Continuing with his description of the angelic realms, Hazrat Inayat Khan now explains that the angels that are in contact with humans beings are most often souls that have already experienced life on earth. The previous post in the series is here.
The angelic spheres, the highest heavens, are the spheres of light which are called Nur; and that current of power which runs through the divine Sun causes rays to spread, each ray being an angel or a soul. It is the divine current, which is really Nafs, the breath, or the ego. Breath is the ego, and ego is the breath. When the breath has left the body, the ego has gone. The nature of this current, which spreads as a ray and which is a life current, is to collect and to create. It collects the atoms of the sphere through which it is running; and it creates out of itself all that it can create. Therefore in the angelic heavens, which is the sphere of radiance, the soul collects the atoms of radiance. A Sufi poet of Persia has given a most beautiful expression of this idea in a verse: ‘A glow garbed with a flame came.’ Before the angels were conceived by artists in the form of human beings they were symbolized as burning lamps; from this comes the custom of lighting candles in religious services, showing thereby to some extent what the angels were like before they became human souls.
In the ancient scriptures it is mentioned that human beings produced angels by their virtues; but this is only a symbolical expression; it is not that human beings produced angels by their virtues, but that their virtues lifted their souls to the angels. One may ask, ‘If the souls who have settled in the angelic heaven are angels, then what makes them come to the earth?’ The answers that it is not the angels who have settled in the angelic heaven who come to the earth; for these rays have finished their creative power in manifesting as angels. If they had had a greater power they would certainly have gone farther, even to the physical plane, and would preferably have manifested as human beings; for the desire of every soul is to reach the culmination in manifestation, and that culmination is the stage of the human plane.
It is the work of the souls who return from the earth to communicate with the earth very often, and it is such angels who are generally known to man. Angels, who have never manifested as men on earth, only experience life on earth by the medium of other minds and bodies which by their evolution come closer to the angelic heavens. They take these as their instruments, and at times reflect themselves in them, and at times have them reflected in themselves. This is not obsession, but inspiration.
Souls in the angelic heavens live as a breath. The soul in its nature is a current; a current the nature of which is to envelop itself with all that may come along and meet it on its way. The soul collects all that comes to it; therefore it becomes different from its original condition. Yet in its real being the soul is a vibration, the soul is a breath, the soul is intelligence, and the soul is the essence of the personality.
The question very often arises, If an angel comes from above, does it descend outwardly before a person; or, manifest within a person in the heart?’ The ‘lift’ which brings a soul down and takes it back to heaven is situated within; that ‘lift’ is the breath; the soul comes to earth with the breath, and with the same breath it returns. Those among human beings who are not even aware of their own breath, how can they know who comes within themselves and who goes out? Many seem wide-awake to the life without, but asleep to the life within; and though the chamber of their heart is continually visited by the hosts of heaven, they do not know their own heart; they are not there.
To be continued…