Travel in the Spiritual Worlds
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From: The writings of Bistami, a Sufi Mystic

While I was asleep, it seemed to me that I ascended to the Heavens in quest of God, seeking union with God most glorious, so that I might abide with Him forever, and I was tested by trial - God displayed before me gifts of all kinds, and offered me dominion over the whole heaven and yet I turned aside my eyes from this ... Then I ascended to the Second heaven and saw winged angles who fly a hundred thousand times each day to the earth to look upon the saints of God, and their faces shone like the sun ... An when God Most High realized the sincerity of my desire to seek Him, He turned me into a bird, and I went flying, past kingdom after kingdom, and screen after screen, and plane after plane, seas after seas, veils after veils, until behold, the angel of the Footstool of God met me with a pillar of light and said to me "Take it" and I took it, and lo, the heavens and all that were therein sought refuse in the shadow of my gnosis, and sought light in the light of my longing, yet all the angels seemed but as a gnat compared with the all-absorbing concern with the search for God. So I continued to fly, until I reached the Footstool of God, and lo, was met by angels, whose eyes were as the number of stars in the heavens, and from each eye shone forth light, and those lights became lamps, and I heard sounding forth from each lamp, "Glory to God", and "There is no God but God". Then I went on flying until I arrived at a sea of light, with waves beating against one another, and besides it, the light of the sun would seem dark, and upon the sea were ships of light, compared with which the light of those waters appeared to be darkness. I continued to cross seas upon seas, until I reached the greatest of seas, upon which stands the throne of the All-Merciful, and I went on swimming therein, until I beheld, looking from the Empyrean to the earth beneath, the Cherubim and those who bore the Throne of all whom God has created in Heaven and Earth, as less than a mustard seed floating between the Heavens and the earth, in comparison with the flight of my spirit in the quest for God. And when the Most Glorious perceived the sincerity of my desire to seek Him, He called to me and said: 'Oh my chosen one, approach onto me, and ascend to the heights of my glory, and the planes of my splendor, and sit upon the carpet of my holiness, so that thou may see the the work of my grace in my appointed time. Thou art My chosen, and My beloved, and My elect among the creatures'. And I began to melt away at that, as lead melts (in the heat of the fire). Then He gave me to drink from the Fountain of Grace in the Cup of Fellowship, and transformed me into a state beyond description, and brought me near unto Him, and so near did He bring me that I became nearer to Him than the spirit to the body. And I continued thus until I became even as souls of men had been in the state before existence was, and God abode in solitude apart, without created existence or space or direction or mode of being, may His glory be exalted and his Names sanctified.


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