The mystic shows five things in his nature, he is made of five different attributes: temperament, outlook, dream, meditation and realization. Whether a soul is a mystic or not can be found out very easily. Gilt and gold are two things. Imitation gold cannot last after it has been tested, and so it is with the mystic. It is easy to speak as a mystic, or to act as a mystic, but when the test comes it is difficult to go through it.
It is told that a mystic was walking across a garden and saw a beautiful blooming rose. Attracted by its beauty he went and kissed it. His disciples who were walking behind him went also, and they each picked a flower and kissed it fifty times. The gardener was very vexed, and came grumbling to the teacher, but the disciples said that they had only followed the teacher. The teacher kept silent. They went on a little farther to where a goldsmith was working, and a hot iron was glowing in the fire. The teacher went, said the same words, "Praise be to God", took the hot iron and kissed it. The disciples dared not do it. The teacher said, "You did not follow me in this". In the East, therefore, when people know, "this is a mystic", they do not try to judge. Whether he has kissed the flower or whether he has kissed the fire, they regard it as a mystic temperament.
There is another story of a mystic which will give you another view of this temperament. It is about the leader of the Qadiri Movement of Baghdad, who was one of the greatest mystics of the world. One day, at the time when he was ready to eat his dinner, a mother came to him, very vexed with the teacher. On his table a chicken-dish stood ready, and she said, "You have given my son a vegetarian diet, and he is becoming paler every day. Here is that young man becoming thinner every day and here are you eating a chicken!" The teacher smiled and said gently, "Good lady, look here". He opened the lid of the dish and the chicken jumped out. "The day your son can make it jump out, he may eat it too."
One cannot pretend to be a mystic, one is born a mystic. Yes, a mystic spirit may be developed in life; that is another thing. But if one thinks that one can imitate a mystic - one can never do it. Mystics apart, can a person imitate a singer and sing correctly, can he imitate a painter and paint well, or can he imitate a poet and make poetry? Never. Either one is, or one is not.
The temperament of a mystic is a kingly temperament. The difference between a king and a mystic is that the mystic is a king without worry. His main idea is: whatever happens, happens for the best; in other words, nothing matters. Time for a mystic does not exist; it is only to be found in the clock. Life for him is eternal, and the time between birth and death is an illusion. The mystic’s temperament, is venturous and impulsive. He can readily jump into anything and can come out of it: into the water, into the fire, whatever it may be. If the mystic thinks that he must go to the south, or if he feels that he must go to the north, he will not trouble his brain asking himself why he must go to the south, or what he must do in the north. He only thinks that there is a call for him to go to the north and he goes there; perhaps he finds the reason there.
Every good and bad experience he takes as a lesson, and he thinks that it all leads him onwards. If it is a bad experience, it is a lesson also; if it is a good experience, it is still better. It is all leading him towards the purpose of his life.
The quality of the mystic is the outgoing quality, the sympathetic, loving quality, and at the same time the mystic is the one who is detached and who is indifferent. Deep love on the one side, indifference on the other side, together make the balance of his life. In loving another he loves God, in serving another he serves God, in helping another he helps God, and in this way he worships.
Neither has a rise in worldly life great importance for him nor a fall, and at the same time he may experience all things. Be not surprised if you saw a mystic on the throne adorned with gold, jewels and silver. And do not feel contempt if you saw a mystic in rags, scantily clad, in the form of a beggar in the street. In all conditions he is the king, and a king without worry, a king whose kingdom will last, and a king who is never in danger of losing his kingdom.
The mystic's temperament is the same as the temperament of any human being, or perhaps more intense. He can be intensely pleased and he can be intensely displeased. He can deeply feel joy, and he can very deeply feel sorrow, much more than the average person, because the mystic lives more and therefore his feelings are more intense. At the same time, it is the self‑control of the mystic that balances his pleasure and displeasure, his joy and sorrow. It may be that others cannot realize it or feel it; nevertheless, if the mystic's feelings were not delicate and if there were no subtlety in the mystic, he could not be a mystic.
On the one hand the mystic is most subtle, on the other hand the mystic is most simple. The mystic can be most wise, and the mystic can be quite innocent. People call the mystic Pir, which means old, and yet the mystic can be a child, like an infant. The mystic may control giants, and at the same time the mystic may be led by a little child. The words of the mystic may be simple, and at the same time full of depth. Every expression of the mystic is symbolical, for it is the mystic who sees the symbol of life in all names and forms.
Now I come to the dream of the mystic. It may be that people have seen a mystic in a trance, or meditating with closed eyes, but this is not necessary. With open eyes and closed eyes, the mystic can dream in both ways. He may be in the crowd and in the solitude, in both places he can dream. Dream to the mystic is reality; it is to others that it might seem a dream. To the mystic it is reality because the mystic’s faith is in that doctrine, that theory that, when God said "Be", it became, and in what the Vedanta say: that manifestation is the dream of Brahma, which means the dream of the Creator. The mystic, who realizes the Creator within himself, thinks that his dream is the Creator's dream. If the Creator's dream is all this which we call reality, then the dream of the mystic is the same. If it is still in the mental sphere, that does not mean that it will never materialize. It will materialize one day.
At the same time one often sees that the mystic lives above the world, and many think that he is not conscious of the world. But they do not know that for the very reason that he lives above the world he is more conscious of the world. One might think that a person who is flying in an aeroplane is in the sky and that he does not know what is going on in the crowd, but this is a mistake. One who is flying in the air is more capable of seeing what is going on down below, because he is capable of seeing a wider horizon than the one who is standing on the earth. Never, therefore, think that a mystic with his closed eyes or that a mystic with his turned head is not looking at you. The mystic can sometimes be more conscious of those before him than they themselves are of their own condition.
Now coming to the outlook of the mystic: the mystic does not see only the first reason of everything and of anything, he sees the reason behind reason, and behind it still another reason, till he touches the essence of reason, where what we call reason is lost. For as far as we see things, we see only a cause, but when the mystic sees, it is deeper than a cause, it is the cause of all causes. And by that his outlook changes from the ordinary outlook. Therefore, the language of the mystic is gibberish. People cannot understand the wisdom of it, because they look at it with their reason. So the mystic is the friend of many, but for a mystic to find a friend is difficult. When it is difficult for everyone in this world to feel that there is one person who understands him, how difficult it must be for the mystic! He must only try to understand himself. If he can do that, it is quite enough; that is all he can do.
The mystic does not concern himself much with what will be the result just now of anything; the mystic concerns himself with what will be the result of everything in the end. That makes the mystic's point of view different from the worldly point of view. The outlook of the mystic shows him that the rise is for a fall and that the fall is for a rise. In other words, the night has the day before it, and the day awaits the night.
As to the meditation of the mystic - remember, the mystic is born with a meditative nature, a meditative disposition and every day, without having learned any meditation, he has some way of meditating. No doubt, every mystic finds a way and a guide and a master who leads him forward, but at the same time he is ready for guidance. The mystic never has to say, "It is difficult for me to meditate"; the mystic is at home in meditation. It is his nature, it is his pleasure, it is his joy. Meditation is his life, in meditation he lives. What we call five minutes' meditation, ten or fifteen minutes' meditation, is only a kind of winding up for the mystic. A mystic's meditation is every moment of the day; there is not one moment when the mystic is not meditating, whatever he may be doing. In the crowd, in the solitude, on land, on water, in silence and while working, in all conditions the mystic continues his eternal meditation.
And now coming to realization: it is the mystic who realizes the latent power in man, and he may realize it even to such an extent that no man could believe it, if he were to put it in words. He realizes the latent inspiration in man, an inspiration which culminates in revelation, when every object and every thing begins to communicate with him, when he knows and sees and understands and realizes the essence of the whole life. The mystic knows, if anyone knows, what limitation means, because that is where lies his suffering, his pain. And the mystic knows what perfection means, because it is in perfection that is his joy, his happiness.
Question: What is the goal of the mystic on the physical plane?
Answer: To fulfil the purpose for which the soul has borrowed this body from the physical plane.
Question: Are there degrees in the development of the mystic?
Answer: Certainly there are. As in education, in all different trainings, there are certain degrees you reach as you go on, so in mysticism also there are degrees. Names such as Wali, Ghawth, Qutb, Nabi and Rasul, are the different degrees of masters, saints and prophets.
Question: Is the eternal meditation of the mystic his consciousness of reality?
Answer: Certainly - realization of reality.
Question: Can a mystic make himself efficient in business life?
Answer: Yes. Very often people misunderstand a mystic. They think that the mystic who is dreamy is above things of the world, above business and industry and politics. But they are mistaken. They do not know that a clear intelligence can do everything better if it is put to it. But it is a question whether a mystic would think it worthwhile to put his mind to it. I was very surprised at Mr. Ford's saying to me when I met him, "If you were a businessman you would have made a tremendous success; but I am glad you are not".