Giovanni di paolo, ‘Paradiso 18: cielo del sole’,
1440 illustration for Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy’.
Another sharing for the day from the Blue House of HYGEIA, as we continue our Nasafi cycle with these two excerpts, from ‘The book of the Perfect Man’-Fayard-Paris-1984, found at the end of the 19th treatise, page 207-210. Our English translation comes from Isabelle de Gastine’s French translation of the original Persian.
About the Manifestation of the Attributes
‘O Dervish ! About this a question arises: As if there is only one light, which is the soul of the world, this light filling the world from one end to the other, then why is there in the world multiplicity and why is there between its inhabitants so much disparity?
Answer: Light has many attributes; likewise, the manifestation of the attributes are also numerous. Hence the apparition of the multiple. If it wasn’t multiplicity, unification wouldn’t be possible.
Another question arises: As each monad that exists is the manifestation of an attribute, as man is the manifestation of the attribute of knowledge, then why are there differences between men? Why men are not manifesting knowledge alike?
Answer: Know that in the world every being only possess one thing only according to its aptitude. Therefore, man acquires on thing only according to his aptitude. Light’s epiphany differs only according to the aptitude. To each thing belongs a particular aptitude. If all had the same aptitude, the attributes of light would not be all manifested. But men which aptitude is to manifest knowledge, differ in this very aptitude, as there are many sorts of knowledges; and to each one correspond a particular aptitude. Some have the aptitude corresponding to one sort of knowledge; others have the aptitude to two, ten or hundred. The aptitude of some is defective, average for others and perfect for further others. Hence the great dissimilarity between men.
O Dervish ! How many beings have the shape of man, but have not his spirit. Those ones are at the level of animals. In them are more manifested the qualities and deeds of beasts.
O Dervish ! Man is characterized by four things: Good speech, good deeds, beautiful character and knowledges. The Perfect Man is the one who carries them into perfection.
O Dervish, some call the aptitude under the name of ‘ natural virtue’. For those, each man possess a particular quality. Therefore, one will write verses, another will recite, a third one will think accurately; and others could do nothing of the sort. One will gain knowledge, another wealth and a third would not gain any of them. There is no doubt that this depends on one’s aptitude; every body has an aptitude for one thing, he carries this aptitude in him. The aptitude is not acquired. It is tied to the four times. However, the aptitude is developed through instruction and education; it is short-lived when it is deprived of them.
For instance, one will have the aptitude to make many true dreams; another will have the aptitude, in the waking state, to receive inside of him images of things, and when someone is coming to him with that thing in his mind, the image of this thing will reflect immediately in him. Both of them can by hard work and effort grow their aptitudes to a level that everything that comes from the invisible world to the visible world, its reflection will appear in them, informing them of this state. This reflect, if it appears during sleep is called ‘ true dream’; during the waking time ‘ inspiration’.
O Dervish ! Even though each monad that exists is the epiphany of an attribute of this light, there are two manifestations particularly shining, the major man and the minor man. The major man is the manifestation of might and the minor man the manifestation of knowledge. In other way, the Spheres, the Stars, the Elements are the manifestations of the might and the Perfect Man is of knowledge. Hence, the inhabitants of this world cannot be but according to the decrees of the celestial dome.
O Dervish ! The celestial dome is the Preserved Table, the divine Book. All that is written in the Divine Book is God’s will: Only manifests here under what is written in the Book.’
About the Analogy
‘O Dervish ! After learning that there is only one light, which is the soul of the world, know now that the distinction between things themselves is by form and quality. This unique light has numerous attributes; therefore, numerous manifestations so that her attributes become apparent. Light is epiphanizing itself and appears in many thousands of forms, each one being the manifestation of an attribute. This form always goes with these attributes and vice versa. Within these forms, there is no more perfect than of man. Therefore, this form is qualified by a particular attribute, the most perfect of the attributes: Speech. Hence, man is distinguished from all the animals by this form, the human body and by this quality, speech. He is distinguished from his kinsmen by knowledge, ethics and access to perfection.
Also, as you know that all monads are the manifestations of the attributes of light, then if one says: ‘It is us who were, who are and who will’, one would be right. And if one says: ‘It is not us who were, who is and who will’, one will also be right.
Further more, as you know that this unique light has no beginning nor ending, that all these monads are the attributes of this light, then each form that comes to this world is qualified by an attribute, characterized by a name. And when this form leaves this world, another is replacing it, qualified by the same attribute, called by the same name. This is due to the analogy (tanasob) and not due to the metempsychosis (tanasobk). If a thousand time you get water from the sea and throw it back, it is each time the same water that you get according to the analogy and not to reality.’
Note: We invite you to peruse Paul’s ‘Corinthian’ 12 and 13 echoing Nasafi’s text.