|THE silent life experiences on the surface through activity. The silent life appears as death in comparison with the life of activity on the surface. Only to the wise the life eternal seems preferable on account of the ever-changing and momentary nature of mortal life. The life on the surface seems to be the real life, because it is in this life that all joy is experienced.
In the silent life there is no joy but only peace. The soul’s original being is peace and its nature is joy, both of which work against each other. This is the hidden cause of all life’s tragedy. The soul originally is without any experience; it experiences all when it opens its eyes to the exterior plane, and keeps them open, enjoying the life on the surface until satisfied. The soul then begins to close its eyes to the exterior plane, and constantly seeks peace, the original state of its being.
The inward and essential part of every being is composed of fine vibrations, and the external part is formed of gross ones. The finer part we call spirit and the grosser matter, the former being less subject to change and destruction and the latter more so. All that lives is spirit and all that dies is matter; and all that dies in spirit is matter and all that lives in matter is spirit. All that is visible and perceptible appears to be living, although subject to death and decay, and is becoming every moment resolved into its finer element; but the sight of man is so deluded by its awareness of the seeming world, that the spirit which really lives is covered under the garb of matter and its true being is hidden. It is the gradually increasing activity which causes vibrations to materialize, and it is the gradual decrease of the same which transmutes them again into spirit. As has been said, vibrations pass through five distinct phases while changing from the fine to the gross; and the elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth each has a savor, color, and form peculiar to itself. Thus the elements form a wheel which brings them all in time to the surface. At each step in their activity they vary and become distinct from each other; and it is the grouping of these vibrations which causes variety in the objective world. Man calls the law which causes them to disperse destruction.
Vibrations turn to atoms and atoms generate what we call life; thus it happens that their grouping, by the power of nature’s affinity, forms a living entity; and as the breath manifest through the form so the body becomes conscious. In one individual there are many fine and small beings hidden; in his blood, in his brain cells, in his skin, and in all planes of his existence. As in the physical being of an individual many small germs are born and nourished which are also living beings, so in his mental plane there are many beings, termed Muwakkals, or elementals. These are still finer entities born of man’s own thoughts, and as the germs live in his physical body so the elementals dwell in his mental sphere. Man often imagines that thoughts are without life; he does not see that they are more alive than the physical germs and that they have a birth, childhood, youth, age and death. They work for man’s advantage or disadvantage according to their nature. The Sufi creates, fashions and controls them. He drills them and rules them throughout his life; they form his army and carry out his desires. As the germs constitute man’s physical being and the elementals his mental life, so do the angels constitute his spiritual existence. These are called Firishtas.
Vibrations as a rule have length as well as breadth; and they may last the least fraction of a moment or the grater part of the age of the universe. They make different forms, figures, and colors as they shoot forth, one vibration creating another; and thus myriad’s arise out of one. In this way there are circles beneath circles and circles above circles, all of which form the universe. Every vibration after its manifestation becomes merged again in its original source. The reach of vibrations is according to the fineness of the plane of their starting-point. To speak more plainly, the word uttered by the lips can only reach the ears of the hearer; but the thought proceeding from the mind reaches far, shooting from mind to mind. The vibrations of mind are much stronger than those of words. The earnest feelings of one heart can pierce the heart of another; they speak in the silence, spreading out into the sphere, so that the very atmosphere of a person’s presence proclaims his thoughts and emotions. The vibrations of the soul are the most powerful and far-reaching, they run like an electric current from soul to soul.
All things and beings in the universe are connected with each other, visibly or invisibly, and through vibrations a communication is established between them on all the planes of existence; as an ordinary instance, if one person coughs in an assembly, many others begin to do the same, and the same is the case with yawning. This also applies to laughter, excitement and depression. This shows that vibrations convey the conditions of one being to another; therefore the seer knows of the past, present and future, and perceives conditions on all planes of existence.
Vibrations work through the chord of sympathy existing between man and his surroundings and reveal past, present and future conditions; this explains why the howling of dogs foretells death, and the neighing of horses the approach of danger. Not only animals show this but even the plants in times of sorrow begin to die, and the flowers to fade, while during times of happiness they grow and flourish. The reason why plants and animals can perceive the vibrations and know of coming events while man is ignorant of them, is because he has blinded himself with egotism. The influence of vibrations is left on the chair on which one sits, in the bed where one has slept, in the house where one lives, in the clothes one wears, in the food one eats, and even in the street where one walks.
Every emotion arises from the intensity of the vibrations, which when active in different emotions, the main cause of every emotion being simply activity. Every vibration while active raises the consciousness to the outermost surface, and the mist caused by this activity collects clouds which we call emotions. The clouds of emotion obscure the clear sight of the soul. Therefore passion is called blind. The excess of the activity of vibrations not only blinds, but weakens the will, and a weak will enfeebles the mind and body.
It is the state of vibrations to which man is tuned that accounts for his soul’s note. The different degrees of these notes form a variety of pitch divided by the mystics into three distinct grades. First the grade which produces power and intelligence, and may be pictured as a calm sea. Secondly, the grade of moderate activity which keeps all things in motion, and is a balance between power and weakness which may be pictured as the sea in motion. Thirdly, the grade of intense activity, which destroys everything and causes all weakness and blindness; it may be pictured as a stormy sea.
In the activity of all things and beings the pitch is recognized by the seer, as a musician knows the key in which any particular music is written. Man’s atmosphere tells of the grade of activity of his vibrations.
If vibratory activity is properly controlled, man may experience all life’s joy, and at the same time not be enslave by it. It is most difficult to control activity when it is once started and on the increase, for it is like trying to control a runaway horse. But yet in the control abides the whole of what is called mastership.
The saints and sages spread their peace not only in the place where they sit, but in even in the neighborhood where they dwell; the town or the country where they live is at peace, in accordance with the power of the vibrations they send out from their soul. This is the reason why association with good or bad and with those of the upper or lower classes has a great influence upon the life and character of man. The vibrations of thought and feeling create, procure, and prepare of themselves all the necessary means for their manifestation on the surface. For example a person may desire to eat fish and instead of ordering it might think strongly of it; his thought-vibrations thus speaking to the mental ears of the cook transmit his desire, and perhaps his strong feeling would even attract a fishmonger to the house. In this way the thoughts of sages work out their destiny, according to the strength, power and purity of their minds. A certain degree of thought-power is needed to bring about a certain result, as so much dynamite is required to blast a single rock, and an infinitely greater quantity is necessary to make a tunnel through a mountain.
The length of time that the thought is held has also much to do with its accomplishment, for the thought-vibrations have to be active for a certain time to bring about a certain result. A certain length of time is required for the baking of a cake; if it is hurried the cake will be uncooked; with too great a heat it will burn. If the operator of the mental vibrations lacks patience then the power of thought will be wasted, even if it were half-way to its destiny, or still nearer to a successful issue. If too great a power of thought is given to the accomplishment of a certain thing it destroys while preparing it.
In order to reflect thought and feeling on another, man should observe the same rule as in voice and word. The louder a person speaks in an assembly the more attention he attracts and all those present perforce give him a hearing. In the same way, if a Sufi sends forth the vibrations of his thought and feeling, they naturally strike with a great strength and power on any mind on which they happen to fall. As sweetness of voice has a winning power so it is with tenderness of thought and feeling. Thought-vibrations to which the spoken word is added are doubled in strength; and with a physical effort this strength is trebled. Reason is like fire, it gives light to the thought; but thought overheated loses its power, as heat can weaken the physical body. Reason gives birth to doubt, which destroys the thought-power before it is able to fulfill its destiny.
The strength of thought-power consists in confidence or faith. Reason confuses, and doubts scatter the waves of thought-vibrations, which disperse and go off in different directions from lack of the strength that binds. One should never think or speak against one’s desire, for it weakens the thought-vibrations and often brings about contrary results. A variety of thoughts springing up at the same time naturally enfeebles the power of mind, for none of them has a chance to mature, just as twins are often imperfect and triplets seldom live.
The disharmony between one’s desire and one’s ideal always causes a great confusion in life, for they constantly work against each other. When a person speaks, thinks, or feels either harshly or kindly of another, it reaches the spirit of that one either consciously or unconsciously by the power of vibration. If we happen to be offended with someone and do not show it in speech or action, yet it still cannot be hidden, for the vibrations of our feeling will reach directly to the person in question, and he will begin to feel our displeasure, however far away he may be. The same is the case with our love and pleasure: however we may try to conceal it in speech or action, it cannot be hidden. This explains the old adage that even walls have ears, which really means that even the wall is not impervious to vibrations of thought.
Sufis give special attention to the good and bad wishes of people. They strive continually to attract the good wishes of others whether worthy or unworthy, by every means in their power. Intensity of activity produces strong vibrations named in Sufi terms Jalal; gentleness of activity causes mild vibrations called Jamal. The former activity works as strength and power, the latter as beauty and grace. The conflict of both these forces is termed Kamal, and causes nothing but destruction.
The standard of right and wrong, the conception of good and evil, and the idea of sin and virtue are understood differently by the people of different races, nations, and religions; therefore it is difficult to discern the law governing these opposites. It becomes clear, however, by understanding the law of vibrations. Every thing and being on the surface of existence seem separate from one another, but in every plane beneath the surface they approach nearer to each other, and in the innermost plane they all become one. Every disturbance therefore, caused to the peace of the smallest part of existence on the surface, inwardly affects the whole. Thus any thought, speech or action that disturbs peace is wrong, evil, and a sin; if it brings about peace it is right, good, and a virtue. Life being like a dome, its nature is also dome-like. Disturbance of the slightest part of life disturbs the whole and returns as a curse upon the person who caused it; any peace produced on the surface comforts the whole, and thence returns as peace to the producer.
This is the philosophy of the reward of good deeds and the punishment of bad deeds given by the higher powers.