Thursday, May 08, 2008

idol of mental attachment

In meditation, everything depends on thought. If your thought becomes attached to any created thing - even some thing unseen or spiritual, higher than any earthly creature - it is as if you were bowing down to an idol on your hands and knees.

- The Essential Kabbalah, the Heart of Jewish Mysticism by Daniel C. Matt

The Divine bestowed aforetime on Abraham his rectitude of conduct, and he was known to the Kingdom fully well.

When he said unto his father and his folk: What are these idols unto which ye pay devotion? They said: "We found our fathers worshippers of them."

He said, "Indeed ye have been in manifest error - ye and your fathers."

They said, "Have you brought us the Truth, or are you one of those who jest?"

He said, "Nay, your Lord is the Lord of the heavens and the earth, He Who created them (from nothing): and I am a witness to this (Truth). And by God, I have a plan for your idols - after ye go away and turn your backs"

Then he reduced them to fragments, all save the chief of them, that haply they might have recourse to it.

They said, "Who has done this to our gods? He must indeed be some man of impiety!" They said, "We heard a youth talk of them: He is called Abraham." They said, "Then bring him before the eyes of the people, that they may bear witness." They said, "Art thou the one that did this with our gods, O Abraham?"

He said: "Nay, this was done by - this is their biggest one! ask them, if they can speak intelligently!"

So they turned to themselves and said, "Surely ye are the ones in the wrong!" Then were they confounded with shame: (they said), "Thou knowest full well that these (idols) do not speak!"

(Abraham) said, "Do ye then worship, besides One God, things that can neither be of any good to you nor do you harm?

- The Quran 21. 51-67

The significance of the term idol is an archetype to attachment of anything other than the Divine Reality.

Abraham is an example of a seeker who in the historical context is definitely not a pious in the conventional term, and basically is a heretic from the society's piousness point of view; at the same time he is an agnostic when it comes to the conventional practice of faith.

Its interesting to note that in the Quranic dialogue between Prophet Abraham and people of his time, when Abraham questions about the idols and blind devotion to them, its replied, "We found our fathers worshippers of them."

The significance goes beyond "old generation, forefathers" but in broader context it applies to our conditioned mind. If we bring the context of an historical description of what happened in the time of Abraham to the microcosm individual, it signifies our mental block, barrier, association and attachment through which we create prison, we create idol house and by putting all our attention bound to them "religiously" we become blind from "Reality". Only when we break free from the idols of our own attachment and forms, we become truly free and come closer to truth.

"Earthly forms are only shadows of the Sun of Truth- a cradle for babes, but too small to hold those who have grown to spiritual manhood." - Medieval Source Book on Rumi

We live in a world of forms and forms are necessary for its purpose, but seeing with the eyes of heart, realizing and going beyond forms is always the path of the seeker of truth. As Rumi says:
"Pass beyond forms, escape from names!
Flee titles and names toward meaning!"

. Related post from Islam from Inside

:: On Seeing Beyond Forms

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