Page:Alchemyofhappiness en.djvu/22

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Ghazzali's Alchemy of Happiness.

hended, and of whose absolute essence it is not possible to give thee any explanation. If thou should'st say, "I perfectly know myself," we reply, that we have no doubt that what you are acquainted with is your own hand and foot, with your eye and mouth, and animals even have this kind of knowledge. You know also that if you are hungry, your stomach craves food, and that if you are cold, you desire clothing; but other animals also understand these things.

However, that knowledge of the soul which leads to the knowledge of God, is not of this kind. The knowledge which you need to possess is, to know what you are; how you are created; whence you are; for what you are here; whither you are going; in what your happiness consists, and what you must do to secure it; in what your misery consists, and what you must do to avoid it. And further, your internal qualities are distributed into animal, ferocious, demoniacal and angelic qualities. You need to know, therefore, what qualities predominate in your character, and in the predominance of which your true happiness consists. If your qualities are chiefly animal, the essence of which is to eat and drink, you will day and night seek after these things. If your qualities are of the ferocious kind, the essence of which is to tear and rend, to injure and destroy, you will act accordingly. If you are endowed chiefly with the qualities of devils, which consist in evil machinations, deceit and delusion, then you should know and be aware of it, that you may turn towards the path of perfection. And if you possess angelic qualities, whose nature it is to worship God in sincerity and continually to await the vision of His beauty, then like them you should unceasingly, resting neither day or night, be zealous and strive that you may become worthy of the vision of the Lord. For know, O student of the mysteries! that man was created to stand at the door of service in frailty and weakness,