Symbols of the world's religions

               

FIVE TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE

Dr. Abdul Ghani

 
According to the Sufis, there are five types of knowledge affecting human beings:

The first is the knowledge of the world, which is confined to the attainment of material well-being.

The second is the knowledge of shariat, which is mostly used by those who have acquired it to overthrow their opponents with the wordy warfare of logic and argument. This knowledge is that of the exoteric divines.

The third type of knowledge is that of the spiritual Path; and it is found with those who have seriously taken to some inner discipline and have shunned the society of exoterics. In this knowledge the ego still persists, and the consciousness of good and evil still clings to the soul. The knowledge of philosophers and thinkers is on the borderline between the second and third types of knowledge.

The fourth type of knowledge is that of God — the Self (haqiqat). One who arrives at this knowledge has no tinge of false ego left and all vestige of duality disappears.

The fifth type of knowledge is the real gnosis — the marefat of haqiqat, which Meher Baba explains, is a complete knowledge of God and a complete knowledge of the universe. This is the knowledge of Perfection possessed by the Rasool (Avatar) and the Qutub (Sadguru).

Unless a soul goes through all the different stages of knowledge, the highest stage of tasawwuf (Wisdom) which is suluk (return to normal consciousness) can never be attained. Arriving at this stage of gnosis entitles one to be called a perfect Sufi (Perfect Master). There are, however, instances where persons have reached the fourth stage of knowledge without going though the intermediary stages, but they are quite exceptional, and occur only when such persons are led by a Perfect Master.

Meher Baba divides all spiritually advanced souls into five basic types: God-merged (Perfect One), God-intoxicated, God-absorbed, God-communed and God-mad.

GOD SPEAKS, pp. 250-251, Meher Baba
1973 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.

               

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