Thursday, September 8, 2011
The Sufi Symbol
By Hazrat Inayat Khan
"A symbol is the ocean in a drop"
The symbol of the Sufi Movement is a heart with wings. It explains that the heart is between soul and body, a medium between spirit and matter. When the soul is covered by its love for matter, it is naturally attracted to matter. This is the law of gravitation in abstract form, as it is said in the Bible, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." When man treasures the things of the earth, his heart is drawn to the earth. But the heart is subject not only to gravitation, but also to attraction from on high, and as in the Egyptian symbology wings are the symbol of spiritual progress, so the heart with wings expresses that the heart reaches upward towards heaven.
The crescent in the heart suggests the responsiveness of the heart. The crescent represents the responsiveness of the crescent moon to the light of the sun, for naturally it receives the light, which develops it until it becomes the full moon. The principal teaching of Sufism is that of learning to become a pupil, for it is the pupil who has the chance of becoming a teacher, and once a person considers that he is a teacher, his responsiveness is gone. It is this principle which is represented by the crescent: the cresecent in the heart signifies that the heart which is responsive to the light of God is illuminated.
The explanation of the five-pointed star is that it represents the divine light. For when light comes it has five points; when it returns, it has four, the former suggesting creation, the latter annihilation. The five-pointed star also represents the natural figure of man, though that with four points represents all forms of the world. But the form with five points is a development of the four-pinted form. For instance, if a man is standing with his legs joined and arms extended he makes a four-pointed form, but when a man shows activity-dancing, jumping or moving one leg - he forms a five pointed star, which represents a beginning of activity; in other words, a beginning of life.
It is the divine light which is represented by the five-pointed star, and the star is reflected in the heart which is responsive to the divine light. The heart which by its response has received the divine light is liberated, as the wings show.
In brief, the meaning of the symbol is that the heart responsive to the light of God is liberated.