LIKE “Know thyself.” the ancient sages the Oriental Philosophers hold the maxim “Know thyself,” to be one of vital importance to the Traveller on the Road of Life. A considerable portion therefore of their speculative treatises is invariably devoted to the study of man­kind.

Much Religious difference of opinion exists as to the point of view from which man is to be discussed; the reli­gious teachers asserting that since God created him from nothing he may be considered as an actual being whose characteristics are capable of diagnosis and definition.

The and Meta­physical
view of the question.
metaphysicians, on the other hand, say that it is impossible for that which is not, to be, or for that which is, not to be; they allow, however, that that which is may assume various forms and mani­fest itself in different ways, and prefer considering man as a particular manifestation of the one Uni­versal existence of God. Both however agree in the propriety of the discussion, though upon different grounds.

Man Man, a world in himself. constitutes the Lesser World, and everything that is not man is included in the Greater World; and since every thing in the Greater World has its counterpart in the Lesser, the study of this is a duty incumbent upon all who aspire to spiritual knowledge. To know oneself is the “right way” (<Arabic>), for guidance in which Mohammed besought God in his prayer, “Guide us into the right way*.” Self-knowledge is the shortest road to the knowledge of God. When Ali asked Mohammed “What am I to do that I may not waste my time?” the Prophet answered, “Learn to know thyself.”