An instruction to put the carnal self in its place: Is man himself the
origin of his own capacity and virtues?
In the Name of God the Merciful the Compassionate.
�Do not reckon those who rejoice in what they have brought and love to be
praised for what they have not done�do not reckon them secure from chastisement;
rather, there is a painful chastisement for them.�
O foolish soul delighted with self-pride, enamored of fame, fond of being
praised, and peerless in egotism!
Suppose it is a just claim that its tiny seed is the agent of a fig tree
with all its fruits, and that it is the dry branch of the vine which produces
tens of bunches of grapes hanging from it. Suppose that those who benefit from
them should respect and praise the branch and the seed. Then you might have
the right to be proud and conceited about the gifts�abilities, the physical
features, etc.�which were given to you. Whereas in fact you deserve to be constantly
chided because you are not like the seed and the branch. Since you have the
faculty of will, you reduce the value of those gifts through your pride; through
your conceit, you damage them; through your ingratitude, you nullify them; and
in appropriating them to yourself, you usurp them.
Your duty is not to be self-proud, but to be thankful to God. What is fit
for you is not to seek fame but humility, and to feel shame (for your deficiencies).
Your right is not praise but repentance, and to seek forgiveness (for your faults).
Your perfection lies not in self-centeredness, but in attributing every good
You soul in my body, you resemble �nature� in the outer world. Both of you
were created to receive good and be the thing to which evil is referred. That
is, you are not the agent and the origin, rather, you are the recipient, the
means, and the ground or the scene. You can, O my soul, be effective only in
that you cause an evil because you do not accept the good coming from the Absolute
Good. You and the �natural causes� were created as veils, so that things that
are apparently ugly, the beauty of which is not visible, should be attributed
to you, and you should be the means of the Most Holy Divine Essence being acknowledged
free of defect. You, my carnal soul, have taken an attitude completely contrary
to your duty of creation. Although, out of your incompetence you have changed
good into evil, you act as though you were a partner to your Creator. That means
one who adores himself and one who adores nature is extremely foolish and a
Do not say: �I am an object of Divine manifestations. One who receives and
reflects Divine beauty becomes beautiful.� For, since that beauty has not taken
on a perpetual form in you, you may be an object reflecting it only for a short
Also, do not say: �Among people I was chosen. All these results, all the
works I have produced are shown through me. I have some merit that God chose
me to manifest some of His Names through.� No! God forbid! God has caused you
to produce those works because you are more bankrupt and more needy of them
than everyone else and more afflicted with intellectual and spiritual shortcomings.