1. Purity of the Heart
The real purity is experienced not by means of the outer
ablutions nor by keeping away evil thoughts, but by keeping
the heart pure from feelings which disturb the rhythm of
the mind and thus upset the whole spirit. Feelings have
a greater power than thoughts. If evil thoughts are monsters
evil feelings are as demons. Such feelings as the desire
of robbing someone of his rights or his belongings have
a very disturbing effect upon the spirit. Before such a
feeling is put into action the effect is more, while it
is being put into action it is less, but afterwards the
effect is most. Life rightly and honestly lived has inner
struggles, but by adding to it feelings that disturb life's
tranquility one only adds to one's troubles in life, which
than become endless.
Purity of heart must not be considered a virtue but a
necessity, a necessity not only to be considered for the
good of others, but for one's own life. The feelings which
produce that weakness in the heart, take away strength from
the eyelid, the glance drops instead of the eyes firmly
gazing straight. Nothing in the world, however valuable
or rare, can make up for this loss. The main thing that
must be remembered is that the soul is pure and the lack
of purity it cannot bear without feeling restless. The spirit
has a tune and a rhythm. When it is out of tune and out
of rhythm, if the riches of the whole world are given to
it, it is worth nothing. It is purity and peace which is
the soul's constant seeking.
2. Keeping the Heart Pure
As the rust is natural to the iron, and as the milk turns
sour, so the heart can become rusted, and its feeling, which
by nature is as pure as milk, turns sour. Then nothing in
the world is tasteful to that person, and life with all
its beauty becomes worthless. It is this condition which
must be avoided. An adept must keep his mind pure from rust.
The rust comes from allowing the heart to bear malice
and spite against anyone, by having hatred and prejudice
against anyone, by wanting to take revenge, by looking down
upon another with contempt, and by the feeling of jealousy,
rivalry, or envy. The heart wants a constant care to keep
it from getting rusted., for the nature of this life of illusion
is such that some little unimportant things, which are not
of the least value, coming from the outer life, the
heart may be affected by, and the rust may be produced as the mere touch
of water can produce rust upon iron. Once the feeling has
become soured it is as difficult, if not impossible, to turn
it sweet again as to make sour milk sweet.
A soul has brought from heaven its love for sweet. It
may, after coming on earth, develop a taste for salt, sour,
or bitter; but its innate longing is always for the sweet,
and what its life needs most is not sugar, which is required
in some degree for physical health, but the sweet which
is the original property of his heart and which is needed
most for his true happiness and real well-being.
3. The Radiance of the Face
As the cleansing of a metal object produces a shine in
it so is the cleansing of the heart, especially from any
feeling that produces humiliation. When a person thinks,
'I have been wrong by acting in a certain way', 'By saying
a certain thing', or 'By having thought something which should
not have crossed my mind,' he loses, so to speak, a radiance.
This radiance even beams out through his countenance and
is called in Persian abi ru, meaning 'The radiance
of the face.' Every person shows from his expression his
condition of heart. Therefore the innocence of the expression
is the sign of the purity of heart. Man may be clever, learned,
qualified, most able, he may be strong physically or even
mentally, he may be wealthy, of high rank, but none of these
outside things help him to retain that glow of the countenance
which depends only upon the purity of heart.
Many know and some say that the eyes can tell everything
that is in the heart of man, but fewer there are who know
the cause behind it. The eyes are like the thermometer of
the center in the head, which is focused to the center of
the heart. Every impression that the heart bears, beautiful
or ugly, is mirrored upon the center of the head, and so
it is reflected accordingly in man's visage, especially
in his eyes, which express the most.
There are many clever people but so few there are who
may be called wise. The clever ones plot and plan one against
the other and exchange evil thoughts between themselves.
So those deceitful and treacherous, intoxicated by their
interest in life, cover their eyes with the cover of selfishness,
thus keeping the heart from showing out its light, which
lone illuminates the path of every achievement in life.
It might seem hard work to empty one's heart of all bad
impressions and ill feelings, of all bitterness and evil
thoughts, and yet it is not nearly so hard as the task of
earning one's daily bread. The work in one's everyday life
takes most part of the day, the emptying the heart of all
undesirable things takes but a few moments silence. It is
the desire of erasing from the heart every undesirable impression
that enables one in time to purify one's heart.
Innocence is the real purity according to the mystic,
for innocence is the sign of purity of heart. The intuitive
faculties play a greater part in the life of the innocent.
People call them simple ones, nevertheless innocence proves
often more beneficial in life than worldly cleverness. The
innocent are oftener blessed by Providence than those worldly-wise,
always trying to get the best of everyone and to seize every
opportunity that may seem to be advantageous in any way.
It is not easy for a clever person to try and become
innocent; it is something natural and manifests with the
blooming of the heart. Innocence is the sign of the thriving
of a spiritual personality. If one can develop anything
it is only this, that one may abstain from trying to be
clever, and know that a selfish and clever person, with
all his qualification of getting the best of another, comes
across, sooner or later, a person cleverer than he. Often
a clever person finds his own chain tied around his legs.
No one has arrived at a higher degree of spirituality
without innocence. Innocence does not mean not knowing;
it only means knowing and yet not knowing. A stupid person
must not be confused with an innocent person, for the former
is blind, whereas the latter only closes his eyes when he
wants to. It is the wise, really, who becomes innocent on
arriving at a stage of perfection in wisdom. It is two kinds
of persons who show childlike simplicity in their lives:
the silly one who shows childish traits, and the wise one
who shows innocence.
5. Reject the Impression of Errors and Shortcomings
There is generally a tendency seen in those treading
the spiritual path to feel discouraged at having bad impressions
upon their heart of their own faults and shortcomings. And
they begin to feel that they are too unworthy to have anything
to do with things of a sacred nature. But it is a great
error, in spite of all the virtue humility has in it. When
one acknowledges something wrong in oneself one gives that
wrong a soul out of one's own spirit, and by withdrawing
from all that is good and beautiful, spiritual and sacred,
instead of developing the spirit of rejecting all errors,
in time one becomes a receptacle of what is wrong. He goes
on disapproving and yet collecting errors, so producing
within himself a perpetual conflict that never ends. When
man becomes helpless before his infirmities he becomes a
slave to his errors, he feels within himself an obedient
servant to his adversary.
The greater the purity developed in the heart the greater
becomes the power of man. As great the power of man within
himself so great becomes his power on others. A hair's breadth
can divide power from weakness, which appear to have as
wide a gulf between them as between land and sky.
6. Purity of the Heart
He alone is capable of removing from the heart of another
doubt, deceit, fear, or malice whose heart is already pure
from these things or who, at least, can empty his heart
of these things. There is a weakness of the heart and there
is a strength of the heart. The heart's weakness is caused
by things it contains which enfeeble it, such as doubt,
deceit, fear and malice. The absence of these things produces
that purity of heart which in itself is a power. This power
could be increased by faith, hope and righteousness.
Purity of the heart causes its expansion, and the lack
of purity makes it narrow. The mystic poet of Hyderabad,
Asif, says, 'If the heart is large, it can be largest of
all things.' Besides it is purity alone which opens the
doors of the heart. All that hinders that purity stands
as a closed door of the heart.
The pure-hearted may seem to be thinking, saying or doing
simple things. And yet there is a beauty and charm in all
they do, for there is nothing more attractive than light
itself. All that is besides light depends upon the light
to show out its beauty; light is beauty in itself. Purity of
the heart is the only condition that allows the inner stream
to rise. The pure-hearted see deeper, though they say little.
There is no pretense about them. What they know, they know;
what they don't know, they don't know. The pure ones make
all pure, for to them all is pure. Their presence makes
everything pure. As the pure water is the best tonic so
is the contact of the pure-hearted person. In the spiritual
path when one is able to accomplish this thing there is
not much then that remains to be accomplished.
Exaltation depends upon purity. The body cleansed gives
an exaltation which is experienced by all living beings on
the physical plane. The heart cleansed of all impurities
gives a much greater exaltation, which is experienced in
the inner plane and is reflected on the outer plane.
Most people little realize the meaning of exaltation.
In point of fact all things man seeks for and becomes occupied
with are most often methods adopted to obtain exaltation,
through food, perfume, music, or through the beauty of color
and line. No method, however, succeeds in giving the experience
of a fuller exaltation in the absence of purity of heart.
In plain words, it is the pure-hearted who enjoy the beauty
of music, color or perfume more fully than those without
purity of heart; although the pure-hearted seem to need
these things which bring about exaltation less, sometimes
for the very reason that the very purity of the heart gives
them that exaltation which others strive to achieve by different
Amir, the mystic poet, says, 'Their eyes refused the
wine, her generous offer, saying, 'We do not need thee,
we are intoxicated perpetually.' 'The reason behind the
refusal of the pious, at times, of music, art, gaiety, or
merriment was that they already had the exaltation which
others try to gain by these things. It does not at all mean
that the pious are always against things of beauty and pleasure.
It only means that they are rich by the feeling of exaltation
which comes from within, without adopting for it any other
methods. Nevertheless the pious are the ones who are capable
of enjoying beauty in all its aspects fully. As Hafiz says,
'If the pious ones would hear the song I sing they would
get up and dance unrestrainedly.'
8. Purify the Mind from Fear
To purify the mind from fear is of great importance,
and this can be best done by analyzing what causes one fear. Fear is an outcome of long-collected problems unsolved.
When once a person looks his own problem in the face he
gets an insight into the cause of fear, and as in the sun
many germs are destroyed so the germs of fear are destroyed
by the light of intelligence. Fear comes from weakness to
face the consequences of one's condition, attitude and deeds.
Once a person has solved the problem how he will meet the
consequences the fear is done with. The best way of getting
over the fear of swallowing a bitter pill is to swallow
the bitter pill and to experience by it that it is not more
bitter than it is.
Fear comes also by being too cautious for one's health,
morals and reputation; also by being too considerate of
the feelings of those one loves, and too regardful of those
under whose influence one is; also by taking too much to
heart what other say. Fear very often remains in the heart
of man in the guise of virtues, and very often a timid one
is taken for a righteous one. But the timorous well-doer
is worse than a fearless sinner.
The best practice one can make is to speak with oneself,
with one's own fear; to dispute with it, and to root out
the reasons on whose foundations it rests. What generally
happens is that all things one fears, one fears even to
think of them. But the solution of getting above fear lies
in analyzing the cause of the fear and so making it non-existent.
Man by nature possesses a tremendous power hidden in his
heart, the power which waits constantly to become manifest.
This power is hidden by fear. The day when fear disappears,
this latent power will manifest to view.
9. Keep the Heart Free from Poison
Antipathy turns into malice, and malice culminates in
bitterness. To possess it in one's heart is like possessing
in one's heart a poison, a poison that clouds with and produces
obscurity. If one keeps one's heart free from malice one
has accomplished a great deal, for it is in the clear heart
that the light from above is reflected. Often without an
intention on one's part malice enters, of which man is unconscious.
Often the man who possesses malice is quite innocent, for
his heart is reflecting the malice which is projected from
another heart. It is therefore that care must be taken to
keep one's heart free from the impressions and influences
coming from others. The question how can one avoid this
is answered thus, that the heart will focus itself to a
person or to an influence which is akin to its own quality;
that is the nature of the heart.
Therefore even if the impression came from another, for
the influence of another the man who reflects it is responsible.
To make the heart reflect good qualities one must prepare
it, one must train it; for it is the good quality of heart
that will keep away undesirable impressions and thoughts,
and will only reflect good impressions and desirable influences.
As a practice of purifying one's heart is to repeat every
morning and every evening; 'My thoughtful self! Reproach
no one, hold a grudge against no one, bear malice
against no one; be wise, tolerate,
considerate, polite and kind to all!'
10. The Real Purification of Mind
The real purification of mind is in purifying it from
thoughts and impressions which live in it as a germ of disease.
The best way of cleansing the mind from all this is to be
able to empty the mind of any thought, feeling or impression.
To be pure means to be natural. The spirit in man in its
natural condition is not a thought but mind, not love but
heart. For as the thought is the outcome of mind so is love
the outcome of the heart. To attain to the purity which
is the seeking of the mystic one must be able to purify
one's spirit from every thought and feeling, however deeply
impressed or engraved in one's heart. The mystic goes as
far as purifying himself from his identity, by removing
it for a certain time and by putting something else in its
place. From beginning to end the whole process of spiritual
development depends upon this.