« AnteriorContinua »
infantile state is that of pure sensation; the second is that of understanding, and the third that of reason, where the intellect perceives the necessary truths; but there is a fourth state beyond these three, in which man perceives the hidden things that have been, and that will be, and the things that escape both the senses and the reason. This state is Freedom."
The same writer has much to say about the Heart; he writes:
“Know, O seeker after the divine mysteries, that the body is the kingdoin of the Heart, and that there are in the body many forces in continuity with the heart.
“Know, O student of wisdom ! that the body which is the kingdom of the heart, resembles a great city. The hand, the foot, the inouth and the other members resemble the people of various trades. Desire is a standard bearer; anger is a superintendent of the city, the heart is its sovereign and reason is the vizier. The sovereign needs the service of all the inhabitants. When the heart is free from worldly lusts, from the animosities of society, and from distractions by the senses, the vision of God is possible. And this course is adopted by the mystics. It is also the path followed by the prophets.
“The heart of man while in the spiritual world knows its Maker and Creator ; it mingles with the angels and knows for what service it was created.
"To whomsoever this revelation has been vouchsafed, if it directs him to reform the world, to invite the nations to return to God, and to a peculiar way of life, that person is called a prophet, and his way of life is called a law; and that influence which proceeds from him which transcends what is ordinary, is called a miracle. If he has not been appointed to invite nations, but worships in accordance with the law of another, he is called a Saint, and that which proceeds from him, which transcends what is ordinary, is called a manifestation of grace.
“ The knowledge of God, which is the occasion of the revelation of truth, cannot be acquired without self-denial and effort. Unless a man has reached perfection and the rank of a Superior, nothing will be revealed to him, except in cases of special divine grace and merciful providence, and this occurs very rarely."
The last quotation I will make is from the writings of one of the most widely known of all the poets of the Sûfî school both in Persia and elsewhere, one to whom I have not hitherto referred. I allude to Hafiz of Shiraz, whose writings date from the fourteenth century. It is a quotation which, I think, may fitly close the short series of extracts which I have made, expressing, as it seems to do, the underlying motive of all Sûfî writings which treat of the Traveller and the Way.
“O thou who art devoid of knowledge, study till thou art a master of knowledge; so long as thou art not a wayfarer, how should'st thou be able to point out the way?
“In the school of truth, in the presence of the Masters of love, work unceasingly, iny son, that thou mayest one day become a Master.
“Sleep and excess have held thee back from the exultation of love; would'st thou attain love, thou must deny thyself food and slumber.
“When the light of the love of God shall descend on thy heart and soul, then thou wilt become more glorious than is the sun in the sky.
“Wash thyself clean from the dross of the body, that thou may'st find the alchemy of love and be transformed into gold.
“From head to foot the light of God will enfold thee, when, like the bodiless, thou shalt be borne along the path of the glorified.
“Plunge for one inoment into the sea of God, and think not that the waters of the seven seas will wet a single feather.
“If the countenance of God be the object of thy gaze, no doubt can remain that thou art among those of clear vision.
“Though the basis of thy existence shall be upheaved, have no thought in thy heart that thou art thyself made a ruin.
“But if, Hafiz, there be in thy mind a wish for wisdom, thou wilt have to become as dust at the door of those endowed with understanding."
And herewith my quotations from the writings of these inystics of the Mohammedan faith must come to an end. The ideas I have attempted to illustrate from those writings are very few, and I have only been able to outline even these few. I have endeavoured to let the quotations as far as possible speak for themselves, and have refrained from much comment, as each must find his own interpretation when dealing with writings so full of symbol and allegory as these. In the writings of the Sûfî school there is hardly a topic connected with the inner life which is not treated, there is hardly a problem of existence about which we shall not be able to glean something, and upon which occasionally we may not gain fresh light. To anyone, therefore, who is prepared to approach the study of the writings of these Mohammedan mystics in a sympathetic spirit, I think I may safely promise that they will find at least soine enlightenment and much beauty.
Ere I conclude there is one word more I would say on that aspect of the Sûfî teachings which above all others strikes me as being the most remarkable—a quality which from first to last seems to be the very keynote of the school. This is the atmosphere of love and joy with which, if I may thus express it, their writings, from first to last, seem to be saturated, an atınosphere which can hardly escape remark in studying Sûfîsm. With these mystics it seems that love is the beginning, the middle, and the completion of the traveller's journey. As we watch him he moves along his way towards the goal, not peering anxiously from side to side for dangers and difficulties which may meet him by the way; oblivious alike to the stones which may possibly cut his feet, of the thorns which perchance may pierce his flesh, he goes forward, his head erect, as a lover goes to meet his beloved, and as he goes he sings for very joy of heart.
In these writings we find but scant allusion to the trials of the Path, but much is spoken of the joys. As one reads on, the irresistible energy of this power of love seems to be borne in upon
power of love which is named devotion, and which in the Hindu scriptures is spoken of as burning up all impurities, and as transfiguring and transmuting the whole nature. One seems, at least in some measure, to realize how it is that all things are indeed possible for one clothed in the might of such devotion, and how before such an one all enemies must yield. Thus the Path becomes a very path of rejoicing to the pilgrim, for he is strong with the strength of the “perfect love that casteth out fear.”
0. S. CUFFE.
FROM SOME CHINESE ALCHEMISTS.
[The following extracts were made by H. P. Blavatsky, apparently as illustrative quotations intended to be used in some of lier work. They are so interesting that we print them from hier notebook.-EDS.]
THE SECRET OF IMMORTALITY. The body is the dwelling-place of life; the spirits are the essence of life, and the soul is the master of life. When the spirits are exhausted the body becomes sick, when the soul is in repose the spirits keep their place; and when the spirits are concentrated the soul becomes indestructible. Those who seek the elixir must imitate the Ting Tang (the active and passive principles in nature), and learn the harmony of numbers. They must govern the soul and unite their spirit. If the soul is a chariot the spirit are its horses. When the soul and spirit are properly yoked together you are immortal.
Rao Shang Tze.
THE POWER OF MIRACLES. The clouds are a dragon, the wind a tiger. Mind is the mother and matter the child. When the mother summons the child, will it dare to disobey? Those who would expel the spirits of evil must (by the force of their mind) summon the spirits of the five elements, those who would conquer serpents must obtain the influences of the five planets. By this means the Ting and Tang, the dual forces of nature, may be controlled, winds and clouds collected, mountains and hills torn up by the roots, and rivers and seas made to spring up out of the ground. Still the external manifestation of this power is not so good as the consciousness of its possession within.
The Adept is superior to hunger, cold, sickness. He inhales the fine essence of matter ; how can he be hungry? He is warmed by the fire of his own soul; how can he be cold? His five vitals are fed on the essence of the five elements; how can lie be sick ?
Tun-Tsse. PATIENCE ESSENTIAL TO SUCCESS. Would you seek the golden Tau, the elixir ? It is not easy to obtain. The three powers, sun, moon, stars, seven times repeat their footsteps, and the four seasons nine times complete their circuit. Tau must wash it white and burn it red; when one draught will give you 10,000 ages and you will be wafted beyond the sphere of sublunary things.
Lu-Zien. THE NECESSITY OF A LIVING TEACHER. Every one seeks long life, but the secret is not easy to find. If you covet the precious things of Heaven you must reject the treasures of the earth. You must kindle the fire that springs from the water and evolve the Ting contained within the Tang*
One word from a wise master and you possess a draught of the golden water.
Lu-Zien. THE CHIEF ELEMENTS IN ALCHEMY, All things originate from the earth. If you can, get at the radical principle. The spirit of the green dragon is mercury, and the water of the white tiger is lead. The knowing ones will bring mother and child together, when earth will become heaven and you will be extricated from the power of mother.
[The tiger and dragon are synonyms for Ting Tang; their use in this sense is comparatively ancient, as we may gather from the title of a book still extant, by the historian Pan Ru of the first century of our era.]
Lu-Zien. THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE, SELF-CULTURE NECESSARY TO
I must diligently plant my own field. There is within it a spiritual germ that may live a thousand years. Its flower is like
Ting Tang are the dual forces which contain the elements of nature. Though generally referred to in the sexual systems their chief symbols are the sun and moon, and the original signification of the terms is light and darkness -manifestly occult.