the place of reflection and manifestation. For example, heat and light reach you by means of a mirror. It would be crazy if you forget the sun, and considering the mirror to be the source, are grateful to it instead of being grateful to the sun. The mirror should be preserved because it is the place of manifestation. Thus, the guide’s spirit and heart are a mirror; they are the place for reflecting the effulgence emanating from Almighty God. He is the means of its being reflected to his followers. He should not be ascribed a station higher with regard to the effulgence than that of being the means. It sometimes even happens that a master considered to be the source is neither the place of manifestation nor the source. The follower supposes the effulgences he receives due to the purity of his sincerity, or his strength of attachment, or his concentration on his master, or in other ways, to have come from the mirror of his master’s spirit. Like by means of mesmerism, some people open up a window onto the World of Similitudes by gazing attentively at a mirror, and observe strange and wonderful things in the mirror. But they are not in the mirror; by focussing their attention on the mirror, a window opens up in their imaginations outside the mirror and they see those things. It is for this reason that sometimes the sincere student may be more advanced than a deficient shaykh. He returns, guides his shaykh and becomes the shaykh’s shaykh.
This consists of four short signs alluding to divine unity.
F i r s t S i g n
O worshipper of causes! You see a wondrous palace fashioned of rare jewels which is being made. Some of the jewels used in its construction are found only in China; others in Andalusia; others in Yemen; while others are found nowhere but Siberia. If you see that as it is being made, the precious stones are summoned that same day from north, south, east, and west, would you have any doubt that the master builder making the palace was a miracle-worker who ruled the whole earth?
Thus, every animal is a divine palace, and man is the finest and most wondrous of the palaces. Some of the jewels in the palace called man come from the World of Spirits, others from the World of Similitudes and the Preserved Tablet, and others from the world of the air, the world of light, and the world of the elements. He is also a wondrous palace whose needs stretch to eternity, whose hopes have spread to all the regions of the heavens