Hazrat Inayat Khan now lays out a picture of the vast system of creation, as the fundamental ground necessary to understand the nature of the soul. The first post in the series is here.
THE Divine Spirit is known by the mystics of all ages as the Sun; and therefore in all ancient mystical symbols the sun has been pictured as the sign of God. This conception gives further help in the knowledge of metaphysics. The sun is that aspect of the Absolute God in which He begins to manifest, and the first step towards manifestation is contraction. That contraction is seen in all living beings and in all objects. It is first contraction that takes place, and then expansion, which comes as a matter of course as a reaction. The former tendency is the desire of inhalation, and the latter exhalation. The contraction and expansion which are seen in all aspects of life come from God Himself.
The Omnipresent Light, by this tendency, becomes concentrated, and it is this concentrated Light of Intelligence which is the sun recognized by the mystics. As Shams-i Tabriz has said, ‘When the Sun of His countenance became manifest, the atoms of both worlds began to appear; as its light fell, every atom donned a name and a form.’ The Hindus have called it in the Vedanta Chaitanya, the Spirit or the Light of God. In the Quran it is mentioned, ‘we have made thy light out of Our Light, and of that Light we have made the Universe.’ In plain words this means that when there was nothing – no form, no name, no person, no object – except Intelligence; and it is the contraction of that intelligence; which brought its essence into a form of light which is called the Divine Spirit; and the expansion of the same light has been the cause of the whole of manifestation. Creation is the exhalation of God; and what is called destruction is absorption, which is the inhalation of God.
The Divine Spirit spreads itself; this we call creation and it consists of various names and forms. There arises a conflicting condition or entanglement of the Breath of God, disorder in its rhythm, which manifests in destruction, and culminates in what is called by Hindus Pralaya, the end of the world. For this many blame God, many judge Him, and many think it is unfair on the part of God to create, and to destroy; but for God, who is the only Being, this is the natural condition, by which He eternally lives. The beginning and the end of the world is only His one Breath, the duration of which is numberless years. During this one Breath myriads of beings have been born, have lived and died, and experienced both this world and the next. Souls therefore are the rays of this Sun, which is called in Sanskrit Brahma. The nature of the ray is to extend and withdraw, to appear and disappear; and the duration of its existence is short when compared with the duration of the eternal God the divine Spirit. There are living creatures, small germs, worms and insects who live no longer than a moment; and there are other beings whose life is a hundred years; and some live longer still; and yet even if it were a thousand years it is a moment compared with eternity. Time, as man knows it, is in the first place discerned by the knowledge of his own physical constitution.
From the Sanskrit word pala, which means moment, has come the word ‘pulse’; that which is pulsation. This knowledge has been completed to some extent by the study of nature, the changes of the seasons, and the journeys the world makes round the sun. Many wish to limit divine law to this man-made conception of time, and they make speculations about it; but the tendency of the mystic is to bend his head low in worship, as the thought of the eternal life of God, the only Being, comes to his mind. Instead of questioning why and what, he contemplates the being of God, and so raises his consciousness above the limitations of time and space, thus liberating his soul by lifting it to the divine spheres.
To be continued…