THE PALACE OF
The mind-world in the terms of the Sufis is called 'Aina Khana, which means the Palace of Mirrors. Very little one knows of the phenomena that this palace of mirrors has in it. Not only among human beings but also in the lower creation one finds the phenomenon of reflection. In the first place one wonders how the small germs and worms, little insects who live on other small lives, reach their food, attract their food. In fact their mind becomes reflected upon the little lives, which then become their food. The scientist says that the animals have no mind. It is true up to a certain point. They have no mind, what the scientist calls mind according to his terminology. But according to the mystic the same intelligence which is in man is to be found in a smaller degree in the lower creatures. They have a mind, but it is not so clear, and therefore, comparatively speaking, one might say it is as having no mind. But at the same time for the mystic who calls the mind a mirror, the mind in the lower creation is also a mirror. It may not be so clear, yet it is a mirror.
Friendship, hostility, the fights which take place among birds and animals, their becoming mates, all this takes place not as thought or imagination, but as reflection from one mirror to the other. What does it show? It shows that the language of the lower creation is more natural than the language man has made. Man has gone far off from that natural, intuitive way of expression.
You may ask any rider about the joy of riding, which he considers greater and better than any other form of sport or enjoyment. He may not be able to give the reason of it, but the reason is the phenomenon of reflection - when the reflection of his thought has fallen upon the mind of the horse, when the two minds are focused to each other and the horse knows where the rider wishes to go. The more sympathy there is between the rider and the horse, the greater joy one experiences in riding. After riding on horseback, instead of feeling tired one feels exalted. The joy is greater than the tiredness, and the greater communication there is between the mind of the horse and the rider, the greater is the joy the rider derives from it. And so does the horse; the horse begins to feel sympathy with his rider in time.
Often one sees in a circus horses and other animals working wonderfully according to the instructions given to them. Is it their mind? Have they learned it? No, they have not learned it, it is not in their minds. It comes at the instant when the man stands there with his whip. From his mind a reflection is mirrored upon their mind. If they were left alone they would not work, they would not think about it. In Burma elephants work in the forests carrying logs of wood, but it is the thought of the man who trains them, mirrored upon them, that makes them do the work. When one studies it minutely one finds that it is not a training, it is a reflection; what the man thinks in his mind, the animals do. They, so to speak, become the hands and legs of their master. Two beings become one in thought. As it is said in a Persian verse, when two hearts become one they make a way through mountains. A relationship can be established between man and an animal, but it is difficult to establish that oneness among human beings.
There is the story of Daniel who entered the cave of the lions and the lions were tamed instantly. Did he will them to be so? No, it was the calm and the peace of the heart of Daniel, reflected on the lions, that made them quiet like him. His own peace became their peace, they became peaceful. One might ask, "After Daniel had left the lions' cave, did they remain the same?" I have doubts about it. It does not mean that some remainder was not left there, but the predisposition of the lions wakened. No sooner was Daniel out of the cave than the lions woke to lionhood again.
Very often birds and pet animals give a warning of death in the family. One might think that they know it from somewhere or that they have a mind that thinks about it, but the condition is reflected upon them, the condition of the person who is dying. The thoughts of those who are around that person, the condition of the cosmos at that time, the whole environment, everything there is reflected on their mind, and they know, they begin to express their feeling and they become a warning of the coming death.
One may ask, "If it is a palace of mirrors, do animals project their thought and feeling upon the human being? Does man reflect the feeling of an animal?" The answer is, yes sometimes human beings who are in sympathy with a pet animal feel its pain without any other reason. The animal cannot explain its pain, but they feel to what degree the animal is suffering. Besides, it is a most curious thing that on some farms one sees shepherds who, reflecting the feelings of the animals, make noises, sing and dance in the same way as the animals would do, and show in many ways the traits of the animals.
It is most interesting to watch the phenomenon of reflection between animal and man manifesting to the view of one who sees it keenly. It explains to us that language is an external means by which we communicate with one another. But the natural language is this reflection which is projected and reflected from one to another. And this is the universal language. Once this language is understood, not only can one communicate with human beings, but even with the lower creation. It is not a story when people said that the saints in the ancient times used to speak with animals, with birds. It is the truth. Only they did not speak with them in language such as we use in our everyday life. They spoke in that natural language in which all souls communicate with one another.
Other instances are to be found in the bull-fights that take place in Spain and the elephant-fights which are known in India. It is not often that elephants fight in the forest. It is the minds of the spectators who wish the elephants or the bulls to fight. It is their mind that gives the stimulus to their fighting nature, and that desire, reflected upon the aimals, makes them inclined to fight the instant they are free. Thousands of people who watch these sports all expect them to fight, and the expectation of so many minds being reflected upon these poor animals gives them all the strength and desire for fighting.
Then there are snake charmers who are supposed to attract snakes from their holes. There is the music of the flute, but it is not always the music, it is the mind of the snake charmer, reflected upon the snakes, that attracts them out of their holes. The music becomes an excuse.
There are some men who know a magic to drive certain flies from a house or from a garden. It has been experienced that in one day's time they were able to drive all the flies from a place. It is their mind reflecting upon those little insignificant minds.
There is so much that we could learn of little things which can reveal to us the greatest secret of life, if only our eyes were open and we were eager to observe the phenomena.
Question : Is the power of affecting the mind of insects the proof of a greater mind or is it a peculiarity, the development of a certain side of the mind, the fly-side?
Answer : It is the evidence of the mind, not a peculiarity of the mind. No doubt, the human mind is incomparably greater in power and concentration, and naturally it projects its thought upon the objects it chooses to project upon, but only if man knows how to focus his mind. If a man drives away flies from a place, it does not mean that he has in his mind a fly-element, but only that he can focus his mind upon flies, which another would not be able to do. For a person who generally does not give his thought to it cannot imagine that such a thing can happen, and because he does not believe it, he cannot concentrate his mind on it. Even if he concentrated his mind just for an experiment and projected his thought, he would have no result. It is an automatic reflection. The reason is this: it is said in he Qur'an, "We have made man chief of the creation". That means that all beings around him, large or small, are all attracted to his magnetism. They all look up to him, for he is the representative of the Divine, and they unconsciously know it and surrender to it.
Question : Can tha power of projecting be increased?
Answer : Yes, it can be increased with the increase of will-power, by the development of the will, of thought, by deepening the feeling, by the power of concentration.
Question : If a man trains his will-power so as to affect snakes or flies, is this not at the expense of other powers?
Answer : The will-power develops by focusing one's thought on a certain object of one's concentration. Therefore one can develop that particular thing better by one's will-power than any other thing. Then the will-power, once developed, will be useful in any other direction. For instance, those who play the brass instruments in the military band naturally develop the power of blowing instruments, and they will be able to play the wood instruments, the clarionet or the flute. But all the same, if they have practised the horn, they can play the horn better than the flute; for there is blowing in both, but they are accustomed to that particular instrument. So it is with concentration. If a snake-charmer with all his power of attracting snakes went near a bank and wanted to attract a purse, he could not very well do it. He can attract snakes, but he cannot attract a purse. No doubt, once the will-power is developed in any direction, it will prove to be useful in all things one does.
Question : How can we make our mirror clearer and keener?
Answer : By living a life of kindness.