(To be read at the Service of Universal Worship)
Religious Gatheka Number 15
There are seven grades recognized by the Sufis of those in the spiritual hierarchy, Pir, Buzurg, Wali, ghaus, Qutb, Nabi, Rasul. These are the degrees which come from the inner initiations, the inner initiations to which one becomes entitled on having the outer initiations which are necessary. It is beyond words to express what inner initiation means and in what form it is given. Those to whom the inner initiation is unknown may explain it as a dream or as a vision, but in reality it is something higher and greater than that. I can only explain it by saying that the definite changes which take place during one's journey through the spiritual path are initiations, and it is these initiations which include man in the spiritual hierarchy.
In the life of a Saint or a Master there are five degrees known, and the two last degrees the Progress of the Saint and of the Master is silent. But in the life of a Prophet these seven degrees manifest to view. For a Saint or a Master there is one facility, that he can do his work by avoiding the notice of the world. But the life of the Prophet necessitates his coming into the world, and thus as he progresses from grade to grade through his life, he cannot very well cover himself, however much he may want to, from the gaze of the world, though the sage of every category, saint, master or Prophet, and every degree always prefers not being known to the world, and as he progresses so that desire increases more. But it is not only out of modesty or humbleness, but also for the protection of the spiritual ideal which is developed in him, for it attracts dangers of all sorts by being exposed to the common gaze.
All beauty is veiled by nature, and the higher the beauty the more it is covered. And that makes it easy for a wise person find out the difference between a true Prophet and a false Prophet, for one beats his drums and the other tries to keep in the background, if only his work in the world would let him keep back. It is his efforts in accomplishing something that bring him to the notice of the world. However, his longing is to be unknown, for the one who really deserves being known is God alone.
The work of the Pir is helping individuals toward the unfoldment of their soul. The work, of the Buzurg is to help by the power of his soul those who wish to advance spiritually. The Wali controls a community, keeping it on the right track. The ghaus helps its spiritual wellbeing. Qutb spiritually governs a country, a nation. Nabi elevates individuals and bears a divine message. Rasul is the one who has fulfilled the message he has borne.