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the phantom 'i' and Real "I"

one of the most common thread among mysticism of all traditions from ancient religion of Indus valley (or hinduism) to islamic mystic school of tasawwuf or sufism is the enlightenment and realization of the questions: Who is the Real Doer, Who is the Real "I", Real Being?

in the islamic mysticism, the deepest core of mysteries revolve around the question of our identification of self (Nafs) and its illusory nature. gnostics of all ages ultimately arrived at the enlightenment of heart where it was show to them that our individual "i" is a phantom, is a great veil. Gautama Buddha's 'Nibban' (in original pali language) or 'Nirvana', literally meaning Passing Away nevertheless addresses the same reality.

O, friend! Nobody veils you, but yourself.
In your path there is no thorn or weed, but yourself.
You asked: shall I reach the beloved or not?
Between you and the beloved there is nobody, but yourself.
- Awhadoddin Kermani

You do not have to struggle to reach God,
but you do have to struggle to tear away
the self-created veil that hides Him from you.
- Paramahansa Yogananda

And I have prepared thee for Myself. - Koran [20:41]

When I have fashioned Priomordial Adam (in due proportion)
and breathed into him of My Rooh (Spirit)
- Koran [15:29]

And remember Mary who guarded her chastity:
We breathed into her of Our Rooh (Spirit)
- Koran [21:91].

On the subject matter of the phantom 'i' and the Real "I AM" islamic mystic scholars have discussed in length in the context of sacred scripture of Quran (also written as Koran), in sacred sayings of the Prophet (hadith Qudsi) where Divine speaks in First Person and also in the context of the ecstatic utterances of the seekers of the Truth, saints of God (awliya Allah).

... the first major development of the concept of divine speech was the work of the sixth imam of Shi'ah, Jafar al-Sadiq (d. 148/765). Respected for his peity and wisdom by all Islamic sects, Jafar was regarded especially highly by the Sufis, who took his Qu'ran commentary as the basic for their growing body of mystic Qur'anic literature. In his excergesis of the thoephany experienced by Moses on Mt. Sinai, Jafar found the key to the nature of divine speech in the words by which God identified Himself. According to Jafar when God said to Moses, "I Am I, your Lord. (Inni Ana Rabbuka)". (Quran 20.12), Moses then realized that:
it is not proper for anyone but God to speak of Himself by using these words inni ana, "I Am I." I was seized by a stupor (dahsh), and annihilation (fana) took place. I said then: "You! You are He Who Is and Who will be Eternally, and Moses has no place with You nor the audacity to speak, unless You let him subsist by Your subsistence (baqa) and You endow him with Your attribute." ... He replied to me: "None but I can bear My speech, none can give Me a reply; I Am He Who speaks and He Who is spoken to, and you are a phantom (sabah) between the two, in which speech (khitab) takes place."

One of the striking things about this comment is that it reveals selfhood as an exclusively divine prerogative. Only God has the right to say, "I". This important point would later be stressed by Sufis such as Abu Said al-Kharraz (d. 279/892) and Abu Nasr al-Sarraj (d. 378/988). A further aspect of Jafar's comment that greatly influenced Sufism was the use of the terms "Annihilation (fana)" and "subsistence (baqa)," which refer to the disappearance of the human ego and the manifestation of the Divine Presence.

This would later be articulated by the Sufi Dhu al-Nun, who was the first Sufi editor of Jarar's Quranic commentary. Finally Jafar interprets Moses' experience of the divine speech as an event occuring within the consciousness of a human being. One must agree with Nwyia that Jafar has described:
Precisely that which the Sufis designated by the technical term of shath or theopathic locution. Moses heard himself the Inni Ana Rabbuka, Bistami will say Subhani (glory be to Me!) and Hallaj, Ana al-Haqq (I Am the Truth), but the phenomenon is the same; in none of theses cases is the subject of the sentences either Moses, Bistami or Hallaj, but it is God who speaks by and through the human consciousness.
Is it You or I?
That would be two gods in me;
far, far be it from You to assert duality!

The 'Hu' (Beingness) that is Yours in my nothingness forever;
my "all" added to Your "All" would be a double disguise.

But where is Your essence, from my vantage point
when I see You,
since my essence has become plain in the place
where I am not?
And where is Your face? It is the object of my gaze,
whether in my inmost heart or in the glance of my eyes.

Between You and me there is an "I am" that battles me,
so take away, by Your infinite grace, this "I am"
from in between.

- Mansur al-Hallaj, may God sanctify his station.

# Reference: from an excellent book
Words of Ecstasy in Sufism
by Carl W. Earnst

The book is the first in-depth study in English of the important and impact of ecstatic utterances (shathiyat) in classical islamic mysticism. It makes available an important body of mystical aphorisms and reveals not only the significance of these sayings in sufi tradition, but also explains their controversial impoact.

This study describes the development and interpretation of shathiyat in classical sufism and analyzes the principal themes and rhetoric styles of these sayings, using as a basis of the authoritative Commentary on Ecstatic Sayings by Ruzbihan Baqli of Shiraz.

# Related
. I AMness | Integral vision of Ken Wilber and Sufism
. Divine is the All Seeing
. Meditation on Bhagavad Gita


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Technology of the Heart: the phantom 'i' and Real "I"
the phantom 'i' and Real "I"
Technology of the Heart
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