Risalat fi Halat Al-Tofuliyah -on the state of childhood-

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A. On the state of childhood
In this work, Suhrawardi describes having met a master who reveals the divine secret to him and he in turn discloses it to men of exoteric nature.

The master punishes him for “casting pearl before the swine.” Suhrawardi also alludes to the difficulty of communicating the esoteric message to those who stand outside of the tradition. Since Sophia Perennis is attained through other means than sense perception, It is difficult to communicate this mode of knowledge to those who may not be ready to receive it.

The Salik, then having repented, finds the master who tells him a number of secrets such as the ethics of spiritual path and the rituals that are involved in the Sufi path such as Sama’ (Sufi music and dancing). The exposition of many fine mystical points reveals Suhrawardi’s thorough familiarity with the intricacies of the Sufi path. Suhrawardi’ expresses this in a symbolic conversation between a bat and a salamander whose passage through fire is supposed to have protected him against all harms. The bat is describing the pleasure of drinking cold water in the middle of winter, while the salamander is suffering from cold. Each one could provide a difficult interpretation of “cold water” in accordance to their experience.

So far, Suhrawardi has drawn an outline of the esoteric instructions needed for a seeker to pursue the path of spirituality, which beings by inner yearning and continues with ascetic practices under the guidance of a master. This book intends to illustrate the spiritual path and the journey of the seeker (salik) from its beginning, which Suhrawardi symbolically identifies as childhood. The significance of having a spiritual master to avoid the dangers on the path, as well as different stages of inner development, are among some of the issues that Suhrawardi elaborates upon. The core of spiritual teachings of this book is a practical guide for pursuing the spiritual path.

B. On the Reality of Love
This work of Suhrawardi not only represents one of the most sublime examples of Persian literature, but it also contains some of his most profound philosophical views. He begins by quoting a verse from the Quran and then goes on to talk about knowledge and its relationship with the Intellect.

Know that the first thing God, praise be upon him, created was aluminous pearl called Intellect (aql) God first created Intellect and gave it three features: knowledge of God, knowledge of self and knowledge of that which was not then was. This treatise reaches its climax when Suhrawardi offers a spiritual map of the universe in the sixth chapter. It has been argued that this work was written on the basis of Ibn Sina’ Risalat al-ishq. However, it has to be noted that this work is different both in from and content from that work.

C. Bastan Al –qulub (Garden of the heart),Yazdan Shinakht (knowing of Divine) and Language of Termites
Such works include Bastan al- qulub or Rawdat al- qulub (Garden of the Heart) which is a more philosophically oriented work in which Suhrawardi addresses such issues as metaphysics, space, time and motion.

This work, along with Yazdan shinakht (knowing of Divine) are both written in the style of the Peripatetics and not only contains a discussion of the classical problems of philosophy, but also occasional discussions regarding the theosophist’s mode of knowing. Finally, in his book Language of Termites Suhrawardi describes the nature of the knowledge needed to come God, Self and the creation are among topics which “they [Peripatetics] all disagree upon as long as the veil is not removed and knowledge by presence is not attained. Once this knowledge is attained, the “ crystal ball” (jam-i Jam) is at your disposal and “ whatever you want can be stained and you become conscious of the universe and the unseen world.

C. Al- waredat wal- Taqdisat (prayers and supplications)
These writings, due to their devotional nature, are distinct from others writings of Suhrawardi both in terms of form and content. Despite their significance for the formulation of Suhrawardi’s angelology, they have not received the attention they deserve. In these writings Suhrawardi describes the relationship of the planets and their characteristics with that of the inner forces of man. His praise of the great “Luminous Being” (al-Nayyir al-a’zam), whose power and glory demand submission, addressing the heavenly sun Hurakhsh, as well as the relationship between the Zoroastrian angels and spiritual entities, are among the issues that Suhrawardi discusses in these works. It is important for the reader of Suhrawardi not to view his writings as isolated and separated books, but rather as an interrelated and elaborate set of ideas in which every part can only be properly understood in regard to the whole while the whole derives its validity from its parts.


suhrawardi and illumination school


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