The Inner War between Luminosity and Darkness

from Lalla to Nuruddin by Jaishree K. Odin

Nuruddin says: "God created man with the earthly nature and shaped him in the frame of clay. He created all things from clay" (v.48). Then, He breathed the divine spirit into him. The spirit thus possesses all the angelic attributes of luminosity, subtlety, and unity, whereas the body, made out of clay, is marked with denseness, darkness, and dispersion.

These two different modalities, the spirit and the body, are brought into interaction through the soul, which thus combines in it the unity and dispersion, subtlety and denseness, and luminosity and darkness. Humans are a mix of two qualities, one pushing them towards the material reality of denseness and darkness, and the other towards the spiritual reality of luminosity and subtlety. The soul (nafs) or the individual awareness as the intermediary between the body and the spirit shares the world of light reflected by the spirit (ruh) as it desires, knows, and illuminates, but it is also connected to the world of ignorance, darkness, and the lack of divinity as reflected in the body.

Within the above broader context of the reality of the soul and the spirit, Nuruddin comments on the finer connections between the mind, the body, and the ego. At birth, the mind and the body start working together and as both grow and mature, they mutually affect one another. The mind that shapes the ego and the body that is the medium through which the body-mind complex functions in the workings of the ego are important in their own way.

After birth, the body joined with "I" becomes precious.

He who controls the body, his impurities are removed.

In the end, it becomes auspicious.

He who controls the mind purifies his nature.

For him, the door to the inner sanctuary is open. (v.89)

"Awake, I fell asleep. Alas!

Restless am I everywhere.

Rejecting the permissible,

I ate the impermissible.

Alas! Never did I cherish

the sanctuary within."

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