In the previous instalment of this series, Hazrat Inayat Khan likens the animation of the body by the soul to what happens when something flammable, such as a coal, is kindled by a spark; as the coal catches fire, so the body catches life. Below, he expands on the image, and goes on to speak of the need for the world to waken from its dream.
The condition is that the body holds the soul, and the soul holds the body. The soul holds the body in order to accomplish its purpose, and the body holds the soul because when the soul leaves, it will turn into nothing. Therefore the body is continually striving to keep the soul, because it is made for the soul and lives for it; it is the body’s continual desire that the soul should live in it. That being so, it is only when the soul feels it has finished its work and should no longer exist in the body, that it leaves the body; or perhaps the body has become so feeble that it can no longer hold the soul. This is the way it happens, and as a result there is death.
Very often, there are people who wish to die and do not die. The reason is that it is the mind which wishes death, but the body is still clinging to the soul and the soul is still using the body for its purpose, although the mind is against it; that is why death does not come. Sometimes one thinks that the body is too feeble, that it can no longer hold the soul, and yet the mind says, ‘I have not finished; I have not seen my friend, or my husband, or my daughter, I would like to live until I see them’; and it goes on living, because the soul, having the impression that something is not finished, keeps holding on to that body which can no longer hold the soul. It holds on as long as that particular desire lasts.
After the soul has been caught by the physical body, there comes a time when the soul awakens. As long as it is asleep, it is in a kind of dream in the physical body. That is the condition of the average man: a kind of dream. The mystic is the one who is awakened. The amusing thing is that the average man will call the mystic a dreamer, whereas in reality, it is he himself who is dreaming! During this dream the soul knows nothing except what appears before it, for instance desires, habits, wishes, experiences, environment, actions, thoughts, and impressions. All these are like a dream which a soul dreams. One person will perhaps dream all his life; there is another who will wake at an early age, or in his youth; but there are souls, as in the case of Jesus Christ, who from childhood begin to manifest their awakened condition. Therefore it does not depend upon a certain age; even an infant may be awakened. And it may be that a person will live all his life in a dream and may leave this world in the same dream; yet though there is a subconscious awakening, when something begins to say, ‘You are dreaming; there is something else for you to know!’ often one does not listen to it.
But sooner or later, that time may come in our lives when we waken from the dream. And as soon as we wake from this dream, our first thought is, ‘What is it all about? Why are we here? What are we doing here? Where are we to go? What is the purpose of our life?’ And when this thought comes, then a person begins to feel a little less interested in the things of daily life. This does not mean that he is less capable of doing them; on the contrary, an awakened person can accomplish greater worldly things than the one who dreams, and in a better way. If our politicians today, and our great merchants and wealthy men, educationists and scientists, were spiritual persons, the world would become different; and they themselves would not be any less than they are; indeed they would accomplish greater things.
Do you think, if the generals of today, and the politicians, and statesmen and business people were awakened souls, we should have had wars? By this time, we should be past those days of stupidity when people killed one another; we are in a different stage of evolution, and today there should be no need for war. Humanity is grown up, it is no longer an infant. But, even after a war there is no security of peace. We do not know what will happen tomorrow, and that shows that there is something missing. And what is missing is the realization of the dream; people think they are awakened, that they have common sense, and yet they are still asleep. We must be wakened from this dream we are in; the soul must come to the realization of what it is; then a better day will come for us.
To be continued…