signs of His own greatness and glory and has stored with libraries of Divine wisdom as yet only in part revealed to the inner eyes of the wise, in order that here we might seek with all our heart Him who is our Creator, and might by the guidance of His grace attain to the knowledge of Him, who to know is everlasting life. 

Soul1 and food Thou gavest, life for evermore, And all other blessings from Thy boundless store. This high quest within us cometh too from Thee Through Thy justice only, Lord, from wrong we flee.

And though here on earth men can at best behold Him who is invisible only as in a mirror, yet He who is the fountain of all good gifts desireth that, gazing at the incomparable beauty of Him who alone is perfect in all His attributes, we may day by day, through His grace and favour and spiritual guidance, become changed into the same image, as we grow in the knowledge a and love of our Maker and Lord, the One and Only God, who has given us life that we may seek Him and find Him, and in Him find rest unto our souls.

But when children begin their education, they must first learn what is simple, and proceed to loftier tasks only when they have attained proficiency in the lowlier. The alphabet must be learnt before they can read the works of philosophers and comprehend the lofty strains of poets. So, too, in devoting ourselves to the acquisition of the knowledge of God, it is necessary that we should begin with what is humbler and simpler and nearer to the level of man's mind. And what is nearer to our minds and thoughts than ourselves, our own

‫1 جان و نان دادى و عُمرى جاودان
سائر نعمت كِه نآيد در بيان
اين طلب در ما هم از ايجادِ قُست
رستن از بيداد يا ربّ دادِ تُست



personality, our own nature? Hence one of the wise men of Greece in ancient days summed up his advice to every man in two words "Know thyself" (γνωθι σεαυτον). The Greeks admired this saying so much that they inscribed the sentence on a column in the temple of one of the chief of their gods: and a Roman poet many years later valued the sentiment so highly that he declared it had come down from heaven. Among wise Arabic sayings of later date we find the same advice, in a fuller and nobler form, in a sentence ascribed to 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, "Whoso1 knoweth himself knoweth his Lord." Nor will any wise man, to whatever religion he belongs, deny that this sentiment is full of truth and wisdom. Indeed, knowledge of ourselves is the key by means of which we may hope to unlock the door of the knowledge of our Creator. And if there be a man who pays no attention to the yearnings of his own spirit, and who has not examined and inquired into the desires of his own heart, how can such a man, being ignorant of his own inner condition, attain to the knowledge of God? Against such a man the gate of Divine Knowledge is shut and barred, nor will it be opened until he has studied his own spiritual state and learnt what are the deepest requirements of his spirit. Man needs to know God. The reason of this is that man, in reference to his intellect and spirit, was created in the image of God. As the poet says, "God's 2 family and babes are we": and again it has been said: "Men3 are God's family: accordingly the dearest of men to God is he who has done good to His family."

Though it is true that sin and the temptations of the Devil have led men far astray from God, and have in large measure obliterated from the coin the name

‫1 مَنْ عَرَفَ نَفَسهُ فَقَدْ عَرَفَ رَبْهُ
‫2 ما عيّال حضرت ايم و شيرخوار ‫(Mathnavi‬)
‫3 الخلق عيّال الله فأحبٌ الخلق الى الله مَنْ أَحْسَنَ الى عيّالهِ‫.