Archive for January, 2009

Liberation of soul from sense perception

Darwin attributes the development of human species to the natural process of evolution. Darwin does not question the existence of God but simply tries to explain the formation of living organisms on earth. He does not sufficiently address the development of superior intellect in human species while all other lacked far behind. In many of its verses Qoran narrates that God created man from a combination of clay, water and fire. But the most significant aspect of creation is the empowerment of this new creature with the knowledge of the universe. It is then that God asked all the angels to bow down to his new creation. The angels responded that they have been praising the God without question then why they should bow down to a lesser being. God instructed its creation to recite what it has been taught. It is also mentioned in this story that Iblis or Satan refused to bow down objecting that Men is made of clay while he is made of fire which is purer than clay.

There is a lot of symbolism in this story of creation and many points to ponder upon. First that God presented the Men in its physical form with all its physiological limitations. Second God gave knowledge to Men that imply that all of us are born with it but its hidden deep down in our soul. One purpose of life for us could be to strive throughout our lives to unlock that wisdom already encoded into our beings. There are two ways this hidden knowledge can be activated. One is through sense perceptions and the other reflection within the soul.

One innate problem in our sensory organs is that they register an effect rather than a cause. To understand the cause would require a separate inquiry. For instance touch tells us that the effect of iron is solid but the string theory suggests that iron is nothing but a string of energy. Adopting a scientific method that could rely on sensory perception to define a phenomenon could only produce a faulty or limited reality. Ironically the measurement instruments designed for scientific exploration are modeled on the principles of sensory perception. This gulf between the perception and the absolute reality is probably the reason for side effects in medicine and environmental damage from machines. In the spiritual context the five senses combined can be defined as nafs. If a soul relies heavily on its nafs for interpretation of absolute reality then the probability of its contamination with wrong knowledge is very high. This might be the reason that all man of wisdom including prophets relied heavily on meditation to find one true God.

This limitation of sensory perception also dictates that they can not be solely used for unlocking the hidden knowledge endowed upon us. Let us take an example to illustrate this point. Assume that a person does not possess the five sensory perceptions i.e. sight, sound, taste, touch and smell. How will this person interpret the existence of universe around him? In the absence of senses the only other alternative available to this person is reflection or thought. Through this thought he creates a universe which is hard to image for people like us who rely heavily on their senses. The reality of heaven is probably that the soul will not be required to rely on senses to perceive pleasure, desire and knowledge.

The other question is whether the purpose of this knowledge was passive or active. In the passive state it is not required by the possessor to utilize the knowledge. It seems from the teachings of Qoran that the purpose was active which means that men are required to seek knowledge and then act upon it. If the scope of the action is defined by the knowledge acquired then it is important that the methods used for this acquisition are free of faults and limitation. Reliance on sensory perception alone will tend to produce actions that will be contaminated as the knowledge acquired through them are limited and far from reality.

No one knows for sure the true path to the absolute reality but if God built it inside the soul then the most probable place to find it is in ones own self. Knowing true nature of the soul is a quest on which many has embarked before us whether it was Mansur al Haj who declared “I am God” or meditations of Mohammad PBUH who went to a dark cave (Ghar-e-Hira) for 15 years to find the truth. This path is never easy to take but it is the only path that can provide salvation for the soul and please the creator God.

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