FROM THE point of view of the mystic, life in all its aspects is communicative if one only knows the secret of communicating with life. As long as one is ignorant of this secret one is deaf with ears and blind with eyes. There are stories of sages and saints who spoke with trees and plants, rocks and mountains and with seas. People take these to be legends, but they are as true as anything else in this world of variety. This is not only true of the past, it can always be, it is always possible, if one knows how to communicate with life.
In the lower creation we recognize a faculty which we call instinct: the tendency that makes the bird fly and the fish swim without learning. This instinct appears in the form of intuition among the lower creation. Many scientists today say that animals have no mind but in reality all creatures have a mind, even trees and plants. Those who live close to nature, those whose lifework is agriculture, always living in the solitude among animals, know the fact that animals often give a warning of illness, of death, of a storm or a flood. They have intuition. The mechanism of man's body and mind is finer still, and man is capable of a greater intuition; yet it seems that even before man knows, animals perceive. The reason is that man is so absorbed in his outer life, in his object in life, that it is very difficult for him to believe in intuition, and therefore his intuitive faculty becomes blunted and he proves to be less intuitive than the lower creation.
Those living close to nature in the solitude, peasants living a country life, have greater intuition than intellectual people who live in the midst of worldly life. This shows that the life we live today in large towns is an unnatural life, lived in an artificial atmosphere, eating artificial food, adopting artificial ways of living. So one loses that heavenly quality, the divine heritage of man which is shown in the intuitive qualities. Fine persons seem to have more intuition than gross ones, woman seems to have greater intuition than man. The reason is that woman is by nature responsive. It is the receptivity of her nature that makes her more intuitive. Sometimes man reasons and argues, and woman says, "Yes, but I feel it, I feel it is to be so"; and her feeling proves to be right. She cannot give a reason for it, she says, "I feel it".
In every person there is more or less a faculty of perceiving impressions, and that is the first step towards intuition. The finer the person the greater his perception. But everyone at times feels, as an impression, the conditions of a place, the character of the people he meets, their tendencies, their motives, their desire, their grade of evolution. When we ask, "Why do you feel like this", one cannot always give an explanation. Sometimes one will say, "It is from the features", or "from the atmosphere", or "from what he has said". But in reality it is a feeling which is beyond description. A fine, sensitive, intelligent person always gets an impression on seeing someone.
The next stage is intuition. By intuition one feels the warning of a coming danger, the promise of success, the warning of a failure; if any change is to take place in life one feels it. But very often by not having self-confidence one loses that intuitive faculty. One fears that one's intuition is wrong; and in this way one loses self-confidence. If -one thinks, "Maybe my intuition is not right and by following my intuition I will fail", one takes another way, the way of reasoning, of logic. But naturally one's intuition becomes blunted after some time. If one does not make use of that faculty it disappears, and someone who is capable of perceiving intuitively then loses that faculty.
Another wonderful thing about intuition is that one is blessed with intuition according to one's sincerity. If a person is earnest, sincere, sympathetic, kind, he will be blessed with intuition; but if these qualities are lacking, intuition will be lacking too. Those who have no intuition have also difficulty in attaining to the spiritual ideal, because spiritual belief does not come from outer experience, by reason and logic, it is a belief that springs from within in the form of intuition. And if the intuitive faculty is not developed, that person's belief is not strong. In the first place a person who lacks intuition lacks belief too; and if he has belief, that belief will not be strong enough, because it is not built on a sound foundation.
The next step along the path of intuition is inspiration. Poets, writers, musicians, thinkers, philosophers, can make use of this faculty. Others have it but they do not know how to use it. That which one cannot create in ten years in the form of art, poetry, or music, one can create in a few moments by inspiration. It is a natural flow; one has no difficulty in working it out. Inspiration comes already arranged and there is very little to be done by the brain and by the mind. Besides, everything that comes through inspiration is living and is most beautiful, most harmonious compared with the art or poetry or music that is the outcome of the brain. Music of the past, such as the works of Wagner or Beethoven, is still living. And no matter how often you hear them you always thirst for them. Modern music has not that appeal.
It is the same thing with ancient art. There is something living in that art and today - with all the progress made in art - that something living is missing. It is the same with poetry. In Persia there were great poets such as Hafiz, Rumi, and Sa'di, whose works are still studied today and highly esteemed by millions of people in the East; they consider that without their works there would be no humane culture. Their work was the foundation of humane culture in the East; many later poets have tried to write such works as the works of Rumi and Hafiz, but they have not yet succeeded after many centuries; it seems that the inspiration is lost. Inspiration, whenever it comes, is living and life-giving; and it will always last and one will never get tired of it.
What is the theory of inspiration? Where does one find it? Where does it come from? There is one treasure house where all knowledge collected, experienced, learned, and discovered by human beings is stored. And that treasure house is the divine Mind, a mind with which all minds are linked. There is no experience we go through that does not remain or that is not recorded in that treasure house. Every good or bad experience we have, every new thing we learn, every discovery we make, it is all stored in that treasure house. But one might ask, "How does one find it? If we have a large store, perhaps hundreds and thousands of things, it is difficult to find anything we want at a moment's notice". The power of the mind, the power of the will is such that if one has sufficient power of will one can find anything one wants to find. There is a story about a person of powerful will who wanted to buy a certain piece of furniture. In the first street he went to after leaving his house he saw that very piece of furniture exhibited in a showroom. In other words he was guided towards it. What you really want is attracted by you, and you are attracted by what you want. It is the same with the poet, the musician, the thinker, when he is deeply interested in what he is doing, then he has only to wish; and by the automatic action of the desire his wish becomes a light. This light is thrown on the divine storehouse, and it is projected on the object he wants to find. Such is the phenomenon of will and inspiration, that no sooner an inspired person is moved by the beauty and harmony of life and wishes to express his soul, than the light of his soul shines on that particular object or on that particular knowledge. It comes instantly to his mind, expressing itself outwardly through his mind. All that is brought from within in this way is perfect, harmonious, beautiful, and has a wonderful effect.
In ancient times the Shah of Persia expressed the desire to have a history written of the past of Persia. But he was told that the records were lost and that it would be very difficult to trace the accounts of the kings who had lived before. But there was a poet, Firdausi, who said, "I will write the history of Persia". He was a man of inspiration. People were amazed; they said, "How will he do it"? But Firdausi sent his soul, so to speak, into the past and his soul became a receptacle of the knowledge of the past which he expressed in the form of poetry. This book is called The Shah-Nameh of Persia.
Many people think that science is based upon the knowledge of facts proved by reason and logic, and very few know that its beginning was intuition. All scientific discoveries spring from intuition; then reason finds their place, and logic helps them. They are analysed and as such made intelligible to others, but in the beginning they come from intuition just the same. If the great inventors of America, such as Edison and others had been only great mechanics it would not have been sufficient; behind this there was intuition.
Today there is a tendency not to admit that side of life. People believe it is not solid enough to rely upon intuition or inspiration. Once in Paris; I was surprised at hearing a great writer say, "Is there such a thing as inspiration"? I thought, "Here is a great writer who has made a name, and still he does not know if there is such a thing as inspiration". By continual material strife, and by continually ignoring the God-spirit, people have become so material that they do not think that such a thing as inspiration exists. This man became famous without believing in inspiration, and that was all he wanted. When I began to know more about the work of this person I found that his works were nothing but superficial. There was no depth to them and no height; a very narrow pitch. And that is what takes these days.
When one goes to see modern plays one finds the same thing. There is hardly a play with depth. And if you ask why it is so, the answer is: in order to please the man in the street. That means, we must keep everybody back in order to please the man in the street. One day a newspaper reporter, to whom I spoke about philosophy, said, "How very interesting! But say, how shall I put 1t before the man in the street"? So the general education is to keep every man on the level of the street. In stage magazines all is at a narrow pitch, it does not touch depth. Then where is the hope of progress if inspiration is ignored and intuition blunted? Today the trend of mind is towards facts void of truth.
The step after inspiration is what is called vision. It is more than inspiration. One need not see a vision in a dream; one can have a vision in wakeful condition. There is nothing to be frightened about. It is only clearness of the inner sight. Knowledge comes in a flash and a problem is solved; a philosophical problem or a certain hidden law of life or nature has become manifest in a very clear form. Or one has 'got in touch with something or with someone at an unimaginable distance. People have-very often misunderstood the meaning of vision and have pretended to be visionary. But in reality the development of the inner vision is a great progress of the soul.
When one goes still further on the path of intuition one comes to what we call revelation, which means that everything and every being reveals to one its secret. Such a one finds that every leaf has a tongue to tell its legend. He finds that every soul is a living book which reads its own story. He finds that every condition of life brings his inside out before him once he begins to look at it. He feels that he is at home on earth and in heaven, that the here and the hereafter all become manifest to his soul. As Sa'di, the great Persian poet, has said, "Once a person begins to read, every leaf of a tree becomes a page of the Holy Book".
How does it happen that one experiences or perceives intuition, inspiration and that one sees visions and gets revelations? There is a story of the apostles who instantly knew many languages. This does not mean that they knew French, English, German, and Spanish. It means they knew the language of every soul, that every soul began to speak to them, that they began to communicate with every person. The meaning of revelation is the understanding of the language of the soul. Every soul is always speaking if one can hear it. It is not only from the noise of the world or the voice of man that one hears, but even the silent trees and the still mountains speak to us when we are able to hear them. It is a language of vibrations, an imperceptible language, and yet a fine mind can grasp it. The only explanation of it is that it is a music. For a musician music is a language, it tells him something. The high and the low note, the flat and the sharp, all are expressing and telling him something; it all has a meaning. A person who is not a student of music does not know that language. He will enjoy music but he does not know the language.
Then there is the language of life, because life is music also. Each person is a note in that music, and that makes the symphony of life. One person is in tune, the other person is out of tune, one soul is sounding the right note, the other a false one. In this way every person makes or mars the music. Revelation comes from the understanding of this music. You cannot learn it; you cannot teach it, but you can tune your heart to such a pitch that it begins to live and to enjoy the music of life.
In this way revelation is perceived, when the heart has become wakeful, living, so that it can perceive the vibrations coming from every soul, every condition which convey a certain meaning.
The great prophets and teachers who have given religion to humanity, who have inspired humanity to a higher ideal, who have guided mankind towards spiritual attainment, they were the revealed souls. And what they gave to the world was their interpretation of the revelation they had. But no sooner does a composer put his music on paper than much of it is lost. And when the prophet gives his teachings in the form of words much is lost too.
There are some who say, "This is something sacred, it is my belief', and they keep to those words. But there are others who want to know the spirit of it. The words that have come down are only interpretations of the revelations the prophets had.
If all the people in the world knew the spirit then there would not be so many different religions and so many different creeds. They would all agree to that one truth. That there are so many creeds, so many different religions, is because they do not understand religion. If one understood it then there would only be one religion, interpreted differently by the different teachers of humanity. And their revelation comes from the music of life which is interpreted in human tongue.