Hazrat Inayat : Aspects of Sufism pt X

After speaking in the previous post about the compassionate work of those who deliver the message of the Father, Hazrat Inayat Khan now begins to describe a number of esoteric terms which appear often in his lectures and teachings. Readers will discover that in addition to expanding one’s vocabulary, the explanations give a deep insight into metaphysics and spirituality.

There are two aspects of intelligence: intellect, and wisdom. 

Intellect is the knowledge of names and forms, their character and nature, gathered from the external world. It shows in an infant from birth, when he begins to be curious about all he sees; then, by storing in his mind the various forms and figures he sees he recognizes them as an addition to his knowledge of variety. Man thus gathers the knowledge of numberless forms of the whole world in his mind and holds them; some of them stand out luminously and predominate over, and cover, others. He also retains those forms which interest him. The nature of forms is to overpower one another in proportion to their material concreteness. The more concrete they are, the more luminous they appear; so the intellectual person takes an interest in their variety and law of change, and as knowledge is the food of the soul, he at least becomes increasingly interested in the knowledge of names and forms, and calls that ‘learning’. This becomes his world, although it neither gives him a sense of unchanging comfort, nor does he thereby gain an everlasting peace.

Wisdom is contrary to the above-named knowledge. It is the knowledge which is illumined by the light within; it comes with the maturity of the soul, and opens up the sight to the similarity of all things and beings, as well as the unity in names and forms. The wise man penetrates the spirit of all things; he sees the human in the male and female, and the racial origin which unites nations. He sees the human in all people and the divine immanence in all things in the universe, until the vision of the whole being becomes to him the vision of the One Alone, the most beautiful and beloved God.

In giving a definition for some terms used in esotericism, one may say that consciousness is the wakeful state of the knowing faculty. Knowledge is that of which the consciousness is conscious. Conscience is a sense which is born when consciousness holds before itself a scale, on the one side an action and on the other side an ideal. Intelligence is the grasping faculty of consciousness which by every means recognizes, distinguishes, perceives, and conceives all that is around it.

Ignorance is the state of the mind when it is in darkness.

When mental vibrations flow into the astral plane, without conscious direction, it is called imagination; when they do so under conscious direction, it is called thought. When the imagination is experienced during sleep it is called a dream.

Impression is a feeling which rises as a reaction on receiving a reflection coming from the external world (physical, mental, or astral).

Intuition is an inner message, given in the nature of warning or guidance, perceived by the mind independently of any external source. 

Inspiration is the rising of a stream from the depth of the heart of the jinns and manifests in the realm of poetry, music, painting, sculpture, or any art.

Vision is a spiritual dream which is witnessed either when awake or asleep. It is called a dream because the radiance of the vision brings about a semi-sleep to the seer, even when awake.

Revelation is the disclosing of the inner self. The consciousness throughout manifestation facing towards the surface, turns its back to the world within, the sight of which is therefore lost to it. But when it begins to look within, the world unseen is disclosed, and Choudatabaq, the fourteen planes, consisting of the seven heavens and the seven earths, are revealed. ‘The veil shall be lifted from thine eyes and thy sight shall be keen’, as it is said in the Quran. And annihilation (Fana) is equivalent to ‘losing the false self (Nafs)’, which again culminates in what is called Eternal Life (Baqa).

To be continued…

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