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The Nature of Mystical Experiences
From The Book: "A Mystical Journey",
By His Holiness M. R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen
(may God be pleased with Him, and with Us)
Selection: Introduction - By His Holiness
Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim. In the name of God, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate
I want to ask Bawa one or two questions about his mystical experiences. First, we're interested to know whether he actually lived these experiences, or are these words just symbols of other realities?
These are not symbols, these were paths I saw and traveled along. I have experienced these directly, they aren't just stories. But it is not good to speak too much about these things.
We are not this body, which is made up of earth, fire, water, air, and ether.
When man dreams, he sees many different and wonderful things. But those marvelous visions are merely his thoughts being visualized. As soon as he reaches out to grab them, he awakens to find them gone.
The experiences I had are not like those dreams. For in them, the picture that was taken, actually exists, and still exists. The people are real, the history is real.
The earth-fire-water-air-ether mind is always sleeping. That mind is not really the person.
And these mystical experiences are not known through that mind, but rather through wisdom, the soul, and the grace of God, which together fly round and round looking at the cities of illusion and at the wondrous cities of God.
They discover the secrets of those cities and uncover layer after layer of explanations, of what is right and what is wrong, what is illusion and what is truth.
They determine which water is good, and which is poisonous, which will give the good taste, and which will give the bad taste.
Thus wisdom, the soul, and the grace of God inquire into everything. and facing each directly they conclude,
"This is what the seven hells are,
and these are the eight heavens."
Then they ask,
"What do these eight heavens mean?
What do they signify?"
Now, heaven and hell look the same, but their taste is different. Hell might appear to be resplendent, but once you see the light of truth, hell disappears. As long as there is no truth, hell shines in its own light, but we shouldn't accept that as the true light.
A man who doesn't know what gold is, might think that copper is gold, or all that glitter is gold. But a wise man will test it.
First he will rub the metal against a stone, and then drop some acid over it. If it is real gold it will not be marred, but if it is not, it will dissolve under that acid.
Like this, when the wisdom of the soul, and the essence of truth pick up something, they first rub it on a testing stone, and then pour the acid of wisdom over it. Whatever dissolves is false. Whatever stays without disappearing is true.
These are direct, face to face scenes I experienced. All the secrets of God's creation can be revealed through the soul, wisdom, and grace.
But these things cannot be revealed to the body, to desire, or to the mind. They are not revealed through the senses, which relate to the earth.
The body, the mind, and the senses are sleeping, off to the side somewhere, while wisdom, the soul, and the grace of God go secretly, quietly, to discover the inner meanings.
Not everyone will be able to discover the inner meanings. It is rare to find someone who can attain that full power. Whoever does have this ability is a Qutb, One who has achieved divine analytic wisdom.
I am not like that, I am still a student, still learning. I am only relating to you what I have already learned on my path.
There is much more to learn. What we have learned so far amounts to a mere handful of earth. Our heart consists of just one handful.
No matter how much we have studied, all that we have learned though our mind, and desire, and body, amounts to no more than a fistful of earth.
Once you transcend this and start studying beyond, then what you learn will amount to all that is in the entire universe. What remains to be studied, after transcending this handful of earth, amounts to the whole world.
This is how it is, my brother. Amin.
End of This Selection