Symbols of the world's religions

 
               

THE SEVEN FOLDS OF THE VEIL

Meher Baba

 
When Knowledge is gained ignorance is banished, but for ignorance to go, Knowledge must be gained. On the one hand, God, and the capacity of man to see and become one with God, are always there. On the other hand, Truth remains hidden from man until he actually arrives upon the path or realizes God. This apparent anomaly is due to two different factors: man's ignorance of Truth, and the fact that Truth is beyond the faculty of reason and far, far above the sphere of intellect. The fact remains that man has become God and man can become God for the simple reason that, knowingly or unknowingly, man is God.

Only so long as man's ignorance lasts will there seem to be no end to the plural diversity of illusory things. When divine knowledge is gained he realizes that there is no end to the indivisible oneness of God. Under the illusion of cosmic duality the apparent separation between man and God is invariably referred to by masters in terms of the intervenient "veil" and "curtain." Hafiz, who was a Perfect Master as well as a great poet, says:

Miyanah 'asiq o m'ashuq hic hayal nist
Tu khvud hijab-i khvudi, Hafiz, as miyan barkhiz.

There is no barrier between the lover and Beloved; Hafiz
lift yourself aside, you are yourself the covering over Self.

Kabir, referring to the removal of the seven folds of the veil, says:

Tere ghunghata ke pata khola tujhe Rama milega.

Open the folds of your veil, and you shall find God.

The ghunghat literally means the covering that a woman extends over her head and face in a number of folds; in spiritual parlance it represents the heavy folds of ignorance that keep man hidden from his real identity. The lifting of it, fold by fold, corresponds to the state-by-stage journey of a pilgrim from the first through the fifth plane of the divine path.

The veil that separates a man-in-ignorance from God Who is All Knowledge, is so subtle that even the highest and finest thought cannot pierce through it. This veil consists of seven folds of seven different, deep colours. Each fold is tied with a separate knot; thus there are seven knots to the seven folds. The seven colours represent the seven root desires, corresponding to the seven fundamental impressions, i.e. lust, greed, anger, etc., connected with the seven openings of sensation in the face, viz., (1) mouth, (2) right nostril, (3) left nostril, (4) right ear, (5) left ear, (6) right eye, (7) left eye.

In Reality and as the only Reality, the soul is always God without beginning and without end. False illusion begins with the descent of the soul in seven material stages and real illusion ends with the ascent of the soul to the seventh spiritual plane.

GOD SPEAKS, pp. 73-74
1973 © Sufism Reoriented, Inc.

               

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