Could you prescribe an "instruction" to put the carnal, haughty self in
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. (3:188)
O foolish soul delighted with self-pride, enamored of fame, fond of being
praised, and peer-less in egotism!
If 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, and 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 to God.
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 great
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 time.
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