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Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings


THE SUFI term Nafsaniat expresses the blindness of the personal ego, which first began to eclipse the soul when man tasted the forbidden fruit, as is described in the story of Adam and Eve. In the beginning man started his life on earth by obtaining his sustenance at the expense of the vegetable kingdom. He never for one moment paused to consider whether the plants, flowers, and fruits have life within them, and demand from him the love which he himself demands from every being around him.

His blindness increased when he robbed the calf of the food which nature had provided for it, enjoying the milk himself. As his blindness became more intense the ego grew still more tyrannical, and he began to sacrifice the lives of birds and beasts to satisfy his fancy and appetite. In this way he sustained his physical self, which was thus built up with such unjustly gathered properties, and this caused a thick veil of darkness to cover his eyes, making him selfish and sensual, so that he considered the satisfaction of his passions and appetites, the achievement of comfort and grandeur, as the sole purpose of life. Thus he descended from man to animal, and from the level of an animal to that of a devil. When he reached this stage there remained for him neither God nor virtue. The command of Christ to love one's enemy could not be obeyed, for he was not even able to love his neighbor, his fellow man, when the question of self-interest arose.

It is this aspect of involution which has brought about floods, volcanic eruptions, and such disasters as the loss of the Titanic, and the recent upheaval of society.

Man has considered civilization to be that which the ancient Hindus termed Kali Yuga, or the Iron Age. What they called Krita Yuga, the Golden Age, man today calls barbarism, which shows how the heart of man has hardened. At the present time a man's word is no longer his bond; a signed contract is needed. A superficial politeness has taken the place of love, and artificiality has taken the place of truth. Machinery has usurped the place of personal bravery. Religion and morality have been superseded by trade unions, and material investigation has taken the place of life's realization.

Man can no longer distinguish the difference between a fleeting joy and an everlasting peace. The objective world is so concrete before his eyes that he cannot see beyond it. He wants to realize the material results of his efforts, even at the cost of his life, and the call of heaven itself fails to attract him to the Infinite.

There is a saying, 'The load of collected sin will sooner or later crush the bearer.' Every criminal is haunted by the hideous specter of his crime. We need not be surprised that there is not a single nation or race which was not involved, directly or indirectly, to a greater or lesser degree, in the recent world-wide upheaval. No corner of the globe has entirely escaped this terrible visitation; it has taken its toll from every race and religion. So we know that the catastrophe of modern history was intended for humanity in general; it was a cleansing with the purpose of inaugurating an ideal period of peace which can only be possible when instead of the will of man the purpose of God is fulfilled.