Volume VIIIa - Sufi Teachings
WHETHER the consciousness sees without eyes, or whether it needs the eyes to see, is a question which comes to the mind of all metaphysicians. If the consciousness can see alone, without the help of the eyes, then why were these eyes created? There are people who can see things that are happening at a distance of many hundreds of miles, and things that may happen many years later. In Hyderabad there was a dervish who had the habit of smoking very strong hashish. When he let the smoke out of his mouth he used to look into it and answer any questions that were put to him. If someone asked him, 'Where is my uncle at present?' he would say, 'Your uncle? In Calcutta, near the bazaar, the second house on the left. Your uncle is sitting in his room, his servant is at his side and his child is standing in front of him.' Whatever question he was asked, he answered. His consciousness had not the external self before it and therefore it was able to see through the eyes of another, through the eyes of the uncle or any other. He did not see it without eyes.
When I was in Russia there was an African there, a very ordinary man, not a man of any education. At night when he was asleep, he knew what anyone who came to that house had said or done. This was because his soul was in and about that house and it saw through the eyes of whoever came there.
The faculty of seeing exists in the consciousness from the beginning. Therefore among the names of God are Basir, the Seer, and Sami, the Hearer. Basarat, the faculty of seeing, becomes more exact the nearer it approaches manifestation. In the same way the universal consciousness sees through the eyes of every being on earth. It is looking at one and the same time through the eyes of all the millions of beings upon the earth. The thief may steal something, hide it, carry it off and think that no one sees him; but he cannot escape the sight of that consciousness which is within himself, looking through his eyes. It is not that God looks down from a distance and sees all the creatures on earth; he sees through the very eyes of the beings themselves. One might ask if God is not limited by this, made helpless and dependent; but if it seems so to us, it is because we have reduced God to a part of His being. We take a part and call it ours, our self, while in reality it is all God, the one Being. A Hindustani poet has said, 'What shall I call my self? Whatever I see it is all Thou; body, mind, soul, all are Thou. Thou art, I am not.'
The mystics not only see what may be happening at a distance in their sleep, but at all times. Some time ago there was in Delhi a mystic or murshid whose name was Shah Alam. One day he was having a haircut. He was looking in a little looking-glass, such as are used in India, while the barber was cutting his hair. Suddenly he dashed the mirror on the ground so that it broke into pieces. His mureeds who were with him were astonished; the barber also was amazed, wondering what had caused him to throw down the mirror with such violence. Afterwards he told them what had happened. At that time one of his mureeds was traveling by sea from Arabia to India; and a storm had struck the ship he was sailing in and he was in great danger. He called upon his murshid for help, and the murshid saw his peril in the mirror and saved him.
To some extent an illuminated soul can be conscious of all the past events in the evolution of man. But does this eye which is so accommodating, collect within itself all that it sees? And does the mind, through which man receives his memory, the most wonderful source of record there is, always remember everything it sees and experiences through life? No, only certain things which have made a deeper impression upon it. If we could remember everything, all the good and bad words people have spoken, all the literature we have read and all the foolish and crazy things we have heard, where would we be in the end? Human beings have a mind; they have a body; and their health depends entirely upon what they take in and then put out. If it were not so, man would not be able to live, so he takes the essence and the rest is discarded. Also, that which one takes from the angelic world and from the jinn world is only the essence; the essence of experience. The one who remembers all the good and bad things of the past is not to be envied, for he must have had many experiences of remorse and these would only create bitterness in him. It is the greatest relief to forget, it is like bathing in the Ganges. The present has so many beautiful things to offer us; if we only open our eyes to look at them we do not need to look for beauty in the past. Beauty is always here.