In sum, Marifat – or “Theosophy” – is an ‘autonomous’ process or stream of knowledge which is not controlled by anyone, yet this ‘autonomous’ process or stream controls the individual. In turn, this process or stream of knowledge has no stopping point, which means more and more is required out of the individual in order to keep up with the process and the stream and in a sense engage in what is essentially a ‘give and take’ with this autonomous process and stream of knowledge. As Rumi wrote in a poem titled “More is Required”:
“You have disappeared into the way?
Leave even that behind.
Sit with the essence inside love.
In that Chinese mirror you will see hundreds
of sword blades. Do not be afraid to use them.
You have given up everything.
You must live in absence. More is required.
Mix an eye medicine with the ground.
Sweep the memory pictures clean.
Swing down and cut.
A voice comes in the broken place.
Pull the tree-wing up by its roots.
Love wants an arm and a leg.”
What is perhaps most relevant to our present discourse and discussion is Rumi’s mention of the “essence,” given that marifat is a process or stream of knowledge which takes the individual directly into the knowledge which pertains to the mystery of the ‘divine essence’ over the course of time. But this knowledge and the immersion into such a process or stream comes with a huge price exacted on the individual, namely, the annihilation of the sense of ‘self’ and the individual ‘ego’ and the deep-rooted identity of the individual, hence Rumi’s suggestion that: “You have given up everything. You must live in absence. More is required.” And as Abdul Qadir Jilani wrote: “Man cannot attain the truth unless he is pure, because his worldly attributes will not leave him until the essence is manifested in him.”
Hence, where this process and stream is taking us into is both the realm of the attributes and the realm of the essence of true reality, which is a reality that supersedes and transcends the confines and limitations of the individual ego and the individual sense of selfhood. Only when the attributes and essence of true reality are accounted for and understood by virtue of the ‘annihilation’ of individual identity and selfhood can the ‘knower’ (arif) be immersed into the realest and truest of the different dimensions or levels of consciousness and reality.
As Abdul Qadir Jilani wrote: “Both God’s Essence and His attributes are ever-existent, because His attributes are light generated from His Essence. Both the manifestation of His Essence and the manifestation of His attributes are dependent on His Essence.” It follows that: “The purpose of the creation of this universe is to discover, to see that hidden treasure” which is none other than the divine essence or ‘substance’ which constitutes our collective reality. As Fritjhof Schuon wrote: “To understand what Substance is and what the relationship is between Substance and accident and to grasp at the same time that every single thing participates in both while nonetheless being an accident in relation to the ultimate Substance is in principle to understand the meaning of all religions and all metaphysics.” Schuon added: “We speak of ‘Substance’ in order to underscore the gulf between What subsists in itself and what exists only secondarily, the profound cause of which lies in a greater and higher reality.” And it is because of this “ontological substance” that “in a certain sense all that is not nothing is God” to borrow from Schuon.