Tuesday, April 30, 2019

p25, p08 The bridge from words to condition

"While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (II Corinthians, 4:18, KJV)

"... Of particular importance for the mystic wayfarer is the distinction between the two Sufi notions of hál, spiritual state, and qál (speech). Hál refers to inner and authentic spiritual state of the wayfarer, whereas qál is what one utters by mouth. The former is a genuine spiritual and internal phenomenon, whereas the latter is an external one."

Rumi has God tell Moses in the Mathnavi,

"We look not at the exterior and the speech (qál),We behold the inner and the state (hál)."

Baha'u'llah in His most important doctrinal work, the Kitabi Iqan, speaks of this opposition between state and speech,

"Great God! When the stream of utterance reached this stage, We beheld, and lo! the sweet savours of God were being wafted from the dayspring of Revelation, and the morning breeze was blowing out of the Sheba of the Eternal. Its tidings rejoiced anew the heart, and imparted immeasurable gladness to the soul. ... Without word It unfoldeth the inner mysteries, and without speech It revealeth the secrets of the divine sayings." (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Iqan, p. 58)

The way God teaches faith is how trainers teach parrots to talk:
"The method is to place a mirror between the parrot and the trainer. The trainer, hidden by the mirror, utters the words, and the parrot, seeing his own reflection in the mirror, fancies another parrot is speaking, and imitates all that is said by the trainer behind the mirror. So God uses prophets and saints as mirrors whereby to instruct men, being Himself all the time hidden behind these mirrors, viz., the bodies of these saints and prophets; and men, when they hear the words proceeding from these mirrors, are utterly ignorant that they are really being spoken by `Universal Reason' or the `Word of God' behind the mirrors of the saints." (Mathnavi of Rumi, E.H. Whinfield, tr.)

Rumi brings this, and I believe his entire Mathnavi, to a fitting consummation in a story of how a parrot wordlessly communicated the way to freedom to another parrot in captivity. What better metaphor can there be than this, to design a bridge from qal to hal?

The Merchant and his Clever Parrot.

"There was a certain merchant who kept a parrot in a cage. Being about to travel to Hindustan on business, he asked the parrot if he had any message to send to his kinsmen in that country, and the parrot desired him to tell them that he was kept confined in a cage. The merchant promised to deliver this message, and on reaching Hindustan, duly delivered it to the first flock of parrots he saw. On hearing it one of them at once fell down dead. The merchant was annoyed with his own parrot for having sent such a fatal message, and on his return home sharply rebuked his parrot for doing so. But the parrot no sooner heard the merchant's tale than ho too fell down dead in his cage. The merchant, after lamenting his death, took his corpse out of the cage and threw it away; but, to his surprise, the corpse immediately recovered life, and flew away, explaining that the Hindustani parrot had only feigned death to suggest this way of escaping from confinement in a cage." http://www.sacred-texts.com/isl/masnavi/msn01.htm