Hazrat Inayat Khan continues with his explanation of capacity, and its relation to spirit. The previous post is here.
It is capacity which makes the soul a soul; otherwise it would be spirit. For instance, when the sun comes into our house in the morning, the sunlight passing through the window will be square or round according to that window, or triangular if the window is shaped liked that. The sun is not triangular or square; it is the window which is that shape. We say it is the sun that comes into the house, but we could call it something else. The sun may be likened to the spirit, and its entry through the window, which is a capacity and which gives it form – triangular, square, or whatever it may be – may be called the soul. The soul becomes identified with qualities and merits because of the capacity through which it expresses itself; if not it would be spirit.
Life has two divisions, of which one is accepted but the other is not yet. The accepted division of life is what is called substance; the division of life which is not yet accepted can be called vacuum. If we speak to a person about oxygen, he understands that there is oxygen in space; but if we speak about vacuum he does not understand. He says, ‘What is it? It must be something. If my instrument registers something, I can say that it is something; if it does not, then it is nothing.’ But in reality vacuum is everything and all things. In certain periods of the world’s history man has discovered a finer substance; scientists have come to atoms and electrons and still finer particles. But then what? Then, they say, there is nothing. The fact is that man wishes to perceive that which is called vacuum by the same method with which he perceives substance, and this is not possible. Therefore, however far he may advance in the discovery of life, he can only reach the most extremely fine substance. In this way people may search for thousands of years and they may succeed in finding finer and still finer substance, perhaps even a most useful substance, but it will still be a substance and not a vacuum.
Capacity is matter. It is not merely matter in the everyday sense of the word, for in reality all that is perceptible is matter. It is substance; even if it is the finest substance it is still substance. That which is above substance is spirit. Spirit is the absence of matter, even in its finest condition. Spirit is beyond that, thus the finest capacity will still be substance.
Now we come to the following question: If all this manifestation comes from one source, one life, one spirit, then why is there such a variety of things and beings, each different in its nature and character?
There are two principal reasons for this. One is the speed of vibrations, the other is the direction that a certain action takes. In order to make this comprehensible one may divide the speed of vibration into three stages: slow, moderate, and quick. As they are called in Sanskrit: sattva, rajas, and tamas. The first stage is creative in its effect, the second stage is progressive, and the third stage is destructive. This gives us the reason for death and decay and destruction: every living being and every object decays or dies when it strikes that particular speed which is destructive. Besides, as every object looks different when seen from different angles, so every creative force manifests differently when it takes different directions. This explains why a person’s right hand is stronger then his left, with few exceptions; and why the right leg is inclined to go forward first and not the left leg. There is always more strength in the right side of a person than in the left side. It is the law of direction which causes this. For a man to be left-handed is exceptional, it is not normal; it is normal for the right side to be stronger, and if a person is left-handed this shows that his right side has not the proper energy. It does not mean that the left side is stronger than the right side or that the left side takes the place of the right side; it only means that the right side has been weakened and that the left side therefore seems stronger than the right side. It does not mean that this man’s positive side is his left and his negative side the right.
To be continued…