past. However, a poet of that time, named Firdausi, said 'I will write the history of Persia.' He was a truly inspired poet. People were amazed; they wondered how he could do it. But Firdausi sent his soul, so to speak, into the past, and his soul became a receptacle of the knowledge of the past, which he expressed in the form of poetry. His book is called the Shahnama of Persia.
Many people think that science is based upon the knowledge of facts proved by reason and logic, and very few know that at the beginning there was always intuition. All scientific discoveries spring from intuition; after that reason has its place, and logic helps. The scientists analyze and make their discoveries intelligible to others, but in the beginning these come from intuition. If the great inventors of America such as Edison and others had been great mechanics only it would not have been sufficient; behind this, however, there was intuition.
Today there is a tendency not to admit that side of life. People believe it is not solid enough to rely upon intuition or inspiration. Once in Paris I was surprised at hearing a famous writer say, 'Is there such a thing as inspiration?' I thought, 'Here is a great writer who has made a name for himself, and yet he does not know if there is such a thing as inspiration!' By continual material strife, and by continual ignoring of the God spirit, people have become so materialistic that they do not think that such a thing as inspiration exists. This man had become famous without believing in inspiration, and that was all he wanted. But when I learnt more about the work of this writer I found that his works were extremely superficial. There was no depth to them and no height, and that is the kind that is successful these days.
When one goes to see modern plays one finds the same thing. There is hardly a play with depth. And if one asks why it is so, the answer is: in order to please the man in the street. That means, we must keep everybody back in order to please the man in the street!
The next step after inspiration is vision. It is more than inspiration. One need not see a vision only in a dream; one can also have a vision when awake. There is nothing to be frightened of in this. It is only clearness of the inner sight. Knowledge comes in a flash and a problem is solved; a philosophical problem or a certain hidden law of life or nature has become manifest in a very clear form. Or one has got in touch with something or with someone at an unimaginable distance. Many people have misunderstood the real meaning of vision and have often pretended to be visionary; but the development of the true inner vision indicates great progress of the soul.
When one goes still further on the path of intuition one comes to what is called revelation, which means that everything and every being reveals to one its secret. Such a one feels that every leaf has a tongue to tell its legend. He finds that every soul is a living book which reads its own story aloud. He finds that every condition of life is turned inside out before him the moment he looks at it. He feels that he is at home on earth and in heaven and that both the here and the hereafter become manifest to his soul.
How does it happen that one experiences and perceives intuition or inspiration, and that one sees visions and gets revelations? There is the story of the Apostles who instantly knew many languages. This does not mean that they knew French or English, German or Spanish. It means that they knew the language of every soul, that every soul began to speak to them, that they began to communicate with every person. The meaning of revelation is the understanding of the language of the soul. Every soul is always speaking if one can only hear it. It is not always what one hears in the noise of the world or the voice of man; but even the silent trees and the still mountains speak to us when we are able to hear them. It is a language of vibrations, an imperceptible language, and yet a fine mind can grasp it. The only explanation of it is that it is a music. For a musician music is a language that tells him something. The high and the low note, the flat and the sharp, are all expressive and all tell him something; it all has a meaning. A person who is not a student of music does not know that language. He will enjoy music but he does not know the language.
Then there is the language of life, for life too is music. Each person represents a note in that music, and that makes the symphony of life. One person is in tune, the other person is out of tune, one person is sounding the right note, the other a false one. In this way every person makes or disturbs the music. Revelation comes from the understanding of this music. You cannot learn it; you cannot teach it, but you can tune your heart to that pitch where it begins to live and to enjoy the music of life.
In this way revelation is perceived. It happens when the heart has become awake and living, so that it can perceive the vibrations coming from every soul, and every condition conveys a certain meaning to it. The great prophets and teachers who have brought religion to humanity, who have inspired humanity with a higher ideal, who have guided mankind towards spiritual attainment, they were the souls who had revelations. And what they gave to the world was their interpretation of those revelations which came from the music of life. But no sooner does a composer put his music on paper than much of it is lost; and when the prophet gives his teachings in the form of words much is lost too.
There are some who consider their belief as something sacred and are satisfied with that; but there are others who want to know the spirit of it. The words that have come down to us are only the interpretations of the revelations the prophets received.
If all the people in the world knew the spirit of religion, then there would not be so many different religions and creeds. They would all keep to that one truth. That there are so many creeds, so many religions, is because they do not understand religion. If one understood it then there would only be one religion, interpreted differently by the different teachers of humanity. But whether people understood more or less, they have all benefited by the prophet's coming to this earth, though no doubt his message could be better fulfilled if it were understood by more people, and if those who understood it could understand it better.