A closer knowledge of the subject will convince a discriminating observer that a Muslim Sufi is quite a different man from a Western Spiritualist. The Western Spiritualist has no faith to start with, no set of beliefs to guide him, and no fixed goal to direct his steps. His work is experimental throughout.
Bred and brought up in an atmosphere of doubt and distrust, he starts with scepticism and winding his way through a long and circuitous route of doubts, delusions, experiments, surprises, and disappointments, he very often finds himself stranded in the midst of unexplored fields.
He imposes upon himself a double duty. He is his own leader and his own follower. He does not want to be guided by the experience of others. With him, it is not a question of realisation, but of test. He has nothing to realise, because he has no faith to stand by. He has first to find out the truth and then test it.
His initial estrangement from spiritual subjects, makes him an easy prey to foreign influence. Some of the very ancient and antiquated Eastern religions, which have lost their original glamour and primitive glory, possess a novelty for him and attract him easily. His materialistic tendencies clog his footsteps during his spiritual march and beset his progress at every turn. Development of will, concentration, and other spiritual powers, are readily employed by him to secure some brilliant worldly success. Any valuable information, obtained from a higher source, is willingly utilised for a materialistic end. Higher attainments are ungrudgingly employed to secure lower ends.
Instead of sacrificing the low for the high, he thoughtlessly rushes in the opposite direction and feels no compunction in sacrificing the high for the low; not knowing probably, the extent of damage he is thereby inflicting upon his own talents.
These earthly tendencies keep him earth-bound and, instead of moving on and fast, he finds himself entangled in the meshes of “communion with the dead”, where he is very often baffled by the inconsistencies of the results. Having no proper standard of judgment, he cannot draw a correct line of distinction between the spirits belonging to this side of the grave and the spirits belonging to other side of it, and the result is a hopeless confusion.
Table-turning, planchettes, telepathy, tele-’vision’, and his similar other achievements only tend to tie him down to earth, instead of helping him to soar into the heavens of spirituality. Spiritualism in the West, has come to have quite a different meaning from the one indicated by the spiritualism of the Sufi.
The whole article is originally published at Moon over Medina. Only part of it is posted here.