The Second Way starts from the outer world; it gazes on the reflections of the divine names and attributes in their places of manifestation in the greater sphere, then it enters the inner world. It observes their lights on a small scale in the sphere of the heart and opens up the shortest way within them. It sees that the heart is a mirror to the Eternally Besoughted One, and is united with the goal it is seeking.
If people who travel the first way are unsuccessful in killing the evil-commanding soul, and if they cannot give up the desires of the flesh and break the ego, they fall from the rank of thanks to that of pride, then descend from pride to conceit. If such a person feels the captivation of love and becomes intoxicated by it, he will make high-flown claims far exceeding his mark, called ecstatic utterances. This is harmful both for himself and for others.
For example, if a lieutenant becomes conceited out of pleasure at his position of command, he will suppose himself to be a field marshal and will confuse his small sphere with the universal one. He will confuse a sun that appears in a small mirror with the sun whose manifestation appears in all its splendour on the surface of the sea, due to their similarity in one respect.
In just the same way, there are many people of sainthood who, resembling the difference between a fly and a peacock, see themselves as greater than those who in reality are greater than them to the same degree; that is how they see it and they think they are right. I myself even saw someone whose heart had just been awakened and had faintly perceived in himself the mystery of sainthood; he supposed himself to be the supreme spiritual pole and assumed airs accordingly. I said to him: “My brother, just as the law of sovereignty has particular and universal manifestations from the office of Prime Minister down to that of District Officer, so sainthood and the rank of spiritual pole have varying spheres and manifestations. Each station has many shades and shadows. You have evidently seen the manifestation of the rank of supreme spiritual pole, the equivalent of Prime Minister, in your own sphere, which is like that of a District Officer, and you have been deceived. What you saw was right, but your judgement of it was wrong. To a fly, a cup of water is a small sea.” The person came to his senses, God willing, as a result of this answer of mine, and was saved from the abyss.
I have also seen many people who thought themselves to be Mahdis of a sort, and they proclaimed their Mahdiship. Such people are not liars and deceivers, they are deceived. They suppose what they see to be reality. As the divine names have manifestations from the sphere of the Sublime