As a man wishes to be, so shall he be. “Man is what he loves”, said Augustine, and added: “If he loves a stone, he is a stone. If he loves a man, he is a man. If he loves God, I dare not say more, for if I said that he would then be God, ye might stone me.”

It is easy for the mystic to revel in this belief, but difficult for an ordinary man to realize, impossible to explain it. However, an attempt may be made. What is mysticism? Lexicographers derive the word from the root mu, to close. Mysticism is, therefore, an equivalent of Platonic abstraction. A mystic is expected to close every avenue of sense-perception and to withdraw the mind into itself from all external objects, so as to render it worthy of receiving divine illumination. “Withdraw into thyself and the adytum of thine own soul will reveal to thee profounder secrets than the cave of Mithras.”

This makes the Sufi’s self-deification somewhat intelligible, but it rests on one hypothesis, viz., that the spiritual element pervades sentient existence. As to this, the mystic of Persia has not the least doubt. What though religious divines have preached the alienation of man from the Creator, branding him as a being conceived and born in sin and passing through the penitentiary of earthly life to atone for it? What if science pronounces him to be mere earthly clay and food for worms, at best a magnetic mockery? What if the sceptic is still enveloped in doubt, alarm, distrust? What if a cynic is forced to the conclusion that if man is at all an emanation from some spirit, that spirit cannot certainly be the Highest, Holiest, All-wise, All-just? Aye, what even if it appears to ordinary mortals with no philosophy of their own that some invisible butcher plays fast and loose with human life, choosing for his prey one helpless lamb to-day, another to-morrow, and so on, without inter­mission, during all the revolutions of this earth, and that the lives thus butchered are gone, and gone for ever? Unmindful of such spectres of honest doubt or positive disbelief, the unembarrassed mystic embraces the inspiriting doctrine of man’s divinity, and pro­ceeds with the utmost confidence on the path leading to his beloved goal, communion with the universal soul, union with him, absorption in him.