The Journey to the Hidden
Realm of Being
Excerpts from Sufism and Wisdom1
Man is a complex mechanism composed of physical, etheric, rational, and luminous bodies. The physical body is only the most superficial dimension of man’s being. The higher invisible bodies can help man reach higher spiritual realms.
As the seeker puts into practice the instructions received from the Pir, —prayers, fasting, meditation, and Zikr (remembrance of God)—the realm of the heart and soul become accessible to him. He begins the journey to the hidden realm of his being.
The first layer beyond the physical body which the seeker becomes familiar with, is the etheric body. This is the template or mold for the physical body. This spiritual body has a spiritual heart which is hidden behind the physical heart. The "secret or hidden heart"’ as it is known in the Sufi tradition, is directly connected with the existential healing powers. The spiritual heart transmits spiritual energy which forms a body embracing the physical body. This etheric or corporeal body is adapted to the palpable world. It is the origin of the body’s electrical current, which is transmitted from the spiritual heart to the physical heart. Disconnection of this power from the heart will cause the heart to stop beating. The etheric body vanishes two to three days after the soul is separated from the body.
The second body is the celestial or astral body. This body is tender, and is situated over the etheric body. It originates in the heavenly celestial world and is the communication link with spiritual world.
The third body is the rational body. It is more delicate, luminous and transparent than the celestial body. Revelation and inspiration originate from this body. The souls of Prophets, Saints and the Enlightened guide seekers to the celestial sphere through this body. They also inspire luminous thoughts and divine ideas in the hearts of truth seekers.
The fourth body is the luminous body, sometimes called the fire halo. This body is responsible for the ascension of the rational soul to the spiritual world. The soul of man can only attain this position through great patience and devotion. Those souls, who sacrifice themselves to serve others with a fervent love, will form a luminous halo, similar to the halo around the moon. This is the luminous halo painted around the heads of the Prophets and Saints.
Any true system of education is supposed to dispel ignorance. The principles of Sufism, based on the pillars of Islam, are a set of instructions intended for the serious student who wishes to discover his or her reality, which result in freedom, stability and knowledge. These results cannot be attained through blind faith, rituals, trust, hallucination, repetition, or whatever is handed down from parents, society and culture.
Unfortunately, as in all "religious practices," it is not uncommon to see the teachings of Sufism reduced to no more than ritualistic practices appealing to the imagination of people, void of reality. The Prophet Mohammad (peace and blessings upon him) has said, "Faith is not achieved for the asking, but settles in the heart and is confirmed by action."
1. Molana Salaheddin Ali Nader Angha, Sufism and Wisdom (Washington, D.C: M.T.O. Shahmaghsoudi Publications, 1996), 26-27.