Charles Reed Peers.

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ligence; and whoever devotes himself to the former rests
behind the higher intelligences, and, in the illusion of vanity,
rests imprisoned in the pitfall of ignorance.

Av.C. what Muhammed said : " When I left the mountains
and these two persons behind me, I went on until I reached
the house of sanctity (Jerusalem) ; and as I entered it, a
person came to me, and gave me three cups — the one of
wine, the second of water, and the other of milk. I wished
to take that of wine, but Jabriil forbade it, and pointed to
that of milk, which I took and drank." The meaning of
this is: When I freed myself from sensuality, and knew
the state of imagination and deception, and resolved in my-
self to enter the world of spirits, then I saw three spirits
in the house of sanctity — the one was that of animal life,
the second that of nature, and the other that of rationality.
I wished to proceed on the footsteps of brutishness, and
compared it to wine, the power of which is seducing, cloud-
ing, and ignorance-increasing, like passion and lust, and
wine is the darkener of the two other powers. And he
compared nature to water, because from it is derived the
support and stability of a person, and man depends upon
the temperament of the agents which act in the body ;
water is also the vital strength of animals, and the promoter



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 403

of growth and increase. And the rational spirit he com-
pared to milk, as being a salutary and agreeable nourish-
ment, and promoting welfare. And as to what he said : " I
wished to take the wine ; but he forbade it, that I might
take the milk,'^ is in allusion to most men, who, being badly
disposed, do not desist from obsequiousness to two spirits,
those of nature and brutishness ; and whoever is badly dis-
posed demands what is material, and the pleasure and
enjoyment of these two spirits are of this kind.

The prophet said further : ^* When I arrived there I
entered the mosque, and the crier called to prayer ; and I
stepped forward. I saw an assembly of prophets and angels
standing to the right and the left ; every one saluted me,
and made a new covenant with me.** This means : When
I became freed from all converse and concern with brutish-
ness and nature, I entered the mosque, that is, I retired into
the inmost of the soul; by ^^ crier of the mosque" is under-
stood the power of remembering and praising God ; by
** one's Im&m,** meditation; and *^ the angels** mean the pow-
ers of the inmost soul, such as abstraction, memory, praise
of God, and the like. Further, ^* saluting them ** refers to
the comprehending of all the mental powers. Thus, when
one wishes to mount up to the terrace of a house, he must
first have a staircase by which he may, step after step, as-
cend, until he attains the summit of the terrace ; in like
manner also are these refined powers to be considered as
ladder-steps, upon which, the one after the other, a man
ascends until he arrives at his aim.

And what the prophet said : *' When I became free, I
raised my face upward, and I found a ladder, one step of
which was of silver and the other of gold**: this means,
from the external to the internal sense ; ^* gold ** and ^^silver **
denote the superior value of the one over the other.*

* Here Jabriil took Muhammed upon his wings and flew with him
to the gate of Paradise, which was guarded by a legion of Angels. In
the first heaven he saluted Adam, who sat between two gates, and was
looking now to the right, now to the left; when to the right, he laughed,
when to the left, he wept ; for the right hand led to heaven, the left
to hell: the first father's joy or sadness followed his children going to
either side.



404 THE DABISTAN



His Visit to Keaven

And what he said: "I arrived at the heaven of the uni-
verse ; the gates yielded and I entered. There I saw Ismail
seated upon a throne, and a crowd before him, with their
eyes fixed upon his face. I made my salute, looked at him,
and went on.'* By "heaven,*' is understood the moon; by
"Ismail/* the body of the moon; and by "the crowd,**
those whose conditions are under the influence of the moon.

What Aluhammed said: "I entered the second heaven;
there I saw an Angel excelling all others; by his perfect
beauty, he captivated the admiration of the whole creation ;
one half of his body was of ice and the other half of fire ;
and yet there was no counteraction nor enmity between
them. He saluted me, and said : ^ Be welcome ! All things
and riches are thine.*** This means: it was the heaven of
Mercury ; and the import of this is, that every star has a
determined influence, either auspicious or inauspicious; but
Mercury acts in both ways; with an inauspicious connec-
tion inauspiciously, wuth an auspicious one auspiciously; so
that one half is good and the other half bad. The " wel-
come,** and the gift of "prosperity and riches,*' mean: the
power of the mind, and the multiplicity of sciences which
the star bestows.

What the prophet said: "When I arrived into the third
heaven, I there saw an Angel, equal to whom in excellence
and beauty I had seen none, placid and joyful, he was
seated upon a throne ; and a circle of angelic effulgency was
diffused about him.** This was the heaven of Venus, and it
is not necessary to comment its beauty: it denotes gladness
and festivity.

Further: "When I entered the fourth heaven, I there saw
an Angel, surrounded with royal pomp, seated upon a throne
of light ; I made my obeisance, to which he replied with
entire haughtiness, and, from pride and majesty, he bestowed
neither word nor smile upon any body about him. When
he answered my salute, he said : ^ O Muhammed, I see all
things and riches in thee: glory and happiness to thee.***
That is, "the fourth heaven,** the residence of "this angel,*'



SCHOOL OF MANNERS 405

means the sun; he represents the conditions of kings and
great personages ; his ^' smile '^ is his influence upon good
fortune; and his ** congratulation '* signifies his bounty for any
body's prosperity.

In continuation : *•'■ When I arrived at, and entered, the
fifth heaven, I happened to have a view^ of hell; and I saw
a black region, and on its borders was seated a terrific and
dark Angel, who was engaged in the business of punishing
bad men.^* That is, "the fifth heaven, with its angel,**
signifies " Mars " ; this planet denotes the state of criminals
and of blood-shedding men ; and by " hell '* is understood
any account and description of the conditions which are
appropriated to them.

"Moreover, when I entered the sixth heaven, I saw an
angel sitting upon a throne of light, occupied with counting
his prayers by beads, and with uttering benedictions ; he
had wings, and curls set with jewels, pearls, and rubies.
I bowed before him, to which he returned blessings and
congratulations, and wishes of joy and prosperity, and said :
*I give thee perpetual blessing.*** That is, "the sixth
heaven,** and "its angel,** signifies "Jupiter**; and he re-
lates to persons of rectitude, abstinence, and knowledge ; his
" wings and curls ** signify his light and rays ; and his
" blessings,** his auspicious influence ; for he bestows great
felicity, and all sorts of good proceed from him.

To proceed: "When I attained the seventh heaven, I saw
an angel seated upon a throne of red rubies ; not every one
had access to him, but he who approached him found a
kind treatment. I made my reverence, and he returned an
answer by blessing me.** This is understood to be "the
seventh heaven,** and "that angel** was Saturn. He is
averse to greatness ; but, whatever impression he makes is
perfect and entire; and when he shows favor "it is greater
than any other ; " every one cannot approach him ** : that
is, it happens seldom that one falls in with a fortunate
situation, but, if it occurs, the happy result is such as to
surpass all others.

In sequel : " When I proceeded, I arrived at the heavenly
mansion of the angel Jabriil ; I saw a world full of light
and splendor, and such was the effulgency that my eyes



-/!



4o6 THE DABISTAN

were dazzled. To the right or left, to whatever side I
turned my looks, they met with angelic spirits, engaged in
devotion. I said: * O Jabriil, who are this class of beings?*
He answered : ^ these know of no other fixed business but
praying, counting their beads, and visiting churches.*'*




Online LibraryCharles Reed PeersUniversal classics library (Volume 6) → online text (page 37 of 37)