Page:Alchemyofhappiness en.djvu/104

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Ghazzali's Alchemy of Happiness.

The necessities of the constitution of the spirit are to know God and to contemplate his beauty and excellence. But if stupidity and blindness, which are opposed to this tendency of the spirit, become predominant, the soul will be vexed and tormented, and there will be no end to the torment. If it were not that the body is subject to maladies in the world, the fact of this blindness and stupidity would have been visible and apparent to the soul in this world also, and it would also have been the source of immense anguish, and torment would at no moment have ceased to afflict men. Just as when a person has a severe sore upon the hand or foot, if besides it should be cut with a knife or fire should be put upon it, he would not feel the pain of the knife or the fire, on account of the pain of the sore, so likewise the maladies of the body, such as hunger and thirst, or such maladies as love of possessions and family, combined with the absorbed attention of the senses to these things, prevent the soul from being conscious of its disquiet and distress. But when in death, the torment to which the body was subject is taken away, it will be seen how excruciating is the torment of the soul. And thus also God announces in his holy word: "Ah! if you knew it with infallible assurance. But you will see hell: you will see it with the eyes of certainty."[1]

You should know, inquirer, that the many arguments we have adduced to prove that spiritual torment is more severe than material torment, and the many illustrations of it that we have developed, are understood by intelligent and discerning minds, but the mass of the people understand nothing about them. Suppose, for example, that the son of a prince has begun to go to school, and he is admonished that if he do not study, his father will not give him the principality. The boy does not understand the

  1. S. 102:5, 6, 7.