The Vital things that go to make a mystic.
You may have heard the controversy about the poet. Some say that a poet is born. There are others, however, who assert that a poet is made. It does not matter much, whether a poet is born or a poet is made, he is a poet still. The same or rather similar controversy ranges round the mystic. Some say that a mystic is born, others say that a mystic is made. In other words, the question is whether it is a gift, or an acquisition. All gifts come unasked for. To acquire a thing means and implies to depend or to rely upon one’s own labour.
Instead of delving deep into this controversy, it is better to say that in the making of mystic Divine Grace and personal effort do count a great deal. Without Divine Grace, it is difficult to be constant and firm.
A humble Mystic despite his limited knowledge and resources, cherishes hopes of a big and bright future. And he is in a way right, for the simple reason that, he comes to possess both the urge to the pursuit of truth, and the spirit of endeavour, struggle, sharing and sacrifice.
He is aware of the role, played by those in search of truth, and he is alive to the contributions made by the segment of the mystic fraternity. He responds in his own way.
He makes optimum use of optimism. The optimism enables him to utilize the available resources for quick and speedy moral and spiritual growth.
Knowledge leads him to the fountain of Bliss. The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) has enjoyed the acquisition of knowledge in these words:
“Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave.”
As regards the importance of knowledge, he lays down thus:
“The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of martyr.”
Mysticism is essentially practical in nature. It cannot be learnt in any institution, whether it be a school, college or university. How will you explain white to a person, who has not seen the colour white. You may give any number of definitions. You may explain it at length. But your definitions and description will not carry sense to the person who has not seen white colour. But, once you show him the white colour, he will be convinced. There will be no room left, then, for discussion.
Let me give another example. There is a person who has not tasted sugar. He asks you as to what the taste of sugar is. You begin to describe it to him. When you say that it is sweet, he asks you what is sweet. Then you say that it is not saltish. He does not understand even them. To end the discussion, you just give him a teaspoon full of sugar. He tastes it. And then you ask him as to what is the taste of sugar. He cannot explain it, though, after tasting sugar, he knows the taste of sugar. Demonstration is better than discussion.
Mysticism is best learnt in the company, and in the service of a spiritual guide and teacher who leads and guides spiritual disciples. His word is law to the disciples.
There are two types of people in the world. Their outlook is different from one another. Their approach to the problems of everyday life is different. They look at the world from two different points of view. There is a person to whom the world is a comedy and there is another person to whom the world is a tragedy.
The world is not a multi-storied building. It is one storied and neither is it complex nor complicated. It is a one storied building, which is simple, and having no mystery about it. It is the outlook of the person which counts. What you think of the world, that the world becomes for you.
Only those enjoy inner joy, inward peace, and inner harmony, who lead a positive type of life. They invite misery, who have a negative approach to life.
The fruits and flowers of mysticism are the best gifts that history has offered to mankind.
The mystical ideals placed before mankind have conferred upon them the invaluable virtues or gifts of charity, devotion, trust in God, patience, perseverance, fortitude, constancy, bravery, courage, hope, belief and faith.
The Doctrine of Grace, though apparently simple, is powerful in its effects. The recipient of Grace comes to acquire a state, which may be termed as fixed, definite, invincible, everlasting and permanent.
The mystics share among themselves, a similar fundamental identical spirit of piety, purity, charity, hospitality, sacrifice, service and self-surrender. This is the spirit with which, those, who are favoured with Grace are animated and inspired.
The inner state of love, humbleness, meekness, kindness, humility, faith, trust in God, extinction of self, and concern for the welfare of others is peculiar to the condition of the soul of a person, who has received the gift of Grace.
The Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them) was asked as to what was best in man. He replied:
“An amiable disposition.”
“When you speak, speak the truth; perform your promise; discharge your trust; commit not fornication; be chaste; have no impure desires; withhold your hands from striking, and from taking that which is unlawful and bad……”
“The best of God’s servants are those who, when seen, remind one of God, and the worst of God’s servants are those, who carry talks about to do mischief, and separate friends and seek for the defects of God.”
Once the Prophet was asked:
“What actions are most excellent?”
“To gladden the heart of human being, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the wrongs of the injured.”
The Holy Lord Jesus Christ says thus:
“Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into fire. Therefore, by their fruits. ye shall know them.”
He distinguishes the good man from the bad man thus:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abdundance of heart, the mouth speaketh.”
To be a mystic, it is necessary that passions should be controlled and subdued. To overcome passions is to win the battle of life. Lord Buddha says:
” When a tree is burning with fierce flames, how can the birds congregate therein? Truth cannot dwell where passion lives.”
A mystic is expected to be indifferent to pain and pleasure. Lord Buddha says thus:
“The good renounce everything, The saintly speak not with craving of desire.
Touched by happiness or pain, The wise exhibit neither elation nor depression. “
Serenity of mind is a much coveted and much prized acquisition. But, serenity of mind cannot be attained without self-control. Thus says Lord Krishna:
“The man of self-control on the other hand, moving among sensory objects, with his senses under restraint, and free from attachment and aversion, attains serenity of mind.”
The effect of serenity of mind, according to Lord Krishna is this that:
“When serenity is attained, there comes an end to all sorrows. Verily, the wisdom of the man of serene mind soon becomes steady.”
The life of a mystic is a hymn of praise and service of glory. The pulls and pressures do not mar his harmony. He takes them as a passing phase. He treats them as a passing phenomenon. To him, pleasure is fleeting and pain is not lasting. The mystic counts for nothing every pain, and he forgets every sorrow.
Superstitions, intolerance, bigotry, fear orthodoxy, narrow-mindedness, ignorance, of basic principles of life, hatred, malice, worry, anger and anxiety are not conducive to spiritual progress.
Fear, worry, anger and anxiety, have, in fact, ruined more lives than war, pestilence, famine, fire or flood have done at any one time. They shut the door of free flow of life forces.
Anger causes illness, and is highly detrimental. Thus says Lord Krishna:
” From anger comes delusion, which results in loss of memory. The loss of memory causes destruction of discrimination, and from the ruin of discrimination, the man perishes.”
Courage, on the other hand, has redeemed mankind. The peace of a mystic is never disturbed. If he is praised, he does not take any notice of it. If he is abused, ridiculed, persecuted, or humiliated, even then, he is smiling.
Silence and seclusion confer peace and inner harmony. It is not wise to waste time in idle chatter or frivolous talk. Seclusion has is own reward.
A mystic lives for others. He advocates change in society through humanistic approach. To live for others means and implies that one has found the means of getting infinite inspiration, courage, strength, joy and happiness.
The mystic precepts, programmes and principles, betoken an interest in better living and high thinking.
It is not only necessary to love one another, but it is also imperative to help one another.
Knowledge should be shared with those who are deprived of the wealth of knowledge. Darkness should be dispelled. Ignorance is also darkness. In such an atmosphere of jarring influences, superstitions and antisocial actions, it flourishes and thrives.
Patience is a great virtue. It is not enough to be patient with all, but it is better to be patient under all circumstances, situations and crises of life.
The folly, the rude behaviour, the mistakes of omission and commission, stupidity, barbarity, vanity and selfishness of others should not be taken seriously. They should have no impact. The people are people. They should be forgiven. Forgiveness is still a power to be reckoned with. Guru Nanak Ji says thus:
” Those who make truth their fasting, contentment their place of pilgrimage, divine knowledge and meditation their ablutions, mercy their idols, and forgiveness their rosary, are foremost in God’s favour.”
Act and fact are not to be taken into account, Love is potent and powerful enough to change and transform life. Hope is a treasure. If it is lost, everything is lost. Hope give stimulus and serves as a pick-me-up. Hope has been termed as:
” The balm and life blood of the soul.”
To lose hope is to be deprived of life forces. Loss of hope implies loss of faith and loss of belief. Hope enables one to win the battle of life. Hope is an armour which shields an individual from permanent inaction. Hope is the exercise of skill to win the game of life. To the mystic, it is a perennial source of inspiration.
Meditation, if rightly conducted, is capable of giving peace and serenity, Concentration is a blessing. Intuition and inspiration are gifts.
Control of the mind requires exercise of will. Happiness itself is a state of mind and happiness depends upon the state of mind.
Lord Buddha says:
” Elevate the mind, and seek sincere faith with firm purpose; transgress not the rules of kindly conduct, and let your happiness depend not upon external things, but upon your own mind……”
Control of thoughts requires utmost skill. Dead thoughts, bad thoughts, and negative thoughts should be driven out and replaced by positive thoughts. Thus, thought of hatred should be replaced by thought of love, and thought of revenge should be replaced by thought of forgiveness.
Happiness is self-earned. But, who can be said to be happy? According to Lord Buddha:
” Happy is he, who has overcome selfishness; happy is he, who has attained peace, and happy is he, who has found the truth.”
Kindness is a distinguishing trait of the character of developed soul. According to the Holy Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon them):
” Kindness is a mark of faith and whoever hath not kindness hath not faith.”
The antagonistic nature in mind and heart is a deterrent to spiritual progress. Hatred and evil should be met with love and goodwill. By acting thus, the effect of evil is to a great extent neutralized. To meet hatred with hatred and to meet evil with evil is to fortify and strengthen the forces of evil, and to intensify its effect.
Control of tongue forms part of the discipline of the way of life pursued by the mystic. It is not wise, then, to blame,condemn, criticize or abuse others. Gentle speech, the looks of friendly eyes, the sweet sonorous voice, and the love that never falters are enough to give life a magic touch.
Right use of money is a sign of developed social sense, but, love of money cannot be justified under any circumstance. Why be a slave? Why not be a master? The eminent mystic Maulana Jalal Ud-Din Rumi says:
” Break the chains, and be free, O, son! How long wilt thou be a slave to silver and gold.”
Neither do the mystics subscribe to utterly irreconcilable value-system, and nor do they operate on totally different wavelengths.
Mysticism represents the minimal effort possible in the process of man-making.
Mysticism is another name of character formation. Mysticism is regeneration of mind.
Self- Surrender implies to have no will of your own. The will to will the Will Divine is the core of mysticism.
Let Love in, around, and above you, grow;
Let kindness and generosity from you flow;
Patience and courage in all situations ever show;
In forgiving and forgetting do not be slow.
This is a series of postings to come on the subject of Sufi Mysticism. The postings will give in-depth knowledge in the complete world & ultimate sphere of Sufi spirituality. The postings are enlisted in Categories : ‘Sufi’s Spirituality’ (Tasawwuf ) & in ‘Tasawwuf ‘(Path of Mysticism).