Hazrat Inayat : The Soul, Whence and Whither pt XXXI

Having concluded some explanation of the nature and action of the mind, Hazrat Inayat Khan now turns his attention to what is meant by the word ‘soul.’

It has been asked of the sages and thinkers of all times by the seekers of truth that they should explain the meaning of the word ‘soul’. Some have tried to explain it and some have given answers which are difficult for everyone to understand. About the meaning of the word soul many statements of thinkers differ, though all mystics arrive at the same understanding of the idea of the soul. As the air, by being caught in water, becomes a bubble for the moment, and as the waves of the air, being caught in a hollow vessel, become a sound, so Intelligence, being caught by the mind and body, becomes the soul. Therefore, intelligence and the soul are not two things. It is only a condition of the intelligence which is the soul. The intelligence in its original aspect is the essence of life, the spirit, or God. But when this intelligence is caught in an accommodation such as body and mind, its original nature of knowing then knows, and that knowing intelligence becomes consciousness. 

The difference between consciousness and the soul is that the soul is like a mirror, and the consciousness is a mirror which shows a reflection in it. The Arabic word Ruh and the Sanskrit word Atma mean the same thing: soul.

There is another word, ‘sole,’ in the English language, which means one or single; although different in spelling, yet it is expressive of the same idea, namely, that the soul is that part of our being in which we realize ourselves to be one single being. When one thinks of the body, it has many organs; when one thinks of the mind, it has various thoughts; when one thinks of the heart, it has many feelings; but when one thinks of soul in the right sense of the word, it is one single being; it is above division, and therefore it is the soul which really can be called the individual. Very often philosophers have used this name for the body, mind, and consciousness, for all three.

Sufism may be related to the word Saf which means purity. This purity is attained by purifying the soul from all foreign attributes that it has acquired, thereby discovering its real nature and character. Pure water means water which is in its original condition; if it happens that there is sugar and milk in the water, then the one who wishes to analyze it will separate the elements, and will try to see the water in its pure condition. Sufism, therefore, is the analyzing of the self, the self which has for the moment become a mixture of three things, of body, mind, and soul. By separating the outer garments of the soul the Sufi discovers the real nature and character of the soul, and in this discovery lies the secret of the whole life. 

To be continued…

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