Oriental Mysticism, by E.H. Palmer, , at sacred-texts.com
THE Lesser World is the counterpart of the Greater. The Sources of his being. In the Greater World there are four Sources, namely, the nature of God, the Constructive Spirit (or Primal Element), the Invisible and the Sensible World.
The nature of God begets, the Constructive Spirit conceives, and the offspring is the tracts of heaven and the elements. The tracts of heaven again beget, and the elements conceive, and their offspring is the triple kingdom, Animal, Vegetable, and Mineral.
In like manner there are four Sources in the Lesser World, namely, male and female generation, and the body and soul of man.
Intelligence his starting point and final aim.But the Constructive Spirit is identical with Primal Intelligence, therefore when man has attained to intelligence he has completed his upward progress ( ), and reached the point from which he started;
the circle is thus complete. But Intelligence is in direct communication with God; therefore when man has attained to this point he has also attained to God. "From Him is the beginning, and unto Him is the return." The saying of Mohammed, "He who has seen me has seen God," refers to this, and not to any blasphemous assumption of divinity; for we must bear in mind that he is identified by his followers with Primal Intelligence.
Conception.It is unnecessary here to describe the first germination of the embryo; the curious will find a particular account of it, according to the Mohammedan theory, in Sale's Translation of the Corán, cap. 22, v. 5, and in the Arab commentators upon cap. 96.
Suffice it to say that according to them the cartilages, arteries, and nerves are formed during the first three months after conception; in the fourth month, whilst the sun is in the ascendant, the first germ of life appears; the limbs and members are next formed and nourished by blood, introduced through the placenta, by means of the umbilical cord; these are followed by the successive developments of the body and the soul, which arrive at Birth. perfection in the eighth month; in the ninth, when
[paragraph continues] Jupiter is in the ascendant, the child is born into the world.
The embryo partakes of all four elements, earth, Successive developments. water, air and fire; now these in the Greater World produce a triple offspring, mineral, vegetable and animal. A similar division is therefore made in the human body. The members and limbs which are first formed partake of the four elements in different proportions, and the combined result corresponds to the mineral kingdom. The powers of attraction, contraction, absorption, digestion, rejection, growth and formation, are next developed in the members and limbs, which then require nourishment. This they receive in the shape of blood, introduced through the placenta; the chyme contained in this becoming matured is developed into the vegetative spirit, corresponding to the second division of the three kingdoms. When the digestive and other internal organs have become fully developed, the heart attracts to itself the essence of this vegetative spirit, and having further matured it, forms the life; the essence of this again is attracted to the brain, where, after being matured, it is developed into the soul, and the remainder dispersed through the nerves into the limbs, where it becomes the source of sense and motion. This corresponds to the animal kingdom of the Greater World.
Each of these developments occupies one month, embryo, mineral, vegetative and animal.
The senses are ten in number, five external and The senses.
five internal. The external senses are Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smelling, and Feeling.
The internal senses are the Common Sense ( ), Imagination ( ), Apprehension ( ), Memory ( ), and Reflection ( ). The Common Sense is involved in the Imagination, and the Apprehension in the Memory; the two former are situate in the fore-part of the brain, the two latter in the after-part, and the Reflection occupies the middle. The Common Sense is so called from comprising every thing that perceives the outward senses. It comprehends visible objects, while the Apprehension apprehends invisible subjects.
It is the Common Sense which appreciates the real nature of all that the external senses perceive, as for instance, distinguishing a friend from an enemy by the marks of which the external senses take cognizance. The Reflection is that which similarly appreciates the conceptions of the Imagination.
The faculties.The motive powers are also of two kinds, causative and active. The active powers are subservient to and obey the causative, producing motion and the like at their instigation. The causative powers exercise two distinct functions, namely attraction for the acquirement of pleasure or usefulness, and repulsion for the avoidance of annoyance or harm. The former is called Lust, the latter Indignation.
Hitherto only those qualities of man have been
treated of which he shares in common with the other animals; his spiritual and intellectual developments require another chapter.