This is an article series on how ancient sages, prophets, mystics and saints practiced otherworldly wisdom and the miraculous. The purpose of this series is to inspire and empower. This is article #4 in the series. Artice #3 can be found here: Align your Intention with a probable Future
High consciousness people are usually admired and revered, while very high consciousness people are given a hard time. They are attacked, persecuted, shamed, humiliated, killed or nailed to a cross. Why is that? Is it because the world is ruled by those who seek to keep humanity enslaved? From a certain perspective it can appear that way, but there’s an even higher truth: Oil and water don’t mix. A system discards everything that doesn’t fit to it, spits it out. Trying to introduce level 1000 to a level 200-world results in attacks. It’s as if, in this world, one is “permitted” to reach a certain level, but the moment you go beyond, you’re asking for trouble. The good thing is, once you are way up there, you no longer care. Oil and water don’t care that they are discarded by each other, they go their own way.
History has many famous examples of very-high-consciousness people being treated poorly by the crowds, Jesus Christ being the most famous. But I’ll provide a less known example here.
A Mystic by the name of Mansour Hallaj, who lived in the 9th Century. This mystic is so “controversial” that, a few years ago, after mentioning him in a Seminar I was giving in the Middle East, a student came up to be and warned me on talking about him. “You are going to loose a lot of followers if you talk about him“. I was surprised that some mystic, who died a thousand years ago, was still upsetting people. In my culture, most people have never heard of him. When someone tells me not to talk about someone or not look into something, it inspires me to do just that.
I’m quoting from the Wikipedia entry (italic writing) with my own commentary interjected:
He is best known for his saying: “I am the Truth”, which many saw as a claim to divinity, while others interpreted it as an instance of annihilation of the ego which allows God to speak through the individual. Al-Hallaj gained a wide following as a preacher before he became implicated in power struggles of the Abbasid court and was executed after a long period of confinement on religious and political charges. Although most of his Sufi contemporaries disapproved of his actions, Hallaj later became a major figure in the Sufi tradition.
In the overall context of Al Hallajs teachings, it’s obvious that “I am the Truth” refers to transcending the Ego rather than aggrandizing it. Ill-intended people took the statement out of context. You’ll see that kind of reputation-smearing with a lot of mystics. They’ll take statements out of context or focus on one or two statements to cause argument and division, at the disregard of thousands of other statements.
Al-Hallaj memorized the Qur’an before he was 12 years old and would often retreat from worldly pursuits to join other mystics in study at the school of Sahl al-Tustari. During this period Al-Hallaj lost his ability to speak Persian and later wrote exclusively in Arabic.
It is a common pattern for mystics to periodically retreat from the world. They are “in the world, but not of it”. Is it a must to retreat from the world to achieve higher consciousness? My personal view is that it’s not absolutely necessary. Nor is it advisable to permanently dissociate from other people for the sake of higher states. But some life phases of retreat from the world are certainly required.
In Mecca he made a vow to remain for one year in the courtyard of the sanctuary in fasting and total silence. When he returned from Mecca, he laid down the Sufi tunic and adopted a “lay habit” in order to be able to preach more freely.
In Islamic culture, a mystic is called a Sufi. But even that was too formal for Al-Hallaj. True mystics commonly take issue with rigid formality. The Infinite is more flexible than the petty rituals made up by the human mind and the Religions were never meant to be turned into ritualistic re-enactments. Rigidity is there for lower-consciousness-levels who would feel confused or disoriented without their rules.
Al-Hallaj made his second pilgrimage to Mecca with four hundred disciples, where some Sufis, his former friends, accused him of sorcery and making a pact with the jinn.
It is also common for mystics to be accused of worshiping jinn (entities, demons, lowest consciousness). People seem to have a hard time discerning between high and low consciousness. That’s why I teach the levels. The teachings of low levels and the teachings of high levels have remained pretty much the same over ten thousands of years.
Afterwards he set out on a long voyage that took him to India and Turkestan beyond the frontiers of Islamic lands. About 290/902 he returned to Mecca for his final pilgrimage clad in an Indian loin-cloth and a patched garment over his shoulders. There he prayed to God to be made despised and rejected, so that God alone might grant grace to Himself through His servant’s lips.
In mundane thought, mystics are seen as victims of the world. But in reality, mystics either don’t mind or outright desire being treated poorly, as it helps them transcend the world. No person of higher consciousness is ever a victim.
After returning to his family in Baghdad, al-Hallaj began making proclamations that aroused popular emotion and caused anxiety among the educated classes. These included avowing his burning love of God and his desire to “die accursed for the Community”…
The proclamations of mystics commonly “arouse anxiety among the educated”. It’s a pattern as predictable as any. The intellectual-class of any time period is always at odds with the mystic (but the mystic is not at odds with anyone). This is because mysticism transcends the mind and it’s education, it is direct experience rather than learned knowledge.
The conditions of Al-Hallaj’s confinement varied depending on the relative sway his opponents and supporters held at the court, but he was finally condemned to death in 922 on the charge of being a Qarmatian rebel who wished to destroy the Kaaba, because he had said “the important thing is to proceed seven times around the Kaaba of one’s heart.”
Being accused of or prosecuted of fake charges is another pattern common to many other mystics, saints, sages and prophets. There was no time throughout History were “news” wasn’t fabricated by the ruling political class. So afraid were the powers-that-be of this mystic, that they reportedly published false books in his names, containing teachings which his contemporaries and friends said he never taught.
According to another report, the pretext was his recommendation to build local replicas of the Kaaba for those who are unable to make the pilgrimage to Mecca. The queen-mother interceded with the caliph who initially revoked the execution order, but the intrigues of the vizier finally moved him to approve it. On 23 Dhu ‘l-Qa’da (25 March) trumpets announced his execution the next day. The words he spoke during the last night in his cell are collected in Akhbar al-Hallaj. Thousands of people witnessed his execution on the banks of the Tigris River. He was first punched in the face by his executioner, then lashed until unconscious, and then decapitated or hanged.
Extreme violence is also a theme common to some mystics deaths. But a person of high consciousness has transcended physical pain and will not experience it as such. The ignorant believe they have achieved a victory with their violence, but the mystic is the one victorious, by having transcended the pain. Reportedly, Hallaj was smiling and laughing while being executed.
Witnesses reported that Al-Hallaj’s last words under torture were “all that matters for the ecstatic is that the Unique should reduce him to Unity,” after which he recited the Quranic verse 42:18. His body was doused in oil and set alight, and his ashes were then scattered into the river.
Al-Hallaj addressed himself to popular audiences encouraging them to find God inside their own souls, which earned him the title of “the carder of innermost souls” (ḥallāj al-asrār).
“Finding God within”, is one of the teachings that make mystics around the globe so hated. The teaching appears to contradict all Religion, that teaches to “find God above”. Critics argue that equating oneself with God is a Luciferian philosophy and the root of all evil. But a closer look at both what mystics and the respective religions teach, reveals two concepts: God Transcendent (Above) and God Immanent (Within). These two concepts are not mutually exclusive and both are taught in the esoteric and exoteric versions of all the Great Religions. Just because institutionalized Religion downplays God Immanent, doesn’t mean it wasn’t taught by the great sages and prophets of old. It lies in the nature of low consciousness, to create conflict and contradiction where there is none.
He preached without the traditional Sufi habit and used language familiar to the local Shi’i population. This may have given the impression that he was a Qarmatian missionary rather than a Sufi.
Mid-level intellectual consciousness tries to label, categorize, divide and separate things so that they can be put into all kinds of identifiable, repeatable, reliable sects, orthodoxies and groupings. But that’s not really the way reality works.
Al-Hallaj was popularly credited with numerous supernatural acts. He was said to have “lit four hundred oil lamps in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre with his finger and extinguished an eternal Zoroastrian flame with the tug of a sleeve.
The miraculous and supernatural common in higher consciousness, but some don’t not wish to show their skills as not to detract from the teachings. Being humble is good, but shouldn’t be taken to a point where the miraculous is denied altogether. The Universe is an amazing place and that can be known to all.
One of the many stories of the miraculous around Hallaj: He was spending time in prison (as many times before), when he drew a Boat on the wall. He asked other inmates to go to that boat. They chuckled, not believing they could reach the boat, by walking into the wall. And yet, soon thereafter, the inmates he had shown the boat to, mysteriously disappeared from the prison, never to be seen again.
And that probably means that he didn’t have to remain in prison but did so voluntarily.
Among other Sufis, Al-Hallaj was an anomaly. Many Sufi masters felt that it was inappropriate to share mysticism with the masses, yet Al-Hallaj openly did so in his writings and through his teachings. This was exacerbated by occasions when he would fall into trances which he attributed to being in the presence of God.
Hallaj also had the tendency to wear the clothing of the culture he was with. While in Pakistan, he wore Pakistani clothes. Travelling around, he also wore arabic clothing, indian clothes, etc. His critics attacked him for it. What was wrong with him that he couldn’t stick to one identity? He answered that he is not any of those identities, he is beyond cultural identity.
His presence infuriated some”Muslims”, just like Jesus presence infuriated some “Jews” and the presence of Muhammad infuriated some “Christians”. It’s common for an awakened Being to infuriate the narrow-minded.
Higher states of consciousness cannot be put into the confinements and words of the mind. People spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to define and argue over topics that are beyond the minds understanding. That’s why a lot of mystics were actually never heard of – they kept it to themselves. But some act as ambassadors, sent to the ignorant, to awaken them from slumber. This happens when consciousness on Planet Earth sinks so low that it’s in danger of self-destructing. A high-consciousness being is sent to raise the overall level.
Why isn’t it permanently raised?