Friday, February 10, 2006

Reading Vs Realization

"The treatise of Muhammad the Messenger of God would not profit me. I must have my own treatise. If I were to read a thousand treatises, I'd become darker.

They don't know the secrets of God's saints and they study their treatises. Everyone stirs up his own imagination, then makes accusations against the speaker of the words. They never accuse themselves. They don't say, 'There's no mistake in those words- it's in our ignorance and imaginings!' "

- Shams Tabrizi. Me & Rumi, Pg 119

This is of course talking about treatises on esoteric matters. The reader can never understand what the author is really saying because the author has seen and realized things that the reader has not, and is (usually) at a far higher station than the reader. So the reader is only imagining what he thinks the author is talking about, according to his own limited understanding. Everyone must do the works necessary to progress on the path and write his own treatise. Commenting on this, Chittick clarifies,

"Shams is saying, 'What good are such treatises? If Muhammad himself had a treatise, it would be useless.' The issue is of course verification and realization, which are utterly different from rote learning." (Ibid, pg 326)

"Know that studying is also a great veil. Man goes into it, as if he has gone into a well or a moat. Then at the end he regrets it, because he comes to know that he was kept busy with licking the pot so that he would be held back from the subsistent, endless food. After all, words and sounds are the pot."

- Ibid, pg 45

BUT, when it comes to more outward matters in regards to the path (and these are the things that are most important since the inward matters are left for us to experience on our own), some instructions are more useful than others:

"I would not trade the least report from Muhammad (pbuh) for a hundred thousand treatises by Qushayri, Qurayshi, and the others. They have no flavor, no taste."

- Ibid, pg 71

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