Friday, October 20, 2017

All Merciful and Eternally Benevolent (Part 3.)



Then he bestowed upon me his attributes, and he made me assume his essence. Then I saw myself as though I were he, and I remembered nothing but myself. I halted at that point and descended from lordship to servanthood. Then I desired the station of passionate love until I saw myself in the abode of majesty. I saw the Truth (glory be to him) arrayed in the form of divinity, and I remained in the station of intimacy for an hour, hidden from all that is other than him.”The Unveiling of Secrets, Ruzbihan Baqli, translated by Dr. Carl W. Ernst

Every line of this description is worthy of meditation and contemplation. The Lord bestowed upon Ruzbihan his attributes. God has infinite attributes—“You are the Soul of souls, the one with infinite attributes,” – The Parvardigar Prayer of Meher Baba and God is also without attributes—“You are without color, without expression, without form and without attributes.” – Ibid.

Attributes are qualities and characteristics; we all have attributes and characteristics, but God’s attributes are infinite. What was it like for Ruzbihan to be clothed in his Lord’s infinite attributes—was there any Ruzbihan even there?

And then, the second part of this sentence, “and he made me assume his essence.” To Ruzbihan, a Sufi, essence is related to self, but when speaking about God, essence related to Self. So, when he was made to assume God’s essence, Ruzbihan’s self must have been effaced.

Though this gross sphere, with all of its beings, planets, stars, universes and alter universes seems so vast—so endless—yet on an angel’s tongue is infinitely less than a single mustard seed that could be swallowed without even noticing. And do all embodied souls not sense this at some deep unfathomable level? Are not all strivings for good not an attempt to reach for something beyond? 

When Gurdjieff’s father gazed quietly at the stars at night, was not something real inside of him longing to remember? And are not all of the teachings and messages of the Avatar and the Perfect Masters not constantly reminding us that the brightest light of the world is merely a dark shadow of the subtle and mental worlds beyond, and that these worlds themselves are totally effaced by the effulgence of God?

“Then I saw myself as though I were he, and I remembered nothing but myself. I halted at that point and descended from lordship to servanthood. Then I desired the station of passionate love until I saw myself in the abode of majesty. I saw the Truth—glory be to him—arrayed in the form of divinity, and I remained in the station of intimacy for an hour, hidden from all that is other than him. Many ecstasies overwhelmed me, with agitation and weeping for the station of intimacy, and applause for witnessing with the eye.” The Unveiling of Secrets, Ruzbihan Baqli, translated by Dr. Carl W. Ernst

The average person regards the question of slavery from the perspective of the practices of historic periods of slavery in the east and later  in the west when men and women were bartered and bought as commodities. But the idea of slave and master also has an esoteric meaning; Eruch Jessawala put it so well when he said that he chose of his own accord to be the slave of the Master who is free in order to be free himself. He explained that for the average person of the world there is no question of freedom, only a question of to be the slave of.  In fact, all humanity, rich, poor, power possessing and powerless, are slaves—slaves to their own desires, slaves to their own minds, and slaves to the illusion that sustains reality.

Eruch recognized that he wasn’t free and came to the realization that his only real choice was to choose the master to which he would a be a slave and he choose to be the slave of the One who is eternally free—for who else but the One who is eternally free can bestow upon the fortunate slave the gift of eternal freedom?

I am the slave of the Master who has released me from ignorance; whatever the Master does is of the highest benefit to all concerned.”—Hafiz

Ruzbihan was given the experience of both Lord and then servant.  In the spiritual realm, the states of Master and slave are both divine attributes which are demonstrated so perfectly in the divine incarnations of the Lord as Rasool, Christ, Avatar, Messiah, or Buddha. Over the threshold of Meher Baba’s tomb/shrine in India is inscribed these words; Mastery in Servitude.

Ruzbihan then went on to reveal that during his experience he began desire the station of passionate love. Again, this term should not be confused with worldly passionate love which is inspired by lust. The word Ruzbihan used that is translated as passionate love is the Arabic word ishq. Like all Arabic words ishq has multiple and subtle meanings. Ishq is closely associated the word ʿašaqah which is the word for a kind of ivy. Ivy climbs on things; it cannot support itself, nor climb or rise by itself! In the station of passionate love, the lover is totally dependent on the Beloved—even for his very breath…

(To be continued.)

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