Discourse 38

Discourse 38

The Prophet was seated with his Companions. Some unbelievers began to denounce and lecture him. He said, “Well, you all agree there is one person in the world who receives revelation. Revelation descends upon him – it does not descend on everyone. That person has certain marks and signs in his actions and words, and in his mien and in every part of him the token and mark can be seen. Since you have seen those tokens, turn your faces towards him and hold to him firmly, so he can be your protector.”

They were all confounded by his argument and were left with nothing more to say. So they put their hands on their swords and began to threaten, torment and insult his Companions. The Prophet said, “Be patient, so they cannot say they have prevailed over us. They want to make the religion manifest by force. God will manifest this religion.”

For some time the Companions prayed and pronounced the name of Mohammed secretly. Then after a while the revelation came; “You too unsheathe the sword and make war!”

Mohammed is not called “unlettered” because he was incapable of writing or reading. He is called “unlettered” because with him writing and wisdom were innate, not taught. He who inscribes characters on the face of the moon, is such a man not able to write? And what is there in all the world that he does not know, seeing that all people learn from him? What can the partial intellect know that the Universal Intellect does not possess?

The fact that we compose books and create buildings is nothing new. We have seen this done before, and we merely add to what we have already seen. But those who bring into this world something new of their own account, they are the Universal Intellect. We are capable of learning and need to be taught. The Universal Intellect is the teacher, and is not in need. So, if we investigate all trades, at the root and origin of them all is revelation. We have learned everything from the prophets and the Universal Intellect.

When Cain slew Abel and did not know what to do next, he saw a raven kill another raven, dig the earth, and bury the body, scattering dust on its head. Cain learned from the raven how to make a grave and how to bury the dead. So it is with all the professions. Everyone who possesses a partial intellect is in need of learning, and the Universal Intellect is the source they are seeking. The prophets and saints have united the partial intellect and Universal Intellect so the two have become one.

For instance, the foot learns from the mind how to walk. The hand learns from the heart how to embrace. The eye and ear learn how to see and hear. If the heart and mind did not exist, how could the body function?

This body is coarse and gross compared to both mind and heart. Without their subtlety and freshness, the body remains useless and crude. So the partial intellect is like a tool for the Universal Intellect, and we learn and find our purpose from there.

Someone said, “Remember us in your intention. Intention is the root of the matter. If there are no words, let there be no words. Words are the branch.”

Rumi said: Well, intention first exists in the inner world before entering this world of form. So if form does not matter, what is the purpose of this world? If you plant only the kernel of an apricot stone, nothing will grow. If you plant it with its husk, then it becomes a tree. From this we know that form also has a function. Yes, prayer is an inward matter: “There is no prayer without the heart being present.” But it is still necessary to bring the prayer into form. With outward words, genuflection, and prostration, you gain benefit and attain your desire.

The outer form of prayer is temporary, the inner spirit never ends. For the Spirit of the world is an infinite ocean, the body but a limited shore. Therefore, continual prayer belongs only to the spirit, but that inward prayer must manifest. Until intention and form are wedded, there are no children born.

When you say that words are the branch, this is only a relative term. Until the branch exists how can the term “root” gain its meaning? So the meaning of root came out of this branch. If the branch had not existed, it could never have had a name. When you speak of woman, there must also be man. When you speak of a Master, there must be a student. When you speak of the Ruler, there must be one ruled.