There is a difference between Divine Illumina­tion and Soul-Illumination. When the mirror of the heart is cleansed of all impurities, and has become thoroughly clear, it may serve to focus the rays of the Divine Sun and so reflect the Divinity and all His Attributes. But this boon is not enjoyed by every clean heart. Every runner does not catch the game (lit., the antelope), but only he who runs can catch it …

A clean heart reflects some of the qualities of the Soul. If thoroughly clean, it may at times reflect all the qualities. Sometimes the Essence of the Soul—the Divine Viceroy—may display its nature, and assert “I am the True One” by virtue of its viceroyalty. Sometimes the whole universe may be seen making obeisance at the viceregal throne, and the soul may mistake the Divine Viceroy for God … Such mistakes are common, and cannot be avoided without the Divine Grace and the help of the Teacher. Now to come to the difference:

(1) Soul-illumination conquers the lower nature temporarily, i. e., so long as the illumination continues;—Divine illumination conquers it per­manently.

(2) Soul-illumination is not inconsistent with the foulness of the heart, does not solve all doubts, nor does it impart the bliss of Divine Knowledge;—Divine illumination is the reverse of this.

(3)—Soul-illumination may induce pride, self-conceit, and egoism . . . . Divine Illumina­tion does away with all these, and increases the fervour of Seeking.

‘Illumination’ and ‘obscuration’ are two words generally used among the Sûfîs. The former means the unfolding of God, the latter means the infolding of God. These expressions do not apply to His Essence, since It is changeless. As when one finds the solution of a problem, and says, “the problem is solved”—the problem is not solved, but one’s mind unfolds so as to grasp the problem; knowledge being called the solution of the problem, ignorance its obscura­tion —so, when one sees all from God, and not from self, when Self does away with the lower nature and sees the Unknowable,—this is designated Illumination.—Letter 14.