Hazrat Inayat : The Soul, Whence and Whither pt XXIII

Hazrat Inayat Khan now gives an illuminating explanation of the principle of ‘akasha,’ a word which means open space or sky in common use, but which in Sufi terminology means capacity or accommodation. The previous post in the series is here.

The word akasha in the language of the Hindus is expressive of a meaning that explains its object. Akasha means accommodation; not necessarily what man calls the sky, although the sky is an accommodation. On the model of the akasha the whole creation has been based. The organs of the senses, the ears, the eyes, the nostrils, the mouth are all different aspects of akasha and thus is the human body constructed. The purpose of this construction can be found in its own nature; as the purpose of the ears is in hearing, of the nostrils in breathing, of the eyes in seeing, so is the purpose of the whole body.

The purpose of the body is to experience life fully. The body becomes a vehicle for the intelligence by which it is able to experience life fully. In order to make sound more audible people build domes and other places where resonance is produced and the voice and the words become more clear. So the construction of the body is intended to make all that is perceptible clear. By nature the body is the vehicle of the intelligence or the soul, by which it experiences life fully. But as man has lived for generations a life of increasing artificiality, he has moved farther and farther from nature; therefore this vehicle, which was made a perfect instrument to experience life fully, has become less and less capable of attaining that object. It is this incapability of experiencing life fully, and the innate desire to experience it, which makes the soul strive for spiritual attainment. What man does not know he thinks does not exist; in this is to be found the origin of materialism. But the tendency towards spiritual realization remains there as an innate desire which is consciously or unconsciously felt by every soul, whether spiritual or material. It is for this reason that even a material person has a silent craving in his heart to probe the depth of the very spiritual ideal which he disowns. The work of the senses is to experience, to taste, smell, touch, hear, and see; but besides these senses there is the inner sense which is one sense. It is by experiencing through the different organs of the senses that this one sense becomes many senses. It is the same sense which hears, smells, tastes, feels, touches; but because it experiences life through different organs, man divides one sense into five senses. The depth of that sense, which is the inner sense, is more subtle than one can imagine. When that sense finds a free expression it not only experiences life more keenly through the organs of the senses, but it becomes independent of the organs of sense. It penetrates through life deeply, and as Kabir says, ‘It sees without eyes and hears without ears.’ The reason is this: that all that exists is contained in an accommodation, in the akasha, and by being in akasha the nature of all things is revealed.

In fact there is nothing in this world which does not speak. Everything and every being is continually calling out its nature, its character and its secret; and the more the inner sense is open, the more it becomes capable of hearing the voice of all things. In every person this sense exists, but for the most part hidden, buried; and its being buried gives discomfort, for it is something which is living, the only living being there is. The idea of the ‘lost word’ has its secret in this; when once this inner sense has broken the walls which keep it enclosed, it breathes the freedom and happiness which belong to the soul; the soul attains. Every discomfort, from whatever source, comes through the lack of understanding. The more the inner sense is covered, the more the soul finds itself in obscurity. It is for this reason that the sign of the enlightened soul is readiness to understand; therefore these souls are easy to conciliate. When a person himself understands better, he can make another person understand better also. But when a person is perplexed himself, instead of making another person understand, he confuses him. In this way differences are produced.

To be continued…

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