The Supplementary Papers
Q & A - After Gatha II, #4 Takua Taharat "Purity of mind..."
Q. What is the process of drowning impressions in the ocean of the consciousness of eternal now? A. The one who does not know the love of an individual does not know universal love. But if one stands there, one stands there without going forward. The love of an individual in love's path is a doll's play, which is learned for the time to come. So the love of an individual is the first step. But when one progresses then one advances towards the love of a cause, a community, a nation; or even the whole universe. Man, as a human being, is capable of loving one; but his soul, as the light of God is capable of loving not only the world, but even if there were a thousand worlds. For the heart of man is larger than the whole Universe.
Cont. Gatha II, No.5, Takua Taharat. "The principal..."
Very often at the sight of disharmony one tries to escape
it, but disharmony has such a wonderful magic, that if one
avoids it in the East one meets it in the West. It never
leaves a person; whom it loves it follows. And the best
way to meet with disharmony is to try and harmonize with
it; knowing that the source and goal of all things is the
perfection of harmony. And bearing this idea in mind if
one met with disharmony, which has no existence in reality,
which is like a shadow, it must certainly disappear as the
shadow at the light of the sun.
Q & A - After gatha III, No. 9, KASHF. "There are..."
Q. Will you please explain what you said yesterday about the two paths, the one who leads to saintliness, and the one who leads to mastership? A. I had said of the two paths, one of the saint, and the other of the master: one is the path of renunciation, abnegation, resignation, self-denial, from the beginning to the end. And by doing this one arrives to that meeting ground where one touches that divine perfection. And then there is the path of the master. The path of firmness and obstinacy, breaking and penetrating through every difficult situation, that comes before him. And so fighting all along from the beginning to the end. In this he has to fight with himself and With the life outside.
Therefore the struggle is both sides. And there is all the time the work of the will power, and all through there is a battle; and in this battle all the conditions that one has to go through are of the same character and nature as of the warfare, to be wounded and to cause wounds, and to be hurt and to hurt another also. And in this way it is a constant struggle. But still for the higher aim, and for the greater gain. In the end strikes the same note which the saint has struck. Neither the path of the saint is easy, nor of the master. The place where they meet both become one. For the resignation brings the saint to the same realization of the harmony with the Infinite, as the struggle brings the master to the same conviction in the end.
There is a third temperament, and that is the middle temperament. In which temperament there is the saintly temperament and the temperament of the master; and that is the Prophetic temperament. Because the Prophet begins his life with both, struggle and resignation. One moment struggle, and another moment resignation. Gain and resignation, continually going on. And therefore in the Prophet one sees the saint and the master, both in one.
Q. Suppose a person has had for years some interest very near to his heart, which has developed his power of concentration. And that interest ceases. Is that person more capable of strong concentration on a new interest, because of his previous experience? A. Yes, certainly. All our experiences are nothing but preparation for something else. Nothing that belongs to this world, however precious, must hinder one's path of progress. For every step in the direction to that spiritual gain must be the aim of every soul. And the concentration upon the object is just a step.
Q. A feeling of deadness seems to come...? A. Here is the question of concentration, and not of its effect. The question of effect is quite a different subject again. Then the question comes: of what object? Something to steady the mind. It may be a tree, a flower, the sun or a star. Of course, according to the object a reaction is produced. And according to the reaction an object is produced. According to the nature of the object reaction is produced. Every belief and every experience for a wise person is a step of a staircase; he has taken this step, there is another step for him to take. The steps of the staircase are not made for one to stand there. They are just made for one to pass, to go further. Because life is progress. Where there is no progress there is no life. One should go on. Death and disappointment; two things are one. And if there is a hereafter, then the death was a passing stage; and so is disappointment. It only has made one more steady, more wise, .........
Q. Does the staircase never end? A. The end is not very desirable. The interest is in the staircase, in going on.
Q. When a soul has reached perfection? A. After perfection
there is no interest. If there is no self, there is no interest,
there is perfection.
Q & A - After Gatha III, No. 4, Tassawuf, "Qaza and Qadr"
Q. Is there in relation to Qaza and Qadr, a difference in the path of the saint and the master? A. Certainly. The saint is resigned to Qaza, and the master has regard for Qadr. Qaza is the Will of God, and Qadr free will of an individual.
Q. What is free will? Can man in reality do a thing contrary
to the Will of God? A. The answer is expressed in the first
part of my lecture. From the point of view of the absolute
Truth all is the Will of God. There is no such thing as
free will. But from the wisdom point of view there is a
greater will, a mightier will, and a smaller will. That
shows one side perfection of God; the other side limitation
– the fate of man.
Q & A - After Gatha III, No. 5, Tassawuf, "Opinion"
Q. What is the meaning of the peacock feathers? A. The peacock feathers are considered by the poets and mystics as a symbol (sign) of beauty, and a sign of vanity. And they are included in all the kingly grandeurs. And peacock is the bird upon which rode the goddess of music and literature, Saraswati. Also the peacock feathers are used at the tombs of the Sufis, by the guardians of the tomb. Also by the healers; that by the passes of the peacock feathers, which is the pass of harmony and beauty, the bad influences may be taken away. Also in India they use peacock feathers in the necklace of a child. And that is a little psychological trick. A child who is susceptible to the evil eye, is saved from its severe influence, because it is natural that the first glance of a person, instead of falling upon the child, will fall upon the peacock feathers, because it attracts curiosity of everyone. In that way the first severe glance is so to speak shielded by the peacock feathers. And the same thing is done by the lion's nails, which are put in the necklace of a little child.
Q. Why can we only have knowledge of God through the
heart? What part of the mind does the heart represent? A.
The heart is the principle center, not the heart of the
body, but the heart which is the depth of the mind, for
the mind is the surface of the heart. The heart and mind
are as one tree: the root is the heart and the branches,
fruits, flowers, and leaves represent the mind. The heart
is at the bottom of thought, imagination, and all. Feelings
always belong to the heart, thought to the mind; so what
belongs to the mind can be expressed in words, what belongs
to the heart cannot. Everything in the mind is intelligible,
but what is intelligible but not expressible, or beyond
what is intelligible, that is the heart. Deeper feelings,
mirth, kindness, sympathy, all fine feelings which cannot
be expressed in words are all activities of the heart. The
heart is like the sea, and the waves are its emotions. The
brain is all over the body, this fact is admitted by modern
science; brain is that susceptibility which is sensitive,
such as nerves which are the sensitive feelers of the brain.
Q & A - After Gatha III, No. 7, Tassawuf, "Conventionality"
Q. Will you tell us which has most influence on the individual, heredity, or environment? A. The heredity is the foundation of the house, and the environment is the building. And from this you can understand what is more useful and what less, and what has greater influence and what has less.
Q. The most civilized have been the most conventional people. How does it come that the artist generally is not conventional at all? A. The artist lives in his own world. The greater the artist, the more he has his own world. He does not live in the world. All those who live in their own world, they are out of the world, they have a civilization of their own. But when it comes to the question of the worldly life, life in the midst of the world, there comes the question of conventionality. He cannot ignore conventionality, and at the same time live in the midst of the world. Paderewski did not have time enough to comb his hair. That is another thing. But I do not think that he could have come as a President, without brushing his hair. As an artist it is all right. But as a man in the midst of the world, he has a world to face.
Q. Is not conventionality very often the result of personal taste and habits? How would it be possible to know what to change and what to keep, when the conventionality of each person depends upon his environment; there would surely always be people who disagreed in this? A. Of course, this necessitates the exclusiveness of environments. Also this is the cause of divisions of humanity. And yet no civilization can avoid it very well, however greatly advanced in its thoughts. The progress will create necessities of such kind, they will not admit it, but they will live it just the same. But I should think that the best way of understanding conventionality is the spiritual. Once a person understands the spiritual moral, he does not need to learn manmade refinement. It will come by itself. As soon as man begins to regard the pleasure and displeasure of God, in the feeling of every person he meets, he cannot be but most refined, whatever be the position of his life. He may live in a cottage, but his manner will surpass the manner of palaces.
Another thing, when man has begun to judge his own actions, the fairness will develop in his nature. And therefore everything he will do will be just and fair. He does not need very much the study of outer conventionalities; he naturally will become conventional. And the third thing is that Sufi conception of God as the Beloved. When this conception is practiced in everyday life, and one regards it in dealing with everyone, that in everyone there is the divine Spirit more or less, one would regard everyone with that devotion and respect, with that thought and consideration which one would give to the Beloved God. And in these three ways this spiritual life teaches man the very depth of conventionalities. And if a civilization was built, which no doubt will be built one day, on spiritual basis, the conventionalities of the world will become genuine and worth having.
Q. Do you think that conventionalities are fundamentally based on common sense? A. Sometimes based on common sense, sometimes on the super sense, and sometimes beneath it.
Q. How can one make people who are lacking education see a thing that does not exist in their eyes, where they think there is no such a thing as what the aristocratic people feel as necessary for their happiness? I should think that an ordinary man in the street, he is neglected, man turns his back to him. If he were taken closer to oneself, if he were taught with simplicity and good will, not showing that he was ignorant of beauty or culture, but showing him that in this is his real benefit, I am sure that the conditions, as bad as they are now, will not be. And there will be a better understanding between the classes as they are just now.
I will tell you a little example. When traveling in India, I was staying in a place near a Hindu temple. And there were two porters who took care of that temple. They were of Afghanistan, proud and stiff, rough and rigid in their manner, and yet in their expression there was honesty and goodness. As I passed through that way I saw them ignoring so to speak my entering and going out, lest they may have trouble of observing any conventionalities. One of them came to me with a message from his master. I got up from my seat, and I received him most cordially. And since that time; every time I passed, even if five times in a day, I was very well received with smiles, and with very warm welcome, and there was no more ignoring, because education was given to that person, without hurting his feeling. That gave him the pleasure; certainly he thought that: "I can give to another also."
To force a virtue upon a person is pride, but to let him see the beauty of a good manner, that is education. The condition today would become much better if we would take that to heart, and know as our sacred task to approach the people who need ripening, in such a gentle way, with such sympathy and love, and to develop in their spirit that culture and beauty which will then be shared between us and them.
God bless you.