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Sunday, 05 February 2012 00:00

Divine Immanence

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Here is another story from Shaykh Sa'di's 'Gulistan' (Chap. I). A King was traveling in a boat with his 'Ajami salve'; the salve who had not seen the troubles of the sea, began to tremble and wail and gnash his teeth. A physician was sitting in the same boat. He said, "If your Majesty orders me, I shall make him quiet by a device". The King agreed. The physician ordered that the slave should be thrown into the sea, and after he had two or three dipping to be pulled up by the hair of his head.

The slave was accordingly pulled up after this trial. He then went and sat quiet in a corner. The King asked the physician what was the wisdom of this experiment. He replied that the slave had not realized the danger of drowning, and was excited. When he actually went through the danger, he realized the safety of being on board a ship. Similarly a man does not understand and realize the doctrine of Hama ust or Divine Immanence, until he is involved in a variety of dangers and comes out safe. The 'Ajami slave (other than Arabs are 'Ajamis) is a term for an uninitiated man; such a man is subject to "Affection of the heart," Khatarat); and he gets confused and his mental balance is upset. Even when he is told that all saints had realized this doctrine, he does not resume a mental equilibrium. The Perfect Pir throws him overbroad into the sea of doubts and infidelity, and then pulls him up towards the shore of safety and a correct appreciation of the underlying reality. It may be objected to, that this story has no perceptible application to the doctrine of Hama ust. The intention of Shaykh Sa'di in plain from his concluding verse: "There is difference between a man whose beloved is in his bosom and one whose eyes are expectant at the door." The believer in Hama ust has observed the Truth with the eyes of certainty and the non-believer is looking forward to the prospect of a beatific vision in a future life.

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