Flee, my friend, into your solitude (meditation)! I see you dazed by the noise of the great men (who pretend to be initiates) and stung all over by the stings of the little men (the common rabble, the fornicators). Woods and crags know how to keep a dignified silence with you. Be like the tree (of life of the Kabbalah) that you love with its wide branches: silently listening (in comprehension, knowledge, and understanding), it hangs over the sea (the creative waters of transmutation).
Where solitude (meditation) ceases the market place begins (the pseudo-spiritual and esoteric groups); and where the market place (esoteric schools) begins the noise of the great actors and the buzzing of the poisonous flies begins too. In the world even the best things amount to nothing without someone to make a show of them (not even the great teachings of the prophets, the messengers of the Superman, can remain alone; they are prostituted by the rabble): great men (initiates, masters) the people call these showmen.
Little do the people comprehend the great—that is, the creating (through sexual alchemy). But they have a mind for all showmen and actors of great things.
Around the inventors of new values the world revolves: invisibly it revolves (since the prophets, the heralds of the Superman, guide humanity). But around the actors revolve the people and fame: that is the way of the world.
The actor has spirit (גדולה Gedulah, the Innermost) but little conscience (awareness, conscious knowledge, or initiatic development) of the spirit. Always he has faith in that with which he inspires the most faith—faith in himself. Tomorrow he has a new faith, and the day after tomorrow a newer one (since these students are mere butterflies who wander from esoteric group to esoteric group, adopting and abandoning multiple teachings). He has quick senses, like the people, and capricious moods. To overthrow (in an argument)—that means to him: to prove. To drive to frenzy (through impassioned speech)—that means to him: to persuade. And blood (energy, attention, adulation) is to him the best of all reasons. A truth that slips into delicate ears alone he calls a lie and nothing (because these so-called "initiates" really are not that; they have no development). Verily, he believes only in gods (egos, idols in his mind) who make a big noise in the world!
Full of solemn jesters is the market place (these pseudo-esoteric and esoteric institutions throughout the world)—and the people (Gnostics) pride themselves on their great men, their masters of the hour. But the hour presses them; so they press you. And from you too they want a Yes or No (they secretly want you to agree with them or to provide an answer to their obtrusive questions). Alas, do you want to place your chair between pro and con (the battle of the antitheses, the subjective rationalizations of the animal ego)?
Do not be jealous of these unconditional, pressing men, you lover of truth (you genuine Gnostic initiate, who has suffered too much)! Never yet has truth hung on the arm of the unconditional (those who do not place into action the causes and conditions that would make these people genuine initiates). On account of these sudden men, go back to your security: it is only in the market place (public, esoteric schools) that one is assaulted with Yes? or No? Slow is the experience of all deep wells (for the hermits of the ninth arcanum, as described by Nietzsche in "On the Adder's Bite," do not genuinely understand the true initiates; the so-called practitioners of gnosis or esotericism are easily insulted by genuine generosity and the progress of others): long must they wait before they know what fell into their depth.
Far from the market place and from fame happens all that is great (away from the politics of esoteric institutions, the Gnostic Movement): far from the market place and from fame the inventors of new values have always dwelt.
Flee, my friend, into your solitude (upon the mountain of initiation): I see you stung all over by poisonous flies (the gossip and slander of these so-called missionaries and Gnostic students). Flee where the air is raw and strong.
Flee into your solitude! You have lived too close to the small and the miserable. Flee their invisible revenge! (For as Samael Aun Weor stated, "Unfortunately, and even if we were very courteous and even sincere at times, there is no doubt that invisibly and internally we treat each other very badly. People who are apparently very generous drag their fellow men daily into the secret caves of themselves to do with them whatever they please (abuse, mockery, contempt, etc.) ―Treatise of Revolutionary Psychology). Against you they are nothing but revenge.
No longer raise up your arm against them. Numberless are they, and it is not your lot to shoo flies. Numberless are these small and miserable creatures; and many a proud building (initiate) has perished of raindrops and weeds (gossip, criticism, and slander). You are no (philosopher's) stone (perfected completely through the Mountains of Initiation, Resurrection, and Ascension), but you have already become hollow from many drops. You will yet burst from many drops. I see you wearied by poisonous flies, bloody in a hundred places; and your pride (solar dignity) refuses even to be angry. Blood (energy and attention) is what they want from you in all innocence. Their bloodless souls crave blood, and so they sting in all innocence. But you, you deep one (you genuine hermit of Arcanum Nine), suffer too deeply even from small wounds; and even before you have healed, the same poisonous worm crawls over your hand. You are too proud (dignified) to kill these greedy creatures. But beware lest it become your downfall that you suffer all their poisonous injustice.
They hum around you with their praise too: obtrusiveness is their praise. They want the proximity of your skin and your blood. They flatter you as a god or devil; they whine before you as before a god or devil. What does it matter? They are flatterers and whiners and nothing more (they have no development and they will sooner or later enter devolution and the Second Death).
Often they affect charm. But that has always been the cleverness of cowards. Indeed, cowards are clever! They think a lot about you with their petty souls—you always seem problematic to them. Everything that one thinks about a lot becomes problematic.
They punish you for all your (solar) virtues. They forgive you entirely—your mistakes.
Because you are gentle and just in disposition you say, "They are guiltless in their small existence." ("They do not know any better and perhaps in time, through Gnosis, they will learn"). But their petty souls think, "Guilt is every great existence."
Even when you are gentle to them they still feel despised by you: and they return your benefaction with hidden malefactions. Your silent pride (humility and dignity) always runs counter to their taste; they are jubilant if for once you are modest enough to be vain (to entertain them and be a fool, to act upon the whims and enthusiasm of their animal ego, such as through functions and gatherings for these so-called esoteric groups). That which we recognize in a person we also inflame in him: therefore, beware of the small creatures. Before you they feel small (they recognize they are not initiates), and their baseness glimmers and glows in invisible revenge. Have you not noticed how often they became mute when you stepped among them, and how their strength went from them like smoke from a dying fire?
Indeed, my friend, you are the bad conscience of your neighbors: for they are unworthy of you. They hate you, therefore, and would like to suck your blood. Your neighbors will always be poisonous flies; that which is great in you, just that must make them more poisonous and more like flies.
Flee, my friend, into your solitude (upon the Mountain of Initiation, the Superior Worlds) and where the air is raw and strong! It is not your lot to shoo flies.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
I have a question for you alone, my brother: like a sounding lead, I cast this question into your soul that I might know how deep it is.
You are young and wish for a child and marriage. But I ask you: Are you a man entitled to wish for a child? Are you the victorious one (who has conquered Netzach: the mind, Victory in Hebraic Kabbalah), the self-conqueror, the commander of your senses (pratyahara in the eightfold path of meditation), the master of your virtues (Bodhichitta)? This I ask you. Or is it the animal (ego) and (lustful) need that speak out of your wish? Or loneliness? Or lack of peace (Shamatha: the nine stages of calm abiding) with yourself?
Let your victory (Arcanum 7: Triumph in the spiritual revolution) and your freedom long for a (golden) child (of alchemy: the revolutionary Christos or Superhuman). You shall build living monuments (solar bodies) to your victory and your liberation. You shall build over and beyond yourself (through sexual magic), but first you must be built yourself, perpendicular in body and soul (you must achieve the four points of the cross in yourself, the equilibrium of the four elements: air (thought), fire (emotions), water (sexuality) and earth (physicality). This is achieved by becoming the fourth type of human being in the Fourth Way teachings: a psychologically equilibrated human being). You shall not only reproduce yourself (for that which is born of the flesh is flesh), but produce something higher (since that which is born of the spirit, is spirit; John 3:6). May the garden of marriage (עֵדֶן Eden, signifying voluptuousness and sexual bliss in Hebrew) help you in that!
You shall create a higher (solar) body (Christ Astral, Christ Mental, and Christ Causal), a first movement (Kether, for "He is the One Who He is" or "I Am the One Who is Becoming" in a perpetual state of movement), a self-propelled wheel (or chakra, since the chakras are enlivened and permanently spin once awakening / raising the sexual Kundalini fire through initiation)—you shall create a creator (since the solar bodies create Christic power continually through the continuum of tantra).
Marriage: thus I name the will of two (Adam and Eve, male-female, י Iod and הוה Chavah) to create the one (יהוה Iod-Chavah: the Solar Human Being) that is more than those who created it. Reverence for each other (Awe or פחד pechad on the leg of the gnostic pentagram indicates reverence for controlling the sexual energy, the thigh where is written "King of Kings and Lord of Lords" [Revelation 19:16] since this power makes one a מלך Melech, a solar king of nature), as for those willing with such a (solar) will (תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth, the human soul), is what I name marriage. Let this be the meaning and truth of your marriage. But that which the all-too-many, the superfluous (fornicators), call marriage—alas, what shall I name that? Alas, this poverty of the soul in pair! Alas, this filth of the soul in pair! Alas, this wretched contentment in pair! Marriage they call this; and they say that their marriages are made in heaven. Well, I do not like it, this (egotistical) heaven of the superfluous. No, I do not like them—these (lustful) animals entangled in the heavenly net (who use marriage papers to justify fornication and prostitution of the soul). And let the god who limps near (Vulcan) to bless what he never joined keep his distance from me (since when man and woman sexually unite, they establish a bond in the world of eternity, Hod and Netzach; fornicators abuse the powers of the forge of Vulcan / Yesod: sexuality)! Do not laugh at such marriages! What child would not have cause to weep over its parents?
Worthy I deemed this man (initiate), and ripe for the sense of the earth (how to practice sexual magic by dominating his own מַלְכוּת Malkuth, his kingdom / body, so as to become a King, מלך Melech); but when I saw his wife, the earth seemed to me a house for the senseless. Indeed, I wished that the earth might tremble in convulsions when a saint (initiate) mates with a goose (a woman who has no inclination to practice gnosis).
This one went out like a hero in quest of truths, and eventually he conquered a little dressed-up lie. His marriage he calls it.
That one was reserved and chose choosily. But all at once he spoiled his company forever: his marriage he calls it.
That one sought a maid with the virtues of an angel (a woman who practices transmutation and gnosticism). But all at once he became the maid (slave) of a woman (who does not want anything to do with the spiritual work); and now he must turn himself into an angel (since certain gnostics marry persons who do not support them in the path of initiation).
Careful I have found all buyers now, and all of them have cunning eyes. But even the most cunning still buys his wife in a poke.
Many brief follies—that is what you call love (גדולה Gedulah, the spirit). And your marriage concludes many brief follies, as a long stupidity. Your love of woman, and woman's love of man—oh, that it were compassion for suffering (Bodhichitta), and shrouded gods (Elohim)! But, for the most part, two beasts (fornicators) find each other.
But even your best love is merely an ecstatic parable and a painful ardor. It is a torch that should light up higher paths for you (upon the Tree of Life). Over and beyond yourselves you shall love one day (since חֶסֶד Chesed / גדולה Gedulah, the spirit, is above תִפאֶרֶת Tiphereth and גבורה Geburah: the human and divine souls). Thus learn first to love (as גדולה Gedulah / Love or Goodness, the Innermost Spirit). And for that you had to drain the bitter cup of your love (in meditation upon the death of your defects). Bitterness (karmic suffering) lies in the (alchemical) cup of even the best love: thus it arouses longing for the Superman; thus it arouses your thirst, creator (alchemist). Thirst for the creator (Chesed, Binah, Chokmah, and Kether, since the upper trinity of the Tree of Life creates along with the spirit), an arrow and longing for the Superman: tell me, my brother, is this your will to marriage? Holy I call such a will and such a marriage.
Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
Behold, this is the hole (infraconsciousness) of the tarantula (pseudo-esoteric spiritual person or so-called "gnostic missionary"). Do you want to see the tarantula itself? Here hangs its web (deceits and lies); touch it, that it tremble!
There it comes willingly (to persecute you with its fanaticism): welcome, tarantula! Your triangle and symbol sits black on your back (representative of the three traitors: the demon of desire, the demon of the mind, and the demon of evil will); and I also know what sits in your soul. Revenge sits in your soul: wherever you bite (criticize and gossip), black scabs grow; your poison makes the soul whirl with revenge.
Thus I speak to you in a parable—you who make souls whirl, you preachers of equality (because the so-called "gnostic" missionaries, who pretend to be initiates, are filled with supreme spiritual envy towards their superiors, those initiates who know how to have internal experiences from daily meditation, even when such initiates are only students in these spiritual groups). To me you are tarantulas, and secretly vengeful (because you are jealous of those who actually succeed in the Great Work; you have no direct knowledge of the truth, so you hate those who do). But I shall bring your secrets to light; therefore I laugh in your faces with my laughter of the heights (because I have internal development and a higher Level of Being born from the rigors of the initiatic path). Therefore I tear at your webs (your false beliefs that you weave around yourself and which you use to inhibit, repress, and trap your students), that your rage may lure you out of your lie-holes and your revenge may leap out from behind your word justice (since the hypocritical gnostic pharisees use the words of Christ in order to condemn Christ; see Samael Aun Weor's Gnostic Bible: The Pistis Sophia Unveiled). For that man be delivered from revenge, that is for me the bridge to the highest hope (Kether), and a rainbow (of קֶשֶׁת Qesheth, the path which leads from Malkuth to Kether on the Tree of Life) after long storms (ordeals and karmic suffering).
The tarantulas, of course, would have it otherwise. "What justice means to us is precisely that the world be filled with the storms of our revenge"—thus they speak to each other (they want revenge because they are in despair; they lack conscious knowledge and direct experience of the internal worlds). "We shall wreak vengeance and abuse on all whose equals we are not"—thus do the tarantula-hearts vow. "And 'will to equality' shall henceforth be the name for virtue (which makes such people very small in comparison to the giants of initiation); and against all that has power we want to raise our clamor!"
You preachers of equality, the tyrannomania of impotence clamors thus out of you for equality (you are impotent because you suffer from nocturnal pollutions or are unable to command the sexual energy): your most secret ambitions to be tyrants thus shroud themselves in words of virtue (you pretend to be a great initiate when you cannot even meditate). Aggrieved conceit, repressed envy—perhaps the conceit and envy of your fathers (from the times of Jesus)—erupt from you as a flame and as the frenzy of revenge.
What was silent in the father speaks in the son; and often I found the son the unveiled secret of the father (because we live on in our descendants through return and recurrence; the hypocritical "gnostic" missionaries are simply the return and recurrence of the pharisees from the Piscean Era when Christ taught).
They are like enthusiasts, yet it is not the heart that fires them—but revenge. And when they become elegant and cold , it is not the spirit but envy that makes them elegant and cold (they criticize the solar initiates and belittle them with many inhibitions and so-called rules; they believe they are the only legitimate gnostic movement or school in the world and that the rest are of the black lodge). Their jealousy leads them even on the paths of thinkers (the great prophets and meditators); and this is the sign of their jealousy: they always go too far (they take what was taught by Samael Aun Weor and distort it), till their weariness must in the end lie down to sleep in the snow (of chastity, since such hypocritical gnostics may practice transmutation, and for a few moments their hypocrisy may go to sleep, only to reawaken later). Out of every one of their complaints (that they cannot be chaste, abstain from drugs, meditate, or transmute) sounds revenge; in their praise there is always a sting (because they recognize their worthlessness before the humble presence of the solar initiates), and to be a judge seems bliss to them (because in the gnostic congresses, such pharisees demand to be president, in command, at the head, so as to enjoy the spiritual envy of their subordinates).
But thus I counsel you, my friends: Mistrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful. They are people of a low sort and stock; the hangman and the bloodhound look out of their faces. Mistrust all who talk much of their justice! Verily, their souls lack more than honey (transmuted sexual seed and direct knowledge, the sweetness of the soul). And when they call themselves the good and the just, do not forget that they would be pharisees, if only they had—power.
My friends, I do not want to be mixed up and confused with others. Some preach my doctrine of life (חַיִים Chaim, transmutation and alchemy) and are at the same time preachers of equality and tarantulas (people who are in the gnostic movement and working as missionaries, yet who have no development and who seek to belittle others out of their spiritual envy). Although they are sitting in their holes (in Klipoth), these poisonous spiders, with their backs turned on life (Chokmah, the Christ), they speak in favor of life (Chokmah, the Second Logos, who is compassion and selfless love for humanity), but only because they wish to hurt. They wish to hurt those who now have power (through initiation, since they lack initiation themselves), for among these the preaching of death is still most at home (referring to those so-called spiritual leaders or instructors who have no genuine hope and illumination within themselves; they say they are in the gnostic movement, but do not practice at all; they believe in futility and the inevitability of the second death, like the soothsayer in the fourth part of Thus Spoke Zarathustra). If it were otherwise, the tarantulas would teach otherwise; they themselves were once the foremost slanderers of the world and burners of heretics (and have returned within the gnostic movement due to return, recurrence, and karma).
I do not wish to be mixed up and confused with these preachers of equality. For, to me justice speaks thus: "Men are not equal." Nor shall they become equal! What would my love of the Superman be if I spoke otherwise? (since Christ, the Superman, is far above and beyond the degeneration of demons in Klipoth, the intellectual animals, and even the gods of the spiral path)
On a thousand bridges and paths they shall throng to the future, and ever more war and inequality shall divide them (because the gnostic movement has split into multiple factions and organizations that all fight for political supremacy; such division has occurred in every religion): thus does my great love make me speak. In their hostilities they shall become inventors of images (eikonon, relating to Eikasia, the state of unconscious sleep without dreams) and ghosts (Pistis, sleep with dreams, which resemble lunar phantoms of the mind), and with their images (Eikasia) and ghosts (Pistis) they shall yet fight the highest fight against one another (they will encounter those who truly understand and follow the gnostic teaching in order to recognize their emptiness and worthlessness). Good and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all the names of values—arms shall they be and clattering signs that life (חַיִים Chaim, the power of the Holy Spirit within our sexual glands) must overcome itself again and again (through incessant alchemical transmutations).
Life wants to build itself up into the heights with pillars (of Mercy, Justice, and Equilibrium) and steps (on the ladder of Being); it wants to look into vast distances and out toward stirring beauties (since to see mountains in the internal planes signifies that one is walking the path of initiation): therefore it requires height (elevated states of consciousness). And because it requires height, it requires steps and contradiction among the steps and the climbers (because until the ego is dead, one is contradictory). Life wants to climb and to overcome itself climbing.
And behold, my friends: here where the tarantula has its hole, the ruins of an ancient temple rise (since the pharisees base their hypocrisy in the most venerated traditions); behold it with enlightened (clairvoyant) eyes! Verily, the man who once piled his thoughts to the sky in these stones—he, like the wisest, knew the secret of all life (the ancient cultures knew the esoteric science of enlightenment in depth: alchemical transmutation). That struggle and inequality are present even in beauty (Tiphereth), and also war for power (Yesod) and more power (in Da'ath): that is what he teaches us here in the plainest parable. How divinely vault and arches (remind us of the great arcanum, the Ark of the Covenant) break through each other in a wrestling match (like Jacob against the angel Samael, whose doctrine unveils the secret of the great arcanum: sexual magic); how they strive against each other with light and shade (since the white lodge and black lodge fight an eternal war to the death), the godlike strivers (in meditation)—with such assurance and beauty let us be enemies too, my friends! Let us strive against one another like gods (because we must inspire one another to overcome our own egos by confronting each other and having dialogue, which the hypocritical gnostic pharisees are unwilling to do).
Alas, then the tarantula, my old enemy, bit me. With godlike assurance and beauty it bit my finger. "Punishment there must be and justice," it thinks; "and here he shall not sing songs in honor of enmity in vain."
Indeed, it has avenged itself. And alas, now it will make my soul, too, whirl with revenge. But to keep me from whirling, my friends, tie me tight to this column (like Odysseus tied to the mast of his ship in order not to go mad with lust from the sirens of the sea, who desired his shipwreck within the Abyss, Klipoth). Rather would I be a stylite even, than a whirl of revenge.
Verily, Zarathustra is no cyclone or whirlwind; and if he is a dancer, he will never dance the tarantella.
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
(Note: The writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, particularly his Thus Spoke Zarathustra, is esoteric and requires a strong knowledge of Kabbalah, Alchemy, Initiation, the Tarot, Dream Yoga, and Esotericism. Here is an excerpt of an important chapter in the aforementioned text, which will demonstrate that his writings convey a depth of knowledge that goes beyond the limits and interpretations of academia).
Is it your wish, my brother (fellow initiate), to go into solitude (meditation)? Is it your wish to seek the way to yourself (Ain Soph)? Then linger a moment, and listen to me.
"He who seeks (initiation), easily gets lost (in the abyss and second death). All loneliness (contemplation and self-remembering) is guilt"—thus speaks the herd (fornicators). And you have long belonged to the herd. The (egotistical) voice of the herd will still be audible in you. And when you will say, "I no longer have a common conscience with you," it will be a lament and an agony. Behold, this agony itself was born of the common conscience (the collective lunar mind of intellectual animals), and the last glimmer of that conscience still glows on your affliction (for you are entering into initiation through conscious works and voluntary sufferings).
But do you want to go the way of your affliction (the path of sacrifice and self-denial of the ego), which is the way to yourself (Ain Soph Paranishpanna)? Then show me your right and your strength to do so. Are you a new strength and a new right (the aspiration, longing, and power of Bodhichitta, which claims for itself the end goal, Self-realization: Ain Soph Paranishpanna)? A first movement (Kether)? A self-propelled wheel (of the Bhavachakra: the wheel of becoming)? Can you compel the very stars (divinity) to revolve around you (through your initiatic works)?
Alas, there is so much lusting for the heights (the three mountains of initiation, resurrection, and ascension)! There are so many convulsions of the ambitious (mythomaniacs and false gurus who proclaim to be initiates, and yet are not). Show me that you are not one of the lustful and ambitious.
Alas, there are so many great thoughts which do no more than a bellows: they puff up and make emptier (for theories and beliefs amount to nothing: only conscious works and actions produce results and the entrance into initiation, since as Goethe stated: every theory is gray and only the leaves from the Tree of Life are green).
You call yourself (spiritually) free? Your dominant (Dianoetic) thought I want to hear, and not that you have escaped from a yolk (from one pseudo-spiritual / pseudo-esoteric group to another). Are you one of those who had the right to escape from a yoke (by finding and entering into initiation)? There are some who threw away their last value when they threw away their servitude (to a particular religion or tradition).
Free from what (a religion, school, or esoteric system of thought)? As if that mattered to Zarathustra! But your eyes should tell me brightly: free for what (the Ain Soph Paranishpanna)?
Can you give yourself your own evil (the black Pillar of Justice) and your own good (the white Pillar of Mercy upon the Tree of Life, the Kabbalah) and hang your own will over yourself as a law (as an Apostolate of Arcanum 12 of the Initiatic Tarot)? Can you be your own judge and avenger of your law (Ain Soph, Glorian)? Terrible it is to be alone with the judge and avenger of one's own law (Glorian). Thus is a star (Ain Soph) thrown out into the void and into the icy breath of solitude (meditation and contemplation within the hell realms). Today you are still suffering from the many, being one (an initiate who has integrated his or her psyche through psychoanalytic meditation): today your courage and your hopes are still whole. But the time will come when solitude (meditation) will make you weary, when your pride (solar dignity) will double up, and your courage gnash its teeth. And you will cry, "I am alone!" The time will come when that which seems high to you will no longer be in sight (since you will undergo a spiritual night, whereby internal, mystical experiences remain obscured to you), and that which seems low (the fornicating ego) will be all-too-near; even what seems sublime to you will frighten you like a ghost (just as Hamlet's dead father, representative of the Innermost Spirit, haunted his son in Shakespeare's play, begging the Prince to avenge his murder from Claudius, the animal ego, since Chiram Abiff must resurrect from the dead after his death at the hands of the three traitors). And you will cry, "All is false!"
There are feelings which want to kill the lonely; and if they do not succeed, well, then they themselves must die. But are you capable of this—to be a murderer (of your own egos)?
My brother (initiate), do you know the word "contempt" yet? And the agony of your justice—being just to those who despise you? You force many to relearn about you; they charge it bitterly against you (since people you knew before you were an initiate want you to remain stagnant, the same, degenerate person). You came close to them and yet passed by; that they will never forgive. You pass over and beyond them (through climbing the mountain of initiation): but the higher you ascend, the smaller you appear to the eye of envy. But most of all they hate those who fly (to the heights of the Empyrean, Kether).
"How would you be just to me?" you must say. "I choose injustice as my proper lot." Injustice and filth they throw after the lonely one (the initiate): but, my brother, if you would be a star (Ain Soph Paranishpanna, an Ain Soph or supra-atomic star with Self-cognizance), you must not shine less for them because of that.
And beware of the good and the just (those who pretend to be initiates and yet are not)! They like to crucify those who invent their own virtue for themselves (the self-generated or Twice Born)—they hate the lonely one. Beware also of holy simplicity! Everything that is not simple it considers unholy; it also likes to play with fire—the stake (criticism, since in numerous esoteric circles, the students and instructors envy the masters and crucify them). And beware also of the attacks of your love (your longing and desire to be understood)! The lonely one offers his hand too quickly to whomever he encounters. To some people you may not give your hand, only a paw: and I desire that your paw should also have claws.
But the worst enemy you can encounter will also be you, yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caves and woods (the psychological country / landscape of the ego as cited by Samael Aun Weor in The Great Rebellion and illustrated by Hieronymus Bosch in his "Temptation of St. Anthony").
Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself. And your way leads past yourself and your seven devils (seven principal defects: lust, pride, anger, gluttony, laziness, greed, envy). You will be a heretic to yourself and a witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and a villain (because within the field of psychological self-observation, you will perceive all of your secret evilness and degeneration). You must wish to consume yourself in your own flame (Glorian, your Intimate Christ, the Superman): how could you wish to become new unless you had first become ashes (through mystical death and psychological decapitation of the animal ego, of animal desire)!
Lonely one, you are going the way of the creator (the Twice-born, those who are born again through sexual alchemy, who generate the solar bodies in the Perfect Matrimony): you would create a god for yourself out of your seven devils (for through Arcanum 15: Passion, you white-wash the devil, you burn the devil in you in order to free the Essence, the consciousness. Through mystical death, you chastise and clean the demon-I's in your psyche, thereby freeing the soul from bondage and uniting it with the Lion of Judah, the Superman).
Lonely one, you are going the way of the lover (Arcanum 6: Indecision): yourself (Ain Soph) you love (through scientific chastity), and therefore you despise yourself (your fornicating, animal ego), as only lovers (initiates in sexual transmutation, in holy alchemy) despise. The lover (initiate) would create (the solar bodies) because he despises (his ego). What does he know of (conscious) love who did not have to despise precisely what he loved (when he was a fornicator)!
Go into your loneliness (meditation) with your love (Gedulah, Spirit, Innermost) and with your creation (solar bodies), my brother; and only much later will justice limp after you (relating to Arcanum 8: the blessings of the Divine Mother born from expiation and the balancing of the scales or measurements of karma).
With my tears go into your loneliness, my brother. I love him who wants to create over and beyond himself (create the solar bodies through the Perfect Matrimony) and thus perishes (through initiatic death).
Thus spoke Zarathustra.
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None by Friedrich Nietzsche, translated by Walter Kaufmann
(Note: the Old Iranian root of the name Zarathustra comes from: Zarat, "golden" combined with ushtra, "camel." This is significant for understanding this passage. Gnostic exegesis is provided in parentheses.)
Of three metamorphoses of the spirit I tell you: how the spirit becomes a camel; and the camel, a lion; and the lion, finally, a child.
There is much that is difficult for the spirit, the strong reverent spirit that would bear much (karma through initiation): but the difficult and the most difficult are what his strength demands.
What is difficult? asks the spirit (of the neophyte) that would bear much, and kneels down like a camel (ushtra in Old Iranian, גמל Gamal in Hebrew) wanting to be well loaded (to take upon itself the bitter path of initiation). What is most difficult, O (solar) heroes, asks the spirit that would bear much, that I may take it upon myself and exult in my (sexual) strength (און aun)? Is it not humbling oneself to wound one's haughtiness? Letting one's folly shine to mock one's (false) wisdom?
Or is it this: parting from our cause when it triumphs (Sattvic action mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita)? Climbing high mountains (of initiation) to tempt the tempter (Christus-Lucifer)?
Or is it this: feeding on the acorns and grass of knowledge (דעת da'ath, gnosis) and, for the sake of the truth, suffering hunger in one's soul (like Tantalus awaiting the solemn banquet of the Pascal Lamb)?
Or is it this: being (psychologically) sick and sending home the comforters (by not seeking spiritual advice from others, but delving into profound meditation in order to receive wisdom within) and making friends with the (spiritually) deaf, who never hear what you want?
Or is it this: stepping into filthy waters (in transmutation) when they are the waters of truth (poisoned by fornication as mentioned in "On the Rabble" in Part Two of Thus Spoke Zarathustra), and not repulsing cold frogs and hot toads? (This signifies not running away from our own internal, psychological ugliness that we begin to perceive when working with the "hot" and "cold" synpathetic cords of our spinal column, the solar and lunar energetic channels known as Ida and Pingala, which come from our waters, wherein reside the frogs and toads, symbolic of the fertility of Yesod).
Or is it this: loving those who despise us and offering a hand to the ghost (our Innermost) that would frighten us? (since our animal mind is terrified before the presence of the divine; in Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Claudius, the ego, has slain the King of Denmark, and now the ghost of the dead king, the Intimate Being, haunts our very souls through intense spiritual inquietudes).
All these most difficult things the spirit (of the neophyte) that would bear much takes upon itself: like the camel (ushtra) that, burdened, speeds into the desert (מִּדְבָּר Hebrew: mid'bar), thus the spirit (of the neophyte) speeds into its desert (for in the מִּדְבָּר wilderness, the desert of life, we work to incarnate and worship the Word, דָּבָר Dabar, the Christ; see Exodus 3:18).
In the loneliest desert, however, the second metamorphosis occurs: here the spirit becomes a lion (from the Tribe of Judaea through the Venustic Initiation) who would conquer his freedom and be master in his own desert (his מִּדְבָּר mid'bar by incarnating דָּבָר Dabar, the Word). Here he seeks out his last master (the black psychological moon, Lilith): he wants to fight him and his last god (the dragon of darkness of our atomic psychological infernos mentioned by Samael Aun Weor in The Three Mountains); for ultimate victory he wants to fight with the great dragon.
Who is the great dragon whom the spirit (of Christ in the Venustic Initiation) will no longer call lord and god? (for "Thou shalt have no other אֱלֹהִים Elohim, gods, before me." -Exodus 20:3). "Thou shalt" is the name of the great dragon (for our own animal ego takes the commandments, the Law of Moshe, and subverts it for itself; it abuses the law and seeks to make us slaves of Egypt, מצרים Mitzraim, Malkuth). But the spirit of the lion (of the Tribe of Judah, the Cosmic Christ) says, "I will" (or we can say, Eheieh Asher Eheieh אהיה אשר אהיה, "I AM THAT I AM," better translated as "HE IS WHAT HE IS"). "Thou shalt" lies in his way, sparkling like gold, an animal covered with scales; and on every scale shines a golden "thou shalt" (resembling the golden calf of Moloch, mentioned in Exodus 32, and his tenebrous agents of darkness who strive to tempt and slay the Superman).
Values, thousands of years old, shine on these scales (with false, diabolic light); and thus speaks the mightiest of all dragons: "All value of all things shines on me. All value has long been created, and I am all created value (through fornication). Verily, there shall be no more 'I will ( אהיה Eheieh, I AM, or better said, HE IS).'" Thus speaks the dragon (of darkness).
My brothers, why is there a need in the spirit for the lion? Why is not the beast of burden (the initiate who has not incarnated the Lion of Christ), which renounces (self-will) and is reverent (to the Law of Moses), enough?
To create new values—that even the lion (the Bodhisattva of the Straight Path) cannot do; but the creation of freedom for oneself for new creation—that is within the power of the lion (for the acquisition of Mastery is one thing, but perfection in it is another; see the Three Wise Men or Magi in The Gnostic Nativity of Christ). The creation of freedom for oneself (through the First Law of the Glorian) and a sacred "No" even to duty (the written commandments or Second Law: Deuteronomy)—for that, my brothers, the lion (the Bodhisattva) is needed (since only Christ incarnated within the initiate can perform the Great Work by transcending the Second Law). To assume the right to new values—that is the most terrifying assumption for a reverent spirit (the neophyte or initiates who have not yet become lions of Judaea). Verily, to him it is preying (immorality, since the neophytes do not comprehend the Path of the Bodhisattva, the Rebel Christ), and a matter for a beast of prey (who renounces and annihilates the morals of the populace). He once loved "thou shalt" as most sacred (because before incarnating the First Law, one must follow the Second Law): now he must find illusion and caprice even in the most sacred (for he once followed the Second Law, but now must incarnate the Revolutionary Christ, Who transcends the Second Law), that freedom from his love (psychological attachments) may become his prey: the lion is needed for such prey (since only Christ, the First Law, can annihilate the entirety of the ego on the Second Mountain).
But say, my brothers, what can the child (of the Resurrection) do that even the lion (Bodhisattva of compassion) could not do? Why must the preying lion (the warrior of the Straight Path) still become a child? The child (of the Resurrection) is innocence and forgetting (through purification and the waters of Lethe; see also Matthew 18:3), a new beginning, a game, a self-propelled wheel (Sanskrit: chakra, which now turns through the bhava, the becoming, of אהיה אשר אהיה Eheieh Asher Eheieh, "I AM HE WHO BECOMES," "I AM HE WHO INITIATES," see the Bhavachakra course), a first movement, a sacred "Yes." (As Samael Aun Weor stated in Igneous Rose, "Our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes. The wisdom of our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes. The love of our Innermost is Yes, Yes, Yes.") For the game of creation (as a Cosmocreator), my brothers, a sacred "Yes" is needed (we need our Innermost to be realized within ourselves through Resurrection): the spirit (Kether, upon Resurrection) now wills his own will (for תפארת Tiphereth is united with the will of the Father, for אהיה אשר אהיה "HE IS WHO HE IS"), and he who had been lost to the world (through initiation) now conquers his own world (through Resurrection).
Of the three metamorphoses of the spirit (through initiation) I have told you: how the spirit became a camel (a neophyte on the path of renunciation); and the camel, a lion (of Judah, a Bodhisattva of Compassion); and the lion, finally, a (golden) child (of Alchemy and the Resurrection—golden in Old Iranian is Zarat, which when combined with ushtra, the camel of the renunciate, is Zarathustra).
Thus spoke Zarathustra (the golden camel who traverses the wilderness in order to become a Superman). And at that time he sojourned in the town that is called The Motley Cow (the sacred Hindustani symbol of the Divine Mother Kundalini).
From Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for All and None, translated by Walter Kaufmann.
As a writer on various spiritual subjects and religions, Samael Aun Weor discussed the beauty and depth of Sufism throughout his writings, particularly The Perfect Matrimony: The Door to Enter into Initiation, as well as The Aquarian Message and The Narrow Way. We have included some excerpts from these texts in order to elucidate the essential knowledge at the heart of Sufism, the mystical doctrine of Islam.
If you are interested in learning more about the gnostic teachings within Sufism, you can listen to the following courses from the Gnostic Academy of Chicago:
The most ineffable part of Mohammedan mysticism is Persian Sufism. It has the merit of struggling against materialism and fanaticism and against the literal interpretation of the Koran. The Sufis interpret the Koran from the esoteric point of view as we, the Gnostics, interpret the New Testament.
What is most disconcerting to Westerners is the strange and mysterious mixture of the erotic with the mystical in the oriental religions and Sufi mysticism. Christian theology considers the flesh to be hostile to the Spirit. However, in the Muslim religion, the flesh and the Spirit are two substances of the same energy, two substances that must help each other. This subject-matter is only understood by those who practice positive sexual magic. In the East, religion, science, art, and philosophy are taught in an erotic and exquisite sexual language. “Mohammed fell in love with God,” state the mystic Arabs. “Select a new wife for yourself each spring of the new year, because last year’s calendar is no good,” says a Persian poet and philosopher.
Those who have carefully studied the Song of Songs by the sage Solomon find that delicate mixture of the mystical and the erotic, which scandalizes infrasexual people a great deal.
A true religion cannot renounce the erotic because it would be its death. Many myths and ancient legends are based on the erotic. In fact, love and death form the base of every authentic religion.
The Sufis, Persian poets, wrote about the love of God in expressions applicable to beautiful women. These scandalize the infrasexual fanatic people. The idea of Sufism is the amorous union of the soul with God.
Indeed, nothing can better explain the amorous union of the Soul with God than the delectable sexual union of man and woman. That is the brilliant idea of Sufism. If we want to talk about the union of God with the Soul, we must do so in the erotic language of love and sex. Only in this way can we express what we have to say.
The symbolic language of the Sufis has marvelous expressions. Among them, sleep signifies meditation.
Actually, meditation without sleep damages the mind. This is known by every true initiate. One must combine sleep with meditation. This is known by the Sufis. The word ‘perfume’ symbolizes the hope of divine favor; ‘kisses’ and ‘embraces’ amongst other things, signify the rapture of piety; ‘wine’ means spiritual knowledge, etc.
The Sufi poets sang of love, of women, of roses and of wine, and nonetheless many of them lived the lives of hermits.
The seven mystical states described by the Sufis are something extraordinary. There are certain chemical substances closely related with these mystical states. Nitrous oxide and ether (especially nitrous oxide when it is dissolved sufficiently in air) stimulate the mystical consciousness to an extraordinary degree.
We have to acknowledge that this present humanity is subconscious. People like this are incapable of knowing the superior dimensions of space. Therefore, it is urgent to awaken the consciousness and this is only possible during ecstasy. If we analyze ecstasy with dialectic logic, we discover that it is sexual. The same sexual energies that are expressed in erotic pleasure, when transmuted and sublimated, awaken the consciousness and then produce ecstasy.
Fatality is the loss of ecstasy, it is the fall again into subconsciousness. This happens when we spill the Cup of Hermes.
A great Master stated: “With the sexual impulse, the human being finds himself in the most personal relationship with Nature. The comparison of the sensation which a man experiences with a woman or vice versa, with the consent of Nature, is indeed the same sensation as that offered by the forest, the prairie, the sea, the mountains; save that in this case it is even more intense, since it awakens more internal voices, provokes the sound of more intimate chords.” This is how we reach ecstasy.
Ecstasy, the mystical experience, has its principles based on dialectic logic. This logic can never be violated. Let us reflect for example on the unity of experience. This principle exists among the mystics of the east as well as those of the west, among the hierophants of Egypt, as well as the Sufi sages, or among the Aztec magicians. During ecstasy, the mystics speak in the same universal language, use the same words and feel united with all creation. The sacred scriptures of all religions show the same principles. This is dialectic logic, superior logic. This proves that the mystics of all countries of the world drink from the same fountain of life. The conditions of the causes of the world (another of the principles of dialectic logic) show with exactitude, precision, and complete agreement of facts the reality and truth of ecstasy. The mystics of all religions of the world totally agree in their affirmations about the conditions of the causes of the world; the concordance is therefore perfect. —Samael Aun Weor, The Perfect Matrimony, "Fatality"
The seven degrees of ecstasy through which the mystic reaches the perfect state of the soul are described in the school of Sufism. The school of Sufism teaches about ecstasy. The state and secret of our level is revealed in Sufism, because this is the interior state of life in God.
While on the path of interior peace we must perform the will of God “on earth as it is in heaven.” This conformity to “the mild yoke” takes us through the narrow stretch and difficult path that leads us towards the light.
Everyone who works in the magisterium of fire must learn how to meditate on the seven churches. The mystic must profoundly focus his concentration on the Immolated Lamb. The mystic must pray, beseeching the beloved to awaken the longed for chakra, disc, wheel, or faculty. Afterwards, when the supplication is done, the mystic must then search for refuge in the nothingness. His mind must remain silent and serene.
Illumination and ecstasy come when the mind is silent, when the mind is quiet.
Drowsiness in combination with meditation produces ecstasy.
God searches the nothingness in order to fill it.
Ecstasy has seven degrees of power:
The first is the fire that instructs and teaches us.
The second is the gnostic unction, which is a soft, solar liquor, that when diffused throughout the soul, teaches, corroborates, and prepares us in order to incarnate the truth.
The third is the mystical exaltation of the humble and sincere disciple.
The fourth is illumination.
The fifth is the internal joy of divine sweetness that emanates from the precious fountain of the Holy Spirit. This joy is for those who have “continuous consciousness.”
The sixth is the decapitation of the “I.”
The seventh is the Venustic Initiation, the incarnation of the Son of Man within us.
There are other degrees of contemplation and ecstasy, such as: rapture, liquefaction, bliss, jubilation, osculation, embracement, transformation, etc.
When our mind becomes submerged within the nothingness, then the Lamb enters the soul in order to sup with her. Therefore, the nothingness is the medium utilized by the beloved in order to work within our soul, awakening centers and performing marvels. The divine spouse comes in order to betroth his soul through this nothingness, within the nuptial bridal bed of paradise.
Thus, this is the path for returning into the innocence of paradise. While submerged within the nothingness, the soul will successfully experience the spiritual martyrdoms and the interior torments. God searches the nothingness in order to fill it.
Internal meditation produces changes in our internal bodies. Through it, the awakening of the consciousness arrives.
All human beings live within the supra-sensible worlds with the consciousness asleep. Meditation provokes the solemn awakening of the consciousness.
This awakening is like lightning in the night. This awakening of the consciousness occurs during the normal sleep of our physical body. When this body sleeps we move ourselves in our internal vehicles.
When the body sleeps, the soul travels throughout the superior worlds. When the consciousness awakens we stop dreaming. Then we live in the internal worlds in a state of intensified awareness. This is what is called “continuous consciousness.”
Whosoever has awakened the consciousness lives awake in the superior worlds.
While in the supra-sensible worlds we feel the mystical beatitude of the ineffable light. Then, the past, the present, and the future harmonize within an eternal now.
There is no better pleasure than feeling one's soul detached. Then we taste the divine nectar of eternity, and we enter through the doors of the temples filled with joy and amidst the ineffable melodies of the great mysteries. ―Samael Aun Weor, The Aquarian Message
The Passion of Al-Hallaj
The omnicosmic and most holy Al-Hallaj was born in Madina al-Bayda, a little village in the ancient province of Fars, in southern Persia, in the year 224 A.H. / 857 C.E., and was the grandson of a devotee of the great Master Zoroaster.
Al-Hallaj was initiated into the great mysteries of Sufism. Arabian traditions tell us that when he was forty years old, he disagreed with the jurists and orthodox traditional, religious scholars; thus, he went to the streets to directly teach the multitudes the sublime principles of spiritual life.
It is written that Al-Hallaj, the great Sufi master, taught with his word and with his example. Indefatigably, he travelled throughout Iran, India, Turkey, etc., reaching even the very borders of ancient China.
The great Master Al-Hallaj was without a doubt a tremendous revolutionary. Jealous and envious politicians accused him of being a dangerous agitator. Religious scholars of the law accused him of being a heretic when he mixed the human with the divine. When divulging the esoteric mysteries amidst the people, the masters of Sufism themselves did not have any difficulty in accusing him of breaking the discipline of that which is arcane. Thus, as is natural in those cases, judges were willing to condemn him for many supposed crimes, for example: being a fraud, impostor, black magician, warlock, sorcerer, profaner of mysteries, people’s agitator, ignorant preacher, enemy of the government, etc.
Al-Hallaj, the mystical Sufi, was imprisoned in an infamous jail for nine years, and afterwards vilely mutilated and executed on March 27, 922, in the year 309 of Hejira.
Sacred Islamic traditions tell us that when the terrible night came, the night in which he was taken from his dungeon in order to be executed at dawn, he stood and uttered the ritualistic prayer and prostrated himself two times.
Those who saw him said that when his prayer was concluded, he persistently repeated, “Deceitfulness, deceitfulness…” through the long and dark night, and after a long and profound silence, he exclaimed, “Truthfulness, truthfulness,” and raised up again. He tied a veil on his head, covered himself with his blessed shroud, extended his sacred Christified hands, turned his divine countenance towards the Kaaba, entered into ecstasy, and spoke with his internal God.
At daylight, when he left the prison, the multitudes saw him happily dancing in a complete, joyful ecstasy under the weight of his irons.
The merciless executioners took him to the public square, where, after flagellating him five hundred times, they cut off his hands and feet.
Ancient traditions from the Arabian world state that after having been flagellated and mutilated, Al-Hallaj was crucified. Many people heard him talking in ecstasy to his Father who is in secret from his own Golgotha: “Oh God of mine! I am going to enter into the abode of my wishes; there I will contemplate thy marvels. Oh God of mine! If you manifest thy love even to him that wounds Thee, how then would Thou not give thy love to the one who is wounded because of Thee?”
After this prayer sprouted from the most holy heart of Al-Hallaj, the people who watched the torture saw Abu Bakr Al-Shibli, while advancing towards the scaffold of tortures, shout very strongly the following verse, “Did we not prohibit thee to receive guests, whether man or angel?”
Then Abu Bakr asked, “What is mysticism?”
Al-Hallaj answered, “Behold, his minor degree before thee.”
Abu Bakr asked again, “And where is his supreme degree?”
Al-Hallaj answered, “Thou cannot have access unto it; nonetheless, tomorrow thou shall see what shall come. I testify it in the Divine Mystery within which it exists, albeit it is hidden for thee.”
At the evening hour, the hour of prayer, came the order of the cruel sanguinary Caliph, authorizing the beheading of the victim; yet, his executioners said, “It is too late; let him be decapitated tomorrow.”
Very early in the morning, the Caliph’s command was fulfilled, and Al-Hallaj, still alive, was brought down from the cross and carried away in order to have his throat slit. Then, a certain witness heard Al-Hallaj uttering in a loud voice, “What the Ecstatic One wants is the Unique, and no-one else but Himself.” Thereafter, filled with ecstasy he recited the following sacred verse, “Those who do not believe in the last hour are dragged with haste towards it; however, the believers wait for it with a reverential fear, since they know it is the Truth.”
Thus, this is how with these solemn words the life of the omnicosmic and most holy Al-Hallaj concluded. Hence, his venerable, bleeding, blessed head fell under the edge of the sword as a sanguinary holocaust on the altar of supreme sacrifice for humanity.
The poisonous hatred of his executioners was so great that they did not even authorize his cadaver to be shrouded or have a burial service.
Ancient traditions of Islam tell us that the sacred ashes of the old Sufi Al-Hallaj were dispersed in the winds from the heights of the Manarah.
Ancient Arabic legends state that instead of a white blanket, this saint’s cadaver was rolled up in a filthy rug formerly damped in petroleum.
When the holy body burned, consumed by the fire of the holocaust, the whole of nature shook filled with infinite terror.
The great hierophant Sufi Al-Hallaj, by means of chisel and hammer, transformed the brute stone and gave a perfect cubic shape onto it.
Before physically dying, the great, immolated Al-Hallaj was already absolutely dead psychologically.
The resplendent diamond soul of Mansur Al-Hallaj is treading upon the heavenly path heading towards the Absolute.
The great Sufi initiate Al-Hallaj was born, died, and sacrificed himself completely for humanity.
Now it is worthwhile to conclude this chapter with that ineffable prayer written with infinite love by the Mohammedan Christ Mansur Al-Hallaj entitled:
"Oh Thou, Wholeness of My Wholeness…"
Lo and behold, here I am, here I am, oh my secret, oh my confidence!
Lo and behold, here I am, here I am, oh Thou my aspiration, oh Thou my consequence!
I call upon Thee… No, Thou art the one who calls me towards Thee!
How could I have talked to Thee, if Thou would not have talked to me?
Oh Thou, essence of the essence of my existence, oh Thou, end result of my design,
Thou who makest me talk, oh Thou, my enunciations, Thou my blinks!
Oh Thou, wholeness of my wholeness, oh my ear, oh my sight!
Oh my totality, my constitution, and my parts!
Oh Thou, wholeness of my wholeness, wholeness of everything, equivocal enigma,
I darken the wholeness of thy wholeness when wanting to express thy being!
Oh Thou, from whom my spirit was suspended before now when dying of ecstasy,
Ah… thy pledge continues being my misfortune!...
Oh supreme objective that I request and wait, oh my guest,
Oh nourishment of my Spirit! Oh my life in this world and in the other!
Let my heart be thy ransom! Oh my ear, oh my sight!
Why so much delay in my seclusion, so distant?
Ah, albeit, thy presence, before my eyes, is hidden within the invisible,
My heart by now contemplates Thee, from my remoteness, yes, from my exile!
—Samael Aun Weor, The Narrow Way, "The Passion of Al-Hallaj"
Excerpted from "Principles of Sufism" by Al-Qushayri. Published by Mizan Press (1990), translated from the Arabic by B.R. Von Schlegell
God says, "Turn all together toward God [in repentance], O Believers, that you may attain bliss" (24:31).
It is reported on the authority of Anas b. Malik that the Messenger of God (may God's blessing and peace be upon him and his family) said, "The one who repents from sin is like one without sin, and if God loves a servant, sin does not adhere to him." Then he recited, "Verily God loves those who turn unto Him [in repentance], and He loves those who purify themselves" (2:222). It was asked, "O Messenger of God, what is the sign of repentance?" He replied, "Remorse."
On the authority of Anas b. Malik, the Messenger of God (may God's blessing and peace be upon him and his family) is reported to have said, "There is nothing more loved by God than the youth who repents."
Therefore repentance is the first degree among the degrees of the wayfarers and the first station among the stations of the seekers. The inner meaning of repentance in Arabic is "return." It is said, "He repented," meaning, "He returned." So repentance is to return from what is blameworthy in the law of Islam to what is praiseworthy in it.
The Prophet (may God's blessing and peace be upon him) said, "Remorse is an act of repentance." Therefore, those well versed in the fundamentals of religion among the people of the Sunna have said, "There are three conditions of repentance [which must be present] in order that it be sound: remorse for the violations that have been committed, immediate abandonment of the lapse, and firm resolve not to return to similar acts of disobedience." One must apply these principles to make repentance effective.
Someone has stated, "By the saying 'Remorse is an act of repentance' he meant that the major portion of repentance is remorse, just as he (may God's blessing and peace be upon him) said, "Pilgrimage is 'Arafat.'" That is, the greatest part of its elements is the standing at 'Arafat, not that there are no other elements in pilgrimage. So his saying, "Remorse is an act of repentance" means that the greatest part of the elements of repentance is remorse.
One among the people of realization has said, "Remorse is sufficient in fulfillment of that because it has as its consequence the other two conditions, for it is impossible one should be remorseful for an act in which he persists or the like of which he intends to commit." This is the meaning of repentance by way of summary definition.
By way of elucidation and explanation, we may say that repentance has causes, an order, an arrangement, and divisions. The first cause is the awakening of the heart from the slumber of heedlessness and the servant's becoming aware of his evil state. He attains this by means of the divine favor of attentiveness to the restraints imposed by God (may He be exalted). that come to his mind. This is by means of the audition of his heart, for it has come in the report, "The warner of God in the heart of every person is a Muslim." The tradition "There is a piece of flesh in the body which if it be healthy, the whole body is healthy and if it be corrupt, the whole body is corrupt. Truly, it is the heart." also speaks to this matter. If his heart reflects on the evil of his deeds, he perceives the despicable actions he commits, and the desire for repentance comes to his heart, along with refraining from repugnant doings. Then God (may He be exalted) supports him in correcting his firm intention, in embarking on the path to a goodly return, and in becoming receptive to the means of repentance.
The first of these means is to part company with brothers in evil, for they prompt him to deny this goal and cause him to doubt the correctness of this firm intention. And that is not complete except by perseverance in witnessing, which increases his longing for repentance, and by the presence of motives impelling him to fulfill his resolve, from which he strengthens his fear and hope. Then the despicable actions that form a knot of insistence on his heart are loosened, he ceases the practice of forbidden things, and the rein of his self (nafs) is held back from pursuing passions. Then he immediately abandons his sin and concludes a firm resolve not to return to similar sins in the future. If he continues in accordance with his goal and acts in conformity with his firm will, this means that he has been granted true sincerity.
If repentance diminishes once or twice and his desire causes him to renew the lapse―which may happen quite frequently―one should continue to hope for the repentance of such a person, for "Verily, to each period is a decree established" (13:38). Abu Sulayman ad-Darani said, "I frequented the gathering of a preacher, for his words made an impression on my heart. But when I departed, nothing remained in my heart of his words. So I returned a second time. That time there did remain a trace of his words in my heart until I returned to my house. Then I broken the instruments of sin and I adhered to the path." Yahya b. Mu'adh commented on this tale, "A sparrow catches a crane." By the sparrow he intended that preacher and, by the crane, Abu Sulayman ad-Darani.
Abu Hafs al-Haddad remarked, "I abandoned a certain [reprehensible] deed and returned to it. Then the deed abandoned me, and I did not return to it after that."
Abu 'Amr b. Nujayd, in the beginning of his wayfaring, frequented the gathering of Abu 'Uthman. His words made an impression on his heart, and he repented. Then a trial came upon him. Abu 'Amr began to flee Abu 'Uthman when he saw him, and he absented himself from his gathering. One day when Abu 'Uthman met him, Abu 'Amr turned away and went down another path. So Abu 'Uthman followed him. He continued with him, following his tracks until he overtook him and declared, "O my son, do not be a companion to one who does not love you unless it be one who is sinless. It is only Abu 'Uthman who will help you in your present condition." Then Abu 'Amr b. Nujayd repented and returned to muridship and remained faithful to it." [Note: Murid, the one who "wills," i.e., wills to attain the goal of the Path precisely by submitting his will to that of the spiritual guide.]
Sheikh Abu 'Ali ad-Daqqaq (may God grant him mercy) said, "One of the murids repented, and then there came upon him a trial. He was wondering, 'If I return to repentance, how will it be?'"
"Then an invisible caller said to him, 'You obeyed Us, so We thanked you; then you abandoned Us, so We granted you respite. If you return to Us, We will accept you.' So the youth returned to muridship and remained faithful to it."
When a man abandons major sin, loosens from his heart the bond of persistence, and firmly intends not to return to sin, at that moment true remorse comes to his heart. He regrets what he has done and reproaches himself for the repugnant acts he has committed. Then his repentance is complete, his striving is true, and he exchanges the comradeship of evil companions he previously kept for isolation and for aversion to them. He works day and night in sorrow, and he embraces sincerity of regret in all of his states, erasing by the flood of his tears the traces of his stumbling and treats the wounds of his sin with the goodness of his repentance. He is known among his peers by his debility, and his emaciation testifies to the soundness of his state.
None of this will ever be complete except after satisfying the just grievances of his adversaries and putting aside the acts of oppression in which he persisted. The first stage of repentance is satisfaction of adversaries as much as possible. If what he has is sufficient for restoring their rights or if they consent to abandon their claim and pronounce him innocent, so be it. If not, then he should firmly resolve in his heart to fulfill their claim whenever possible to God (may He be exalted) with sound supplication and prayer for them.
There are qualities and states for those who repent. They are characteristics of the penitent which belong to repentance without its being conditional upon them. This is indicated in the sayings of the masters on the meaning of repentance.
The master Abu 'Ali ad-Daqqaq (may God grant him mercy) said, "Repentance is divided into three parts. The first is tawba [repentance], the middle is inaba [to turn to God], and the last is awba [return]." He placed tawba at the beginning, awba at the end, and inaba between the two. Whoever repents out of desire for [divine] reward is in the state of inaba. Whoever repents for the sake of obeying the divine command, neither for the desire of reward nor for the fear of punishment, is in the state of awba.
It is also said, "Tawba is the quality of the Believers." As God Most High says, " Turn [tubu] all together toward God in repentance, O Believers" (24:31). Inaba is the quality of the saints and those drawn nigh unto God. God Most High says, "And those who brought a heart turned in devotion [munib] [to Him]" (50:33). Awba is the quality of the prophets and messengers. God Most High says, "How excellent a slave. Ever did he [Solomon] turn [awwab] [to Us]" (38:30 and 38:44).
Al-Junayd stated, "Repentance has three senses. The first is remorse; the second is the resolve to give up reverting to what God has forbidden; and the third is the righting of grievances."
Sahl b. 'Abdallah declared, "Repentance is giving up procrastination." Al-Harith asserted, "I never say, 'O God, I ask You for repentance.' I say, 'I ask You for the longing for repentance.'"
Al-Junayd went to see as-Sari one day and found him distraught. He asked, "What has happened to you?" As-Sari replied, "I encountered a youth, and he asked me about repentance. I told him, "Repentance is that you not forget your sins." Then he contradicted me, saying that repentance is that you do forget your sins." Al-Junayd said that in his opinion what the youth said was correct, and as-Sari asked him why he held that opinion. Al-Junayd replied, "Because if I were in a state of infidelity and then He delivered me into a state of fidelity, remembrance of infidelity in a state of purity would be infidelity." Then as-Sari fell silent.
Abu Nasr as-Sarraj is reported to have said that, when Sahl was asked about repentance, he answered, "It is that you not forget you sins." Al-Junayd was asked, and he said, "It is that you do forget your sins." Abu Nasr as-Sarraj related, "Sahl was indicating the states of the murids and novices [muta'arridun], which are constantly changing. Al-Junayd alluded to the repentance of those who have attained the truth; for they do not remember their sins because of the majesty of God Most High, which has granted mastery over their hearts, and their constant remembrance of Him." He also observed that this is like what Ruwaym said about repentance: "It is repentance from repentance." Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri commented, "Repentance of the common people is from sin, and for the elect, it is from forgetfulness."
Abu'l-Hussayn an-Nuri said, "Repentance is that you turn away from everything other than God [may He be exalted and glorified]." 'Abdallah b. 'Ali Muhammad at-Tamimi declared, "How great a difference there is between a repenter who repents from sins, one who repents from forgetfulness, and one who repents from the awareness of his own good deeds." Al-Wasiti said, "True repentance is that there not remain a single trace of sin, hidden or open. One whose repentance is true does not concern himself, morning and evening, with what state he is in."
Yahya b. Mu'adh stated, "O my Lord, I do not say, 'I have repented.' I do not return to You because of what I know to be my disposition, I do not swear that I will not sin again, for I know my own frailty. I do not say that I return [to You] because I might die before [truly] returning." Dhu'n-Nun noted, "The plea for forgiveness made without abstaining is the repentance of liars."
When Ibn Yazdanyar was asked about the principles underlying a servant's setting out toward God, he replied, "They are that he not return to that which he left behind, not heed anyone other than the One to Whom he goes, and preserve his innermost heart from perception of that from which he has dissociated himself." It was said to him, "This is the rule for one who has departed from existence. How will it be for one who has departed from non-existence?" He replied, "The experience of sweetness in the future in exchange for bitterness in the past."
Al-Bushanji was asked about repentance, and he answered, "If you remember sin, and find no sweetness in it when remembering it, that is repentance." And Dhu'n-Nun observed, "The essence of repentance is that the earth be too confined for you, for all its spaciousness, so that there is no rest for you. Then your soul will be too confined for you as God Most High has told in His Book by His saying, "And their souls seemed straightened to them, and they saw that there is no fleeing from God, except to Him. Then He turned to them that they might repent (9:118). Ibn 'Ata' declared, "Repentance is of two kinds: repentance of inaba [return] and repentance of istijaba [answering or fulfillment'. The repentance of inaba is that the servant repent out of fear for his punishment. Repentance of istijaba is that he repent out of shame due to His generosity."
Abu Hafs was asked, "Why does the repenter loathe the world?" He answered, "Because it is a dwelling where sins are pursued." And it was said to him, "But it is also a dwelling that God has honored with repentance." He said, "The sinner has certainty from his sin, but danger from acceptance of his repentance." Al-Wasiti stated, "The joy of David (peace be upon him) and the sweetness of submissiveness he enjoyed caused him to plunge into lifting breaths [lasting sorrow]. While he was in the second state [of sorrow] he was more complete than the time when the matter was hidden from him." One of them remarked, "The liars' repentance is on the tips of their tongues." That is, the saying "Astaghfiru'llah [I ask forgiveness of God]." Abu Hafs said, "The servant has nothing to do with repentance. Repentance comes to him (from God), not from him."
It is said that God (may He be exalted) revealed to Adam, "O Adam, I have bequeathed to your descendants burdens and hardship. I have also bequeathed to them repentance. I respond to the one among them who implores Me as you have implored me [just] as I respond to you. O Adam, I will raise up the penitent from their graves cheerful and laughing, and their supplication will be answered."
A man asked Rabi'a, "I have sinned much and been exceedingly disobedient. But if I repent, will He forgive me?" She replied, "No. But if He forgives you, then you will repent."
Know that God Most High says, "Verily God loves those who turn unto Him [in repentance] and He loves those who purify themselves" (2:222). One who allows himself to yield to error is certain as to the slip. But if he repents, he is in doubt as to the acceptance of his repentance, particularly because God's love for him is a condition of that acceptance, and it will be some time before the sinner comes to a point where he finds marks of God's love for him in his character. The duty of the servant, when he knows that he has committed an act calling for repentance, is that he be consistently contrite, persevering in renunciation and asking forgiveness, as in the saying, "The awareness of dread until the time of death." And as it is said in God's words, "Say, if you love God, follow me, that God may love you" (3:31).
It was the practice of the Prophet (may God's blessing and peace be upon him) to ask for forgiveness constantly. He said, "My heart is clouded, so I ask forgiveness of God seventy times a day."
Yahya b. Mu'adh stated, "One single lapse after repentance is more dreadful than seventy before it." Abu 'Uthman observed, "As to the meaning of His saying, 'Lo, unto Us is their return' (78:25), it indicates 'Unto Us is their return, even if they roam freely in the commission of sin.'"
'Ali b. 'Isa the vizier rode in a great procession, and strangers began asking, "Who is this? Who is this?" A woman who was standing by the side of the road inquired, "How long will you say, 'Who is this? Who is this?' This is a servant who has fallen from God's protection. So He has afflicted him in the way that you see." When 'Ali b. 'Isa heard her, he returned to his house, resigned from the vizierate, went to Mecca, and never left it again.
The following is an excerpt from Al-Hujwiri's seminal Persian Sufi manual, Khasf al-Mahjub, Revelation of the Mystery, translated by Reynold A. Nicholson, with Gnostic commentary [in brackets].
You must know that, according to the opinion of some, passion is a term applied to the attributes of the lower soul [constituted by nafs, egos], but according to others, a term denoting the natural volition (irádat-i ṭab') [iradah signifies conscious willpower, Tiphereth] whereby the lower soul is controlled and directed, just as the spirit [Chesed] is controlled by the intelligence [Binah]. Every spirit [Monad] that is devoid of the faculty of intelligence [which has not fully assimilated the Holy Spirit] is imperfect [absolute perfection of the Innermost is achieved through Resurrection on the Second Mountain], and similarly every lower soul [naf, Nephesh: animal soul or Consciousness] that is devoid of the faculty of [Christic] passion is imperfect. Man [Tiphereth] is continually being called by intelligence [Binah, the Holy Spirit] and passion [Arcanum 15, Lucifer, the tempter] into contrary ways [through Arcanum 6: Indecision]. If he obeys the call of intelligence he attains to faith [through direct experience], but if he obeys the call of passion he arrives at error and infidelity. Therefore passion is a veil and a false guide, and man is commanded to resist it [through self-observation and Meditation]. Passion is of two kinds: (1) desire of pleasure and lust, and (2) desire of worldly honor and authority. He who follows pleasure and lust haunts taverns, and mankind are safe from his mischief, but he who desires honor and authority lives in cells (ṣawámi') and monasteries, and not only has lost the right way himself but also leads others into error. One whose every act depends on passion, and who finds satisfaction in following it, is far from God although he be with you in a mosque [Gnostic Institution or Monastery], but one who has renounced and abandoned it is near to God although he be in a church [foreign, non-Gnostic institution or religion]. Ibráhím Khawwáṣ relates this anecdote: "Once I heard that in Rúm there was a monk who had been seventy years in a monastery. I said to myself: 'Wonderful! Forty years is the term of monastic vows: what is the state of this man that he has remained there for seventy years?' I went to see him. When I approached, he opened a window and said to me: 'O Ibráhím, I know why you have come. I have not stayed here for seventy years because of monastic vows, but I have a dog foul with passion, and I have taken my abode in this monastery for the purpose of guarding the dog (sagbání), and preventing it from doing harm to others.' On hearing him say this I exclaimed: 'O Lord, Thou art able to bestow righteousness on a man even though he be involved in sheer error.' He said to me: 'O Ibráhím, how long will you seek men? Go and seek yourself, and when you have found yourself keep watch over yourself, for this passion clothes itself every day in three hundred and sixty diverse garments of godhead and leads men astray.'"
In short, the devil cannot enter a man's heart until he desires to commit a sin: but when a certain quantity of passion appears, the devil [or black magician] takes it and decks it out and displays it to the man's heart; and this is called diabolic suggestion (waswás). It begins from passion, and in reference to this fact God said to Iblís [Satan] when he threatened to seduce all mankind: "Verily, thou hast no power over My servants" (Qur'an XV, 42), for the devil in reality is a man's lower soul (ego) and passion (Fornication). Hence the Apostle [Prophet Muhammad] said: "There is no one whom this devil (i.e. his passion) has not subdued except 'Umar, for he has subdued his devil [in Sexual Magic]." Passion is mingled as an ingredient in the clay of Adam; whoever renounces it becomes a prince [a Malik, Melech, or King of Tiphereth] and whoever follows it [through Fornication] becomes a captive [of Klipoth]. Junayd was asked: "What is union with God [religion, religare, Yoga]?" He replied: "To renounce passion [Fornication]," for of all of the acts of devotion by which God's favor is sought none has greater value than resistance to passion, because it is easier for a man to destroy a mountain with his nails than to resist passion [Fornication]. I have read in the Anecdotes that Dhu 'l-Nún the Egyptian said: "I saw a man flying through the air [through Jinn science], and asked him how he had attained to this degree. He answered: 'I set my feet on passion (hawá) in order that I might ascend into the air (hawá).'" It is related that Muḥammad b. Faḍl al-Balkhí said: "I marvel at one who goes with his [Christic, volitional] passion into God's House and visits Him [in the superior worlds]: why does he not trample on his [sensual, egotistical] passion that he may attain to Him [through self-realization]?"
The most manifest attribute of the lower soul is lust (shahwat). Lust is a thing that is dispersed in different parts of the human body, and is served by the senses. Man is bound to guard all his members from it [particularly the sexual organs, to train the body not to fornicate], and he shall be questioned concerning the acts of each. The lust of the eye is sight, that of the ear is hearing, that of the nose is smell, that of the tongue is speech, that of the palate is taste, that of the body (jasad) is touch, and that of the mind is thought (andíshídan). It behoves the seeker of God to spend his whole life day and night, in ridding himself of these incitements to passion which show themselves through the senses [by correctly transforming impressions], and to pray God to make him such that this desire will be removed from his inward nature [through contemplation, mushahadah, witnessing within Meditation], since whoever is afflicted with lust is veiled from all spiritual things. If anyone should repel it by his own exertions [without divine help], his task would be long and painful. The right way is resignation (taslím). It is related that Abú 'Alí Siyáh of Merv said: "I had gone to the bath and in accordance with the custom of the Prophet I was using a razor (pubis tondendæ causá). I said to myself: 'O Abú 'Alí, amputate this member which is the source of all lusts and keeps thee afflicted with so much evil.' A voice in my heart whispered: 'O Abú 'Alí, wilt thou interfere in My kingdom [since scientific chastity is fundamental, for "He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD." -Deuteronomy 23:1]. Are not all thy limbs equally at My disposal [especially the sexual organs, which are the foundation stone of Allah-Khemia, Alchemy]? If thou do this, I swear by My glory that I will put a hundredfold lust and passion in every hair in that place [for just as Klingsor thought to subdue his animal passion in Wagner's Parsifal, his self-castration did not remove the lust in his mind. In fact, it only increased it]."
Although a man has no power over what is vicious in his constitution, he can get an attribute [defect] changed by Divine aid [in psychoanalytical meditation] and by resigning himself to God's will [through islam, submission to divinity through mystical death] and by divesting himself of his own power and strength [for "The Gnostic places all of his longings into the hands of his Innermost." -Samael Aun Weor]. In reality, when he resigns himself [through Meditation and comprehension], God protects him; and through God's protection he comes nearer to annihilating the evil than he does through self-mortification [striving, mujahadah, jihad, holy war against one's ego through self-observation] since flies are more easily driven away with an umbrella (mikanna) than with a fly-whisk (midhabba). Unless Divine protection is predestined to a man [if the Being does not will it] he cannot abstain from anything by his own exertion [willpower divorced from the Spirit], and unless God exerts Himself towards a man, that man's exertion is of no use [because the Being is the one who performs the Great Work through His human soul, Tiphereth, iradah or willpower]. All acts of [selfish] exertion [whereby the soul does not follow the will of divinity] fall under two heads: their object is either to avert the predestination of God or to acquire something in spite of predestination; and both of these objects are impossible. It is related that when Shiblí was ill, the physician advised him to be abstinent. "From what shall I abstain?" said he, "from what which God bestows upon me, or from that which He does not bestow? It is impossible to abstain from the former, and the latter is not in my hands."
Excerpted from "Principles of Sufism" by Al-Qushayri. Published by Mizan Press (1990), translated from the Arabic by B.R. Von Schlegell
God Most High says, "They have not estimated God as He deserves to be estimated" (6:91). It is written in commentaries on this verse that it means "They have not known God as He deserves to be known."
On the authority of 'A'isha (may God be pleased with her), the Prophet (may God's blessing and peace be upon him) is reported to have stated, "The support of a house is its foundation. The support of religion is direct knowledge of God, certainty, and intelligence that safeguards against error." At this 'A'isha asked, "May my father and mother be ransomed for you, what is intelligence that safeguards against error?" He replied, "Refraining from disobedience to God and being eager to obey Him."
In the usage of the scholars, ma'rifa is 'ilm (knowledge). Thus in their opinion all 'ilm is ma'rifa, all ma'rifa is 'ilm, and everyone who is 'alim (knowledgeable) with respect to God is an 'arif (gnostic) and vice versa. But among the Sufis, ma'rifa is the attribute of one who knows God (may He be exalted) by His names and attributes and is truthful toward God by his deeds, who then purifies himself of base qualities and defects, who stands long at the door, and who withdraws his heart continually (from worldly matters). Then he enjoys a goodly nearness to God, who verifies him as true in all his states. The temptations of his soul stop, and he does not incline his heart to any thought that would incite him to other-than-God for, when he becomes a stranger to men and is free of the calamities of his soul, when he is purified of joy in, and concern for, other-than-God, when his intimate prayers with God Most High in secret are constant, when he is sure in every glance of Him of his return to Him, and when God inspires him by making him aware of His secrets concerning his destiny, he is, at that time, called a "gnostic" ('arif) and his state is called "gnosis" (ma'rifa). In short, the degree of gnosis he will reach is determined by the degree to which he is estranged from his self.
When the sheikhs spoke on gnosis, each spoke of his own experience and indicated what came to him at a given moment. The master Abu 'Ali ad-Daqqaq (may God grant him mercy) said, "One of the signs of gnosis is the attainment of awe. For one whose gnosis increases, awe of God increases." He also stated, "Gnosis brings about utter tranquility to the heart, just as knowledge brings about peacefulness. So for one whose gnosis increases, tranquility increases." Al-Shibli commented, "For the gnostic there is no attachment, for the lover there is no grievance, for the servant there is no claim, for the one who fears God there is no rest, and for no one is there escape from God." When al-Shibli was asked about gnosis, he answered, "The first of it is God Most High and its last has no end."
Abu Hafs said, "Since I have attained gnosis, neither truth nor falsehood has entered my heart." This expression of Abu Hafs is not easily understood. He indicates, most probably, that in the Sufi's view gnosis causes the servant to be absent from his self because he is overwhelmed by His remembrance and so does not see other-than-God (Glorious and Majestic), nor does he have recourse to other-than-Him. Just as the intelligent man has recourse to his heart and his reflective and retentive faculties concerning thoughts that come to his mind or states he encounters, the gnostic's recourse is to his Lord. If a person is occupied with his Lord alone, he has no recourse to his heart. Furthermore, how might the matter enter the heart of one who has no heart? There is a difference between the one who lives by means of his hearty and the one who lives by means of his Lord. When asked about gnosis, Abu Yazid replied, "Kings, when they enter a country, corrupt it and make the noblest of its people its meanest" (27:34). This is the meaning Abu Hafs intends.
Abu Yazid observed, "Mankind has states, but the gnostic has none. His human traits are effaced, and his essence has passed away into the essence of another. His traits are gone because the traits of another have taken their place." Al-Wasiti said, "Gnosis is not sound while there remain in the servant satisfaction with God and need of Him." By this al-Wasiti intends that need and satisfaction are signs of sobriety in the servant and of the abiding of his traits, need and satisfaction being among his traits, but the gnostic is effaced in the object of his gnosis. How might his gnosis be sound, while he is consumed in His existence or immersed in witnessing Him, but has not totally attained existence and is still separated by awareness of whatever attributes he may have? For this reason al-Wasiti also said, "Whoever has direct knowledge of God is cut off; he is rendered mute and impotent." The Prophet (may God's blessing and peace be upon him) declared, "I cannot praise You enough." This refers to those whose goal is far away. As for those who are content with something more easily attainable, they have spoken about gnosis at greater or lesser length.
Ahmad b. 'Asim al-Antaki said, "The more one knows God, the more one fears Him." One of the Sufis stated, "Whoever knows God Most High is pained by his [own] existence, and the earth, for all its spaciousness, becomes confining for him." It is said, "Whoever knows God, living is joyous for him and life is pleasant for him; all things stand in awe of him, he fears nothing among created beings, and he becomes intimate with God Most High." It is said, "Whoever knows God, desire for things leaves him, and he is neither detached from them nor attached to them." It is also said, "Gnosis brings about shame and glorification of God, just as asserting the divine unity brings about satisfaction and submission to God."
Ruwaym commented, "Gnosis is the gnostic's mirror. When he gazes in it, his Master is shown." Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri related, "The spirits of all the prophets raced in the plain of gnosis, and the spirit of our Prophet [may God's blessing and peace be upon him] led them all [peace be upon them] to the meadow of union." He also said, "The conduct of the gnostic [toward others] is like the conduct of God Most High―he endures you and is forebearing with you because he imitates the characteristics of God." Ibn Yazdanyar was asked, "When does the gnostic witness God [may He be exalted]?" He answered, "When the Witness is manifested, the means of witnessing pass away, the senses depart, and sincerity dissolves."
Al-Husayn b. Mansur said, "When the servant reaches the station of gnosis, God makes even his stray thoughts a means of inspiration, and He guards his innermost being lest thoughts of other-than-Him occur there." He also observed, "The sign of the gnostic is that he is empty both of this world and of the Hereafter." Sahl b. 'Abdallah declared, "The utmost degree of gnosis is dismay and perplexity." Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri asserted, "The ones who know God the most are those whose bewilderment concerning Him is greatest."
A man told al-Junayd, "There are some among the gnostics who say, 'Abandonment of any kind of activity is a part of righteousness and piety.'" Al-Junayd replied, "These are the ones who profound suspension of [all] works, which is a serious error in my opinion. The thief and the adulterer have better states than they, for the gnostics obtain the works from God Most High and they return by means of them to God. If I were to live a thousand years, I would never reduce performing works of righteousness by one atom."
It was asked of Abu Yazid, "By what means did you attain this gnosis?" He responded, "By a hungry stomach and a naked body." Abu Ya'qub an-Nahrajuri related, "I inquired of Abu Ya'qub as-Susi, 'Does the gnostic grieve over anything other than God [Glorious and Majestic]?' He retorted, 'And does he perceive anything other than Him over which he might grieve?' So I asked, 'Then with what eye does he see things?' He answered, 'With the eye of passing away and extinction.'"
Abu Yazid said, "The gnostic flies and the ascetic travels afoot." It is said, "The gnostic's eye weeps, but his heart laughs." Al-Junayd declared, "A man will not be a gnostic until he is like the earth―both the righteous and the sinner tread on it―and until he is like the rain―it waters all things, whether it loves them or not." Yahya b. Mu'adh stated, "The gnostic leaves the world without having fulfilled his aim in two things: weeping over himself and praising his Lord [Glorious and Majestic]."
Abu Zayd said, "They attain gnosis only by forfeiting what they have and remaining with what He has." Yusuf b. 'Ali asserted, "A man will not be a true gnostic until, if he were given Solomon's kingdom [peace be upon him], it would not take his attention away from God for one instant." Ibn 'Ata' explained, "Gnosis is built on three pillars: awe, shame, and intimacy." Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri was asked, "By what means do you know your Lord?" He replied, "I know my Lord by my Lord. If it were not for my Lord, I would not know my Lord." It is said, "The scholar is a source of imitation, an the gnostic is a source of guidance." Ash-Shibli observed, "The gnostic does not look to anything other than Him, does not speak by the speech of anything other than Him, and does not perceive any protector for himself other than God Most High."
It is said, "The gnostic gains intimacy with His remembrance, and flees in terror from His creation. He is in need of God, and God makes him independent of His creation. He is humble toward God, He ennobles him among His creation." Abu't-Tayyib as-Samarri stated, "Gnosis is the rising of the Truth [like the sun] over the innermost being by means of a continuous effusion of light."
It is said, "The gnostic is more than what he says, and the scholar is less than what he says." Abu Sulayman ad-Darani observed, "God Most High reveals for the gnostic in his bed what He does not reveal for another who stands in prayer." Al-Junayd declared, "God speaks out of the innermost being of the gnostic while he is silent." Dhu'n-Nun stated, "For everyone there is a [certain form] of punishment, and the punishment of the gnostic is being cut off from His remembrance." Ruwaym said, "The hypocrisy of the gnostic is better than the sincerity of the seekers." Abu Bakr al-Warraq commented, "The silence of the gnostic is most beneficial, and his speech is best and most pleasant." Dhu'n-Nun asserted, "Even though ascetics are kings in the Hereafter, in comparison to the gnostics, they are beggars."
When al-Junayd was asked about the gnostic, he replied, "The color of the water is the color of its container." That is, the nature of the gnostic is always determined by the nature of his state at a given moment. Abu Yazid was asked about the gnostic. He said, "He sees nothing other than God in his sleep and nothing other than God in his waking hours. He does not conform to other-than-God, and he does not look to other-than-God."
One of the sheikhs was asked, "By what means do you know God Most High?" He answered, "By a burst of light that flashes through the tongue of one who is taken away from normal modes of discernment and by a word that flows on the tongue of one who is destined to perish and be lost. This speaker points to a clear ecstasy and relates an obscure secret; he is himself by virtue of what he reveals, and other than himself by virtue of what he leaves obscure." Then the sheikh recited:
"You spoke without speech. This is the true speech.
Speech belongs to You whether verbal or distinct from speech.
You appeared when before You had been hidden.
You made a lightning flash appear to me, making me speak."
When asked about the sign of the gnostic, Abu Turab explained, "He is not made impure by anything, and all things are by him made pure." Abu 'Uthman al-Maghribi said, "The lights of knowledge shine for the gnostic, so he sees by knowledge wondrous things of the unseen." The master Abu 'Ali ad-Daqqaq declared, "The gnostic is drowned in the seas of inner reality. As one of the Sufis has said, 'Gnosis is like the surging waves―they raise up and they set down." Yahya b. Mu'adh was asked about the gnostic, and he replied, "He is a man who is both with creation and separated from it." Another time he said, "First he was; then he separated." Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri observed, "There are three signs of the gnostic: the light of his gnosis does not block out the light of his abstemiousness; he does not believe in any inward knowledge that contradicts an outward ordinance; and the abundance of the blessings of God [Glorious and Majestic] upon him does not impel him to rend the veils that cover God's hidden sanctity."
It is said, "The one who speaks of gnosis in the presence of people attached to the Hereafter is not a gnostic, and he would be even less a gnostic if he were to speak about gnosis in the presence of people attached to this world." Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz stated, "Gnosis comes from an eye that weeps abundantly and from expending effort."
When asked about the words of Dhu'n-Nun al-Misri concerning the sign of the gnostic, "He was here but now he has gone," al-Junayd replied, "One state does not hold the gnostic back from another state and one station does not veil him from changing stations. Thus he is with the people of every place just as they are, he experiences whatever they experience, and he speaks their language so that they might benefit by his speech." Muhammad b. al-Fadl stated, "Gnosis is the heart's life with God." Abu Sa'id al-Kharraz was asked, "Does the gnostic end in a state wherein he never weeps?" He affirmed, "Yes. Weeping belongs to the time they are traveling to God. When they dismount and halt in the inner realities of nearness and experience the taste of attaining this favor, they no longer weep."
Excerpted from Chapter Six of Signs of the Unseen by Jalaluddin Rumi. Published by Threshold Books (1994), translated from the Arabic by W.M. Thackston, Jr.
Someone said, "We are imperfect."
The very fact that someone thinks this and reproaches himself, saying, "Alas, what am I about? Why do I act like this?" is a proof of God's love and favor. "Love persists as long as reproach persists," because one rebukes those one loves, not strangers. Now there are different kinds of reproof. To suffer pain while aware of it is a proof of God's love and favor. One the other hand, when a type of reproof is inflicted and the reproved does not experience pain, there is no proof of love (as when one beats a carpet to get the dust out), and such is not called rebuke by the intelligent. If, on the other hand, one rebukes one's child or beloved, a proof of love does arise in such a case. Therefore, so long as you experience pain and regret within yourself, it is proof of God's love and favor.
When you see a fault in your brother, the fault really lies in yourself but you see it reflected in him. Likewise, the world is a mirror in which you see your own image. "The believer is a mirror to the believer." Rid yourself of your own fault because what distastes you in another is really in yourself.
You are not offended by any bad qualities you have in yourself such as injustice, rancor, greed, envy, insensitivity, or pride. Yet when you see them in another, you shy away, offended. No one is revolted by a scab or abscess of his own; anyone will put his own sore finger into the stew, lick that finger, and not feel squeamish in the least. If, however, there is a minor abscess or cut on someone else's hand, you would never be able to stomach the stew that hand had been in. Bad moral qualities are just like those scabs and abscesses: no one is offended by his own; yet everyone suffers distress and is horrified at seeing only a bit in another. Just as you shy away from another, you must excuse him for shying away when offended by you. Your distress is his excuse because your distress comes from seeing something he also sees. The believer is a mirror to the believer. The Prophet did not say that the infidel is a mirror to the infidel―not because the infidel does not have the quality to be a mirror, but because he is unaware of the mirror of his own soul.
A king was sitting by a brook, dejected. The princes were terrified of him while he was in such a state, and no matter what they did they couldn't cheer him up. The king had a jester who was extremely privileged. The princes undertook to reward him if he would make the king laugh. The jester went to the king, but try as he might, the king would not even look up at him so that he could make a face and cause the king to laugh. All the king did was stare at the brook with his head down.
"What does the king see in the water?" asked the jester.
"I see a cuckold," said the king.
"Sire," the jester replied, "your servant is not blind either."
So it is when you see in another something that distresses you. That person is not blind. He sees the same thing you do.
With God there is no room for two egos. You say "I," and He says "I." In order for this duality to disappear, either you must die for Him or He for you. It is not possible, however, for Him to die―either phenomenally or conceptually―because "He is the Ever-living who dieth not." He is so gracious, however, that if it were possible He would die for you in order that the duality might disappear. Since it is not possible for Him to die, you must die that He may be manifested to you, thus eliminating the duality.
You can tie two birds together; but, although they may be of the same species and their two wings have become four, l they will not be able to fly because duality still pertains. If, however, you tie a dead bird to a live one, it will be able to fly since there is no duality.
The sun is so gracious that it would die for a bat if it were possible. "My dear bat," the sun would say, "my grace touches everything. I would like to do something of beneficence for you too. Since it is possible for you to die, die that you may enjoy the light of my splendor and, shedding your "bat-ness," become the phoenix of the Mount Qaf of proximity to me."
One of God's servants was capable of annihilating himself for the sake of a beloved. He asked God to give him such a beloved, but this was not acceptable to Him. A voice came, saying, "I do not desire that you should see such a one."
The servant of God, however, insisted and would not cease his entreaty, saying, "O Lord, you have placed the desire for such a one within me, and it will not go away!"
Finally a voice came, saying, "If you want this to come about, then sacrifice yourself and become nought. Tarry not in departing from the world."
"O Lord," he said, "I am content." And thus he did, sacrificing his life for the sake of that beloved so that his desire was fulfilled.
If a servant of God can possess the grace to sacrifice his life, one day of which is worth more than the life of the whole world from beginning to end, could the Author of Grace be less gracious? That would be ludicrous. Since, however, His annihilation is not possible, you must be annihilated.
A dullard came and sat himself above a saint. The saint said, "What difference does it make whether one is above or below a lamp? If the lamp is inclined to be above, it does not do so for its own sake. Its only purpose is to benefit others so that they may enjoy its light. Otherwise, wherever the lamp may be, high or low, it is still a lamp. It is the eternal sun."
If the saints seek status and exalted position in this world, they do so because people are unable to perceive their exaltedness. They want to ensnare worldly people with their trap of this world so that they may find their way to that other exaltedness and fall into the snare of the next world. Similarly, the Prophet conquered Mecca and the surrounding countries, not because he needed them but in order to bestow life and light on all. "This hand is accustomed to give; it is not accustomed to take." The saints deceive men in order to give to them, not in order to take anything from them.
When someone traps little birds by means of trickery in order to eat them or sell them, that is called deception. When, however, a king lays a trap to catch a rough, worthless falcon that does not know its own essence and then trains it to his arm so that it becomes noble, tutored, and polished, that is not called deception. Although outwardly it appears to be fraudulent, it is considered the essence of straightforwardness and munificence. It is like reviving the dead, turning base stone into ruby, turning inanimate sperm into a living human being, and more. If the falcon knew why he was being captured, he would not need grain as an enticement but would search for the snare with all his heart and soul and fly to the arm of the king.
People look only at the literal meaning of the saints' words and say, "We've heard all this talk many times before. We've had enough of such words. Our hearts are uncircumcised: but God hath cursed them with their infidelity [2:88]. The infidels say, "Our hearts are full of such talk." God answers them thus: "Woe betid them that they be full of these words. They are full of temptations of the devil and vain imaginings. They are full of hypocrisy and doubt―nay, they are full of damnation." God hath cursed them with their infidelity. Would that they were free of those ravings, for then they would be capable of receiving these words. But they are not even capable of that. God has plugged up their ears and eyes and hearts so that they see the wrong color. They perceive Joseph as a wolf. Their ears hear the wrong sound. They heart wisdom as nonsense and raving. And their hearts, having become repositories for temptation and vain imaginings, perceive falsely. Having been knotted up with compounded imaginings, their hearts have frozen solid like ice in winter. God hath sealed up their hearts and their hearing; a dimness covereth their sight [2:7]. How then can they be full? In their whole lives neither they nor those on whom they pride themselves have ever sensed or perceived. They are not blessed by the jug that God gives to some full in order that they may drink to their fill. He gives it to some empty, and then why should they render thanks? The person who receives a full jug renders thanks.
When God made Adam of clay and water, "He kneaded the clay of Adam for forty days." He completed Adam's shell and left it for a period of time on the earth. Iblis [Editor's Note: Satan] came down and went into Adam's shell. Going through and inspecting every vein, he saw that it was full of blood and humors. Adam said, "Ugh! It is a wonder if this be not the very Iblis who, at the foot of God's Throne, I saw would appear. If that Iblis exists, this must be he."
Peace be with you!
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